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New F1 adjustable rear wing rule meets with increasing resistance
New F1 adjustable rear wing rule meets with increasing resistance
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Jun 2010   |  11:23 pm GMT  |  136 comments

The new rules regarding driver adjustable bodywork have not been well received by fans or by the F1 drivers, it seems.

After the FIA World Motor Sport Council announced a new package of aerodynamic rules which will see drivers adjusting their rear wing, in a tightly controlled set of circumstances while close racing, the reaction from many fans and drivers has been negative.

You can use the moveable wing when you're this close (Darren Heath)

To reiterate, the rule is as follows, “The driver may only activate the adjustable bodywork in the race when he has been notified via the control electronics that it is enabled. It will only be enabled if the driver is less than one second behind another at any of the pre-determined positions around each circuit. The system will be disabled the first time the driver uses the brakes after the system has been activated.”

Many fans feel that the device will be a gimmick, which adds an artificial element to the racing and today several drivers articulated similar fears. Mark Webber said that the devices would be at home on a Sony Playstation, but not in the real world of F1 racing.

“Overtaking moves should be about pressurising, being skillful, and tactical,” said Webber in his press briefing today. “Yes we want to see more overtaking, of course we do, we know that, but we also need to keep the element of skill involved in overtaking and not just hitting buttons, like KERS, like adjustable rear wings.”

One of the concerns the drivers have is that the art of defensive driving will potentially disappear. However well a driver defends his position, if the car behind can drop the wing angle and shoot past with a 10km/h speed advantage, then that skill will be redundant. As it will be the same for everybody, there are likely to be a lot more overtakes on straights, particularly at tracks with long straights like Shanghai, Bahrain, Monza and Abu Dhabi.

Jarno Trulli voiced safety concerns having been the victim of some high speed wing failures in the past, “We have to make sure we can run it in a way that it is safe,” he said.

“I have the lost the rear wing a couple of times and it is one of the most dangerous things you can have happen to you because you are no longer in control of your car. Normally it fails at very high speed and you’re going to end up hitting the wall. I do not want to have the worry of my rear wing failing. The front wing is slightly different even though it is still a problem, the rear wing is worse.”

Here on the JA on F1 site we’ve had hundreds of comments. This one from Curro sums up the mood, “Reminds me of those arcade games where the car behind was always much faster than the car in front. Overtaking is an art, not a right. Some people need to understand F1 can sometimes be boring. It’s just like any other love relationship.”

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I don't have a major issue with a driver being able to change their rear wing, my issue is with the part of it only being allowed when they are 1 second behind another driver as others have stated this is very gimmicky and like an arcade game.

If they want to allow movable rear wings why not set a total limit for the race for amount of times it can be used, this would at least allow for a more strategic use of it


Agree wholeheartedly with that.

Each driver should have the freedom to adjust their wing setting 50 times per race. Once their quota of dabbling has been exhausted that's their lot. I


why not allow it like the f duct drivers can use it when ever they choose.


I agree, good idea.

If there is no limit on it drivers will just trade moves at every straight.

And imagine the last lap of a race with two drivers close together, approaching the last straight; the driver in the lead would be wiser to allow the driver behind to overtake him before the straight, so that he can then be guaranteed a pass by using his moveable wing, with the driver in front left helpless because he cannot use his button.

We saw Kimi deny Force India their first win at Spa last year by virtue of his magic button, and I thought that was a great shame.


Where did this idea come from? As I type this 70% of fans are against, but it's only a small smaple at the moment.

Was it the teams or the FIA that proposed this? Whoever it was seems to have misjudged what the fans want to see in formula 1. Sure we want overtaking, but we want it how Webber calls it - through driver skill, not because someone is helpless to defend. A pass that way is completely without merit for me.


Umm, why doesn't the FIA just let them use the f-duct, instead? Mandate common F-duct design.


It would not help if everyone has it. Then the speed advantage would be the same (/if mandated and homologated) for every car on track. Take all the money and effort away from redesigning the cars and redesing the tracks. Get Tilke out of the loop and let other track designers have a crack at it! Go Schumi!!


Who do we have to thank for this gimmicky idea?


OK, So I want to take the opposite approach. I do love the defence of an overtake like any other F1 Fan, but aero is required to keep the cars at speed but it does cause issues when being followed (dirty air), so it does make sense to relieve your car of the need for aero when the opportunity comes to overtake.

The real issue is in the subtleties of this rule.... at what point will the car being over taken be allowed to adjust their rear wing... if it is at the point that the front wings pass each other then the over taking car will have the same speed advantage when they are level (albeit with the acceleration time) which will allow for a defence or at least two cars side by side hitting the next corner.

However if the over-taken car is not allowed to use the adjustable front wing until the rear wing meets the front wing then all the comments here are correct... the fun is in the detail and definition.


Its crazy. Ban the F Duct,and allow moveable wings.

More electronics to go wrong. Next thing, some-one will be disqualified because the solenoid(or what ever) failed in the race and the high adjusted itself too many times

Bring back the high wings of the 1969 era.

Now,they were mean (and they broke a lot too)


Typo. I meant the wing adjusted itself too many times .


I vote NO to the adjustable rear wing as proposed. It's much too artificial and arcade-like. If adjustable rear wings are allowed, they should be available to all drivers at all times.

But let's not forget that F1 had movable rear wings in the past. Sure, they were effective, but they were also dangerous and were banned.

Even with today's fixed rear wings, we occasionally see a rear wing failure, always with frightening results. On both sporting and safety grounds, I can not imagine this being a good idea.

- Jeff


Totally agree Jeff.

All devices should be available at all times, unrestricted.

Let us hope that today's materials and designs are more able to withstand the pressures put upon them.

Perhaps the movable part should be tethered by cables as per the wheels.


Agree. If adjustable rear wings are the way to go, then let's have a complete free-for-all. Available at all times as required.


we dont like that, yeah, but who the hell are we?, we are just the fans who buys ticket to watch f1 live or watch it in tv but this [mod] a**es never think or try to listen to us


That's what the fan forum next week is about....


James it will be on this site...."fan forum"


well this stupid idea should be kicked into the long grass - and it seems the drivers dont like it either - the first thing I thought was what if it goes wrong - are we going to have flying cars as a result?


