Why wider cars doesn’t mean less overtaking

2015 F1 season

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The prospect of F1 switching back to two-metre-wide cars of the type last seen in 1997 provoked a mixed response from readers last week.

One similar observation came up several times from those who expressed doubts about the plan: a concern that wider cars would be more difficult to overtake, and so we will see less exciting racing if the plan happens.

But the reality is probably a lot less straightforward than this, and there’s plenty of data which can give us some perspective on it. First of all, will how much harder will it be for drivers in wider cars to overtake each other?

As the current cars measure 1,800mm wide, if that is increased by 200mm then an extra 400mm of track width will be required when two cars go side-by-side. (For a rough comparison, the first image is of a 2,000mm wide car and the second shows a 1,800mm wide car, and both have the same front and rear wing widths).

Are the tracks wide enough to accommodate this extra width? Appendix O to the International Sporting Regulations specifies the requirements for circuits which hold Formula One races. Track designers get some leeway when it comes to width, particularly in the case of street circuits where brief sections may be very narrow (such as Singapore’s Andersen Bridge).

However the recommended minimum track width is pretty generous:

When planning new permanent circuits, the track width foreseen should be at least 12m. Where the track width changes, the transition should be made as gradually as possible, at a rate not greater than 1m in 20m total width.

The width of the starting grid should be at least 15m; this width must be maintained through to the exit of the first corner (as indicated by the racing line).
Appendix O to the International Sporting Code

In practice, tracks are often considerably wider than this, especially at key overtaking places. Bahrain’s grand prix circuit, for example, is up to 22 metres wide at points – enough to get 11 2m cars side-by-side (although they would all be touching). Even the new temporary street circuit at Sochi, used for the first time last year, is no narrower than 13 metres wide at any point.

The table below gives examples of minimum and maximum track widths at a range of F1 circuits, and shows how many cars of the two different widths can fit alongside each other in that space:

TrackMax/MinWidth (m)1.8m cars side-by-side2m cars side-by-side
Bahrain International CircuitMinimum147.77
Bahrain International CircuitMaximum2212.211
Sochi AutodromMinimum137.26.5
Sochi AutodromMaximum158.37.5

Older circuits tend to be narrower than new ones. Most of the latter were built since the narrow-track cars were introduced in 1998. However even comparatively cramped tracks such as Monza are still able to accommodate at least three two-metre-wide cars running side-by-side with a reasonable amount of space between them.

Monaco is the perennial exception when it comes to F1 track design. But realistically, we already see very little passing there with 1.8m wide cars, and it’s doubtful adding a few extra centimetres in width is going to make a considerable amount of difference.

For further proof of the possibility of racing with wider cars, consider that in 1997, when cars last measured two metres wide, F1 raced on the old Hockenheimring which is far narrower than most current circuits. Yet fabulous side-by-side (and DRS-free) racing was still possible:

It’s also worth remembering the rules on defensive driving are more clearly defined now than they were then, making it easier for a driver to make a pass.

But there are other, more subtle ways that having wider cars and the proposed wider tyres could influence the quality of racing and the difficulty of overtaking. It’s hard to make a clear-cut case for whether it would make life harder or easier for the drivers.

The mooted widening of the rear tyres from 325mm to 400mm could have a very significant effect. The turbulent air produced by tyres is a major challenge for aerodynamicists. They would prefer to shroud the tyres in bodywork to reduce drag, but the rules forbid it.

Therefore a potential 23% increase in the width of the tyres would significantly increase the disturbed air coming off the back of an F1 car. As every racing fan knows this has both positive and negative effects when it comes to encouraging overtaking: a chasing car is robbed of downforce in a corner and therefore loses grip, whereas on a straight the car in front provides a slipstream effect which allows the pursuer to catch up.

Assuming the increase in car width extends to its wings and bodywork, designers would have greater scope to increase the amount of downforce a car produces. The FIA has been wary of allowing speeds to escalate in this way, however, so it should not be taken for granted that this would happen. And then there’s the question of what they might do with DRS.

While 2,000mm F1 cars will not be drastically more difficult to pass by dint of being wider, exactly what effect the move will have on the quality of the racing will depend on the detail of the regulations.

