No ground effect F1 cars in 2013

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Plans to revive ‘ground effect’ aerodynamics for 2013 will be dropped.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Ground effect return to be called off (Autosport)

Sam Michael: “The main thing was that the FIA had targets for downforce and drag, and it would have been very difficult to control to those targets [with a ground effect car].”

Scottish Formula One hero Paul Di Resta’s grief over suspected suicide of stepfather (Daily Record)

“Dougie McCracken, 46, a former professional footballer, was found dead on Thursday evening at the home he shared with Paul’s mum Marie in Lanark.”

F1 Fanatic on Twitter

Laps spent ahead of team mate in 2011: Alonso: 135/228. Hamilton: 150/228. Vettel: 228/228.”

Via the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app

Fernando Alonso says overtaking in F1 is not too easy (BBC)

“It is what the people asked [for]. More show, more pit stops, more overtakings.”

Turkish hopes of keeping F1 grand prix rise after Ecclestone meeting (The Guardian)

Turkish Automobile Sports Federation chairman, Mumtaz Tahincioglu: “Both sides are trying to solve this issue. Comparing before the race and the current situation, there is a 50% difference.”

Conclusions from Turkey (Joe Saward)

“Turkey has been seven years of wasted time and energy. The track is good but no-one wants to know. The whys and the wherefores are really not important. The story is over. If it were Silverstone Bernie Ecclestone would be ranting and raving about the muddy car parks, which were disgraceful. Turkey had its chance to join the F1 world. They blew it with a stupid propaganda coup in year two and then lost interest. F1 should now move on, feel sad that one cannot pick up turn eight and fly it somewhere where people would appreciate it…”

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

An interesting perspective from Tim on the dangers of allowing unrestricted technological development in motorsport:

Can-Am was wonderful while it lasted. But that fact that the series’ glory years lasted only eight years (1966-1974) should be sufficient warning over costs.

Can-Am cars were wonderfully fast (faster than some of the F1 cars of the period) and some of the technical innovation was amazing. Few people are aware, for example, that wings and ground effect were used in Can-Am before they were used in F1. Jim Hall also developed a fan car for Can-Am well before Gordon Murray did likewise for Brabham in 1978. But there’s always a danger of looking back at Can-Am through rose-tinted glasses. John Surtees won the first Can-Am series in a customer Lola T70 in 1966, but the McLaren works team dominated after that until the might and money of Porsche arrived with highly developed 917s. Once the 917/30 started winning everything in sight the regulations became increasingly restrictive to try to rein in the Porsches.

Technical freedom works where budgets are determined by enthusiastic amateurs driving or running the cars. Porsche killed Can-Am by outspending everyone else, but it could just have easily been another manufacturer. Awesome though the series may have been over eight glorious years, it wasn’t remotely sustainable.

From the forum

Movement asks What was Webber’s comment to Vettel after the race?

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Julian Castaldi!

On this day in F1

And happy birthday to Nick Heidfeld who is 34 today!

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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61 comments on “No ground effect F1 cars in 2013”

  1. Since all the F1 I’ve ever watched has been with big wings and lots of turbulence, it would’ve been interesting to see full ground-effects on cars and if that actually produced wheel-to-wheel racing. Oh well.

    Tim makes a case for the kind of budget caps Max Mosley was trying to bring in. A phased reduction in R&D spending culminating in 2013 with a final cap all the teams could afford would’ve been ideal. Then they could’ve opened up the technical regs substantially and seen what innovations the teams come up with.

    Commiserations to Paul and his family.

    And many happy returns Nick & Julian!

    1. I was also interested to see how ground effect would have played out. I don’t see how it’s beyond the wit of the FIA to commision two cars to run their own tests on this kind of thing.

      I somewhat hope then that DRS is only a stepping stone to properly implemented, more advanced active aerodynamics.

      Agree again with the budget cap idea. Over-spending is what killed my own beloved Supertouring. I remember reading that Ford (who ran a V6), in an attempt to get as low as possible a centre of gravity had the engine in such a position where the driveshaft actually ran between the two banks of cylinders.

