“It’s right for the sport” for FIA to make F1 cars lighter in 2026 – Ben Sulayem

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In the round-up: FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has made it clear he wants Formula 1 cars to become lighter when the next set of technical regulations is introduced.

In brief

Ben Sulayem doesn’t want weight increase in future F1 rules

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem says the governing body will ensure Formula 1 cars become lighter when the next generation of technical rules are introduced in 2026.

The power unit regulations have already been fixed for the 2026 season. The series is in discussion over the chassis regulations. Ben Sulayem, a former rally driver, says he is keen to see car weights fall.

“I’ve driven rallies myself. Give me everything, but please no heavy car! That always bothered me,” he told Motorsport Total in an interview. “Lighter cars are better and I know what I’m talking about.

“If the weight is heavier, the suspension is compromised, the brakes don’t work as well, the tyres wear out more quickly. And more weight is more dangerous in a crash.”

In 2001, the minimum weight of an F1 car was 600kg. For 2023 it is 798kg, including the driver, and technical teams believe it will be difficult to match in 2026 unless the dimensions of cars are reduced.

“I’ve already spoken to my team at the FIA,” said Ben Sulayem. “We want lighter cars and we want a better sound [from the engines]. That’s ultimately up to the FIA. If Stefano [Domenicali, F1 Group’s CEO] wants that too, fine, then we agree on that point. But the FIA ​​has to decide. We’ll implement it. Not because the FOM or a team wants it that way. It’s because it’s the right thing for the sport.”

Frijns returns to Envision in FE

New BMW factory driver Robin Frijns is returning to Envision Racing in the latest move in the Formula E driver merry-go-round.

Sam Bird left Jaguar last week after three seasons with them, enabling Nick Cassidy to turn his anticipated move there for 2024 a reality. That freed up a seat at Envision, which uses Jaguar’s powertrains, and Frijns has snapped it up. His move now also opens up a space at Abt Cupra.

Frijns has raced in FE since 2015, spending two seasons with Andretti Autosport before joining Envision for four campaigns. He won in Paris and New York for the team in 2019 en route to finishing fourth in the standings, then over the next three seasons picked up eight podiums.

This year he moved to Abt, who he drove for in the DTM from 2018 to 2020, and his season began with a wrist-breaking clash that meant he missed the next four races. Once he returned to the cockpit he was only able to score six points, leaving him 22nd in the standings at the end of the 16-race season. He will be team mate to Sebastien Buemi at Envision next year.

Kirkwood: Nashville win redemption for Detroit and Toronto

Kyle Kirkwood’s victory in Nashville last weekend means he has won two of IndyCar’s five street circuit races this year. But he reckons it should have been four out of five.

The Andretti driver started his second IndyCar season by finishing 15th in St Peterburg, claimed his maiden IndyCar win at Long Beach, finished sixth with fastest lap in Detroit and was 15th in Toronto. In the latter two he was fast in practice, but then did not deliver on that pace in qualifying and so was on the back foot for the races.

Kirkwood described his drive to victory in Nashville as “phenomenal” as he and his team “keep giving me a great car that’s good on street courses.”

“This should be more than two wins, to be honest, on street courses given the cars they’ve given me,” said Kirkwood. “I’m thrilled with this one here today. This is kind of redemption from last year. A dumb incident. Redemption from Toronto. Redemption from Detroit.”

Although he’s “not sure” why he is so strong on street circuits in IndyCar, with only two top-10 finishes from 20 races on permanent tracks, Kirkwood reckons “a lot of it has to do just with comfort around walls and adaptability.”

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Comment of the day

The team mate battle between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez has been very one-sided, particularly in the European leg of the season. Everyone wants to know why Perez stopped having victory-fighting form just a few races into the 2023 season, and how he can reclaim that ability. But what if an improved Perez just leads to an improved Verstappen?

I do think that when Perez is in a vibe with the car and feeling confident he can be close enough to Verstappen where he can win. But Max is just so relentlessly consistently fast everywhere and seemingly able to pull out extra almost at will that it’s really hard to keep up the confidence in yourself when you’re up against that in the same car.

Perez probably let the pressure get to him, crashed in Monaco and that made him question the car, himself, everything. By now, we can hope he can get back to his mojo for a bit where he will at least be offering some challenge to Max, but I have little hope Max will be in a mood to let that happen more than occasionally.

