Charles Leclerc, Sauber, Suzuka, 2018

No quick fix to ‘Formula 1.5’ problem

2018 F1 season

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Team principals from Formula 1’s smaller outfits doubt they will become significantly closer to their larger rivals even when new regulations come into force in 2021.

The leading Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes cars finished two laps ahead of their rivals from other teams in Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix. The gulf in performance has prompted some to label the other seven teams as ‘Formula 1.5’.

Sauber team principal Freseric Vasseur believes plans to introduce a budget cap and revise F1’s prize money distribution from 2021 will address this, but the effect will not be immediate.

“The target of the global future is to increase the show, basically,” said Vasseur. “The best way to do it is to close the gap between the cars.

“If you want to have an exciting race you have to have the guy in P10 be, in certain circumstances, able to fight for the podium. It’s not the case at all that, if you look on the last races, even the guys [in] the top six, if they were lapped or they two-stop in the first lap, they were able to come back and to finish in the top six again.

“The [decision] to introduce the cost cap is one thing, and to have a better spread in terms of the prize fund will allow the teams in the second half of the grid to catch up a little bit the gap.

“But I’m still convinced that it will be difficult for us in 2021 to fight with the top teams – but that needs to be closer.”

In response to a questions from RaceFans, Haas team principal Guenther Steiner believes the scale of the big teams’ operations will make it harder for the smaller teams to catch up.

“The big three will have an advantage starting which is just so big. Also, their infrastructure, what they’ve got there, their testing facilities and all that stuff is just so much more developed than what we have got so they will have an advantage but at least.

“I think the aim is not that we are going to overtake them in ’21 [or] that we are going to win races. But that we close the gap and that everybody has a chance of ending up on the podium or at least fighting for it and keeping all the 10 teams, that we put a good show on.

“That is the aim, that we don’t have these two shows and we don’t really know if we are racing together or not.”

Read the new RacingLines column today on RaceFans for more on the new obstacles F1 owner Liberty Media faces in its efforts to make F1 more competitive.

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2018 F1 season

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Author information

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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  • 44 comments on “No quick fix to ‘Formula 1.5’ problem”

    1. Well, I don’t think any of the current fans are suddenly expecting the whole field (or a majority) to close up suddenly. We understand that there’s inertia and momentum that today benefits the big teams that will be harder for small teams to achieve (facilities, processes, supplier integration, etc.).

      That said, 2019 is going to be a small-scale litmus test to see if it can solve (or at least reduce) one of the larger aero issues affecting both F1 and F1.5.

      And instead of a budget cap (whose management and tracking will be opaque), I was wondering if instead the same objective can be achieved differently by limiting the number of aero designs allowed – forcing the teams to get it right upfront, instead of spending vast resources endlessly tweaking designs. I’d put in two comments on this idea yesterday: comment 1 comment 2.

      1. Make the aerodynamic rules simpler. Reduce add on parts. Reduce telemetry parameters.
        If the number of add-on aero devices are reduced and you have a simpler car, the possibility of having cars with a 5 seconds performance gap will be reduced. The rest will be down to mechanical grip.
        A team could still spend $1billion on updates but they won’t find half a second, only a few tenths or thousandths, which to me is okay and won’t grossly affect the competition.

      2. And instead of a budget cap (whose management and tracking will be opaque), I was wondering if instead the same objective can be achieved differently by limiting the number of aero designs allowed – forcing the teams to get it right upfront, instead of spending vast resources endlessly tweaking designs. I’d put in two comments on this idea yesterday: comment 1 comment 2.

        That’s actually quite interesting. If we gave teams a limited number of updates allowed to each area of the car (engine, suspension, wings, brakes, floor, etc) , it might make it a whole lot more interesting . Quite a good suggestion actually, and definitely an approach that FIA should be contemplating.

        1. I disagree to limiting the number of updates. Remember not every update gives benefit when used on a race weekend, teams then revert back or change the design again after trialing on the race weekend. By limiting the NUMBER of updates, it is no different to the engine penalties we are already seeing.
          Perhaps it is better to limit the design parameters, which will give teams as much design freedom within the (restricted) limits. This would relate most to aero development of course, basically what OOliver has already said above.

