Shark fins could return to F1 next year

2018 F1 season

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‘Shark fins’ may return to cars next despite the designs being banned for the 2018 F1 season.

A proposal to revive shark fins was discussed by the Formula One Strategy Group yesterday. Some teams are understood to favour the move as it gives them more space to offer to potential sponsors and incorporate the mandatory driver name and number signage.

The Strategy Group debated other potential aerodynamic changes to the cars to come into effect after the new season.

F1 Fanatic understands a revision to the barge board regulations, proposed by McLaren, has been adopted for next year. This is aimed at making the the area more useful for sponsors and more aesthetically pleasing. A Ferrari proposal for a simpler and less expensive rear wing endplate was also approved.

However a proposal from F1’s managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn for a simpler front wing design, a model of which was shown to teams, met with strong resistance. According to sources Ferrari threatened to use its veto right over the technical regulations to block the plan, which has now been dropped.

A further suggestion of increasing the minimum number of engines from three to four next year was also rejected.

The Strategy Group also discussed imposing a minimum period of ‘gardening leave’ on any ex-FIA or FOM staff hired by teams, to prevent them bringing sensitive information about competitors with them. However it was agreed a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ between the teams is necessary to enforce any period which is longer than that specified by the relevant local laws.

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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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22 comments on “Shark fins could return to F1 next year”

  1. Oh man, not the shark fin debacle over again… At least in F1 those fins can’t be as ugy as they are in Le Mans prototypecars.

    They should’ve gone this way aready:

    1. Your proposed direction as per linked image is exactly the way to go.
      Simpler wings – Ross Brawn happy;
      Simpler end plates – Ferrari happy;
      Ample advertising space – teams happy;

      1. If only they could negotiate a right hand turn at speed. :) 410s and their drivers are an absolute thrill to experience in person. Something gets lost when watching it on television.

  2. a proposal from F1’s managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn for a simpler front wing design, a model of which was shown to teams, met with strong resistance. … , which has now been dropped.


    1. was about to comment exactly the same thing

      sigh indeed

      is that other kind of sport that teams/athletes are the ones making the rules?
      They approve a simpler rear wing endplate, which apart from McLaren was a really straight forward thing for all of them, and surely not as expensive as the front wing

      And the thing they actually should be simplify, for various reasons, gets rejected and Ferrari even threatens to use their veto.

      I would like to see what Ross Brawn presented to them, out of curiosity.

      I wonder why there aren’t new fans, when they are presented to the sport they must think: “well this isn’t fair at all, everything is rigged, what is the point?”

    2. The front wing is an essential part of a modern F1 car’s aerodynamic concept. If you want to make them simpler you need incredibly strict regulations in that area, effectively moving front wings towards being a spec part. And that, inevitably, reduces the number of aerodynamic concepts teams can pursue on the rest of the car. Is it really surprising that teams don’t want one of the most important components on the car to become a (semi-) spec component? Simplifying front wings was proposed before not long ago and rejected for the same reason. Teams felt it was a step too far towards standardisation.
      That doesn’t mean nothing can or should be done about these complex front wings, which cost a fortune and hurt the racing. They have to figure out how to reduce the importance of the front wing, which will require a more fundamental redesign of the aerodynamic regulations. And I believe that’s what Brawn and his team are indeed working on.

      1. You can still limit the number of elements in the front wings and enforce minimum sizes. Technically with those two rules you could then open up the rest and have more technical freedom and better aerodynamics for racing. Similarly you could get rid of or drastically limit the Y250 vortex by making the front wing be full car width and not have flat section in the middle. All those changes would make the front wing less sensitive to following other cars.

        That being said any change to front wing regs will mean the rest of the car needs a redesign because all the air that the car sees is shaped by the front wing first.

        The main issue f1 has with overtaking is the engine. We had low amount of downforce in 2014-2016 and the overtaking was about the same as it is now. As long as the engines have too much electronics and the power output is focused on early part of the straights the driver is not able to make mistakes or use the draft to overtake. What we have now in f1 is far worse than the traction control we used to have.

        Adding tire grip and making the wings less sensitive to dirty air is the right way forward but it won’t fix anything as long as the engines are bad. Everytime the car behind gets within drs the car in front can just change his power deployment and be slow everywhere else except on that one straight. Fix that power deployment so it is at least driver controlled and we could have the possibility of mistakes.

    3. Michael Brown (@)
      20th January 2018, 8:57

      Because then the teams will have to spend lots of money to redesign the front wing! That’s much worse than spending tens of thousands of dollars to add a tiny winglet to the front wing!

  3. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    19th January 2018, 11:28

    Keep the good news coming guys. I hear there are still a few fans left, you need to try harder to annoy them.

  4. Lennard Mascini (@)
    19th January 2018, 11:58

    To be frankly honest, apart from the front wing decision, and the engine number (on which I am neutral), this is all good news. The teams are making a few items simpler, and are going to get more space for sponsors and numbers/names, for which the shark fins were perfect. Although the shark fin was met with a lot of resistance, I thought they were nice, as F1 cars before looked like someone had cut out a triangle between the airbox and the rear wing.

    1. but it is quite funny, they approved it to have more sponsor space, yet most of them struggle to fill the space that they have now

  5. As long as there is some shape to them I really like the shark fin, but if they’re squared off in the back and look like a billboard then I just can’t stand them.

  6. What a joke.

    In Indycars they got rid of most of the engine cover with their new for 2018 universal aero kit to make the cars look more aggressive, just like the fans wanted.

    If they can do it even in ‘Merica where sponsorship is even more important, than why not in F1?

    1. Actually as I understand the new-shape IndyCar has a greater amount of bodywork space which is suitable for sponsorship than the previous version did. I’m not a hundred percent clear on exactly how that is defined but we had Chris Beatty, who helped design the car, join us on last year’s Pocono IndyCar commentary and he said that was one of the requirements of the new shape.

    2. two words. zak brown

  7. I never understood why they banned them in the first place but it is typical of F1 to discuss cost-cutting while making and reversing rule changes that will require costly redesigns but make no real difference to the racing. Maybe it’s a way to keep the big budget teams ahead.

  8. As a child my hotwheels had Formula One shaped bodies with the excessively large cold air boxes that even then, identified the look of the Grand Prix Car. The current cars of today finally look great again. Shark fins are but a part of the F1 look and should remain. I see little reason to change them. If your team chooses to run bare back then that’s OK too. Slowly we are getting back to some good race cars. Now after last seasons big leap forward these things are getting tougher to handle and these things are making drivers better in the long run. Giving handeling back to the drivers is just what the fans want. Giving us cooler looking cars with kick ass performance. Keep the Shark Fin as it is just one part of why F1 is special.

  9. Michael Brown (@)
    20th January 2018, 9:01

    Some teams are understood to favour the move as it gives them more space to offer to potential sponsors and incorporate the mandatory driver name and number signage.

    The former is hardly filled and the latter two are too small to be noticeable.

  10. So Ferrari can keep the Marlboro “logo” on the car, sigh…

  11. It’s comical McLaren is proposing anything considering they can’t fill other parts of their car with sponsors let alone a shark fin. Lol

  12. I like shark fins and I don’t understand why banned them.

  13. Current F1 cars are beyond hideous, and the amount of appendages is absurd.
    They will follow IndyCars lead to decrease costs and down force, make the cars harder and more unpredictable to drive, better looking, and better placement for the few sponsors left.

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