FIA drops plan to reduce downforce in 2014

2014 F1 season

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The FIA has announced a series of changes to its proposed 2014 regulations.

F1 cars will retain their 2012-style aerodynamic packages, the FIA confirmed: “Changes made to bodywork design, originally aimed at reducing downforce and drag for increased efficiency, have reverted to 2012 specification.”

The FIA has also amended the proposed rules for the new V6 turbo engines with energy recovery systems “with the aim of limiting technology in some areas in order to reduce development costs”.

A plan to make F1 cars run on electric power only when in the pits has been postponed from 2014 to 2017.

The minimum weight limit, which is already being increased for 2013, will be raised further in 2014 “to compensate for additional power unit weight”.

2014 F1 season

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Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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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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131 comments on “FIA drops plan to reduce downforce in 2014”

  1. I just don’t know how I feel about this. Going from V10’s to V8’s was a bit of a shock but the racing has still been great. Now though it’s soon to be V6’s and then goodness knows where. I almost feel like you’re losing one of the wonderful things that comes with F1! The noise when they’re all on the grid and waiting for the lights to go out literally makes your chest vibrate and the speed at which the cars are able to go round corners with the down force is absolutely amazing. Where are they going to draw the line, electric prius style cars?!!

    1. Engine noise is/can be tuned via the exhaust (which is the intention when all the engine manufacturers say ‘the new engines will sound as good as the old ones).

      Without a working muffler, even a 1-litre three/four-pot in a city car makes a loud racket.

      1. “A loud racket” and “biblically loud V10 symphony” is by no means to be mistaken as to be in the same ballpark.
        I can’t wait for a time when road cars will have become electric safety boxes, driven by AI, when F1 can become the modern horse racing or whatever. When there will be no relevance to the road car, F1 machines can go back to bigger engines larger wings and so on.
        And just to make an other point:In the downforce debate often the argument is made that a spectator does not notice that a car is 2s per lap slower. Even on TV I can recognize 2s to be pathetically slower, never mind 5s or more. And so can many other average casual viewers I’ve spoken with. To make this point you have to have very bad sense of space and time and absolutely no sense of perspective.

        1. My point was engine size cannot be reasonably related to the noise they put out.

          If they wanted to, they could theoretically make all the current engines ‘road-car quiet’. They just don’t.

          1. It isn’t just the noise plus I would feel cheated if a V6 sounded like a V10 but didn’t perform the same. The speed and performance differential between the two is large. Already we have seen that the qualifying laps have reduced by 2 seconds or so and it is noticeable from the ban on things like EBD, so reducing the downforce and potential engine power is going to make that less!

          2. @optimaximal when @coop was talking about that feeling in your chest, he was talking about an effect caused by the frequency of the noise, which is a direct function of rpm, not engine capacity. The new engines will have their limit reduced from 18,000 to 15,000 and for reasons of fuel efficiency will likely run no higher than 12,000. So the 1/3 reduction in revs will make them very different (worse in my mind) and that’s before you add the muffling effect of a turbo.

          3. @optimaximal

            Dude, don’t get me started on the engine sound. Your point is incorrect. Read my post here.

      2. @optimaximal Yes, but a large part of the sound would be killed by the turbo too, don’t forget.

    2. You probably dont remember the I4 and V-6 turbos that made today’s engines look pitiful, and they had their own wonderful sounds.

      1. The turbo’s of the 80s really did sound great, Especially when at the track.

        This year’s Indycar engine’s which are also V6 Turbo’s (Although 2.2Ltr rather than the 1.6 which we’ll have in F1) also had a nice sound to them.

        All the drivers who drove an Indycar this year spoke about how great the engine’s performed & how they were much more fun to drive than the V8’s they ran previously.

        1. @GT_Racer

          By posting the links to those videos, you have simply highlighted how TERRIBLE the F1 cars from the 80’s sounded!!!!

          Total crap! Sounds like some sort of junior formula at Brands Hatch on the weekends.

          1. @Nick, that is what people like to call being subjective. Just thought I’d let you in on that.

            You may think they sound awful, and perhaps love V10s. While others would say all of those are awful and V12 sound the best.

            Those videos highlighted (to me) cars that sound great and are not like any other form of race car outside of F1

          2. Nick,
            You’re essentially saying “Blue is awesome and everyone who thinks red is better is stupid!”. Magilla is right….it’s just your opinion.


      2. I agree. There is nothing wrong with having only 6 valves. Being turbos do add to the challenge though, so it should be fine. The only thing not fine is the significant cost of developing the units. I hope all four engine provider will do a reasonable job.

        1. @dmw THANK YOU! Finally someone who knows the history of the sport speaks sense. We’ve had similar engines before which sounded great.

          I just think people are complaining because 6 is a lower number than 8. And they haven’t even heard the sound of the new engines..

          1. Yeah well Bernie and Luca have, and they think they sound bloody terrible!

          2. I agree with @timi and @dmw, the engines sound fine if we look at the past. @Nick Bernie and Luca are highly subjective (that word yet again). If it were up to Luca they would be running anything goes or at the least V12s and then we might have to say bye-bye to more teams due to a significant jump in cost. Of course Luca is going to say this is awful in a stupid attempt to try and not see V6s all due to not having a production car to feed into with said regulations.

