F1 warned against drastic changes to cars in 2017

2015 F1 season

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Formula One rule makers have been warned to avoid making drastic changes to the technical regulations in 2017 in another drive to make the sport more entertaining.

During today’s FIA press conference several of the teams’ technical representatives expressed a view that the standard of competition in F1 and the performance of the cars would improve if the technical rules were left alone.

“I think people forget at the moment the racing’s actually quite good,” said Nick Chester of Lotus. “There’s good battles up and down the whole grid.”

“And the car’s performance is improving a lot, we’re seeing two seconds improvement from last year, do we really need a huge change of regulation?

“A huge change of regulation is going to open up the grid again, there will be bigger differences between teams, and obviously its going to add a lot of cost. So I think we shouldn’t forget the show’s actually not bad at the moment.”

Mercedes has won 19 out of the last 23 races, and its executive director for technical Paddy Lowe acknowledged fans would like to see more unpredictability. He suggested this could be done by making changes to the sporting rules – such as how tyres are allocated – rather than the design of the cars.

“Changes to sporting regulations generally don’t attach cost and can change the sport in subtle ways that improve the spectacle, improve the interest, improve the uncertainty,” he said. “That is what you really want from race to race: that it’s not clear who’s going to win.”

However McLaren’s Jonathan Neale said there was one area of car development which should be reconsidered.

“Personally I think we would be foolish to mess around with the immense amount of good work that has been done on the power unit,” he said. “Maybe some minor adjustments, but it’s a much more efficient package, it’s got some great technology, it’s still maturing in the sport and the price can come down if it’s left to mature because we’re not putting in the same R&D cost.”

“So I would leave that alone but I would look for, we’ve spoken about a stepchange in aerodynamics to make sure that these cars are difficult to drive and maintain that performance gap to the other junior series and Formula One remains an out-and-out race.

“We can still have the efficiency, we can still have many other attributes of the sport, but it just think it should be a flat-out race.”

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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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44 comments on “F1 warned against drastic changes to cars in 2017”

  1. I agree, although I wouldn’t mind them adjusting the fuel rate to bring the current PU’s up to 1000 bhp.

    1. @f1-yankee I don’t think it’s that simple….

      1. Of course not, neither do I do. As Toto mentioned, they would have to make adjustments to other parts of the engine package to achieve this, but that its possible. I just assume details like that are common knowledge to someone who would be a member here.

      2. @davidnotcoulthard – It is. Allow larger fuel tanks, and higher fuel rate and you’ll get more power. Yes, you would probably also want higher revs and therefore allow some PU tweaking associated with more fuel, revs, and power. But I don’t think it would need to be a massive change.

        That may address both of Mr Neale’s concerns at once as more power/torque would likely make the cars more difficult to drive. It sounded like he wanted less aero, but if people are waxing nostalgic for the performance of the V-10 era, then they need more power and more aero. And even then, without having traction control, they won’t be as easy to drive as the V-10 era.

        1. It is. Allow larger fuel tanks, and higher fuel rate and you’ll get more power. Yes, you would probably also want higher revs and therefore allow some PU tweaking associated with more fuel, revs, and power. But I don’t think it would need to be a massive change.

          @hobo But are the engines capable of that much fuel/RPM without prematurely falling apart or forcing teams to underutilise it?

          1. Well they’re already designed to spin to 15k, and there’s no limit on boost pressure. Engines blow when starved for fuel, maybe that is part of Renault s problem?

          2. The engine manufacturers would have do do some serious work to get them optimized to a higher fuel flow limit @davidnotcoulthard, @f1-yankee. Less than throwing out what they now have and starting anew. But still a considerable amount of work.

            IMO the best way forward is just to let the teams push on and get more out of the current engines.

          3. @f1-yankee the engines are allowed to Rev to 15k, however, they are not actually designed to since the would run out of fuel of they did. Also, there is a limit on boost pressure. Teams may not exceed 500 bar if memory serves.
            Increased fuel flow will absolutely increase power – that much is simple. The complications come later. If you increase power, you must also increase the strength of the components. Cranks, pistons, casings and shafts must all be strengthen to cope with the extra power and revs to remain reliable and that is where the escalation in costs come in. Look at any of the on board shots that have the FOM telemetry and you will never see a engine Rev past 12k. Not even the Mercs.

          4. @eoin16 As I said before to others, to everything you typed, I know! LOL I honestly assume that these details are common knowledge. I’ve learned my lesson. It’s kind of annoying really. You correct me, but you yourself do not fully understand the technology. For instance, you think that the BOOST pressure limit is 500 bar. 500 bar equates to 7,252 psi. Do you seriously think there is a turbo that could produce 7,252 psi? Let alone a ICE engine that could withstand that amount? And with the limit of course insinuating it could be exceeded!? Do you have any idea how hot that air would be? (Neither do I, but really freaking hot) That is Jet engine territory bruh. In drag racing, where cars make far more than power than any F1 engine ever, most run less than 5 bar, FIVE. There are some staged turbo systems ( Turbo into turbo, second compressing the charge of the first ) that reach 150psi+, 10+ bar. The 500 bar limit refers to the fuel system pressure. Pressurizing liquid and air is not the same, obviously. I honestly am not trying to be rude, but I can’t take you seriously. I apologize for coming off aggressive, but this happens all the time. Next you guys will tell me that the engine wont rev to 15k because it hasn’t been started yet lmao

          5. pxcmerc (@)
            9th May 2015, 7:26

            @Nigel, those drag cars have significantly more displacement than the small (not-so) economical F1 engines.

