2005 downforce levels predicted for next year’s cars

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In the round-up: Williams’ Pat Symonds says the cornering capabilities of cars built for the 2017 F1 season will be comparable to what was seen in the mid-2000s.

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Max Verstappen suspects higher downforce levels next year will also help during wet races. @Johnmilk offers a few observations:

I was taking a look at some old videos and I think there is another important factor that decreases drivers confidence on these Pirelli tyres. What I am about to say it is also dependent on the aerodynamics.

I noticed that current cars have much more spray raising from the front wheels compared to the old ones, and also it is dispersed from the side of the wheels (I think this effect happens because of the aerodynamics in the front wing) which creates a wider trail of spray. Spray being raised in the front wheels could be a mixture of the car’s aero and the way the grooves are designed, they can scoop water from under the tyres and only release it when the grooves are already on an upwards movement. Of course these situations do not affect aquaplaning, but could have a negative influence in visibility.

I also noted that the spray from the back of the car used to be raised much higher than now, that could help water to dissipate and therefore improve visibility.

Nevertheless, as the article mentions, the biggest problem is that drivers are tempted to go as quickly as possible to the inters to gain the advantage. The full wets should be quicker whenever there is water standing or running trough the track, or to put it even more easily, whenever it rains, and inters should just be used in drying conditions, when the rain stops and aquaplaning disappears, unfortunately it seems that the tyres do not perform like this.
João Leite (@Johnmilk)

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46 comments on “2005 downforce levels predicted for next year’s cars”

  1. My sole goal in life is to witness the corner speeds of 2017 cars through becketts

    1. Not to rain on your parade, but if you think you’ll notice any difference, you’re in for a disappointment. If the difference is 4 seconds per lap, it will be less than difference between the first laps in the race and the last laps in the race. Lap times fall by way more than 4 seconds over the course of the race, and there’s obviously no visible difference.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        18th November 2016, 5:45

        I’ll offer an umbrella, as if he wants to see more speed in corners, he’ll be in for some excitement.
        The difference might be just 4sec per lap which is the same as empty vs full tanks. But that difference will be all (and more) in the corners as straight line speeds are expected to decrease (more drag).
        Plus the added bonus of more ‘speed illusion’ due to the wider tyres.

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          18th November 2016, 8:40

          You can notice a massive difference through maggots becketts when trackside just between the Mercs/RBs and any other car, so there will be a big noticeable difference next year. Unfortunately when it comes to entertainment, aero is the enemy though, so I’m expecting much less overtaking/following closely.

      2. Are you saying you don’t see the difference between Q3 and lap 3?

        I never understood the people who say that 2s speed difference can’t be seen. Either you are speed blind, just inept, not watching, or just parroting this nonsense started by others. But just stop.

        You can often visibly see a massive difference between cars that are only separated by 0.8 s on the clock.

        Maybe you can’t, but that doesn’t mean it’s not painfully obvious to others. Colour blind people should not go around saying, that there is no difference between red and blue and that you can’t expect to tell the difference.

      3. I watched Silverstone 2008 highlights recently and the speed difference is visible. Cars look like they dart through the corners, it’s visible. Not massively so on the long fast corners, but when you see the change of direction it’s apparent.

  2. Back to the future !? next year, subject to pirelli providing tyres with decent grip, we should see cornering speeds similar to 2004/5 and up to 4 seconds less per lap. So will 4 minute shorter races be more exciting to watch ?, not unless the cars can race nose-to-tail and side-by-side lap after lap will the racing be in any visible way improved. OK call me a redundant old fahrt if you like but I defy anyone without a timepiece to distinguish between laps from different F1 cars that are less than 5 seconds different when the driver is really trying and not making mistakes, in fact I think aliens or anybody with no knowledge of motorcars, let alone F1, if shown video might pick Nigel Mansell or JP Montoya as being faster than LH, NR, KR, SV, etc. Cars that move about look faster than cars that never deviate from the perfect line.

    1. yawn. you lose.

    2. Exactly

    3. not unless the cars can race nose-to-tail and side-by-side lap after lap

      @hohum Wow, please let us know which season this was happening. I seem to have missed it in all my years watching F1!