    2. Yeah I second that – I would be great to see something radically retro being implemented!

  2. Keith, the link to Joe Saward’s blog doesn’t seem to be working.

    1. Yeah, it somehow tries to link to an article on with that name.

      Here is the right link to Saward’s

    2. Saward has been on Turkey’s case for years. Anything he has to say is diluted by my cynicism.

      1. the link to Joe Saward’s blog doesn’t seem to be working.

        Yep, I had to search for joe saward to find the article. The correct link is here.

        I have to love his last paragraph:

        In fact, Turn Eight is going to reappear in Austin as Hermann Tilke has run out of ideas and is now copying his own good corners (not that there are many of them…)

        1. As much as I hate Tilke’s tracks, that’s not a fair cop at all.

  3. F1 should now move on, feel sad that one cannot pick up turn eight and fly it somewhere where people would appreciate it

    Like Abu-Dhabi?

    What has F1 done for Istanbul? It’s clear they don’t want the place anymore.

    It’s not Turkey’s own fault, it’s also the FIA. If the entity worked better, they’d help the country and try to promote the event better. Like they do with Singapore or Abu Dhabi.

    They want them in the calendar, they’d do everything to keep the place. Same with Korea and their totally unprepared racetrack last year. But not Turkey…

    1. I suspect the Abu Dhabians (if that’s what you call them??) would be just as apathetic to Turn 8 as the Turks.

      If we’re going to have Turn 8 moved to a needy country that would truly appreciate its excellence, I suggest France. They’ve not had a decent F1 circuit for decades, and they have enough money to commandeer a fleet of helicopters to transport the tarmac across Europe. Another potential host, Portugal, simply couldn’t afford that.

      Of course, Turn 8 wouldn’t be the same if it was flat, but France is hardly short of mountainous areas they could plonk it and build a track around. I’m thinking either the Alps or the Pyrenees. Again, this criteria excludes another candidate country, pancake flat Holland.

      Finally, we all resent how the Turks couldn’t even be bothered to give Turn 8 a proper name. But, with all its motor racing history, France has no shortage of potential names for the corner.

      I’ve put too much thought into this, haven’t I…

      1. so are we proposing airlifting it in? or trucking it all the way?

        1. I’d say dig a canal and ship it with barges! Turkey is planning to do a bypass of the Bosporus, aren’t they?

          And in France we can get a good trip from Maseilles upwards to the provance, nice climate, hilly terrain in view of the alps.

          1. Plus France has a good history of diging canals

          2. Exactly, make this another Grand Project.

      2. No, just take the whole Istanbul circuit and rebuild it in place of the Hungaroring; Everyone would be happy…

        1. No they would not.

  4. I thought Tilke was putting Turn 8 in Texas. (Just the opposite direction.)

    1. read the linked article – it says so.

  5. Istanbul is a great track, but it’s utterly soulless too. I won’t be sad to see it go. Like Saward says they messed up badly with the podium incident in 2006, and it was all downhill from that point onwards.

    Some people continue to go on about the importance of keeping politics out of sport as a reason for the reinstatment of the Bahrain GP. But Bahrain is a humanitarian issue first and foremost. The notion of keeping politics out of sport is there to counter the kind of cheap tricks we saw on the podium that day

    1. I agree with you Ned. Pretty nice track, but the Turkish GP had a lot of time to make something out of it. Concerts, entertainment, it all might have helped.

      1. That’s what they did with Singapore (‘F1 Rocks’ I think?) and it worked amazingly well.

        1. I think you have to attribute a big part of that to the party/corporate lifestyle that many wealthy people have in Singapore. Turkey doesn’t have the same atmosphere amongst those who are able to afford the F1 prices.

        2. Exactly.

          It would have helped also to get visitors into that side of Istanbul for a few days (building hotel rooms and maybe camping grounds) if they did so.

          And it might have actually informed the locals there was something like an F1 race close by. With all the car plants in Turkey, I just cannot fathom its impossible to get them interested in Motorsport.

