Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP, Circuit de Catalunya, 2009

“We can’t turn the clock back”: Call for lighter F1 cars frustrates Brawn

2021 F1 season

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Formula 1 technical director Ross Brawn says the sport cannot go back to having lighter cars because it would mean getting rid of its hybrid engines.

Drivers including Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have urged the sport to use its planned overhaul of the regulations in 2021 to reverse the continued rise in the minimum weight limit over recent seasons.

However Brawn said that would mean removing the hybrid elements from current power units. “There are some things we can’t turn the clock back on,” he said.

“We’ve got a very, very impressive engine. But it’s pretty complicated and it’s pretty heavy. The cars have got heavier, we’d all love the cars to be lighter.

“It is frustrating when everyone says ‘oh, we must have much lighter cars’. Well, you can tell me how to do it. We’d love to do it. But we have a car and a battery system and an Energy Recovery System that, unless we abandon it completely, we’re never going to get the cars in a different regime.”

Today’s F1 cars are 135 kilograms heavier than they were 10 years ago, when the team Brawn salvaged following Honda’s withdrawal swept the world championships with its BGP-001 chassis. Jenson Button was reunited with the car he won the drivers’ title in at Silverstone last weekend.

“I ran the Brawn GP on Thursday and it was a delight,” said Brawn. “A nice little normally-aspirated engine. I can’t remember the weight now, six hundred and something. Jenson, who drove the car, said it was a jewel and asked ‘could we go back to those days’?

“Well, the confrontation and the revolution that would have to take place to go back that far I think would be damaging to Formula 1. Too damaging to Formula 1. So we have to work around some constraints that we have now. That’s the commercial reality.”

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F1’s minimum weight limit, 1961 – 2019

NB. Separate minimum weight limits for turbocharged and normally aspirated cars were set in 1987 and 1988.

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92 comments on ““We can’t turn the clock back”: Call for lighter F1 cars frustrates Brawn”

  1. I’d said it previously, and I’ll repeat it – these cars get any heavier (and they likely will, with 18″ rims), I’m going to start calling the drivers “captains”, who are competing in the Formula 1 boating cup.

    1. And yet these heavier cars with smaller engines are the fastest F1 cars in F1 ever.

      1. Speedboating cup, then :)

      2. Chaitanya @phylyp we need to stop with this “fastest car ever” thing. I get it, it’s cool when they are 2 seconds faster on a track, when the “new track record” message appears: but it’s just a second of excitement, and not that much if you think about it. What keeps you at the edge of the sofa is the battle, the overtakes. If the overall speed affects their ability to race – Silverstone was amazing but I’m not forgetting the MONTHS of boredom we had this season – that’s a big no to me, they need to change to make them funnier to watch even if that means stop breaking records.

        1. @m-bagattini so do you watch Formula E and IndyCar?

      3. Speed of f1 (indycar, lemans prototype, gt car, nascar….) car is all about downforce. Modern f1 car has massive slick tires, more downforce than ever before, drs and computers. And they barely are faster than v10s with grooved narrow tires and half of the downforce made using tech from 15 years ago… With all these advantages the cars should be a lot faster tbh…

        1. @socksolid But how much of the pace of the 2002-2004 cars down to the traction control? With traction control now, the cars might be up to 2-3 seconds quicker. The cars would be so planted and on-rails, it would be both incredible and unexciting at the same time.

          1. Traction control is not even close to being worth 2-3 seconds! In fact even at the time of V10s the drivers turned the traction control off for qualifying laps because it prevented the drivers from getting the maximum out of the cars. Traction control helps (helped) with consistency so using it in the race was better as it prevented you from overheating the rear tires. It was used to manage slip and rear tire wear. Not to make the car easier to drive. Of course indirectly it makes the car faster over a stint as it saves the the rear tires from small occasional driver mistakes. It was far simpler systems back then. The way modern f1 cars have computers totally in control of the electric motors is much more like actual traction control.

          2. @socksolid

            “the drivers turned the traction control off for qualifying” -> this is simply not true.

            All pole laps from 2004 ->

            You can very obviously hear TC in every single one of them.