However it is likely that another major change in the car regulations would force costs up at a time when teams are already struggling. The question therefore becomes whether F1 can afford the change, whether the positives outweigh the negatives, and whether the aesthetic improvements will be appreciated by everyone. That is all up for debate.

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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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67 comments on “Why wider cars doesn’t mean less overtaking”

  1. Some will argue 2,000mm cars are better looking than 1,800mm ones but that’s because of today’s regulations. Make the rear wing larger and mount it lower and you have a gorgeous car. That McLaren in the article is beautiful!

    1. But if you widen and lower the rear wing it makes it harder for the car behind the follow in the corners. The switch to taller wings has made the racing so much better over these past few seasons.

      1. You mean DRS and Pirellis?

        1. No the DRS and Pirellis have done little to improve the racing. The changes to the front and rear wings allow the cars to actually get within 1 second of each other. If you look back to the mid 2000’s it wasn’t uncommon to see the whole field strung out in 2 seconds intervals because the aerodynamics prevented the cars from getting close to each other. If we went back to racing like that I would give up on F1.

          1. In 2010, we hardly saw them swaping places, and we had this aero and the rules avoiding refuelling.

            Without plenty of pitstops, degrading tyres and DRS, we field would finish the way it started.

          2. Hardly swapping places? 2010 had much more overtaking than any season with refueling.
            Do people only remember 2010 for Bahrain and Abu Dhabi?

          3. 2010 didn’t have much overtaking between leaders of a race, but otherwise I remember the racing through the rest of the field being the best I’d seen up to that point, which is why I say DRS as so unnecessary the following year.

        2. I think its more a case of do away with track limits. So, just for example, Alonso can use the run off and rejoin and that would be deemed an overtake and not remedial action.

          Only trouble would be: if how far off course you could travel is not defined clearly enough, would we still be able to say with confidence that e.g. Lewis won the hungarian gp, if he was only on that circuit 34% of race duration?

          1. … or, even more extreme an example, if a winner at silverstone had gone so far off track limits that he was deemed to be nearer to spa than silverstone during the race, would he be deemed the winner of the british or the belgian grand prix??

          2. I guess one way out might be to make drivers declare which gp they intended to win before every race start ….
            Ah, connundrums…

        3. I have also seen people complaining about BridgeStone in the same forum, as they were like, one can finish the whole GP with one set.
          Regarding DRS, I am curious to see how does racing and overtaking is affected with the narrow wing. I remember pre DRS days there were overtaking in pit and there were many races with 0 overtakes.
          Wider and lower rear wing will definitely reduce overtaking as it destroys the air.

          1. *with the narrow wing and no DRS.

          2. @aks-das

            I remember pre DRS days there were overtaking in pit and there were many races with 0 overtakes.

            There has never been an F1 race with 0 overtakes, Closest we got was Imola 2006 which only featured 1 but that low figure was not common.

            Pre-2010 there was usually at least around 10 overtakes (Usually more) a race, When refueling was banned for 2010 that figure went up a lot & Monaco was the only race which fetured single digits in terms of overtaking, Most featured at least 15-20+.

    2. @paeschli Keith has a soft spot for the 2m wide cars. Keith I think the spec that ended in 97 had it’s charm. This change would harm overtaking in certain situations that’s a given but it shouldn’t matter too much so I agree with you. I also agree with Paeschli, the issue is proportions, F1 cars are not very well proportioned it’s not 2m that’s going to save that, what made the 1998 cars ungainly was the tyres, size and shape, not the width. I am for lowering the rear wing. In my view I would trim the wheelbase, I don’t really care about 2m. The golden ration the 1.618 is the mathematical solution to the overall shape of F1 cars. I think a good analogy can be made with men’s perception of female beauty.

      1. Actually an lower rear wing isn’t enough for overtaking. Enclose the wheels is much beter as the air will be more stable. But it seems it’s against the rules but I am sure they should change the rules to enclose the rear wheels and not all 4 wheels. That will keep the open wheels racing while helping overtaking.