Mark Webber said everything that needs to be said.

My respect for F1 will diminish if this rear wing device gets implemented.


People are jumping on to this straight away but surely there's not enough detail revealed to condemn it yet.

I would hate to see the art of defensive driving lost - it involves as much skill as the actual overtaking, in my opinion. However, we tend to see this less nowdays anyway.

It's a question of degree, and we can't assume that this will turn overtaking on its head. If it's implemented sensibly, it will facilitate 'a bit more' overtaking rather than makng it so commonplace that it becomes valueless. The same argument could have been made about KERS, but those fears were clearly unfounded.

People have been clamouring for change to help overtaking - let's not be too harsh too quickly.


I agree with you in principal, but, anyway you look at it, this IS taking away from the overall skill needed to race (and win) in this category.

It's like playing Forza Motorsport with all the assists on. It's fun but you don't bang your chest about winning.

That's why i say i won't respect it as much.


True, it does risk becoming artifical, and I think there's other ways to achieve the outcome. But I heard the overtaking debate 15 years ago and am still waiting for any substantial action on this. In that regard, my preference is for some action rather than none. It's always harder to have this debate in a year that actually has good racing, as we're seeing in 2010.

My preference is to allow all drivers to manually adjust the wings, as often as they like during the lap. It would add a new dimension of skill, and I think in the era of semi-auto gearshifts that wouldn't be a bad thing. It would definitely allow the cars to be trimmed depending on whether they were leading or following, negating the disadvantage of the wake to some extent, but it's also legitimate control in full operation of the driver unlike the proposed system.


The difference with KERS was that it could be used as a defence as well as offence. Personally I wouldn't have as much against it if it could equally be used to defend. What I don't like is the video game style of artificially making one car faster than another which it does become if it can't also be used as a defence.

It's also a far too complicated system.

What I haven't seen addressed is what happens when there are 3 (or even more) cars within one second of each other. Say if there were 3 cars; the 2nd one is 0.9sec from the 1st, and the 3rd is 0.9sec from the 2nd. Are both the 2nd and 3rd cars allowed to change their wings? Because the 2nd place car is challenging but also defending, and this isn't supposed to be used to defend. Apart from the sporting doubts I have, I also think it'll get ridiculously complicated to manage.



I feel your poll is too restrictive. Do I agree with adjustable rear wings? Yes, as long as they are safe. Do I agree that only the chasers should be allowed to press the button? No. And I think that is the key issue most people find at fault.


agreed about the restrictive poll choices, and with your points.

The adjustable rear wing should be used to compliment the new engine formula for the purpose of efficiency. Not as an overtake button. Wing adjustments should still be manual (as opposed to being part of a driver aid control system), and the adjustments should be within a small range of angles. If it is well thought out, then if the driver makes an adjustment mistake, he should be punished by losing lap time - without losing control of the car.

On a side note, who thinks the tire selections deliberately intended to "spice things up" is a gimmick?


To be clear, an I suggest fan sites with forums like F1Fanatic as a place to find true arguments on the subject, driver adjustable rearwings is not something I object to.

It's the proximity thing, gives a completley unfair advantage given to the following driver, drafting overtakes on straights arn't that great an this is all we'll see more of, not more flys round the outside of 130R.

Consider Imola 2005, or other displays of fantastic defensive driving, all of those will disapear, drivers should not be given unfair artificial advantages, it's not to late to sort this out, get rid of the stupid 1 second thing an let the technology be used at anytime, an it'll have a whole lot more support.


Please somebody tell me this is a joke. Please please please. Common this rule will not come to fruition, the FIA cannot be that stupid surely. Even on a respected Playstation game like GT, this will be stupid. This kind of thing is reserved for games such as Need for speed where player skill is not that relevant.

This is the pinnacle of mottorsport, surely surely this cannot be true, I'm freaking out here


It's a joke. Just wake up from your nightmare. This isn't really happening. This must be some kind of B-movie.


Overtaking is not about swapping position. It's about the fight that precedes it.

Imagine if we never had a privilege to witness that "clash of titans" that was Alonsos' and Schumacher's duel that lasted over 11 laps at Imola 2005 GP. Then remember Turkey 2006 and Michael and Alonso crossing the line side by side after 20 laps long duel.

And then the drama of this years Australia GP! It couldn't have been scripted better! Alonso defending like his life depends on it and then all ending with Webber loosing it and crashing into Hamilton. Just those 3 occasions are worth more than 100 passes that could have been done soullessly on some straight by simply moving ahead of other car. It's those nail biting moments that make F1 what it is, not some bland swap of positions where whole pass involves just a huge speed advantage and no skill at all.

Christian Hepworth

Well said, totally agree!


Well put Brace, it's not so much the pass, but the skill that is required to do so that makes it exciting to watch.


Terrible idea.

It's not overtaking that is enjoyable, it's close racing.

The priority should be to allow the cars to follow each other closer not offer a free pass on a straight.


We want overtaking, yes, but not fake ones like these.

So almost everytime someone is 1 sec behind another, he will catapult passed him no matter how well the other driver defends.

That's not racing, that's cheating. 'Give one guy an advantage so the other can't defend his position with his skills'.

Who are these people who come up with pathetic ideas like these? I almost want Max back.


I don't mind the idea of adjustable rear wings as long as it is driver operated and available anytime. The 1 second behind, only available to the following car, works until the brakes are applied, predetermined locations on the track are absolutely Mickey Mouse. As Webber suggested, it is for video games, not actual F1 competition. Bad enough the front wing rules, now compound it with something like this? Stupid!


Why do they always need to overcomplicate things. Tighten up the weaving rules so that would Schumacher did to Massa in Canada would be punished. Or what Lewis did to Petrov in Sepang.

Even up the balance because at the moment the rules favour the aggresively defending guy in front. The guy infront needs tools he can use to defend, but at the moment the rules are too much in his favour. Overtakes at the moment are largely predicated on the guy infront yielding.