          3. @socksolid +1, I said this the other day, the engineering and computer control is so advanced that throttle application is very smooth, it basically is traction control

          4. Also just to clarify, I’m not JammyB below!!

        2. You are joking about these cars advantages over the v10 era right? These are probably the most restricted engines there have ever been in F1 from what their true performance could be. Even with the current regulations for fuel and reliability these are still faster than the V10 era cars.
          The V10’s even in their last year in F1 only had to last a couple of races, if there was no restriction on fuel, refueling, fuel flow, revs and if they had durable tyres like back then and if new engines were allowed every 1 to 2 grand prix these cars would be light years ahead of any open wheel car that has ever existed.

          Technology has moved forward just accept that.

          1. I’d also imagine teams would run far more powerful turbo’s/turbo boost levels than they currently do aswell.

          2. Here is what I actually said: F1 is all about downforce. You can make hybrid f1 cars fast by adding downforce (2017-2019) or slow by taking it away (2014-2016). The only reason the modern cars are faster is because they have A LOT more downforce AND more grip from the tires than the v10s could dream of. I’m glad we agree on that.

            There is no point for you to try to cherry picking stuff like fuel flow limits giving some special freedoms to v10 engines. V10s did not have turbos, kers, drs. Who really has all the one lap advantages? Not v10s.

            Technology has become more complex and expensive. Just accept that it does not mean it is automatically faster because of that. Speed in f1 is all about downforce. That doesn’t change the fact that modern hybrid engines are 100kg heavier than f1 engine needs to be.

        3. You don’t seriously believe the V10’s are even on the same playing field as these current hybrids do you? You do realise more aero has a big trade off? Drag. Even with the larger amount of weight and HUGE amount more drag from the cars being much wider, having way more aero parts and having much wider front and rear wings AND having larger wider tyres. They are still only 9mph slower than the fastest ever V10 car on the straights at Monza. if you could fit a V10 into one of these current cars it would be slower.

          I was listing those things because they have all been turned down in these current engines for reliability where as teams could run their V10’s in the ground, each team only gets 3 engines per season now compared to the 9+ during the V10 era. If they had to make those V10’s have that kind of reliability they would have had to massively derate them. If they were allowed to blow through these 2019 hybrids the same as they could in the V10 era the difference would be huge.

          There is something you’ve conviniently left out of your argument ontop of that which accounts for A LOT of lap time lost by F1 cars after being banned since 2008, two words, traction control. And yes it adds up to SECONDS not tenths. They have smoothed the power output of these hybrids but they still have around 3 times more torque than the V10’s did so get far more wheel spin especially coming out of slow corners than the last V10’s ever had.

          1. What on earth are you going on about? You can rationalize things any way you want but your facts are still wrong. Drag is just another parameter of your aerodynamics. 2019 cars make over 60% of the downforce from the floor using ground effects which has better lift/drag ratio than wings. 2019 cars also have better lift/drag ratio than the 2005 cars. Not to mention 2005 cars were more crude and in comparison had lower lift/drag values. In other words they were more draggy for the amount of downforce they had. They had 900hp on tap every time the driver put his foot down all around the lap. Because they weighed about 100kg less (I am not going to bother checking the exact number) so that 900hp made them fly. Modern f1 cars can’t even get their peak power out for full lap. Nobody during v10 era was asking for more power. Everybody is asking for more power in the hybrid era.

            v10 had grooved narrow tires and half of the downforce. To go faster hybrids need totally gigantic amounts of downforce, tire grip and computers. How many engines doesn’t matter. You are either comparing two eras and lap times or not. Why are you so defensive about the hybrids anyways.

            I’d rather take traction control than full computer control like we have today. I have not left it out “conveniently”. Your torque nonsense is sad to read though. Torque as a number on its own is useless number. Engine power = torque multiplied by rpm. A big diesel engine can sit at 1200rpm and put out 2000Nm of torque. How much power is that? Go plug in those numbers in an online calculator. Maybe you learn a thing. Power is the value that actually determines the rate at which you get that torque out. If your torque stays the same but your rpm increases your power increases -> you go faster. If your rpm stays the same but torque increases your power increases -> you go faster. But if you just say one engine has more torque than another and never mention the rpm you are comparing useless values because for v10 and turbo hybrid those rpm numbers are massively different. You are saying misleading stuff and being dishonest. And no traction control does not add 3 seconds just because you want it to.

