Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

F1 cars to use rear wing lights in 2019

2019 F1 season

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Rear wing lights will be added to Formula 1 cars in 2019, the FIA has ruled.

A meeting of the World Motor Sport Council today approved a series of changes to the cars for next season including “rear endplate lights are to be added for safety”. Mercedes ran a version of the lights in testing earlier this year.

Other changes agreed for next year’s cars include re-positioned onboard cameras “to improve the TV spectacle”.

As previously reported, next year’s cars will also feature taller rear wings in order to improve drivers’ visibility from their mirrors. There will also be “minor modifications” to the rules governing Halo fairings “for safety reasons during a potential driver extraction”, according to the FIA.

Changes to the sporting regulations for next season were also agreed. A change to the Safety Car rules will introduce “a consistent point at which drivers may overtake when the Safety Car returns to the pits [which] will be the same in all three types of restart.”

From next year a chequered light panel will be introduced to signal the end of races, although the chequered flag will still be used. This year’s Canadian Grand Prix was brought to an end one lap early when the chequered flag was waved in error.

Teams will also be responsible for “initial scrutineering” of their cars from next year. “Before the cars go on track for the first time, teams must declare conformity with all safety related matters,” the FIA announced.

A change to the rules on team personnel curfews has been agreed to come into force in 2020. It will increase the length of time team staff must be outside the paddock from eight hours to nine.

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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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67 comments on “F1 cars to use rear wing lights in 2019”

  1. Wow, rear tail lights! now we gonna get some racing.

    1. The red lights will help reduce the wake ahead of the following car by altering its wavelength.

      1. According to that red light has the longest wavelength I think it will be more difficult to follow than a car with violet rear lights which have shortest wavelength :) rofl :D

        1. Obviously the light will get redder as the car in front slows and blueish as it accelerates away.

          1. Interesting point. You are probably right; there must be a Doppler effect for light as well (it would be the reverse effect though).

          2. @ColdFly indeed there is: redshift (and blueshift) although it’s more commonly associated with scales slightly larger than an F1 car, say the recession of galaxies ;)

          3. Thanks @tomd11!
            great that we have some ‘fanatics’ knowledgeable about science as well ;)

          4. @coldfly
            Indeed, @tomd11 is right, and I might add that, due to the constant expansion of space itself in the universe, redshift (in terms of observations of astronomical objects, this is by far the most common type of wavelength shift) is instrumental in determining the distance of an astronomical object from Earth. The greater the distance between two objects, the more the space between them is affected by that cosmic expansion.
            That’s one of the many mind-blowing phenomena the universe holds in store for us.

            Contrary to what “rpaco” says, though, redshift and blueshift are actually the other way around: A car in front that starts braking is approaching the observer and thus compressing the wavelength of emitted or reflected light very slighty, shifting it towards the ‘blue’ end of the scale. Acceleration and growing distance between the car in front and the observer results in blueshift.

            *mic drops at relativistic speed*

          5. I disagree, the red light will appear fractionally infra-reddish (i.e. the wavelength increases) when the car in front is faster than the car behind, noting of course that the shift isn’t sufficient to render the light invisible to the human eye, while it will appear fractionally yellow (i.e. the wavelength shortens) when the car behind is faster than the one in front. The frequency can’t be changed, so the wavelength has to change.

          6. Apologies to Nase, I hadn’t read his comment about the redshift and blueshift, which I agree.

          7. “The frequency can’t be changed, so the wavelength has to change.”

            It is speed that doesn’t change. Speed of light is assumed to be constant. And the effect will be negligible at best, virtually unnoticeable.