      3. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        31st October 2018, 8:32

        Limiting changes to aero designs would probably make it worse not better. Look at the problems Honda have had trying to catch up with Mercedes and Renault in the engine department.

        OOlivers idea is much better. I’d go further and reduce downforce to 15-20% of what it is now. Then there would be less to gain per dollar spent.

        Those people who say we should not massively reduce downforce have their heads in the sand. They are like climate change deniers or flat earthers!

        Massively reducing downforce solves lots of problems. Less room for development spending and closer racing on track. The closer racing will snowball into bringing in more revenue into the sport. The casual viewer is more likely to stay watching and advertisers will love this.

        The negatives of much lower downforce are easily and relatively cheaply addressed. Those who say they like the aero innovations simply don’t understand its killing the sport. It is a sport remember, a fair and equal competition for all entrants it should be. F1 is not a spend and tech for spend and tech sake endeavour, oh no.

        As for the cars being slower, well much bigger tyres and more power would redress some of the speed lost, but this philosophy should be applied to all formulae over time.

        That how you eliminate formula 1.5 .

        1. @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk Reducing downforce doesn’t automatically equal closer racing on track as it’s more about how it’s generated rather than the amount itself. The amount of DF isn’t really the problem, but how it’s produced. As far as Pirelli’s Mario Isola is concerned, next season despite the more simplified front wing design the lap times could remain stable, i.e., still be on level with this season as he suggested the teams would be able to maintain them even with the simpler design and or by other ways. I hope, he’s right because the initial estimation of the lap times becoming 1.5 seconds slower compared to the current campaign is something I wouldn’t like too much on some circuits. On most of the venues, it wouldn’t be too bad, though, but on some namely Bahrain and Baku, it’d be a bit too close call with 2016 for my liking. Let’s wait and see.

          1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
            31st October 2018, 17:31

            Reducing DF won’t automatically equal closer racing. It will just be a 99% chance it will.

            The notion of that it’s ‘how the DF is created that matters’ is a load of rubbish. No-one has demonstrated this. All aero works best in clean air.

            So what if the lap times reduce by 1.5 seconds? Whats the problem. What matters is the relative lap times between the fastest and slowest.

            1. @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk, I don’t think that you understand quite how far you would be reducing the potential performance of the cars, or quite understand the fact that increasing power does not actually have anything like as much of an effect as you think it does.

              Aero is dominant because, to put it bluntly, the potential performance gains from increasing downforce are far more significant in terms of lap time than any other factor that you care to name. Around most normal circuits, the cars are lateral grip limited far more frequently than they are power limited, such that adding power is effectively useless when the car cannot physically go any faster around the corner, because it will slide and lose grip if you try to do that.

              Willem Toet has produced simulations of quite how significant the loss in performance is, where he looked at the potential performance of a car around the Circuit de Catalunya with a normal level of downforce and with zero downforce.

              In that situation, the loss in performance was about 21 seconds a lap – from 1m22 to average times of about 1m43s – which would result in a car that would be more than two seconds a lap slower than a Formula 3 car (drivers in the Euroformula Open series – which uses a six year old Formula 3 chassis – can do sub 1m41s laps in qualifying trim).

              Now, I appreciate that you are talking about a slightly less extreme reduction, but you are still talking about a loss that would be more likely to be in the order of tens of seconds, rather than the couple of seconds you seem to think it would be.

              Adding power to try and compensate for that loss in performance is a very inefficient method for trying to do that because, as I mentioned earlier, as most cars are rarely power limited around a circuit, performance gains from additional power accrue much more slowly.

              If I recall well, in the past the rule of thumb was that lap times would reduce in proportion to the fourth root of the increase in power – in other words, in order to reduce the lap time by a factor of two, you would need to increase the power output of the car by a factor of sixteen.

              In the above scenario, the performance of the cars would have dropped by a factor of about 1.26 so, in order to recover that lap time deficit through power alone, you would need to increase the total power by a factor of approximately 2.5. Now, Toet used the cars from the 2012 season as his base line for that model so, taking a rough output of 750bhp for those cars, if you wanted to then recover that same performance from power alone, you would need to increase the power output of the engine to approximately 1870bhp.