            The real issue is the manufacturers will be the only ones left standing because the smaller teams will effectively be done for. F1’s problem is not over taking or the lack of competition, it’s the idea if you ban something or if you can just control something through regulation you can fix something. The arrogance of the people in charge of F1 is what is killing it, and stifling any sort of competition below the ranks of the manufacturers. You don’t even need a cost cap, you just need to open up opportunities, that’s all there is to it. More opportunities equals more risks equals more expensive for manufacturers to cover up the competition.

          6. @pcxmerc – There are different classes in drag racing all over the world, with some cars using stock blocks as small as 1.3L, so no, they isn’t always a huge displacement advantage. In addition, that has no absolutely bearing on the context I used them as an example, none. It would actually further prove my point that even a much larger engine still couldn’t produce enough exhaust gasses for an astronomical 500 bar. Which even further gets to my point that you guys just throw out random comments lol

    2. As long as there is engine component called ‘waste-gate’ it’s to early to talk about flaw rate increase in order to obtain more power. Existence of waste gate just proves that MGU-H could convert more heat energy into electricity. However, the problem of superfluous electricity pops up due to inability to charge the batteries with the same current flow as they reach near full capacity level. The trick would be to bypass battery charging and redirect the MGU-H current to MGU-K obtaining extra power, for free. Sounds simple but making it drivable would be a nightmare. To cut the long story – these engines can reach 1000bhp with contemporary fuel rate. It’s only a matter of time!

      1. Very good point!

      2. As long as there is engine component called ‘waste-gate’ it’s to early to talk about flaw rate increase

        Why does f1 increase its flaw rate every year? :)

  2. I’ve been told from an ex work mate who has just a job in F1 that there’s a big change to the aerodynamics with a big rear wing, they are going to be twin turbo engines with at least 1000bhp. All the teams know now that it’s a done deal but it hasn’t been confirmed yet.

  3. Formula One, the only sport where the rules change every year.

    1. @paeschli You mean motorsports?

      1. F1 is the only sport I follow but as far as I know: GP 2 2014 had the same rules as GP 2 2013 and in the WEC there are no big rule changes every year.

        1. Well in all fairness WEC has changed quite a few rules from last year: less test days,narrower tyres,less engines for the season,less tyres for the races,fuel allocation for energy class and a few others I won’t bore you with; you don’t hear about them because WEC does a better job of promoting itself in the name of common sense rather than bickering over anything and everything like F1 people…Also the only other sport you can compare Motorsport to is sailing,every other comparison doesn’t really make sense (rule changes are part of the game)

          1. @Lenny, it is also worth noting that the ACO has also issued a number of “clarifications” on the regulations for this year.

            Whilst they’re not officially changing the regulations per se, they have comprehensively changed how those regulations would be interpreted – mainly because it looks like the ACO doesn’t want to explicitly shame certain manufacturers who were breaking the regulations by outright banning certain devices, but by changing their interpretation of the rules in such a way as to ban certain components.

  4. What about relaxing the rules regarding engine development in 2016 + all the other proposals?

  5. The cars’ chassis are fine,the aero is fine,the fuel flow is fine and the lack of driver aids is super fine!What they need is mega performing tyres!Not necessarily in term of durability (2 stops is a good combo for decent races) but consistency and stickiness; These cars have enough performance to destroy any other racing machine by a mile given good tyres but at the moment GP2 and Le Mans prototypes are too close in lap times…Leave the cars alone

    1. Thiago Brasil
      8th May 2015, 18:26

      I’d just add that teams should be allowed to have some freedom in chassis regulations…the cars are too similar.

      But yes, performance tyres that get the most from the car is a key point.

      1. I don’t really mind the chassis rules as at least the cars are “clean” and don’t have silly appendices…Knowing a team is performing because of a good engine or efficient turbo is way better than being told they are quick because of a 10inch flap in some obscure part of the chassis which cost 10milion to develop!The money that would have been spent on aero in now used to pay for better more efficient power units.Engines and good tyres should decide the pecking order not wind tunnels

  6. the cars are fine! just lower the costs please so more teams can get on the grid in the first place.

  7. Thiago Brasil
    8th May 2015, 18:32

    Fine aerodynamics is what differentiate the most F1 cars from the rest of motor world, and we’re seeing the effect of less aero in this last year and a half. With the same 2000’s aero regulations and the current engines, lap times would certainly fall a lot.

    Performance tyres and some chassis freedom to allow teams to have some freedom to work in the car – which includes their appearance, they look to similar – would be interesting.