            Bernie will just do Bernie and say things to grab racing headlines. He too is much like Luca and rather see regulations allow for all types of engines, and of course go against the FIA.

            If the teams and every other major party could come together and find a budget cap to work in. Yet also make some sort of agreement that would help the lesser teams (perhaps additional benefit to big teams), then maybe aero and engine regs wouldn’t be so tight. V8s, V10s and perhaps V12s all could be made into a Hybrid system (we know v8s can), but it is the cost that is worrying.

          3. also I remind some of you that dont seem to privy to F1 history. The 80s era proved that V6 turbo engines can be as powerful/efficient as a V10 or V12. And when Bernie has Brabham they ran an I4 tubro

        2. There is nothing wrong with having only 6 valves.

          Just about true for a 2- or 3-cylinder engine.

          I guess you meant 6 cylinders. The V6’s (6 cylinders in a V formation) will have at least 24 valves (2 exhaust and 2 inlet per cylinder). They may even use more, I don’t know.

          Personally, I like the fact that they are changing the engines. I also like the use of energy recovery systems, especially their use within the turbo charger. F1 needs to be the pinnacle of motorsport. How can it be if it ignores new technology, just sticking with old petrol engines and not adopting the new motor and battery technology available?

          1. My sentiments exatcly. The point is that eventually the technology should get these cars back to the point where they start breaking lap records and methods have to looked into to slow the cars down for safety reasons. A period of stability is needed following the changes to allow this to happen.

        3. I think I might be on my own in this camp, but for me it might improve the sound of these engines. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good loud engine, but when I go to an F1 race, I feel like my ears have been battered by a supercharged mosquito. When I see a vintage F1 car going around, the sound is fantastic. I’d love to go back to that!

          1. Joey Zyla (@)
            5th December 2012, 21:57

            I agree with that post.

    3. I don’t get where all this dislike for the new engines based on the noise is coming from.

      Formula 1 is all about engineering excellence. The new engine regulations will see smaller engines producing the same power output as the current engines, which is exciting. But for some reason, people seem to think it will be the death knell of the sport simply because the engine noise will change.

      I think people are just valuing the wrong thing.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys I feel like we often disagree, I am not trying to be argumentative (this time!) but as someone who does not like the new drivetrains, let me explain why.

        First, yes, the noise. A reduction from 2.4 litres to 1.6 litres, 8 cylinders to 6 cylinders, 18,000 rpm to (effectively) 12,000 and adding a big muffler (turbo) will result in a substantial change for the worse. Yes they will still be loud, but for those who miss the V10’s the step change will be much much bigger.

        People may not think that is a rational reason to oppose change, perhaps it isn’t but there is little about motor racing which is, at a fundamental level, rational. For me, the sound is an integral part of F1.

        For those who say you don’t remember the 80’s, well that’s when I started to watch F1 and I do remember them. The engines won’t be like that, depsite the superficial similarities. You are not going to see (or hear) 1500bhp qualifying specials, or anything like them. The compression/ignition components of these drivetrains will be fuel limited systems producing about 600bhp, about a quarter less than the current engines.

        The next big issue is cost. We are in the midst of the biggest financial crisis in at least a generation. Most if not all F1 participants and observers agree that costs need to be significantly reduced, and here is a major technological change which will do the opposite. I understand that they were talking about a doubling of engine costs, at least, from around (I’m going from recollection here) 8 million euro to 15 million euro per year. I think they are talking about increasing the regulation freeze to 8 years or so to allow the engine manufacturers to amortize the development costs over a longer period, and therefore reduce the annual costs charged to the teams. Even so, the potential costs increases are a real concern.

        I am genuinely concerned about the risk that these new drivetrains will pose to the smaller teams. When the CEO of a team as well established as Sauber expresses concerns, you have real reasons to worry.

        Costs feed into my next issue, which is competitveness. First, you can’t buy a third of an engine. So unlike say aerodynamic development which can be cut back incrementally, teams must buy engines at their full price. If you’re a small team on (say) a 50 million euro annual budget, you might be spending say 8 million on engines and 42 million on the balance. If that goes to 15 million, you’ve only got 35 million to spend on the rest which for the smaller teams is a massive proportionate change, much greater than if the bigger teams have to spend and extra 7 million a year. I’m using these numbers as examples only, but the point is that a significant increase in the costs of the engines is likely to disproportionately affect the budgets which the smaller teams have for car development, and therefore their competitiveness.

        Of course, we are also likely to see some engine manufacturers adapt better than others to the new regs, increasing the performance gap between different teams. So that factor, combined with increasing costs as outlined above will (it seems to me) spread the field in 2014.

        The new engines were supposed to attract new manufacturers, but that hasn’t happened, or even looked like happening except for PURE which went belly up. Indeed, Costworth is likely to drop out in 2014. So on that count, the new regs have failed on one of their supposed aims (and yes, I know Renault threatened to drop out. I remain sceptical that they would in fact have dropped the substantial marketing leverage generated by F1 involvement, which they achieve for minimum cost thanks to the current design freeze. However even if they did, better than the new engines in my view).