      2. Clearly Hamilton’s acting skills weren’t a great attraction.

  6. Really bummed we won’t get to see what they could’ve done with ground effects, but if they have no way of restricting downforce with it, then I guess it must be. What’s more troubling is that according to Scarbs, they’re going back to a lower and wider rear wing, which the overtaking working group already determined creates a dirtier wake than the current wings. Likewise the narrower front wing will also creat a dirtier wake. So is it going to become even more difficult to follow a leading car? It sounds like DRS is here to stay, and won’t be the stop-gap I’d hoped it would be.

    1. Yeah, this sounds really pretty depressing.

      I think they feared how a Newey would be able to get downforce from the underbody would bring in another arms race (they could have just put in mandatory tunnels, couldn’t they, replacing the plank).

      But it makes me feel really upset with the DRS, if it will be a fixture for the next 10 years.

      Lets just hope the IndyCar guys start doing nice bodykits in 2012 or at least in 2013 and be a bit of competition to F1 again.

      1. I’m sure it had to do with other teams’ fear of Newey dominance. As it is the wings will still be changing significantly enough that a Newey type will likely be able to get the jump on the field in aero ingenuity. It’s just a bummer that all the recommendations of the overtaking working group will basically be thrown out the window in exchange for the DRS.

        1. When will people learn that acting out of fear is the wrong way to go? If they are indeed doing this because they are afraid of Newey it is pathetic.

          2013 was F1’s chance to fix itself, to have a fresh start, and now they’ve scored an own goal.

          Instead of using design to remove the flaws in the racing they are going to continue using a controversial compromise to stay relative. That’s not the F1 I know, nor is that in keeping with the sport being, “the pinnacle of motor racing.”

          Lets just hope the IndyCar guys start doing nice bodykits in 2012 or at least in 2013 and be a bit of competition to F1 again.

          I agree with the statement by BasCB. Atleast there is one series out there willing to try something new.

          1. The worry in IndyCars is, the teams also push the bodykits from 2012 towards 2013 now, so they are a bit reluctant themselves.

            But I certainly hope they get that series up and running as a great contribution to motorsport again.

          2. And just when we are speaking about them, here goes with the first mockup chassis for the 2012 IndyCars from Dallarra.

  7. ” feel sad that one cannot pick up turn eight and fly it somewhere where people would appreciate it”

    Well for that I will blame the people who are responsible for the advertisement of it.F1 has been there for 7 years & still you don’t see any posters or anything in the city which says F1 is in the town.Few people do know any of the drivers there.I don’t it is a poor nation who can’t buy race tickets it just lacked promotion which Bernie should have had worked with,he always runs after money.

    1. That is exactly it. And now all of a sudden they feel sad for losing it and start to think they will miss it.

    2. Formula 1 doesn’t need to promote itself, it’s Formula 1.


  8. ” feel sad that one cannot pick up turn eight and fly it somewhere where people would appreciate it”

    We will never know if Turkish people would appreciate it or not. First of all, they would have to being able to afford weekend prices.

    The point is Turkish government is not as rich as China’s one or Abu Dhabi’s or Bahrein’s…, for paying a bunch of money to Bernie just for making some “Country propaganda”

    We will see F1 races in countries controlled by a Dictator with an ego big enough to pay a lot of money to Bernie for having his annual minute of “worldwide glory” (or maybe just because his sun wants to enjoy himself through the paddock)

  9. A video showing how far they have got in Austin already and a happy birtday to Nick Heidfeld and to Julian Castaldi.

    1. Looks like Ferrari already has some nice big F-150s on site in Austin ;-). Actually those are F-250s or F-350s, but I couldn’t resist.

      Happy birthday to all birthday peoples.

  10. Disappointed I won’t get to see ground effect in action for F1. I guess it was a big ask though.

    Really hope they can sort out the Turkey situation, it would be such a shame to lose it.

  11. It’s a shame that ground effect has been called off. In a ground effect car following another driver will be easier. Also I think that ground effect cars reward courage of drivers. But probably it will be too expensive and the physical demand on the drivers could be enormous. I read somewhere that Nelson Piquet once told his team manager Alastair Caldwell at Brabham something like this: “Alastair, the car is great. I can’t see, I can’t breathe and I can’t keep my feet on the pedals. But the car is going great.” Ground effect works best when a car has virtually no suspension at all. So a ground effect car would be rather uncomfortable for the driver.