    1. One should not forget that in the 2000’s the regulations were changed for safety reasons.

  8. Wider tyres, less aero, no DRS.
    Wider tyres, less aero, no DRS.
    Sorry, I know I go on about this.

    1. mechanical grip is way more entertaining to watch than fickle aero that disapears when you’re following a car.

      remove the gillete mach 9000 front wings, they look horrible

    2. @john-h, no need to apologise, and please people get it into your head that faster laps due to more downforce are far less entertaining than slightly slower laps with less downforce, and that is before you take into account the effect more aero has on a following car. The better the downforce the worse the show and the racing.

    3. They reduced aero last year and they’ve already got close to finding it back through ever more complicated design. You can’t stop F1 engineers finding performance.

      Wider tyres would please people in looks. But they could make the existing tyre have more grip if they wanted to. And if you provide more durability, the teams are still going to do the calculations and nurse them to lap deltas for longer life span.

      No DRS is something most of us agree on, it would be interesting to see a race without it and how it affects the racing.

    4. @john-h @hohum They’ve reduced aero already, and brought back slicks ( in 2009) which increased the amount of rubber that contacts the ashpalt.

      And at doing so they seem to have somehow made the dirty ir problem….worse.

      1. @davidnotcoulthard, Indeed they have made the dirty air problem worse, much worse in fact, by introducing made to degrade tyres without which drivers would still lose ground following close through high speed corners but would not be forced to make more, or earlier, pit-stops by doing so.

  9. My main concern with the current breed of F1 cars is that they’re not quite fast enough relative to GP2 and LMP1 specs. But that’s an issue that’ll sort itself out, and then some.

    1. They are slow and heavy, let’s face it, and very dull trackside. I would say their level of impressiveness, live, is about on a par with touring cars. Very sad for me, having been watching for 35 years.

      1. @paulguitar I’m sort of the opposite in that I find the current cars a lot more impressive from trackside in that you can see them moving around a lot more.

        One of the biggest frustrations I’ve had with F1 the past 15 or so years is that they always looked planted to the track from both trackside & on TV & I always found that to be a bit dull as it made everything look super easy.

        Watching drivers having to actually drive the cars as there sliding around more & watching them actually have to manage throttle application & fight wheelspin under power is for me a much more exciting spectacle than the stuck to the track, Easily plant the throttle cars we have had to put up with over the previous 15 or so years.

        Its also helped the racing which is a bonus as again those super fast, super high downforce cars of yesteryear were crap when it came to racing. DRS aside the racing with the current spec cars has been miles better which has also helped the spectacle.

        1. @RogerA

          Actually, I am completely with you on the ‘moving around’ issue, and I think in some ways the current cars are an improvement, it is just that, for me, in a live context, they are very viscerally underwhelming, hence my reference to touring cars. Of course, @mark p, I understand F1 cars are VERY different to touring cars, massively more technologically complex, etc., but what I am saying is to me, they are simply underwhelming at the track.

          I also think of how we had Max Verstappen come in this yeas as a 17 year old and he has had no issues at all stepping up to F1. The thought of a 17 year old coming in to race against Prost, Senna and Mansell is, frankly, laughable.

          I remember Mika Hakkinen saying that to go from f3 to F1 when he made the step up was like changing from a ‘moped to a Ferrari’. Very clearly, this is nothing like the case anymore, and for me that is a real disappointment.

          1. “The thought of a 17 year old coming in to race against Prost, Senna and Mansell is, frankly, laughable.”

            Well, we had Mike Thackwell, a 19 year old driver (and the third youngest ever to compete in F1), compete in F1 at the same time as Mansell and Prost were in 1980, so the idea is not necessarily as laughable as you might think.

            Equally, would you say that the cars of the early 1960’s were too easy to drive when the 19 year old Ricardo Rodriguez could put his car on the front row at Monza in his very first race, and could fight for the lead until his car broke down? Or Le Mans is too easy when an even less experienced and younger driver than Verstappen could race there last year?

      2. They are still alot quicker than WEC the next fastest series now.

        Touring cars? Yeah and a Fiesta is the same as a Porsche 918.

        closest F1 seasons have been when no rule changes for 3 or more years. In 1998 cars were 5 seconds off 1997 after changes by 2000 they were a lot faster than 1997 or something lime that I cannot remember the exact years.

        Leave everything as is its the way its run financially thats the issue.

        1. @mark p

          Japanese Super Formula is the next fastest series.

        2. Actually the fastest race cars after F1 are the GP2s…Le Mans prototypes are still several seconds a lap slower than both despite all their bell and whistles (4 wheel drive,traction control,less drag,custom tyres etc…) but remember that with fuel and driver onboard they are just a few KGs under a TONNE!Hope they leave the regulation inherently the same and increase the pirelli performance,that’s what is really needed IMO

        3. @anon

          Good point about Thackwell and RR. I think what I said still stands though about F1 currently being far too close to the lower formulae.

  10. Please bring in-race refueling back. That will make it more unpredictable and interesting.

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