              As for simply slapping bigger tyres on, that only works to a certain point given the fact that you have an open wheeled car. Those tyres generate a fairly significant amount of lift and drag, and whilst making the wheel wider will give some increase in performance, that will begin to be offset by the increased lift and drag as the tyres become wider.

              Increasing the wheel width means that the turbulent wake will also start interfering with the surrounding bodywork, which can have the effect of increasing drag and lift as well, such that the benefits of widening the tyres will begin to plateau. Now, quantifying the effects from that is going to be significantly harder given that the interaction is much more complex, but you’re very unlikely to gain, say, 10 seconds from slapping a larger set of wheels onto the car.

              In reality, the sort of performance loss that your rules would bring about wouldn’t be in the order of just a couple of seconds a lap, but likely far bigger – potentially into the order of tens of seconds per lap, as you are rather badly underestimating the impact of downforce and heavily overestimating the effect of increasing power or wider tyres would have.

            2. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
              1st November 2018, 8:53

              Mr Anon,

              So your argument is we carry on as we are?

              It is exactly your attitude and train of thought that in the hands of the powers that be have got use where we are.

              I have followed F1 since 1973. My Dad worked in the sport (F1) in the 70’s and 80’s in various technical roles, so I fully understand the implications. Your technical analysis and those you quote seem about correct. I say bring it on.

              As for much less downforce and wider tyres I don’t say that purely to offset any speed lost, more the affect it would have on the closeness of the racing, which is what the sport is all about.

              I don’t care if the cars are 10-15 seconds a lap slower. If the wider tyres don’t completely offset the 80% reduction in downforce, we will have cars that are faster in a straight line and slower in the corners. The braking distances will be massively increased and we all know that is a good thing for overtaking and close racing.

              The lap-time reduction would have benefits for safety and possibly track variety.

              I have said in other similar posts that this would need to apply to the lower formula over time so your comparison to a formula 3 would not be true.

              I reiterate, you and your attitude are part of the problem. Don’t knock my solution without providing one of your own.

            3. @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk, you might not particularly care that the cars might be 10-15 seconds a lap slower, but we have seen that a lot of individuals here did complain considerably that the cars were “too slow” when compared to cars of the past.

              Even if you could force other series to downgrade as well to avoid comparisons with lower formula – which is doubtful, since quite a few Formula 3 series deliberately run different regulations to the FIA’s main series and stick to older designs, and would almost certainly refuse to change their regulations on cost grounds – we will almost certainly still see fans compare the performance between seasons and complain about how slow the cars would become compared to those that came before. That solution would only work with FIA affiliated series too – so, for example, Japan or the US could, and in fact almost certainly would, continue independently, and would then almost certainly use that as an opportunity to boast about how much faster their domestic series were in comparison to F1. You might be happy with such a proposal, but I am not sure that the wider fan base would stomach what they would perceive as such a significant downgrade in performance.

              Equally, we have seen major cuts in downforce in the past that didn’t really change anything – Frank Dernie noted in the past that there have been times when there have been major cuts in downforce – such as from 1982 to 1983, when the downforce cut was comparable to what you’re proposing, or between 1993 and 1994 – it often didn’t have that much of a major effect on the racing, and instead it simply reset the balance to a new level from which teams would then work frantically to regain as much downforce as possible.

              I am critical because, too often, people want to put forward a single solution that they claim will be a panacaea to everything that ails the sport and think that a single “silver bullet” will suddenly transform the sport into some long held idealised form of the sport.

              Instead, at best large changes in the regulations have had a rather neutral impact on the racing instead, whilst at worst major changes in the regulations have instead had major unintended adverse consequences. With the major downforce cuts in 1994, for example, the drivers complained that the way it was carried out ended up making the sport significantly more dangerous and quite a few of them went into that season expecting drivers to be seriously injured, or even killed, because the sport was mandating major cuts in downforce on many of the same ground that you cite – to “level the competition” and to “improve the show” – without properly assessing the consequences of those actions.