For the championship, there really was never much doubt that it would be one sided, but I guess we can be happy at least the first few races gave us the hope of having them race each other for it.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Bustertje!

On this day in motorsport

  • 25 years ago today Adrian Fernandez won the CART IndyCar round at Mid-Ohio

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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83 comments on ““It’s right for the sport” for FIA to make F1 cars lighter in 2026 – Ben Sulayem”

  1. It is what’s underneath the bodywork and the big round things that make contact with the tarmac that have contributed to the big weight increase.

    1. Coventry Climax
      9th August 2023, 1:00

      Aren’t you forgetting something? Like hybrid components? Safety devices? Overall car size?

      1. Like hybrid components? Safety devices?

        Hence “what’s underneath the bodywork”.

        1. Coventry Climax
          9th August 2023, 11:38

          Ah, got distracted by your description of tyres I think.

    2. @royal-spark – Rather many different things over the years.
      Coventry Climax – Hybrid components were a contributer only in 2014.
      Everything subsequently is from other factors & stuff, including yes, overall car size in 2017, & safety devices such as Halo in 2018, etc.

      1. Coventry Climax
        9th August 2023, 12:28

        I never claimed to be complete, but like you, just pointed out there are many more things involved.
        But what do you mean with ‘contributer only in 2014’?
        It’s not like it was all removed again in 2015. It’s still there, to this day, making the cars significantly more heavy which means it still makes the cars go around a track more slow than without. It still, to this day, means the cars are less agile, less nimble, require heavier braking and more downforce around the corners as well as create more impact on crashes.

        1. Coventry Climax, the point is that people constantly rant about the hybrid systems, yet in reality the amount of additional weight added to the cars due to other factors, from the Halo system to the increase in wheel size and so on, vastly outstrips the increase in minimum weight due to the hybrid systems.

  2. Coventry Climax
    9th August 2023, 0:57

    It’s still a long way to go, to 2026, so things may well change before that, but my, lighter cars! That’s a decent plan at least -and at last- and one I did not expect to ever see again. Let’s hope the weight reduction is considerable and not in the range of mere grammes.
    Given the motor formula already decided on – although nothing is for certain until we see it happen – and with the increase of the energy store’s weight, I keep my fingers crossed the reduction will come from smaller cars.

    1. Even a few kgs would be enough.

      1. Coventry Climax
        9th August 2023, 12:32

        Define enough? A few kg might help alright, but enough? Our opinions might differ there.
        Rent a 500 kg -or thereabouts- sportscar is my advice, and you’ll most likely change your ideas about weight.

    2. The best way is to reduce dimensions of the car if the car is smaller then the weight is also lighter.

      Now the cars are maximum 5.63m in length, 2m wide, 95cm tall and weigh 800kg without the driver.

      So maximum length should be 4.5m 1.8m wide with the lighter engine, batterypack stays the same weight we could get around 700kg without the driver.

      1. Max length should be 4.5m. Leave the width as is. Then remove the heavy batteries!!!!

        1. notagrumpyfan
          9th August 2023, 16:39

          And replace the heavy batteries with heavy fuel :p
          At least the fuel will be gone by the end of the race; mostly as CO2 in the atmosphere.

          1. Cars should absolutely move more and more into carbon zero. But they generate a factional percentage of the CO2 emissions of GP weekend when factoring in the freight, logistics vehicles, and fan transportation.

            Focusing so much on the cars takes away from the actual racing and show, and doesn’t affect much the overall CO2 impact of the GP weekend.

          2. Fyi electric cars are not carbon neutral and cause damage to the environment. Not to mention the ethics in mining for lithium. Funny world of hypocrisy, smoke and mirrors

        2. Wider cars are harder to pass, width needs to go down too

          1. Narrow cars would be with less mechanical grip and rely on dirty aero more

          2. Indeed I remember seeing actual overtakes happen at Monaco when the cars were 1.8m wide.

      2. Coventry Climax
        9th August 2023, 12:37

        Which is exactly why I said I hoped for a significant weight reduction and that it would come from a reduced car size.

        That would make the cars so much more nimble again and create so much more space on track.

        1. @Coventry Climax Correct but not too small.

