Hot fun in Summertime
Budapest 2014
Hungarian Grand Prix
F1′s great unknown: How will adjustable wings work?
News
F1′s great unknown: How will adjustable wings work?
Posted By: James Allen  |  30 Jan 2011   |  12:25 pm GMT  |  126 comments

The first test of the 2011 season is only two days away and soon we will all learn a lot more about how the biggest rule change for this year, the adjustable rear wing, is going to affect the racing.

The purpose is to create more overtaking, clearly, but what could prove controversial is that it may make overtaking itself rather predictable.


The simple concept of this change is a pivot in the rear wing which allows it to open up a gap from 10mm to 50mm, thereby shedding downforce and increasing straight line speed – rather like the F Duct did last year. Drivers can use this to trim the cars during practice and qualifying and will certainly do so on the straights- some inevitably making more use of it than others.

As it is a downforce shedding device, it acts against what most engineers are seeking, which is more downforce. As we saw last year with teams incorporating the F Duct, get it wrong and you harm your overall downforce level and thus competitiveness.

Engineers I’ve spoken to say that a system that is correctly used by a driver should be worth over 0.5 sec a lap.

But unlike the F Duct (which is now banned) it cannot be used anywhere on the track during the race. It can only be used after the first two laps and then only in a pre-determined section of track and only then by a car which is within a second of the car in front. And this is where things get a little more vague and are still under discussion.

The wing’s functionality is controlled by a proximity system using electronic loops around the circuit, which allow the system to be armed on each car. It is up to the FIA to decide where those loops should go around a track and they will control its use. Once a car crosses the first loop the system will either be armed or it won’t depending on whether the car is within passing range. The driver will be notified by a light in the cockpit and he will move the wing using a control on the steering wheel. The driver can manually return the wing to its normal level or hitting the brakes will achieve the same result. If the system fails, it defaults to the high downforce setting.


The car in front will not be allowed to use his wing to defend. This sense of feeling like a sitting duck might lead some drivers wanting to ‘weave’ to block or shake off a tow, although the rules on that were tightened up last season.

As of the end of last week the FIA’s Charlie Whiting had not yet specified the section of the Bahrain or Melbourne circuits the device will be used on. It seems to the teams that the FIA is taking the view that they will announce where it can be used as they go along on a race by race basis. The advantage of doing it this way is that they can make adjustments race by race if the concept isn’t working or if it’s far too easy to pass, in other words make the ‘overtaking zones’ longer or shorter depending on how it’s going. They can also adjust the time interval between the cars to make it work better. It looks like we will start with the simplest interpretation and then refine it from there, which makes sense.

It’s not too hard to guess where some overtaking zones might be placed – usually coming into an area where there is a long straight. But quite a few tracks have more than one straight, like Monza or Sepang. One knock-on effect of this will be to place a real premium on grandstand seats in the ‘overtaking zone’ !

One thing this new device will definitely change is that it will place less emphasis on qualifying. If a faster car is outqualified by a slower one because of conditions or driver error, it will make it easier for the driver of the faster car to get the place back, because he will have no problems getting to within a second of the car in front.

This will also mean that in a race like last year’s Malaysian GP, for example, where the McLarens and Ferraris started at the back of the grid due to strategic errors in the wet qualifying session, the fast cars will be able to come through the field very easily.


With a wide range of devices now under the drivers’ control, including KERS, there will be a lot to operate and a lot to remember, and some drivers and engineers have voiced concerns. It is quite common, when stepping into the unknown, for F1 to ask whether it is doing the right thing, but experience tells us to give it a few races and then take a view.

According to Fernando Alonso, “The only difficulty…will be buttons on the steering wheel and a very short time you have to make some decisions, to react to buttons and still drive the car, so in some of the cases in wet races, poor visibility, things like that, we need to check.”

Race Photo: Darren Heath, Illustration: Paolo Filisetti

* For a running stream of insight into what’s happening at the Valencia test, be sure to check out our Tweets site, which pulls together Tweets from teams, drivers and journalists. The beauty of this site is that you don’t have to be on Twitter to follow, plus we’ve already done the hard work for you, collating the lists, so all you have to do is read. Check it out at twitter.jamesallenonf1.com

Featured News
MORE FROM JA ON F1...
Share This:
Posted by:
Category:
126 Comments
  1. Paul H says:

    All a bit too artificial to my mind. I can’t help feeling that the reintroduction of KERS could negate the whole moveable wing idea if the car in front hits his KERS button just before the guy behind has his wing enabled and thus extending the time gap to over a second. Plus how many times over the last couple of years have we seen cars struggle to stay within a second of the car in front? Always too much turbulence and tyre degradation if too close. Or will the ban on double diffusers and change to Pirelli affect this?

    Would it be possible to use the moveable wing in the opposite manner to increase downforce and act in similar way to an airbrake to enable a car to out-brake an opponent?

    1. JJ MUPPET says:

      I agree with the 10 times per race deal with the moving wing, that could make it more interesting, but I still in no way think the wings should be moving at all. Front or Rear.

      This is wrong and artificial, surprised though that so many PPL agree with me, who then are the teams listening to?

    2. Tim. says:

      To make your idea work, about top drivers. Then you need to let the teams build out of the box…not so many rules that equalize the playing field which makes the top drivers… barely able to pass…..open the rules up.

      …and get rid of “buy” the seat!

      1. JJ MUPPET says:

        Yes this buy the seat is very wrong and there is a way around it, you do not get a super licence unless you have won A,B,C. Make the top feeder series a requirement. OK Maldanado would still be at Williams but Chandhok???? are you kidding me. Rich kids should play tennis.

        Let us now see what Diresta does though hey?

        4 long years in DTM, did not win it first time now did he!

      2. Martin says:

        While I understand that DTM cars drive in a similar manner to F3 cars (or at least more like them than most touring cars), I think it is generally accepted that in the previous two seasons the Audi had the edge and Mercedes closed the gap this year.

        Still for the “beat Vettel in F3″ fans, we need only point out Jan Magnussen (14 wins in 18 British F3 races and Jackie Stewart called him better than Senna).

  2. Richard M says:

    The introduction of adjustable rear wings is going to have a very bad impact of F1 next season and will cause it to dilute driving skill and make it more like a video game. The reasons I think this are:-
    - Overtaking will become more gimmicky and less skilled and less exciting, because why would a driver risk late braking or straying from the racing line when they can just wait to be on the straight and then just waft straight passed. I would rather watch a battle of a car trying to overtake and failing then watching a car drive straight passed another because they have a massive speed advantage such as the battle between Button and Alonso at Monza.
    - Too much of something always makes it more dull, if a football game finished 6-6 then it would be thrilling but if every match was 6-6 then it would just become boring, what is more of an exciting moment and basket in basketball or a wicket in cricket?
    - Races will become more contrived, drivers will start purposely letting a car overtake them before a straight so they can just take it back on the straight and retain position. Also a driver running close behind 1st place could easily just hold position until the last lap and then use the adjustable rear wing to drive past them on the straight and ‘win’.
    - F1 will lose some of what make f1 so special and exciting, no longer will drivers be battling wheel to wheel in a contest of skill, no longer will an overtaking manouva or even the threat of and overtake get your heart ‘racing’, but mearly a feeling of discontent as a driver presses a button to easily drive passed a rival car.

    1. David C. says:

      Well said. If a silly light comes on in the cockpit to let the drive know when he came use the wing, then the driver in front will know when to best use KERS. The whole thing is foolish. The best drivers will make a pass happen, thats how it should be, this wing is very “cartoon” like.

      1. Aaron95 says:

        Except that if both cars have KERS, the effects will be cancelled out.

      2. Martin says:

        Both drivers are going to be using KERS at the same time, so it isn’t really an issue.

        I don’t recall too many complaints when in China, for example, the McLarens just swept past all the cars without an F-Duct.