    2. Comment of the day!

    3. F1 cars progress massively both in style and technology since the beginning of GP racing and the introduction of rear wings but it has taken years. Technology from F1 finds it way into our road cars, shame it has taken so long for road car technology to find it’s way into F1 …. roflmao

      1. Hey I’m just glad the cars will be lighter;)

  2. Indicators would help, seeing some of the driving we saw at Suzuka. And a horn for Vettel.

    1. georgeboole (@)
      12th October 2018, 20:58

      @phylyp Indicators was the first thing that came to my mind too. Maybe Ferrari would integrate them on the halo mounted mirrors. Not for better aero but “style” . Italians know! ;)

    2. @phylyp


      True. A of the drivers could benefit from the use of indicators.

    3. Think of the penalties for misuse or non-use though.

      The press could have a field day!

      “Vettel snatches win for Ferrari after Hamilton refuses to indicate when overtaking”

      1. @mog Lol. Hamilton’s response: “He moved twice so I didn’t know which indicator to put on.”

        1. @robbie – and KMag would use his hazards ;-)

  3. About the chequered light panel…

    Is that on the steering wheel, or is that the flag panels around the track just displaying checkered after the line?

    Also now we have this, will they ammend the rule or will a wrongly waved chequered flag still end the race early (making this pointless)?

    1. @eurobrun I assume it’s just going to be displayed on the trackside light panels although it could also be shown on the steering wheel displays. We shall wait to find out.

      1. Jonathan Parkin
        12th October 2018, 20:02

        Also what happens if the 2 hour rule comes into effect. Although this rule was rendered slightly pointless at the Singapore GP last year

        1. @Jonathan Parkin Nothing. Furthermore, Last season’s Singapore GP isn’t the only Singapore GP (or any race for that matter) that has gone over the two-hour time limit without featuring a red flag-stoppage.

        2. It appears at the end of the lap during which the two-hour racing time mark is passed.

          Or, if there’s been a long red flag (or series thereof), it appears at the end of the lap during which the four-hour total time mark is passed.

  4. Teams will also be responsible for “initial scrutineering” of their cars from next year. “Before the cars go on track for the first time, teams must declare conformity with all safety related matters,” the FIA announced.

    Has this been motivated by Haas’ Monza DSQ?

    1. Haas was a dimension (poorly defined in TR) compliance, NOT a safety issue.
      It is also a complaint about status of clarification TD, which change the TRs, are not approved by Sports Council, and inappropriate/confused timing schedules for compliance.

    2. I don’t think so, that wasen’t a safety issue was it?

      1. @omega – good point

      2. @omega, exactly – Grosjean’s DSQ in Monza was on technical grounds, not safety grounds.

        In some senses, this feels more like formalising the current arrangements – the teams already have to prove that the cars have gone through the mandatory crash tests prior to the pre-season tests, so they were already indirectly proving that the cars conformed with the required safety standards.

        1. Not to mention the Sporting Regulations already required the teams to be in compliance of all aspects of the regulations at all times during the weekend. This “new rule” changes absolutely nothing.

    3. This smells of directing Responsibility in Case of something bad happening away from f1/fia. Maybe a late reaction to the Bianchi family seeking legal action against them? Even though that was not car related, still very much Sounds like something like that

      1. @mrboerns – Seeing the other comments, I agree – safeguarding FOG/FIA against liability sounds like it might be the case here.

    4. @phylyp

      Probably motivated by Ferraris halo mounted mirrors

  5. Maybe underfloor LED, like Astra chavs, to draw attention when alongside?
    I’d love to see the FIA Institute test report on how much more visible these extra LEDs are in full wet conditions.

  6. “a consistent point at which drivers may overtake when the Safety Car returns to the pits [which] will be the same in all three types of restart.”

    Showing my ignorance, but what are the three types of restart?

    1. @eurobrun

      I believe they are referring to standing, which is very rare these days but still possible, full safety car and virtual safety car.

      1. @neiana
        Can’t be VSC, because Safety Car lines are meaningless when it’s lifted.

    2. Standard safety car restart, startline safety car (re)start and post-red-flag in wet weather restart (when Race Control opts to restart using a Safety Car for familiarisation purposes). Only the first one is commonly seen these days.