          @yellow Baron the width must get also smaller maybe 1.90m instead of the 1.8m otherwise you get cars who are for the eyes wrong in dimensions.

          1. F1 cars aren’t often pretty, and aren’t supposed to be. We get used to them over time, but a change of dimensions will always look wrong at first. Eventually, we may appreciate their looks, even start to call some of them pretty, but if you saw even the “prettiest” in any era before the most recent dimension change I doubt you’d have considered it so.

            We shouldn’t, IMHO, be bothered what the cars look like (or how they sound), only how they perform.

  3. With the power unit regulations already fixed for 2026, good luck making the cars much lighter. Sure, the fuel load will drop by 30kg, but the MGU-K is getting larger and I think the batteries will also be larger. Best case is the weight stays around the same. Smaller wheels would help but it’s not going to make a huge difference. Dial back some of the shared components so the teams have better opportunities for weight optimization. Maybe allow refueling, change back to small wheels. Hybrids are heavy, there is no way around that.

    1. @ryanoceros The minimum weight limit is definitely reducable & the battery weight could actually remain similar based on one Mercedes engineer’s (Idk who) verdict, which is valid with matured hybrid technology.
      Even if not, reduced length-width dimensions & a smaller fuel tank + a smaller gearbox would certainly have a greater overall impact than larger battery

    2. Definitely achievable, not to mention the battery weight could actually remain similar based on one Mercedes engineer’s (Idk who) verdict, which is valid with matured hybrid technology.
      Even if not, reduced length-width dimensions & a smaller fuel tank + a smaller gearbox would certainly have a greater overall impact than larger battery

      1. I didn’t intend to have two separate posts with small difference, but this happened as I thought my original attempt failed to get through because of a duplicate post claim.

        1. I don’t think it’s going to make much do a difference. Maybe lighter but by how much? The advantage of lighter isn’t so great if achieved mostly by reducing the car dimensions.

    3. Battery capacity will be larger but weight and dimensions stays the same. I wouldn’t be surprised if the weight even get much less as they are new kind of batteries coming which are lichter and can be charges al most instant to 80%. I hope F1 pushes that technology as that helps us in the longer run.

  4. Interesting thing to consider is that whilst we no longer have the weight penalty of the MGU-H, the MGU-K will be larger as will the energy store size. Furthermore, whilst the motor / generator component of the turbocharger will no longer be present, I’m guessing that the teams will still choose to run the split turbocharger design with the compressor at the front of the engine and the turbine at the rear, simply because its the most efficient option.(packaging wise)IIRC Formula 1 only allows a single stage of compressor and therefore, compressor size is king when it comes to outright flow at a respectable level of charge heating. Another thing to consider is compressor stall. This occurs when you attempt to spool a large centrifugal compressor too soon, at a point where then engines mass flow is less than the surge margin of the compressor. This “stalling of the compressor” causes major flow disruptions to the engine and can be heard as a hooting sound. Previpusly, the motor generator section of the MGU-H could actually be used to directly control the shaft speed of the turbocharger and possibly limit surge (compressor stall) too. Now surge will need to be controlled by the wategate and probably a form of post compressor bleed valve (similar to what jet engine use between compressor stages) as the wastegate may not operate fast enough to prevent surge during sudden burst of load.

    1. Thank you for this technical insight.

      Also people shouldn’t blame the MGU-H for the overall weight (increase).
      The MGU-H weight might be 4kg (source), but as stated above this will be replaced with other turbo components which absorb part of the possible weight gain.
      But furthermore the MGU-H is one of the ’most weight-efficient power’ creators as it generates some 5%pt (source https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/f1-removing-mgu-h-for-2021-engines-a-backwards-step-mercedes-5319162/5319162/) of the total PU thermal efficiency of just above 50%. Thus up to 11kg of fuel is saved by having this efficient piece of kit (that weight is saved at the start of the race, but ‘gone’ by the end).

    2. Coventry Climax
      9th August 2023, 13:30

      A turbo charger is by the nature of it’s design, turbine -exhaust gas- driven. On the inlet side, and on the same axle, that drives another turbine shape called compressor, that pressures more air into the engine. Depending on how and where the fuel is added, by old fashioned carburettor or injection, that may be also be an air/fuel mix.
      Once you control the inlet side, the compressor, mechanically though, by belt or gears, it’s no longer a turbo charger, but it’s become a super charger, which is another variant of the concept of forced induction.
      So, a turbo is just one variant of forced induction.