      4. Stephen W Moore
        18th July 2019, 14:31

        Yes! Progress not Regress. Omward for F1!

    2. To be honest, I’ll shut up about the weight of cars, if F1 can fix the aero issues and tyres in 2021. In my opinion, those are the two issues hampering close racing far more than weight.

      1. Yes, good points.

      2. This is a good point. All of this talk about weight and power units, when the biggest issue is so obvious and easy to fix. They need to completely revise the aero regulations. Limit wings to a single element, with certain size (and depth/contouring) regulations. Or, in other words, go back to the early days of very simple wing design, mostly because it looks cool, rather than generating huge downforce.

        Then just simplify the engines (and yes, call them engines again, because anyone over the age of 30 that isn’t a complete dork cannot stand this “power unit” nonsense). Formula E is for electric and battery tech (which will eventually supplant hybrid tech anyway), so let’s just go back to simple ICE’s that really get the blood pumping.

        Modern tech has gotten to the point that making the absolute and most technically evolved cars possible would render the racing completely boring. We got rid of traction control (still on road cars, but terrible for racing), and we can get rid of fancy aero and useless hybrids as well. F1 is about racing first and foremost.

      3. They can’t really fix the aero without changing the engines. The reason f1 needs so much downforce is because they need to get back so much lap time that is lost by making the cars so heavy because of the 200kg engines. V10s weighted say 120kg. V8 was 100kg (not including kers). Typically for every 10kg more weight you add to the car it becomes 0.3s slower. So that 100kg of extra weight from the engine slows it down 3s per lap. To get that 3s back with adding more downforce you literally need to go from 2016 aero package to 2017 aero package and put much bigger tires on the car. Almost. The 2017 cars were about 3.5s faster compared to 2016. That is how much extra downforce and grip you need just to offset the weight penalty of these extremely heavy engines. It is very difficult to make f1 car that makes that much downforce but doesn’t create or suffer from dirty air massively. The way brawn is doing it is by making the parts more spec and limiting freedom in design. Sounds like yet another goat sacrificed on the altar of hybrids… Spec aero just so merc and ferrari can keep these multibillion engines.

        1. Well yes, I agree with you about the engines. I’d love to go back to simple internal combustion engines without any hybrid or KERS features. And I know that the majority of longtime fans would like this as well.

          And with those engines and reduced weights, I’d like to see simplified aerodynamics. Less downforce means less dirty air, more sliding around, and driver skill being a bigger factor (and easier for the fans to see).

          All this talk about lap times is secondary to most fans. If the cars were 2 seconds a lap slower (which you barely notice on TV anyway), but were sliding around and exciting to watch, nobody would care. The F1 cars of the early 70’s (when wings were still very simple) would be a lot slower than modern cars, but they were (and would be) amazing to watch, and they would showcase true driver talent. That is what we need.

    3. @phylyp, mind you, the comparison that is presented in the above graph over the years is a bit misleading, because there is a major change in the way that the cars were weighed that is not explicitly spelled out.

      Prior to 1995, the minimum weight regulations applied only to the car – the weight of the driver was in addition to that minimum weight, not part of it. However, since 1995, the minimum weight includes both driver and car added together – which explains the sudden jump for that season.

      At the very least, there should be an explanatory note added to the above chart which clearly states that the minimum weight for cars before 1995 were for the car only, whereas those from 1995 onwards are the sum of the car and the driver.

    4. @phylyp The cars could be lighter though. If there was freedom to really develop the PUs instead of this increments that we get nowadays I’m pretty sure the battery pack would be lighter by now.

      But since there is a prescribed weight why bother?

      That’s something that should be addressed, not this road relevancy BS, that would come naturally.

