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Getting rid of aero in F1 – the counterargument
Getting rid of aero in F1 – the counterargument
Posted By: James Allen  |  16 Mar 2010   |  8:30 pm GMT  |  554 comments

The debate rages on about how F1 can save itself from monotony this season. We’ve had an unprecdeented number of comments and suggestions here on JA on F1.

Following on from Sunday’s uninspiring Bahrain Grand Prix there have been calls for radical steps to be taken to change the cars and improve the racing, with many people pointing to the aerodynamics and particularly the double diffuser, which the FIA decided to allow at the start of last season, as the prime culprit.

The double diffuser is on its way out of the sport in 2011 anyway, having been voted out by the FOTA group of teams over the winter. But that won’t save the 2010 season.

Many readers of this site have said that aerodynamics are the area where the cars need to be reworked more generally in the interests of racing.

But there is a counter argument, which says that fans think the downforce is the devil because they are influenced by drivers. And it comes from the aerodynamicists themselves, not surprisingly.

Frank Dernie, one of the leading F1 aerodynamicists for the past 30 years, has sent me this note, arguing that the “overtaking problem in F1” is not the aero, but the mechanical grip from the tyres and the lack of mistakes made by drivers on gearshifts due to semi automatic gearboxes. He advocates manual gearboxes and rock hard tyres. Hear him out.

“None of the facts in the last 30 years support the theory that grippy tyres and low downforce promote overtaking. If reducing downforce was the answer, then 1983 would have shown it, since we lost 80% of the aero efficiency in the 1983 rules, ” he says. “But there was no more overtaking than in 1982.

“Here’s the proof – if downforce prevented overtaking, historically the races with the fewest overtaking manoeuvres would have been the wet races, where maximum downforce settings are used… Why anybody still thinks a reduction in downforce is the solution when faced with the facts has been a consistent mystery and frustration to me.

“Too much difference in grip between on and off line is a major factor, caused by sticky tyres (lots of mechanical grip)

“Braking distances into slow corners are far too short, caused by sticky tyres (too much mechanical grip).

“The other reason why it is hard to overtake in current F1 is that the fastest cars are at the front with slower ones behind, so there is no reason to expect overtaking unless a driver makes a mistake.

“In this case overtaking will only ever happen following mistakes, which are rare nowadays with super sticky tyres, big runoff areas and semi automatic gearboxes.

“A few things have worked in the past.

– One set of tyre for the race worked, but Michelin’s tyres were much more suited to this than Bridgestone, so it was changed since Bridgestone were to become the only supplier.

– Single lap qualifying. Often fast cars qualified out of pace order, making overtaking likely. It was unpopular since it was “not fair”.

“When there was overtaking in the past it was mainly due to the low grip of the tyres leaving a wide racing line and long braking distances combined with cars much more difficult to drive due to low grip and manual gearboxes, hence more mistakes.

“We will never fix it whilst so many people ignore the facts and fixate on long held views which are completely at variance with the data.

“The problem is that quite a few influential people, like drivers and ex-drivers in the media, do not want the changes which certainly worked in the past. The drivers hate hard tyres, despite them probably being 50% solution, and the engineers love semi-automatic gearboxes, the other 50%…

Most overtakes took place in the past when a driver made a mistake due to poor grip or missed a gear.”

On the subject of double diffusers making it difficult to follow, he said that early last year the Toyota drivers complained that the hardest car to follow was the Renault, which didn’t have a double diffuser.

One of the reasons semi-automactic gearboxes have remained popular is that they prevent engines from over-revving on downshifts, which is even more important in this era of 8 engines per season.

But if F1 engineers can perfect the seamless shift, surely they can invent a system for a manual gearbox which would dip the clutch if the driver tried to select a gear that was too low for the engine speed.

Rock hard tyres and manual boxes and make the drivers work for a living – what do you think?

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Oh look, old people advocating the same crap that was around when they were younger.

If you want hard tires and manual shifting screw off and watch Formula Vee. If you want crap technology that’s forty years out of date, the vintage races are over there. Have fun watching a bunch of old fat millionaires act like they’re hot shit because their trust fund and subsequent investments in questionably legal offshore gambling sites allowed them the ability to purchase a forty year old F1 car.