    2. Miha says:

      I agree it all sound a bit like a video game, but i doubt FIA will let that happen. They will shorten the “overtaking area” or something so it won’t be to easy for the driver behind to overtake. I also wouldn’t like to see overtaking become too easy, but let’s wait see. After first couple of races we will be better judges. Maybe it will make no difference and FIA will drop adjustable rear wing at the end of the season (KERS will probably stay …)

    3. Martin says:

      Richard,

      While any top speed advantage will make passing easier, you should consider what we have had in the last two seasons. James is suggesting the wing will be worth about 0.5 seconds per lap. This is not going to be about sailing past the other car easily. KERS still required a performance advantage to get the following car in range. When McLaren talked about KERS giving a 0.4 second boost in qualifying it was due to the ability to use KERS on the start finish straight to depletion and get another 6.7 seconds worth at the start finish line. So about 0.4 is what KERS was worth on a straight.

      The F-duct is more like the new wing, with the performance gain coming mostly at the end of the straight when drag is at its highest. KERS provided a more even gain that got the car in the slipstream. I suspect that in Melbourne the straights may be too short to see the wings work unless the car in front is also slower.

      A comments on the rules I saw suggested that the following driver had to be close through more than one sector before being able to use the wing. Also on your third point, it will encourage drivers to push to the end of the race, so there is possibility of more mistakes from fatigue, tyre wear, greater freedom to make additional stops as track position is less of an issue. It will be different, and almost certainly, the position at the end of the first corner will be less important than outright race pace.

    4. AJIndy says:

      Of all the rules and technologies that F1 has adopted lately, this is by far the lamest.

  3. JJ MUPPET says:

    I do not agree with this at all. It will make over taking too easy and artificial. When I look back to 07, the passes that year were fantastic and real. The cars were pretty and fast, now we have 4 cylinder engines fake over taking and ugly as sin cars due the front wings. This is not the way to go in my opinion.

    1. Bevan says:

      On the button Mr Muppet.If the FIA undone all their meddling to circa 1999 we’d have a major improvement overnight IMHO.Billions of dollars burnt in reg changes,many hilariously in the name of cost cutting & the show yearly continues to degrade.Reg changes to negate the negative effects of previous reg changes just causes confusion & a sense of artificiality.Time for a little regulation continuity,3 seasons with zero FIA meddling will work wonders.

      1. Peter Freeman says:

        True fact! If the rules are left in place for long enough the back teams catch up and the racing gets REAL close. Anyone remember the season when Jordan won races? There were about 5 teams fast enough to win a race that year ENTIERLY due to a long period of stable rules.

        Changing the rules costs money and opens the gap between the teams, keeping the rules saves money and increases the competion.

        Its that simple!

      2. Galapago555 says:

        +1

        Spot on. Fully agree, mate. Stable rules saves monay and improves competition.

      3. Martin says:

        I’m not convinced your argument stacks up Peter. Jordan won four races in total, in 1998 in the wet with Hill, two with Frentzen in 1999 and one with Fisi in Brazil in 2003. In 2003 Jordan scored 13 constructors championship points, with 10 from the fluke win.

        In 1998, the grooved tyres and narrower chassis were introduced and there was a brief tyre war between Bridgestone and Goodyear, before Goodyear left at the end of 1998. So there was significant change.

        When you have rule stability there tends to be a compression of the mid field. The front runners are the best resourced teams as there are few clever ideas that can be game changers. The big rule change for 2009 changed the order enormously. Red Bull came up a bit, Honda (Brawn) went from the back of the grid to the front. Ferrari fell back into the mid-pack, McLaren had trouble getting out of Q1 for a half a season.

        If you consider 2009, Brawn, Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari won. Force India (Spa and Monza) and Toyota (Bahrain, Spa, Suzuka) were in the mix to possibly win, taking poles on merit.

        If you want close finishes with few lapped cars, then rule stability is the way to go, but it tends to have one or two teams out front. The individual races tend to need other factors to change the order after the first corner, particularly now that fuel strategy is largely removed. The 2011 rules are likely to favour outright race pace – make a pass and then turn that immediate 0.5 second gap into more than 1.0 s by the end of the lap and keep pulling away. If the current strategy isn’t working, change tyres or try to stop one less time.

  4. Paul says:

    I like the idea of the moveable rear wing in theory, but I think that the 1s rule and the fact the driver ahead cannot defend makes it a bit hollow. I would much rather see them have a set number of times that they can use the rear wing, say 10 in a race, and let them use it wherever they want. A bit like a “push to pass” in other formulae.

    I’m disappointed too that the team personnel are saying there may be too many buttons to push. It’s not supposed to be easy, it is supposed to be a challenge. And the drivers that have demonstrated the extra mental capacity to manage everything in the cockpit, like Alonso, Kubica and Hamilton showed at points last year, should be rewarded for it.

    1. devilsadvocate says:

      you mean extra mental capacity like Hamilton complaining about all the blinky lights in the cockpit when he “accidentaly” passed the safety car?
      Sorry that was out of line but I couldnt resist.
      Someone said it best a month or so ago when they said its gonna allow the best car, irregardless of quali performance, is gonna wing their way up to the front and then run away for a 1-2. I for one dont like that because whether or not points are awarded sunday quali is an integral part of the weekend, and mistakes should be costly. All the top teams are guilty of huge mistakes in quali and till now, paid pretty dearly on the whole, and when they managed to make up for it, the feat was all the more special because of the skill required to claw up through the field.
      The only real benefit I can see from this is that drivers will perhaps try and drive the wheels off their car to get within 1second while the leading driver will be doing likewise to keep that from happening. Throw in some unstable Pirrelis and then we might have a party going on.

      1. Martin says:

        If you consider the field spread that occurs at the start over the first two laps, it is easy for tenth place to be 8-10 seconds behind the leader. To make up places will put additional load on the tyres, so a car will need to be very fast to win after falling well down the field.

        You are looking a one team having a consistent 0.5 second per lap race pace advantage across the season. The track to track variations that we have seen previously (Renault and McLaren in 2005, Ferrari and McLaren in 2007 and 2008) suggest to me this won’t happen that often.

        Yes, teams are likely to do what McLaren did in 2010 and bias their cars more towards the race, but the contrary is a relatively recent phenomenon – for Prost and Mansell pole was nice but not necessary for winning, and that takes us to 1993.

        If nothing else we will learn more about what we like. If it becomes too much like MotoGP, where qualifying helps but is rarely critical, then at least we will know by the end of the year.

    2. Paul Kirk says:

      Hang on Paul, I thought we’re talking about car racing, not playing video games, next thing youi’ll be saying they should have joy sticks! (Who knows, maybe that’ll come too, because they’ll be able to have a smaller cockpit!) Oh well as long as they still show club events with real cars and real passing and some aural and visual variety, I’ll be happy.
      PK.

    3. Peter Freeman says:

      This is a much better and much more feasable idea than what they are proposing now.

      A variation on this theam could be a 1 or 2 activation limit per lap. This way it’s an even battle between two drivers, testing their driving skills AND their stratergy planning. Limited KERS and 1 wing adjustment per lap… when to push and when not to push, when to defend and when to attack…

  5. Steed says:

    Problem is that it’s artificial.

    Seems like the marketing folks think the punters need overtaking otherwise they’ll switch off. So lets give them overtaking. Doesn’t matter if it’s real overtaking so long as it’s overtaking. Just like team orders were OK so long as the punters didn’t realise. Insulting? Oh yes.

    If we have unevenly matched cars and/or drivers, overtaking is possible, although still difficult. That’s makes for entertainment. Now, where the driver/car combination is evenly matched, one car will overtake on one lap using the adjustable wing, only to be re-passed on the next lap by the reversal of roles.

    Overtaking – yes. Interest – no. Why? Because its artificial.

