The last in our series looking at F1 technologies that were banned looks at one innovation that the governing body were surely right to get rid of. Indeed, had they stepped in more quickly to rid the sport of ground effect cars, a series of terrifying crashes might have been avoided – and lives might … Continue reading Banned! Ground effect
The biggest technical controversy of last season was the banning of Renault’s ‘tuned mass damper’ suspension system. It put Renault’s championship defence in jeopardy and seriously questioned the impartiality of the FIA. Many in the paddock suggested the governing body were trying to engineer a final championship victory for the retiring Michael Schumacher. In a … Continue reading Banned! Tuned mass dampers
Of the dozens of technologies banned by F1’s governing body through the years, McLaren’s rear brake pedal stands out as one of the most unjust bannings. It was banned early in 1998 as McLaren made a stunningly dominant start to the year. Following a protest by Ferrari the system, that had previously been declared legal, … Continue reading Banned: McLaren’s rear brake pedal
Lotus’ began developing active suspension in 1982. Ten years later an active suspension car run by a different team dominated world championship.
Not many F1 fans were disappointed when the news broke two weeks ago that traction control was being kicked out of the sport. But this is not the first time that traction control has been banned – last time it happened all kinds of problems arose, not least of which safety, policing and politics. Can … Continue reading Banned! Traction control
Over a pint a former Tyrrell mechanic once told me where the idea came for the hideous ‘X-wings’ that the team brought to the sport came from. This was in 1997, at which point the team was in its death throes – the last year in which boss Ken Tyrrell was still at the helm. … Continue reading Banned! X-wings
For one example of an F1 engine technology that was dismissed at first, went through a difficult gestation, and then became ubiquitous, look no further than the turbo engines that defined F1 racing in the 1980s.
Of all the exotic technologies to be banned from Formula 1 through the years, four wheel steering could perhaps be the only innovation to have been developed after it was outlawed. The FIA made clear early in 1993 that ‘driver aids’ would be banned for 1994. A range of technologies were included in that all-encompassing … Continue reading Banned! Four wheel steering
Grooved tyres – surely the greatest anachronism in Formula 1 today? No other major open wheel racing series uses them – not the Champ Car World Series, Indy Racing League, GP2, World Series by Renault, A1 Grand Prix – none of them. In F1, of course, slick tyres have been banned for nearly a decade. … Continue reading Banned! Slicks
Think of unconventional Formula 1 technology and you instantly think of Colin Chapman. The Lotus boss, who died 25 years ago, understood that innovation was not just positive for its own sake, but that it also had publicity value. His gas turbine powered 56B F1 car was plainly a case of the latter over the … Continue reading Banned! Gas turbine engines
Complete the following sentence: Formula 1 cars need more ______ . Power? Drag? Advertising space? No – F1 cars need more wheels. Six of them, to be precise. At least four different teams experimented with the idea within a few years of each other, and they succeeded in producing some of the most hideous F1 … Continue reading Banned! Six-wheelers
The 1970s was the decade of outrageous innovation that produced some of the most unusual cars ever to grace a racing circuit. Many were hideous failures that disappeared into obscurity. But Brabham’s ‘Fan Car’ did somewhat better, achieving a 100% victory rate. Which is to say it won one race, and then it was banned…
Today’s Renault team boasts back to back double championship successes. But in their original incarnation they were caught out by a technical innovation from BMW that cost them what would have been their first championship. What was BMW’s secret? An ultra-potent fuel that unleashed prodigious power from their turbo engines. Rumours insisted this special brew … Continue reading Banned! Rocket fuel
The banning of Renault’s mass dampers last year and the Michelin tyres in 2003 generated substantial press interest and controversy. In contrast the banning of beryllium and its alloys from F1 cars and, in particular, their engines did not.
Continuing our series on technologies that have been banned from F1, this week we look at a rare example of an entire car that was banned before it could even race. Colin Chapman’s Lotus 88 was a victim of fraught political tensions at a time when the governing body and the British team were at … Continue reading Banned! Lotus-Cosworth 88 & 88B
Formula One is the pinnacle of motor racing, right? The fastest and most advanced racing cars in the world. That may be true, but you wonder how much faster the cars would be if it weren’t for the rafts of innovations that have been banned over the years. In in a new series we look … Continue reading Banned! – Flexi-wings