      Of course just taking away the hybrid unit is nonsense, this engines are amazing, but surely it could be improved

      1. You write “Of course just taking away the hybrid unit is nonsense”. I disagree. Small teams have cost problems, the [mostly] winning team has “party mode”.
        Do away completely with “minimum weight” (maybe some compensation for heavy drivers) and let the teams decide whether an extra 160 hp is worth accelerating and braking an extra 200 (+/-) of batteries and recovery systems around a race track. Keep the safety regulations (driver safety, crash impact) and the “exotic materials” restrictions, 1.6 litre turbo (now ~800 hp), and let FE? (Formula electric) do their thing. The cost implications are huge enough to not only save smaller teams, but maybe encourage new entries.
        Being “green” is politically correct, no problem. But F1 in *not* green — think of the fuel used by the Boeings transporting the F1 circus (teams, hospitality lounges, media, FOM, FIA, SkySports, lawyers and whatever) to every track. The F1 cars themselves account for way less than 1% of “F1” CO2 pollution.
        This article started with Ross Brawn’s comments, which suggest that “turning back the clock” would be difficult, but could solve a lot of problems. Let’s solve the problems.

  2. What about mandating a maximum car lenght / wheelbase that is much less than current? Say around half a meter less? That would certainly help saving some kilos, modern cars are limos

    1. And where would you put the mechanical parts that are in that half meter?
      The cars aren’t long because the designers want them to be.

      1. I reckon the amount of such shortening feasible, even with all the extra hybrid bits and ancillaries, AFAIK teams are using spacers between engine and gearbox, V6 engine is also shorter than a V8. Extra length is most a design choiche to better develop aero.

      2. Yes the cars are long because the aero designers want them to be. The difference in length between the cars occurs between the clutch and the rear axle. The length from the roll hoop to the front axle is nearly the same across the grid. Most of the extra length of the longer cars is nothing but empty space and floor.

      3. And where would you put the mechanical parts that are in that half meter?
        The cars aren’t long because the designers want them to be.

        2014-2016 cars had largely the same mechanicals, same engines and were significantly shorter. It is very much achievable given the fact that there would still be more space for ‘stuff’ compared to those machines as the new ones have increased width!

        IMHO they completed negated the move to wider cars which was exciting and done for aesthetic reasons by also allowing / mandating an increase in length.

        Regarding weight if Porsche and various other manufacturers can chop 30-50kg off the weight of their GT specials etc than F1 should be up to the same challenge. Carbon Fibre wheels would be a start.

        First thing Brawn has said on the new regs that I completely disagree with.

        1. F1 isn’t running steelies. The magnesium alloy wheels are already pretty light – ever picked one up? It’s the tyre that’s heavy.

          1. it’s the assembly that is heavy-ish, one person can handle it fine

            but yes, carbon fibre wheels wouldn’t mean an improvement

      4. Wrong. The cars are long precisely because the designers want them to be, for aerodynamic reasons.
        They have barely have anything at the very end but the rear wings and the crash structure that now juts out.
        Just limit the length to four meters.

  3. Well hopefully Ross and co will work hard to keep the minimum weight to what it is now rather than allowing it to increase any more.
    There has been talk of it rising even more post 2020 in the last few weeks.

    Surely shorter, more compact cars might help?

  4. I dont consider lighter and faster “going back”, these new engines are sooooo advanced they are both slower and heavier… lets add solarpanels on the wings for 2021, keep the forward momentum.

    1. lets add solarpanels on the wings

      Hire this man! :D

    2. Actually that’s a great idea… you can get solar panel stickers right now that are so thin and light the power gain should offset the weight increase…

    3. @rethla

      they are both slower and heavier

      Heavier, yes. Slower, no.
      Despite having to deal with crippling restrictions the V10 engines never had to worry (limited amount of fuel per race, limited fuel flow), the current hybrid engines have already come pretty close in terms of peak performance. However, the V10 engines (and their mutilated descendants with 8 cylinders), only came close to their peak performance in an extremely narrow rpm range.

      The V6s however, with their mighty hybrid element that gives the cars a mighty shove when they need it the most, and their much shallower power curve, are able to put out significantly more power across the entire rpm range. This was already true in 2014, when the V6s were comparatively underpowered: Side-by-side comparisons of qualifying laps in 2013 and 2014 show that the 2014 cars easily outperformed their ancestors from 2013 on the straights.