This one of the most interesting F1 articles that I read in the past 10-15 years.

I’ll give my opinion even if the topic has been dead for more than 3 years.

This is now 2013 and the problem is still the same: overtaking.

We have gone through KERS, F-DUCT and now DRS and it is still dead difficult to overtake.

This is all artificial.

The cars still don’t allow overtaking. Drivers still have their beloved sticky tires that are now producing more marbles than ever.

Pick any race you want that had rain up until minutes before the start of the race. The track is clean (green) and the drivers get to choose their own lines. They don’t have to go for the racing line. Result: whether they’re on intermediates or slicks you get plenty of fighting, fun and overtaking.

Pick that same race 20-30 minutes after the rain have stopped. Result: boring, train-like and no overtaking. The driver no longer get to choose his line. He’s forced to use the supposedly best line where there are no marbles.

Rock-hard marble-less tires, anyone?



Have you never heard of a manual shift sequential gearbox.These gearboxes are in common use in many forms of motor racing.You cannot miss a gear,and with seamless shift technology clutchless changes both up and down are simple.


Like many contributors on this site I’ve been banging on about reducing aero and increasing mechanical grip.

Mr.Dernie still holds his hand firmly in the air for the aero camp, I respect his experience and opinion, but still think he’s wrong.

Interesting comments from Rubens published today on the ITV F1 website….


Rubens blames the lack of overtaking on the narrower tyres…

“”The fact that we had better racing last year was because we dropped the ugly grooved tyres for slicks.

“That’s what we need – we need more mechanical grip on the car and to lose the aerodynamics.

“We’re losing aerodynamics all the time, but if you follow another car you just understeer off the track.

“Unless you have a second advantage, which is not the normal thing, you just can’t pass.

“I overtook [Sebastien] Buemi on the track but I was doing 2m01s, he was doing 2m04s, and it wasn’t easy overtaking.”

Comments anyone, Mr.Dernie, James?


Of course FD wants to keep his job. But if he was correct (not meaning he doesn’t know what he is speaking but what he is trying to make you believe)then there would be no overtaking in karting.

It is as simple as that.

So the correct answer is to get rid of the aero -> you will need tires with more forgiving slipcurve to be able to drive the car at all -> more lively cars and wider racing line -> more places to overtake and tirewear would mean a lot (save tires, gain places in the end etc)

Of course F1 needs to be the fastest there is -> introduce free engine restrictions (don’t worry the limited grip on tires will automatically lower the cornering speeds so it would actually be safer than now). More power would be harder to control and that would yield more mistakes and overtaking chances etc etc.

Also the money would be such a big issue as the wind tunnels would be obsolete

What do you think?


I disagree with Mr. Dernie. Harder tires may help but are not the main problem. As many have stated above, the aerodynamic wake is the problem. Cars cannot get close enough to even attempt an overtake. My solution would be for the teams to be given standard front and back wings that make it easy to follow the car in front which would dramatically improve overtaking. I would allow teams almost free development on engines/kers/gearbox/suspensions. The millions that are spent each year on aero development each yera do noting to improve the racing and do nothing to improve technology for road cars. If teams were allowed to develop the mechanical side of the car there would be huge trickle down improvements to road car technology which would make it more attractive for car manufactures to get involved and would be more interesting for fan. Look at KERS for example, Ferrari have already put it on a road car and Porsche have bought Williams KERS technology.


The elephant in the room has always been those damn wings. They are important to the sport only because they are mobile billboards, but they kill the sport in every other way. Get rid of the wings on the cars and much of the huge expenditure on aerodynamics evaporates, and overtaking is once again possible on every part of a Formula One circuit. Everything else which is done to improve prospects of overtaking is merely fiddling while Rome burns.


Karting, Formula Ford etc without downforce…..i do not want to see F1 be artificially held back technology wise.

I think F1 should be the pinnacle, lastest tech construction methods electronics, suspension, gearboxes etc etc …even aero BUT whilst low drag aero has a relevance today, high downforce does not, nor does it help racing.

So for me let the cars have the latest techniologies but get rid of all downforce, then we would see proper racing.


I like the idea of manual gearboxes. I know F1 is about hi-tech but you have to leave something for the humans to do. Computer drivers would certainly be better than humans but that’s not F1. It’s racing first and foremost.