      1. @psynrg
        Can and do are very different.
        Until the mid-90’s cars could run nose to tail and side by side, lap after lap. That doesn’t mean they did so all the time, just that they could, which meant that when drivers were racing against each other, they actually raced rather than following within a second gap of the car in front until they got to the DRS zone.
        Since the cars became aero downforce dependent, we’ve seen their ability to follow each other closely reduced significantly, and the overtaking statistics back this up, throughout the 90’s overtaking reduced year on year, and only got back to early 90’s levels once DRS was introduced.

        It’s like the claims about downforce, everyone knows an F1 car has so much downforce that you could drive them upside down and they’d stick to the ceiling, that doesn’t mean anyone has actually driven one like that. @hohum isn’t saying we should have cars following nose to tail all the time, just that they should have the ability to do so, so that when drivers go wheel to wheel they don’t suffer from a loss of performance due to being aero downforce dependent, which effectively kills off opportunities for the type of wheel to wheel battles we used to see quite often in the past.

        1. the type of wheel to wheel battles we used to see quite often in the past

          @beneboy Again, if you could also provide some examples of all these wheel to wheel battles, I’d so much love to see them. It appears that everyone is viewing the history of F1 with some “constant on track battle” tinted specs. It’s never been the case – even from before aero became a significant factor. I would love to be proven wrong, with a history of F1 I seem to have missed!

          Along with aero playing a major role, the other major factor is braking. There were a few more on track battles before carbon brakes were introduced. Simply down to the fact that braking zones were significantly longer and so allowed more opportunity for creative attack/defence into a turn. The performance of carbon brakes and indeed the significantly higher grip of the tyres, has reduced braking distances to utterly unbelievable, thus reducing capacity for creativity into a turn.

          Want to see more on track opportunities? A big factor would be banning carbon brakes and going back to steel disks with low carbon content pads.

          Battles and passes in F1 SHOULD be rare, the drivers are mostly the best racers in the world, operating within extremely narrow windows of opportunity at all times. At this level, this is inevitable.

          1. @psynrg

            It appears that everyone is viewing the history of F1 with some “constant on track battle” tinted specs.

            Could you please point out where I said anything like that ?
            At no point did I, or anyone else make such a claim, and you appear to be arguing against points you’ve invented, rather than what people are actually saying.

            I even wrote:

            (he) isn’t saying we should have cars following nose to tail all the time, just that they should have the ability to do so

          2. The difference between carbon and steel brakes is not the stopping distance as much as the handling difference due to less unsprung mass.

          3. @psynrg, @beneboy, has explained exactly what I was saying, I am not able to trawl through 50 years of F1 to find examples for you however as you mention brakes I’ll mention manual gearchanges, many a driver under pressure missed a gearchange and that fraction of a second delay was enough to be passed by the driver applying the pressure, wouldn’t happen today and I’m not calling for manual gears, just close racing.

          4. @hohum But that’s my point, constant wheel to wheel, nose to tail, side by side action is not, nor never has been, a feature of F1.

            When it does happen, it’s spectacular, thrilling, skillful, exciting etc. It would no longer be special if it was the default. We expect our F1 drivers to work supremely hard at everything they do, for it is this which makes them a special breed.

            It’s why Max’s antics in Brazil (and at other times this season) had us all in raptures. Because it is rare to see an F1 driver perform so much higher than his peers.

            DRS? I think we’re on the same page when we say that DRS does nothing to enhance the spectacle in making a pass a forgone conclusion. We’d all rather see a carefully planned attack over 10 laps, at an unexpected place, than to see a driver just wait for the DRS zone…

          5. @psynrg, hello, yes we seem to want the same thing, yes both RBR drivers are generally excellent at attacking and passing but all too often now drivers have to disengage after 2-3 corners to save their tyres and worse happens when they persist and succeed only to have pit for new tyres a lap or 2 later.