      1. The V8’s were frozen, then rev limited. So they were designed for higher rev ranges than they in the end were allowed to run. You could hear the onboards with frantically shifting drivers to stay in the narrow power band. Something even Schumacher said when he returned in 2010.

        Odd about this Brawn quote is that the weight limit with KERS was upped to 640 kg in ~2011, then 690 kg for hybridsin 2014 and that they have minimum weight rules for parts to prevent exotic materials. I do wonder which engines carry ballast to comply to that rule these days. A 2019 car should have kept that 690 kg weight limit in my opinion. Make a car shorter if you can’t get it to comply with the weight rules. It is a trade in. More weight for a longer car to gain on the aero part, but you have more weight. The last couple of years, that weight penalty is diverted by upping the margin every time (halo, bigger wheels, wider cars).

        1. @ Señor Sjon

          The V8’s were frozen, then rev limited.

          Maybe, but since the V8s were significantly less powerful (and all-around displeasing), I deliberately focussed on the V10s. Their power band was much narrower and their power curve much steeper than the current V6s’, too.

      2. @nase Put an turbo from the 80s in and lets see what they do on the straights. The hybrid package is just ballast, nothing more and you are smart so you know it.

        1. @rethla, the supposed power outputs which have been claimed over the years for the turbo cars are not that reliable though, and in a number of instances are known to be taken from tests which were inaccurate.

          The legends about the BMW M12 are a classic example, where the supposedly legendary peak power values came from a single flash pressure test in Monza one year – a type of test which is known to overpredict the peak power of cars, especially when, as in that instance, undertaken on an engine which had only just been fired up.

          You will find that quite a few engine restorers – quite a few of whom are themselves ex-F1 staff who worked on those engines in the first place – have also stated they think that the claimed power outputs of that era just aren’t credible when you look at the components that were being used in the engines of the time and start to work out the stresses that would be imposed on those components if they were producing those supposed power outputs.

          The figures often don’t really seem to match up with the results from contemporary dyno testing either, which also generally point towards lower power figures than those which have excitedly been claimed.

          It is indeed notable that most of the rather more spectacular claims usually come from many years later, and often by individuals who have a vested interest in overclaiming the supposed power outputs. Paul Rosche was notorious for making some rather exaggerated claims in the English speaking media about the BMW M12 engines, as an example, but what he was telling the German press was rather different. I recall speaking to one German researcher who was surprised at how different Rosche’s comments were to English speaking publications when compared to the rather more modest contemporary reports that were appearing in German publications of the time.

        2. @rethla

          Put an turbo from the 80s in and lets see what they do on the straights.

          They’d mainly produce hot air while burning twice as much fuel. In 1984, the FISA limited the volume of fuel tanks to 220 litres to reduce the turbo engines’ advantage. A modern V6 may not be optimised for this kind of fuel flow, but it stands to reason that, with the necessary adaptions, it would use the increased fuel flow to great effect.

          The hybrid package is just ballast, nothing more and you are smart so you know it.

          If you’re trying to silence me with a compliment, you should at least try to make it sound nice-ish. Not that it’d stop me, but still …

          In fact, I know the exact opposite to be true. Remove the hybrid from a modern F1 car and you end up (well, realistically with a terribly undrivable car that just won’t work properly, because the hybrid elements, particularly the H element, are absolutely central to their well-being, but let’s just ignore that for a second) with an underpowered car, comparable to the late V8s, with relatively poor acceleration and top speed, which it cannot really compensate for by cornering quicker. Also, with up to 4 MJ of regenerating energy per lap missing, the driver would have to lift & coast a lot in order not to run out of fuel.

          Also, what anon said.

  5. Perhaps one way to reduce weight would be to eliminate the requirement for engines and gearboxes to last a third of the season.

    I am sure if engines and gearboxes were only used for a single race, they would be significantly lighter and could run in much higher power modes. Double win. The performance gain could be traded against a reduction in down force to maintain current speeds. Triple win.

