Smaller wings for 2013 F1 cars

F1 Fanatic round-up

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Williams-Cosworth FW08, 1982

More details about the drastic F1 rules changes for 2013 have been revealed and how they will incorporate ground effect aerodynamics with the aim of increasing overtaking.


F1 cars set for major changes inspired by Head & Byrne (BBC)

“Cars will have much smaller wings and specially-shaped underfloors designed to generate downforce differently.”

Dirty driving clampdown will hurt Schumacher – Moss (ESPN)

“I see that they’ve done something about dirty driving and that’ll probably lessen Schumacher’s chances. It was disgraceful what he did at the Hungarian Grand Prix; Formula One is now one of the safest sports there is, but if somebody had been coming out of the pits at that moment it could have been a disaster.”

Dennis: Whitmarsh "better than me" at managing champions (James Allen)

“Managing the co-habitation of two world champions is often a challenge. I have tried it a few times. Martin is perhaps showing himself to be better than me at that role.”

Flavio Briatore case sees Football League fail its own test (The Guardian)

“When Bernie Ecclestone bought Flavio Briatore’s shares in QPR last week, it exposed the Football League’s supposedly stringent fit and proper person test as an ineffective tool.”

Marshals training for Indian Grand Prix (The Times of India)

“This training is part of a thorough on-going programme of support and development provided by the Royal Automobile Club Motor Sports Association of the UK (MSA).”

A Blast from the Past! (Lotus Cars)

Nigel Mansell: “I am delighted to see the return of Group Lotus to Formula One through their acquisition of an equity stake in Renault F1.”

Thanks to Cyclops_PL for the tip.

Comment of the day

Virgin’s decision to sign Jerome d’Ambrosio provoked a positive response from several Belgian readers. Here’s Vico:

As a Belgian I’m really happy! Finally a team that chooses talent over money. Sure he brings something, but nothing like the big bag of Euro’s from Giedo van der Garde??

As for his results in GP2. Nothing very exciting indeed. He did out-perform Kobayashi in 2009 in their season together at DAMS. I think it’s more his solid performances as the third Virgin driver that sealed the deal. His technical input was pretty impressive apparently, this combined with the speed that is obviously there.

The Abu Dhabi test with Renault impressed the Renault team also very much, so much that his Gravity management (part owner of Renault) pushed him to the Virgin management??

Anyhow, I’m very happy he will get his chance to shine! Belgian in F1, it’s been too long!

From the forum

Enigma asks an interesting question about how many battles for victory there were in 2010.

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Happy birthday!

A very happy birthday to Arun Srini!

On this day in F1

Who remembers Bernie Ecclestone’s ‘Spankgate’ Christmas card from two years ago?

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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75 comments on “Smaller wings for 2013 F1 cars”

  1. Combined with the 2013 engine regulations, the 2013 design regulations mean the cars will be very interesting to watch. Hopefully we’ll see cars that actually need to be driven. The difference between the 2012-2013 cars will make the change between 2008-09 cars look miniscule by comparison.

    1. Yeah, that will be a massive jump. I hope they rethink the moveable rear wing at that point though, ’cause those cars should theoretically provide opportunity for overtaking without the Mario-Kart button. That said though, the more I’ve thought about the rear wing rules, the less they bother me. It’ll still take a trailing driver with the skills to get close enough for it to activate, so I don’t think we’ll see HRTs overtaking Red Bulls anytime soon. As Will Buxton said on twitter of the rules changes for ’13, “‘It’ll be GP2 with turbo engines! Tilke tracks will suddenly become mega.” I hope he’s right.

      1. I don’t mind the adjustable rear wings idea, primarily because I think it will mean the end of shark fins. Or at least the shark fins that anchor to the rear wing. The adjustable flap will have to be one unbroken piece, and there’s no way to anchor the shark fin to the rear wing without interrupting the flap.

        1. Those connected shark fins are not allowed anymore from next season onwards:

          Ban on connected shark fins

          Another route to banning F-ducts, as well as a move to limit the ever expanding rear fin, the rule prevents any bodywork reaching the rear wing.

