Oliver Rowland, Williams, Hungaroring

New wings will make 2019 cars “uglier” – Verstappen

2019 F1 season

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Max Verstappen isn’t convinced Formula 1’s new front wings for next season will aid overtaking but says they will spoil the look of the cars.

New regulations will force teams to use simpler front wings next year. This is being done to make it easier for cars to follow each other more closely by reducing the ‘outwashing’ effect.

However to help teams recoup the lost downforce from that change the maximum width of the front wings has been increased to two metres, equal to the full width of the car. Verstappen is sceptical about how well the plan will work.

“It might help a little bit,” he told his official website, “but what I’m already reading is that next year we’ll have about the same downforce as this year, so I think that the benefit will be limited.

It only looks somewhat uglier, but maybe the design will be refined before the next season.”

Formula 1 last had full-width front wings in 2013, when cars were 1.8 metres wide.

Verstappen said he hopes F1’s planned overhaul of car design in 2021 creates cars which can race each other more closely. “If it is still good to drive and overtaking will improve, I can agree with it, even though the car looks very futuristic,” he said. “It also depends on how much downforce we lose with the new regulations.”

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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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69 comments on “New wings will make 2019 cars “uglier” – Verstappen”

  1. Well, if the new wings do enable less washout/more overtaking and look like giant cheese slicers, so be it.

    1. look like giant cheese slicers

      Then I don’t understand why Verstappen driver doesn’t like it.
      Maybe he also wants the wing to resemble a windmill :P

      1. Lets see… the guy who drives for the team that benefits from complex aero regulations doesn’t like it when regulations are simplified.

        1. Tommy Scragend
          17th October 2018, 16:45

          Whoosh… ColdFly was making a joke about Verstappen being Dutch.

        2. Thats where Newey loses his job.

      2. @coldfly – Maybe he also wants the wing to resemble a windmill :P

        Breaking news: Ferrari to hire Don Quixote…

  2. I really like them, especially because they are wider. Unfortunately it will lead to so many lap 1 incidents

    1. @notacop: True.

      Hope F1 can develop drivers’ HUD with ‘road relevant’ lane change sensors in time.

      Otherwise, Lap 2 will always be behind the safety car. ;-)

    2. If I recall correctly, that’s what they said before 2013 and yet there were very few instances of front wings being damaged.

      That being said, there weren’t as many young inexperienced and impatient drivers then.

      1. @dbradock – I’d hardly term Vettel as young… ;-)

        1. Touché but then again, how many times did he damage his front wing in 2013?

        2. You mean the guy that won 13 races that year? OK…

          1. How is this relevant to the point being made?

  3. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
    17th October 2018, 7:24

    They look quite good to be honest. If they allow more overtaking then that is going to be even better.

  4. That’s alright, Max, this isn’t a beauty contest. Function before form.

    1. Kiran Nesarajah
      17th October 2018, 7:47

      I can see where’s he’s coming from. For the fans at the race or tv audience , the difference in aesthetics (from a distance) is minimal. Drivers see their cars up close. I’m deep down in a drivers head is the idea that a pretty looking car goes faster….

      1. I had that for over 40 years of F1 how more pretty looked more faster (not that the numbers back that up) in my mind :)

        1. I’ll respect your viewpoints and agree to disagree – to my eyes, a fast car looks functionally pretty.

          Except shark fins & T-wings. Those are Satan’s contributions to F1.

          1. Satan is one stylish dude.

    2. He doesn’t seem too concerned about it, @phylyp.
      Just the headline focusses on that word.

      1. @coldfly – a clickbait headline? No! Say it isn’t so!! :-)

        1. we wouldn’t fall for that, would we?
          And of course this site doesn’t use clickbait titles (notice my carefully chosen wording), @phylyp ;)

          1. we wouldn’t fall for that, would we?

            Speak for yourself, @coldfly , I did :-)

          2. I click on every article just to see what you guys say :)

          3. It’s a pity those titles are creeping in racefans now and then.
            Let’s hope it will not become the standard.

  5. Derek Edwards
    17th October 2018, 7:53

    Does anybody else look at those wings and think of Chase Carey’s moustache?

    1. LOL, good one!

    2. @Derek Edwards @phylyp Someone once likened the new-for-2019 simplified front wing design to a Gillette Razor, and I can see the resemblance, LOL.