      The ‘issue’ with turbine driven is that the supercharging capacity is directly related to the size of the device as well as the exhaust flow. Generally, it doesn’t do much at low exhaust flows, which equals low revs, but ‘kicks in’ at higher revs, which makes it essential to be in the right gear for it to work. That’s where turbo lag, big exhaust plumes and such come from.
      Also, from a certain rev point, it becomes a self reinforcing system: more exhaust flow => more inlet pressure => more revs => more exhaust flow etc. That’s where the engine blowups came from, back in the days. Over-pressure valves of all sorts are used to control and counter that effect.
      A blowoff valve prevents the turbo revs from dropping when the throttle is let off, so when there’s no more (or insufficient) exhaust gasses to drive the turbine. This is called turbo stall. That valve counters the effect and makes the turbo pick up more readily again when the throttle pedal is hit again.
      A waste gate prevents the other side of the spectrum, too much exhaust gasses driving too much of a pressure build up on the inlet side. So waste gates prevent the blowups.

      The first turbo dates back about a century, but it was a fixed system and not very ‘fancy’, so to speak. Other control options, such as variable inlet and outlet sizes, internal bleeding valves etc. were also developed over time.

      With the coming of computerisation, obviously all these things can be controlled sensor driven. Sensor driven electronics are super fast, so issues such as a waste gate being too slow will almost certainly not occur.

  5. I actually agree with Ben on the weight of the car. I personally think they should make the cars smaller and ditch the 18″ tyres. I’m guessing the simplified power units will drop some weight but it will be very hard to get it down to anything approaching 2001 weight levels without reducing the size of the cars and some kind of next gen battery technology.

    1. No one’s asking for a return to 600+ figures from the noughties & even a marginal decrease would be decent enough.

      1. Coventry Climax
        9th August 2023, 13:37

        Ah, again. “Decent enough.” Can you quantify that please? So that we actually know what we’re discussing?

    2. Is there anyone who would not like lighter cars – I doubt it. But the question remains how they want to go about that without changing engine regulations now (which have a minimum weight and dictate fuel levels at the start of races), with the tyres we have, with the safety measures we have in place.

      Maybe shorten the cars, that would lower it a bit, not by much though.

  6. Reducing minimum car+driver weight is needed & any extent is enough, although PU sound is secondary.
    On a side note, 600 kg wasn’t the minimum equivalent only in 2001 but 1997-2003.

    Lawson definitely deserves a chance in F1 with his performance level so far, not that staying in SF for a second consecutive year would be the world’s end, albeit he’d risk losing out in the long run because the likes of Iwasa, Hauger, etc., will be more ready for a 2025 promotion.

    1. Coventry Climax
      9th August 2023, 13:45

      As far as I know, it’s only since 2009 that we exceeded the 600 kg mark, which had been 595 kg since 1995.
      The first minimum limit was introduced back in 1961: 450 kg. So we did without any weight limit -and just fine- for the first 11 years.

  7. Thanks for the CotD!

  8. Yet more populist bluster from MBS. It’s like he’s campaigning for his next presidency already, vowing to ‘make motorsport great again’ by basically undoing everything put in place since ‘the golden years’.

    1. What’s so bad about that? F1 cars have been huge and much heavier than ever before in recent years.

      Hybrid cars, and BEVs even more so, are much heavier by necessity. It’s inevitable. Because of the caps on output and charge this has been somewhat limited, but there’s no way to avoid it.

      It’s just one of the negative consequences of the desire to play along with manufacturer’s marketing strategies.

  9. Buemi and Frijns as teammates, well, that’s sure to be something special: https://youtu.be/oOQnYKDExaM

  10. With the elimination of the MGU-H, it would be possible to return to a naturally aspirated engine. The engine would be lighter, the package smaller and thus the chassis could be shorter again. In addition, reduce the width to 1.8m and narrower tires. A pleasant side effect would be a reduction of the recently discussed spray.

    1. If we returned to NatAsp with the current engine capacity, power output would be vastly reduced. To bring the power back up towards what we are used to, the engine would need to be bigger and heavier.