I am not heavily against this rear wing idea, it just seems overkill, and opens up a can of worms. People see a Ferrari overtaking a Lotus as an overtake.. I don't. People see passing someone on the straight like it's an oval as an overtake, I don't. Well yes they are overtakes but they aren't "proper" overtakes. A proper overtake is being close enough entering the braking zone to outbrake the car infront. It's not pulling over onto the racing line before they are even in the braking zone. And for the backmarkers, overtaking cars 4 seconds off the pace should not be a reason to say "hey look there was some overtaking in this race".

Tightening up those rules would be so cheap and simple compared to some of these other ideas. And having a simple ECU electronic boost with some extra revs, but only for a limited time would be another easy thing.

The rear wing thing would help alot for tracks like Silverstone or Barcelona. But it runs the risk of being a mockery in other places like Monza etc.


Good to see a rule change that will definitly have an effect on passing instead of the old tweak here and there. They should give the driver a little more control over the usage in both attack and defend positions. Assign the amount over a whole GP and the driver then has the choice of when to use them. Basically like tyre choices. Giving only one stretch of the track and only if they are within a second is a bit overbearing I think. Or is this just another bargining start point that will be haggled over until the teams are happy? That sounds like a familiar tactic!


Stupid idea. Artificial racing is not the answer and they should have learnt this from the KERS disaster. As we saw in Canada, the tyres seem to play a big part in the excitement and is probably a better avenue to go down.

This is not innovation, it is a gimmick.


Hi James,

Unfortunately won't be able to make the FOTA Fans Forum (unless you want to pay for my flights!?).

Could someone please get the message across to stop messing around with gimic ideas and put more onus back on the driver!

There is a real danger of taking away the skill aspect to racing an F1 car as Mark Webber has pointed out. It should not be about pressing buttons but which driver has the skill to tame the beast underneath him and push as hard as he dares - not push as hard as the regulations allow him to.

We can't rely on weather, tyres or gimics to make racing exciting. The technical aspects of F1 should remain but not too the point where F1 is viewed as 90% the car and 10% the driver.


I am not sure how it could be practically implemented at all. If the driver behind drops the wing and makes the pass, and is unable to make further adjustments as soon as he brakes, does the wing a) stay at a low angle from then on? That means the driver that just got passed would not have this advantage to make a re-pass? b) if it reverts to original setting by itself, that just plain sounds dangerous to change aero settings by itself without the driver's knowledge.

Might as well just give them each a bottle of NOS, at least its under the driver's control.


This expains the implementation a bit more: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/84689

Sounds like they have to be under a second at a certain point on the track to use it, and it will be deactivated and not available again until another point is passed when the breaks are first pressed - so it will reset itself.

This means - they guy being passed won't be able to use it until they reach a pre-determined point so won't he be able to come straight back by turning it on (depending where the activation points are).

Also does this increase the risk of brake testing? If the guy in front knows the system will turn itself off, whats to stop him giving a little dab on the brakes to force the following car to do the same, therby turning it off.


I went to a CART race at a superspeedway in the 90s that was non-stop drafting and passing. It was fantastic to watch, and there was a lot of skill involved in being able to time your move and make it stick. This was possible because the aerodynamics of the cars gave a favourable airflow to the car behind (this was before push-to-pass buttons).

I think the FIA need to forget about all the fancy buttons and gimmicks and mandate a simple rear aero that allows for drafting. They tried to do it before they botched it with the double-diffuser loophole. If they get it right we'd have dynamic racing without the cartoon gimmicks.


Agreed 100% hutch.

Michigan 2000 was one of the most exciting races I have seen in any series, with Andretti and Montoya drafting each other in a race long duel that ended in them touching wheels at 380kmh on the last lap as they muscled their way over the line. Montoya won by half a car length... and Ben Edwards commentary was brilliant (can I say that here? Sry JA).

The drafting duels around Monza in the late 60's are legendary and it would be amazing to witness racing like that again.

Unfortunately I don't see it ever happening again. F1 has moved on from these times and drafting like that just isn't what F1 is about any more.

F1 nowadays is about technology.

And computers.

And GPS systems.

And all of the above telling drivers when to overtake.

In pre-determined, FIA approved, locations.

Epic, epic fail 🙁


Why all these electronics nonsense?? Simply make F-Duct/ blown rear wings legal again as they already achieve the same effect!! And most of the teams have it already so there's no more development cost required!!


The first two lines from a Paul Kelly song seem appropriate right now.

Be careful what you pray for

You just might get it

Be careful what you pray for

You might regret it

As fans, pretty much everyone agreed that the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix was boring, and nearly everyone agreed the boredom was caused by a lack of overtaking, and that it should be easier to overtake. It seems the FIA have listened, hence the new adjustable rear wing rule.

I think, as fans we can sometimes be too demanding. Sure we all want to see brilliant passing moves, but we need to also accept that when you have a bunch of extremely competitive teams and drivers that brilliant passes aren't going to occur all the time. Therefore without the introduction of rules to promote passing, passes will remain to be occasional treats. As a treat however, they will remain to be special.

At the end of the day do people want to see real racing with real results, which may sometimes be boring, or exciting racing with somewhat artificial results, and so much passing it becomes boring? Personally I'll take the real racing with the occasional breath taking pass, over 20 passes every lap.


If F1 isn't about unrestricted technological progress and relatively open prototyping, it must be about fierce racing. They tried to rekindle the unrestricted tech progress with the 3.5L NA formula, but the technology charade has finally died an unceremonious death. Close racing is the new imperative by default. It has nothing to do with the fans screaming for overtaking.

FOTA are only making crazy recommendations like the proximity wing b/c they think the new imperative is making the fans happy. It's not. Hard racing is the new imperative b/c prototyping has been brought to a near standstill for financial reasons beyond our control.

The fans are only trying to point out what is so obviously important for F1. We only need to accept that FOTA engineers are an aimless disjointed lot who cannot be counted on. Time to readjust our expectations.


I'm in no way against adjustable rear wings, KERS, F-ducts or anything of the like.

What I am against though, is the ridiculous arbitrary restrictions on the use of such technology during the race.

Personally I watch F1 more for the cars/technology than the drivers, so love to see all these new little innovations/gimmicks/whatever.

Traditionally most rulings restrict such things to create an even competition with all teams on the same level, now suddenly they're introducing restrictions to create a forced imbalance!?

In that case why not bring back 4WD, active suspension and ducted fans, but only allow the car currently in last place to use them!