      1. @jerejj – that will then give new meaning to the phrase “close shave” for close racing that almost becomes an incident :-)

        And yes, the resemblance is definitely there to both the walrus moustache and a Gillette razor!

  6. In other words, Newey feels upset that he cannot get an ungainly advantage from heavily spending on the front wing anymore. Max, line up in a long line of previous Red Bull drivers who have been saying things the team liked for years whenever rules changes looked like they would cut the advantage on aero.

  7. Prost was correct on his interview last week.

    Get rid of the diffuser.

    1. How will getting rid of the diffuser help?! It’s isn’t the cause of the difficulty following

  8. Please can we just go back to the front wing regulations from 2005. Raise that rear wing high up whilst your at it.

    1. I like the current lower rear wings, but never fear, the rear wing is being raised to improve rearward visibility @john-h

      1. Indeed @phylyp. I was thinking more ‘wacky races pikes peak 1970s’ style though!

  9. Does it matter? cars are already extremely ugly. This won’t change much…

    1. I personally like all the curvy bits and bobs, but, stylistically, a simpler looking front wing, even if wider, might in some respects actually improve their looks for some @fer-no65! The current cars seem very long, but much less ugly than the super-flat, or protruding nose years (2013 merc, most non-merc 2014 cars ugh.), and while the 2012 F-duct McLaren had something for me, that very long look with a sail wasn’t great either.

  10. Ferrari/RBR ‘ new 2021 rules are underwhelming’
    Bottas- ‘cruising around as tyres rubbish’
    Lewis ‘fans falling asleep as qually format boring’
    Max ‘uglier wings’

    Depressing to read all this, f1 has always been full of whingers complaining their Hublot watches chaff but its becoming a mountain of negativism. Doesn’t help the media have been picking at any scabs for 10 years + now and 24 hr media isn’t going to reduce that but i sure wish we were just talking about the racing.

    1. loooool, haha, too true.

    2. There’s nothing to talk about, so they talk about this stuff. Media picks up news because they need to keep the wheel turning, doesn’t it? a day without someone saying something is impossible-

      1. It is indeed this and with a lack of characters/drivers who don’t just kiss it, its not going to change. James Hunt punching someone in the face or dragging a fellow driver and friend out of a burning car is from a different universe news wise. Maybe if I stop looking, it will go away but fundamentally I still love f1, I just want it to be lovely back

  11. So Max says it basically doesn’t change much (probably as shown in windtunnel trials and simulations). Therefore it is 90% optics for the moment. Does it look better or worse? Personal opinion I think. Wil it make it more interesting? I bet a lot more “under investigation”.

  12. I couldn’t care less about the aesthetics-aspect. All I care is the quality of racing, as well as, lap times.

  13. I saw some footage this week of Senna against Mansell and Piquet in the mid 80s in Brands Hatch, what great racing it was with such close following.

    It’s a double edged sword- we want to see what a genius like Adrian Newey can design but that aero creates the issues we currently have. I will take closer racing every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

  14. DarkSchneider
    17th October 2018, 12:13

    Can’t you guys simply stop complain and try to appreciate F1 just as it is ?
    For each change, stuff, someone always find something that is “ugly”, not enough this, too much that that .. blablabla …
    Relax, man, just relax and appreciate life.
    You find stuff ugly because you want to find it.

    You, journalists, are always seeking some polemics to make some clics.
    it’s what make F1 boring sometimes too, and personnaly, it makes me stop to read you, just too much sometimes.

    Like said Brian :
    Always look to the bright side of life, even when you’re crucified on a F1 2019 front wing :p

  15. Having the same amount of downforce in 2019 as 2018 is still a win because without this new front wing the downforce levels would have increased. I think it is also important to remember these new bits on the cars are just stop gap measures. Only real way to improve the wheel to wheel racing is to reduce downforce massively. But that would require a total redesign of the cars which f1 has deemed too expensive. So now they are making these small yearly changes and do all the big changes in one go later.

