Damon Hill, Arrows A18, Melbourne, 1997

F1 could switch back to wider, 1997-style cars

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: F1 teams have discussed reversing the reduction in width of F1 cars from 2,000mm to 1,800mm which took place in 1998.

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Mercedes and Red Bull split on changes to cars for 2016 (BBC)

"Wider cars, reintroducing the maximum width of 2,000mm last used in 1997 instead of the current 1,800mm, and a lower rear wing."

Manor gets FIA entry list leeway boost (Autosport)

"Final entry lists are normally published well ahead of the season, but the FIA has not yet finalised the current one yet - and is holding back until it knows what Manor is doing."

Force India delay new car debut to final test (Reuters)

"The plan is to introduce it at the final test."

F1 driver coaching via radio - what is and what is not allowed in 2015 (James Allen on F1)

"According to an FIA spokesman the F1 Strategy Group has now ruled that the current restrictions are sufficient and that race officials will expect teams to continue to respect the technical directive issued in Singapore."

Schedule for TCR season opener with F1 unveiled (Touring Car Times)

"The start of the inaugural TCR International Series is going to be held during the Formula 1 weekend at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia."

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NH: Monaco - for so many reasons. It’s the event of the season. When you arrive at the harbour your heartrate goes up, especially when you walk over the bridge to the pits. The fans can get really close, too. The place just looks amazing with the buildings, the scenery and the mountains, so it’s an essential race for fans."

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Comment of the day

Should we be sceptical about Red Bull’s motives for adding Dean Stoneman to their Junior Team?

When he starts really performing well – which I have no doubt he will, he’s very talented – Red Bull will say, ‘Look, we gave a driver who’s coming back from having cancer his big break.’ But sadly, there’s really nowhere within the Red Bull family Stoneman can go. Admittedly no one expected Vettel to leave but three-quarters of the Red Bull drivers in F1 have been there for a year or less, and the other seems pretty settled.

On top of that, they’ve placed him in Formula Renault 3.5, which we all know is now worth next to nothing as far as progressing to F1 is concerned. I hope Stoneman uses the year to his advantage to show what’s he worth, and if Red Bull don’t give him a shot, he heads elsewhere, Alex Lynn style.

Otherwise – sadly – I can see his talent being wasted as a reserve driver or something.
Bradley Downton (@Bradley13)

Snapshot

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari 310B, Monte-Carlo, 1997

I think we need another picture of a properly wide 1997 F1 car.

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  • 119 comments on “F1 could switch back to wider, 1997-style cars”

    1. count with me for the wider cars! i love’em, and with the lower rear wing, they look more “natural” for me.

      1. @matiascasali I couldn’t agree more. Someone the other day was complaining there haven’t been many positive news stories recently – as far as I’m concerned this is definitely a good one.

        1. also want to offer my services as graphical designer for any team, because this year designs are soooo dull and boring! you’ve got to give some credit to HRT when they did the F111 to try to make things a little bit more interesting

          1. I remember seeing the point about narrower cars on another F1Fanatic article, saying the cars haven’t looked right since. Can’t say I ever really noticed the difference in width. Is there a good side by side picture of a car from 1997 and 1998 (when they were first changed)?

          2. That HRT was graphically designed by Daniel Simon, who does some really interesting work, mostly for sci-fi film props, but also some cars and bikes.

            1. Please google: Timeless Racer By Daniel Simon. Also he is accredited the vehicle design in the following movies: TRON Legacy, Oblivion, Captain America, and is also the genius behind the Lotus C-01 motorcyle. His first graphic novel “Cosmic Motors” has just been optioned by Steven Spielberg (maybe you have heard of him) to be turned into a movie. Not a Newey but just as much genius. It’s a shame his only footprint in F1 was a weak paint job on a backmarker team. I for one would love to see what team Simon/Newey could do in LMP1.

            2. Daniel Simon did do an LMP1 racer.

              http://i.imgur.com/mLWWpFV.jpg

              http://i.imgur.com/h14PDDp.jpg

              The “Lotus” racer with a more twisted backstory than Lotus in F1.

              Team started as Kodewa with an old Lola, rebadged Lotus, then Judd engine rebadged Praga, for this new start up Czech track car company, http://pragaglobal.com/cars/ , designed by Adess, who also helped with the HRT F1 team, then Lotus branding fell through, rebadged CLM through no one would answer what it actually stood for, in 2015 to be run by Colin Kolles rebadged as byKolles P1/01. That’s as best as I could follow anyway.

            3. Even Racecar Engineering struggles to make sense of the full story of this car.

              http://www.racecar-engineering.com/cars/lotus-t128/

        2. It’s a good direction to go in, but I do worry about them flip flopping on rules. I think what’s more important now is rule stability.

          I think the cars look fine now, except for the convoluted regs trying to force the nose into a certain way.

          If rule changes make costs shoot up and the field spread out, can we wait a while before going through that pain again?

          1. I dont have a problem with cost shooting up and I’d imagine there is a small group of check writers that don’t mind it either (given the obvious profits being made). The backmarkers are dead so can we please all stop the discussion of costs going up? We should applaud the free market mechanisms in F1, the costs can go as high as people are willing to spend. Rule changes on a frequent basis shake things up, I think stability is great for power units, but who complains about changing the max width of a vehicle? Imagine if a team like Williams were able to exploit such a change and beat merc? Come on people, is all we can do: complain about change? Are we dinosaurs?