  3. @hohum

    Yes, I must say I agree with you here. There were some things I really enjoyed about F1 circa 2006/2006, in particular the noise, and sheer intensity of it all, but I must say it is true that cars lapping 5 or 6 seconds faster is not in itself particularly impressive, especially if they appear to simply be on rails. Much better is to see the drivers struggling and having to really fight the car through the corners, and more important still is they have the chance to follow the car ahead rather than be scuppered completely by aerodynamic wake.

    To me the most important thing is to lose the clown tyres, and at least have these amazing drivers being as close to 100% as possible.

    1. I don’t think car control is that elusive amongst drivers of the world. If you go to kart races you’ll see amazing races with times metronomic. Especially now that anybody can hone skills on simulators and learn everything (almost) about f1 tracks whilst there.
      When I first started watching f1 in ’03, teenagers simply didn’t have the muscle to cope with the cars and that’s what I want to see again: drivers able to pair skill with true athlete-like performances and drenched in sweat from physical exertion. With fast cars demanding true strength and the best drivers fighting control within a few tenths every lap like gladiators.
      That’s why I started watching and have always thought it would come back to those days. Might have to settle to witness top performance in quali though but I’ll take that

    2. @paulguitar, We live in hope, 17 just has to be better.

  4. The link to the interview with WEC FIA race director Eduardo Freitas seems to be wrong a it get´s me to F1fanatic forum thread from 2011 instead of FIA site. Here´s the correct one: http://www.fia.com/news/wec-interview-fia-race-director-eduardo-freitas


  5. I’d like to add another point of view to this discussion of the cars looking faster/slower. I don’t have a brilliant memory, but from what I can remember, the cars used to attack the kerbs much harder in mid 2000s. I believe, this could be one of the reasons that they look much slower now, along with the poor camera angles used and the fact that they are actually slower. Again iirc, this kerb-attacking thing reduced a bit in 2009 (maybe it just looked like that due to the new larger front wings) and a bit more with Pirelli tyres. Other reasons could be changes in suspension design and changes to the kerbs. Whatever the reason, this definitely makes the cars look slower in corners.

    1. @leblep in 2009 Pirelli re-entered F1, that is the reason drivers reduced their aggression on the kerbs, because they know that the tyres won’t stand

      During qualy you can see them attacking, the front-wings, at least in clean air, give them more front stability, so that is a good thing, the problem with those happens in dirty-air.

      1. small correction, instead of 2009, is 2011

  6. thanks for the comment of the day @keithcollantine

    BTW, the link for the Eduardo Freitas article is redirecting to a forum thread

  7. We lost important sponsorship by state companies, the state bank, the oil company, the state trading company and even Shell, which used to be a big client here ….

    The Pay Wall strikes again. Why should corporates sponsor F1 when F1 doesn’t want to be seen?

    1. So true @drycrust. F1 run like a car dealership really. A great big shiny dealership, but… take each punter for what you can, amazed when over time there are fewer punters.

  8. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    18th November 2016, 10:07

    Does anyone know a good place to watch the Macau GP?

    I’m eager to see how Lando Norris fairs against the likes of Da Costa and Rosenquist.

    1. @fullcoursecaution you can find a live stream directly from the Macau GP official webpage

      Don’t know if it is restricted in some countries

      just follow this link: http://www.macau.grandprix.gov.mo/gp/63/schedule/index.php?content=156&lang=en

      Stream is in the bottom right

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        18th November 2016, 10:57

        Awesome thanks @johnmilk ! A thousand internets to you sir

        1. you’re welcome, glad to help

  9. A couple of weeks ago Pat Symonds was saying (https://www.racefans.net/2016/11/09/f1-fanatic-round-up-0911-3/) that downforce will only increase by 25% next year. The top teams have already come close to their target of 40%. It is not surprising that he underestimates the speed of the 2017 cars.

    He talks of an increase of 35kph on a 200kph corner, which is almost a 40% increase in lateral g-force so he was probably sandbagging before. It would require almost the same increase in downforce, so the 40% figure seems right. A 5g corner would become a 7g corner, which would be spectacular as long as the drivers can maintain consciousness.