Next thing you know, teams will have to hand over control of their cars to the FIA for a portion of the race 'to make it more exciting'!

End Hyperbole.


I have nothing against a movable wing in theory, but not for such a gimicky usage.

I don't think they've thought this through very thoroughly before making it law, as per usual.

As has been said, overtaking is an art and it's a joy to watch someone who's good at it. But like I've said all along, if they become too frequent they'll lose their impact and excitement.

Either allow both cars to use it freely and turn it in to cat and mouse and playing chicken with the braking point, or don't allow either driver to have it IMO.

Don't just kneecap the guy in front for being in front. Otherwise you might as well start forming the grid in reverse championship order and putting the fastest cars at the back. WOO YEAH overtaking. Oh they're in order now, snooze.

Don't penalise the guy who's doing well for doing well. If you can just push a button to overtake the guys in front of you then quali loses its importance too.


FYI I voted 'no' even though I don't think movable wings are a bad idea in and of themselves I think this is an awful and gimmicky implementation and that's what I'm saying no to.

Craig Goldsmith

I'd prefer to see overtaking be only skills based, and KERS and the moveable rearwing not go ahead in 2011. We've had plenty of enjoying racing this year without either KERS or adjustable rear wings.

Last year KERS only worked when some times had it, and others didn't the rest of the time, it was 2 drivers both pressing the button to attack and defend nullifying the advantage.


Wow, no love for adjustable rear wings? I think adjustable anything is great if its not limited with silly rules like 'must be 1 sec behind a car'.


Why don't they change the tracks? Or introduce underwings? I keep thinking of Zandvoort and the long straight with the Tarzan as the first corner.......

Sounds like something Bernie came up with....


FIA Political Posturing -

Fans and drivers both think its a crap rule and it really is but somehow it smells far too much.

Don't be fooled fans - this is probably Political FIA posturing so they will ditch this incredibly expensive bodywork and unworkable circuit electronics and false racing but the teams have to give in on something else - something like ...... there's going to be more races with no summer breaks, so the teams have to work harder.

We've seen it before and we'll see it again.

Oh ! How I hate this horrible political manoeuvring.


I think the idea of KERS works better than the moveable rear wing. KERS at least has an element of strategy about it in the sense that one driver might use theirs at one point on the track, but the following driver might use it in a different section of the track to gain advantage there. The moveable wings just seem to be a bit pre-determined and lack thought or excitement.


Every time the rules change it seems to be without consulting any drivers.


Whether it's KERS or a reduction in drag, I hate the 'push-button' activation of these mechanisms. If I remember correctly, KERS, for example, was supposed to be (or be perceived to be):

a) environmentally sympathetic; and

b) relevant to road-going technology.

Now, unless you live your life like Dominic Toretto from The Fast and the Furious, no-one is going to be pushing boost buttons to overtake the 6:00 pm bus on the way home from work. Why not allow the KERS to be active all the time (as long as charge is available)? Allow the teams to decide whether they use it to, for example, "top-up" their horsepower after de-tuning their engines to save fuel, consequently needing less fuel (and weight) to finish a race; or just add the extra lump of horsepower onto the existing engine and run the extra weight. At least the former of those options has a tenuous link to environmental-friendliness.

Phew! Rant over, glad I got that off my chest.


Overtaking is always a concern and yet we get races like Montreal or Monaco where there is plenty of action, excitement and edge of your seat intrigue and all of this was created without moveable rear wings and other game like inventions.

What attracts fans and interest is excitement. Processional races aren't a lot of fun to watch. When you look at the most exciting races we've had so far this year and in the past, it isn't necessarily the gadgets which created it but rather the drivers, the reliability of the cars, the tyres, the startegy and the conditions at, on and of the track it self. For me these are things that can't be manufatured like a moveable wing and I have to wonder if passing it made to be too easy, then won't that take away from the excitement and make the races no different then the processional ones which we all abhore anyway?


Here's a better suggestion. Instead of the current proposal, the marshalls might as well wave blue flags at the car in front...at least that way F1 will save a lot of money!

Jokes aside, I guess the problem is not with the idea of movable rear wings itself but the regulations governing their use.

Andrew (in Melbourne)

Why is it always said that the fans want more overtaking. Im a fan and im happy with the amount of overtaking at the moment.


Might as well allow flexible body work and remove the need to driver activation.

The FIA has, again, tied themselves up with the detail of how and when this device can be used. It will be interesting to see how this can be policed over the race weekend.

Not sure that all fans will clearly understand how this rule is applied in racing conditions or, more importantly, how stewards will make judgments without further reinforcing the perception that this is just a gimmick.

As many of the fans posts here say, we don’t want gimmicks, we want honest, wheel to wheel racing with the best drivers in the most technologically advanced cars.


I voted yes, for a couple of reasons.

1. Everyone said KERS would lead to less skill being required and ridiculously easy overtakes. It didn't happen, but it did allow for some interesting racing between the haves and have nots.

2. The Mclaren essentially has this at the moment (or certainly a speed advantage similar to that conferred by the suggested wing) and it is making for some great racing and overtaking, even between the Mclarens.

I say let's give it a go. To be honest we can all say the lack of overtaking is just the nature of F1 and this move will cheapen the sport. Some people can probably even convince themselves that there is enough overtaking (if they really try) and everything is fine, but I for one am open to any ideas that will spice things up.

It is a confident move by the FIA and I for one support it.


This sounds like one of Bernie's random suggestions that he throws out for fun in interviews, only somehow it found its way into the actual rulebook instead.

Please, lets not turn Formula One into Formula Mario Kart.


For Pete's sake, why make it so complicated? Why not just do it the way the did KERS? Allow each driver to do it for a limited amount of time in every lap, no matter if there other cars in the front or the back!

Overtaking will still be difficult, because the driver at the front with shed drag, too.


This is my frustration as always with the new ideas in f1.

The overtaking working group did loads of work a couple of years ago.

I fully agree with a previous post. No buttons (apart from jenson), no gimmicks.

Just give the drivers cars that can follow each other closely in corners (change to aero regs so this is achieved).

Then you get genuine racing from racers (not created by push to pass buttons).

how on earth will kers work with this. We're going to have a car behind with a massive speed advantage.