          “3.9.1 No bodywork situated between 50mm and 330mm forward of the rear wheel centre line may be more than 730mm above the reference plane.”

          With thanks from: – that link was posted in the roundup a few days ago

          1. Cool. Hopefully shark fins will be banned outright at some point. At least the ‘floating’ shark fins look better than the ‘anchored’ ones.

          2. I’m with you on that one PM! A ban on shark fins would be fantastic. The F10 would have been gorgeous without one and all the cars look better without them.

            I am elated by this news of the design for the 2013 cars, ground effect, small wings, turbos. It’s the direction the sport has needed to take for a long time!!

          3. Wanting something banned just because you don’t like how it looks, is rather silly.

            F1 is about tech, not about beauty (and we all know that the fastest car is beautiful anyway).

          4. While generally I don’t like shark fins I think the best one was on this years McLaren but I think that is partly because it seemed to be more tubular due to the f-duct and it wasn’t just flat.

            At one point in the early 2000s didn’t change the rules so the engine cover had to be a minimum size because from a side view they were getting smaller and smaller and it is one of the main spaces for sponsors?

      2. “It’ll still take a trailing driver with the skills to get close enough for it to activate”

        …unless the trailing driver is in a far superior car. I still say this gimmick will make it virtually impossible for slower cars to defend higher positions, eg. Hulkenberg at Interlagos.

        I see your logic, but to me its like allowing two extra football players on the pitch for whichever team is losing.

        Totally anti-sport.

      3. For what regards the moveable rear wings, we’ll have 2 years to see how it works. If it proves a bad thing, then I’ll be the first one to hope them getting removed, but I preferred if they worked well and made overtaking more frequent because I don’t want to watch two boring seasons.

    2. But 5 seconds a lap slower than current cars!! What’s the big idea?

  2. Found this interesting article over at Autosport: next year’s Rally of Mexico will feature an underground rally stage, run through the city’s tunnel systems.

    It got me wondering: would this be possible for Formula 1? You wouldn’t be able to have a completely underground circuit, but it reminded me of a stretch of motorway in southern Sydney that literally goes under the airport. I figure that if you dug a massive trench, ran the circuit through it with some run-off and then covered it up to make a massive tunnel, it would be pretty nifty. Of course, you’d have to have regular access points for marshalls and safety crews and a system to filter out exhaust fumes. But I think the lighting in Singapore proves you can run cars under dark conditions, and the pit exit at Abu Dhabi proves you can have tunnels that work. After all, the fastest corner on the calendar is the tunnel at Monaco.

    1. What exactly would the point in that be though?!

      Also, on the Monaco tunnel corner being the fastest in F1- I’ve heard that before, but surely that can’t be true? What about Eau Rouge or Blanchimont, or the bend in the back straight at Istanbul, or the Parabolica at Hockenheim etc?

      1. They could race upside down on the ceiling in the tunnel, because we’re told F1 cars have enough downforce to do that. Until 2013, anyway.

        1. Idea stealer. I’ve been thinking about that too.

      2. What exactly would the point in that be though?!

        Fun. I just think that if it could be done properly, it would be really interesting to have an underground circuit.

        1. No offence, but this sounds like a Tilke idea.

          I think a return of grass might be a better option.

        2. Sounds like that old Nintendo game F zero or whatever. I do think an underground race would be quite an awesome sight to behold though. I think we will see more underground structures in the coming years as a way to save space and increase HVAC efficiency. If other things go underground. Why not F1?

      3. The tunnel at Monaco is not even close to being the fastest corner on the calendar. I don’t know the exact speeds, but cars reach a top speed of about 285 kmph at Monaco, so speeds through the tunnel must obviously be slower.

