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Changes under discussion to spice up the F1 show
Changes under discussion to spice up the F1 show
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 Jan 2010   |  7:10 pm GMT  |  312 comments

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has revealed today that the meeting of Formula 1’s Sporting Working Group (SWG) to discuss how to spice up the show, is imminent. It is thought that nothing radical is on the table, but a revision to the new points system and some method for retaining race strategy without refuelling is to be discussed.

Drivers may have to start the race on qualifying tyres (Photo:Darren Heath)

Drivers may have to start the race on qualifying tyres (Photo:Darren Heath)

“There’s going to be a meeting in the next couple of weeks to reconsider some items of the regulations, among which is the scoring system,” he said.

“In the agenda we do not only have the fact that we have to re-seed the scoring system, but also there may be other issues that may be important, linked to the use of tyres, linked to the number of pitstops. This is going to be defined by the end of January.”

At last December’s World Motor Sport meeting the SWG, a sub-committee of the F1 Commission made up of the FIA and F1 teams, was tasked with going away “to develop detailed proposals to improve the show.” The meeting will take place late next week and there will be discussions about making the new points system more interesting, along the lines that many of the JA on F1 readers suggested, by making a bigger difference between points for first and second and more points for mid-pack finishes.

Instead of what was originally proposed, 25-20-15-10-8-6-5-3-2-1 it is being proposed that second place would get 18 points, fourth would get 12, fifth would get 10, sixth would get 8 and then the points would tail off steeply down to a single point for 10th place. This will reward the winner more and will give the established teams more points for a top 6 finish pro-rata compared to the minor placings.

The idea of changing the points system is to reflect the fact that the grid has grown to 26 cars and to give the new teams a greater chance of scoring at least a few points. They are also talking about a couple of points for pole and fastest lap. This last one could be fun as a team like Lotus, or even a more competitive runner who is out of the points, might stick a set of soft tyres on late in the race to grab a couple of points – the equivalent of a ninth place finish.

Perhaps the more interesting topic however for next week is the use of tyres and tactics in the race, now that there is no longer refueling. As the rules stand, a driver just has to use both tyre compounds at some point. The obvious problem here is that this will mean that drivers will do a very long, dull stint on the hard tyre and then make one stop around 3/4 distance.

One suggestion is that they have to start the race on the same set of tyres with which they qualified. It’s a good idea, but on its own, that will just present the same problem in reverse – a short first stint on softs and then a very long and boring stint on hards.

So the question is, can they make a rule that a driver has to make a minimum of two stops in the race? It might work but seems artificial. Or maybe the desired effect can be achieved by asking Bridgestone to bring more marginal tyre compounds so that more stops are needed anyway?

I’m all for keeping a tactical side to the sport, something to keep people guessing, to involve the team and its strategists in the outcome, rather than leave it all to the drivers.

The SWG’s findings will need to be approved by the F1 commission and then by the FIA World Motor Sport Council – this will probably happen by fax vote in February, as their next scheduled meeting is not until 11 March in Bahrain, three days before the first race.

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James, how about the drivers have to nominate which tyre compound they will use in Q3, from which they must start on the same compound? This, of course, is assuming wet tracks not declared.

This would be a subtle change, a bigger change, one which I would favour, would be Q3 run as single lap qualifying.


Well, how about that then? 🙂

They must be reading this blog James!!!


I have just finished reading Eddie Irvine’s comments to the BBC regarding Bernie’s latest crazy idea; the ‘shortcuts’. I have never thought of Ervine’s as a voice to be listened to particularly but what he said was bang on.

“The problem with Formula 1 is that they keep changing things to try and make it better when really there was nothing wrong in the first place,” said the former Ferrari and Jordan driver.

“At the end of the day, the whole sport has been destroyed because they’ve changed qualifying, they’ve changed the points system.

“The fans could see the history, but nothing is relevant to what used to happen, it’s all changed, it’s all rubbish.

“They just need to say ‘right, the sport was great back then, let’s keep it like that’.”