      Using a turbo is one of the easy ways to increase the power to weight ratio of an engine. A turbo weighs very little compared to the additional weight of a NatAsp of the same air mass throughput.

      1. Sure, the displacement needs to be raised. I think I once read the 2.4L V8 was overall lighter than it’s successor, while still being more powerful at first. The engine block itself has to be less robust and there is no intercooling system. In theory, the turbocharged engine has a much higher power potential, but it has been optimized for efficiency.

        1. A 2.4l V8 with the same restrictions (e.g. fuel flow) as the turbos will almost certainly have a lower power output. If they don’t have the same restrictions, they will put out more power, but with those same altered restrictions I’d put money on the turbo being able to put out more power for lower weight.

          1. I do not disagree with that. The turbo engine is more efficient. But my point was not efficiency, but weight.

          2. The turbo engine would be more powerful for the same weight, or lighter for the same power output.

            Remember that the current weight of the engine is higher than it could be due to a specification of minimum weight. They currently weigh about 130kg, and there’s no point trying to make them lighter because they would not be allowed to run them if they did. If this restriction wasn’t there, I’m certain they would be able to make these engines lighter than the v8s for a very similar power output, and significantly lighter for the same power output as the v8s.

        2. @d0senbrot The 2.4ltr V8’s introduced in 2006 were lighter but not as powerful as the 3ltr V10’s they replaced. They also had a lot less torque which made them easier to drive which at the time was something most drivers hated.

          By the end of the V10’s they were producing 950-1000bhp and i don’t think the V8’s were somewhere around 750-800bhp with KERS adding an extra 80bhp for the 6.6 seconds it could be used each lap.

          1. And now the v6s are producing more power than the v8s did even excluding the hybrid components, and that’s with strict regulations to limit them.

            Note that the v6s are also subject to a minimum weight limit of 130kg. I’m pretty sure they could get them down to the same weight as, or less than, the v6s if this was removed, and even more if they accepted being only as powerful as the v8s.

          2. @gt-racer the power figures you quote are probably slightly overestimating the power output of the V8 engines. Mario Illien quoted values of around 740 – 750bhp for the period from 2006-2009 in his technical papers on that era of the sport: meanwhile, dyno chart data from Cosworth put the CA2006 at 755bhp.

    2. @d0senbrot The chassis can be shorter even with hybrid PUs, given the cars were shorter & narrower in 2014-16 with the same current PU concept.

      1. You’re right, I forgot.

  11. I’m pretty sure that everyone agrees that lighter F1 cars would be a Good Thing. What people disagree massively about is how to achieve that and how it fits as a priority compared to other things. For instance, it would be pretty easy to accomplish if the hybrid components were dropped, but is reducing the weight more important than environmental concerns or keeping up with the motor industry? There are lots of arguments around that.

    This is like a politician saying we should reduce taxes. Many people would agree, but which taxes, how much by, where should the money come from…. These details would see large disagreements.

    1. Coventry Climax
      9th August 2023, 14:07

      Agree. Well, mostly. ;-)

      Less weight means less environmental impact as well.
      It simply requires less power to get lower weights up to speed, less power to bring them to halt again, and less power to get them around a corner and less power to run them up hill. Should be interesting to put car weight versus fuel efficiency and versus top speeds into two graphs (or one, combined), keeping all other parameters the same. Just put lead in the drivers pants pockets, so to speak, and have the combination run flat out on a circuit. I can tell you, from experience, it’s a massive (pun intended) difference. But put it on this site, so we all know what exactly we’re talking about.

      Also, let’s set the weight limit to what we can agree on, and let the engineers sort out how to achieve it. That’s what F1 is about, isn’t it?

      1. I agree: Give the engineers specs to work to and let them figure it out. The engineers are a lot more clever than the people who write the regulations, so reduce the complexity of the regulations and let the engineers find the best way.

        In particular, get rid of all those regulations which were added to reduce costs. We have a budget cap now, we don’t need regulations limiting development to bring the cost down.

        I agree to a point about weight vs efficiency, but remember that at F1 speeds the vast majority of the energy used is to overcome drag. A more efficient engine will use less energy everywhere, whereas a lighter car will only use significantly less while getting up to speed. On the road, weight is definitely a massive factor (though generally cancelled out in EVs by the drivetrain being ITRO 3x the efficiency), but in an F1 race I doubt the energy saving by dropping 800kg even back to 600kg will make up for the powertrain being so much less efficient.