        I like technological development, and yes I want to see F1 continue as the pinnacle of motorsport. In a perfect world, everything about it would be at the cutting edge of motor technology and its development. But we don’t live in a perfect world. Costs are a huge issue, and some costs measures have to be implemented to ensure we have a reasonably full and competitive grid. The existing engines sound fantatic, are relatively cheap and provide one area of reasonable parity between teams. To give them up seems crazy to me.

        The new drivetrains won’t kill F1, we will all still watch it and probably get used to them fairly quickly. I just think they’re a big step backwards for the reasons I’ve explained, and they carry a real risk of harming the sport.

        1. As I understand it while there will be an initial cost increase in the long term the V6 Turbo’s will actually prove cheaper than the current V8’s.
          It was the same when the current V8’s were introduced in 2006, Initially they were slightly more expensive than the previous V10’s but 2-3 years down the line the cost’s came down.

          It is also worth remembering that the V6 Turbo was decided on based on what engine manufacturer’s wanted. Indycar went for V6 Turbo’s for the same reason, Its the specification that engine manufacturer’s were most keen on.

          Sadly for Indycar the internal team owner/series management bicking (Which shows how bad an idea it is for teams to have a great deal of say running anything) put a lot of the engine manufacturer’s that had shown interest (And been involved in coming up with the engine formula) off getting involved.

    4. @coop There’s no challenge with bigger engines though. Anyone can make a big engine and a noisy engine. It takes real ingenuity to retain similar lap times with a heavily reduced engine capacity and torque…that’s what F1 is about, the pinnacle, not power.

  2. “Changes made to bodywork design, originally aimed at reducing downforce and drag for increased efficiency, have reverted to 2012 specification.”

    – surely that’s bad news for the teams that are gambling on radical bodywork changes to bring them a chance to catch up (Merc in particular).

    1. I wonder, what Hamilton is thinking now.

      1. @osvaldas31 – Probably something along the lines of “the regulations haven’t changed much for 2013, and now they won’t be changing for 2014, so now Mercedes have two years to build a better car than the W03 without having to worry about rule changes disrupting things”.

  3. I’m not that familiar with technical regulations in Formula One, but does that mean that those major changes to rules that Mercedes was talking about and Hamilton is said to count on won’t happen after all?

    1. The question for Mercedes et al is whether it is easier to catch Newey by making him start with a clean slate or by holding the rules steady and hoping he just runs out of ideas for the current formula version. Unless you think you are smarter than him, and will crack the secrets of a new formula faster, I would think the latter option is better. There are lots of theories how how Brawn caught him napping in 2009, but going forward, it’s probably better to have a fixed target.

      1. @dmw But reducing downforce would’ve surely helped Mercedes, since Newey is the master of aerodynamics, right?

        1. Maybe so, but by changing regs it gives him more opportunity to spot better ways of doing things or loopholes. Having a fixed target means the gains he makes will become smaller and smaller, and allows other teams to catch up (or at least we can hope). It’s the law of diminishing returns.

        2. likely it would have indeed helped the others but Newey a bit more, yes. Although Newey would probably come up with a great solution again even with these new rules.

      2. I believe Mercedes were betting on integrating the rule changes with the new engine package from a much earlier stage than Newey or anyone else, hence getting a large step ahead. That is not going to happen when it is only a matter of integrating the new drive train to the existing package.

        Am I the only one smelling something is rotten? Wondering who is making FIA change their minds so drastically here….

  4. So there basically going to continue to rely on DRS, Wonderful.

    DRS was meant to be temporary, Thats how it was sold to us back in late 2010 & temporary solution to be replaced by a reduction in aero in 2014.
    Now the aero reduction is gone & DRS looks to have become the more permanent thing that I feared it would.

    Can’t see myself following F1 for much longer in that case :(

    1. Firstly they backed off from bringing back ground effect. Now they did the same with bodywork changes. Laughable really.

      I share the same feelings. DRS took lot of excitement out of F1. There’s no overtaking anymore, it’s all meaningless passing with few exceptions :( Screw DRS, they day they will bin it to the trashcan, will be the best decision since re-introducing slicks in 2009. Meanwhile we got another seasons of stupid and fake DRS passesn ahead :/

      1. @armchairexpert Nothing laughable about backtracking on the ground effect. Collisions can turn very bad, very very quickly with ground effects in the regs. We’ve seen enough cars travelling through the air this year, we most definitely do not need more.

        1. Ground effects would not have seen more cars flying through the air as what was been planned was similar to what GP2 have been running since its inception in 2005 & what the Indycar series ran this year with great success.

          I don’t get why people believe ground effects makes cars more prone to flying through the air as thats simply not the case. If ground effects is so dangerous then why do so many racing categories around the world use it in a similar way to what F1 was planning to in 2014?

          1. I have to agree that ground effect cars are NOT intrinsically more dangerous.

            The main problem with ground effect, however, is that it gets lost when you are too far away from the road. Therefore a bump in the road during a corner causes a loss of downforce, which could result in an accident. This, I believe, is what most people are scared of.