  2. I don’t think the overtaking issue with wider cars about track width.

    It’s that when you make the cars wider:
    1. The number of potential racing lines through a corner is reduced, limiting the degree of freedom for the driver
    2. It’s even harder to pass around the outside, as the radius for the car on the outside will increase

    1. @tom_ec1 Both of which having a lot to do with track width?

    2. Bingo. This article focuses entirely on track width but that’s not the problem. The article makes it sound like passing should be a piece of cake because the track is so wide but it’s the compromised line in the corner that does it.

      This will make the overtaking car even further from the apex.

      1. Remember that you normally do not pass in a corner unless the lead driver made a significant mistake. Typically you close going into and through the corner and you overtake coming out. The real question is what needs to be done to allow the trailing car to drive right behind the lead car through the corner? Making the car wider will only achieve that if done as part of an effort to move away from aero grip and toward mechanical grip.

    3. @tom_ec1 @philipgb I haven’t got time right now to work out and compare the radii for different car and corner widths (perhaps someone else can oblige with a few real-world examples) but I suspect if you did you’d find the difference in high speed corners is negligible and in slow speed corners a driver on the outside might have to travel a metre further or something like that.

      What additional percentage of attempted overtaking moves would fail as a result of that? Probably not very many in an era when drivers are jabbing their magic overtaking buttons and often completing moves long before a braking zone anyway.

      This article focuses entirely on track width

      Only if you don’t read the last six paragraphs.

      1. @keithcollantine do you have any info regarding how width affects downforce? Tha should tell us more about how much overtaking we should see

        1. not only downforce, but grip, and effect on the suspension

          1. A wider track car will generate more lateral grip from the mechanical/chassis elements of the car because the roll centre will be lower. This will provide greater opportunity to defend/attack in the twisties because grip will be higher at moments of low downforce ( e.g. low speed). As such, the increased mechanical grip will probably negate the concerns surrounding radii.

          2. That was what I wondered. There is a chance that we will see more overtaking. I suppose that engineers will have to redesign some components on the suspension in order to maximise the grip generated by wider cars. And if F1 maintains the tall rear wings (it will look weird though) we should see a better show.

        2. @johnmilk The article does go into that.

          1. It does but not directly to the effects promoted just by widening the car. It also refers to larger tyres and wings, those effects are easier to see. On the other hand @coefficient explained what would probably happen…

    4. Surely that’s offset by the opposite also being true – it means that a car which has left a gap would find it harder to defend against a car which was attempting to overtake up the inside, meaning that drivers would be able to make more marginal passes stick if they send one up the inside, while trading off against it being a bit harder to pass around the outside. There would be more variation between the cars if they’re running side by side through sweeping corners and switchbacks.

      Also, while I do see the point you’re making, I think the position of the car running on the outside is determined as much by the length and the angle of the car running along the inside. F1 cars don’t move in a constant radius around a corner, and they’re not banana shaped so there’s always one point of the car which is against the apex, and two points which are effectively sticking out into the track. Hence, the length of the car and the width of the front wing are as much factors in this as the width of the car. if not possibly more so.

  3. Watching that clip above reminds me just how nice those cars sounded. Don’t get me wrong I like hybrid technology and the future developments are important but wow the sound of twenty two cars coming down the copse at Silverstone in 1994 will live with me forever.

    1. Hearing current cars race does NOT make the hair on the back of your neck stand up like even the midfield cars did back then. Period.

  4. I don’t think the total width of the track is the most relevant measure. The true measure is, that to overtake you will have to be 40 cm further off the racing line (or 20cm for the midline to midline)

    Lets say you are going round a 180 degree hairpin where the race line is at a radius of 10m, you would need to cover 31.4m on the racing line, to get around it the outside you would need to cover 37m in today’s cars, or 37.8m in the larger cars. So potentially some corners where you can drive around the outside today will become harder to overtake.

    Also with larger cars as pointed out in the previous articles comments it makes blocking easier, to defend the inside line in a corner today you only need to be 1.79m from the inside, with larger cars it would be 1.99m with the attacking car a further 0.1m out. This changes the angle of the attacking car through the corner meaning they can’t carry as much speed, and thus can’t overtake.