    That being said we are only into the second year of the new aero regs and the new aero rules have been total failure in pretty much all respects except making the cars faster. And it should not be a surprise for anybody. Every time f1 has made a rule change in the past the cars have become slower. And every time there was a rule change the goal was to make the cars slower. The step up in performance from 2016 to 2017 is probably only matched by 1966 when the sport moved from 1.5 liter engines to 3 liter engines and the speeds rose massively. Every other time the onus has been on slowing down the cars. Mostly because of safety reasons. And I think the reason both times was the engines. The 1.5 liters were not quite formula one in 1960s so a change was necessary and only thing they could really change was the engines. But similarly in 2016 after just 3 seasons with the new engines it was noted that the cars were too slow. No wonder if you put 100kg on the car the lap times suffer! But unlike in 1966 the engines were too new and too expensive and too important for the manufacturers to change so f1 did the only thing it could to speed the cars back up. Add downforce. The magical bullet that converts thick wads of cash into newtons of downforce and artistic shapes of carbon fiber. And hurts the racing but who cares about that..

    In a way f1 has put itself into a corner. Because of how heavy the cars are there is bigger need for higher downforce levels than ever before just to get the cars up to f1 speeds. Like it or hate it the last generation v8s were some 80-100kg lighter which means they needed less downforce to achieve a certain lap time or race pace than the current sumo wrestlers. Now with heavier cars you need more downforce to just match that lap time. With heavier cars you also punish the tires more. With lighter car it is easier to design a tire that fulfills your performance and show criterias. But with heavier car and more downforce you are asking a lot more from the tire manufacturer. Because of heavier cars the tires tend to wear out quicker and have narrower operating window. And because the heavy cars put more stress on the tires it means it is easier than ever before for the driver do something in the car that causes the tires to go out of that optimal window of operation. The temperatures can change quicker, wear becomes an issue sooner and you’ll see more degration which is loss of tire peformance casued by temperatures.

    I feel with the current engines ross brawn has some serious issue trying to make a big change. To get the cars up to speed he already needs more downforce than ever before but from racing perspective he’d want to lose as much of the downforce as he could. The only way out of this is to either build the cars from spec aero parts so the least dirty air solution is guaranteed or just flatout ignore the f1 speed requirement, take out lots of downforce and make the cars just tiny bit faster than f2 cars and hope the racing improves enough that the lack of speed goes unnoticed. I hope he has the balls to go for the second option because I don’t think think there is quicker way to kill f1 than to make the cars 100% identical with same aero parts.

    1. @socksolid I’m still hoping that how the downforce is generated has a significant influence on the racing, rather than purely how much.

      I’m hoping for similar amounts of downforce but cars that can follow. It’s obviously not as simple as more ground effects will solve the problem, otherwise I think we’d be there by now, but I’m still hopeful. Maybe I’m being too optimistic, but I want to have my cake and eat it too, after all that’s what cake is for.

      1. The current cars generate 60% of the downforce with ground effects according to willem toet who works/worked at sauber.

  16. If I watched the sport for the look of the cars I would have turned the TV off already. I cannot recall an uglier car than they have now in any other form of motorsport and yet I still watch.

    1. You cannot recall an uglier car than they have now? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and all that, but I’m worried about your eyesight if 2009-2013 was an aesthetically pleasing time for you.

  17. My problem with this (@DarkSchneider and a couple of others) is that nothing is actually being addressed. We tried the wider, simpler(, uglier) front wings and higher rear wings already. And the racing was so close and the legitimate passes were amazing afterward!! No, wait, that didn’t happen. What happened instead is that we got uglier cars and that’s it.

    I’m with some of the others here where I would be okay with ugly cars if the racing was closer and fighting with rivals was possible. But just changing regulations (costs), reusing old ideas that didn’t work, and making cars uglier is not helping. Actually work at finding a good solution (smaller wings? split rear wing? no wings? ground effects? IDK!) and until then leave regs alone. What allows the pack to generally close up? Stable regulations. What tends not to? Unstable regs and throwing random ideas at the wall to see if they stick.

    1. I personally think the changes the overtaking group made in 2009 did have an impact. Granted 2009 was uncompetitive due to the change in regulations but 2010 was one of the best seasons of F1 i have ever seen. We had no fuel strategy and no DRS yet we had plenty of solid races and a decent amount of overtaking. Go back and watch those races and the cars are noticeably better at following than what we have today. That would not have been possible with the pre-2009 cars.

      With the introduction of DRS in 2011 we had the most overtaking we have ever had by a large margin. Sure, you can argue that was all DRS but i don’t believe that to be the case. In my opinion it was a combination of the regs working + DRS. It was only around 2015/16 that drivers started to complain again about how difficult it was to follow.