            However, it is a much more efficient way to produce downforce and it is not affected as much by turbulence from a car in front. I believe it should be implemented. It would, in itself, encourage more overtaking, and discourage the aggressive use of kerbs by the drivers.

          2. I guess people still think back at how ground effects were implemented in F1 30 years ago GT_Racer. Thereby fully ignoring what we are now able to calculate, study and simulate up front to make them work far better and more precise than anything teams came up with then.

            For me this is another one where the FIA listens to the current teams who are reluctant to change much. First the most visible (and likely nearest to normal life experience with hybrid) part of the new engines (running them electrical only in the pitlane) was ditched, now the Hybrid powertrains will be further limited in what they can do and additionally the aero will not be reworked at all.
            Sure, it all can be said to help with cost, but to me it feels like taking parts of what made the new bits interesting away, and limiting the scope for anyone to spring a surprise come 2014.

          3. Ground effects are dangerous because of their power, and the way the system works. Basically, a vacumn is created between the track and the bottom of the car. This effect can be tuned to be extremely powerful, adding tremendous downforce to the car.

            The problem is, this condition is completely dependent on the car’s ability to maintain its relative distance from the track. When this gap is changes, the downforce is completely gone. The car goes from 100% downforce to like 25%.

            As we have seen over the past few years, there is a great potential for open wheeled cars to get airborne in a crash. Now, imagine what would happen if a car where to lose a huge percentage of its downforce INSTANTLY in the event of even a minor shunt. Most of the control would be lost, and the follow-on effects would be much worse then what they are today.

        2. @GT_Racer “If ground effects is so dangerous then why do so many racing categories around the world use it in a similar way to what F1 was planning to in 2014?”

          So many is an overstatement.

          My, “cars flying through the air”statement was a bit over-the-top, but @drmouse your second paragraph is a situation applicable to cars with ground effect, not today’s cars. Thus you actually prove my point that in theory, ground effects on cars, are less safe than the cars we currently have. Thank you

          1. If the fact that cars are more prone to accidents due to loss of downforce in a corner because of riding over a kerb, or something similar is considered dangerous, then surely banning traction control and abs is the same, as both make it harder to drive the car, and therefore more dangerous.

            If that’s correct, then I think it’s a good thing. Less aggressive use of the kerbs and more controlled, precise driving.

          2. @jamiefranklinf1 I disagree. Reason being, if the air flow for the ground effect is disrupted enough, pretty much all DF it produces is lost, which would be a significant portion of the car’s total DF. If this happened on Eau Rouge, or 130R I can assure you it wouldn’t be pretty.
            You can’t compare if to the ban on traction control and abs, because a driver can nullify wheelspin with use of skill, same with locking brakes. But no driver would be able to do much about a car with little to no DF at 190+mph..

          3. So stay off the kerbs?

          4. @Timi – Of course not. But the complete downforce of the car wouldn’t solely rely on the ground effect alone, there would still be downforce generated from the ‘top’ aerodynamics e.g the front and rear wings, diffuser, exhaust etc. This alone wouldn’t produce the same downforce that the components generates nowadays, but it wouldn’t be a loss of all downforce resulting in a huge crash, that many seem to think would happen.

          5. But again look at Indycar, They race on circuits with bigger bumps than anything F1 runs on & have way bigger kurbs than whats used in F1 & cars are easily able to negotiate these things with zero issues.

            Champcar was the same, Used ground effects to generate most its downforce & was able to run over big bumps & kurbs without problems.

            The problems people are talking about relating to airflow been disrupted is only an issue when your using full-on ground effects with cars running on the ground with side skirts & rock solid suspension like in the early 80s.
            That is not what was planned, they would still have had the plank to prevent cars running too low (As indycar/gp2 does & champcar did) & suspension would remain as it is now.

          6. @jamiefranklinf1 While you may be right, we sit on either saide of the fence here. And we’ll only ever found out who is right if ground effects are brought back, and what proportion of the total DF they can produce. That too is a huge factor, but you may be right.

            @GT_Racer Do you have a link to the proposed ground rule changes so I can take a look please?

  5. So are the noses being lowered, as intended or not?

    1. No, That was part of the 2014 aero changes that have been scrapped.

      I believe the only changes to the noses will now be the so called modesty panels that will cover up the step in the nose from next year.

    2. @optimaximal We’ll have to see when the final regulations come out but this part may end up being kept as safety concerns was part of the driving force behind it.

  6. Nothing is set in stone. It is FIA we are talking about here. 2014 rules will be known no earlier than December 2013.

  7. I don’t like this one bit. With regulations staying stable, and tightening rather than loosening, cars inevitably converge to the single design that is the peak optimal for a set of regulations. With an extra year of aerodynamic knowledge through 2013 running, staying with the same aero regs would mean cars that are growing closer and closer aerodynamically.

    With new engines though, it could mean that whoever has the best engine, and packages it in their car the best – will have an advantage. And with packaging being such an integral part of design, it will be pretty much a locked-in advantage. I don’t like it at all.