    Commiserations to Paul and his family. Death is also a part of life and can get very close sometimes. Last Saturday the father of my classmates suddenly died. Really horrible, but the next two weeks in the Netherlands are the final exams of secondary school. My classmate has to make those exams in order to get his diploma.(So do I, of course.)Tomorrow I’m going to the funeral with my classmates. My commiserations to my classmate and his family. Also my commiserations to the family of the Belgian cycle racer Wouter Weylandt who died yesterday after a crash in the Giro d’Italia/Tour of Italy. I’m, besides a F1 Fanatic, also an avid watcher of cycling. Last year I decided when I was at school to be ‘ill’ and went off on my bike to see the third stage of the Giro d’Italia that passed on the island where I live in the southwest of the Netherlands. That stage finished in Middelburg and was eventually won by the same Wouter Weylandt that died yesterday.

    I’ve heard that the Italian TV was criticised after the fatal accident of Ayrton Senna that the camera’s got too close. (I was less than a year old at the time, my eightteenth birthday is May 31.) I have to criticise the RAI (Italy’s public television) as well now. I was watching the Giro d’Italia together with my mother on Belgian television yesterday. Soon after the crash a camera was there that zoomed in on Weylandt for a couple of seconds. Those couple of seconds I will never forget. Weylandt lay motionless on the tarmac and was bleeding heavily through his nose. It looked extremely bad and gruesome. I have never seen a fatal accident live as it happened and hope that I will never see a fatal accident again. I know that in every sport people take risks and can suffer from the consequences when what they do goes wrong. But I think that if safety can be improved in a sport it should be improved. This applies for Formula One as well for all the other sports.

    1. My condolences to Paul. Hopefully he will be allowed to come to terms with his sad loss in privacy and that it will not affect his performance over the coming weeks.

    2. As an avid cyclist in my free time and living in Belgium, a fall like that really creeps me out. Especially when RAI went for a sensational shot. Anyone who’s used to bikeraces knew that something was wrong the instant Weylandt didn’t try to get up and didn’t move at all. µThere was no need to get up close and personal.

      A drama like this could happen anywhere, but every year the Giro sends a peloton over small nervous roads for spectacle. If people get badly injured or wounded because of that, then spectacle for the sake of it is just plain wrong. As you said, this applies to all sports.

      1. I agree with you that the Giro this year is a bit ‘over the top’ or put it in Flemish: “van het goede te veel” (“of the good too much” in English) Especially I mean stage 14 and stage 19. Putting the Monte Crostis and Monte Zoncolan that are both extremely hard in their own right close after each other in one stage is just crazy. The same for sending the riders up the, partially unpaved, Colle delle Finestre in the 240 km long stage 19. There is a point where the quest for spectacle and drama becomes just plain irresponible. Returning to the 1950’s, the age of Coppi and Bartali, is impossible and shouldn’t be attempted. Times have changed and can’t be turned back. It’s 2011, not 1950 and that is just the way it is. The expression “Vroeger was alles beter”/”In the past everything was better” isn’t true.

        1. Sadly someone just died because of that. At least I hope this changes the thinking for the Giro organisers.

  12. The decision to not go back to ground effects is a disaster.

    We’ve heard it all before, most recently in 2009. oh, if we toggle with this, fiddle that and drop a few things, everything will be perfect. Look how that’s turned out.

    Not only will this not solve the problems of cars being unable to follow each other, merely diminish it for a while (as we saw in the early races of 2009), but sooner or later those clever people will claw back most of the downforce and we’ll be stuck at Square 1. Again.

    Worst of all it seems that they’re moving to make DRS permanent, since with it you don’t need to remove downforce or the wake problem. My acceptance of it has partly been contingent on its impermanence. Now it might never leave. The ironic thing is that the new proposals are pretty much the kinds of changes the teams could have made for this year, before they brought out the DRS and said “Look, no need! We can keep our aero and not have to junk two years’ data”

    The whole thing smells to me of the massive cop-out announced when DRS first came to light. It was only the eventual release of the ground effects idea that soothed me and I suspect a few others too.