And certainly something has to be done about the loss of mechanical grip off line. I don’t know why more isn’t made of this problem as it’s referred to in the commentary of virtually every race and is clearly the biggest obstacle to overtaking – you can’t pass if you can’t go off line. The desert of Bahrain is, I think, a particularly bad example. If hard tyres are the solution, so be it.

One lap qualifying was good but I’d like to see a mix – 20 mins of normal qualifying then one lap quali to decide the top eight-ish. That would be very watchable, if not entirely uncontroversial. Maybe you’d have to kick out the bottom (by points) eight-ish cars after 10 mins to clear a bit of room for the front runners.

One more thing. Five points for fastest lap. That’d stop ’em nursing their cars to the finish! Even with no overtaking, the end of the race would always be exciting, with points constantly changing hands. Maybe two for second fastest and one for third, to give some semblance of fairness.


I’ve always thought that they should award points for pole and for the fastest lap. I understand that the last few years it didn’t really make sense to do it because of different fuel levels because basically you would have smaller teams going for glory runs just to get a point.

But now that the system has changed why not? And one way to make sure you don’t have smaller teams upsetting the applecart, is to add the criteria that (to get a point for fastest lap) you have to finish the race.

On another note:

I would personally like to see KERS back, but they have to widen its operating margin to be more of beneficial. It should also be more affordable.

I think the FIA should only allow a limited number (3?) of systems available. Therefore teams can tender their designs (fly-wheel or battery etc.).

Each design could offer something special/unique and/or work in a different way. The other qualifying factors would of course be effectiveness, cost and durability.

Other teams can then decide which system would be the most suitable or beneficial for their car’s design and then incorporate it.

Just like engines teams could also only use a limited number of those systems per year, e.g. 5 batteries/year.

This way F1 can still be cutting edge but not lose its heritage that teams build and make their own cars (chassis).

PS. Imagine the following:

1 team – Mercedes engine/Williams fly wheel

2 team – Cosworth engine/Williams fly wheel

3 team – Mercedes engine/McLaren KERS

4 team – Cosworth engine/McLaren KERS

5 team – Renault engine/Ferrari KERS

5 team – Ferrari engine/Ferrari KERS etc.

It could really spice up things and add a new dimension (hopefully be more unpredictable).


James – a question on the McLaren rear wing stalling device. I’m puzzled, surely it falls into the same category as any moveable aero device and shouldn’t be allowed.

If it is capable of reducing the considerable drag from the rear wing there has to be a significant or critically effective diversion of air.

What happens the first time it jams (or the driver leaves it on for whatever reason) and the car goes into a corner at speed with ‘no rear wing’.

It seem like a re-run of the high-wing era disasters is possible?




1) Manual gearshift – Agree somewhat

I remember Mika Hakkinan crashing in 1999 when he selected the wrong gear after leading that race comfortably. Letting the driver’s decide will have an impact because they will have more to think about but I think engineers have already come up with solutions prevent selecting a totally wrong gear.

2) Harder Tyres – Definitely agree

Harder tyres are more road relevant than the super soft slicks used for racing, so it isn’t backwards thinking. For years people used to say the tracks were to narrow, so they got Tilke to design really wide tracks – unfortunately a racing line develops because the soft rubber tyres loses ‘marbles’ that affects grip offline.

Unfortunately Bridgestone has done too good a job with this year’s tyres so that tyre management isn’t that crucial as first thought (and hoped).

3) No wings – Unsure

I’m under the impression that F1 cars need the extra down force created by wings to prevent them from going airborne. If that’s not the case then perhaps they should get rid of them or make them significantly smaller.

4) Central chicane – the future of racetracks?

Planet-F1 (http://www.planetf1.com/news/3261/5860270) made a suggestion a while ago that I think could actually work. Tracks could have a central chicane that splits the road into 2 symmetrical lanes. Thus a driver following another car could opt to take the opposite lane. A driver would definitely still need skill to make it work. It might be artificial but less so than pit stops. I think the ‘dual’ chicane could easily be implemented at most circuits especially considering that some keep making unnecessary changes like Bahrain.

Frank, how much does track elevation affect turbulence? All the new (Tilke) tracks are fairly flat compared to Brazil and Spa.


