Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Sochi Autodrom, 2019

Ricciardo: Some drivers “adamant” car weight must fall

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In the round-up: Daniel Ricciardo says there is a strong feeling among some drivers that Formula 1 cars have become too heavy.

What they say

F1 car weights will go up again over the next two seasons, hitting 768kg in 2021, which Ricciardo says some drivers are very unhappy about:

In the drivers’ meetings a few drivers were quite adamant on trying to take weight off. That’s when they talked about refuelling and that because the weight is what’s killing tyre deg and a lot of things.

So that’s not great. Of course the tyres are going to be heavier and the wheels. It’d be nice if we were lighter.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Does Williams’ explanations for its shortage of parts stack up?

Obviously in the past we have had ‘preferred parts’ issues (Webber / Vettel Silverstone 2010 etc…). But I’ve never know a team to just have a continuous parts issue go on for so long.

Baku, Singapore and Suzuka apart, Russell and Kubica have stayed largely out of trouble (there isn’t a lot of cars to run into where they are on track). Surely the composites department at Gove isn’t much different to when Maldonaldo was playing ‘bumper cars’ not so long ago and they managed to replace everything then.

It just doesn’t seem to add up.

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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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36 comments on “Ricciardo: Some drivers “adamant” car weight must fall”

  1. S5000 looks interesting, but slightly too much weighted to cost control. I would prefer some variation between cars, preferably in the powerplant, it would be great to see 5L. V8s using production block and head castings from different manufacturers, lightly modified but all limited to 8000 rpm . It would be good to see manufacturers sponsor entrants that actually run their engines rather than just their badges.

    1. I think for their first season they are doing many things correctly. Allowing engine development on the first season would just increase the costs too high. It is a new series after all so the big cost is surviving the first couple of years. After it has built some momentum they can allow more engine freedom. It would instantly kill the series if a rich team could just come in and spend 10x the money to get more power and win everything.

      I think the only issue (apart from using paddle shift gearboxes instead of full manual gearboxes and 3 pedals) I can see is that they don’t do that good of a job presenting the best bits of the car. No driving aids, big torque, close racing and big sound. The last especially should be their money ticket because literally every singleseater series nowadays uses small turbo engines that sound like lawnmowers. This car is thunder and they should mention and show it everytime they get the opportunity. Have onboards with great sound recording quality and have nascar style car sound only moments during the races.

      1. @socksolid, Yes, I see your point, hence why I suggested lightly modified and the current 8000 rpm limit, I’m sure they could craft regulations to keep expenses reasonable.

        1. I went and check some things about the older cars and to me it seems these new cars have little more power than the old F5000 cars. The S5000 cars have about 560hp whereas the older ones I found tend to be in the 540hp range.

  2. Slower cars will also suit a lot of the tracks better. F1 has outgrown many tracks not just in car size but also speed.
    Refuelling would make f1 fairer and better but I don’t think fans want to see their favourite drivers not win.

    1. @peartree The current speeds and lap times aren’t a problem for the tracks. True, if the lap times were to get faster and faster forever, then eventually they would become too fast for the circuits, but not at present. Therefore, I hope that if and when the lap times are going to be potentially as much as 3.5 seconds slower at the beginning, they’d claw some of that back to at least get closer to the 2017-19 levels if not fully matching them.

      1. @jerejj some tracks are really dull these days, some corners are now kinks and many tracks at these speeds don’t have any rooom for overtaking, single lines.

    2. @peartree:

      Refuelling would make f1 fairer and better

      Would you care to explain that assertion? My memory is that it made races tedious because most of the strategy revolved around “the overcut”, i.e. staying out longer than your opponent so that you can get ahead while they’re in the pits. On-track passing might not be everything, but I do at least like to see the occasional overtake attempt.

      1. @jimg if you could refuel everyone would, therefore it would be fair to allow refuelling. better? if you love the undercut good for you but with refuelling teams would not be restricted to a single strategy the single stop undercut. all about allowing cars to race rather than this single file f1 that the top teams are so comfortable with as the quick cars are guaranteed to win.

        1. @peartree I agree that it would be fair to allow refuelling, but I don’t see that it’s “fairer”, meaning more fair, than the current rules. I guess that “better” is more subjective, but at least with no refuelling there’s a chance to change strategy if the tyres last longer than expected. If you put in fuel for 30 laps you’re not going to have the option of going much further than that. As for single file racing it was much the same when refuelling was allowed, except that people seemed less keen on risking an overtake on track when they could do it via pit stops. In my opinion the real problems are the inequitable prize money and the aerodynamics, so let’s hope that the 2021 rules work as intended.

  3. COTD is spot on. The Williams drivers have kept it pretty clean this season so there should be no good reason to run out of spares like that. It also doesn’t really explain why kubica was retired mid race. It’s not like he needed a new front wing that they didn’t have.

    1. I think you know why and the answer is they don’t have money to make spareparts. It’s like Forceindia a couple of years ago when they have money new parts came and there was advancement.
      These are silent hints what really is the problem at Williams.

    2. Kubica crashed 3 times in Australia alone, that is after he crashed in pre season testing. Kubica has not been “pretty clean”, he’s been slow and crashy most of 2019.