Irvine was talking about the changes brought about over the past ten years and I agree 100%. It all started to go badly wrong at the end of 1997 when the formula changed to the new ‘narrow track’ cars. Up to that point the formula had remained largely unchanged since the end of the turbo era. Yes, electronic driver aids had been banned and refueling re-introduced for ’94 and then engine capacities had been reduced slightly along with various other safety measures following Senna’s death, but by and large the formula had remained unchanged for ten years.

What you had by 1997 then was a formula providing terrifically exciting racing where Williams, Ferrari, Mclaren and Benetton all won races.

You had a simple hour long Qualifying session on saturday where the fastest lap in that hour acheived pole, and what a format that was. Some of those sessions were blinding; I think instantly of the championship deciding, final race in Jerez where both championship protaganists Villeneuve and Schumacher along with Villeneuve’s teamate Frentzen recorded the EXACT same time to the thousandth!!! How could you improve on that…..

The problem with what the governing body has done since is twofold. Firstly they attempted to control speeds in the most overly complicated ways. Laptimes were getting frighteningly quick again by 1997 due in no small part to the tyre war between Goodyear and Bridgestone but rather than take the simple and most obvious solution of making it a single tyre formula and thereby have the tyre manufacturer control the speeds of the cars, they decided to rip up the formula completly and introduce narrow track cars and those dreadful grooved tyres for ’98. Have the FIA not heard of the moto “If it aint broke don’t fix it”? We instantly had less overtaking, less close racing and as teams tried to claw back the grip they had lost, we had more and more of those aerodynamic appendages sprouting that only served to make the racing worse.

Secondly in the early 2000’s as Schumacher and Ferrari were dominating the sport the governing body felt the need to change the rules again, this time not for safety concerns but to try and spice up the show in the face of this domination. This in my mind was when the rot really set in. Now the whole purpose of the sport began to change form ‘sport’ to ‘entertainment’. Cue the endless and futile tinkering with the qualifying format firstly to single lap, then to knockout, neither of which in my opinion added anything over the ‘purity’ of the old simple one hour session.

Additionaly you had the changes to the points system in a clumsy attempt at regning in Schumacher’s dominance by in effect making the win less valuable when compared to the lesser placings….and what do we hear just five short years later now that the sport is no longer being dominated by one man? Bernie wants to make the win ALL important by awaring the championship to the driver with the most ‘Gold Medals’. I’m sorry the guy’s a nut job. What other world sport changes the rules every time a player becomes too good? Have the FA changed the Premier league points system because Man Utd win it too often? No of course not. Like Irvine said, fans want to be able to compare drivers and teams with era’s gone by, in football you can, in F1 you are no longer able to.

When I heard about the bringing back of slick tyres and the banning of refueling I honestly began to believe that the governing body had finally seen sense and done what I have been calling for for a decade. But just as possibly the most promising season in a decade is about to get under way it looks like they are intent on ruining it before it even starts. I am furious to hear that this stupid compulosry use of both compounds rule is still in place and as for the rest of the talk I dont even want to think about it.

James, if you have any influence at all, then please say something before they screw it all up again. Somebody mentioned it earlier; all that is needed is for Bridgestone to either bring along one tyre that is marginal in terms of lasting the race distance and alow the teams to choose whether they want to stop for new rubber or perhaps bring two compounds one softer than the other and let the teams choose their tactics accordingly.

Its simple; if driver’s can’t rely on using the pitstops to get a jump on their rival then they will have to do it on the track, it worked in the 80’s, why not try it again.

In summary then, I propose:

1. A retern to 1990’s style one hour Qualifying.

2. A return to 1990’s style points system.

(10, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1.)

3. Pitstops for tyrs only if teams feel they need or want to.

4. A continuation with the present narrow track formula only because it would be too expensive to return to the pre ’98 wide track.


Ashley, Great post, I agree with most of that, but I would a couple of things..

Since most people are agreed that having a single supplier allows the tyres to me more marginal, and lower the amount of grip available from the tyre..