I believe we have to credit Frank Dernie, one of the leading F1 aerodynamicists for the past 30 years, with knowing his onions regarding aerodynamics but as for overtaking in wet conditions, didn’t he watch Senna at The Donington European GP? Aerodynamics rendered useless, and as he points out with hard tyres, mechanical grip reduced to negligible levels, Senna simply drove round everyone on the first lap, even his wet weather successor Schumacher.

As for the comments made by Craig D in the post March 18th, 2010 @ 6:19 pm, this is a typical engineers solution to a problem; add yet more technology which creates more areas for ‘creative’ engineering, more areas of contention to blight the beginning of every season with and more expense for the teams, FOTA and the FIA to deal with.

Overtaking in F1 has always been difficult even in the days of Clark the best and fastest drivers would be on the front of the grid for safety reasons. F1 is dangerous enough without having inexperienced clowns driving slow cars in a group at the front of a race holding up drivers who by their own efforts put the car on pole by being the fastest. When that pole represents last place on the grid don’t you think drivers would try not to be on pole? Then we have the ludicrous situation of finding the slowest qualifier……Please!

Manual gearboxes are a partial solution but as with another poster I don’t think introducing a technology simply to encourage mistakes is a clever idea. As he also pointed out, they do ensure engine reliability not allowing over revving but more significantly, my understanding is that sequential shift pattern boxes are smaller than conventional ‘H’ pattern boxes (just take a look at any motorbike) and if the FIA, FOTA, whoever were to insist on manual boxes, everyone would plump for sequential boxes in which case they would adopt Touring Car type arrangements; instead of a paddle there would be a little stick, push forward for up, pull back for down, sounds a bit like paddle shifts really. One wag on this blog also noted that only the top 1% of drivers in the UK are priveleged enough to own an exotic car with a paddle shift and I’m one of them……Lucky me, my Citroen C4 Grand Picasso is now an exotic piece of expensive machinery, I must remind my kids and dogs of that the next time they clamber in with muddy boots and jam sandwiches.

The solution to the problem is fairly easy although we will still never see a huge amount more overtaking in F1 because the fast cars are at the front and the slow ones at the rear however if we eliminate aerodynamic induced ‘downforce’ altogether and introduce some variables then at least we are taking steps in the right direction.

The manufacturers ought to be compelled to submit a tub and bodywork at the start of each season for testing to ensure aerodynamic neutrality, across a broad range of speeds. I know there is no such thing in reality but in the speed range of say 80MPH through to 160MPH the cars should exhibit an overall neutral state. Those are the speeds that cars are following each other through a corner before mounting a slipstreaming attempt down the next straight. I’m not an engineer so the figures are not correct but ball park principles are what I’m suggesting here.

That reduced downforce would have a number of additional advantages. The cars wouldn’t be cornering nearly as quickly as they would rely totally on mechanical grip so the speed at which a driver loses control of the car is lower, my understanding is that cars currently accelerate momentarily when relieved of downforce just when a driver wants it to slow down. That being the case an aerodynamically neutral car will start to slow much quicker that a downforce car whilst travelling at a slower speed in the first place. The driver would not travel as far in an out of control car and therefore run off areas can be drastically reduced increasing spectator enjoyment. The cars would also reach higher top speeds unencumbered by the enormous drag associated with downforce and the hole in the air, although turbulent would affect cars less than it does now. Higher top speeds with lower corner speeds would create longer braking areas which is cited as yet another cause of restricted overtaking. The prospect of cars actually drifting their way round corners makes my mouth water, it cant be done with downforce assisted cars and a necessary and dramatic skill of drivers had been lost as a consequence.

Aerodynamics cost a fortune in F1, but while one team uses it no other team can afford to be without it; eliminate aerodynamics and allow unrestricted engine configuration, including forced induction. Certain engines will work well at certain tracks with various chassis and the forced induction engines would be totally reliant on mechanical grip to transmit its power, the same as any other type of engine.

Finally, eliminate the ‘ship to shore’ radio teams have other than steward announcements on incidents. Drivers would have to think for themselves, no more instant team orders, all that would have to be agreed before the race, unofficially of course, and drivers would have to make their own decisions on tyres and refuelling (if it ever comes back).