            1. If all the teams could handle costs going up then I think most people wouldn’t mind change – many would probably like it – but the truth is that there are several potential consequences for F1 if costs keep going up.

              Force India, Sauber and Lotus are all struggling with costs at the moment, and any further hike in costs could be too much for them. If 2 of those 3 teams collapse then we’ll be below 16 cars, which will be a breach of contract with the race venues and we could see 3 car teams/customer cars/etc. which will completely change the face of F1. Even with Haas coming in 2016 we’ll still be below 16 car if all 3 struggling teams collapse. And you have another issue: when all the backmarkers/midfielders are gone, who becomes the new backmarker? If Mercedes or Red Bull end up being near the back then I am pretty sure they will pull out of F1 as it would be detrimental to their brand image. If Williams end up being near the back with little prize money then they could start struggling financially.

              Basically, long story short, if we don’t control costs now, there could be massive implications in the future and we could end up with a puny grid, probably buffed up by customer cars, or a grid made up of only 6 or so teams, each running 3 cars (which would mean that if a team pulled out it would be a massive problem).

        3. @keithcollantine, I totally disagree, yes they look better and that will be good for online gaming fans but look beyond the aesthetics and think about what it will do to the racing, wider cars will make it harder for cars to run side by side through corners on all but the widest tracks, the extra frontal area will use more power and fuel for any given speed and even more turbulent air to destabilise the following car, and that is before you lower the rear wing, in other words this would be a reversal of the earliest efforts at increasing on-track passing, then ask why do this, current F1 cars are not in danger of toppling over mid-bend, nor do they appear to be loseing traction by lifting wheels in a corner, in fact they do not appear to lean at all so why do they need a wider track ?

          F1 is losing TV viewers by attrition, new viewers are not replacing older viewers that have dropped out for various reasons, pay-walls, harmonised virtual 1 design engines, tyres that discourage close racing, and the chief promoter telling them that 2014 was going to be so terrible no-one would want to watch it, these things have been going on for years you say and you are right but all fashions and fads have inertia, people take time to become fans and even longer to become non-fans, eg. Aussie Chardonnay became so popular that eventually people looked for something else and along came Kiwi Sauv. Blanc, so wineries tried to change their Chardy to something like Sauv Blanc, the result people who still liked their old-style Chardy stopped buying it but people who liked Sauv Blanc stayed Sauv Blanc fans. Don’t let F1 go down the drain like Chardonnay, it’s not Nascar and it never will be.

          1. Just leave the dimensions of the cars as they are and work on getting rid of DRS. If F1 is “supposedly” a development avenue for road cars they should be doing more work on ways to improve mechanical grip and rely less on wings etc.

          2. @hohum have to agree with you. Most points you mentioned were exactly the reasoning behind narrower cars and higher aero-wakes in the first place. Only advantage with lower wings and hence lower wakes would be the visibility during wet races, but that’s about all the benefits you get.

          3. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are soo different it would be very hard for one to mimic the other.

            But you’re spot on about the overtaking bit, rubbish idea to go back to wide cars

            1. @frasier, have you had a Chablis (real French not US) lately, did you know it is 100% Chardonnay.

        4. I am guilty of that @keithcollantine! I agree that this is a great news story though, I have never warmed to the narrow track cars.

          I approve of your choice of picture for this article too!

          1. @geemac It’s getting harder to find excuses to use a picture of an Arrows!

            1. Must be time for a Hungary ’97 retrospective!

        5. I think a fair few people were annoyed about the constant whingeing about a sport most feel is in good shape. A story that we may have a nostalgia tinged contrivance isn’t good news to me. It smacks of panic. Still it’s your website.

        6. @keithcollantine I’m all for low rear wings but I wold prioritize shorter car in place of 2m wide cars.

      2. Yeah I think it’s because the cars are so long that they look better if wider.
        Let’s what happens for next season but I can only imagine how expensive this changes are going to be.

      3. FlyingLobster27
        14th February 2015, 9:07

        Widening the cars is a good start. The WEC has recently made their P1 cars narrower, and, while they still look better than the badly-proportioned F1s (high tub, low nose, wide front wing, narrow and high rear wing), they don’t look as impressive as the 2011-2013 cars. I absolutely love the original Audi R18! As I started watching motor racing in 1998, I guess I’m feeling what F1 fans felt that year. But as a result I was never startled by the looks of F1 cars until the 2009 overhaul. Making the cars wider is a start, IF they can correct the proportions. Plus, given how wide Tilkedromen are, wider cars shouldn’t be detrimental to the racing.

    2. Prior 1993 the were even 215 cm wide.

      1. In 1993 the rear tyres were made narrower which reduced the overall width, Pretty sure car width remained the same from the 70s/80s until 1998 with as I say only the tyre dimensions changing.

    3. * the cars *

    4. All are in favour of a plan to make cars look more dramatic but there is disagreement on whether changes should be made for 2016 or 2017.

      Red Bull team boss Christian Horner wants change quickly, while Mercedes believe more time should be taken to ensure the right decision is made.

      In other words, Mercedes think their current period of dominance should not be threatened by any rule changes for the next few years, while Red Bull (and presumably other teams as well) would like to see changes sooner than that.