        Compare that to the Parabolica and Lesmos at Monza, the bend in the back straight – as you mentioned -, 130R at Suzuka, etc etc

        1. 130R definitely used to be the fastest corner but I think they made some changes recently and made it a touch tighter (unless of course you take the Di Grassi line)… although my dozy morning brain can’t remember which is now the fastest, maybe Blanchimont at Spa?

    2. I think it’d be too much of a safety risk. Think Burti over MS at Hockenheim ’01 or Ralf over Rubens at Melbourne ’02, only happening in a tunnel.

      Plus, a underground section also means lost seating gallery space. Considering how modern circuits have galleries over most of the length, I think it would be a bad idea to lose out on putting more seats.

      1. I admit, those happened at the start so they’re not perfect examples. But you get the idea. Car at speed over stationary car.

        1. Think Webber/Kovalainen with the tunnel being the height of the DHL sign Webber smashed to bits.

    3. That got me thinking: GP Paris, you could go up and down the Champs-Elysses like the final day of the cycling. :)

    4. Ooh, ooh! And a loop-the-loop, and jumps, and the cars could drop oil slicks and smoke screens and there could be these arrow things for going faster and maybe a thing like where the back cars can go faster to get to the front ones so you dont get bored if you get past lol!

      Oh, wait – that stuff would be crazy! Too bad they’re actually doing the last one.

  3. Happy birthday Bastian, keep posting those comments!

    Also, I clicked the Guardian/ Briatore link and found another interestin article in that same column. Here it is:

    SPOTY’s spent formula
    “How do you follow that?” asked Jake Humphreys, left, after David Beckham picked up the Lifetime Achievement award during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show on Sunday night. The Beeb’s Formula One correspondent then introduced a long segment on his own sport, adding: “I’m biased.” He is not alone among BBC employees in that. Do you think the decision to plug the sport in the most-watched 15-minute slot between the lifetime achievement and SPOTY awards had anything to do with the £250m spent on the rights?

    Y’know, in many ways I think I preferred ITV-F1’s smaller scale coverage than the BBC’s big budget dramatics. The whole thing seems overblown and unnecessarily extravagant to me

    1. Michael Griffin
      22nd December 2010, 0:49

      F1 is a big budget sport, so big budget coverage fits perfectly.

    2. I think the BBC coverage this season has been nothing short of brilliant. Great access to all the teams, good features and insights by top people in the field, and a very watchable well presented programme.

    3. Yeah I’ve been getting the BBC coverage and think it’s brilliant!

    4. What rubbish. I was surprised how little F1 was featured on this years SPOTY. It was a short montage. No mention of Redbull in team of the year or Vettel for overseas SPOTY. Was probably the least I have ever seen F1 on SPOTY.

      1. Yeh, I have no idea where the “long” part came from, if anything it was pitifully short, lacking in so much detail, for example they didn’t even say why Hockenheim was controversial, just that it was.

    5. F1 is meant to be overblown and extravagant.
      “Bricks and mortar” sports like touring cars and darts suit ITV better than F1.

  4. Also, my first thought when I heard the story about the smaller front wings yesterday was: won’t the teams take issue with running small front wings when that part of the car is currently a very valuable spot for sponsor logos?

    1. I think they’ll just have to find a way around that.

    2. If the cars are going to look more like the cars of the ’80s, they will have a lot more room on the side pods though.

      And in the last years, we have seen the amount of sponsor logo’s on the cars diminish anyway :-O

      1. I don’t think they’re going to be straight 1980s reimaginging. A lot of what the cars will look like will be shaped by what the teams produce for 2011 and 2012, and what moves the FIA take to limit them ahead of each respective year (ie, banning F-ducts). I think the 2013 cars will be reinterpretations of 1980s cars. Kind of like the retro upgrades that seem to be all the rage for road cars. Hopefully the teams will be able to pull off a Fiat 500 and get the right stuff going.

        1. Well, but the teams would have to completely retink what to do without the big front wing channelling air around the wheels and instead think about getting even more air under the car (as well as a complete redo of the underbody for downforce).