I would give the teams back the flat bottomed cars… This is for one simple reason, it will massively increase the proportion of total downforce that the floor produces, and this is not affected by following another car, therefore allowing cars to follow each other closely through corners and increasing overtaking

I would also change back to the 2008 style rear wing, (lower and wider than 2009) simply because the cars looked much better like that in my opinion, also, I don’t think the downforce produced is any different and with the flat bottom, the effect on a following car is lower in proportion.

I would disagree with one thing, the points system.. my personal feeling is that since the points system have changed so many times over the 60 years of F1, that another change would not be a major thing. I feel that with 26 cars on the grid, points down to 10th would be good, as there have always been teams that have only scoed points duet to unreliability of bigger teams, but regularly finished in the top 10, so to reward them is a good idea, but this poits system goes bact to rewarding a driver for finishing first.



James, I am reading your book at the moment, and I have a slight issue with your post about Pat Symmonds and hisability to make new teams into winners.. (post from 15/9/09)

What is a new team? To me a new team is USF1, Lotus, or Virgin.. Not Brawn or Merc..

You posted how Pat worked with Senna at Toleman, Schu at Benetton and Alonso at Renault, turning the latter two teams and drivers into Champions. To my mind, neither Benetton, nor Renault were new teams, they were, in turn Toleman, bought and renamed and Benetton, bought and renamed.

I have the same argument with everyong going on about Brawn being the first team to win there first race in 40 odd years and the first new team the win a championship since no team to win a championship has EVER been in their first season of racing in the top category. Brawn may have a different name, engine and Onwer, but the TEAM, to me is the people, the factory, the history, not the name.

If USF1, Lotus or Virgin win in Australia, then we have a victory by a new team, and well done them…


I had a brainwave reading, um, another F1 site. What about a _dual chicane_?

Create a round-about shaped “corner” whereby the drivers can go either left or right, no difference in time, but the driver of the faster car, maybe with fresher tires, can get right round the slower driver with little drama – and whomever’s front tires are in front at the exit of the dual chicane wins the position.

This is brilliant, because it’s not artificial, it’s two different but equal lines through the corner, really equal.

What do you think?

LOL I agree the powers that be in F1 aren’t that clever _about racing_ but they are very clever money grabbing old sots!


I don’t know what to say…. The line up could only be bettered if they brought Senna back from the dead and put Mansell in the Williams!!! Crazy. It’s the ultimate ultimate showdown and all depends on peoples development of their cars. Brawn/Merc & Red Bull are taking forward last years cars so they should be quick out of the box. I think McLaren had the momentum at the end of the season and will have got it right this time. Ferrari could be the disappointment ‘cos they’ve had to design from scratch – i hear they’ve copied Red Bull’s ideas quite a lot… However Alonso is amazing at taking cars forward so they’ll get up to speed pretty quick.

As for the racing – i simply don’t know… Fierce is the word. Hamilton would have hammered Button except the new fuel regs should favour Button – that’s your Seena vs Prost. Rosberg is gonna be hungry to beat Schumi and it’s his first quick car so he’s a complete unknown. Alonso will destroy Massa i’m afraid as Vettel will Webber.

I think they should remove the mandatory pit stops but it looks like they’re gonna force two stops per race – a bit artificial. I think if u can get to the end of ur race on one set of tyres while someones catching you thats just had fresh rubber – that would be exciting…

Lewis or Seb Vettel my tip i think. But, you can never write off the old master as much as hate to say it…


I disagree, I honestly think Schu could take it, as long as Merc can keep up the momentum, question is, can Nico keep up? However, on the flip side, Schu does have a reputation for nicking his team mates setup at times, so will they work out?

Alonso and Massa will be very close as long as they are treated equally.

Vettel/Webber, over the season are well matched. Ok Seb is a shed load faster, but much more prone to mistakes than Mark.