      1. @racectrl – Your memory is not supported by stats compiled by cliptheapex (http://cliptheapex.com/overtaking/). There was less overtaking in 2009 than 2008. As for 2010, you are either forgetting, or at least fail to mention, the advent of the f-duct that year—which is the urDRS, or at least the reason DRS came into being. The impact was similar as allowed for the car behind to pass more easily and artificially.

        I would argue that the end of 2009 was very competitive, but it was too late to catch Brawn’s points lead. And 2010 was competitive for similar reasons, namely that the small teams took a gray-area idea (double diffusers) and the big spenders had to catch up. Whereas most of the time the big teams get the jump (see 2014) and the small teams can never catch up in the development war. If the big teams had figured things out a few races sooner, 2009 would likely go down as an epic battle of a season.

        What I am arguing is that whatever the 2009 and 2019 regs are trying to get at with wider, simpler front wings and taller (and at least for 2009 narrower) rear wings, isn’t enough. (…and they are ugly on top it.) Figure out what IS enough, and implement that rule. Have some cars follow each other with no rear wing at all, very small winglets, anything. But actually test things until you find an answer that allows close driving.

        1. @hobo – I don’t care about the overtaking stats for 2009 because as i said, it was uncompetitive year imo and we still had fuel strategy (most passing happening in the pits). With refueling being banned in 2010 it is the closest we have to the blueprint we use today. In all respects it should’ve been a nightmare for overtaking yet that didn’t come to fruition. IIRC Mclaren had the f-duct advantage for the first part of the season before everyone started using it by the end of the year. With everyone using f-duct it negated any advantage and cannot be considered an overtaking aid. Mclaren would’ve been the only team to benefit from it during the first part of the season so i suppose any overtaking they did would’ve skewed the data slightly. Overall though you can see the improvement if look at how closely the cars could follow in the corners that year compared to pre-2009. Not a massive improvement but an improvement nonetheless. Could you imagine the 2008 cars with no refueling? Would’ve been comical.

          They have clearly tested this new design and found benefit form using the wider front wing, just like they did in 2009, so there is no reason not to introduce it and make it standard going forward. It is only one of many steps that will hopefully get the sport back to where it needs to be. Personally I’d prefer to get rid of the front wing altogether, or use a really simplistic front wing just for aesthetics. Problem is the big teams won’t allow it. It has to be a series of small changes that will add up to something more significant. It will make for a disruptive few years but needs must because i’ve just about had enough of DRS. It has poisoned this sport for way too long.

          1. @racectrl – The problem with data is that it doesn’t matter whether you care about it or not, it’s still there. 2009 design change didn’t change overtakes. 2010 changed some, but again, they had f-ducts–which are essentially DRS, but worse because they could be used all the time. And it was not just McLaren during the first part of the season, Ferrari had it by the 5th race (Spain) if not earlier, and multiple other teams followed.

            “With everyone using f-duct it negated any advantage and cannot be considered an overtaking aid.”

            It doesn’t work that way. Every system was different and some were more effective than others, some were better at starting/stopping the stall than others, etc. Getting rid of refuelling may have impacted overtakes, but so would have f-duct. Regardless, there is no clear indication that the wing change impacted overtakes at all. If you have data supporting your contention, I am open to hearing it.

            Why do you say that they have “clearly tested this new design and found benefit form using the wider front wing, just like they did in 2009, so there is no reason not to introduce it and make it standard going forward”? Did they release some compelling data that I missed? That’s not even sarcasm, I’m asking. Because otherwise they are just changing regs without providing anything more than a soundbite as support. And if they are saying, Hey remember that 2009 idea that had zero impact on passing–we’re bringing it back, then color me unswayed.

            Again, I’m onboard for changes that do something to make following possible. I personally don’t think this is it. If it is, they have done a horrible job explaining why the data they have shows this.

          2. @hobo I don’t like just looking at the data because it doesn’t tell the whole picture. I’d rather trust what i saw and experienced. Fact is that such a big change in regulations spread the back and give one team a huge advantage. You know already that stable regulations close the pack and create good racing/overtaking. This is why i don’t wish to discuss 2009 but you can’t seem to move past it. Instead you are using it to try and prove a point. 2010 is the best year to look at and if you want to attribute all the overtaking and how close the cars could follow in the corners to the f-duct then that is your choice. I think we just have agree to disagree at this point.