I fear the tech guys get carried away and excited about the technical challenge of making it work.

I like adjustable wings as a concept, but manually adjustable by the driver during a race to help him optimise the handling. Not handled by a computer.


agreed, allow the driver to adjust it to his liking like the front wing. and make it unlimited


Sorry for another question but I recalled when diffusers first came into f1 that exhaust gasses were fed into the diffuser but cars suffered from pitch sensitivity caused by the on off nature if throttle.

Is the way Adrian handled it different this time?


So I find it a bit hard to be interested in the FIA's constant tinkering in their attempt to turn F1 into some sort of Hollywood movie; I did naively think that this might have changed under the new regime, obviously not.

Anyway I didn't read the new rules too closely so forgive me if this is a daft question, but surely the car that has just been overtaken will instantly be within 1 second of the car in front and therefore be able to apply their adjustable wing and potentially get the position back, therefore negating the usefulness of the wing in the first place and if anything making the whole situation much more dangerous since both cars are travelling faster than they would normally be. So the drivers will have to instantly compensate for the extra speed and presumably some sort of shift of inertia as the wing reverts back. Presumably the drivers should be able to handle this since they are so skilled, but I can imagine a lot of missed chicanes and what have you coming about.

My vote? No absolutely not, it's a terrible idea.


Mark said it all.

When overtaking occurs, we want to see the driver's skills behind that, not that gimmick.

From my understanding, it is aerodynamics that is causing the problem because when you follow the car in front, you lose down force.

That's why we see more overtaking in wet races.

Am I correct James?

If that's the case, why don't we get rid of all those aerodynamics and make those cars more mechanical-grip base.

I think that very very few people really care about how complex it is to make aerodynamics efficiency.

The people are not interested, it is not exactly that useful in other areas such as road cars, it prevents drivers from overtaking, I don't understand why they spend so much money for that.

By the way congratulations James. Your site is becoming more and more influential in shaping the future of the sport.


for followers of a high technology sport, f1 fans sure are a conservative lot.


Don't like the adjustable rear wings because I don't think they will add anything to the racing.

Sure we will get more overtaking but we will lose some of the skill of defending & overtaking.

When you have drivers able to defend you end up with memorable races such as Imola 2005/2006, Istanbul 2006. You also have moments like Hakkinens pas son Schumi at Spa 2000 which was brought about not because of buttons on the wheel but because Schumi was defending which forced Mika to try something different to make the pass.

When you go back to say Silverstone in 1993, You had Senna defending against Prost & Schumi which led to some great racing which everyone remembers. Had Prost been able to press a button to have a KERS boost & rear wing ajust to simply blow by Senna on a straght we woudn't remember it.

Yes I would like to see overtaking made more possible but by improving the racing & not by handicapping the car ahead & giving the car behind speed boost's the defending car can't also use.


The F-duct is a brilliant technical achievement - all the more so for being within the rules - in the same way some teams' interpretation of the rules led to double diffusers.

This is what F1 should be about.

KERS was a good idea stupidly restricted by PlayStation style use limits. Have a zero energy condition at the start of a race then free and unlimited use of all energy that can be subsequently generated and stored. No limits - that would really encourage development that would also be relevant to road cars.

The FiA should be actively encouraging technical innovation within the rules and not banning radical solutions just because they, or their favoured teams, didn't think of it.


I support moveable aero as all it seeks to do is redress the aero advantage that the lead car gets from running in fresh air. It quite simple and not that radical.

The advantage formula 1 has is that it is a sport that can make up the rules as it goes along. They can try out the wings, see what happens and make tweaks if they feel it is not working out.


Wouldn't it have been easier just to allow the engine an increase in revs for a few seconds? It would have the same effect without requiring a new development war and it would be self limiting due to the fuel constraint.


I'm not sure who it was (maybe Christian Horner in the F1 forum on BBC) but they said that they didn't want F-ducts next year as they had no relationship to the development of road cars, so they had to think of something better? How is a more expensive solution that again has to relation to road cars help?


I would say yes to driver adjustable rear wings without the gizmo. The proposed system is a little unfair to the driver defending his track position. I'd love to see mind games on track, not straightforward passes.

Of course, the driver in front could make use of his KERS button to defend his position … hmmm

But first things first: cars should be designed to slipstream each other!


You have to remember Webber is one of the best defensive driver going around so he like the status quo. I would love to hear from some of the attacking drivers on this, drivers like Alonso and Hamilton. On another issue, Webber seems to be a very good thinker. Maybe he is someone that could become a team manager after he retires from Driving. He seems to be a driver that teams want while they develope a car.


Adjustable rear wings are ok if everyone has them and can use them as they like. but the 1 second rule is stupid and artificial.

what would be better is either kers, adjustable rear wing or a higher rev limit which could be used only 10 times during a gp.

this gives the skill of knowing when to deploy it back to the driver. if hes wasted it all before the end of the race and needs to defend then that was his choice. if hes still got it and holds up a train that was his choice. if he used it early in the race and gained possitions he can keep that was his choice.

and so the drivers skill is still what determines the race but with a usage limit it is bound to lead to different stratergys!

Mark D. Johnson

This quixotic quest for more overtaking is going to kill Formula One. It has never been easy to overtake; that's why it's F-1, and not the SCCA regionals. If fans want to see overtaking, then switch to NASCAR.


This is a horrible idea. If we end up seeing 300 overtakes during a race then we will know that it's only happening because it's easy now, it will lose all the magic and excitement. F1 is great it doesn't need to be fixed at all.


"The system will be disabled the first time the driver uses the brakes after the system has been activated.”

Interesting, does this mean that the wing will remain in the same position as when the brakes were applied? Or that it will return to the upright position. (and fasten it's seatbelt!)

Obviously the latter, if having overtaken someone, the brakes are applied approaching a bend the full downforce is required. However the overtake with wing down and the braking zone may well be one and the same. To move the wing takes time and it must be locked in position having moved.


The 'show' seems to have become more important than the sport. I parallel the outrage from fans about team orders to contrived overtaking.

Manufactured racing scenarios are theatrical and aimed at a controlling interests (FOM) sole objective to increase viewing figures. I believe they have lost sight of growth vs their core market.