Hamilton and Button.. mmm, hard one, as you say, Button is better suited to the regs in the sense of looking after the tyres, but if they do mandate several stops, then that is not the issue, the issue will be whether they put enough fuel in, since obviously, they will make the tanks big enough, but will put en the amount needed to run out about 1.5 laps after the end of the race, so will it last>


I think it makes a mockery out of F1 to contrive tire rules to “make the show better” It rightfully should be up to the drivers to get to the finish line 1st. This type of thinking is what is wrong with racing (especially F1) today. Grand Prix racing should not be degraded to the level of some disgusting reality TV tripe! Bring back open competition among tire-makers and make the sport relevant again. All this tinkering with the rules continually, shows what a mistake it is to let the teams in on rule-making. It just costs more money and has given us the dullest racing in decades. The powers-that-be in F1 just aren’t that clever are they?


Here’s a simple idea,

Why not force the teams to use the same compound of tyre for quali and subsequent 1st stint that was used by any given car for the last stint of the previous race?

If teams are tied to ONLY 2 stops, and therefore 2 different compounds per race. Any car with a late advantage wouldn’t possibly be in the same position next race.

Gives everyone something to deal with, drivers, team stratergy for that race, taking into account strength and weakness for the next race.

Engines have to be carried over, gearbox etc why not tyre compound. Does any of this make sense?


Some very good opinions here, which is precisely why they’ll never be implemented by FIA. I especially enjoyed F1ART’s idea re no mechanics, and I’d like to expand on that.

Instead of banning refuelling outright, I propose that adding fuel during the race would be allowed but only by the driver himself from 10L cans. Allowing smoking during refuelling would add an extra spark.

Allowing smoking during the race as well would add a further element of excitement with burning fags flying all over the cockpit and inside the helmet, seeing as there isn’t much of a windshield.

In all seriousness though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the FIA introduce a system of points based on a phone-in, the results of which would be closed to everyone but Santander who would oversee points distribution.

Further complication could easily be caused by generating the number for the phone-in randomly and not telling anyone what it is. Add medals to the mix and we’ll be in for a thrilling season of utter confusion.


Not seen it asked, but how would any of these revised points systems (including contributor suggestions) have affected the last 5 or 10 or so championsip battles? it would be interesting to see who and when someone would have won the champoinship…! Although i do know that drivers will drive to the points system in place, so any comparison will be partly artificial…


How about making the points system proportional to gap on the track? Say 1 point per 1 second lead over the car behind. Start at p10 and count forward.


There was the suggestion by Bernie to let all drivers have 5 ‘shortcuts’ in the race. What is this meant to be? Super Mario Kart?


Similar to what you have in Rallycross I suppose. In Rallycross nowadays you have a Joker Lap that must be taken once by every driver in every heat and which is actually longer than the regular track.


The thing I can’t understand is why they banned refueling altogether.

Why didn’t the FIA just lift the restriction on the size of the fuel tank and let the teams decide if they want to run for longer with a larger tank.

This would naturally mix the grid up without the need to be concerned about tyres and extra pit stops.


that would solve nothing, no team would increase their tank size to allow any less that 1 stop, as they would be too slow, hence the reason that 1 stop seldome gets used by race winners now, the 3 stoppers would be 4-5 seconds a lap faster than someone trying to go the distance.


I wasn’t talking teams running less than one stop. I am talking about flexibility for the teams to decide.

One stoppers used to be common for the backmarker cars years ago but aren’t anymore. I also recall not so long ago different cars having different sizes of fuel tanks which did play into the strategy(the R24 for example was known to have a smaller tank hence why they went with more agressive strategies).

With maditory pitstops being discussed and compulsory tyre compounds it removes the need to have a larger sized tank and run for longer.

If you give the teams more choice then you are more likely to see divergance in car design and race strategies. As soon as the FIA increased stricter rules then the race strategy possibilities also reduced, which is why we are now seeing artificial rules introduced to try and spice things up.


The R24 ran woth refuelling, which is now banned, therefore teams can choose their tank size, but I believe there is a maximum of about 220Litres per car for the race, so most teams will have a tank large enough to take this. Several races, ie Monaco and Hungary wi probably not require full tanks but others… GB, Bahrain probably will. The main difference will be in fuel economy, and here the Cosworth teams will probably have an advantage.

Therefore your comment about differing tank sizes is largely irrelevant since refuelling will not be happening.