    I’m not saying that wider cars aren’t a good thing, I’m just saying that racing-lines/driveable-lines are a more accurate way to look at the ability to overtake rather than track width. If they only make cars wider the physics shows that it becomes harder to overtake.

    1. Yeah, but on a really slow corner of say 60mph/100kph cars are travelling 27.7 metres in one second! So that 0.8m extra distance in your first example would take about 3 hundreths of a second longer to drive than the narrow cars would take, but surely the car on the inside would be going a fraction slower too, so I’d love to know how many overtakes of that kind would have failed over that kind of margin?

      Plus would they naturally have more grip with a wider wheelbase?

      1. @ginja42 and that extra 0.8m was calculated using some dubious rounding, it’s closer to 0.6m and even that was only achieved by taking a 180 degree corner and assuming that the cars hug the inside throughout the corner entry, apex and exit.

    2. Came to type this; agreed thoroughly. Track width is a borderline irrelevant factor here.

    3. Wider cars = wider racing line, so the distance will be the same. midline to midline that will be larger

      Still the cars will have more grip, which may turn overtaking easier

  5. Keep the rear wing high up because after all it was made higher to reduce the turbulence for the following car.
    400 mm wide rear tires sounds great (I have been waiting for this since they made them narrow in 1993).
    But I think it would be enough to make the cars 1900 mm wide. That would look just right! Not too narrow and not too wide.

  6. This article touched on a point that bears repeating. Cost to implement.
    There is always so much talk of changing Major areas of the cars to improve the “show”. And while I don’t want to see dinosaurs doing laps around my favorite tracks I would love to see stability in the base platform. All that while allowing ingenuity and engineering talent to shine by opening certain key areas for development. Like certain aero areas on the cars one year and then freeze them and open others on the car for the next. Perhaps tokens for aero development?
    I liked how there were different solutions to the front wings of last year even though they were ugly. It showed the viewers a tangible example of the complex engineering involved. I’d like to see more of that but with stability in the base platform for a while.

  7. I don’t think the width of the track surface is an issue. I don’t even think things like the ‘number of racing lines’ will vary from what we have now. My thoughts are with the changes in car dynamics. Wider cars corner faster, all else being equal. I expect that would shorten braking zones, making a pass on the brakes harder. Having said that, the cars might be easier to control when they slide (less pendulum effect of weight transfer) so drivers might feel more comfortable having a go, either on the brakes or in the corner. Lap times could get faster. Or someone might complain that they’ve become too easy to drive. And they’d be better looking, but is that a priority?

    If I was in charge of the regs, I’d keep these engines, open up chassis dimensions, limit brake duct development, then give each team an allowance of carbon fibre, for bodywork use only, for each season. Xm^2. With certain no-go areas kept clear of bodywork (wheels and inboard, for instance), it would be up to the team to allocate that material in the best way to control the aerodynamics. One team might try to eke out as much ground effect as possible, others might try to create a ‘wing car’, some may stay conventional with front and rear elements. And I know how we don’t really like specification parts… how about a specification CFD package for all teams, to equalise development?

    Please don’t make too many jokes about how I must be off my face.

    1. @splittimes While it seems like a decent idea, the problem with a strict allowance of CF is how are they going to regulate it? Just like a hard cost cap, how was/is that to be regulated? Too many teams use different kinds of CF too so you can’t just give them one type of CF for their jobs; some is lighter and less strong, and some is heavier and stronger, etc.

    2. How about an NBA/NHL/NFL like Salary Cap? I don’t think it would work properly but it may work for some areas, like limiting salary for your staff so big teams don’t have this large amount of people working for them.

  8. One season into a new formula that produced some of the best wheel to wheel racing we’ve seen for years and it seems every man and his dog wants to change it.

    What is it they say about wishes and being careful?

    1. Good point there Frogster

  9. It helps sometimes with these marginal debates to consider the extremes.

    At the ‘narrow’ end a good example would be MotoGP where the machine is as compact as reasonably possible. Overtaking with similarly paced bikes can be several times a lap with Rossi/Marquez/Lorenzo for example. Go to the other extreme and consider a machine much wider than the 2000mm proposed and racing lines become far more compromised through the corner and margin for clearance and errors that will be penalised drops considerably.