    And grid penalties for component changes would become a thing of the past… um, what am I up to?

    Oh but hang on, they would become ‘too expensive’. Sure.

    1. they want spending less not more!

      1. @macleod – I think the point @aussierod is driving at is that by mandating longevity of PUs and gearboxes, the costs have instead been pushed into the design and BOM part of building those components – a razor blade designed to last twice as long is likely going to cost more than twice as much, because of more exotic materials used, likely more complex fabrication, etc.

        1. Yes precisely @phylyp

          And I find the cost argument difficult to accept when you consider the sheer investment from the four engine providers on their F1 programmes. Each of them into the BILLIONS by now surely.

          The cost of development far outweighs the cost of production.

    2. @aussierod Yep. And the entire field would be 6-8 cars, as no one else could afford to pay for the engines… For a few years, then the manufacturers would also pull out for lack of competition.

    3. @aussierod, it won’t change anything, because the regulators have set the minimum weight at a fairly conservative level. It doesn’t matter if the engine has to last one race weekend or seven race weekends if the minimum weight is the controlling factor.

      @phylyp, you have to factor in that the FIA has fairly heavily restricted the use of exotic materials, so the teams are restricted to fairly conventional ferrous and aluminium alloys for most of the components. Increasing the service life doesn’t seem to have actually changed a great deal in terms of the materials which are used or the fabrication techniques.

  6. This might be an unpopular opinion but personally, it doesn’t really bother me at all. The cars are heavier, yes. They’re also incredibly powerful with more downforce than ever. The past couple of years they’ve consistently smashed lap records everywhere from Monza to Monaco; they’re faster in absolutely every type of circuit. The weight is a technical challenge which has been overcome.

    Sure, the BGP001 was a lovely car, very lightweight. And it would be absolutely destroyed by a 2019 F1 car. It went 1:24.7 on the fastest qualifying session in 2009; in 2019 even the Williams managed to go faster. Yes, it’s apples and oranges – they competed under different regulations, different tyres, mostly on different track surfaces. But the point is, these supposedly overweight oil tankers they’re driving in 2019 are the fastest, most technologically sophisticated racing cars in human history.

    You want to look at the real reason the racing is broken in 2019, look instead at the spread of laptimes. Like I said, Australia 2009, the BGP001 posted a 1:24.7. Of the 14 cars running in that Q2 session, the slowest time was a 1:25.7. A little under 1 second separating 14 cars. Compare that to Australia 2019 – Hamilton set a pole time of 1:20.4 while 10th placed Perez only managed 1:22.7 – ten cars separated by 2.3 seconds. And the BGP001 is hailed as a dominating car of its era!

    If weight is a factor here, it’s simply that certain teams have done a better job of meeting the technical challenge that the additional weight creates in terms of car dynamics.

    1. This might be an unpopular opinion but personally, it doesn’t really bother me at all.

      The point is that the actual guys driving them find them less involving and fun, meaning they are unable to perform in ways they would in a lighter car. It has nothing to do with spectator preference obviously.

      1. lighter cars would have a significant impact on fuel use, tyre use, braking, cornering. it’s not just ‘driver preference’. the drivers pretty much universally prefer the recent spec cars, with big tyres and wings, but the racing has been tedious for the most part.

        if you mandated a fixed level of downforce then teams would find ways to meet that in the most aero-efficient way possible i.e. the lowest drag car that produced the maximum allowable downforce. the other thing they would work on is weight and weight distribution. currently, I do not understand why the minimum (pre-fuel!) weight is 50kg heavier than it was in 2014.

        the ground effect regs will create another arms race, with the big spenders at a huge advantage (mercedes and ferrari).

    2. 2004 cars are more powerfull than 2009 versions with just a new ruleset and already engine limits in place. There is also a big disparity between race lap times and qualy times, with cars coasting most of the time. We’ve seen three times this year a driver/car ‘in the groove’ is much faster than they show, purely for saving parts reasons. For instance Verstappen in Austria, Hamilton in France and GB; they went faster on used tires than a competitor on a FL-pitstop.