          I am curious to learn, weather the car’s nosecones will have to be lowered. The rules for next year already put some limits on them, but just try to imagine a ground force car with a raised nose!
          It would be a lot more efficient at getting air under the body for downforce.

  5. Whenever Ron Dennis had two champions as team-mates, one of them would always become champion again.

    1. I don’t think it was Whitmarsh’s fault that neither Button nor Hamilton could claim a second title this year. The Red Bull RB6 was just too damn good for them. After all, it was designed by the man who used to create the McLarens raced in the Age of Dennis. Look at Vettel’s stats – if he had not suffered the mechanical failings and brain-farts that he did, he would have walked away with the title by some seventy points.

  6. I just hope the 2013 cars look good, and don´t look so much slower than the current ones. I wonder how much + 5 seconds per lap will look like on tv.

    1. last time I saw a significant difference in cornering speeds was 2001… the cars were visibly carrying much more speed through the corners, it was breathtaking!

      at least that’s what I thought…

    2. I wont really look much slower on TV. Can you spot much of a difference between how last years cars looked in qualy and the start of the race? That is roughly 4 seconds slower.

    3. Just watch an HRT lap vs a Red Bull lap in qualifying…that’s roughly 5 seconds slower.

    4. That’s the part that really worries me. Then again last time around they said 2.5s would be lost and they’ve made it all back already, so IO guess they’re just being careful.

      I just hope they get rid of the gimmicky parts too, reduced aerodynamics is always a good thing but with the stupid power/weight distribution I don’t think it’;; be like the 80s

  7. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    22nd December 2010, 1:11

    The s,aller wing would, in theory, permit more overtaking, but I remember that the same prodigies were said about the big front wing, aboout the double diffuser (which was awesome until all the teams copied it) and even with the F-duct. I mean, engineering is so close by now that the overtakins will be finally a difficult issue again. Red Bull was the champion this year but not overtaking, they just outperformed the rest. And overtaking was difficult even for themk. Probably Patrick Head and Rory Byrne should hire Kobayashi and ask him what else he needs to have fun, like in Suzuka

    1. I think you may have missed the point. It’s not to create overtaking because one team will have an edge over the others as was the case with the double diffuser or the F-duct, it should theoretically increase overtaking because the cars will produce a similar amount of downforce with far less dirty air in their wake, making it much easier for drivers to slipstream and use that to their advantage, which they can’t really do in the current cars. Also, the closeness in engineering shouldn’t be a bad thing. GP2 is a spec car and there was more overtaking there than in F1 this year by far. If the cars are closely matched and use ground effect to produce their downforce we should see a lot more overtaking happen at the front rather than only in the midfield.

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        22nd December 2010, 3:19

        Thanks a lot! My doubts are gone. So let’s see

        1. No problem. I hope it works too! It certainly sounds like a better long term solution than the 2011 regulations which seem a bit gimmicky.

      2. CART/Champ Car used and Indy cars in the States use limited ground effect and have for quite some time. Yes they are spec cars, but the limited ground effect and more aerodynamic bodies with their smaller than F1, but not small wings tended to produce more passing than we see in F1 today.

  8. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    22nd December 2010, 1:13

    s,aller Oops! smaller

  9. Where is Bernie’s 2010 Christmas Card?

    1. Yeah, I haven’t gotten mine in the mail either. How inconsiderate of him. ;-)

    2. I was thinking the same… :-(

  10. I do like the idea of smaller wings. I’ve always thought these massive “snow-plow” wings were counterproductive to the sport as drivers would sometimes hold off going for a potential pass as if there was contact made, wing gets damaged, pitstop, race ruined.

    Good initiative.

  11. I love how this sounds, I’m already wanting to see what the 2013 cars look like.

  12. About that Nigel Mansell thing…

    Does anyone actually think he said that?
    Maybe he is on their side, and I don’t begrudge him that, But I really doubt that’s word for word what he said.
    I mean, for starters, Mansell is a racing driver, we all know they have tiny little brains and couldn’t possibly know that many big words. That and I am 99% sure Mansell wouldn’t refer to technology being used in Lotus road cars at the end of every sentence.

    the return of Group Lotus to Formula One

    … You see, that’s an error. Either that, or they are taking someone else history and selling it as their own.
    But I’m sure they wouldn’t do that.