        1. Coventry Climax
          9th August 2023, 21:10

          If I remember correctly, drag is not in a linear relation to speed. It’s at topspeeds mainly, where a big part of the energy is used to overcome drag. We got DRS for that. Change the rules about that such that the drivers can use it anywhere, anytime, anyplace, no restrictions. Then it becomes just another driver tool, like the brakes, steering wheel, throttle and everything else, and drivers can show their proficiency with it, like it should.
          But even so, given the size of today’s circuits, inertia, the braking and getting up to speed again, plays a bigger role. Would have to look up my/the literature for that to quantify it, sorry. Long time ago. Don’t even remember what I’ve done with it.

          1. I’d be interested to see figures which support that. I’ll admit my post is mostly based on my gut feeling on it rather than hard figures.

            My main line of thinking was that the v8 cars took significantly more fuel to do slower lap times, while being over 150kg lighter. The efficiency of the engine must play a much bigger part in this than the weight of the car if nearly a 25% increase in weight was more than balanced out by the increased efficiency of the engine.

            That said, if we assume the v8s had an efficiency in the region of 33% and the v6s are around 50%, that’s a 50% increase in efficiency. If output energy use scales linearly with mass, which is probably a reasonable estimate ignoring drag*, then the figures look like they are in the right ballpark for inertia to be the dominant factor. However, we’d need to cut the weight to around the 500-550kg mark to get close to the same energy use as the current cars.

            * Sorry, my inner engineer just leaked out lol

          2. @drmouse

            That said, if we assume the v8s had an efficiency in the region of 33%

            I’m not a (mechanical) engineer, but 33% seems really high. I thought they were much closer to about 25% which is still miles above most road going cars.

        2. @drmouse so much this.

          Remove the regulations around materials and weight and let the engineers figure it out.

          If they’re worried about one team getting too far in front, why don’t they reduce the dimensions of the car and then have a sliding scale of minimum weight drop over a few years. All within the budget cap.

          They’ll figure out how to do it.

    2. Once EVs can no longer be subsidised and will have to pay normal taxes, which in a lot of countries is based primarily on the weight of a vehicle, it’ll be a big selling point for manufacturers. Why not have F1 lead the way and actually make those enormous budgets useful instead of spending it all on aerodynamics.

      Weight has a big influence on efficiency, tyre usage (and thus microplastic pollution), road wear (which will have to be repaired by big trucks using petrochemical products). Significantly lowering the minimum weight of F1 cars could help push technology forward in meaningful and useful ways. Start with 800kg and further reduce it every two years.

      1. See above: At F1 speeds, I doubt even a large reduction in weight would make up for the drop in engine efficiency by losing the hybrid components.

        1. Coventry Climax
          9th August 2023, 17:32

          200 BHP road legal 4.0 petrol Mercedes S, 2022, weight 2165 kg.
          180 BHP road legal 1.8 petrol Caterham 7, 2004, weight 570 kg.

          Power to weigth ratio:
          Mercedes: 92 BHP/tonne
          Lotus: 315 BHP/tonne

          That’s what weight does to your car, powerwise. Care to imagine the difference around corners?

          1. Coventry Climax
            9th August 2023, 17:36

            sorry: Lotus => Caterham

            But let’s do it for a Lotus too:
            180 BHP Lotus Elise S1, 1.8 petrol (same engine as the Caterham) 2001, weight 740 kg.
            Power to weight ratio:
            Lotus: 243 BHP/tonne

          2. I am aware of the amount of difference it makes to car performance: I’m a fan of classic Minis :)

            My comment was strictly down to the difference in efficiency: A lighter power unit will not make up for a significantly less efficient one at F1 speeds. Accelerating the mass takes more energy in a heavier car, as does the additional acceleration and braking required due to lower cornering speeds. However, the energy used overcoming drag will remain similar.

          3. Coventry Climax
            10th August 2023, 18:45


            That Caterham I mentioned, ran 17 km on a litre on average. Obviously, that changes when you do a trackday with it. ;-) But it’s not like it was driven like a snail on the public roads either.

