Lance Stroll, Williams, Shanghai International Circuit, 2018

F1’s overtaking overhaul for 2019 could still go ahead

2018 Chinese Grand Prix

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Plans to tweak Formula One’s aerodynamic rules to make overtaking easier next year could still go ahead despite the teams failing to agree on changes in Bahrain last week.

RaceFans understands the FIA is keeping a dialogue open with the teams about possible changes to the front and rear wings in the 2019 F1 season which could allow cars to follow more closely.

The proposal arose partly from a study into overtaking in Formula One undertaken by former F1 designer Pat Symonds at the behest of the sport’s commercial rights holder Liberty Media.

However the deadline for agreeing changes is fast approaching. After April 30th any rules changes for next year, except those relating to safety, require the unanimous support of all teams.

Renault’s chief technical director Bob Bell believes the plans could still be agreed in time.

“We could [agree it] for next year, there is time for that,” he said. “I’m not sure which way it’ll go, whether it’ll get kicked into touch or whether it will happen.”

Symonds’ study was largely geared towards changes which could be made in 2021. But it also identified some beneficial changes which could be introduced in the short team. “Some of the concepts, ideas, thinking is applicable to any changes they talk about for next year,” said Bell.

“There’s a drive to simplify the wings, increase the rear wing and increase the DRS effect,” he explained. “All these things are do-able.”

Bell said the deadline “could stretch a bit into the summer” if it did not mean major changes to the cars.

“If it’s only going to affect things like front wing, rear wing, yes you could do that. If it was going to affect the chassis then you’d have to have really made your made up so you can crack on with it properly in July. So it depends what it affects.”

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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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30 comments on “F1’s overtaking overhaul for 2019 could still go ahead”

  1. Good, good, good. Push it through and show you mean business.

    1. Some teams who known to had a good aero would be affected most if there would be a spec front wing. But I agree, Liberty need to show some force.

      1. No-one is talking about a spec front wing, just simplifying it.

    2. Agreed and bring in standardised fronts wings while they are at it too! The idea that teams spend hundreds of thousands developing little winglets on these wings that might give them 0.05 of a second at a time is absurd. Even the hardcore purists would struggle to get excited!

      Make the wing two pieces (like mid 80s F1) – one flat plane and one moveable wing, half the width as the current – job done!

  2. There’s a drive to simplify the wings, increase the rear wing and increase the DRS effect

    No, not moreDRS!

    1. I think they meant the same DRS but with wider rear wing to increase the effect.

      1. But it’s still the wrong way of thinking. They should be looking at ways of eliminating the DRS, not increasing its effectiveness.

      2. @ruliemaulana @nickwyatt

        Whilst I am not the biggest fan of DRS in its current form (if we keep it: let drivers be in control of it, use it anywhere, 5 seconds a lap etc) it does allow for races to be more than just the starting grid procession. At the right tracks where it is not over powered it is actually quite a good function.

        I think DRS is a necessary evil in this generation. Until 2021 comes along with an overhaul it will only ever be incremental changes and they won’t be enough to make DRS redundant.

    2. For all the sooks STILL moaning about DRS – get a clue!

      Go back and watch the total borefest of races circa 2007ish and I challenge you to stay awake after the first couple of laps where it’s a total starting grid procession until the checkered flag. YAY, ‘pure’ racing.

      Give me a break.

      Granted, it needs to be restricted at some tracks and shortened, but DRS one of the very best things to happen for spectators of F1 in a long time.

      1. DRS is a case of trying to make a “right” out of 2 “wrongs”, but if your point is that we have to keep aero as the performance differentiator then maybe 2 wrongs are better than just 1 wrong.

    3. I still think the DRS effect should he the same, as the cars will likely have lower drag so the DRS increase was meant to restore it to the previous level. I think.

  3. I don’t care about team payments and all that rubbish but why the hell do teams even have a say in this. They should all do as they are told, cannot think of another sport where participants dictate the rules, nothing ever gets decided as they are all about their own agendas. A dictatorship is much better in this instance, hand all tech stuff to one person like Brawn and what he says goes and when he says, team should be forced to put up or shut up.

    1. All very well, but it is the teams that are spending all that money, not the promoter or the FIA.

  4. Changes after 30 April need unanimous support – but what level of support is needed before then? We know the teams (apart from Williams) don’t support the change, but could it just be imposed anyway?

    1. I am wondering the same

      1. Just a majority vote in favor is required before April 30th

    2. unanimous support in F1 is an oxymoron.

  5. I don’t understand what they think will happen if you decrease front wing size and increase rear wings? The hard part is keeping both ends balanced.
    They could make both wings smaller and allow a more aggressive DRS flap with larger opening size or even allow the whole rear wing to go flat.
    Long term, down force needs to come from the floor and DRS needs to be banished!!!

    1. @daved I agree. I’m surprised changes to the floor wasn’t listed as an option.

  6. Let’s put the red ones over here and move the green ones to the Lido.
    Then it will all be wonderful.

  7. I’m a bit confused by “increase rear wing”. I thought the ‘dirty’ air created by the rear wing was a reason cars find it difficult to follow closely.
    Formula E’s Gen 2 car has minimal upper body aero, but compensates with under floor/diffuser suction to allow close racing.

    1. @dave-f To my knowledge, the front-wing is a more significant cause of the difficulty of following another car closely than the rear wing.

      1. @jerejj @dave-f

        Jere is right, if you think about it the rear wing is predominantly a big flat plank, the air coming of it will get sucked down and into the vacuum it creates but with the front wing aero this is exacerbated as there are many smaller pieces directing air in different directions. But the time it reaches the back it will leave vortices or swirling air which are much more difficult to “straighten” out again.

      2. @jere To clarify, the rear wing I refer to is the one on the car in front. That wing creates vortexes which disturbs the air going over the front wing & around the sides of the following car.
        I agree making simpler FWs helps, but making the draft air from the car in front ‘smoother’ would mean they could keep their fancy FWs if that is what’s desired.

        1. @dave-f
          That was the point of the higher, narrower ’09 wings wasn’t it?

  8. I think this is the sort of thing Bernie was talking about when he said F1 is too democratic. Letting the teams have their say is important but if this doesn’t go ahead because the teams don’t agree then I’ll be a very disappointed fan

  9. Racecar is racecar backwards
    13th April 2018, 17:09

    What if they tried something similar to the Formula E car. without looking like they’re copying it too much. Much larger diffuser with greatly reduced rear wing.

  10. …increase the rear wing and increase the DRS effect

    Yes, we need more fake passes.

  11. We used to see drivers really dice it up and fight for corners. Letting their ability to catch and pass was a hall mark of what F1 was.

    Heres to the old days, old ways where the strength of a drivers mind was all that was needed to gain advantage. So what if drivers make multiple moves to defend a corner. Make the driver the reason passing happens not mechanical tricks. But the Genie is out of the Bottle and the problem is so screwed up its unlikely to go away.
    Anyone who claims they like DRS racing makes me wonder why ?? Drivers still have balls and my money says most would enjoy to use them than in high speed manourvers getting around the car just ahead. Formula One used to be that and still could be.

    Give us two races in a row so a driver can understand learn and benefit from NO DRS. Just big balls and driver skills. The way F1 should be.

    1. Well said TedBell, unfortunately the majority of F1 fans are too young to know anything different than the highly constrained design and gimmicks introduced by Bernie to allow his 50% rip-off to continue.

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