    So yes, it does make overtaking more difficult to increase width, the only question is by how much? I don’t really care what the cars look like, I just like to see overtaking moves of the calibre of Ricciardo last season, seems to me this is change for changes sake, don’t do it.

    The reason the audiences are in decline is cost out of watching the F1 live, be it at the track or pay TV. Increasing the width of the car will just hasten this through [slightly] less competitive racing.

  10. I really hope wider cars don’t happen. Part of F1 is developing car technology to the limit, and narrower cars are a great show of what can be done with less space to work with.

    I’m all for widening the rear tyres, but I do think that if they are widened, the front tyres should be widened a little bit too, otherwise the tyre width proportion will seem very wrong.

    Keith, you say that in Monaco it will make very little difference, but I believe the complete opposite. How many overtakes do we see which have a matter of centimetres between the cars / walls? Adding 40cm to that could make quite a difference. That’s not to say these won’t still happen, but it will make things even more difficult.

    I don’t see how it makes the cars look any better anyway.

    1. @strontium A good example is watching the closing laps of 1992 Monaco GP of wide cars and what happened.

      Then watch the 2014 Monaco GP of HUL on MAG and BIA on KOB. I doubt those could happen in 20cm wider cars.

  11. Can’t say I can quite wrap my head around this. The cars used to be wider and they managed Monaco just fine. Why is there even a debate that width would inhibit passing? That will all depend on what regs would accompany wider cars. And if DRS will still be in play the question of passing is moot…there will be passing…F1 is already not concerned about the quality of passing or it would never have instigated DRS.

    So wider cars, sure, wider tires, sure, 1000 HP, sure…will that cause people to bring out their wallets in a globally tough time? Doubt it. How about…don’t make viewing F1 formidably expensive at a time when there is huge global uncertainty economically speaking? Right when people are on average less secure in their confidence of job security, you want them to commit huge bucks to see it. Also at a time when fewer youth are buying cars, and more and more they need to stay at home longer to save for a down-payment on housing that has gotten out of the typical first-time home buyer’s hands financially.

    Even the constant talk of change in F1 makes it seem like it must not be a good product if they are always trying to change it. How does a new team know what is going to be asked of it after their first few years at the regs they originally signed up for?

    It’s not an easy time to capture and keep audience, and I think it has more to do with global phenomena off the racetrack moreso than what is happening on the track. So imho why not simplify, put the driving back in the hands of the drivers who should be thought of as gladiators, not passengers monitoring systems and racing only when told they can, bring F1 back to regular cable and satellite packages in Europe, and see where that takes it. Pirelli and DRS have not stopped the reduction in viewership, so get rid of those failed gadgets…back to tires that allow more time for the driver’s to push their cars to the limit, less dirty air effect, and let’s see the athletes behind the wheel thrill us without the luxury of a push-to-pass button that only ruins any perception that these wanna-be gladiators are doing something special.

    1. Finally, someone talking sense! I agree with all of what you’ve said, but I’ll add, why not offer a cash bonus of sorts to each driver who makes a pass? It doesn’t have to be much, just a little extra bonus. Also, if a driver gets stung for dangerous driving (bound to happen if they get bonuses for every pass) they lose that amount in cash. Maldonado would go broke I know, but it could work for others lol. Making drivers really fight hard for every place, even if it’s for second last, and penalising every mistake with cash penalties on top of the racing penalties they already get.

    2. Yep agreed @robbie. And if the argument to counter you is that f1 is a sport for the elite or upper class who can afford it, well consider that particular portion of the population is not the masses and thus not a source of the revenue/profit margins f1 believes is its right.

  12. 1)If some drivers fail to adapt to wider cars very well, there will be more accidents. Safety First!
    Going from wide to narrow is much easier than going from narrow to wide.
    2)It is certain that stable regulations will help small teams save cost AND make cars’ performance CLOSER! (One should remember that some teams are legally using old parts/design on their new cars.)