      1. Red Bull reigned for 4 years, and teams were fighting on track, not from back doors…

        1. Oh please… How many regulatory technical things were changed mid season, how many times teams tried to get rid of RBR’s blown exhaust? There was everything from flexi wing scandals to engine map scandals, other teams protesting in areas RBR had an advantage.

          Did you just start following F1 last year? Brcause it seems that way. Or was that meant as sarcasm…

          1. Hm, quite a few of the changes were just modifications to make the flex-tests catch more and more tricky flexing wings and floors, not just on RBR but also on others @mateuss; but arguably, RBR and other that did those things were always skirting the edges of the rules, they knew it, and FIA kept iteratin towards a set of enforcable regulations – like with the noses.

            Here, it is about changing the rules altogether because you did a bad job.

            1. So “modifications” are good or at least permissible but “changes” are bad and forbidden? Of course the words “change” and “modification” are synonyms for each other, so you’re simply saying you supported changing the rules to let other teams catch up to RB (even though they were only behind because they “did a bad job”) but you oppose changing the rules to let other teams catch up to Mercedes.

        2. Hehe. Nonsense.

    5. I’m all for 1000bhp engines, lower rear wings and wider cars, but won’t all that make the cars significantly quicker? I’d love for F1 to return to the ’04 speeds or even somewhere between that and current speeds, but since I started watching F1 in the 90’s changes have been made only to reduce speeds. Finger’s crossed we’ll see a faster and better looking formula in the near future!

      1. Herein lies the problem. There have never been technical hurdles in achieving 1000+ reliable horsepower and wider cars that would all the more increase cornering speeds. Safety for our drivers, marshals, and fans dictate we have to keep some level of restrictions on performance, because we can absolutely design a car well past the limits of human body capability and survivability. If this haphazard rule changing actually goes through, the promoters here will happily ride along with this trainwreck right through to the point we relive 1994. Maybe it won’t happen even in the first, second, or fifth years, but sooner later, the check will come due. And then what? Go back and give a second round of neutering to tracks even more than Tilke has destroyed them the first time? Back to grooved tires? Mostly, how many lives will have to be lost before we “Oh ****, this is why we had to slow down the cars in first place.”

        Everyone here is acting like the idea of making the cars faster has just never been thought of. I love F1, I love speed, but all this talk seems misguided to me. I’ve only watched F1 since about 2001 and I don’t have longest history to rely on, but I have read quite a bit of history on F1, NASCAR, CART, etc. There are only two final results to adding more speed to the current formula equation – deaths from accidents, or if you are lucky- commercial failures that garner bad press (e.g., F1 Indy 2005, CART Texas 2001). Maybe I’m just being alarmist, but I think history is always telling us something if we are looking. I know F1 dangerous and there is no way to eliminate all the risk, but if you push the limits too close to the edge, eventually we will go over it.

        Want more people watching for the sake of sponsor and the good sport? Award tv rights to networks that are free to air but most of all get with the times or do some innovative with online streaming options for new fans. (FOM at fault here)

        Want more people at the track? Get ticket pricing that is more in line with market demand. (FOM at fault here)

        Want louder cars? Change the fuel flow restrictions and let those engines sing up to the 15K RPM limit instead of the only 12K achieved last year and we’ll get more decibels (The working group needs to get their act together on this on – so stop moaning, Renault!)

        1. Ugh, editing is not a strong suit for me–
          *for the sake of sponsorships and the good of the sport?
          *and do something innovative with online streaming

        2. Great point Reg

        3. It’s a bit weird everyone is so excited about increasing speeds after Bianchi’s crash.

          1. Increasing speeds has nothing to do with how drivers are to deal with caution flags at wet corners.

          2. Would you care to explain what Bianchi’s crash and the prospect of faster cars have to do with each other? I’m curious as to how you saw a connection there…

          3. 2004 was fastest cars statistically but no major crashes or injuries. Track safety has increased since then. Last year cars were many seconds slower than 2004 but there was a serious injury. Speed is not the be all and end all of safety. Tractors decreasing run off areas and covering tyre or tec pro barriers are. Surely after 10 years of increased safety f1 can handle faster cars than 2004. The current run off areas and replacement of gravel traps with tarmac (parabolica) leaves room for more speed. Maybe one day the last corner at Barcelona etc will be reinstated. As long as its within reason ie drivers do not need g suits an increase in speed is fine otherwise sooner or later another series may beat f1 for speed and a USP has gone. Infact at the moment speed round a track msybe all f1 has over WEC for now. You want complete safety just ban racing. Thrte are many more important issues f1 must address but more speed would be better for f1’s image.

        4. good point reg, that’s why I asked the question if all this would increase speeds, I don’t see why they would knowingly do that. I do miss the monsters of the mid-2000s but I also understand these days can never return. They exist now only as beautiful memories!

        5. Track safety has moved on since 1994. They’ve removed almost all grass and gravel traps and have increased run-off areas so increasing the speed a bit isn’t going to make it much more dangerous.

          I think it’s fairly well accepted that F1 is a bit easy at the moment so things need to be done to increase the difficulty whilst keeping the sport relatively safe.

    6. my bad grammar makes me sad

    7. Can someone please explain, what will the proposed widening of the cars actually do?

      So much has changed since they were that wide, that the new wide cars will almost certainly NOT look like the old cars, so the hope that the new wide cars will look better than the present day cars is just a dream.