  6. F1 fan01 says:

    this device is too extreme, i would rather see two drivers battle for 15 laps and not overtake than see a driver drive past another. the FIA should at least allow weaving to block another driver. think of the advantage one driver will have over another if he has 4 or 5 mph top speed advantage + kers boost, its a very badly thought out solution to the overtaking problem

  7. Rafael says:

    Maybe I’m jumping the gun here, but I think this rule is quite ridiculous! Quite frankly, it’s overtaking that’s artificial and doesn’t really highlight a driver’s skill. I know that if not for the title showdown, last year’s Abu Dhabi GP was truly a snorefest, but that’s just the way it is – in some race tracks you can overtake, the others it’s almost impossible (Monaco).

    Furthermore, this new “gimmick” just complicates things even more. I mean, now people have to figure out what sections of the circuit these rear wings can be used. Also, what if the system malfunctions for one of the drivers (mechanism is jammed or indicator light isn’t working)? Wouldn’t that be unfair? The F-duct and KERS actually, was/is so much more simple and convenient.

    Like I said, maybe I’m being naive with my conclusion here, but these sort of gimmicks in F1 kind of mirrors the WWE’s situation today: before, WWE pay-per views had true quality because of the wrestlers/superstars that headlined them, the matches they put on and the storylines that revolved around them; but nowadays that’s rare, PPVs are driven by repetitive “gimmick matches” (table/ladders/chairs, cage, etc) and publicity generating/conscious stipulations (celebrity guests, etc.) hence turning off or disappointing a lot of life long wrestling fans. I’d hate to see F1 destroy itself as a sport only to put on a better “show”.

  8. Galapago555 says:

    Maybe we see some races where strategy is “last to overtake wins”… something like in the MotoGP races, when you see many times how drivers try to overtake just in the last corner, so they are not overtaken again before the finish line.

    This could be amusing. Imagine a bunch of drivers – let’s say Seb, Lewis and Fernando – surveilling each other, waiting for the best moment to overtake on the last lap in order to arrive home first.

    The more I think about it, the more doubts arise: e.g., overtaking zones should be placed on long straights but, where? If at the beggining, this probably would give a big advantage to the driver that overtakes. Will the overtaken one be allowed to use his own device once he is behind, as for a moment he will be less than a second away?

    Positively can’t wait for the season to start. In six weeks from now we will be enjoying the first race… about lap 25!! :-D

    1. Martin says:

      From what I recall of an earlier discussion of the overtaking rule it would be something similar to the points on the timing sectors. Prior to the overtaking zone, which would be from throttle application until braking if the driver chooses (Spa would be interesting with Eau Rouge and Blanchimont being high speed and downforce), the driver would need to be within one second through both sector points not just one.

      The effect from the wing will be largely at high speeds, e.g. 250 km/h plus, as the drag really starts to limit acceleration.

      I think a more likely scenario is that the faster driver is likely to get ahead and aim to make more than one second in that first lap. The first 0.5 comes immediately.

      Bikes have minimal penalty in following closely and the slipstream gives the following rider an advantage, so in some cases the pass at the last corner scenario works. In F1 the turbulence means that following is normally a disadvantage due to tyre wear. At least now there is no need to sit back 1.5 seconds just to look after the tyres.

  9. Connor Walsh says:

    If there are no restrictions on where KERS can be used, it’ll be interesting to see cars dragging each other out down the straights – one with the wing back, one on KERS.

    p.s. the blog has reverted to the mobile theme on desktop Safari, but that might be something at my end.

  10. PaulL says:

    I actually don’t want to see more overtakes in F1. Just better cars and better racing.

    1. AlexD says:

      I really want to see at least some overtaking….especially when I remind myself about Bahrain 2010.

  11. Tim Horton says:

    James has a functional version of this proximity rear wing been run yet? It seems like a very ambitious thing to introduce next season without at least a tech demo proving it is safe and provides the intended benefits.

  12. jonrob says:

    “The purpose is to create more overtaking, clearly, but what could prove controversial is that it may make overtaking itself rather predictable.”

    Well this is reminding me of a section in Ben Edward’s excellent book, talking about NASCAR racing where he says that it’s almost impossible to win if you lead into the start of the last lap, instead you must be second and you will overtake into the lead when you cannot be re-taken before the final lap ends. OK it’s all different with banked track etc. But apparently they can turn both left and right and it’s not just a circle. The reasons here (NASCAR) for so much overtaking are due to air pressure on the front of cars affecting the car in front, creating understeer in the leading vehicle. (which is why it is called “push” in the USA) OK this won’t happen in F1 but it does lead to some strategy in placing cars in the right position at the right time. Hopefully with two tyre changes per car each race and overtaking at known points, this will let the guys doing strategy have a field day. I expect Mercedes to benefit from Ross’s expertise here (no computers needed if you have Ross’s head in your team) Ferrari may find themselves with a great car, but the ability to throw the race away again.

  13. Sebee says:

    Personally i have no problems with increased distractions in the cockpit. Things have got too safe and you didn’t heat drivers complaining they had too much to di back in the day.

    I was amazed on my visit to Ferrari museum some years back on how crude F1 cars used to be. The had to take hand off wheel to manually change gears. Imagine that! I was too young to pay attention, but no one complained I’m sure.

    If it’s too complicated and unsafe remember that the driver has a choice not to use it in the interest of safety and self preservation.

  14. Chris R says:

    I find this new system to aide overtaking is underwhelming. The rules to qualify to use the adjustable wing are too restrictive.

    Why should 1 zone be used, what about all the other corners and tarmac on these tracks? I wish the cars could fight each other without the need for this faffing around.

    The slower cars wont be able to get within a second, good for the front guys if they mess up qualifying.

    Honestly i love overtaking, but even if this system gives us lots of that, I feel it’s too artificial.

  15. Owen says:

    Having only one designated spot when you can use the wing sounds awful, wont that just lead to all drivers putting off overtakes until they can use the wing and then simply driving past the other car on the straight.

    Seems like a very very boring race.

  16. Bill Johnson says:

    I’m sure you’ve seen me say it before: this is hogwash. Can we get any more complex, costly and location-specific in order to allow one overtake opportunity per lap?

    Way too much Rube Goldberg in this one, folks – and absolutely NO application to road motoring or safety, right FIA?

    So I would have kept the elegant, simple F-duct, and let drivers use it as they may. If we are worried about the safety of moving the hand to cover the hole, then use a damn switch. Kinda like the moveable wing switch.

    This won’t last more than one year. I, the great no-one, have spoken.

  17. David C. says:

    Passing should be difficult, this is Formula One. The great drivers do it in places that others can’t, that’s how it should be. Formula One does not need a “push to pass” button, just more great drives (less pay drivers). Thank you James for the best Formula One site on the Web.

    1. Ben says:

      I’m absolutely with you there, David. If they’re good enough to be in F1, they should be good enough to overtake without indefensible changes to the car.

      The worst feature of the movable wing system is that there is an external trigger – how long before people start thinking the FIA is manipulating the zones/triggers/timing to suit Ferrari? (assuming they can get over their self-consuming suicide run this winter) Afterall, doesn’t FIA stand for Ferrari International Assistance?

      Anyway, partisanship aside, why is it ok for the FIA to manipulate the cars remotely when it’s not ok for the teams to do the same?

      Finally, to suggest that the leading car cannot use their wing when a following car can leads me to wonder what’ll happen in the Trulli-train? (or similar) – how does the second car in a train get to overtake when he’s also the lead car, relative to the third in the train?

      Another poorly thought out rule change by the FIA. What was wrong with the F-duct anyway? At least that was open to all teams and controlled by the driver.

      1. Galapago555 says:

        “Afterall, doesn’t FIA stand for Ferrari International Assistance?”

        Yep, we saw it clearly in Valencia and Silverstone last year.

        Absolutely fed up with this anti Ferrari mantra, mate.