How much could F1 learn from MotoGP or is that a crazy suggestion?


MotoGP has 100% mechanical grip, and 0% aero grip. F1 needs to learn from this, increase tire widths and reduce downforce. 1992 tire widths would be an excellent starting point.


why doesn’t the FIA ask the fans what they think about all this? and why is there a need to use different tyre compounds? Don’t tell me that a company like Bridgestone can’t manufacture a racing tyre that can go a GP distance!?


Re-introduce KERS on ALL CARS but this time the KERS magic button is such that it gives the Driver Electric Shocks everytime it is used and they can use it as many times as they please. Kind of “Here it is boys, Touch it at your own peril” magic button….that would sort the men from the boys.


LOL love it!


Has there been any explanation for the strange anomaly of 7th place being awarded 5 points instead of 4?

Consider the last 6 point scoring positions in the suggested system:


What possible reason can they have for having a larger gap between 7th and 8th (5-3) than between 6th and 7th (6-5)? Surely the gap between positions should decrease or remain the same as you go down the field, not increase??



Haven’t posted for ages… belated New Year wishes to all 🙂

Here’s my tuppence…

However the rules are “modified”, the teams will quickly adapt to those changes – that’s the nature of the F1 beast these days. Last season saw the biggest shake-up (in tech regs) for years and those were soon gobbled up.

It would be great to start with the fast cars at the back and the slow ‘uns at the front… yet fast teams could sand-bag in qualifying, thus improving their starting slot.

Now that the points for winning look like they’ll be much greater than before (with a wider range between them)… you could look at the concept of taking the finishing positions from the previous race, reversing that… et voila, there’s your grid for the next race. Yet, that has complications… some teams (struggling in a specific race) will make sure they’re last to aid the following race’s start spot. And of course, you’d lose qualifying sessions too! The only opportunity to see the cars flat out.

It’s a tough ask to “modify” the rules to make everyone happy. I’m not trying to give solutions here… my point is this, whatever happens there are always pros n cons… and the teams will quickly identify the “loopholes” and the way to take best advantage.

[Stevie P puts on his cheeky hat…] Has anyone suggested a sniper in the crowd? Numbers drawn randomly… and that car number has a tyre shot out!!?!!?!! 😉 Yes, I am joking.


Just summing up all thoughts I read, my proposal as follows:

1. Let 13 out of 26 drivers score points in order: 30, 20, 15, 12, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

2. Back to one type of the tires with unlimited number of the pit stops (including zero)


2a Implement several types of the tires with limited number of sets for the WHOLE SEASON.

3. Implement extra points for the pole-position (3 points) and the fastest lap (2 points).

4. Implement extra points for the fasted pit-stop for change of the whole set of the tires (2 points for driver or 1 point for each driver of the team).

All above sound sexy to me 😉


Hi James,

What about every driver has to complete a drive-thru at some point in the race. Maybe even say it has to be taken with at least 5 laps remaining!

This would throw a strategy mix into the race and have unpredictable results.



I just think we have to steer clear of artificiality. If you can create unpredictability with the assets F1 is known for, it’s much better.


But it already is with the FIA rules as they are. I say let’ get back to pure racing letting the teams and driver sine with their skill and reading of the race etc and give us this on decent tracks, better to have two races in Brazil, Japan and the UK rather than the dross Ecclestone serves us ❗


I do think that having a round number for the winning points is a much cleaner and simplier solution – by that I mean ten, twenty or thirty points for a win.

Tyres do need an overhaul – if we have a control tyre we should be having large working temperature ranges and no marbles.


I think one of the easiest ways to improve the show AND reduce costs is to replace the expensive carbon brakes for steel ones. Braking distances would be increased, drivers would have to manage their brakes over the course of a race, and they would be less costly.



Carbon discs are way more expensive than steel, back in 2000 they were $4000 each! I doubt that they are cost competitive with steel. Steel would definately increase unsprung weight but if everyone used them that would be a wash. It sucks that the tech regs are so restrictive that they can’t mount inboard brakes, a bit too NASCAR for me! But the tech regs. are another thing FIA needs to overhaul, isn’t it.