      Why would the teams want to make the bodywork wider when they are talking about the tight rear ends and the need to ensure the airflow stays between the rear wheels.

      To me all this talk of 1000hp and wider cars is going to do nothing about reducing costs. It is mainly a push from certain teams because they failed on the new regs.

      I say keep the present regs, and discus possible changes in 5 years time.

      If the car width needs to be changed for a move to wider tyres with 20″ rims ok, but more than that I just do not see the point.

      1. You make a good point, 20 years ago the bodywork was wider than it is today, so if the current cars have the tyres separated further they may look odd.

        We really need a render or a photoshoped picture of a modified ’15 car to get a better idea.

      2. @w-k
        It can do a lot of things depending on the actual rules.
        It can increase cornering speed, give more room for the engineers, make Monaco, Singapore and the Hungaroring more difficult, give more space for cooling or new ERS systems, basically there are a lot of possibilities. I really hope it gets thrugh, because dramatic regulation changes always open up the field for new technologies.

        1. The thing is, the present day regulations haven’t been fully developed yet, so why change when we don’t really know where the next technology opening will be.

          Do they need more space for cooling?
          New ERS systems I can understand, but that will do nothing in the “cars are too quiet” debate. How about doing some energy recovery at the front end, most of the braking takes place at the front, so should be good place to fit some electrical generators. Won’t do anything for the front end aero, but would give Newey a new challenge.

          1. @w-k, cooling for the ERS is a non issue – the teams have already made strides in improving the cooling systems of the cars, even before taking into account developments which reduce the cooling requirements of the components.
            As for the packaging requirements, a large chunk of that is covered by safety requirements, such as on the design of the fuel cells and the placement of the battery systems, so I don’t see that being a factor either.

            The only justifications I have seen put forth for an increased track width is aesthetics – there have been no arguments put forth on safety grounds, nor is there any obvious technical requirement, that would necessitate a wider car.

        2. Yep, reg changes opened up the field for Mercedes allright, we should do it every year.

        3. It can increase cornering speed

          Which would hurt the racing.

          More cornering speed leaves less opportunities to out-brake someone.

          Take turn 1 at Suzuka, Back when they had to brake for it you used to get overtaking there but now that they can take T1 pretty much flat out you don’t get as much overtaking as you used to because its no longer a braking zone & there not slowing down into it so there’s no room to try something.

          Same with Stowe at Silverstone & many other corners which are now significantly faster than they used to be.

          Go back 10 years & look at how rubbish F1 was when we had more downforce & when cornering speeds were faster, There was no racing & virtually no overtaking & thats not the direction F1 should be going in.

        4. make Monaco, Singapore and the Hungaroring more difficult

          Yep, everywant here would like less overtaking at Monaco and Hungary

      3. The bodywork would stay very similar (the power unit wouldn’t be any bigger), but the distance between the cars wheels would increase. It would mean the cars would roll less in the corners and would generate more cornering force (for a given amount of downforce). In terms of aero, it might actually help as frontal area wouldn’t increase dramatically, but airflow towards the diffuser, through sidepod undercuts and into radiator ducts would be cleaner (because of the bigger gap between wheel and bodywork). This might even mean radiators could shrink, or kept a similar size and run the same engines at higher power (thermal efficiency improved). Or it might just help improve reliability.

        These are cars I’d love to see racing, but I agree with you that the last thing F1 needs is pricing more competitors out. The way I see the problem though is that of an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff. Cutting costs by simplifying the racing and curbing development doesn’t cure an unhealthy business model, when those qualities are present in other series without the drawbacks F1 suffers.

        1. Is bodyroll a significant problem in F1, I can remember John Surtees getting around a corner with air under both inside wheels in a F1/Tasman car but that was pre-downforce and he was used to cornering on 2 wheels anyway.

      4. Nothing positive!

      5. soundscape (@)
        14th February 2015, 5:24

        Off the top of my head:

        – Broader under-body, generating more downforce;
        – Wheels further from the centre of mass, meaning faster cornering;
        – Lowered aero, reduced drag.

        I think the cars will be ridiculously quick. They’ll need to temper the pace in other ways, otherwise we’ll be back to out-of-control pace through corners and greater possibility of horrific accidents. Aesthetically the cars will look much better though.

      6. @w-k

        the hope that the new wide cars will look better than the present day cars is just a dream

        I fundamentally disagree. To my eye the current cars look too narrow. I don’t see how making them wider will fail to help with that.

        1. Wanting them to be wider because you believe they will look better, in all honesty has nothing to do with the performance of the cars, except increase mechanical grip.
          If the rear wing is also lowered, then the chances of improving overtaking and getting rid of DRS are nil. I’d rather keep the present width in that case and nuts to these ideas that looking and sounding better, like the good old days, will be better.

          P.S. I’m retired and prefer the real old look, no wings. Vanwalls and BRM’s.

    8. Is this really a concerted effort to increase mechanical grip and reduce rear downforce? I hope so. I know they’ll claw that downforce back pretty quickly, but a little less wake, some too-easy overtaking and we might see the end of DRS.

      My only question is this: with less roll and more mechanical grip (but overall equal cornering force), will the cars still corner on rails, or will there be more pliancy, more forgiveness of going over the limit, and more slides? I hope so, but I’m not convinced. When I say forgiveness, I mean ideally some time-loss (or gain, if you’re made of magic, Gilles) without race-ruining spin outs.