      2. Ben says:

        Well, they can’t be too blatant about it, can they? ;)

        (I won’t say more for fear of just starting an unhelpful flame-war on ground that has been trodden so many times before that it’s no longer funny – actually, sorry I brought it up in the first place)

      3. David C. says:

        The FIA didn’t think of the F-Duct, that’s what wrong with. KERS is not Formual One, let’s think who came up with that… The F-Duct is innovative and simple, KERS is heavy and complicated, which would you chose. Oh wait, we don’t make money from Formula One, Wierd.

      4. AndoNeo says:

        The F-Duct was just plain dangerous if you ask me. Did no one else feel uncomfortable seeing them drive one handed at 300kph???

        It all feels very artificial but they are fighting something just as man made. The huge amounts of down force. So who knows. They seem to almost cancel each other out. KERS and Adjustable wings as someone mentioned earlier.

  18. things are getting interesting as the sport gets confusing. but opposite to this the cars are getting simplier in terms of design as we witnessed in Ferrari F150. it will be very difficut to control the gap between the cars which is said to be ‘within one second’ and it makes no sense that the driver of the front car cannot use the wing. it is if in a computer game the behind car making cheats:) this is not a fair solution i think. overtaking must be improved but not like this. this solution brings an absolute advantage to the car behind. so does make me think ‘where is racing in this?’ this is not a computer game, this is Formula 1… so what do you think James? i really wonder your opinions…

  19. It’s not looking good for the adjustable rear wing I have to say; there are so many buttons to operate on the steering wheel that drivers may end up in mental hospitals. We clearly don’t want that or hear them swear on the radio at 300 km/h, look in the mirrors, and press KERS/wing button at the same time. How many fingers and pair of eyes does this require?! 20 maybe…

    Hopefully, it’ll work but chances are slim.

  20. Vic says:

    I think something not really talked about it that if it becomes easy to overtake then i assume that drivers will end up pushing harder to maintain the 1+ sec gap, and following drivers will push harder to decrease that gap. Which itself might make an interesting spectacle.

    Vic

    1. Paul H says:

      An F1 driver should not need any encouragement to push hard, what else are they there for if not to push for maximum points? Even drivers who pay for their seats want to do the best they can. Of course none of this applies to the Number 2 at Ferrari…

      1. Vic says:

        I know mate, but its not been the same with conserving tyres, engines, and so on as well as difficulty with following cars closely. Was just thinking the possibilty of easier overtaking might have some kind of an effect with respect to that.

        Vic

      2. Paul H says:

        Yeah I’ll agree with you on the problem of too much conservation last year. Hopefully this year will be less of an issue though with the teams now used to the ban on refuelling. Also with the new Pirelli tyres reported to have more significant characteristics I would expect that fuel saving will be less of an annoyance as the cars effectively ‘save’ the fuel whilst running on the slower tyre and then turn the engines up for the faster tyre. Here’s hoping anyway!

  21. frosty says:

    this is going to be quite exciting for the general viewers as they’ll be guaranteed overtakes

    but can’t help but think that this will negate a lot of the other important attributes, such as driver skill, aero, power, if as much as .5 seconds can be made up by getting this new wing right. not sure thats what we really want. but as you say, we have to see it in practise.

    lastly, i think there’s going to be a lot of controversy over defending these overtakes. no leading driver is going to want to look like a sitting duck and will push the rules to the max to defend, but ‘weaving’ rules are hardly cut n dry as it is.

    i expect to big talking points post race on this alone.

  22. tank says:

    I don’t think overtaking will be much easier – 0.5 seconds a lap when the driver has full control of the system is not a huge amount of time. Say its ~ 0.2 seconds gain when behind a car along a straight, the following driver may still need to lunge in the braking zone – he’ll not necessarily be able to pass along the straight and make the move look simple.

    I think we might see more lunges, and some great defensive driving. Bring it on.

    I would like to see the drag reducing system being used to make the cars more efficient as well. I hope this comes in the future as it will be seen as less of a gimmick, and more relevant to building on this whole “green image” kers and 2013 engine formula.

    Off topic, but Bild has revealed a photograph a few hours ago of the new Mercedes:

    http://bilder.bild.de/BILD/sport/motorsport/formel1/2011/01/30/welt-exklusiv/imagemap/auto.jpg

  23. Alan Dove says:

    It all sounds very Mario Kart to me. From a technical stand point it’s fascinating. This is where F1 always excels. But how much the audience can absorb more gimmicks I am not so sure.

    It’ll certainly be fun to watch, but as a purist I’ll stick to karting for proper racing pleasure ;)

  24. Phil J says:

    So people, including Ferrari, think there is too much for the driver to do today. It seems to me that there is nothing more this year: FFA and F-Duct have gone and Rear wing and KRS have arrived.
    What about all the other stuff on the wheel? Engine maps, “launch control”, diff settings etc. These are the things we can do without, they make the car more consistent over the race distance which is less entertaining for us.
    If Ferrari really thing it is too complicated or dangerous for their drivers they can easily make it simpler and safer.

  25. Kodongo says:

    I agree with the general negative response to the adjustable rear wing. Having outlawed the DDD, they have more or less decreed a new DDD: a death to defensive driving. Schumacher showed Lewis a trick or two in how to defend before the McLaren man muscled his way past in China; the skirmishes in the two prior laps made the overtake all the more sweeter. Lewis’ first stint in Canada. Alonso put in stellar defensive displays in Hungary and Singapore to score important points for his title. Jenson in Monza. I fear that drivers will be actively disinclined to defend when they know that second is the “it” place to be, safe in the knowledge that they can just breeze up past the driver as and when they please.

    Secondly, the amount of negative press this will garner will be monumental. As soon as Driver X is passed by Driver Y on the last lap with the rear wing trick, Driver X will spout to the media that he was beaten by machine and not man. Casting doubt on the veracity of overtaking manoeuvres (see Germany 2010 albeit under different circumstances)is not good for F1.

    Thirdly, the degree of rotation of the rear wing is a constant, so at a high downforce circuit like Hungary, the percentage gain from a rear wing stall will not be as great as at a low downforce circuit like Monza. The expected value is a 9-10 mph advantage. So at high downforce circuits like Monaco or Hungary we may see a 6-7 mph advantage, whereas at Monza (or circuits like Spa and China with a long straight) the advantage could be more like 12-13 mph. This could result in the wing having little to no effect on high downforce circuits whereas trailing cars could slingshot past their opponents halfway down the straight on lower downforce circuits.

    Fourthly and most importantly, by having ‘designated points’ to use the rear wing switch, we will see “localised overtaking”. Inventive overtaking or non-conventional moves in non-conventional places will fall by the wayside. Why should Lewis go around the outside of Nico in Australia if he can just focus on getting a good exit of the high speed chicane and push the button? Also, for circuits with two consecutive passing zones such as Albert Park or Malaysia (the straights leading into and out of the final corner), Korea (the straights leading into and out of turn 3) Abu Dhabi (the straights leading into and out of turns 8 and 9) et cetera, no one will bother to pass in the first passing zone as they will leave themselves vulnerable to a repass (a la Petrov on Hamilton in Malaysia). Instead the onus will be to get a good exit at the end of the first passing zone to more easily pass in the second passing zone, without fear of a riposte going into a twistier section of the circuit.

    To conclude, this rule seems “artificial” to the extreme as well as contradictory to one of the fundamental maxims of racing that being ahead is always an advantage.

    1. Andy C says:

      Agree to some extent, but the best overtakers will continue to pull of those moves. Because that’s what they are in f1 for. :-)

    2. Ben says:

      “To conclude, this rule seems “artificial” to the extreme as well as contradictory to one of the fundamental maxims of racing that being ahead is always an advantage.”

      Perfect summary.

  26. Richard says:

    How long is the Kers allowed to operate per lap and can it be used with or without the adjustable rear wing; any info please.