            I will concede that i don’t know enough about what Ross Brawn and the technical team is doing behind the scenes. I know the out washing around the front tyres is key but why they can’t ban that practice without making the front wing wider i’m not so sure. Maybe the front wing being similar to what they used in 2009 is just a coincidence, or there is more to it. I don’t know. What i do know is that i have no reason to distrust them and fully support what they are doing. A series of small changes over a long period of time is better than one big change. It will keep the teams closer together on track and make is easier for the technical team to know what is working and what isn’t. Bit like how the teams approach adding upgrades to the car. Adding one at a time is always better than throwing them all on at once.

    2. @hobo it’s the first time that we’ve had dual car wind tunnel studies done to shape the regs. I agree that stable refs help close the field but this is the correct way to go about making a change for the better. I say we at least give this change (2021) a chance

      1. @3dom – We’re talking 2019 changes are we not? If they have data showing that this will allow cars to follow closely over many laps without ruining tires, great. I’m in and I will give them time. My guess, however, is that whatever analysis has been done has shown slight improvement. That is not good enough, and my reasons are as follows.
        1. We’ve done this (bigger, dumber front wing and taller rear wing) before. Impact was nil to limited.
        2. Viewer numbers are falling. While we can lay a lot of that at the feet of pay TV contracts, having compelling racing might help. And I don’t think we can sit around through the end of the 2021 season 3+ years and hope things improve.
        3. We need data showing massive improvements in ability to follow, or at the very least a handful of small things that add up to a big improvement. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of money for no benefit.

        I do hope your are right and the data has shown this is going to make things better (and in an a big way), but I’m not holding my breath.

        1. @hobo while the 2009 regs did have simpler front wings and higher rear wings, they were different to what’s being proposed for 2019.

          The proposed 2019 are essentially a stop gap to try to improve following compared to 2017 and 2018. It is as a result of data. Admittedly the research is mainly for 2021, but what they found showed that this change has a good chance of improving following in the meantime. The current research is far more extensive than what was done prior to the 2009 changes.

          Part of the reason that the 2009 changes didn’t work was because the teams’ engineers worked out a way to get the air flowing over the front wing to move around the front tyres and boost the aero at the back of the car (outwash) to give an overall increase in downforce. The problem with this is if turbulent air affects the front wing then the detriment is also felt at the rear, magnifying the deficit. The 2019 changes are designed to limit the amount of outwash by removing the wing cascades and limiting design of the endplates. If outwash is limited then the relative deficit when following another car should be limited too.

          Again I have to admit that I haven’t seen any of this data, but I do respect the change in approach to the reasons why changes are being brought in. This approach seems far more influenced by science and logic than in the Ecclestone era, so for that reason I’m willing to give it a chance. We’ll just have to wait to see if it yields results or not.

          1. @3dom – Appreciate the response. I do hope it works out as well as they seem to think it will.

          2. @hobo here’s hoping

            I completely understand the call by people to stop messing with the regulations so regularly. Hopefully we’ll eventually get closer racing and stable regulations

  18. Max should realize that the looks of the car are FAR less important than the function. Anyone who truly loves motorsports would watch fiberglass sausages with bicycle wheels attached if the racing is good.

  19. Was the same not said about the Halo. And me for one nolonger see it. Its just there. Shut up and drive mate.

  20. Verstappen is just a whiner. Gives the impression he doesn’t like F1. Maybe he should just quit ……

    1. Don’t worry, in a while they will all quit. Only people with a chromosone less will stay looking at this fake form of racing.

  21. it could make cars uglier but the halo already made them disgusting so…

  22. Isn’t there anyone that thinks that the net downforce levels for 2019 cars will actually increase.?
    While the front wings are to be simpler in nature, the working section is about 17% greater (1.8 to 2.0 m and discounting for the non effective center bit) and the designers now have a more opportunity for reducing tyre squirt at the front. Net result is the probability that net downforce will increase.
    For the rear wing, if you wanted to make it more effective, you would raise it up to get it into less disturbed air. So here we go. There will be some loss of interaction with the diffuser, but I suspect that some careful boddy-work at the rear will bring some of that back. End result, more downforce.
    All in all, my money is on A Newey doing the Dance-of-Joy at the opportunities that this will offer up.
    The FIA should also look into installing a Sweeper / Vacuum system on the back of the Safety Car to pick up all the carbon bits that will be tossed about.
    What is a problem for some, will be an opportunity for others. Winner is the team that can swap out a front wing as fast as changing tires or close to it.
    So … when does 2019 testing start ….??

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