Force India VJM11 front wing, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

F1’s aerodynamic changes for 2019 get formal approval

2019 F1 season

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The FIA World Motor Sport Council has formally approved changes to Formula 1 cars for next year which are intended to make overtaking easier.

The council ratified “changes to the front wing, brake ducts, and rear wing aimed at improving overtaking”. The FIA believes the changes will allow cars to run closer together but also expects they will add up to one-and-a-half seconds to lap times.

Teams have been divided over the changes which were agreed by vote in April. McLaren group CEO Zak Brown said “everyone had different opinions on the aerodynamic package” and admitted there were concerns over the costs involved.

“I think anything that creates closer racing, that’s hopefully what it achieves, then we’re very supportive of that,” he said. “Change costs money so at a time when we’re trying to save money we also need to make sure that the changes work and don’t cost us more money. But the rules are set, we’re going to work to them, and hopefully they work.”

A change to pre-race protocol was also agreed by the WMSC, which will come into force from this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix. Drivers and their cars are now required to arrive on the grid 10 minutes earlier, to allow more time for media engagements before the national anthem ceremony.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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12 comments on “F1’s aerodynamic changes for 2019 get formal approval”

  1. That wing though! I find it really beautiful! But if better racing is on the table let’s ditch it.

  2. This was the result of the knee jerk reaction from Melbourne this year, but if it makes more genuine overtaking lets hope it works. But as Zak Brown points out in a sport so fixed on cutting costs constant rule changes simply cost the teams money.

    1. Show me where this needs be knee jerk and from Melbourne. We will see this whole season cars unable to follow closely for very long without sliding around so much they ruin their fronts. They just needed confirmation of that, which they got in the first race. If they’re not going to mandate Pirelli to actually make better tires that can withstand some dirty air, then this is an important minimal step they can make in the interim ahead of the major changes for 2021. The product must get better on the track. And not just from the lottery of safety cars and attrition.

  3. So just as we start to get a convergence in performance, we rearrange the rules and the teams with the largest budgets will leap way ahead of the rest again.

    1. The teams with the largest budgets have always been ahead, and nothing will change that. The only thing that might is the big measures they are working toward for 2021. For now, they have to do something so that cars’ front tires don’t get destroyed while in another car’s dirty air. Teams may complain about added costs for these changes, but they’ll rejoice if they can actually challenge more cars more often next year, as will the fans. What I want to know is why we must have tires that can’t handle being in dirty air.

  4. I still wish they’d rather keep the technical regulations entirely stable until 2020 as significant technical reg changes are set to come into effect for the following season anyway due to the ‘1.5 seconds slower lap times compared to this season’ estimation. I still don’t entirely get how exactly would the simplification of the front wing lead to slower lap times. It shouldn’t necessarily affect downforce-levels. Nevertheless, hopefully, with the 2021 changes, we would be able to get both the lap times back to the 2017-18 levels as well as the cars being significantly more following-friendly/race-able than they’ve been for a long time.

    1. I forgot to add: If these short-term interim changes were to fail to make any difference at all to the difficulty of following another car closely, i.e., things would remain precisely the same as now with the more complex front wings, etc., then the 1.5-second loss in lap time would be even more annoying.

      1. I’m assuming their projected addition of 1.5 seconds is coming from front wings that will wash air inward, leaving the front tires as more of a ‘wall’ that they’re hitting at speed than when the wing can be made to deflect the air outward. ie. more drag and hence the larger drs to make up for that and keep things balanced. I think the 1.5 remains to be seen, and will depend an the track, and could be diminished with good tires as opposed to what they have to suffer now.

  5. All you have to do is watch a few motoGP races to realize that aero dependency needs to be lowered in F1.

    1. MotoGP is a really, really poor comparison though – the narrowness of the bikes means that the relative width of the racing line is much larger (most MotoGP bikes are barely 30% of the width of an F1 car).

  6. From 2009 through 2012 or 2013, we had wings as wide as the front tires and people complained of collisions and loss of endplates and/or tire cuts, so they narrowed the wing. Now they’re re-widening the front wing… No one in F1 ever learns.

  7. Are there any photos of mock-ups lying around which would give us an idea of what the changes would look like?

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