      1. The wider/lower rear wings will generate more downforce & direct most of the dirty air right onto the front wing.

        The wider/lower rear wings of Pre-2009 were directing most of the dirty air onto the front wings. By raising/narrowing the rear wing most of that dirty air was directed away from the front wing & the lowering/widening of the front wing moved it further out of the main airflow.

        If they lower/widen the rear wings again then were just going to be back to what we had before with the rear wing sending most of that dirty air right into the path of the front wing which will just hurt the racing & make them more reliant on gimmicks like DRS (Which will be more effective with a wider rear wing as there’s more drag to reduce so a larger speed gain will come from DRS).

      2. I dunno, I just have to shake my head at this kind of stupidity. This isn’t about anything else but politics and cheap promotion at the expense of the teams on the grid. If F1 wants to run all but the very few out of anything interesting in F1, they are doing a great job. Keep changing the rules, keep penalizing the people who achieve anything through the back door.

    9. All a lot of these rule changes will do is making the racing worse.

      Wider cars will make overtaking harder, Especially on narrower circuits.
      Lower/Wider rear wings will direct most of the dirt air onto the front wing which will make following another car harder.
      More downforce in general will make the cars harder to follow & that along with additional mechanical grip will shorten braking distances which will also make overtaking under braking much harder.

      1000Bhp is just a number, In reality it will make zero difference to the racing & I don’t even think the increase will be noticeable. Afterall the WEC Toyota has over 1000Bhp & it doesn’t look any more or less fast or spectacular than a 900Bhp WEC Audi or an 850bhp F1 car.
      F1 cars were already fast enough in a straght line in 2014 with 750-800bhp, They will be even faster this year with the improvements that have been made & to be perfectly honest I think there more than fast enough without the need for a specific push for more just to hit a number.

      For all the constant whining the racing last year was fantastic, Some of the best i’ve ever seen in F1 in terms of competitive/close racing & overtaking so I don’t see why all these changes are even necessary?
      All this focus on more spectacle is likely just going to harm the quality of the racing & thats just not the direction they should be going in.

      Wider cars, More downforce, Wider/Lower wings is just going to put more reliance on DRS & maybe even more silly gimmicks. If there going to make any changes then make changes that remove the need for DRS & other such artificial means, Don’t go a direction that will increase reliance on those things.

      People talk about been turned off F1 but the only thing thats turning me off F1 are these constant, ridiculous knee-jerk reactions where they feel the need to change everything just because they feel the need to change something.
      The racing is fine, The formula is fine so why not just leave things as they are & let things develop on there own because the power units & the cars are going to get faster anyway without them pushing to make any changes at all.

      This constant meddling every other year (As well as the reliance on DRS) is whats turning me off.

      1. True enough.

      2. Cannot find anything to disagree with there RogerA. (Speaking as a fan since the 60s)

      3. 1kbhp it is kinda magic number…
        but most of the modern tracks are useless with that power… maybe we should start with “Tilkedromes”? when everything is pretty similar and sterile? last new “cool” track was probably in Turkey, but it was dropped and we get faceless Bahrain or China tracks…

      4. That is so wrong…. Where should I start? Ok how about the lower rear wing? I don’t know what you think you know about aerodynamics, but the airflow coming off the rear wing doesn’t travel downwards… much less down to the ground to affect the front wing of a following car.

        The “dirty air” that is so often spoken about which affects the performance of front wings, is coming mostly from the rear wheels of the leading car, which produce a lot of turbulence by spinning. If raising rear wings lessened the dirty air going onto the trailing car’s front wing, why is dirty air still just as much a problem today as it was pre 2009? even removing the beam wing didn’t do anything to solve the problem. You know what would? SIMPLER FRONT WINGS. That’s the only way, which would force a massive reduction in rear downforce to balance, and we’d have much better racing, as the focus would switch back to minimum drag designs.

        Another point you have gotten wrong there is the wider wheel track raising overall mechanical grip – it wouldn’t. It would raise lateral mechanical grip, but longitudinal grip would remain the same, so braking distances wouldn’t decrease as you claim.

        I think the proposed regs are a big step in the right direction, but I think more could be done. like simplifying front wings as I said, and removing the stupid flat floor rule. I wouldn’t want a return to skirts, but full length underbody venturis would be good. Increase downforce from the floor, and take it away from the wings. THAT would make the racing better.

        1. I got the stuff about the front/rear wings directly from the details guys like Ross Brawn, Adrian Newey etc.. were putting out about the 2009 regulation changes.

          Also remember that those aero changes were designed by guys like Rory Bryne, Pat Symmonds & Patrick Head & if you don’t think they know about aerodynamics then I don’t know what to say.

          If raising rear wings lessened the dirty air going onto the trailing car’s front wing, why is dirty air still just as much a problem today as it was pre 2009?

          Its far less of a problem today than it was Pre-2008 & cars are able to follow a little closer.

          Go back & watch races from 2008 & look at in-car camera shots of cars following through corners like turn 8 at Istanbul & then compare similar situations in 2009 & on with the new regulations & its clear there able to follow closer.

          The only thing that hindered the 2009 regulation changes was initially the double diffusers which was blowing air over the front wings. Thats why following became more difficult as 2009 went on, But the double diffusers were banned for 2011 & that again improved.