More layers of technology won’t solve the problems of unsuccessful technology, it only papers over the cracks so get rid of the problem itself first.

The problem with all of this is that it’s almost a moot point now, I don’t think it will be too many years in the future before we are watching electric cars hoovering their way round tracks and getting a race distance out one of those with any downforce will be interesting to see, even if the noise will be like a Dyson.


I’ve read every suggestion and every idea put forward to improve ‘the show’. I have an original idea to which I would love to hear people’s thoughts on. Since serious aero changes cannot be brought about, there is only one logical way to increase overtaking: a mixed up grid.

Giving points for Qualifying, then reversing the grid seems to be the one idea floated around. But this would be too radical a change for F1 and without historical context. It also cannot be implemented this season.

My idea is a simpler one. It is neither too alienating, nor calls for anyone to make huge changes to the system. You simply ask the Top Ten Qualifiers from the previous race to use ONLY the Prime tyre in Qualifying for the next race.

If you think about it, not only will the grid be mixed up enough, it will all even out over the season. It does not call for Bridgestone to invest huge money into producing radical tyres. The cream will still rise to the top, yet keep us entertained at the same time. It is a simple enough change that it can be implemented at the next race, if reason and the greater good can prevail. If anyone thinks it is a form of handicapping and against F1’s ideals, all I can say is we are already handicapping in F1, by forcing the Top 10 to start with their Qualifying tyres. This proposal will just take forward that idea into the next race.

Please pass this along to the relevant people if you think the idea has merit.


Or introduce dice as the method of deciding qualifying.


For an artificial solution to spice things up I think yours makes more sense than forcing the top 10 to stay on the same tyres that doesn’t really allow for anything except those just outside of it to perhaps make a few spots.


To re-iterate so many comments, a truly excellent blog.

Although I have read a fair few comments on this tag line, I haven’t read them all. What Dearnie has to say, is unquestionably interesting and learned. Others have pointed out the possible conflict of interest, in that Dearnie, being an aero-engineer, “would say that, wouldn’t he”; and others too have questioned his reasoning vis a vis downforce/overtaking on wet circuits. Nevertheless, his comments provide food for thought.

Personally, I would relish the re-introduction of manual gear boxes, regardless of increasing the possibility of overtaking. Clearly there is no easy solution to the question of over-taking in today’s near perfect and ever-so-reliable machinery. This matter can, and will only be solved via a multi-disciplinary approach commissioned jointly by FOTA and the FIA – they both really need to demonstrate willing.

Back to the re-introduction of a manual gear box. I seriously question those comments critical of the suggestion that F1 goes back to manual as being antediluvian, a backwards step. Far from it. It would allow the drivers to further demonstrate their skill, just like their predecessors of old. All drivers, including the very best will make mistakes, they will err, they do so every weekend. Not one driver will drive the perfect race; they cannot because they are human. If we return to manual, the very best drivers will miss a gear or two over the season – it was ever thus. It’s just that the very best will make fewer mistakes, just as they do now in terms of hitting the most apexes. F1 cannot simply be about perfection otherwise we would have had automaton F1 cars years ago. It is the drivers that add that very human element, that potential flaw and mistake in amongst engineering excellence, and it is that which I would suggest makes F1 the pinnacle of motorsport. We shouldn’t lose sight of the imperative that drivers demonstrate their ability to drive, and manual gearboxes can provide that opportunity more than any other aspect.

For those who say that flappy-paddles will soon be in everyday cars, well, they’ve been promising us that for years ever since the F355! Unless you’re one of the lucky 1% who can afford an Aston/Ferrari/Lambo etc, I imagine the vast majority of us bread and butter fans would relate far better to the 2000+ manual gear changes required around Monaco, than the blinking light show on the steering wheel currently on offer. Anyway, if someone then makes a pass because another driver has missed a gear, all the better.


I’m uncomfortable with the idea of making changes under the pretense of helping the drivers make mistakes. If that philosophy is taken too far it will lead to regressive technical regulations. It will make the sport unsafe.

I think manual gearboxes should only be discussed under the pretense that operating a gearshift is a requisite skill for participation in F1. You mentioned requisite skill as well as mistakes.