              It’s not that I am “burying my head in the sand” – rather, it is to question whether, when you present such a radical “kill or cure” solution to the sport, whether your conviction that it will only “cure” the sport is misplaced and that your proposal will not end up having unintended adverse effects.

            4. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
              4th November 2018, 16:38

              Oh dear Mr Anon you are so negative!

              Its easy to knock other peoples ideas but not so easy to provide your own. Yet again I reiterate your mind set is part of the problem. Please suggest a solution to formula 1.5. Can you do that? How would you solve the problem? I’m fascinated to know.

              It seems you are fixated on the idea that F1 MUST be the fastest and won’t countenance it being slower. My focus is closer competition at a more affordable price. Do you think that is a bad idea? Lets try and find some common ground.

              As for a similar reduction in downforce in the lower FIA formulas I firmly believe this is achievable over time. You have noted some possible issues but I think they are solvable.

              If the USA and Japan want series’s with faster cars then they can brag all they like but they won’t be the world championship. If they can achieve faster cars and still have close unpredictable racing then F1 can learn from them! As I said, see the positives!

              I can’t BELIEVE you think taking DF off would make it more dangerous. In 1994 both Senna and Ratzenburger were killed because they had a unexpected loss of DF on very fast corners. Removing DF means a lot less can be lost suddenly and the cornering speed is slower. Loss of control would be less likely and any resulting crash being less severe.

              For me F1 is reaching a crisis point. Formula E could overtake it in popularity sooner than you think (viewing figures)

              F1 must address this. It will survive if the decline in viewing figures can be arrested. This can only happen with more affordable, closer and unpredictable racing. leaving things as they are is NOT AN OPTION.

              As I said, what would you change?

        2. @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk

          Limiting changes to aero designs would probably make it worse not better. Look at the problems Honda have had trying to catch up with Mercedes and Renault in the engine department.

          Got to disagree with you on this one. The big 3 teams bring updates to nearly every race weekend. It’s the sheer rate of development that has made them so much stronger than midfield teams. If all teams were allowed a fixed number, which is closer to the number of updates midfield teams can afford, then we would see much closer racing.

          Comparing it to Honda is flawed. Honda had the budget to bring updates to the engine every race weekend, but the token system prevented them from doing so. Midfield teams don’t have the budget to bring updates every race weekend and thus they wouldn’t be losing out on any opportunities to catch up.

          1. @todford but that is what @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk is saying is it not? By restricting development you are restricting the ability of under-performing teams to catch the front running team(s) which is pretty much the same problem that the token system introduced in the hybrid era.

            Some of the midfield teams (erhem….and Mclaren) DO have the budget to bring updates to most race weekends and not allowing them to bring them only enshrines the leaders advantage in regulation as it did with Mercedes.

          2. @todfod restricting the amount of car upgrades would eefectivel6 do the same thing as the token system. Once again the team who have the best designers would be more likely to get it right first time, whereas the weaker team would lag behind more and have reduced opportunities in order to adjust. Looking at last season, some teams had correlation anomalies between CFD, Wind tunnel and the actual car.

            The token system was highly flawed and completely screwed up F1 for 3 years and even last season, whilst more competitive, was still poor.

            Levelling the playing field by having equal power from the PU’s and some components that are the same across the teams would help with racing, putting more emphasis on how well the driver races, rather than budget and performance gaps between the teams…

            1. That is not F1.

        3. Massively reduce downforce with a very simple ruleset. Put the post tech scales in a mobile windtunnel built into a tractor trailer. The car must weigh at least a min mass at zero air speed, and no more than particular weights at a couple specification air speeds.

          The tunnel has to be moving floor of course, so not cheap, but still, it doesn’t need to be well instrumented and full lab windtunnel expensive either. The only instrumentation needed is the scales.

    2. Whenever you change the rules significantly, it plays into the hands of those with the best resources who are able to develop faster. It will always result in the ‘top’ teams coming out with an advantage. If you want to close up the field, stability in the rules is really what you need. As well as access top the top technology like competitive power units. Money is, and always will be, a factor, but the longer the rules remain the same, the smaller the returns for massive investment in development, and the field closes up. You see this over and over again throughout F1 history.