    10. It’s ridiculous that people are more worried about what the cars look like than how they race. Wider cars will be a problem. They only seem thin because they are longer due to the refuel ban. Audiences are declining because of pay per view. It’s about to happen in Australia and my mother, who watches every race but doesn’t have the money for pay tv, will miss out on half the races. I doubt she’ll be the only one, so Australian audiences will decline. Not everyone can afford or is willing top spend the money on Pay TV just for f1. `Especially the young audience that isn’t hooked yet.

    11. If the cars are to be wider, probably with wider tyres, consider what are all the implications for the front wing.

      If they are wider, then they will have a tendency to flex more, so will have to be strengthened.
      Or should they be narrower, by that I mean like the old days, length less than space between tyres, as in Ferrari picture, above. And teams will just put up with the barn door effect of the front tyres.

    12. ColdFly F1 (@)
      14th February 2015, 2:01

      I am not sure that widening the cars will solve any real issues!
      Bernie will still keep most of the money. Historical GP’s will be swapped for boring tracks. The FIA will screw up those rules as well. Broadcasts will still move behind pay-walls. Teams cannot get sponsorship. Cost reduction will be truly a thing of the past. And teams continue to struggle financially.

    13. Now, if only they also decided on free-to-air TV…

      Though it’ll always be free-to-stream anyway, so I should just enjoy what I do get rather than keep complaining, huh?

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        14th February 2015, 2:32

        @davidnotcoulthard, (without asking you to share anything illegal) how does streaming work?

        I know that many FTA broadcasters (Au, E, etc) also stream the image online. And when using a VPN you can see these from anywhere in the world.
        But is there another stream; maybe with good commentary?

        1. @coldfly Just search the internet with terms like “f1 live streaming” or “Sky sports f1 live streaming” and something is there to be found.

          To be honest though I’m not that good at finding the streams (there are many sites labelled as ones that offer stream but the ones that really do provide streams are a bit harder to find).

          Another annoying thing I find about it is that pretty much all the streaming sites I find require Flash.

          Watching the official streams of channels (abroad) that show FTA ‘editions’ of races isn’t something I’ve thought of myself, though. Should give that a try sometime!

    14. In the tweet above the Force India’s 2015 livery kinda reminds me of the 1998 Tyrrell one. Always loved that livery so I consider that a good thing!

      On the width topic, I always find it funny how quickly your mind adapts to what’s normal. It’s been so long since the 2000mm width cars that any footage I watch now makes them look abnormally squat and wide! Then again I thought the 2009 cars were strange with their funny rear wings and massive snowplow fronts, and same to the steep-drooping 2014 cars noses. But I did. I’m sure it’d take little time to readjust to the width of cars we had in the 90’s. In the end the important thing is that it improves the racing, and if the wider cars can help promote that then I can’t wait to have them back.

    15. Giving teams the power was a bad move they are all fighting like little kids over everything they cant agree on anything wish these agreements change from 2020 onwards the teams themselves are ruining the sport

    16. That picture needs to include the Red Bull testing livery. It alone covers 25 shades of Grey.

    17. Hey Nico, can I have a couple grand to take you up on your advice?
      I would love to go to Monaco some day but the kids want university too…

    18. Correct me if I’m wrong, but did they not go to the 1800 width and grooved tires back in ’98 because the cars were not spectacular enough anymore. Pop in Australia ’98 if you have it, Murray Walker rambles on about it a couple times. Even going as far as saying the new regs have worked! Imagine that!.

      There is so much changing right now, I don’t know what is happening anymore and what isn’t. I’d like F1 to just stick with something for once.

      1. @sward28

        did they not go to the 1800 width and grooved tires back in ’98 because the cars were not spectacular enough any more

        No, it was an attempt to bring down cornering speeds by reducing the size of the aerodynamic surfaces designers were able to work with.

    19. Nice jab at Michael with the snapshot. His car couldn’t be wide enough that year.

      1. @brakius That definitely wasn’t the intent! I just preferred the look of the pre-1998 cars.

    20. Wider cars + Narrow Street Circuits = Perfect Recipe for Boring Races

      1. In Monaco we have one “narrow street circuit” so I think your formula should end “Boring race” rather than “races“.
        I think the proposed changes aim for reduced aero v mechanical grip so the general affect (on normal width circuits!) will be to increase overtaking.

    21. for the last 20 years FIA was fighting the speed, the sport and the risk, and now they have realized that it is a wrong path?
      Give back the driver lots of down force, wider and longer lasting tyres, and some 1000hp engine, and you`ll get the show…or you can simply take some older Brabham BT52 (in my opinion BEST looking F1 car) out of retirement and race them around (surely Bernie will love the idea)

    22. Aha, I remember one of the first articles I read here regarding the 2008 car changes and somebody said something along the lines of “don’t worry, I give it a few years and they’ll change it all back again”.

      Prosaic.

      1. That doesn’t mean what I thought it meant.

    23. Mercedes wants more fan research before agreeing to the rule changes, so it’s time for an F1Fanatic poll :-)

      Reading the comments so far, readers are divided about the proposed changes, with a fair number of negative comments. I am not in favour myself, either. My concerns:
      1. Costs. I am much more interested to hear the opinions of Sauber, Haas, Lotus, and Force India than the political ramblings of Christian Horner.
      2. I am not convinced the proposed changes will have much effect in bringing back the audiences F1 is losing. Of course, the likelihood of CVC handing back the commercial rights and F1 returning to free-to-air are zero, so the only thing that can be done, as far as I can see, is that the promoter would promote the sport, instead of talk it down.
      3. The effects on racing an fuel efficiency. Will overtaking become much harder, and will drivers need to save more fuel (with wider cars and more powerful engines)? Probably this should be Ok, but has it been thought through?