    Maybe I’m being a cynic here, but it seems to me the teams don’t want it because they have experts who know tons about current aero configurations and whilst they’ll know about ground effects too, it’ll not be as great. Then the small teams will baulk at the cost.

    I know there is a cost issues with both ground effects and the alternate timeline of having the new proposals this year instead, but they could always…not spend the money. It’s not like the bigger-spending teams have any less of an advantage, is it?

    FOTA has been one big disappointment. The team orders complicity, the DRS idea and then opposing the best idea that’s been come up with in years.

    1. Yes, that’s about it, isn’t it.

    2. I’m with you, I’ve been quite praiseworthy of the DRS, but I wouldn’t like it to become a permanent feature.

    3. Amen Preacher!

      I wish the teams would read our comments here.

    4. Very much feel the same Icthyes. The teams did not want to give up their toys (and investments).

      And they think the DRS solved all problems so it can stay rather than making a move towards new ideas.

      Sure it might have meant Newey would make an even more dominant car, but then again, it might have brought an opportunity for someone new.

  13. Typical of the teams to come up with a great idea that would really have opened up some scope for innovation, then backed away from it for precisely that reason. If they want a spec series they should just say so.

    1. GP2 looks to be a classic year after just one race, you have to wonder if their formula isn’t worth looking at a bit more…

      1. It might be if F1 also adopted their 2 race system including the top 8 reversal for race 2.

      2. Depends what you want out of F1. It has its roots in being an engineering challenge first and foremost, and one school of thought (mine) is that it should remain that way. My view – if you like spec racing, watch GP2, or IndyCar, or Superleague Formula, or something. I would like to see the technical regulations relaxed, and the teams allowed to innovate within certain broad parameters (e.g. budgets, fuel use, etc.)

        The other school of thought is that F1 should be a vehicle primarily for entertainment and an all-out competition between the drivers (rather than teams, designers and engineers). In which case, maybe the sport should be moving to something more like GP2. To me, though, that seems like defeating the point of having F1 at all. We’ve already got GP2 – why do we need another version of it?

        1. What F1 “is” (or rather, “was”) is a matter of perspective, opinion, etc. Personally I think F1 “is” about drivers racing in cars and no one is more important than the other. Of course the majority of viewers (especially when you consider the casual viewers) care more about who is the best driver rather than the best car, even people who follow teams.

          So personally it doesn’t matter to me how spec the cars are or aren’t so long as the drivers have a good amount of input. Right now you would have to say the cars have more input than the drivers. Luckily we have quite a close field, apart from the Red Bulls and new teams, so the drivers can influence performance by some tenths of a second.

          Not really an answer, more of a musing. And I guess some people want F1 to be more like GP2 because GP2 doesn’t have the best drivers in it but produces close racing.

        2. As for Indy, I am pretty much exited about those body kits (even though the teams there are trying to postpone them to 2013 as well) to actually give it some differences between the cars and bring back development.

          But what if F1 would just go for a standard floor with aero tunnels for everyone and let the teams work out the rest? Ban the rear wing and let them build cars.

          1. That would be utterly fantastic, if only they would.

            Indy has released the first preview images of what the standard Dallara kits may look like next year.

            lots of similarities to last years HRT and the current GP2 car, but it is promising.

  14. What I find very strange is that the Istanbul track is actually owned by “the F1 establishment” (I lose track of which company exactly). Wonder how they’re going to make money out of it if there’s no racing there?

  15. Laps spent ahead of team mate in 2011: Alonso: 135/228. Hamilton: 150/228. Vettel: 228/228.


    1. Massa and Alonso are very near.

      1. Indeed, much closer than poor Webber is to Vettel!

      2. Yeah, it means Massa and Alonso have been closer to each other than the rest of the top drivers.

  16. Ground effects would be difficult to regulate, as they were in days gone by. If the cars get too fast it’s not easy to know what is needed to be done in order to slow them down, because very few people know how it all actually works!

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