  13. geez, some people thing wider f1 cars are really really WIDE – we are talking 200mm. its not like they will be 2.5m wide, geez.

    f1 will never be a sport for overtaking, so just bring back better looking cars (wider), and better sounding cars. the show keeps getting less and less attractive (though the noses are better this year)

  14. Wider cars would make overtaking a bit more difficult not necessarily in terms of the width but more because the area of dirty air coming off the back of the cars would be wider & if they went back to the lower/narrower rear wings it would be sending the worst of it closer to the front wings which woudl make the issue of following cars a bigger problem.

    Thinking back to 1998 the primary reasons for the narrowing of the cars was to help overtaking, To slow cornering speeds & to make the cars a bit more difficult to drive as the narrow track cars were a bit more twitchy than the wider cars of Pre-98, Something the grooved tyres made even worse.

    The wider cars may well look better, They may well be faster but I question the reason for doing it because not only will it increase cost’s at a time when that really isn’t the best thing to do but I also don’t believe these changes will bring people back to the sport, Especially if all of the proposed changes end up having a negative effect on the quality of the racing as I believe they may.

    Instead of doing the usual knee-jerk reactions & making short sighted changes just because its what they feel people want to see. They should instead look at the longer term & make a set of regulation changes which will actually put the quality of the racing at the forefront & remove the need for things like DRS & the High-Deg tyres.
    Let us not forget that before these more artificial elements were introduced in 2011 we had what was actually a well thought out & positive set of regulation changes planned in the form of ground effects, A set of regulation changes which would have more than likely improved the racing & not needed DRS or High-deg tyres to produce good, close racing & overtaking.

    Thats the route Indycar went, A fair portion of there grip is generated from underneath the car & the racing over there is usually pretty good. The 1st-gen GP2 car was the same & the racing that produced was some of the best i’ve ever seen, Sadly they moved away from that with the 2nd/3rd-gen cars & I don’t believe the racing has been as good as it was with the 1st car.

    My final point would be that you should look at who’s making what suggestions. FOM are going purely for spectacle because thats what Bernie believes will bring fans back, Red Bull want more downforce because thats there biggest strength, Ferrari want different engines because they believe they would be stronger with the formula they suggested, Mercedes don’t want to change much because they have the best overall package right now, Other teams want lower costs & the FIA don’t know what they want because the guy in charge is taking a hands off approach that just isn’t working & is letting everyone else run out of control trying to mold F1 to there own interest’s & belief’s.

    The problem with F1 isn’t just Bernie, Or CVC, Its not the FIA, Its not PayTV & its certainly not lack of spectacle… Its that nobody is taking a step back & trying to look at things beyond there own nose, Everyone is in it for THEM & not F1 as a whole. You could get rid of any one of those ‘issues’ but you still have the other dozen idiots so nothing would change & until somebody realizes that no amount of band aid solutions or random rule changes is going to actually fix anything.

    1. They entire reason for the ’98 changes were safety, not to improve overtaking, as it wasn’t a problem – safety was.

      The thinking behind it was the cars had too much grip, and after the events of ’94, each year they were thinking of new ways to slow down cornering speeds, as well as modifying corners on circuits to make them safer. They narrowed the wheel track of the cars and introduced the grooved tyres to limit the grip, but over the coming decade the teams had overcome the deficit with aerodynamic grip, and the tyre war produced grooved tyres with higher grip than the slicks used before ’98.

      The ’09 regs tried to reduce the dominance of downforce, and the dirty air the cars produced, by severely limiting winglets over the bodywork, and brought full slicks back to ensure the car’s lost aero grip was made up for by increased mechanical grip.

      I agree with you on the subject of ground effect, but I’ll point out f1 cars very much do take advantage of ground effect for downforce. What I’d suggest is the re-introduction of full length venturi tunnels in the floor, one either side of the plank, with strict regs on dimensions, and a big reduction in wings (think monza spec rbr rear wing as a max), with front wings reduced to no more than 3 elements, and no cascade winglets.