Trouble is, there is no room for inboard brakes on current f1 cars, epsecially at the front, even if they widened the chassis to allow the brakes, the drivers would only be able to do 2 laps before their legs blistered with the radiated heat (even with steel brakes), and the rear wouldn’t be that much better.


George, with modern metal technology, “steel” brakes are pretty close to carbon ones in terms of outright power and durability. The difference wouldn’t be dramatic, and wouldn’t probably differentiate performance all that much.



Can you provide any proof of your statement from reliable sources? It’s commonly held that carbon brakes are vastly superior to steel brakes in deceleration performance.


that commonly held belief is based on the face that when F1 started using carbon brakes they were massively better, but that is not so now, and hasn’t been for a while…

The advantage is weight and price not power or durability, thats why F1 uses carbon.

With the minimum weight increasing, and budgets decreasing, you might find that steel comes back, but probably not, since the rules say that the brakes most be outboard, none of the teams are going to want that much unsprung weight on the car, then they can use ballast in places that they can use to improve balance.


Patrick Head & Mike Gasgoine have both said in the past that steel brakes woudn’t increase braking distances.

Frank Durney of Williams contacted the BBC coverage of a practice session early last year via text after the commentators had been discussing steel vs. carbon brakes & said that it was the grip the cars produced that had more of an effect on braking distances, all the material does is effect weight & Steel brakes fade more obviously than carbon one’s.

Something else is that Alex Zanardi tested with Steel Brakes while at Williams in 1999 & I believe ran them at some races because he prefered the feel they gave him & his braking points were no different to those of team mate Ralf Schumacher’s.


Not a bad idea actually.


But James, Tom is referring to tactics, just of a different sort. Rather than just picking an optimal pace though, it’s about how can I go fast enough to beat my rivals, based on their strategy and driving style vs. my own?

That is a tactical game, just a different one from the current style.


Those stats go back to the late 70s though, and show a continual decline from around 1982. I think the main issue is the aerodynamics of the cars are rubbish in concept, with the OWG’s efforts simply not being radical enough. But that’s another topic…

I think the idea of rewarding pole and fastest lap with points is rather silly. It doesn’t actually act as an incentive to create better racing (why not instead award points for overtaking moves? It’s equally heretical and at least that way they’d have some incentIve to go for it). The current tire rules and mandatory stops are similarly poor ideas which accomplish nothing. As others have said, a tire which can marginally go the distance, with grippier, but less durable alternatives, makes far more sense.

James, has no one within the paddock ever voiced these points, or actually interacted with the fans? F1 decision makers do seem colossally ignorant of both what the fans enjoy about F1 and racing, and of what actually twigs the interest of potential fans.


You have some flawed logic with your criticisms of incentive points for pole and fastest lap there Duncan.

Not necessary for pole in my opinion. For fastest lap however, it will create some interest, and those with no chance of points can get some new rubber on and see how they go with light tanks. You describe it as heretical, yet in the 50’s a point was awarded for the fastest lap.

However you then compare them with points for overtaking – how would you police that? Drivers could simply overtake and reovertake each other to get them both points.


Legend, I know that it was awarded in the past, but I don’t see a bunch of backmarkers attempting to go for fastest lap late race to be all that interesting. It also doesn’t actually address the core issues creating tedium in F1. To me it seems like a meaningless change that simply gives points to something of no value.

Which is why I compared it to giving points for overtaking. Yes, that would be impossible to police, but such a change would actually directly impact on the major criticism laid on F1 (dull races). My point is that these changes are not really useful, or meaningful in terms of addressing the actual issues faced, and are not really where F1 should be looking.

As a side note, while typing this, a solution occurred to me for how you could police overtaking. Simply give the points to the driver who over took the most. That way, everyone would have to try, but at the same time, couldn’t game the system through cooperation with other drivers.


Cheers for the response Duncan. Your describing of points for fastest laps as “heretical” is what initially provoked a response from me.