The sweat, passion and committment from the engineers, teams and drivers is compelling.

Ensuring fair competition and close championships seems to work best. 2007 & 2008 went to the wire, the zero to hero of 2009, with a penultimate race showing amazing overtaking moves left me breathless.

When I am asked who will win 2010 I have no idea, this is part of the excitement.

F1 has the great formula of high speed, tactics, strategy, technology, human error and danger that no other sport can provide.

It is not broken, yet everyone seems desperate to fix it.


"Manufactured racing scenarios are theatrical and aimed at a controlling interests (FOM) sole objective to increase viewing figures. I believe they have lost sight of growth vs their core market."

Totally agree with you. They (FOM and FOTA as well) are so obsessed with getting new fans that they systematically forget about the core fans who have stayed loyal for years. But if they turn it into some wrestling farce then this particular core fan will stop watching.


Not a very good rule.

Good Scenario:

Lead driver is obviously a couple of seconds slower that second driver, overtake more likely, therefore faster driver can get away

Bad Scenario:

Penultimate lap, 2 cars competing for the lead, will both try to be in second place at the end of the lap so they can start the final lap in second place and get the mickey-mouse overtake for the win.

Bad Scenario:

2 evenly matched cars/drivers, may swap lead every lap due to being allowed to pass. This is not racing.

Also, it may reduce strategic slowing down of a team’s second car to back up other drivers.

Overall, I do not think this is a good rule.


I think I agree with Purcell: "When people are complaining there's TOO MUCH overtaking, then we know we've done a good job".


Overtaking should be about skill not about pushing a button at the right moment. That's something that belongs indeed on a Playstation (as Mark Webber correctly pointed out) but in my opinion not on a F1 car.

Alistair Blevins

My understanding is that the device can only be engaged at certain points on the circuit when the gap is under 1 second.

Isn't that last second the problem, in that cars cannot follow close enough to engage in the slipstream of the car ahead?

If the gap is under 1 second on the straight (where the device is 'safe' to deploy) then surely the following car will be engaged in the activity of slipstreaming.

To further enhance the speed of the following car at this point seems a) dangerous, and b) plainly unfair to the car in front (who will be forced into taking more robust defensive measures).

Silly idea.

Stick with KERS - at least it's sporting, and fair.


Seems sensationalist, I know, but I really do think this will be the beginning of the end of F1 being a credible sport. So many people already suggest that it's all about the car in F1 and little about the drivers' skill and if this rule is introduced I would have to agree. Any driver will be able to overtake any other at the flick of a switch. We want a sport not a mechanical version of American Wrestling ie a stage show!


I agree - it's a poor idea. In last year's Belgian Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen only won because he pushed a button to get past Fisichella. It wasn't proper racing and nor is this.

When will the FIA understand that the best way to create good racing is to do something with the tyres? 2005 was one of the greatest seasons I've ever seen because of the one-tyre rule (Raikkonen at the Nurburgring - one of the most exciting finishes to a Grand Prix ever. Raikkonen v. Fisichella in Japan - also one of the most exciting finishes to a GP ever) but they got rid of it at the end of the season! Bring it back, that's what I say!


Yes we would like to see overtaking but, and here's what F1 does not seem to understand, we do not want it at any cost!


I think/hope RickeeBoy may have it right - this is such an idiotic idea. I wonder what the FIA want instead, that they propose such a s**t idea first so that they can eventually get their other one through instead ...

I wish they'd just get *rid* of the airflow problem, instead of playing with gimmicky workarounds that are potentially very dangerous and presumably extremely expensive ...

I want to see people in fabulous cars racing each other, where an overtake *is* possible if the driver can drive the car faster than the one in front. It's ridiculous how fast F1 cars become stuck behind slower ones just due to the mechanics of the situation and how the skills of the respective drivers have so little to do with it ...

A message to the FIA : Get a life, and give F1 its life back!


Im totally against the proposal. I agree with Mark Webber on this and that the skill will be removed from overtaking/defending. It will be similar to a front runner lapping a backmarker. I dont believe any wing system should be in place, they should all have standard wings and let them race.


Well, this seems to me like an unfair advantage for the following car. And there is simply no way to defend your position when you are the leading car.

Currently, you sometimes get blown away by an overtaking move, because you understand how difficult it is to overtake. If you have multiple overtakings taking place just because of this gimmick, overtaking is diminished.

What I don't understand is why not just simply prohibit the diffusor. This is the most disturbing factor for the following car. By doing this you can follow the car in front more closely and it is easier to try and overtake that car. As it is the same for everyone it won't take that much away from the value of overtaking.


Why can't the powers that be leave F1 alone!? Overtaking by the use of this rear wing will be artificial and will take away the "skill element" of F1 racing. F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport ... It's not supposed to be easy to overtake. Things like this new rear wing and the dreaded KERS device just make the sport look stupid.


It's all a question of percentages. If it suddenly reduces drag by 50% and allows the driver to waltz by, that'd be boring. In theory, I'd be okay with it, if the benefit is more modest.


Why not to try that adjustable rear wing? I learnt that in the past overtaking was possible thanks to the mistakes with operating the manual gearbox. Now we have another a new toy as well as KERS. The only what makes me doubtful is strict condition to active and disactivate it. I'm afraid it could be missed idea like KERS's limited operating time...


I don't know what the FIA guys are doing during the races... are they forgetting to watch them? This year we are having one of the most exciting championships ever, and the last race had 60 overtakes! Why do they want to introduce a gimmick like this? And with the return of the KERS?! It will really look like Mario Kart...


a much easier and cheaper solution to giving an advantage to someone following is to have dirty big rear wings of standard a standard design, which have poor downforce for the drag they create.


Why/how is it that the FIA keeps coming up with new rules that draw negative comments from supporters, teams and even drivers of F1!?!

My impression of the FIA is that they are very unorganised, key decisions are not thought through – i would go as far to say they are out of touch with the sport; but how can that be...

So many changes all the time and very few are really good ideas that involved feedback from drivers, teams and supporters - Seems to me the FIA should focus on safety and let FOTA sort out the rules; Especially now FOTA are trying to involve us the fans.