    24. See that big number 1 on Damon’s car, Lewis? Look at it.
      You know it makes sense.

    25. Nobody is worried about the cost?

    26. Does anyone know why F1 would use narrower rear tyre? What’s the reasons?

      1. to slow cars down…

    27. How about, stop making new rules and start relaxing the current rules?

      Side note: The livery tweet by Keith. Makes me sad. Really really sad.

    28. Wide cars, yes please! DO IT!

    29. The people who run F1 don’t have a clue!! Err…… Why have all the fans disappeared??? Oh yeah! It’s because we’ve got skinny cars!! Nothing to do with sky high ticket prices or charging people to watch it on the T.V”

    30. I have big nostalgia on wider cars. Before 2009, they looked just like a proper sexy racing cars. But what will going back to those cars will actually give? A pleasure to our eyes and nothing else. Will it bring more fans? I doubt that. Number of fans is declining because of pay TV. This is the biggest problem.

      But you know, if they want to change something, just change one thing: get rid of DRS. It will give us so much for the price of practically nothing.

    31. While I usually tend to find Christian Horners view on things flawed, I do think that he has a point with using more/better ERS to find more power from this engine format. I thought raising the fuel flow limit was pretty okay, and sure, why not, but then again if it means more work for Renault (Ferrari?), and Merc. getting further ahead, well, that’s not really helpful.

      Empowering the ERS part actually helps the format develop in the direction it was intended in. Now, it could well be that he knows Renault and RBR have some good ideas there, while Mercedes isn’t so sure, but isn’t that a desired effect then if it results in a better with this concept Renault, maybe getting close or ahead of merc. via different routes?

      1. @bosyber, I’m not sure you have read the article correctly – Horner has actually been calling for a complete freeze on development of the energy recovery systems and been trying to reduce, rather than increase, the effect of the ERS.

      2. As Anon mentions, I think you have misunderstood what Horner wants @bosyber. He wants the exact oposite of what you like to see (co to single spec and limited ERS, or better even, back to how KERS was until last year).

        1. Gosh @basCB, Anon, my worldview is restored again. Seems that my mind couldn’t conceive of reading an opinion about changing these engines with ‘freeze’ ERS in it and read it as ‘unfreeze’ ERS instead. You have to wonder what their works-team partner Renault thinks of RBR’s attitude to them.

    32. I don’t believe for one minute these plans are designed for the fans, it’s to please Horner, Newey and all the other moaners because they are going to get their asses handed to them for the next few years without the help of some rule changes.

    33. These new rule proposals make no sense.

      Weren’t wings raised to reduce the dirty air hitting following cars? Are we to understand that was a failure? Or do we now not care about the quality of racing so long as some diehards who think it would look better if it was lower are appeased?

      And wider cars will surely be even harder to pass regardless of increased mechanical grip unless all the tracks are getting widened 40cm? Watching drivers side by side inches away from each other is exciting viewing, this will surely make that harder to achieve.

      The tryes are designed to deliberately degrade and not offer the maximum grip possible even for their current size. They don’t need to be wider to offer more grip, just alter the compound.

      I don’t have an issue with aesthetics. 2010 and 2011 cars looked fine. 2012 and 2013 cars only looked ‘bad’ because the rules allowed a stepped design. Some of last years noses did look odd on the whole but this year things are much better.

      In all honesty I’d rather see an unusual none-aesthetic car that looks as such in the name of adhering to safety rules while having the least compromised shape for performance than rule mandated aesthetics. I’ll look at a DB9 if I want to see a ‘pretty’ car.

      I like the current designs because the designers have strict guidelines in the name of safety and push the limits as far as they can for performance. Form following function which is as it should be.

      F1 cars are not sexy, women and some men look sexy for biological reasons. F1 machinery looks fascinating because it’s the pursuit of performance at any cost (other than safety). If a phallus fronted car offers the best balance of performance and safety, then that’s a fascinating solution.

      Beauty is truth. And a set of contrived rules to make the cars look a certain way is not the truth of performance. Hell why stop there, people think the Audi TT is sexy, just make the cars look like that regardless of it’s lack lustre performance.

      We need to accept F1 can’t be unlimited performance because that would snap the drivers necks. They need to periodically make the challenge of creating performance harder or can you imagine the cornering speeds we’d have?

      Last year we had a massive drop in downforce, but they’ve already recovered a huge amount, if they’d stuck with 2008 era rules the cars would probably be chewing up the tarmac by now.

      1. Beauty is truth. Nicely put. Couldn’t agree more. Current TVs stretch cars anyway.

    34. Regardless of whether or not they look better, you can’t really say that the main problem with Formula 1 at the present is that the cars are 200 millimetres too narrow, can you?

    35. The way the cars look are the one of the least reasons the casual viewers are switching off. Hell even I didn’t notice the ghastly noses after a race or two, it’s strange how something so hideous quickly becomes the norm in F1.

