Maybe this has already been discussed in a previous thread, but I was wondering which technological breakthroughs have formed the DNA of the current F1 cars (e.g. the McLaren MP4/1 in 1981 as the first car with a carbon fibre chassis, Cooper in 1957 with the first rear engine,…). So what were the first cars to feature wings, or disc brakes, paddle shift, airbox above the driver’s head, sidepods, advanced electronics, integrated fire extinguisher, impact-proof fuel tank, or any other thing you can think of?
I’d like to exclude breakthroughs such as turbo engines or skirts, since they’re not relevant for the current cars.
I’ve made this list a few years back, I hope it’s accurate…
1954: disc brakes (Vanwall Special)
1954: injection engine (Mercedes W196)
1957: rear engine (Cooper T43), in GP racing: Auto Union Type A (1934)
1968: car in sponsor colours (Lotus 49)
1968: front and rear wings (Lotus 49B)
1970: first ‘no cigar’ car (Lotus 72)
1976: carbon brakes (Brabham) – ultimately applied to the Brabham BT48 in 1979
1977: ground effect (Lotus 78)
1977: turbo engine (Renault RS01)
1981: first car with full carbon fiber monocoque (Lotus 88 (illegal) & McLaren MP4/1)
1982: active suspention (Lotus 91) – forbidden after 1993
1989: high nose (Tyrrell 018)
1989: semi-automatic gear paddles behind steering wheel (Ferrari 640)
1992: drive by wire (McLaren MP4/7A)
1995?: steering wheel with electronics and buttons (Benetton B195?)
The first time a live onboard camera was used in a Formula One race was at the 1985 German Grand Prix, where one was attached to François Hesnault’s Renault. Previously, cameras had only been mounted to F1 cars during testing, but since then, more and more cameras have been fitted. Since 1998, all Formula One cars have been fitted with at least three onboard cameras (usually more) and they form an integral part of the television coverage.