            Even a stupid Peugeot 206 does worse, and isn’t 1/10th the fun to drive.

            Gas mileage (funny word, given both the liquid fuel and units I talk about) as a measure of efficiency, is hugely affected by weight.

      2. Coventry Climax
        9th August 2023, 17:18

        Your paragraph one: You forget that fossil is subsidised as well, and maybe even heavier. There’s currently some 1500 men, over 350 vehicles and some 15 aerial vehicles busy to control a wildfire in Portugal. And that’s just 1 fire. On average, especially the last years, they get more severe and uncontrollable, and there’s many going on at the same time, and once one is controlled, another starts somewhere else, usually due to some fool throwing away a cigarette butt, or morons that set out a night puzzle walk with candles (Not inventing this!). Anyway, that’s just 1 country. Happen to know how many ha’s of tree burnt down, due to our fossil usage, worldwide? you’ll find the appalling estimates online. The firefighters are mainly volunteers, so that’s never counted as a cost, nor is the loss of forest, but it should. And there’s so many more aspects of fossil that’s never ever taken into account, which in a way counts as hidden subsidising. I’m fine with ending subsidising for EV’s, but let’s do the same for fossil please.

        Your paragraph two: Yep. But actually, that would have been automatic had not the FIA interfered with all sorts of silly rules all the time, minimum allowed weight just being one of them.
        Instead, they should have ruled that all seat/driver combinations weigh the same and have the same centre of gravity. It’s then up to the teams to put the combination in the front, the back, sideways, upside down or whichever they see fit and think is advantageous. Given there’s crash tests and safety rules as well, driver safety and construction integrity would not be compromised, and it’s still fair to drivers of different weights and lengths. Plus we’d likely have 500 kg or thereabouts F1 cars now. It’s the FIA that’s constantly hampering development, nothing else.

        1. You forget that fossil is subsidised as well, and maybe even heavier.


          Alongside this, even with the taxes levied on petrol, we pay around £1.50/l right now. This gives an energy price of 16p/kWh, which is about half what we are paying for electricity right now. Domestic gas is about half of this again. This is making more efficient technologies (EVs, heat pumps etc) significantly less desirable than they could be. You could actually generate your own electricity at home using a converted ICE running on natural gas for less than we are paying for it from the grid at the moment…

        2. Also, completely with you on the way to deal with driver weights. With that and the budget cap, there is no need for minimum weights on anything IMHO. Just let the teams develop the best cars they can with the limited budget they have.

        3. It’s not a matter of forgetting, it’s not relevant to the point. Currently weight is mostly a non-factor in people’s purchase decisions on EVs. This will change when it starts to become a cost, and a significant one at that.

          Making weight reduction a benefit in F1 is, or can be, important to manufacturers’ marketing. The development of lighter technology itself doesn’t need F1, of course.

          1. Coventry Climax
            10th August 2023, 19:08

            Weight isn’t ever considered at all, it would seem, when buying a car of whatever type or brand, despite road tax being based on it. Look at the numbers of massive SUV’s!
            Weight is almost constantly avoided in car reviews. I remember the review of a ‘new’ VW Golf, type 5, 6, or 7, or wherever they were at that moment. They said it broke a trend and was much lighter than it’s predecessor, but omitted to tell by how much exactly, and how much that predecessor actually weighed. Weight in car reviews, that’s about the only conspiracy I believe in. ;-)

            Anyway, unfortunately, the trend is more F1 cars starting to resemble road cars than the other way round,
            so in that respect I’d love to see that reversed, and weight becoming the aspect again that it deserves to be.
            And yes, it might have a positive effect on electric popularity and sales.

            But still, when all subsidizing for fossil would stop, electric would also gain popularity, without them getting lighter and/or more efficient and despite whatever happens in F1.
            So if making electric more popular is the objective, fossil subsidising is relevant, and weight reduction, as welcome as it might be, not the only means.

          2. I’m not sure where you are from or how your road tax is calculated.

            Road tax in the UK isn’t based on weight and never has been, directly. The factors involved have been engine size, emissions, fuel type and value. Weight has only been indirectly involved by emissions.