  4. Weight can’t be the issue when it comes to tyre deg. LMP cars are heavier and can race much harder. So does a lot of other classes. I do realise F1 cars ”weight” more than any other series because of the downforce and that loads the tyre to a much greater extent. But on the Bridgestones they could push so much harder for longer without having to baby the car around so much…

    1. That’s a little hard to compare given that the total downforce and torque in today’s cars is way higher than they were wen Bridgestone was around.

      1. The problem didn’t suddenly arise when the latest ”make cars go faster”-regulation happen. The problem has been around ever since Pirelli came about.

        1. there’s no tire mystery here, Pirelli were told to make tires that degrade so they did. It’s supposed to improve the show, but if you want to place blame for high degradation tires, blame the FIA/FOM for asking for it.

    2. The bridgestones were MUCH harder – the supplier literally had NO reason to improve how fast one could go on them. They were safe, durable and stable.

    3. Some fans still don’t understand that the F1 tyres are designed to degrade; it is part of the FIA requirement.
      Also ‘tyre management’ has always been part of F1 and almost all other racing series.

      1. I do understand it. Hence my comment. How else would I comment on it? What I’m saying is they can’t race because the tyres are too fragile.
        And about the management part, that’s a very broad and inprecise statement. There’s very varying degrees of ”managing” your tyres.

  5. Re COTD: Grove, not Gove, but I agree that the matter indeed is a bit weird given how seldom crashes and damage overall have happened to the cars over the season.

    1. Kubica crashed 3 times in Australia alone.


  6. Well, I don’t think anyone is really happy with the heavy cars are they?

    But it is all merry and fine that the drivers complain. What they really should do is sit down with their own engineers and see what could realistically be significantly lighter without 1. hurting safety, 2. implying use of more expensive (lighter) materials nor 3. hurt the racing.
    Then we can have the engineers together with the quite competent team of Brawn at Liberty discuss and propose a program to achieve it.

    As far as I know, the weight of the engines could be significantly lower, but is specified to a minimum to avoid use of exotix (expensive) materials, the same goes for suspension, gearbox, wheels etc.

    1. wheels aren’t getting heavier to make them cheaper, they are doing it to please tyre manufacturers marketing departments.

      1. Yes, the wheels are getting heavier because we are going to 18″. But they could be lower weight if not for limitations on which materials can be used (and production processes)

    2. There is one part in the car that is about 100kg too heavy for what it needs to be…

    3. If you only allow 3 engines per season then inevitably they will have to be much heavier. And also cost a lot more money to design. So this cost cutting measure doesnt seem to be doing its job in more ways than one.

      If you capped the HP at 1000hp lets say. And let teams do whatever they want on the power unit side. You will have a much closer sport at a lower price. And i bet that many manufacturers would enter. If you want to go fully electric, go ahead. A v10? Why not. Car manufacturers could showcase their R&D, and privateer teams could get cheaper or lighter engines. Everyone would have the same power so racing would be amazing.

      1. Those 3 engines will still be a LOT more expensive if you allow them to be made using more rare metals though @vjanik.

        I get what you are saying, and it could well be true (there certainly have been enough hints towards it being true) with the limit on amount of engines. But what you say is completely besides the point I am making.

        And what you propose about the engine formula – is it just me or is it rather against the idea of the sport to limit power output like you propose? – even if we accept hugely higher cost, and ignore that FE has the claim on being the only electric car championship, you would have to go for power INPUT not output.

        Which is pretty much what we have already with the 105 kg of fuel for the race and the fuel flow already.

        Overall, isn’t what you mention in your last but one line

        Car manufacturers could showcase their R&D, and privateer teams could get cheaper or lighter engines.

        almost exactly what I proposed – that instead of making public statements about “the cars are too heavy” the drivers sit down with their engineers and come up with viable routes HOW to make the cars simpler, lighter with limited effect on cost/sporting side and with a positive effect on the image of the sport, possibly on it’s environmental impact and hopefully even on the racing.

        1. Yes. basically i agree with you.

          i was just throwing in an idea that would be much simpler for everyone to understand. no more engine penalties. no more drivers complaining about lack of power. and no more parts standardization. all by one simple rule to limit HP.

          FE are already doing that, although they only allow electric power. F1 could allow any form of propulsion as long as its under 1000hp (the specific number can be debated or changed over time). it would be fascinating to watch. and who knows some smart F1 engineers could come up with new ideas perhaps? instead of just buyng an engine from Mercedes and following their instructions as to how to use it properly.

  7. “the tyres are going to be heavier and the wheels” OK the wheels are bigger but surely the tyres are smaller?

    1. @dozzy The tyres will be 7,5 cm larger in diameter so they might not be any lighter

      1. Does anyone know the actual dimensions? 7,5 cm bigger than now sounds a lot!

        1. Going from 13 inch to 18 inch is 5 inch difference or about 13 centimeters. Visually from the outside the wheel actually grows from something like 14 inch to 19 inch because the diameter measurement is the rubber size and not the total wheel diameter which includes the lip. The weight increase also has to include the wheel covers which I think will be mandatory in 2021.

  8. Wasn’t part of the weight increase to aid larger drivers like Hulkenberg and Bottas?
    I remember Webber starving himself a few years ago…

  9. Now that Seb has a fast brat out qualifying him, he wants to play nice? He probably shouldn’t have shown his hand to Leclerc so early then.

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