  10. This may be a controversial point of view, but I really don’t care about lap times. Watching classic races from the 60’s to the early 90’s is often far more entertaining than watching modern races, and the old cigar shaped cars without wings may be much slower than a current car, but watching one do a qualifying lap is awesome compared to watching Lewis driving much faster qualifying laps in his Mercedes.
    Even the current generation of LMP cars are more entertaining to watch in qualifying and the race than an F1 car, and if they introduced a 200 mile sprint race series, I’d probably give up on F1 completely.
    Seeing a high downforce F1 car attack a high speed corner live from trackside is impressive, but it all looks too easy, especially on TV, as they look like they’re running on rails, and it’s hard not to think that any professional racing driver could do what the current generation of F1 drivers do, whereas older cars were obviously very difficult to drive, and took a real genius like talent to drive at the limit.

    1. @beneboy Not to argue, as it is your subjective opinion, but F1 cars have looked ‘on rails’ for a long time, and they won’t be going back to the cigar shape and skinny tires.

      I fully appreciate what you are saying, but that is exactly why for me the cars should be much faster than now. They’re so safe, as are the tracks, that we need more of a sense of the drivers performing great feats, and since the cars are simply vastly superior to cars of yore I say let’s at least have these ones be more taxing for the drivers with higher G’s, and hopefully closer racing that keeps them on their toes moreso. Doesn’t really matter to me how noticeable higher speeds will be on TV. That might depend on the track and the camera work, but it helps me personally just knowing the drivers are going through more G’s and are having to be a titch sharper overall. I’d even take the same slower laps times we have now, if the changes see aero be less the factor than mechanical grip from tires combined with the floor and diffuser ground effects stuff, theoretically resulting in closer racing.

      1. @robbie
        I’m not advocating a return to the old cigar shaped cars (although I’d love to see what the designers could achieve with modern materials and engines if they did), I just don’t care about top speed as much as I do about racing and being able to see drivers demonstrate their skills in the car.
        Unsurprisingly, I’d happily take your vision of a possible F1 than the type of series we’re going to end up with next season.

        1. @beneboy Fair comment and I didn’t think you were advocating for a return to 50’s cars, and I agree it would be fascinating to see what they would come up with if they did. I seem to be a little more enthusiastic about next year than most. Most seem to think it will only be more aero and further processions but I refuse to believe F1 is that off the mark with these changes, and remain convinced that the racing will be better, or at least if not initially then I think there will be way more potential in the new cars to be tweeked for better racing than the current ones on these terrible tires.

  11. World Super Bike riders also say the Pirelli wet tyres are terrible. Apparently the Michelin wet tyres used in MotoGP are much better

    1. @grammo
      While it’s not Superbike spec, there’s only one type of tires I’d ever put on my Fireblade, and they’re Michelin. Their wet weather performance is amazing.

  12. Without looking at the stop watch, who can tell that the cars are 5 seconds a lap faster?

    This fascination with lowering lap times is an absolute joke. What’s the point doing that, if cars are still unable to race closely or overtake each other without damaging their tires?

    1. @kgn11, agreed, I think it’s just one of Bernies selling points.

      1. Until we see them race in anger, whose to say they will be unable to race closely without damaging their tires? It’s hard to imagine these vast changes, changing nothing, no? Just being on non-thermal-deg tires is huge, let alone all the other changes going on.

  13. I love Keith’s tweet about Abu Dhabi! Made me smile.

  14. Wow, what a day of articles… Too much to read or comment on fully in one sitting. Like Webber’s idea of ditching the safety car in the wet, that would fix one problem at least with the too slow speeds to get the tyres working while the safety car is on the limit. Brazil’s got the right idea, don’t pander to F1 in this day and age, they don’t deserve it.

    Loved the article on the WEC stewarding (the link is broken by the way) how I wish F1 could have something so matter of fact and cut and dry. Quite open too actually explaining properly how it goes on behind the scenes and who is responsible for what decisions. Far from the F1 circus of just making it up week by week depending on who’s got the button.

  15. Could the safety car not be an actual F1 racing car with wet tyres which would clear the water in the same way as when the guys were racing? (Maybe with a hood to protect poor driver in the rain.)

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