      The front wing wouldn’t be so important as it is now, it wouldn’t produce anywhere near as much downforce, and without the cascades it wouldn’t serve to send air to every part of the car the designers want to, making it very simple, and less of a loss to overall downforce if it’s running in dirty air.

      The rear wing would only serve to balance the downforce, as the bulk of the downforce would be produced by the floor, which would be producing downforce more centrally, again, making the simple wings possible without taking a loss in overall downforce.

      Lastly, a complete ban on brake duct winglets, the rear ones are out of hand now and they produce so much turbulent air right where you don’t want it if you want cars running closer to each other.

    2. Some very good points in there @gt-racer. I think the most important point is, there is no real need to change the cars and up cost.

      The issues F1 are having are not as much about the cars on track and the racing (although yes, I would like them to get back to the original concept without DRS etc and with a larger section of DF generated by the underbody). The issues are far more on the money side and containing cost. Changing the rules will only worsen that.

  15. Haven’t seen anyone mention how long F1 cars are now which is making them look even narrower.

  16. Indy car Dallara DW 12 is about two-metre-wide

  17. What a load of nonsense. this does not benefit the fans in any way shape or form. It doesn’t benefit the teams either. What is the point with this. They should be working towards making race tickets more accessible, better facilities for the fans. More distribution channels, ie online content. This is all a complete load of bs. Smoke and mirrors so they don’t have to address the real issues. And the media and some dumb fans eat this bs right up. They go nuts about this kind of nonsense. It’s unbelievable how short a attention spam some fans and media have. Jeez….

    1. Well said. We all know that the real problem with F1 is the governance of F1 – all of this talk of changing the cars is simply a distraction from the real fact that it is governance of F1 that needs changing.

  18. Odd that in the “good” old days when the cars were wider and the tires bigger the drivers complained less about being able to overtake cars. I personally do not believe that the tires alone are a big factor in more turbulent air. I think that it probably a combination of all the other aero stuff like the ridiculous front wings and win endplate cut outs.

  19. For me it’s ok current 1800 mm width and tyre width.
    F1 cars should be small and light imo
    Just allow wider and lower rear wing and simplify front wing, allow freedom central section

  20. Some people want to keep 1800mm cars, some want 2000mm cars (my personal preference). What about 1900mm cars then? ;)

  21. If you want wider cars, just change aspect ratio on your TV to Cinema!

    That is: if the main reason is aesthetics then we should not force the teams to go through another expensive redevelopment round. The main target should be to increase racing (which was already quite good in 2014) with a minimum additional cost burden on the teams.

  22. I’ve got a very limited knowledge of aerodynamics, but since wake is such a problem for following closely in the corners, could the diffusers be shallower if exhaust blowing was permitted again? Less air thrown up away from the following car’s front wing, but some of the downforce lost should potentially be clawed back via the blowing, and sealing of the diffuse.

  23. I just think they’re so obviously looking in the wrong place it’s all a bit fake. The racing is the best there’s ever been. The cars are the least of F1’s problems and all this searching for gimmicks and window-dressing is alienating.

    They need to work on the data they give us. ERS. GPS. Then free-to-air, ticket prices, crowds, atmosphere and a full grid of cars in the same class. It’s not hard. Not wide tyres either, nor adolescent mockups which, if you could ever legislate for them at all, would produce a grid of clones.

  24. Can’t we just make the cars/wheelbase shorter instead?

    It’s the proportions that are wrong, not necessarily the width. Ok, it might result in less coke bottles but so be it.

  25. I honestly don’t care about car width. What’s the reason behind this discussion? Is there anything that would be improved by allowing wider cars?

  26. Sorry if I’m repeating what someone else has already said, but I took a look and didn’t see it….

    So, am I right in thinking that the move to wider tires would probably result in more straight-line passing (I assume in conjunction with DRS), and less in the corners? I know the increased turbulence off the rear will encourage this, but would the increased grip (because of larger tire surface) counteract that a bit? Or is it irrelevant, because all the cars would have that same advantage? Lol, just trying to make sense of this.

    Thanks :)

    1. Oh god.. nevermind. It seems my brain decided to stop working when I wrote this post. Please ignore!

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