  8. They are always raising weight limit. After 20 years F1 car will be as heavy as a bus.

  9. There goes my last bit of hope that DRS was only temporary…

  10. I like that there are less changes on the agenda. I personally think 2011-2012 was unmatched in terms of spectacle for very very long year, perhaps since the early 1980s. Why change what works, one might ask…

    1. Everyone was/is worried that with the regulations fixed as they are, being both stable and heavily dependent on aerodynamic efficiency, that the bigger teams can just try and out-invest each other – we wouldn’t have had the Brawn fairy story without the regulation change.

      Also, 2011 wasn’t ‘unmatched in term of spectacle’. It was another ’92/’93, although the big difference being it wasn’t a privateer doing the ‘running away’, it was a team funded by a multi-national entertainment/food brand with a fishy development budget that went some way to exploiting grey-area rules.

      1. It has been said numerous times on this site, but I’ll say it again – Brawn was no fairy story. Their 2009 car was designed with Honda money (possibly the most expensive car on the field) and by putting focus on 2009 very early in 2008.

      2. @optimaximal

        2011 wasn’t ‘unmatched in term of spectacle’. It was another ’92/’93

        The scale of Red Bull’s performance advantage in 2011 was nowhere near as big as Williams’ was in 1992/3:

        Vettel and Mansell’s 14 pole positions in a season compared

        And for the most part the racing was far less processional. The result may have been similar, but Vettel achieved it with a far less dominant car.

    2. Lewisham Milton
      5th December 2012, 16:19

      Because the cars are so ugly, that’s why.
      From the side towards the rear they look great, smooth and sleek.
      But the noses are way too high, the drivers can’t see out, the wings are too wide and they’re covered in little bits of aerodynamic ******* that get spread all over the track whenever two cars get near each other…although that brings out the safety car and closes the race up, so it’s good for the show of course.

      1. Joey Zyla (@)
        5th December 2012, 22:13

        Really? You care more about how a car looks than how it performs? Come on, it’s a freaking car, and they’re moving so fast most of the time that there are more important things to look at, such as RACING! And aerodynamics make cars go faster and have more downforce, but that seems to be a problem with you as well. What do you want, bloody BUS RACING?

        1. I like bus racing, but not as much as much as mower racing. Pickup Truck racing, is pretty cool too, but NOTHING beats Lorry racing

          Hehehe making race cars out of things that aren’t race cars is funny…

  11. Yay, 2014 will be another season of punctures, because these fools somehow don’t get that majority of punctures is caused by ridiculously wide front wings. Fantastic :/

    1. I thought a lot of the punctures were down to the design of the tyres (thinner walls), hence why the tyre’s have been modified to compensate.

      A number of high-profile punctures were the result of running over debris, not just wheel-to-wheel racing.

    2. The current front wings are no more prone to causing punctures than the one’s we had pre-2009.

      There has also been no rise in the number of punctures caused by contact with the front wings than what was seen with the older narrower wings.

      1. I don’t agree. I can hardly remember punctures before introducing wide front wings, but right now it’s common thing. Vettel was just touched by Hamilton at Silverstone in 2010 = puncture. Perez the same in Barcelona this year by Grosjean. Hamilton slightly his Barrichello at Intelagos in 2009 = puncture. All these punctures wouldn’t happen with narrower front wing.

        1. And the same sort of contact would create punctures with the narrower front wings, Remember Fisichella clipping Schumacher at Brazil in 2006 & giving Schumacher a puncture?

          Have any teams or drivers complained about the bigger wings generating punctures? I haven’t heard anyone complain.

          We had wider front wings up until 1998 & again nobody complained about punctures.

      2. you sound as if you knew that for a fact. if you did do a count of the punctures, show us the numbers.
        having a wider front wing automatically makes you more prone to an accident, regardless whether it’s losing your wing or causing a puncture.

        besides that, the wings looks ridiculously disproportionate.

        1. Remember Fisichella clipping Schumacher at Brazil in 2006 & giving Schumacher a puncture?

          That was Rosberg’s Williams’ debris after his crash which caused Schumacher’s puncture, according to Ferrari mechanics. Not Fisichella.

          Regardless. It is a fact that having a wider front wing automatically makes you more prone to an accident. On top of that, the front wings look ridiculously ugly and like if someone took a larger cars front wing and stuck in on the current ones.

  12. As it stands, 2014 will be the fourth time in five years the minimum weight has been increased:

    2010: 620kg (+15kg)
    2011: 640kg (+20kg)
    2012: 640kg
    2013: To be increased
    2014: To be increased again

    1. @keithcollantine Hey Keith, do you know if/when the FIA will release specifics of all these new changes. I hate how they just say “changes will be made to X”. Until I know the details of each change, I will hold my tongue on the situation.

      1. @timi Usually they publish the updated regulations in full when they’ve written them.

  13. I like the flatter and wider look of the F1 cars of pre 2009.Damn I was looking forward to 2014.

  14. Going electric in the pits is surely a case of green washing. Exactly how much fuel is going to be saved by doing this? Hardly any. The embodied energy in manufacturing the special parts probably outweighs it anyway. Ridiculous idea and happy it’s been postponed (& hopefully got rid of).

    1. @john-h I liked the idea, it gave the engineers one more challenge, I don’t see what the harm in that is.