    Richard

  27. irish con says:

    james is the arw definitly going to be used this year. i mean can they change the rules now if they find it is not working or it is to difficult to make work. i like most here dont want to see this ps3 type gimmick in f1. i also dont want to see kers this year either.

  28. Andy C says:

    The wing itself I don’t have a problem with. The overtaking zone sounds like something in a car game. I like let’s as an idea, much as I think turbo engines are great too.

    I still believe the real reason behind lack of overtaking is the brakes. Stopping distances are far to short now. Bring back longer braking distances…..

    Why not make them free to use it within a second of any car at any time. Then it’s all down to the decision making of the drivers.

  29. Michael Grievson says:

    I can imagine explaining these rules to the wife. Lol

    I’d mug prefer to see pure racing. Why not run each circuit in reverse? Imagine Silverstone backwards on the first lap. Short run to a hairpin followed by an immediate right, longish straight Abd more tight corners

  30. James says:

    I agree with many people that if the wing fails it will seriously hamper the driver, but then we get gear and hydro failures all the time. I’m not mad keen on this. Why are new rules and features in F1 always so vague? I mean, right up to the last minute, we still don’t know how this is going to work.
    There aren’t many other sports that changes rules etc so often. The points, tyre changes, no tyre changes, engine rules, aero rules, kers, adjustable wings, team orders. I hate having to explain “new F1″ each year to casual observers.
    On the overtaking issue, I would have been happy with a boost button that can only be used 4 times. But even that would lead to predictability, with everyone saving one for the last straight of the last lap. Which is probably where all the action is going to be with the new adjustable wing races.

  31. Lilla My says:

    I know we must wait and see how it works, but for now, I think it’s artificial and contributes to less emphasis on the drivers’ skills (the overtaking sections dangerously remind me of Bernie’s idea with shortcuts).

    I know that races have lately been dull too often and we would like to see more action, but the problem I’m having is that action doesn’t necessary mean overtaking itself when you think of it.
    I, personally, want to see real fights and if it means one driver attacking (but really attacking and not just following a car) and the other one defending for 20 laps with no finished manoeuvre (i.e. overtaking) in the end then it’s fine for me as long as the whole spectacle is fascinating and nail-biting.
    If I know that the driver behind has an advantage because of an adjustable rear wing and the driver in front cannot use the same device to defend then I know that (and I’m speaking only theoretically of course, because maybe it will turn out to be different once the season is on) the outcome of the battle is settled and it’s not that fascinating anymore.
    I would prefer the cars and tracks to allow overtaking in a less artificial way – few great manoeuvres which require some skills from the drivers (both – attacking and defending) are more valuable to me than a dozen of overtakings in which the overtaken driver didn’t have much chance to defend himself.

    I know that some drivers expressed some concerns about having too many buttons to use, which isn’t good either as it takes away the pleasure of driving and the viewers will be probably also able to notice it. A bit more confusion can make it more tricky and cause a kind of a mess on the track – that can be at least entertaining to watch ;-).

    All in all, I’m not optimistic about the new wings, but we need to wait and see what’s that really about.

    1. Lilla My says:

      I also fear that having special sections where overtaking with the use of the adjustable rear wing is allowed (and therefore – easier) will make drivers wait with the manouevre until such a section stopping them from attempting to make a “proper” move on the opponent (i.e. a move outside of these sections using their skills more). That will also hamper the show as we might see less overtakings requiring real skills as a result. Or maybe I’m too pesimistic…

  32. jonrob says:

    Rear flaps this season also means no driver adjustable front flap trim, thus this has to be done by the pit crew, moreover with two pitstops two more opportunities to loose half a second.
    Why the rear flap should be more difficult to adjust than the front seems odd, excepting maybe it’s because it will probably be used much more often, as the front flaps were never used as originally intended and certainly not on every lap.
    Alonso and now Sig Aldo Costa have been murmuring about the steering wheel becoming too cluttered and difficult for drivers to remember which button to push and when. There has to be some element of fallibility from the drivers and since we have not had any “missed gears” for years the possibility of a missed button press does lend a little humanity to the race. In the old days a missed gear was often a race looser or winner.

  33. Ajit says:

    James, Can KERS and the Rear Wing be used at the same time?

  34. Tom Haythornthwaite says:

    The contrived and artificial constraints on the use of KERS were and are bad enough but this video game gimmick is the worst of all. Did the teams all really agree to this? It’s taking away from all the principles of designer/manufacturer/strategist/driver packaging towards fastest car wins.

    Did the FIA/AMD surveys REALLY determine that we must have overtaking at all costs? Surely not at this cost.

    I hope it’s scrapped soon.

    1. Paul Kirk says:

      Yeah, and I don’t remember them asking for any public opinions or recomendations or gauging anybody’s reactions to suggestions. If they really want to “make the fans happy” shouldn’t they ask the fans what they suggest?
      PK.

  35. azac21 says:

    Adjustable rear wings dont sound like a good idea to me either. As a fan I want to see overtaking because of good racing and not because of arcade type button pushing.

    Even implementing it, will prove (my prediction) a logistical nightmare. Hopefully if it proves a bad idea it will be over soon.

  36. noahracer says:

    Stupid and convoluted FIA rules.

  37. Rich C says:

    This is just *so ‘Mickey Mouse’

  38. ChrisS says:

    Just to add one more to the comments above, this is a terrible idea – it’s contrived and artificial.

    If it works, it will make overtaking predictable and dull, and if it doesn’t work then what’s the point of it?

    The way to promote overtaking without compromising driver skill is to reduce aerodynamic grip to avoid the “dirty air” problem – everybody knows that but the governing body still refuses to acknowledge it.

    1. Paul Kirk says:

      Perfectly put, Chris, especially your last paragraph! I’ve been ranting about that too. Reduce wing induced downforce, increase ground effects a bit, this will alow cars to follow more closly around corners, get a slipstream, and get beside a car in front and battle it out under braking. (The braking areas will be longer due to the reduced downforce).
      PK.

  39. Gold Loaf says:

    Basically, I would like to see F1 become motorsport again. But considering the way the rear wing rules are set, Im afraid we see F1 become a hamburger instead.

    The reason why im aginst it is simple, a driver that effs up is rewarded with extra boost. Yes, we have not yet seen how it works, but still, it is against the principles of sport. Of course, we might be lucky next season and rarely see “unfair” results. But giving away principles by favouring spectacle, not good.
    Its a totally new series now. The events should be called “episodes” instead of “races”. I guess this series needs a new name too. How about “Formula 90210″?

    To help overtaking, we need the cars and circuits be less forgiving. Im quite sure we are going to see more random grids, drivers making up the ground on balls etc.

      1. Bollo says:

        Crudely thrown together and lazy with a propensity to fall apart and make a mess – but most people will buy it???

      2. Rich C says:

        Plz don’t insult hamburgers by comparing them to F1!
        Where do you eat, anyway??

      3. Gold Loaf says:

        Hmm. You are probably right. Popcorn sounds more appropriate I guess:D
        Hamburger is easy and fast thing to grab. Just like this adjustable rear wing rule, which is there to hook people to TV screen. But at the same time, it takes away some sporting element.

        Im not against the adjustable wing idea. In my opinion, it is a great idea. Far more intelligent than KERS system( They need extra KERS power for what? To overcome the massive drag, that can be decreased by movable wing?).
        If there would be a time limit per lap, or per race, when a driver can operate the wing(just like we had with KERS) we have another tactical element to races and possibly some more overtaking too.
        The current formulation helps weak drivers and punishes the stronger ones that would be able to stay ahead. This is what I dont like about it.

  40. George says:

    F1 is dying under the current management. The results are getting more fake each season.

    Driving skill is the central attraction to F1, and they are creating regulations which kill the key to the whole show.

    I really don’t care about artifical overtaking, as it has nothing to do with skill at all.

    F1 needs to reduce the aero, so drivers can use their skills and judgement to make breath taking overtakes…

    Looks like 2011 will be another season I will not bother to follow much.

