Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Return of “ugly” front wings puzzles Vettel

2019 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel says he doesn’t understand why Formula 1 has brought back full-width front wings.

F1 previously permitted front wing to be the same width as the entire car between 2009 and 2013, when the upper limit on car width was 1,800mm. This year they have increase to match the full 2,000mm width of the new, wider cars which were introduced in 2017.

New rules introduced for the 2019 F1 season has forced teams to simplify their front wing designs in order to reduce the ‘outwashing’ effect which makes it harder for cars to follow each other closely. In order to recoup the downforce and performance lost from that change, the width of the front wings has been increased.

However Vettel is unimpressed with the aesthetics of the new wings.

“The front wing I think looks really ugly,” said the Ferrari driver in response to a question from RaceFans at the Circuit de Catalunya today. “I don’t understand why it is so wide.”

“I think years ago we went back because we said it’s actually bad for racing. Now we bring back wide, so maybe we forgot to take notes. I think if you look at the rest of the car it’s beautiful, the front wing for all the teams it looks a bit weird.”

Vettel isn’t the only driver to criticise the look of the cars – Max Verstappen said last year he wasn’t happy with the aesthetics of the new front wings. But Vettel gave a positive verdict on the handling of his car following the aerodynamic changes.

“It drives better than that it looks to be honest. You don’t you don’t feel the big difference. I think for everyone you know the question is how much you lost compared to last year. I think we are still catching up but it looks looks pretty good at this point.”

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30 comments on “Return of “ugly” front wings puzzles Vettel”

  1. Loosing downforce at the front will shift the aerodynamic balance, making the car more stable at the rear, in turn, hopefully, Seb won’t spin so much and we will have a championship until the end. And that is the reason they went with the new wings, you heard it here first folks

    1. @johnmilk Actually, most of Vettel’s spins came as a result of him understeering into another car, so less front downforce should in theory mean he’ll spin more.

      1. @mashiat that is terrible news for Ferrari fans

  2. When did they get rid of the full width wings? I remember them with the 2009 rules, but then I got used to them quickly and assumed that rule was never changed.

    1. When they widened the cars for 2017 they didn’t widen the wings by the same amount I think @darryn

      I have to say, having now seen them on track, while I liked, as an engineer, the insane complexity of the outer zone of the previous front wings (a bit like I like the current, and up to 2008 bargeboard insanity), I feel that the current much more simple wings look a whole lot better; before those wings looked like the outboard parts were really ‘heavy’/full looking.

      1. @bosyber – agreed, there is a certain… ‘cleanliness’ to these new front wings that I really like, purely aesthetically.
        I miss the shorter rear wings from 2018, but that’s not that big a change/regression.

      2. @bosyber @phylyp first time I saw them last year I immediately liked them better, they are a bit wide but with the current size of the cars they don’t feel out of proportion. And the simplicity adds to the whole thing. While vortex generating winglets are cool they didn’t gave anything aesthetically, on the contrary

      3. Looking at the front wings it makes me think of one thing – how the ones we had last year seem to dominate what you look at with the car by their opulence of winglets and forms, while now we can more enjoy the complete car and the wing is a shapely start that doesn’t draw away too much attention.

      4. @bosyber Ah thanks. That makes sense. Some of comments I was reading lead me to believe it had been changed years before. It’s amazing what the mind will correct for as I haven’t noticed those wide wings since the first races of ’09. The halo is a bridge too far though I guess.

  3. I think the front wings look way better like this personally.

    1. I feel the same, @db01. The way last year’s front wings kept rising their winglets on the sides made them look too complex and “heavy”. These new ones (like Ferrari or Renault have), with the tapering down on the sides, look much better and easier on the eyes.

  4. I think the front wings should be limited to max halfway the width of the front tyres. These cars are becoming truly enormous.

    1. I fully agree AJ. I see a lot of pit stops to change wings on lap one after 1st corner incidents.

  5. I don’t think they look ugly at all, I think these cars as a whole are the most beautiful I’ve seen in the last decade (ignoring the halo anyway.) There’s something about the proportions that just look right to me.

    To me the larger front wings make the cars look a lot more aggressive, not ugly at all. Although I do worry for how they will race wheel to wheel.

    1. I quite agree with you, only complaint is that these cars are way too long!

  6. I don’t think the noses look ugly. If I remember correctly Vettel’s driving style favors a stable rear end and those wings do so, do they not?

  7. “I think years ago we went back because we said it’s actually bad for racing. Now we bring back wide, so maybe we forgot to take notes.”

    Seems like Seb hasn’t read the notes for the reasons behind these changes :P

  8. I find them way more balanced in term of looks with that big front & rear wing

    1. me too. Only because we have the big tyres now does it work better than it did in 2009.

  9. I don’t know that the width of the front wing makes that much difference to me… but I find the simplified look to to be a great improvement over the ultra-complicated designs of recent years.

  10. We had a lot more damage with the full-width wings – when steering is applied the wing is well outside the outer edge of the wheel. Combine that with close racing and you end up with broken endplates and cut tyres.

    So I agree with Seb, I don’t know why the sport has returned to that size. Simple is good, but there is no need for a bulldozer to be attached to the front of the car.

  11. Racecar is racecar backwards
    18th February 2019, 20:51

    I love the look of the new wings although I don’t understand why they are wider if the goal is to reduce outwash.

  12. I can’t say i’m a fan of the wider front wings either, Havn’t been since they initially widened them in 2009.

    I think the new rear wings looks fine although I do think they look a bit silly when the newly widened DRS flap opens.

    I think the cars would look way better with the narrower front wings we saw in the past:

    1. @stefmeister agreed, that McLaren looks way nicer than what we’ve got today. They do so much to have a tight rear (yeah understand the floor is wide and in black) with narrow rear wings, putting these snow plows on the front just doesn’t do it for me.

      1. On the rear wings I mean narrow in relation to the car/wheels.

  13. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    18th February 2019, 21:10

    A totally different question, but, a couple of years ago the SF70 celebrated Ferrari’s 70th year. Now they celebrate 90?

    1. 70 years of road cars and 90 years of scuderia Ferrari.

      1. Well… they don’t have much else to celebrate, these days… ;-)

  14. Hmmm. Lap 1, turn 1 contact might be a bit more challenging this year. On the surface, it would seem that the wider wings would be a bigger target for damage.

    1. @Jim Sharpe I doubt it. In the end, it wasn’t any different from 2009 to 2013 with similar width to this year than it was the last five seasons.

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