  12. Sergey Martyn
    9th August 2023, 10:22

    Within the framework of the technical regulations, the power unit must have a minimum weight of 330 pounds (150 kg), and within that the MGU-K must weigh at least 15.4 pounds (7 kg), the MGU-H at least 8.8 pounds (4 kg), and the Energy Store at least 44 pounds (20 kg). There are also minimum weights relating to the crankshaft assembly, connecting rods and pistons. Add the weight of a batteries…
    What a joke.
    V10’s weighted 90-120 kg

    1. All these minimum weights for engine components were introduced to keep costs down, IIRC. There’s little need for them now, as long as we ensure:
      1) Engines are within the cost cap*, and
      2) Engine manufacturers are required to sell their engines to anyone who asks for the same price**

      * I’m not sure if they are right now.

      ** This is to stop works teams from being able to gain an advantage by throwing money at the engine, selling it to themselves at a loss, and refusing to sell it to others. There would probably need to be some checks to make sure the price the engine is sold for covers at least the manufacturing and development costs.

  13. A lower minimum weight would be nice. I want to see the cars reduced in size.
    Not just in width, but also length.

    The “no sidepod” design that Mercedes is running is a great example of the car footprint being too big that car designers have it too easy when it comes to packaging. While the Mercedes is the most extreme example, no other team is struggling to design a “size zero” concept.

    I say, reduce the width back to 1800mm (which most designers clearly aren’t using), and reduce the width to around about 4500mm (that’s about 1000mm shorter than they are now). Then it would actually make it a challenge for them to figure out how to package everything.

    It should also make overtaking a bit easier, as drivers won’t have to get around a vehicle larger than a Maybach.

  14. There’s talk that they are looking at banning DRS in practice & qualifying next year and only allowing it to be used for overtaking in races.

    Officially it will be said it’s because DRS is meant to be an overtaking aid rather than a performance device in qualifying. However Red Bull getting as much of a performance gain as they are from there DRS is what led them to look at doing this, Partly to cap Red Bull’s advantage in qualifying but also to halt others going down that development path.

    There is also a thought of activating it on lap 2 & immediately after a SC ends. Thinking been that even if it doesn’t generate much overtaking due to DRS trains with cars still bunched together on the 1st 2 laps that it will hopefully keep the field closer for longer rather than allowing time for it to spread out.

  15. Just make the cars 1 meter shorter. Easy to understand and enforce. Will make the cars lighter and better looking. And also will give teams less space to work the aero.

  16. See 2008 cars. Just copy & paste those.

  17. Lewisham Milton
    9th August 2023, 22:19

    Show us the way with proper Safety Cars then. Stop encouraging fat, bloated hideous two-ton futility vehicles.

    1. I wholeheartedly agree, the SC Driver knows exactly where the danger zone is, and therefore a faster car should be able to keep the field bunched and only slow down at the relevant place on the circuit.
      This would stop the tyres from becoming dangerously cooler, and relieve a very boring time for spectators watching the GT spec “behemoth” lumber around the track trying to do it quickly. If the SC was something like a really good LMH Car, [with the second seat exchanged for a CCTV system for the driver to liase with] – then the speeds at safe spots around the track would be better, not the same but better, and all other rules would be the same.

      ….. and it would look a damned sight better than a behemoth rolling uncontrollably on every bend as it tries valiantly to speed up the train !

  18. MBS really seems.likes he has lost connection with F1, likely he alienated himself with the new team issue. This just sounds like blustering TBH.

  19. The weight and length of the current cars is dictated by the crash structures required for the fastest racing cars on earth. As noted, the PU isn’t going to be lighter (or smaller), and I see little appetite for increasing the injury risk to drivers in the event of a crash.

    Possibly weight could be taken out of the wings and suspension but the days of front wings falling off or suspension members breaking at the slightest touch of wheels was pretty rubbish.

    1. I did consider this. However, I’m pretty sure they could reduce the dimensions and weight fairly considerably without compromising safety.

      1. Coventry Climax
        10th August 2023, 19:16

        Yep, and without the ‘pretty’, for my part.

        Care to have a brick on your head, from two meter high?
        Or rather a duck feather, from the same height?
        Which, you think, requires the more heavy and larger size safety features, such as crumple zones, you think, the light or the heavy car?
        That’s what people on the road don’t understand: “I’m in a safe, big and heavy car.” Yep, so’s the dork that hits you.

  20. How to make the cars lighter?
    Skim some off the top.

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