      Like I said all these plans are being proposed because of moaning Newey, Horner and Ferrari. Funny how we didn’t hear anything from Redbull during their championship winning seasons….

    36. F1 has never been about nostalgia and I think it’s dead end road that thinks looks is the issue. If there is even an issue. I personally don’t believe there is. Personally I want cars moving about through the corner, a great engine noise and drivers going at ten tenths not 7 or 8. We may as well say all cars must resemble the maserati 250f. I do believe the late 90s era cars were the best looking since the golden era post war but without wish to keep repeating myself, I don’t see there is a big problem. You can’t have exponential growh in a finite world. First lesson of business and the last to be actually learned.

    37. I think people who are looking at the negatives of wider cars (ie. more stability and downforce) are looking at it wrong:

      This is F1. They’re keeping DRS. If anything, the cars SHOULD have more downforce now and be more physically demanding.

      It may make overtaking harder, which is now probably a good thing!

      We’re keeping DRS whether we like it or not (the latter), so let’s accept some nice looking cars, at least.

      1. Yes this is f1. What sport are you talking about?

        1. I think you’re missing my point.

          What I mean is, this is F1 – They stick to their guns. DRS is here to stay and they won’t budge on that (it’s even been drip fed to GP2).

          They don’t like getting to the root of the problem, they have a reputation for pasting over the cracks, and this will be no exception.

          So my point being, DRS is here to stay, so let’s at least bolt some downforce back on and make these cars look a little more reasonable!

          1. @ewcdanselby,

            F1-they stick to their guns.

            Actually,no they don’t, everything they think is a great idea becomes a stupid idea after Bernie thinks fans have forgotten it was his idea in the 1st. place, mark my words, before you know it they’ll start to want wider tyres or lower wings again, oh! wait, look I’m right again.

    38. Hm, sure, cars looked better in the past. I think if we lower the rear wing it would achieve the same optical effect almost alone though …

      But it seems Mercedes is the one that at least kept a clear head (although its likely they would talk differently if it weren’t them ahead right now) and proposed to have a good look at the implications and whether it really would be something that would improve F1.

      Overall the biggest issue I have with a major change, is that it is only going to make the currenly most critical issue more critical, and that is the huge cost of competing (at a decent level). Changing the rules makes it harder on the smaller teams while it presents an opportunity to outspend /develop for the rich teams. Something that really should not be the focus of a rule change in F1 IMO.

      Going on the racing in the last couple of years, very much including last year, I don’t see a reason for any huge changes to the cars themselves. Just to the approach of competition and what tracks. Oh, and someone please start doing promotion for the sport, its certainly not been something that FOM can be accused of doing.

    39. The cars were narrowed to make passing a more common occurrence. Now many are saying widen the cars again. How quickly they forget. My preference is for passing over aesthetics. THIS is what will draw new viewers to F1.

    40. Count me in with the many clued-in fans in this thread who seem to be able to think more clearly than the teams. High wings help decouple their airflow from the diffuser flow. They give more inwash for the car behind. A lot of work went into that. Why did they go to narrower cars in the first place? What will 2m cars to do the racing through Tilke’s complex corners that were designed for 1.8m?

      Really it’s sad that F1 is so desperate. Desperate, not really honest, and not very bright. It’s a bit alienating, apart from the 19″ wheels.

    41. Thats it is it – the radical changes? I have a vision of F1 in ten years time – all the engine manufactures gone to Formula-e (now hitting 200mph for two hours) along with the sponsors and the fans. Fi reduced to two Ferraris going around, racing each other on Arabian tracks with empty grandstands. Bernie in a four-stroke bathchair (electric never!) directing things and counting the dwindling cash, Ron on the verge of signing a title sponsor stuck in the pits too poor to race…..everyone else long gone.

    42. So sad to say that after 45 years (I’m 53 hardly ancient yet!) though I still love single seater racing, I’m starting to loath F1. Its corporate, sickening, cold, sterile and distant (I think the final straw was the standard podium and the Santander trophies)…..and its bloody dull to watch.

    43. I love the wide cars of the mid 90’s. However I also agree with Mercedes that what the 18-35 demographic matters the most. Find out what the hard core race fans in that range what and you secure a brighter future for F1.

    44. Aren’t wider, shorter cars with thinner tires will end up very close looking to LMP1 cars ?

      F1 Flirting with 1000hp, tires, close cockpit, cover tires, 3 cars teams, etc..

      Aiming for a fraction of what even Nissan LMP1 hybrid power @ 1250hp, seems F1 is a bit too short.

      Every once in a while seems F1 is following all the other categories a bit

      What F1 need is not loosing TV pay check,
      all the other categories need is more coverage to catch up.

    45. I started watching F1 in 1997, and those pictures of the Arrows and Ferrari stopped me in my tracks. Simpler aerodynamics, wider cars, slipstreaming galore, wailing V10 engines, and great racing. Maybe I’m just being nostalgic, but it seemed like a golden time.
      I’ll just leave this here…
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPbT_0fb7Wg

    46. Do you have another 1997 F1 cars picture..?

    47. Yeah,lets change the rules again.Lets throw out all the R and D that has been going into this and last years cars.Lets throw away all the money thats been spent so far on this and last years cars.Lets totally redesign the cars and throw away even more money.
      No wonder teams go broke and others can’t move much past the mid field runners

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