    3. @mazdachris not to mention that the BGP001 looks like a Formula 2 car compared to the modern ones

  7. “It is frustrating when everyone says ‘oh, we must have much lighter cars’. Well, you can tell me how to do it. We’d love to do it. But we have a car and a battery system and an Energy Recovery System that, unless we abandon it completely, we’re never going to get the cars in a different regime.”

    Ok, here’s my go at telling Ross how it could be done: Scrap the minimum weight of a car, keep the minimum weight of the driver (with extra balast) so larger/heavier drivers aren’t disadvantaged, keep the current engine formula and let the teams figure out where they can scrape of the unnecessary weight. Maybe it will result in more failures/DNF, but that unpredictability was part of F1 for decades. Maybe some teams aren’t able to run with lighter cars but by mandating a minimum weight that has only gone up since 1994 you only get heavier cars.

    1. The top teams are already under the minimum weight and filling it up with ballast. Removing the minimum weight limit would add a challenge to mechanicly balance those cars instead of just distributing ballast.

      1. So… if a balanced heavier car is quicker then an unbalanced lighter one, then teams would do that? My point was that a minimum weight is an unnecessary thing. Strip all unneeded regulations and give teams the freedom within those regulations. Yes a PU, gearbox, Halo, wheel rims, etc. add weight. Yes, if you want to balance things out, you can add ballast. But I just don’t see why a minimum weight should be set anyway. If it’s within the other regulations and if it passes the crash-tests then it’s fine.

        1. So… if a balanced heavier car is quicker then an unbalanced lighter one, then teams would do that! (didn’t want to put a question mark in that first sentence)

    2. It would make the cars more expensive.
      Teams often develop 3D printed parts to test them on the cars, and if they work they build permanent carbon fiber laminate parts.
      When below the weight limit there is little reason to replace the 3D printed parts by their more expensive carbon fiber parts, so the teams can eliminate those costs – or alternatively they construct them overly strong, so they don’t need excessive stress testing.

  8. The teams hasnt done anything to meet the technical challenge of added weight, its regulated.

  9. I don’t really see this as an issue. The only people who do are drivers, they want to enjoy 0.5G more cornering forces.
    Spectators won’t notice a difference. It won’t produce better racing, in fact it’ll make racing harder as breaking distances would decrease even more. So why do we keep talking about it? It’s not like it’s gone out of control, cars are still pretty light, they are still pretty safe, fast.

  10. It’s not just the hybrid engines that are to blame, the cars are 50 kilos heavier now than they were at the start of the hybrid era. Even going back to 690kg would make a massive difference.

    1. @geemac – that is mostly explained by the halo, the bigger wheels and wider cars, all of which happened midway through this PU era.

      1. Indeed. But if you set the minimum at 690kg, the teams will aim for it and most likely hit it.

      2. Lopping off the extra length they gained from 2017 would at the very least half that increase and make them a million times better to look at.

        1. I’m not convinced the extra length adds significant weight. If it’s just carbon fibre bodywork it’s a few kilos at most, maybe a bit more if there’s structure involved as well, but still not much.

  11. The people commenting on this article make way more sense than the people running things. I was going to post some of my thoughts, but would be repeating a lot of the comments above.

  12. Can’t turn the clock back but apparently can’t turn the clocks forward either. Hybrid is merely a stop gap between oil and electric. Clinging to 1997 toyota prius tech has been a huge mistake for f1 and continues to wreck havoc. It is awful how the direction of technology nowadays is from road cars into f1 cars and not the other way around like it should.

    1. Not sure if serious or tongue-in-cheek.

      If the former, you’ve got some reading about F1 PUs to do!

      1. JC, he does have a habit of insisting on using information that is either out of date or just wrong to begin with. No doubt, however, he’ll start pushing that six year old article from Racecar Engineering that was based on assumptions about the draft regulations and uses incorrect figures, which does seem to fit with the attitude of somebody who seems to have remained stuck in the past and is deliberately choosing to either cherry pick information to suit his views, or to simply refuse to read any new information which might contradict his fixed world view.