I think the trouble with paddle-shifters is that they didn’t improve the art of manual gear change, they simply replaced manual gearboxes in the name of speed. We all like to think that F1 is entirely about speed, but realistically, they have been reducing horsepower for 30 years now. Generally speaking, motorsports with capacity limits are not all about speed.


I agree with you entirely on the manual gearbox.


I really do disagree – this typical aero defense avoids the problem that if we apply x% downforce to a car it will have more grip than a car whose downforce is dowgraded due to proximity of n%. The aero boys have buggered up the sport and we need to stop blaming tyres circuits etc and face the facts – ADVANCED AERO KILLS RACING – either accept it or put in loads of hairpins where aero ceases to count due to speed and see the overtaking – look at the circuits with hairpins and the amount of overtaking when aero is not a factor.


I, and I’m sure alot of people here, would really like to get Mr. Dernies’ feedback on what Craig D very precisely wrote on March 18th, 2010 @ 6:19 pm

Please James and Mr. Dernie, enlighten us about the flaws and/or good points of this idea.

What do the both of you like and/or dislike about the idea?

Is there fear overtaking will become so easy, making the fast cars overtake instantly, only to disappear off into the horizon?

(I think the OWG once mentioned it was afraid they would, no?)


I tend to believe that the aero guys figured out long ago that you could have the same level of downforce, same level of drag, but an increase in the dirty air behind the car, all in order to purposely make it extremely difficult for someone to get close enough and make a move.

In Nascar, the teams would build the rear structure that held the spoiler to where it would bend downwards as soon as they got bumped from the rear. This would lower the spoiler and give them more top speed.

These guys are smart and don’t want to give anything away.


Ok, I’ll try again (or maybe I forgot to hit submit).

You can’t test the inverse of the hypothesis and then state that disproving the inverse of the hypothesis disproves the hypothesis itself. That’s called assuming the consequent. Square is a rectangle but a rectangle is not always a square.

Normally, it wouldn’t matter accept the fundamental argument about the relationship between downforce and overtaking commits the fallacy of false cause. Low downforce does not cause overtaking just from a practical standpoint. The relative skill of the driver and the relative performance of the cars controls overtaking. Even the weather probably has a stronger correlation with the quantity of overtaking maneuvers. It isn’t any wonder the Mr. Dernie can’t find a correlation, it’s a false cause.

Under normal circumstances you would simply assume away the other variables by claiming the are constant. This might be an appropriate thing to do from year to year or from race to race, but to assume that the relative skill of the drivers and the relative performance of the cars is static between 1983 and 2009 is borderline intellectually dishonest.

The hypothesis is that reducing downforce will reduce the average following distance between the vehicles assuming the vehicle behind has equal or lesser pace (other parts of the technical regs govern this assumption). To pass your opponent you first must catch him. We have a plethora of empirical evidence and aerodynamic theory to suggest that excessive downforce prohibits following; thus overtaking as well.

Perhaps your suggestions are vitally important as well, I like manual gearboxes and I certainly wouldn’t presume to know as much as Mr. Dernie in regards to tires, but your theory ought not be considered an alternative to low downforce.


Thank you for your input, Mr. Dernie.


Regarding the difficulties for F1 cars to overtake, and specifically the wake/upwash problem that causes closely following cars to drastically lose downforce: why don’t the FIA/OWG try to design spec parts to be fixed to the rear of the cars and at the back of the rear wing that are designed to help stabilise the airflow and bring it back to more laminar flow conditions – such as flow straigtheners for example? Something like a parallel, tubular honeycomb mesh structure that air coming off the back of the rear wing must travel through first before leaving the wing.

A solution need not result in reduced downforce performance but if the flow coming off the back of the cars is more stable, following cars will not lose downforce performance not nearly as severely.

Turbulence is a nature of physics when objects move sufficiently fast, so we can’t escape that, but I fail to understand why flow control techniques aren’t inforced as a mandatory condition on the rear of the design of the cars. Methods to condition flow can be found everywhere in industry, and of course all the winglets and turning vanes etc, on F1 cars are examples designed to do exactly that – but just to create more stable air to the rear of the car for optimised rear downforce.