      Yes, it’s a separate issue from the dirty air problem, which does need to be addressed. But F1 needs to decide what problem it’s trying to fix here. In my opinion making it easier to overtake is ultimately pointless if your car is going to be a second a lap slower than the one in front.

      1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        31st October 2018, 8:44

        The fix for formula 1.5 and dirty air are one and the same. Massively reduce downforce.

        Most of the difference in a F1 car’s lap-time comes from Aero, Tyres and PU.

        If aero is massively reduced the cars can get close enough to overtake.
        Tyres are a spec part so no change needed there.
        Lower downforce means differences in PU output will have less effect (like in the rain). So no need to change PUs.

    3. Why not make an advantage of the situation and hold a fictitious Formula 1.5 championship by taking the results and removing the top teams? Me and my friend have been doing this for a couple of years now. Then I discovered that there was an entire website and a subreddit dedicated to this concept, even using the same name of Formula 1.5, full with race reports and even analysing past championships in the same way. It gives you a totally different perspective on races. Uninteresting news that’s omitted on TV like “Sainz retires from 7th with an engine failure” becomes “Sainz loses a race win due to engine failure”.

      1. @johnbeak@coldfly had calculated this a few race weekends ago. Definitely makes for very interesting reading, and gives those hard-fighting drivers and teams in the midfield the respect they deserve.

        And a recent Renault tweet (or was it a radio message?) also showed they think likewise, when they congratulated Nico for “winning the race”.

      2. Then I discovered that there was an entire website and a subreddit dedicated to this

        cool, @johnbeakhttps://www.reddit.com/r/Formula1Point5/comments/92rxyd/new_to_formula_15/
        I now have 2 F1 websites to follow each day.

        Exciting day in Paris for F1.5/F1b today.

        1. Exciting day in Paris for F1.5/F1b today.

          @coldfly – agreed, it could make or break the championship.

          (well, that and Grosjean’s driving)

        2. @coldfly – holy crap, that points sidebar looks like the real thing! Subscribed as well.

      3. Amazing. Have subscribed.

    4. @dieterrencken is fair to say that you have been following F1 for a long time right? That you have an amazing history with the sport and know in depth what happens around it correct?

      With that said, when was the last time we didn’t had this so called F1.5? Why is it a problem know, what is different from the F1.5s of old? Is it because this one has political roots because it was incubated by the manufacturers? What is it? Why should we be worried about it, I honestly don’t get it why things that always happened are a problem now, but I’m genuinely interested

      1. @johnmilk Same here. Things weren’t really any different in the 80s or 90s, for example, or the last decade either. There have always been quite significant performance gaps amongst the cars in F1 over the years.

      2. @johnmilk – a very good question, and I hope it gets the answer it deserves.

      3. +1 I’m thinking the same thing. Why is it an issue now?

      4. I remember there being a time where smaller teams (Arrows, Jordan, Legier) had an extremely slim chance of getting a result. That seems impossible now. They’d be 2 laps down. It feels like LMP2 is closer to LMP1 than F1.5 is to F1…..

        For me, it’s the huge gap between the two classes that is the problem. It’s too big to be competitive. It’s like watching Connor McGregor fight a 90 year old or Man Utd playing a pub team…

        1. I’m actually a bit surprised the question is being asked, no offence intended. One needs to be a manufacturer based works team to even start to have a chance now. The audience is declining. More smaller teams are struggling than ever financially. Liberty wants more teams not less, and they won’t come if they know they have zero chance whereas in the past there was at least some chance for them. The declining marketing impact (from the smaller audience) for being in F1 vs the expense, combined with the lack of real chance against Mercedes and Ferrari…

          Yes we fans understand there have always been the star and the struggling teams, but that doesn’t change the reality for potential new entrants or for existing struggling ones.