    2. Formula E is thattaway, see ya. @socksolid

  13. Why don’t they go the other way and say from 2021 the cars will be hydrogen powered combustion engines and innovate that way? Better for the environment (if that’s what they care about) and loose all the electric hybrid crap and a heap of weight..

    I bet the teams would quickly figure it out..

  14. I would have thought that since 2014, battery technology should have enabled a significant reductions n in that area and you’d think also that most of the other hybrid parts would be being developed to be smaller and lighter.

    So overall the PU’s should be becoming lighter and that should be transferring to the car. I’d be surprised if that’s not the case on a certain silver car which enables them to place additional ballast in places that help with balance.

    Same with tyres – was there any real reason to make them wider (and therefore heavier) other than “it’ll look spectacular”?

    There is weight that could be reduced Ross, maybe not back down to 600 Kilos but I’d bet there could be reductions without “going back in time”.

    1. Yes, PU weight could be reduced but it’s controlled by regulation to 95 kg. minimum. The c.g. of the engine is also defined, as is the bore and (hence) stroke. Even the weight of the battery pack is controlled; things CLOUD be made lighter, but the rules don’t allow it. As for car balance, the front/rear weights are defined, taking away the ability to balance the car differently, so the only useful part of ballast is to lower the car c.g. within the front/rear weight limits. There are just too many regulations IMHO.

  15. There was a fault with the horizontal scale on the graph, this has now been fixed, so it will look slightly different.

  16. The minimum overall weight could be reduced without getting rid of the current engine formula. Just cut the number of PU elements from the total package, for example, only MGU-K and ERS combined with the engine itself unless that wouldn’t be enough road-relevant anymore, or make the MGU-K/ERS-associated batteries lighter, which should be easier to achieve now or by 2021 than it was at the beginning of the hybrid era due to how much this technology has evolved and matured since then. Another way of reducing the weight to an extent would, for instance, be to try and make the Halo lighter, which also should be more achievable now than back when it came in.

  17. digitalrurouni
    18th July 2019, 13:01

    As long as there’s lesser pace management in the future cars I am happier. Weight is not that big a deal as it’s being demonstrated right now already. I am sure they could use more exotic materials in the engine to get more power AND lose weight but that would mean higher cost. Can’t have it with a proposed budget that teams will have to follow AND reduce weight. Sure they could get rid of the halo and that would be an immediate lot of weight savings from the top of the car and cars would handle bit better and aero would get improved.

  18. I love these modern monsters. Leave them alone.

  19. Maybe they could push some innovation on the battery weight. Tell them they can have so many kilogrammes of battery and let them innovate whatever capacity they can store in that which is pretty much what they do with fuel now

  20. Why can’t F1 just ditch the snowflake hybrids? Nobody cares about your stupid environmentalist looney beliefs, Ross….

    1. Whereas pandering to those “broflakes” who constantly moan about how things can never be as good as they were in the past is better?

    2. I agree. What is F1 going to be? A half way house by the sounds of it. Either go electric or go back to NA engines.

  21. They can reduce the weight of the cars by putting less fuel in and bring refueling back. Just sayin’….

    1. yeah, let’s do that and listen to all the people complain how all the passes happen in the pit instead of on track.

  22. Well, you can tell me how to do it. We’d love to do it.

    Here you go: Throw out the ICE and the gearbox. Keep the electric motor, but increase its power.
    Add a cutting edge fuel cell that produces electricity from the fuel.

  23. I’m truly disappointed that Ross is incapable of seeing that the real future of F1 will inevitably be Driverless cars!

  24. F1oSaurus (@)
    18th July 2019, 17:59

    Brawn pretends it’s only the hybrid engine that needs to go to save weight, but Hamilton indicated that the Mercedes engineers told him they could lower the weight. I seriously doubt Mercedes engineers were talking (solely) about ditching half of the engine.

  25. paul trautman
    18th July 2019, 18:32

    Get rid of hybrids.
    1.5L turbo or 3.5L non turbo.
    As many cylinders as they wish.
    More fuel.
    Less wing.
    Make cars 1 M shorter.

  26. Shorter wheelbase please. If the sidepods get wider as a result, so be it. Cars are far too long, like narrowboats. They are not nimble enough.

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