Please FIA stop medalling with the sport we all love that is F1


James you have the poll results in front of you. Please relay that to FIA and esteemed members of FOTA, who are set to ruin F1 for us. I don't know what to say really, this is one of the most riduculous moves.


We will discuss it at the fans forum on Thursday with FOTA


The FIA need to ask themselves why is overtaking exciting?

Its difficult, infrequent, affects the oucome of the race, skillfull, exciting, dangerous and most importantly it is not inevitable.

Push to pass is none of these things and therefore not really overtaking.

For overtaking to be of benefit to "the show" it needs to be possible to both overtake and defend.

Barahin style pressions are bad as it was not possible to overtake.

Cars swapping places due to push to pass is also bad as it will not be possible to defend.


This just go to show that being heavily involved in something - like the FIA and FOTA are in F1, does not necessarily mean you know everything about it. This is why software companies always release beta versions to the general public or a group for testing purposes - to gauge their reaction, and iron out glitches and niggles, before releasing the final version.

I guess F1 being a "scientific" sport, is full of overly complicated thinkers, who just cannot think in simple terms, and have to "complicate" even the simplest issue.

This is one rule that is guaranteed to throw up a myriad of scenarios, thereby generating more confusion for drivers, fans and the FIA alike. It will also result in more penalties, and more rules will be brought in to clarify the "rule", thereby compounding the whole issue further.

If you want adjustable rear wings, Make it manual, Make it usable by any driver, At any time, At any point in the circuit. In short - MAKE IT SIMPLE!! This cannot be too difficult to understand!


As many readers have pointed out, this "movable bodywork" rule handcuffs the leading driver. What follows are my modest proposals to provide the leading driver with some defensive tools. (I cannot take credit for inventing these; I saw them in a 1960s James Bond movie.)

1. Allow driver-controlled changes to car width.

007's signature Aston Martin had knock-off spinners that could be extended outward away from the car, in line with the rear axle. The purpose of these was to shred the tires of the opponent.

I believe Red Bull have already managed to sneak these past the scrutineers. In Turkey, when Seb attempts to pass Mark, we clearly see him move over to get within deployment range, but wily Mark beats him to it. It is cleverly concealed by the camera angle, but one can see that Seb's right rear tire is immediately shredded, and we all saw the rest. Brilliant move; edge-of-the-seat racing spectacle!

2. Allow driver-controlled modifications to the track surface.

The BMW-Saubers (and their component supplier) have been somewhat less successful at implementing 007's oil-dump weapon, which throws oil into the path of a following vehicle. Their pit wall doesn't have the deployment timing strategy worked out yet, and there appears to be a glitch in the implementation that strands the car on the track after deployment. The testing ban has apparently hurt them here, so we have not yet seen this used for a successful defense of track position.

You can help me petition the FIA for these changes by responding to my post. 🙂


These are excellent. I'm hoping they'll also soon be adding the monkeys to the rear wing to throw oil barrels at the cars behind.


This all goes against that fundamental F1 rule of 'no moveable/adjustable aerodynamic devices'. Adjustable front wings should be banned too. It just makes everything do complicated.

If you want to 'spice up' the racing how about this for an idea... "the cars can call into the pits for fuel during the race if they want".

Didn't the CART cars have a flat panel across the rear of the wing so following cars could get closer and maybe pass?


"Didn’t the CART cars have a flat panel across the rear of the wing so following cars could get closer and maybe pass?"

Sounds interesting? Anyone know if this is the case?


"If you want to ’spice up’ the racing how about this for an idea… “the cars can call into the pits for fuel during the race if they want”."



Admit that it is confusing to have moveable aero after many years of it being banned


Penny wise, pound foolish. You'd have thought they'd have learned from KERS.

When you reduce the scope of moveable aerodynamic devices and energy recovery systems to trivialised "push-to-pass" buttons, it surely becomes extremely difficult to justify the effort in terms of either cost, improvement to the show or F1's green credentials?

If you're going to have KERS and moveable wings, the teams need to be free to package and use them as they see fit. If need be freeze some other area of development to balance the cost, but don't devalue good ideas by trivialising them.


last lap at Monza. cars dueling for the lead. no one wants to lead as they would be passed for the win by the car behind using the movable wing. yes it may add an element of "chess" to the the sport, but is it racing?


It is an expensive gimmick that can and will cause accidents when it fails. And there will be failures.

We had exciting racing with proper looking cars before the aero arms race began. I would be ecstatic if F1 lost some speed in exchange for radical restrictions on aero and the return of mechanical grip domination.


for everyone blaming the fia, i understand that the proposal was handed to the fia by fota so its not an fia idea.

in fact a lot of the regulations that have come in the past 12 montsh (fueling ban, narrower tyres, double diffuser ban, f-duct ban, ajustable wings, pirelli tyres) have all been fota proposals the fia have accepted.


At least with a "push to pass" type solution which has a limited amount of times that it can be used per race there would still be a degree of strategy and racecraft retained.

It would require critical decisions as to when and how you used them, whether it was to pass someone, defend against someone or perhaps just use them all very quickly to help build up an early lead at the start of the race.

Do you keep some up your sleeve in case you need it to attack/defend later in the race? I think it would actually add to the spectacle in the same way that it is interesting to see some drivers drive flat-out (and trash their tyres relatively quickly) and some drivers taking care to look after their tyres so that they can attack later in the race/stint.

Watching the way that those decisions would affect a driver's overall race would be captivating, and seeing their individuality come through in the way that they choose to use that resource would potentially still allow us to see the racecraft of an Schumacher/Alonso Vs the swashbuckling nature of a Raikkonen shine through...


There is already adjustable front wings and we have heard no mention of them this season with no failures.

So I see no reason that the rear wings will be any different. The FIA will ensure they are safe and that the margins do not advantage the car behind too much.

The one thing that I don't understand is that this season the drivers have been complaning that they loose front end grip when behind a car, so how will adjustible rear wings change this?


I think its an ok idea in principal but the idea of only being able to use it within one second and not being able to use it to defend ruins it. It can't be called overtaking if you just drive past a car that can't defend on the straights.


Adjustable wings could be a great idea but not like this. I agree with the comment James pulled out; that it mnakes an artiface similar to a video game.

