I was waiting in line at the hardware store the other day…. and they had hot wheels cars (small metal toy cars if you are not familiar) at the checkout. not sure why. annnnyway one of them was a rather interesting F1 car…. with six wheels.
The Tyrrell P34 as I later found out. The packaging said that it actually won a GP (Sweden I think)
My question is – would the current rules prohibit having an extra set of wheels on the car? would this be feasible with the current aerodynamic technologies?
funny looking car either way…. sits on my desk now.
March and Williams had a go at it as well (but with four wheels at the back) but they never competed.
I don’t think present regulations forbid it
From the FIA regulations book:
1.2 Automobile :
A land vehicle running on at least four non-aligned complete wheels, of which at least two are used for steering and at least two for propulsion.
But considering the fact that tyres have been much reduced in size since the 1970’s I am not sure it would bring such an advantage.
The regulations do forbid six-wheelers.
I’m pretty sure I read somwhere that a car must have 4 wheels.
You’re right and I stand corrected:
Article 12.2 Number of wheels :
The number of wheels is fixed at four.
Ferrari had some kind of a six wheeler prototype as well.
Tyrrell’s thinking was that four small front wheels would provide better braking and grip (not a smaller frontal area – that’s a myth). It worked well initially, but the bespoke smaller front tyres couldn’t be developed at the same rate as the normal sized Goodyears everyone else was using. Also, having more wheels meant more weight at the front end which was always a problem. Scheckter hated the car but Depailler loved it.
As Jihelle said, both March and later Williams gave it a go with the four wheels at the back (The March proved impressive during a wet test session at Silverstone but was never raced; the Williams proved impressive at a Paul Ricard test but the FIA banned 6 wheels out of fear of drastically increasing speeds).
Ferrari also had it a go with 4 wheels at the back, but on the same axle. It was ridiculously wide and Reutemann had a bit of a shunt whilst testing it and didn’t really want to develop the idea…
I love the Tyrrell P34, I used to have a Scalextric version of it that used to be super fast and always stayed on the circuit no matter how fast you went round the corners.
It’s also a great reminder of the days when F1 used to be a truly dynamic sport that allowed teams to innovate instead of the highly restrictive regulatory environment we have now that leads to the cars being virtually identical and almost impossible to tell apart from each other (for the average fan anyway).
Ferrari’s prototype was of the 312 T2, with four wheels at the back, two side-by-side. It was tested but it never raced.
Standard smart ass input when talking about wheels:
The regs allow 5 wheels not 4, 4 ‘wheels’ plus a steering wheel!!!!!
But seriously, they are only allowed to have 4 tyred wheels.
If they were allowed these days, would anyone use them.
apart from the extra weight there is the issue of pit stops, They would be much busier atleast, espesially if it has the same layout as the legendary Tyrtell
Hey, who knew Tyrell was sponsored by facebook in 1977!
I think if designers had their way there’d be eight wheels: Four small ones at the front and four at the back. With development the weight issues could be overcome considering the extra grip four front wheels gives.
Having four back wheels not only aids traction, but in wet weather the very rear axle could theoretically be equipped with slicks (or intermediates in very wet conditions) because the leading pair of rear wheels would displace a significant amount of water directly in front of the trailing pair.
Tyre wear would probably be much higher however, and I don’t think they’d be as nimble around the tighter tracks.
Did they have pit stops for tyres in 1976 & 77? Are there any videos of a six-wheeled Tyrrell one? Surely there was at least one wet/dry race?
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