Fastest Laps are noted down in career statistics. There is a third party award for the driver who gets the most fast laps in a season. Last year Vettel and Webber tied, but Vettel won on whatever method they used when drivers tie.

Drivers like Raikkonen loved going for the fastest lap, so he could add them to his career stats. But no one else was really going for the fastest lap. That’s why Alonso has relatively few. So Raikkonen was able to pick up dozens of relatively ‘cheap’ fastest laps.

By giving a point it actually means something, and will be coveted to a degree.


I had this idea a few years ago,

The length of the race would only be decide after 60 minutes of racing,

race length could be 60 laps or maybe 72 laps.

seems to me the one variable which the teams can’t prepare for.

good idea ?


I’m not sure the television companies would be too thrilled at that idea… they have to sell advertising slots and the more the merrier. If you shorten a race, you shorten the viewing time… and thereby reduce the ad breaks.

I’d go back to the shed and work on another plan.


There are conflicting demands, people want overtaking and yet they don’t want to introduce gimmicks to improve the show as it would lessen the integrity of the sport (oh the irony).

The technical regulations need to be changed to vastly reduce the disadvantage of following a car around a bend so that drivers can get slipstreams on straights and will be close enough to attempt overtaking under braking. So less aero downforce from the bodywork, front/rear wings. But we don’t want F1 to be like formula ford either, it has to be the fastest, the ultimate race series so perhaps there is a way of substituting the downforce with “good aero”, such as the re-adoption of active suspension/ground effect/skirts?

The engineering performed by all the teams is of such a high standard today that they will all arrive at near enough the same solution sooner or later. If that solution means you cannot pass like performance cars then you get processional racing. Fundamental reform of the technical regs is the way forward, not gimmicks.


I agree that the best way to get the cars overtaking would be re-introduction of ground effect floors and skirts, and a dramatic limitation on wings, however, the floors and skirts would very quickly end up so powerful, the with the almost rigid suspension that would require, they would end up with drivers passing out in races from the effects of the vibration.

The only way around that would be to allow one on Colin Chapmans great ideas back, the twin chassis concept, with the driver, engine etc, separately suspended within the aerodynamic chassis.

Unfortunately these concepts were banned as they were making cars too fast, and with all the improvements in design now, I think the cars would be massively quick, great for overtaking, but seriously dangerous..


It’s not beyond the collective brainpower of some of the best engineers in the world to create cars with ground effect and isolate the driver sufficiently that they can still perform their driving duties. Many trucks have both chassis suspension and suspended cabs on top (a sort of twin chassis?). Some tractors have independently controlled seat suspensions too (a triple chassis?!). Concepts can be unbanned just as easily as they were first banned. The question is how can the technical regs be changed so that we get exciting racing in F1 cars with cutting edge technology without resorting to silly gimmicks? I think it’s worth re-looking at ground effect/active suspension.


Alex, I have marshalled too. I wouldn’t advocate changes which would make marshalling demonstrably less safe. If reintroducing active suspension was part of a package of measures to permit grater overtaking by allowing one car to follow the other around a bend, whilst keeping lap times about the same, I see no problem with that.


Gary, the concept of twin chassis was banned for a reason, speeds were getting too high, and this would be a problem now, as they would be able to hone the concept so much better. Ok so the cars are alot stronger now, so the driver would be ok in an accident, but the problem is circuit safety.. If something fails, and with the staggering suspension loads you would have that is a distinct possibility, and the car goes off, it will be travelling a hell of a lot faster, and is therefore much more likely to hit the barriers.

Every time a car does that there is a good chance that marshals and spectators could get hurt, and as a former marshal at the British GP, I know how the guys feel. Unlike the drivers, they are NOT paid, and they ARE risking life and limb for the sport they love, I have known several marshals injured at meetings, and I would not want to be there when an F1 car went off at speeds much in excess of that which they do now, and alot of marshals feel the same..

Yes, we want better racing, but NOT at the expense of safety, especially of the people who make our sport possible. without drivers or teams there would be no F1, but equally without marshals there would be no F1 either.

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