It would need to be a mandatory spec solution since the teams’ engineers themselves aren’t interested – from a competitive standpoint – in trying to make the air coming off the car behave smoothly. Quite the opposite in fact; they don’t want a car to be able to easily overtake them (rear upwash is the equivalent of a Mario Kart banana peel being dragged behind your kart)!

Perhaps there are serious flaws in my logic. I am certainly not a Formula 1 engineer but I do have a degree in Mechanical Engineering and so do have an understanding in fundamental physical principles and aerodynamics and flow control techniques. Any reasons for why something like this is unfeasible in principle, let me know!


Good suggestion: stick the structure to the back of the car as well. There can be a double diffuser in front then as well, the honeycomb will make sure the cars following won’t be affected by its presence.


Build clones of either Interlagos or Suzuka at 19 different countries around the world.

More often than not these tracks serve up memorable races.


Spa and Montreal are always great too. I kinda miss the old Hockenheim layout. Silverstone would be fantastic if it had a bit more overtaking, hopefully the new changes will help.

Favourite tracks – Spa, Montreal, Interlagos, Suzuka and Monza. Turkey and Silverstone are okay too.

Tracks I miss are the original Hockenheim and perhaps Adelaide (best street circuit) and also the original Kyalami track (South Africa, either 70s or 80s).


Suzuka is only interesting if it rains.


Come to think of it: most overtaking at Suzuka is at the chicane after a long straight.

Interlagos the same: turn 1, after the long straight.


It is interesting that it has taken a year for people generally to notice the new rules (introduced in 2009) do not work, as intended.

Generally people were more interested in the off-track entertainment in 2009.


They did work initially (although KERS killed some of it’s thunder), but the insane budgets and resulting huge development efforts made sure that once again cars rely too much on clean air for their aero to work.

Maybe the rules should have been stricter though. No double diffusers, no flaps, simpler and cleaner wings.


From my armchair view last year I didn’t see more wheel-to-wheel racing or overtaking between the cars last year that didn’t have double diffusers.

I guess it is counter-productive for a team to design a car to make it easier for the car behind to pass their own car.

One lap qualifying for me is the best solution to mix up the grid, which leads to better racing. There was some great racing in 2003.


I would say that they were on the right track with the 2009 regs, there wasn’t more overtaking per se, but cars did follow each other more closely. It should haven been a fist step, but they never took a second one. Kers & DDs also blurred the effect.


At first I felt gutted after Bahrein: wasting such a great line up of champions because of poor rules.

However, instead of having knee jerk reactions and change the rules overnight, we should think about the long term of F1. The 2010 F1 cars are clearly not adapted to the new era in F1: the engineers have designed a car that has to be nurtured by its driver. They’re not exploiting the high potential of all the energy that is getting lost at the moment.

Instead of saving fuel and looking after your tires, the drivers ought to be generating as much energy as possible in order to race their opponent. Let’s continue to tune the engine down. The engineers should think differently and start make use of all the energy that is getting lost and wasted at the time.

As to the aero: modern F1 cars must be designed to slipstream the other car. Otherwise they kill the racing and the thrill for millions of fans. Teams need to demonstrate this in a demo with both of their cars slipstreaming each other on track in the advent of a new season. Make it a rule and a new challenge for Frank Dernie 😉


Nurturing a car is what a driver more or less should do, he needs to go as fast as he can with the material he has. Over a single lap in quali to determine start order and than over 40 laps or so in the race.

They should be able to race each other on track with more or less equal material.

Remark about KERS: it will not help. Being naieve I was puzzled when I saw it being used in quali last year. If it’s for overtaking, why use it there ? Indeed, it brings down lap time; hence: when everyone has one, they will use it in the same way on the straights and end up following each other again.


As for the short term:

1. will it be possible to re-introduce kers in 2010? From the start of the European season onwards?

2. is it possible to reduce the spending on aero this year? It’ll encourage teams to invest in new technology like energy recovery systems and systems to generate energy.