  41. Rudy Pyatt says:

    If you’re going to have a movable rear wing, have a movable rear wing, fully under driver control. Jim Hall did it back in the ’60s with the Chapparal 2E, using a foot pedal control. As it’s described, this plan sounds like an artificial setup.

    But wings generally are rather artificial.

    I’d like to see someone get really bold and build a car WITHOUT wings. To my knowledge, no one has ever tried to use modern F1 tires, brakes etc. on a wingless open-wheel car. Let’s see some of that superfine technology and brainpower make that work. Nothing in the rules requires a car to have wings.

    That kind experiment would also be road relevant. But no one in F1 has the courage to try it.

    Let’s face it; road car engineers implement aerodynamic solutions to reduce drag and enhance stability, NOT to make cars that will “point and click” through the corners of glorified karting tracks.

    Want to really put F1 engineers to the test? Outlaw wings, period. Want to see drivers fully apply their skills? Outlaw wings, period.

    Won’t happen. No one in F1 has the courage to try it.

    1. James Allen says:

      Hey Rudy, good to hear from you – thanks for that

      1. Rudy Pyatt says:

        Thanks, James! It’s good to be back.

        Have you ever heard anyone in pitlane admit that they’ve looked into the radical notion of doing away with wings and diffusers, of getting away from the “we must seek downforce” mindset, and leaving things entirely to optimizing mechanical grip?

        I see no downside to mid-and back of the grid teams trying something this radical: If you’re going to be trailing along at the back, at least make yourself truly unique and interesting. That, alone, will bring exposure to sponsors – incentive enough to give it a try. But a team doing this might upset the established order, too.

        How many teams won races last year, or even reached the podium? Maybe four? There is no reason to assume that won’t continue to be the case. You cannot out-Red Bull/Ferrari/McLaren (and I’ll grant you MB, or Renault, but not both, as a possibility at doing so) those teams by spending quartal dollars, euros, pounds, etc. with an aerocentric approach. Keeping up with the top teams in season long development (for which read “producing new new aero pieces), alone, is an exercise in expensive futility. It was my hope that the newer teams would at last bring some truly lateral thinking to F1. Sorry, but Virgin Racing’s full CFD design method doesn’t count; it’s still aerocentric. The equation is still, best downforce = best lap time.

        What makes a good racing car isn’t its theoretically optimum, downforce induced lap time, an approach that essentially says, “Driver, here’s the car. If you can’t produce this time, you must be the problem.” Dehumanizing? Certainly. A contributing cause to the derailment of many promising careers? Certainly possible. What counts most is driver confidence, i.e., in the driveability of the car. Rubens Barrichello emphasized improved driveability as THE key factor in Williams’ performance toward the end of the season. It was both amusing, and disturbing, that the team announced that they were making driveability the priority in their 2011 car. Such a basic idea should not cause neon lights to go on above the head, or provoke slaps to the forehead at the novelty of the concept. That it did so is telling.

        “Wings and things” cannot be the only way to achieve a fast, driveable car. To say that you can’t build a competitive non-winged car, one with superb driveability and speed, is to admit that F1 designers and engineers can’t do something that Formula Ford engineers and designers do as a matter of course. And FFord, as I understand, is going to a 1.6 litre turbo formula soon…

        Let’s see someone build such a car and slap an F1-spec Cosworth in the back, if only as a test mule, take it to some F1 standard tracks, and see what kind of laptimes could be turned out. Top speed, of course, would be no problem (MotoGP and WSB bikes easily top 200 mph, after all). F1 standard tires, brakes and transmission can take care of the rest. One of the volume race car manufacturers could probably do the whole project in about three months, if that long. Are you listening, Dallara? Lola?

        AJ Watson and Colin Chapman both understood the old Gasoline Alley maxim, “simplicate and add lightness.” Building a car that generates its own weight (or more) in downforce means that you’ve effectively added heaviness. Working out the variables of countless aerodynamic refinements and development pieces, and the impact these have on speed handling, adds complication – and cost – over the course of a season.

        It’s time for F1 to simplicate and add lightness. It’s time for SOMEONE to bring lateral thinking to the grid.

        It’s time to get the wings off.

        (Sorry James. I still haven’t gotten to decaf…)

      2. James Allen says:

        Yes, you hear that from time to time. Wings are good for sponsor logos though..

      3. Bill Johnson says:

        Yes, James got it in one. If F1 didn’t have billboards on the car (wings) where oh where would the sponsor put logos big enough for the public to see, and the advertisers to pay for?

        Maybe just rent one of those sign trucks – but Bernie would want the 107% rule back in again – so all F1 cars could be sign trucks. Sounds about right.

  42. F1_Dave says:

    i have heard from an italian friend who been a tifosi was at the track trying to get a good shot of the car that the radio chatter indicated the adjustable rear wing gave alonso a 17kph speed boost when it was tested on the longest straght. they also ran kers which gave a 12kph boost.

    they got alonso to run adjustable rear wing and kers together and got a 31kph boost.

    if those figures are accurate then the racing this year is going to be extremely dull. as soon as anyone gets within ‘the zone’ on a strgaht there going to make the pass easily in a straght line and that sort of passing is not exciting or intresting to me.

    i want to see some good, close, exciting racing and not a ton of easy passes caused by that sort of speed boost. may as well watch nascar or indycar oval races where there is a hundred meaningless and dull passes each race.

  43. F1_Dave says:

    theres are images of ferrari testing there arw on f1fanatics website –

    http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2011/01/29/first-look-at-ferraris-adjustable-rear-wing-in-action/

  44. Richard Trinder says:

    Movable rear wings are wrong. at least if they are artifically controller. If they were allowed at the drivers discression then that would be ok.

    The counter argumement here is that if they could all do it at anytime then it make no difference – WRONG, the person who turns it on that microsecond first, times it right with regards to turning it on at the right time on the exit of the corner (there would be a balance point between grip required for traction out of the corners, and the need to reduce drag).

    at the moment its a massive boom for the guy behind – he turn his wing on, gets past. or B he turns his wing on , other guy defends with kers, the uses kers post corner to get better pull out of the bend and gets the guy anyhow…

    I could not be most dissapointed with this personally – last year was one of the best i have seen , kers would have been enough – i also dont like that the reasoning for loosing the fduct “its not relivent to raod cars” well how is a movable rearwing?

  45. AlexD says:

    James, I think you really deserve a credit. I need to say that at times I prefer to read your blog vs watching races. And…it is not just me.

    Here is one idea for you….

    Is there a way you could create one post on different interactive tools that will be available in the new season on-line?

    I am talking about apps, McLaren telemetry on-line, etc. It would be cool to know what is available out there – sometimes races are boring, but when you have live timing, telemetry and other apps it is much more interesting.

    1. James Allen says:

      Well that’s a good idea, but I could do with some help. Maybe readers could send in details of stuff they like.

      1. smellyden says:

        I quite looking at the free timing screens that you get one the formula1.com website

  46. Paul Kirk says:

    I still reckon they’re doing it all wrong! As I’ve said frequently before, they need to arange the aero rules so cars can follow more closly through corners then get a slipstreem on the straights to enable a pass toward the end of the straight. Not quite like Miny 7, or Formula Ford, that might be too exciting! But you get the picture. All this electronic stuf sounds pretty expensive to me, immagine the cost to the circiuits for installing the “loops” in the tracks! I imagine they’ll be electronically activated strips embedded in the track surface, or beams at the sides of the track all connected to some sort of control unit. Not to mention the cost to the teams for making the systems. (And I thought they were trying to cut costs). Chris Amon said it right in his interview with Peter Windsor on TotalF1, reduce the reliance on areodynamics and go back to mechanical design and grip, then we’ll see some exciting races!
    Incidently does anyone know how and why the rule makers chose the weight distribution percentages that they arived at, especially with the new tyres comming that they haven’t raced on yet?
    PK.