  7. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
    12th October 2018, 20:25

    I never understood the point of the safety car line, seemed complicated for the sake of it. Just let them overtake from the start line.
    When I watch F1 with friends or family who are not interested, the thing that gets them is how unnecessarily complicated so many of the rules. DRS, KERS, the tyre compounds, the ruling with those compounds and many more rules which add nothing to the spectacle and only confuse the viewer. It’s one of the biggest barriers to attracting new fans but one that has gone completely under the radar.

    1. On motorsport.com, it says “Drivers will now only be allowed to overtake after a safety car period once they have crossed the start-finish line. Previously they had been allowed to do so at a safety car line.” So good news.

    2. Every sport has regulations. For a newcomer every sport will be difficult to understand. Football. Tennis. Rugby you name it.. Lots of hard to understand rules.

  8. No matter tha changes, don’t drop the classic onboard.

  9. Safety first. Always remember: “Mirror… Signal… Torpedo!”

  10. I’m sure they’d get more viewers if the red lights could fire lasers at the trailing cars. Would also free up some seats.

    1. If it doesn’t improve safety, it’s not going to get a look in.

  11. Donald F. Draper
    13th October 2018, 0:03

    One possible way to aid the fan as to what is going on with the energy recovery would be to use these new lights to illuminate with infinite variance (at the usual times when the current red flashing light is on) and once they reach their highest brightness, that indicates that the maximum amount of charge is being collected. On television or at the races, a fan could see different harvesting modes in real time.

  12. Red tail lights to help magnussen’s aim true to the gearbox.

  13. Wing lights. For Lewis and Seb to better spot their Wingmen?

  14. Great constrictive meeting again.

  15. Wow…. can’t we have strobe lights under the cars that pulse in accordance with the amount of acceleration applied and some other cool visual effects.

    Perhaps a sound system with bass sub woofers turned up to the max as well.

    Nice to see so much great planning occurring.

    1. Don’t give them ideas, @dbradock

      Although that’s more in line with Formula E’s carnival spirit 😏

  16. What for fake brake lights and blinkers? You can use them to confuse the guy’s trying to overtake you.

  17. So now it will be – “It is hard for me to get close because of turbulence, and grip, and when I do get close the wing lights they dazzle me!” ;P

  18. Glad to see they are tackling the essential topics #icantbelievethesepeopleanymore

  19. next year’s cars will also feature taller rear wings in order to improve drivers’ visibility from their mirrors.

    Yes I believe Verstappen will have bulls eye targeting device fitted to his mirrors :)

    1. It was Ricciardi who drove into the gearbox of max. Those blue cars can be deceiving.

      1. It was Ricciardi who drove into the gearbox of max

        Oh yeah, it was one of those times that Verstappen had (supposedly) better race pace than Ricciardo, but Ricciardo caught him anyway.
        Ricciardo is only one of the long list of drivers Verstappen has run into or forced off the track. Verstappen is gaining a reputation as a driver who when challenged, an incident is in-evadable.
        Which is sad as he can be a fast driver and he has some potential.

  20. How about a line of yellow LEDs along the back top lip of the rear wing which zoom left or right in sync with movement of the steering wheel? This would make it easy for following drivers and viewers to spot a double jink.

    Also I hope they mount the main car camera on the centre line of the car so viewers can clearly see both front wheels and have a better view of any car to the right hand side being overtaken, plus get rid of the wide angle lenses used at the moment and have lenses with the same optical ratio as the MK1 eyeball.

    1. mount the main car camera on the centre line

      Oh, please yes! I’m tired of the view that makes me feel like I’m riding pillion on a motorcycle.

  21. next year’s cars will also feature taller rear wings in order to improve drivers’ visibility from their mirrors

    I wonder if this will bring back the higher rear wings we saw some years back, which was supposed to improve overtaking.

  22. Teams were already responsible for all aspects of regulatory conformance (not just the technical safety ones) at all times during the race weekend. Adding an extra rule just covering one part of the rules for one part of the weekend is just plain redundant.

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