I obviously didn’t read every post is this a record James? But I think we all have it entirely wrong: I agree with the gentleman who showed the evidence between 04/05 and later years is spot on and that’s down to and I agree the standardization/limiting of so many components. Also another thing, for as long as I can remember everybody is always complaining about overtaking in f1 .. But and I’m also a keen follower of other series; Cart/Irl/V8 supercars/Nascar as well sometimes and the reality is that in all of these series on the road/street courses there is a lack of overtaking on track in dry conditions; variables such as safety cars in nascar, refueling variances between vehicles in terms of weight etc in all series is what promotes overtaking (so yes F1 shot itself in the foot on the refueling). I believe that in any machinery no matter how much you change it to increase braking distances, lower grip tires whatever it is you want to change; relatively quickly the best drivers in world are going to find the latest braking point, where they
can get on the throttle out of a corner in other
words where the limit is at for that particular machinary.. No matter what series. Bahrain has never been a track which promotes exciting races has it? The teams were ultra conservative in terms of strategy, simply covering each other. The drivers were too conservative on the tires. Quick hypothetical and the teams will
now know this. If for examply massa made 2 stops pushing his soft tires hard from the start, pitted on 15, pushed hard on the hards for 17 laps and then with 15 laps of light fuel running at the end on the soft when the track was rubbered in and doing say 1.55-56-57s while all others were doing consistently 1.59-2.00-2.01 who would have won? We will get this variation soon it was the first race on a rubbish track designed by hermann boredom; let’s give the current regs a chance, and no one got close to the car in front due to the engineers being concerned with wear they could have followed closer in actual fact I think. F1 has a great show to put on and I am sure it will come to us. As Bernie said give it some time, we always complain about the same thing every year it gettin old.


I like the cornering speeds of current F1 cars.

They don’t need to go up and I prefer if they don’t go down either.

So, if harder tires and perhaps net downforce make it to the grid, will I feel disappointed?

Or can we compensate the loss of cornering speed with, for instance:

-wider tires

-wider cars (more body-downforce, less wing)

-more ground-effect to make up for less wing (I think removing dirty air without making the wings smaller is probably impossible)

Would such a car be more dangerous in corners then current cars? I’d think not, since it is always claimed that loss of wing-generated downforce (=WGD) in corners is sudden and not gradually (and therefore dangerous).

The new cars would be less prone to WGD-loss and thus equally fast, yet less dangerous.

If they lose grip, it would be of the mechanical type (a slide) or venturi-effect-loss.

Just make sure the mechanical grip is bigger then the venturi-grip (in comparison) and yes, this can be achieved with hard tires. Just make the tires wide enough.

So we’d end up with the

-same cornering speeds as today

-ability to follow closer because dirty air is reduced (some mandated form of diffuser and smaller wings)

-raceline variation in corners because of harder tires (no marbles, no rubbered in racing line).

I’d think this would result in some more overtaking.

And we would’t need psychologically/marketing-wise difficult changes like reverse grids, manual gearboxes or no wings at all. Or not yet, at least 😉

I’m sure I am wrong somwhere, otherwise this would already be happening right now, no? 😉


Well, I for one think you’re right on the money.

Why has this not been happening ? I guess the teams had enough money to spend to get ahead via active suspensions ao, the engine manufacturers had enough money to find performance in their area as well (exotic materials, V10 vs V12). Thank you, global downturn for sorting that out.

Pitstops were introduced in ’94 to get some positions changes, to answer to the same critisisms as now: no on-track action. It didn’t help either: Flavio went out of his way in 95 to get a Renault engine remember. The trick with the illegal software and the main competition crashing fatally into that wall at Imola was only going to work once … All the pitstops in the world would not have gotten him the 95 crown without that Renault engine.

In these 20 odd years, there always were enough people with pockets deep enough to make sure at least 2 teams were competitive with each other, even if it needed the occasional tyre war to get them even. If not, one team dominated. All the rest just made up the numbers.

As the general interest was high enough, there was no need to do anything else (‘somebody vs the german guy’ was apparently a good sell). Indycars were a threat, but that melted away.

Wingcars were banned on security reasons and that left aero as the area where teams could differentiate: enter the windtunnel. FOTA are not going to close down that expensive piece of investment by themselves, are they ? If anything, they’ll be desperate to keep it. Enter the claim to fame of the likes of Adrian Newey.

I would suggest to Bernie E to bring the wingcars back: it was the equalizer against the turbo in his FOCA days, it could be the savior of overtaking now. Ever since they were banned and wing-induced aero took the forefront, the on-track action has been steadily decreasing as the wake turbulences started to grow with increased development.

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