          1. @robbie those are completely unrelated subjects, we are talking performance here, there were times were the independents were the F1 and we had manufacturers being F1.5, you still have one actually in that category. That’s unrelated to new entrants and the stability of the teams and the sport, I think no one said that the state of some teams isn’t a problem, but if we focus on performance and the sport side of the all thing it isn’t different that it was. What happens however is that this difference in competitiveness is being used to leverage the political side of the circus in order to level the playing field, if you approach it that way, fine I agree with you, we can use it as an argument. But if you are surprised by the question when the article is clearly aimed at discussing performance on track and not the complicated web that is the F1 structure it surprises me that you can’t see how it never was any different than it is now.

            But if you want to go political on this, please do, we don’t have to pretend we are talking about the same thing when we clearly are not

          2. One needs to be a manufacturer based works team to even start to have a chance now.

            @robbie Which has been the case for most of the 29 years i’ve been watching.

            In the 80’s/90’s Williams, McLaren & Benetton all had there successful periods when they were backed by a manufacturer (Honda, Renault & Ford) & in the case of Williams/Benetton as soon as they lost that backing they were no longer in the fight.

            I think the only time things were more equal was probably in the early years of the Pirelli High-Deg era (2011-2013) where the tyres were so fragile & so difficult to figure out that races became more about that than outright performance which gave mid-field teams like Force India, Sauber, Williams & Lotus/Renault opportunities for surprise results if they happened to hit the sweet spot or have better tyre life in the same way that unreliability gave them opportunities in the past.

            In terms of ‘Formula 1.5’ I don’t think it’s even as bad as it’s been in the past. I mean I can remember occasions in 1992/93 where the 2 Williams could be 2 seconds faster than the 3rd place car, Where the gap from 1st-10th could be 5+ seconds & the gap from 10th-last another 5 or so seconds. There were times in the 80’s where you stood no chance if you weren’t running a turbo which led to them actually forming the ‘Jim Clark Trophy’ for 1987 as a sort of secondary class for drivers in Non-turbo cars (Which Jonathan Palmer won) & the ‘Colin Chapman Trophy’ for teams without Turbo’s (Awarded to Tyrrell).

            1. @stefmeister

              In terms of ‘Formula 1.5’ I don’t think it’s even as bad as it’s been in the past. I mean I can remember occasions in 1992/93 where the 2 Williams could be 2 seconds faster than the 3rd place car, Where the gap from 1st-10th could be 5+ seconds & the gap from 10th-last another 5 or so seconds.

              Thanks for pointing this out. I thought it was just my imagination… I really don’t understand all the Formula 1.5 stuff. Formula 1 has always been like this. The fact that 3 teams are competing at the front, 2 very closely, is surely way better than at many other times in the past couple of decades. The nickname took hold with drivers in the midfield teams who are obviously miffed that they aren’t in the top teams. Much as I feel their pain (OK I don’t) someone has to be there and usually drivers like Grosjean are there for a reason. In terms of power/speed, the balance between the teams seems fine to me. The real issue in terms of ‘show’ is inability to follow closely, hassle the driver in front and force a mistake or overtaking opportunity. ‘Formula 1.5’ just seems another way for the sport to detract from itself unnecessarily.

        2. @petebaldwin c’mon Man U aren’t that bad are they?

    5. I’m guessing that because of reliability, the chances for formula 1.5 making lucky result have diminished dramatically.
      The last freak win by someone else other than big three was 2012 when Maldonado won.
      For the current and previous year just one podium has been outside of big three.
      So a lucky podium for someone else than RBR, Merc or Ferrari is a case of extreme luck, previously it was same for win.

    6. Like many people, I was surprised by how little the gap from the factory teams to the customers shrank when the customers got the same engine as the factory teams. This clearly shows that there is at times a huge gap in the chassis performance between the top teams and the F1.5 teams. At this point I’m thinking that rather than trying to cap spending, limit development etc, it might be best to allow the F1.5 teams to buy a year old chassis every ‘X’ years so that rather than having to try to figure out how to get fast, they are given a cheat sheet.

      1. @velocityboy Problem with the customer car idea is that the mid-field teams have already spent millions on the infrastructure to design, build & develop there own cars.

        And Force India (And Williams) have said many times over the years that they want to be a constructor & that having already spent millions on building the facilities that allows them to design, build & develop there own cars they would see it as unfair that another team could spend a fraction of that buying someone else’s car & not have to spend as much on R&D to be just as competitive.