      1. @keithcollantine – Webber will be hoping that he doesn’t continue to get so many KERS failures!

      2. I don’t see what the harm in that is


        1. Costs, in the design of what are already complex and costly drivetrains.

        2. Safety. You can’t hear them when running on electric, and you’ve got lots of people running around the pits. Hearing a current F1 car behind you is not an issue.

        And that is before you get to the silly tokenism of it all.

        As you may be able to tell, I am not a fan of these new drivetrains.

        1. @tdog

          Costs, in the design of what are already complex and costly drivetrains.

          How so? They already have battery powered electric motors injecting some 80BHP into the drivetrain in the current spec.

          Safety. You can’t hear them when running on electric,

          Really? Have you ever been to an F1 race? The sound of an F1 car at pit-speed cannot be perceived over the hellish scream of the other cars circulating at full song. Further, anybody with any sense is wearing ear protection already, they cannot appreciably hear a pitting car even anyway. That is why people use their eyes to detect danger when they cross the street, in F1 and in normal life.

          1. @javelinsharp

            As to costs, I was relying upon an article from a little website called Autosport:-

            However, sources have revealed that engine manufacturers Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari all wrote to the governing body recently to ask for the rule to be postponed.

            It is understood that they were concerned about both the costs of developing bespoke electrical systems just for use in the pitlane, as well as safety concerns about having fast cars rushing through a pit lane without a loud engine noise to warn working personnel of their presence

            Here is a to the full article.

            You’ll note that the quoted text also refers to the safety issue.

            And yes, I have been to formula one races, and I know that up close to an F1 car (particularly accelerating out of the pit box) you can still hear it, even with ear protection.

          2. @tdog
            Thanks for the links. Still seems counter-intuitive to me from my armchair, but Im obviously no F1 insider. Thanks for taking the time to support your fellow f1fanatic.

    2. The idea is that F1 has a role to play at the forefront of technology. Whether any of this will ever be transferred to a road car remains to be seen of course, but that’s the general idea.

    3. Actually I think its one of the few parts that help connect people with use of hybrid power in normal life @john-h, as those run on electric too in close traffic. In effect it would just mean using the energy stored in the laps before to run through the pitlane and the same electrical drive that can be used as the starter motor.

  15. I´m so disappointed. Might as well keep the V8 now as well, since no one seems to want ANY change at all. Everything has to be postponed and scrapped at least 10 times before they realise change can be for the better. The cars are much too dependant on aerodynamics and we could´ve seen an increase in the factor of driver skill if they would´ve been drastically reduced.

    Just get it over with, cut the wings and give us ground effect, I bet that´ll make for the most exciting racing we´ve ever seen!

    1. @roald

      Just get it over with, cut the wings and give us ground effect, I bet that´ll make for the most exciting racing we´ve ever seen!

      It’ll definitely give us the most exciting crashes..

      1. It´s 2012, not 1982.

        1. It’s not as if the laws of physics haven’t changed to make ground effect any more stable in the last 20 years…

          1. Skirts that could fall off wouldn’t be used though. And what were considered dangerous cornering speeds back then are certainly not the same now.

          2. the laws of physics might not have changed @ilanin, but there would still be rules about the plank and minimum ride height. But most importantly, by now teams are miles ahead in understanding aero flow and simulation what it does, so instead of making a pretty crude suck to the ground wing they would still come up with intricate solutions inside the scope of the rules (or more likely right at the edge of what the rules allow.)

    2. I don’t like Luca D. but he has, although slightly biased due to the Ferrari aero department not working properly, a point when concerning aero being a to big a deal on current F1 cars.
      I truly believe that F1 would benefit greatly if the aero package would be curtailed to how they were in the beginning of the nineties. More mechanical grip less aero grip.
      I think that DRS is making a mockery of F1 it’s becoming to easy to overtake but only on certain parts, set by the FIA.

  16. Dang I was really looking forward to this. Oh well.

  17. So it is essentially 2012 cars with minor tweaks and V6 turbo’s in 2014?

    1. I wouldn’t say minor tweaks, the new engine package will be much bigger than what they have now, plus the new 8 speed gearbox, single exhaust, bigger KERS, bigger cooling, all those things will add up (aero-wise) and I still think we’ll see some surprises in 2014.

      1. Its also likely that the lowered noses will be brought in, as they were on safety ground.

        And some also expect teams to run slightly less downforce (about Monza levels) because the slightly less powerfull powertrain can pull less drag without it getting too much of a disadvantage.

      2. Would someone care to explain why the new powertrains with 1.6l V6 turbo’s will be bigger and heavier than the existing 2.4l V8’s? Does most of the difference come from ERS weight? I have to say that is quite dissapointing if true.

  18. The lack of downforce/aero restrictions is a major disappointment.
    I say ban front wings fullstop, and sorry Mr Newey, you’ll need to find a new job. :)

    1. @bsnaylor

      ban front wings fullstop

      Oh please no! F1 cars, or any open wheeler without a front wing, quite frankly, looks horrible. The exception is of cause the old tube shapes from the 50’s.
      But on a just remotely modern F1 car, it looks sad and wrong.
      A slimmer and generally smaller front wing, yes. But removing it all together would look stupid. And of cause also mean that F1 cars would be going much, much slower.