Importantly, it will only increase overtaking in a straight line which is boring anyway! It's the dicing into the braking zones and through the corners that makes overtaking exciting!


Is it really safe to do that? 300kmh+ and less than 1 sec behind the car in front trying to adjust your rear wing and prob the front wing and brake bias as well. Doesn't sound too safe to me.


Would football be more interesting if the goalkeeper had both hands tied behind his back and the average score was 50 goals for each team?

I think a tight 0-0 match would be more exciting than watching a game with 100 easy goals, and I think F1 races are the same. Anyone else remember Gilles defending four cars for the latter part of a GP? No-one got by him, yet it was still exciting... why was it exciting? Because he was using his skill to defend. If you remove the skill from the equation, the excitement will drop dramatically.


Pushing a button to go faster isn't technology suitable for "the pinnacle of motor sport." It's a gimmick to produce artificially-induced passing and thus artificially-induced excitement. Gimmicks are used to sell cheap, low quality merchandise. Is that the image we want F1 to have? This sort of thing gives me the impression that the FIA has become desperately fickle in its attempts to make money.

I agree with Mark Webber's comments. As a fan, I want to see passing accomplished by superior engineering and driver skill. That's what F1 is about in my mind. Please leave the gimmicks (like this and KERS) in video games where they belong.



I don't like the idea of a driver not being allowed to defend their position when under attack.


I guess as long as they are safe my only question would be how much of an advantage would the following car get? I think a lot of people on here are expecting some sort of rediculous speed advantage when it might just be that couple of mph more needed to get into the sweet spot? Until the detail understood I think a few people are jumping to conclusions a bit too quickly.


This is a terrible idea, and only devalues the essence of F1. More time by the FIA needs to be spent, to see how some testing can be brought back during the season.


"Do you like the idea of driver adjustable rear wings in F1?




What an excellent example of why referendums are dangerous! Black or white, left or right are also examples of extremes. Why should we be so restricted when the correct colour is grey or the correct direction to go is straight on?

Yes I do want driver adjustable rear wings - but what idiot thought up the idea of a one second gap and complicated permission software? The driver should have complete freedom to do whatever he likes with his wing between very safe fixed points. Failure to add downforce back for cornering is exactly what we need! Let them forget and drift wide or reduce their tyre life - we need driver errors for better racing.

What could be better than a driver reducing downforce to keep another car behind ... only to forget to put it back and allowing the follwing car through as he drifts wide at the next corner?


It's a bad idea. We've had one boring race this year, the rest have ranged from decent to thrilling. Why do we need this rule change again..?

I want overtaking to be easier, not easy. So that the car behind doesn't need to have a 2 sec/lap advantage to pass. If that is so impossible for the self-proclaimed best brains in motor racing to come up with, then having next year's cars battle away using the exact same rules as this year would be fine with me.


I've said it once before and I'll say it again: if we want to see more overtaking a simple rule change will have the desired effect. The rule should be that once a following driver has managed to get alongside the car in front of him, any collision between the two cars will be deemed to be the fault of the car being overtaken. This simple rule will make it very attractive for any driver to have a go -- say by lunging down the inside on a corner. Once the manoeuvre is completed it's then the following driver who now has advantage of the rule and is therefore encouraged to retake the position. This should make things exciting without any stupid gimmicks.


It always looked to me like F1 pilots are overdeveloped nintendo/playstation gamers.


I have no issue except that if implemented should not be restricted. It's fine with me if the usage is limited. Allowing the car behind to use it is akin to blue flag, the car in front has limited or no right to defend.


it would be a lot simpler to have drivers able to control the ECU of the car in fronts .

That way when you get close you could cut the cars ignition.

Another cheaper method of allowing overtaking could be attaching electric probes to drivers nether regions, and allowing any one within 1 second to zap them.

it would really shake up the order and give plenty of passing and crashing as Todt requires.

On a serious note, putting a Frenchmen in charge of anything , other than hightailing in reverse at the first sign of trouble, is to be avoided


However poltically incorrect your last para is, I laughed for 30 seconds at least before being able to breathe 🙂


So let me get this straight:

We're not going to allow the F-duct, which has no moving parts but makes a certain car faster.

BUT we will have computer-controlled movable 'bodywork' probably with little servos to move it around. Just so cars behind can do majikal passes?

So we'll have a chain - the 1st guy will be in "normal" config, and *everybody behind him will be in 'bodywork" mode. Nice. Stupid.

What about when lapping someone- then too?

BTW its interesting that everyone thinks this means "rear wing" when it says "bodywork".


Why don't they just do the right thing, and balance out the excessive aero vs grip ratio?

Let the teams select tire compounds, and we will get overtaking and geniune racing.

Artifical KERS and Adjustable rear wings are far more boring, as they are contrived, and the driver is made irrelevant.

Does anyone watch any sport where the equipment alone decides the outcome? The driver is the show, the technology is the accent... keep things balanced, and the show will be good... just get the god damn aero reduced!!!! And widen up the tires...


We keep heraring about dirty air stopping overtaking. Does anyone know if this is still true? Does anyone know if the diffuser is the biggest cause of this? If so ban the diffuser and to make up for it bring back ground effect (if it does not create dirty air). I don't know enough about these things!


I wish the powers that be would stop dumbing down the sport to meet the requirements of the LCD audience.


oh the irony that an innovation designed to temporarily and sporadically reduce drag should meet with increasing resistance...


I suggested a very similar idea, but a more 'natural' one to the FIA last year. My idea was to simulate an exaggerated slipstream, so the effect increased the closer the car was to any car in front of it, and also, only in it's 'digital' wake, ie. in line with the car in front. Then this models a low downforce, high drag race series with a pronounced slipstreaming effect, and we all know how exciting they are!

It can be achieved simply using a higher accuracy version of the GPS they already use, our company has been working with such systems for years, and you can get 100 updates a second and <1m accuracy, on any circuit. We have a working simulator already.


i like the idea of a adjustable rear wing, mainly because i am designing an adjustable rear wing myself. But i also feel it will take away the skill from the drivers when it comes to overtaking. it will be difficult for the drivers who are in front of another driver and want to maintain that lead when the driver behind will always have a possible 10km/h advantage over him.

however maybe in the late future this idea can be put into practise.

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