        1. @stefmeister, I’m not saying they should buy a car every year. Just every once in a while to get a technical and knowledge boost. For example, if the rules were remaining the same, next year Williams could buy a year old Ferrari/Mercedes/RedBull chassis and reverse engineer it, hopefully improving their ability to design and build their own cars. They wouldn’t be able to buy another chassis for some period of time, maybe 8 to 10 years. In this way, rather than forever slogging around at the back of the grid trying to fix their car, they can hopefully make a lasting move up the grid.

    7. 30 or more years ago the gap between pole position and back row on the grid was 5 seconds or more, yet the races were often better, because we did not have this bulletproof reliability of today. Stefan Johansson could get a podium in an Onyx and so could Aguri Suzuki in Larrousse. Vittorio Brambilla could win a race in March and (then) little known Alan Jones in a Shadow. Today, Max Verstappen starts a race from 18th on the grid and within six laps is in 5th position…it says a lot.

    8. Ok, no spec chassis obviously, but how about spec front wings?

      1. Check the regs for 2019, this is effectively where we are for next year.
        The differentiator between teams will come down to how stable the wings are (a structural component), how fast a team can change a busted wing (being wider will have carbon pieces all over the place for the first few laps) and the overall efficiency, which should be pretty even across the teams.
        Unfortunately we don’t get to see the new aero kit in the end of season test.

    9. Create a championship that only allows entrants that do not build engines. They should just build cars. Engine manufacturers are not allowed to participate, only allowed to supply an engine to a team. Chances are Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault will quit. But how big of a problem is that really? 3 engine manufacturers lost, many to gain… and the spirit of racing will return instead of exec shouting for more revenues. You know whatever revenue they make it will never be enough for them. Time to say goodbye to this DNA.

    10. Limit updates by grouping tracks and having set packages for them — high speed, high downforce, etcetera. Allow teams ONE package for each of these groupings. These must be released at set periods throughout the year.

      Next, allow teams to bring a set number of joker updates during a season to fix any unforeseen issues. Say four.

      Other than that, force teams to get better on strategy, tire management, fuel management.

      The number of people required to run a competitive team will drop. And then so will the costs.

      Really, I’m a nerd on development and the current cars are overkill for even me.

    11. There are just two causes for this. First one is the high downforce level which means the more money you have to spend the more downforce you can get with less drag. The second one is the engine. As long as this hybrid engine stays in f1 the only people who can fight for wins are those with manufacturer connections. And red bull is not an outlier. They had engine manufacturer in their pocket until they decided they needed something better. Plus they spend lots of money to finish third.

      The solution is simple. Less downforce which makes it difficult to spend more money to put more downforce on the cars. The ferrari and mercedes and red bull will still have an advantage simply because they have more money but it is much smaller advantage. The hybrid engines also need to go. The massive costs of those engines mean nobody will enter f1 as engine manufacturer. The high cost of the engine means mid sized teams need to spend bigger portion of their budget on engines which opens them up for being effectively bought by ferrari and merc as their b-teams. The engines the other teams get also perform worse than the factory cars and due to the massively complexity of the engines the mid field teams can not fix this. Mid field teams can not build their own engines because the cost of building f1 engine is a 9 digit number. Not to mention the focus on fuel efficiency is not exciting and hurts racing.

      The hybrid engines are also massively heavy with total weight being nearly 100kg heavier than the v10s or v8s. To offset this weight more and more downforce is required to bring down the lap time to v8 levels. This is why the engines need to go before we can reduce downforce. The cars can be almost equally fast with 100kg lighter engines and half the downforce. And the racing will be much better, teams will be closer and the best chassis with best driver wins. The new engines can only be less expensive which means mid field teams have bigger portion of their budget to spend on car design. There is less dirty air so drs can be done away with it. The new engines are less electronic and computer controlled which means driver makes a bigger difference. We see more overtaking because drivers make more mistakes. We could have f1 that is race relevant and not road relevant. 2021 won’t fix any of this because they are at best only getting a half measure against the downforce levels while leaving 50% of the problem completely untouched.

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