      1. looks horrible?…well it may well do. but do we care about looks?
        i guess not, because the hideous “stepped nose” seems to have been forgotten about after the 1st race.
        I think you’ll find most of us are more interested in racing.
        and can i suggest you go to Goodwood and visit the old school pitlane/garage area and see what real F1 cars looked like. :)

    2. @bsnaylor Then say hello to terrible handling and lots of safety cars.

  19. I’d just like to make a point regarding ground effects.

    A lot of people seem to believe that the scrapping of ground effects for 2014 was good because ground effects is too dangerous & would cause cars to take off & fly a lot easier. This is simply not true.

    What was proposed for 2014 was not the full on ground effects that was seen in the early 80s, It was a more limited form similar to what is been used in many other open wheel categories around the world (GP2 & the new for 2012 Indycar for example).

    Categories that use the sort of ground effects that was planned for F1 in 2014 are not more dangerous & do not see cars flying through the air any more often than is seen in F1 currently & its all down to wheel to wheel contact rather than cars simply taking off for no reason because there running ground effects.

    There were problems with ground effects in the early 80s, Problems caused purely by the fact cars were scraping the floor & had practically no suspension. Advances in technology & a better understanding of ground effects would erase these problems even if a full-on return with sliding skirts etc… was on the cards.

    If the designers/engineer’s believed the proposed ground effects rules for 2014 were dangerous they would never had proposed them & the FIA would never have accepted/implemented them.
    The reason the plan was eventually scrapped was purely because teams believed it would increase the cost’s too much as they would have to totally scrap current designs, plus they believe DRS is great & is working perfectly well so any big aero changes are no longer needed.

    1. Ground effect is always unstable and dangerous simply because of what it is and how it works. There are ways to mitigate this danger. There are no ways to remove it. Cornering speeds in F1 are in many ways already dangerously high (and have been for a decade or so), and the only reason these speeds are relatively safe is because over-the-car aerodynamic downforce is pretty difficult to interrupt. Reducing this and relying on the much less stable ground effect definitely increases the risk of high-speed accidents.

      Is it an acceptable risk? Well, maybe. F1 cars and circuits are much safer than they were in the 1980s. But is it necessary to take that risk? Why would we, when even a nexus for complaining about the regulations such as this website rates the previous two seasons as the most exciting for years?

      1. You say that but then why do other series like GP2 & Indycar (Among others) rely on a form of ground effects & suffer from zero problems as a result?

        The DW12 Indycar was praised for producing great racing this year & I have seen zero concerns, complaints & criticism’s about the fact it uses the same sort of ground effects that was been planned for F1 2014.
        Same with GP2, All 3 cars used in that series have generated a big part of the overall grip from ground effects rather than wing’s & there has again been no problems.
        Also the old Champcar series had run ground effects for years without problem, The last car they produced (DP01) was a very successful & very safe car.
        Superleague formula as well ran a similar concept to what F1 would have used & again there were no problems.

        What was planned for F1 2014 was a big reduction in wing generated downforce with a large portion of that got by via ground effects. Cornering speeds would have remained as they are currently.

        Like I said the problems seen with ground effects in the 80s was because of how they ran the cars, Scraping the ground with side skirts & rock solid suspension.
        They were not talking about that for 2014, They were talking about a shaped under-tray (keeping the plank preventing them from running cars as low as they did in the 80s), No side skirts & the suspension would remain as it is today.

        The plans for 2014 would not have seen cornering speeds rise, They would have remained as they are now if not been a little lower.

        The criticism’s about ground effects are looking at how it was in the 80s & not as it would have been in 2014.

        1. The DW12 Indycar was praised for producing great racing this year

          I have to agree with that. Some of the best racing I saw this year was in IndyCar – and not just on the oval circuits.

      2. Ground effect is always unstable and dangerous simply because of what it is and how it works. There are ways to mitigate this danger. There are no ways to remove it

        – You are right in principle @ilanin, but exactly the same is true for aerodynamics.
        But because materials and knowledge and understanding of aero effects, as well as capacity to simulate its flow, have greatly progressed in the last 30 years, the ground effect that was originally proposed would have been no more a risk that we now have of a rear wing breaking or a front wing flying off at high speed.

  20. Presumably this means the return to low noses I was so looking forward to has gone out of the window? Its a shame. Scarbs tweeted an image of what these might look like and they looked so much nicer than the current configuration – a lot like the Red Bull RB3.

    More disappointing is that we won’t get the shake up regulation changes tend to produce. The FIA will probably claim that its a move to save costs, but I suspect its more that they (and FOM) enjoy the ulta-close competition we’ve had over the last couple of seasons as a result of virtually spec-series aerodynamics.

    Its all about ‘the show’, as they’re so keen to remind us.