    1. Ok, while reading that page, I clicked the “Motor sport” link.

      Group Lotus Renault Genii Lotus Renault GP


      1. Twice as Lotus as Lotus is, huh?

    2. Lotus Group uses images of the Team Lotus cars, now they present Nige being glad “Lotus cars return to F1” and show a picture of a Team Lotus car Mansell drove.

      From their presentation, it is laughable to hear Bahar or Lopez state, they are not trying to pretend to be the Team Lotus, as that is exactly what they are doing.

      1. If I was Fernandes I’#d sue Bahar for using an image of a car in the heritage of his (Fernandes’) team.

        It would fit with the general level of craziness.

  13. Great work Keith, it seems “comment is to short” does not appear after short comments, nice “fix”. I had not noticed that before.

  14. Keith, I remember you mentioning that one of the reasons that the 00s cars are so ugly is the higher front wing which introduced in 95′ and ‘destroyed’ ground effect and as a resault teams are concentrating now on producing pure downforce from the upper side of the car.
    Maybe this rule improve the appearance of F1 cars and not only overtaking
    Also, could you post an article you or the technical expert of F1Fanatic , it’s a very interesting topic to talk about

  15. I also hope they make the cars lighter then. Right now they’re too heavy. Soon they’ll be as heavy as road cars. This sucks. And also impairs the efficiancy they want to create.

    1. The smaller engines will help with that. I would expect them to reduce the weight a little at least. I think KERS batteries will improve over the next 3 years so they’ll be lighter and easier to package.

      But yeah, less but more-efficient downforce, more mechanical grip, roughly the same power (thanks to KERS topping the bhp up)…sounds good to me!!

    2. They’ve made them heavier. Quelle surprise.

      1. Yes for next year. We don’t know what the weight limit will be for 2013 as the regulations haven’t been decided on yet.

  16. Dennis: Whitmarsh “better than me” at managing champions (James Allen)

    You swear, Ron!

  17. I think that there is money to be made from this Lotus naming thing.

    I’m going to start another Lotus team in collaboration with Luca Di Montezemolo called Scuderia Lotus Ferrari. No need to worry about Fiat kicking up a stink.

  18. Younger Hamilton
    22nd December 2010, 11:55

    Its so good and fascinating to see F1 Move into a New dimension,a new era or a return to the old but what im concerned about the Major Changes is the reduction of Safety within the cars and Drivers but Other areas have improved Safety Dramatically so im still fully confident that these Changes will succeed.

  19. Great news about the change in technical regulations :)

  20. I had a look at proposed rule changes and some things just do not add up. They want to reduce the amount of time drivers spend on full throttle(to about 50%) and they want cornering speeds to stay the same. The only way to achieve these two objectives is to reduce the time on the straigts, but that warrants a bigger engine(cars being faster down the straights plus they have to brake earlier). But engines are downsizing as well.

  21. Big underfloor tunnels is the way to go. Less turbulence, less complaints that aero is ruining the show. But the total downforce potential is enourmous with tunnels. Group C cars were making several thousand pounds of downforce with full length tunnels and no front wings back in the day, before CFD, in Le Mans (chicanes-free) trim. The other drawback is that getting sideways with a tunnel car with no wings is a one-way ticket to the scenery. They will make no downforce unless pointing dead ahead. Combine that with peaky turbo motors and you might see very knife-edge cars.

  22. 2013 changes in F1 cars :
    Dont forget to limit the size of BRAKES : the most effective and cost-efficient way to improve overtaking !!!

  23. why are they changing formula 1 again!?!?!?!?!? 2008 was a fantastic season taking it down to the last race in brazil and they changed the look of the car and now they’re doing it again after a great 2010 season cmon

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