  47. StefMeister says:

    Don’t like the new rules, partly because I think there a bit gimmickey, Partly because I fear it may make overtaking a bit too easy but mostly because I don’t actually think there necisary.

    Everyone within F1 is looking at simply getting more overtaking, Instead of doing that I think they should be looking at simply improving the racing where overtaking becomes more possible but we also still see some nice hard racing with cars been able to defend there positions.

    My biggest concern about the Adjustable rear wing & KERS is that we see more situations like at the 2009 Belgium Gp where as soon as Kimi Raikkonen got behind Giancarlo Fisichella, he hit a button to activate KERS & sailed by in the middle of the straght after Eau Rouge. That sort of situation is predictable as you knew that as soon as Kimi hit KERS he was almost definately going to make the pass and that there was nothing Giancarlo could do to defend against it. And there were other similar examples through 2009 where passing became a bit predictable as soon as KERS was used.

    Another point I’d like to make regards to Dirty Air creating difficulties for following cars.

    During the Off-Season I’ve watched a lot of older races from the 70′s through to today & noticed something intresting.

    In the 70′s, 80′s & erly 90′s drivers talked about getting into the dirty air & losing front end grip when they got about 1 second behind another car. The point been that the gap wher edirty air starts to affect a following car today is still about 1 second.

    This got me thinking & as I was watching the older races I noticed something regarding passing. Yes there was more passing than we have seen in more recent years, However the causes of the passing were often because of things like fuel saving, different tyre strategies, mistakes & because the performance gap between cars tended to be much bigger.

    Today the performance difference between cars is minimal, The whole field (With the exception of the 3 news teams last year) tends to be seperated by about 1-1.5 seconds when say Pre-94 the top 6 would be seperated by about that.

    Todays tyre regulations are more restrictive as there are only 2 compounds & everyone muct run both. Pre-94 there were 4-5 compounds & drivers/teams could run whatever they wanted & could also run the whole race without a stop.

    With less effective downforce, tyres, brakes & manual gears more mistakes were made when compared to today & this also aided overtaking stats.

    In short I don’t think that overtaking between cars with similar performance is any harder today when compared to back then, All thats changed is the variables which saw more overtaking happen in the past.

    1. KenC says:

      Lots of good points, and I agree with many. My bottom line is that braking zones have shortened, due to improvements in brakes and tires. When brake zones are short, time spent braking is short, and the opportunity to outbrake another driver is not possible. If brake zones were longer, then the time spent braking would be longer and the drivers could show off their skill. If one looks at a trace from today’s lap, one sees the driver is on or off his brakes. There is no longer the intelligent foot, where the driver has to feather the brakes to achieve the optimum. Tire and brake caliper performance have to be lowered in order to increase braking zones.

  48. shortshighted says:

    The FIA tried movable front wing last year to negate the washed out front end when following closely another car to improve overtaking but it seems that it did not work. Now hopefully the movable rear wing will. The wake created by the rear wing and disfuser is something that modern F1 racing has to deal with and was not the issue in the early days of F1. As we can’t go back to the early day’s wingless design, something has got to be done. I wish the FIA best of luck and we’ll see less of the slower drivers easily blocking and frustrating a much faster driver behind for laps after laps.

  49. devilsadvocate says:

    James, two questions:
    First, how big of a bump are they predicting this is gonna have on top speed? 10-15MPH? or not so much?
    Second building off that, if the significance from the wing is a lot, how much is that going to tax the brakes at the end of the straight?
    The reason I wonder, if someone find himself in the position Alonso was in at Monaco or Hamilton or whoever botched quali this year, using this to basically pass the whole field is that going to trash the brakes by the time they get to the front from repeated braking down from a significantly higher top speed. Kinetic energy being proportional to the square of velocity means that even a few more MPH is going to have a big difference on the energy (let off as heat) to get the car back down to cornering speed, especially at a track like Monza or Canada where cornering speeds are considerably lower compared to the speed at the end of the straight. Interested in hearing thoughts on this.

    1. StefMeister says:

      I saw it reported that Gary Anderson has said he expected the ARW to give a 15-20Kph speed advantage.

      In 2009 KERS was giving around a 10Kph boost & the F-Duct last season was about the same as that I believe.

  50. KenC says:

    Why shouldn’t slipstreaming passes be allowed? That’s all the adjustable wing does. It’s no different than the 60s pre-aero. Back then, you had no wings, the cars punched big holes in the air, creating a slipstream for the trailing driver to use in making a pass. Today, with aero, the slipstream is diverted upwards, and what remains is too turbulent for the trailing driver to make a slipstream pass.

    I think trailing car wing activation should be automatic, so that the driver doesn’t have to fiddle with KERS, wing button, and the usual steering wheel and shift paddles.

  51. Kevin Pearcey says:

    All the examples I’ve read that explain this just talk about two cars – What is going to happen when you have three (or more) cars close together as they approach the zone?

  52. Andy says:

    If there is 3 cars line astern within 2 seconds. Will cars number 2 and 3 be able to use the system of just car 3?

  53. Giles says:

    James,

    Hoping you can assist with an answer to this scenario…

    4 cars in a row/group

    5th lap of the race – rear wings all activated

    All cars are in an overtaking “zone” less than a second behind each other

    Is it the case that the 3 cars at the rear of this group will have their adjustable rear wings activate but the car at the front of the group will not as they are the lead car?

    1. James Allen says:

      My understanding from asking about this is all the four chasing cars would have wings activated, the leader would not

  54. unoc says:

    2 things intreged me in this article.

    1) feeling like a sitting duck. Which is against what racing is meant to be. It’s a race between two cars. I’m guessing most of the time car b will be following car a, until the last chance ot overtake before the GP ends, he hits the button flys fast and no chance is given for actual racing. No sticking your car up the one in fronts gearbox. No dragging in the car, just come close, hit a button and fly by.

    THe racing doesn’t come in the overtakes, the racing comes in HOW they overtake. I would prfer to have regs that allow a few greats overtakes each race rather than this easy push a button and youll have t done for you move. People talk about Hakkinen passing Schumacher at Spa or Piquet oversteering past Senna because they showed great skill. This wont.

    2) Would a case like Malaysia really help? Think about it. Slow car A is in front followe by car B, car C and Alonso as car D. Staight comes up, cars B, C and D active there wing. Cars B and C manage just to get past, making it B, C, A, fuming Alonso D. Next straight Alonso is stil racing wing down vs wing down (hence having the extact same problem, all wings up going in to corner so exact same problem and then all wings the same on the straight for the exact same problem). Alonso can’t get enough draft to clear 2 cars with there wings down AND take the wing up car, sticking him at the back as per normal. FAIL!

  55. Vic says:

    Hi James

    Is it possible that after a few races if the moveable wing is a waste of time that it could be discontinued there and then with it removed for the rest of the season. Or is it something unlikely to happen

    Vic

    1. James Allen says:

      I think it would have to be proven unsafe for that to happen. If it’s just ineffective then they’ll stick with it. or change the amount it can be used.

  56. DK says:

    If the moveable rear wing works well and indeed improves overtaking in the race, FIA should consider discard the blue flag.

  57. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    The FIA might just as well give the chasing car another 200 revs.

    This is phoney and artificial. Rather like those silly video games from the 1980s where the lead car slows down so the other cars can catch up.

    Utter rubbish and just about as bad an idea as Bernie’s shortcuts.

  58. Canadian F1 Fan says:

    Utterly ridiculous.

    Further proof that those running F1 have little contact with reality. This is a gimmick, full-stop.

  59. Mario says:

    Let’s see how this thing works for real. I bet it will require a lot of fine tuning.

    I like the whole thing. My guess is that drivers who are good at overtaking (Hamilton, Kobayashi,Kubica just to name a few) will find it even easier to overtake and drivers who are clumsy(Vettel,Alguesuari,Button,Massa,Alonso,Sutil,Barichello,Shumacher just to name a few ) will struggle even more.