    1. I love the look of lower noses.
      Didn’t the BGP01 look great!

  21. Genuinely disappointed ,so what’s the point to put a V6 engine into the same 2012 car I wonder what Luca will think of this change since we know that he has been complaining from the so “Aero Dependent rules”

    1. Maybe that complaint came knowing that the FIA were going to announce this.

      1. @matt90
        Or maybe, FIA was fed up with Luca criticizing them, and therefore decided NOT to change the rules, just to annoy him! ; )

  22. I’m very disappointed because of this. The 2014 rule changes were supposed to shake up F1 to make it more competitive again and put the car more and more back in control of the drivers. I was looking forward to lowering to front nose again. I don’t dislike the current design but i think lower is better looking. So now DRS is becoming a permanent factor. I was never against DRS but because i knew it was only temporary. This makes me think i perhaps should have been more critical in the past about it.

    Stupid question: Wasn’t there also a change in KERS for next year of 2014?

  23. Hamilton will be frustrated…

    The idea that DRS will be relied upon is a bit sickening- the one good thing about it was that it was meant to be temporary. But I knew that it would stick around. Also, I wonder how much money teams have already spent on 2014 aero regs- probably not much, but I’m sure there will have been some R&D to look at some areas, particularly at Mercedes.

  24. The cream will rise to the top, both in cars and in drivers. Loss of downforce and grip plays right in to the hands of an Alonso and even though his car will stink, Hamilton will let it hang out. Button has good car control also. Others will suffer. I doubt that Vettel will repeat as champion although I think he has great talent, but he hasn’t had to work as hard to control his car as Alonso did. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong.

    1. I doubt it. Whether you can throw a car into a corner at 300km/h, or at 60km/h doesn’t make a great deal of difference, to a racing driver on their level, although the latter will give you more time to react. As long as the cars are balanced properly, which is down to the designers, then I don’t think that it would make a great deal of difference.
      Its not like a lack of downforce equals a car that is hard to drive. A lack of balance on the other hand, does. But that can happen at any downforce level, and at any speeds.

  25. I’m upset by this. I really wanted to see the teams juggle new engines and new aero design.

  26. Would the cars have been faster or slower with the new aero? Not counting the new engines.

    1. The idea was to make them more or less the same speed, but less reliant on air over the top (wings) which is disrupted in traffic, and more from using the underbottom, so cars have less trouble following eachother, as well as having less drag (to compensate a bit for the somewhat less powerfull drivetrain)

  27. Ah, DRS apparently fixes everything, so no need to address the real issue.

    1. Yes, that is a great point. I don’t have a problem with DRS as a stop-gap temporary solution, but I don’t believe it should be seen as a end-all fix to the problems.

      At least DRS will be less effective in 2013 with teams having less incentive to invest on improving their DRS without qualifying benefits.

  28. Michael Brown (@)
    5th December 2012, 20:59

    What they can also get rid of are the fixed gear ratios.

  29. “Changes made to bodywork design, originally aimed at reducing downforce and drag for increased efficiency, have reverted to 2012 specification.”

    I think that’s a mistake. The sport is far too aero-dependent these days, and abandoning the plan to cut aerodynamic grip will do nothing to cut costs.

  30. Again? We’re all sick of them playing with the rules. To be honnest,they are just trying to direct the whole thing and that is not good at all. This new aero rules at the start of 2009 and then the DRS,it’s just realy ridiculus. Once upon a time there was a developing sport with a freedoom to develop and compete in all the areas of the sport,now it’s just rules,no creativity at all.

  31. Red Bull will be very happy, this seems to pave the way for their domination over the next few years. A continuation of the current aero and a reduction in the changes to energy recovery – one of their main weaknesses. As long as Renault build a half-decent engine it is hard to see them falling off the perch.

    1. Agree. That’s just what they needed ,just to mentain the moment. And the current design rules are their jackpot with Newey developing the car. As he has said in last few years,that his cars are an evolution from the previous one. Fingers crossed somebody will think of something to be up there. At least 3 competitive teams fighting for wins.

  32. Fernando Cruz
    6th December 2012, 15:12

    What about giving reserve drivers time to run before FP1, so that main drivers don’t lose track time? I think FIA talked about this a year ago but unfortunately has done absolutely nothing to change things!

    It shouldn’t be allowed the sort of situation we have seen this year, with a driver losing 15 FP1s while his team mate was always in the car. F1 is supposed to be a sport and all competitors should be given equal chances to perform. I think FIA should think more about equity between drivers and not only among teams.

    1. Adding extra F1 sessions would be tricky because of the support series. They do there practice/qualifying on Friday in between the 2 F1 sessions.

      You can see how full the weekend schedule for Silverstone was:

      Also consider that it would be extra work for the mechanics & it could still affect the race drivers should the test driver crash the car.

      1. And before someone says they could hold it on Thursday.

        All the track setup is done on Thursdays with the TV/Timing equipment, Its also when teams/drivers do there track walk/inspections. The Systems check is also done Thursdays with the safety cars to check all the TV/timing systems.

  33. I’m for this. I think changing aero and engines in the same season was always going to be a bit too much. Surely the teams would be better trying to extract the most from the engines before they’re locked down? I love aero development, but a bit more focus on the engine for a year or two would be a welcome reprieve.

    1. I much disagree. Now they have to redesign the current layout to fit the new drive train before totally redesigning everything yet again.

      How is that going to lower costs?

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