    If it does not work at all they can always scrap it.

    ps. I know other people would choose different set of names, mine is just one opinion.

  60. Ashish Sharma says:

    It has been interesting to read your blog during the winter break.

    In the article you have mentioned that the Rear wing can be used in qualifying also (and with team orders no longer banned) will we end up seeing a team sending out two cars in predetermined order so that the one behind can take advantage of the rear wing on the straight or this not allowed. This might spell further bad news for the No. 2 drivers.

    Secondly i hope the cars are very close in performance or we might end up seeing less overtaking as the natural order is established via the Rear Wing move and qualifying will then become rather meaningless.

    As for the telemetry data, i’d like to see the timing data with the maximum sectors as it helps one understand which car is good in which conditions, maybe more data about the tyre with wear pressure etc. (for while tyres have become very important of late no information on them seems available) and something of a strategy screen from which the crucial decisions are made (not sure what it’ll contain but weather, competitor positions, options, previous statistics on safety cars)

    Will look forward to more of the action during testing…

  61. Oliver N says:

    I think this is a great idea personally, but it doesn’t go far enough in my opinion.

    The addition of an extra button that would release a banana skin/oil slick/smoke screen when the nearest competitor was less than a second behind, or perhaps a lever that when pulled would extend the car vertically by three metres in order that the overtaking car can literally drive over the target vehicle. Or perhaps a lower tech solution whereby drivers could leap out of the car, and paint a tunnel on the side of a roadside cliff would complete the transition from sport to the wacky races which seems to be where they are going with all this.

    1. ChrisS says:

      Excellent – I laughed out loud at this. And sadly I got as far as the “raising the car three metres vertically” bit before I was entirely sure you were being satirical, which is a reflection on modern F1.

      There’s some competition for who would be Dick Dastardly, though…

    2. Rich C says:

      Speaking of tunnels, and Hermann Tilke… which circuit will be the 1st to have a special overtaking tunnel shortcut such that if they want, the driver can zoom up the walls sideways and run on the ceiling, passing slower or less adventurous drivers along the way?

      1. Oliver N says:

        The best suggestion I ever heard for livening up the show was a simple one.

        Last lap on foot.

        Imagine the excitement after an hour and a half of racing as the grandstands rise to their feet as 20+ short guys in full race gear leg it up the main straight dipping for the chequered flag. Beautiful…

        …..and only a gnats more silly than the current plans.

  62. Ben G says:

    Instead of always trying to overcome the trailing car’s aerodynamic disadvantage, why don’t they just prevent the leading car from having an advantage in the first place? Then we’d need no gadgets.

    The route to greater overtaking has always been simple:

    1 – chop the wings off;
    2 – sack Herman Tilke.

    1. Rudy Pyatt says:

      This.

      Meaning let’s see something like this. Note that the logic for the 58 was to maximize mechanical grip. Think it would work with modern refinements?

      http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/1456/Lotus-58-Cosworth.html

      For that matter, same thing applies with this:

      http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/2036/Lotus-56.html

      Methinks that Chapman himself would accept the challenge, ironically enough, given that he instigated the aerocentric era in F1.

      Dead sawhorse now well and truly beaten…

      1. Rudy Pyatt says:

        But I do think Tilke has been handcuffed a bit. If he’s given free reign, I suspect he’d come up with stuff worthy of Hugenholz.

  63. Bec says:

    “With a wide range of devices now under the drivers’ control, including KERS, there will be a lot to operate and a lot to remember, and some drivers and engineers have voiced concerns.”

    What rubbish.

    The moveable rear wing replaces the moveable front wing, but whereas the front wing could be adjusted in increments and at any time the rear wing cannot, making the rear wing easier to operate.

    And KERS can only be used after charging and for a limited time, unlike the F-Duct with could be used any time and quite often by taking a hand off the steering wheel, so KERS is easier too, and some teams won’t even be using KERS.

    All in all it is easier this year than last, it’s just that some people feel a need to moan about anything.

  64. Bill Johnson says:

    Welcome to F1 – the pinnacle of spec car racing. Our cars are so similar, we have to add goofy stuff to try and make it exciting.

    I like v12 noises myself. Others may prefer v10 or v8. Someone may prefer the flat 12, flat 6, maybe even the inline 4.

    It’s easy – you get this many gallons of gas. (We’ll free up fuel choice later…). Car is this size, crumples safely, wings no larger than say a red-tailed hawk.

    Now we’ll see some racing. As was said before, lots of the overtaking in the past was because cars were dissimilar, and ran dissimilar strategies. Were Ferraris more thirsty, having to stop more, but going fdaster? Did Jordans eat their reartires, needing care and more pitstops? Maybe, but Ferrari and Jordan were stopping at different times. With spec cars, they all have to stop at the same time (except those who play the long fuel game, its all the same, what color is in the pit, wake me after the podium…

    Too many gimmicks (this one is costly for all including tracks) on spec racers.

    You notice Ferrari is starting a Grand-Am team?
    And they’ve been in ALMS, etc. They can live without F1.

  65. Mike W says:

    We don’t yet know where the zones will be on the track for the rear wings to operate. In obvious area such as on the straight, the use of the moveable rear wing may seem a dead cert for a ‘push to pass’ solution for the driver.

    What if they were to designate zones where use of the rear wing were rather risky and really relied on the skill of the driver? Imagine for example, in Istanbul, the zone being for the length of turn 8… Now that could make for some exciting racing!

    I know it’s unlikely, but I just wanted to add another angle to the post as most seem to be covering the same ground.

  66. MrPie says:

    There’s various issues that need to be ironed out with this system, but I really don’t like the idea of having only certain sections where the adjustable rear wing is “active” and that is that it will make drivers wait until they get to such an “active” section before attempting to make a proper move on the opponent. Which could conceivably lead to…

    It’s the last lap of a GP and Driver A gets a tank-slapper on going into the second last corner, a “non-active” section. Driver B, following, knows that if he now passes Driver A, then there is an extremely good chance that he will be re-taken as the run to the last corner is an “active” section (and he will therefore lose the race). Therefore Driver B waits. Allows Driver A to rejoin the circuit, so that he can make use of the final corner “activation”!

    That’s an extreme example of what could happen, I grant you, but it epitomises everything that’s wrong with the FIA’s apparent need to rush through rule changes before every new season.

    Finally, my apologies to all for the excessive use of speech marks.

  67. Will the RPM limit be raised when the rear wing is activated ? as if they are all limited to 18k flat out , changing the wing will just cause them to bounce of the limiter ?

    if they change the gear ratios before the race to allow for this. then surely this would then disadvantage them in other areas ?

    regards

    Matt

  68. Geoff Norman says:

    This is all total b**s – they should just cut the available downforce by a significant amount – say 40 percent – and let the drivers and engineers get on with it without all this artificial tinkering. How long before someone does a Mark Webber, drives into the back of the car in front and has a major accident?

  69. phish says:

    More like slot cars to me…. Is Bernie going get to hold the game control………

  70. Rich C says:

    >>Maybe just rent one of those sign trucks – … so all F1 cars could be sign trucks<<

    Bernie take note! NASCAR is way ahead on this idea! They are just high-speed sign trucks!

    Do we still have the rule requiring a certain amount of sign space on the engine covers? Thats what the shark fin was for originally.

  71. Rich C says:

    Y’know, I’m thinking it might be a little tricky in the braking zone as the wing pops back into place and more downforce is instantly on the rears, plus the aero braking effect.

  72. Tyler says:

    I don’t understand why they propose interesting techincal changes than regulate the “interesting” right out of them… F1 loves to shoot itself in the foot and blow millions doing it.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Top Tags
SEARCH News
JA ON F1 In association with...
Download the chequered flag podcast today
Download the chequered flag podcast today
MTS
Industry-Leading Testing and Sensing Solutions
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer