F1 Winter Break
F1 moves towards a completely new formula for 2013
F1 moves towards a completely new formula for 2013
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Sep 2010   |  10:20 am GMT  |  210 comments

There have been discussions going on all year behind the scenes to frame new rules for the 2013 season and it is beginning to look as though F1 is going to grasp the nettle and make some really exciting changes.

2013 has been a key date on the horizon for some time as it offers the sport a massive opportunity, one it cannot really afford to squander. It amounts to a chance to reshape F1 to be exactly what it needs to be to set itself up for a bright future as both thrilling to watch and relevant to the road car industry and to society in general.

F1 cars will change dramatically in 2013 (Darren Heath)

Between now and then there is also the prospect of another bruising battle between the teams on the one hand and FOM/FIA on the other over commercial rights, share of revenue and so on, but that is for another post.

The current Concorde Agreement expires at the end of 2012 and at the same time the engine formula is due for renewal, away from high powered 2.4 litre V8s towards something more sustainable.

Although a current F1 engine’s ratio of power produced for amount of fuel is allegedly better than a Toyota Prius, to continue down the path of burning up 150 kilos of fuel per car per Grand Prix race, let alone what is used in practice and qualifying, is clearly not sustainable. Of course the real environmental impact of F1 is in the air travel and logistics sending people and freight around the world to 19 Grands Prix and in spectators driving to circuits. But that is broadly the same for any world class event.

F1 can send out the right signals from 2013 onwards by changing the formula. The name of the game now is making the engines more fuel efficient, by harvesting waste energies and changing the aerodynamics accordingly. The key to the 2013 changes is to control the engines by means of regulating how much fuel they can use and regulate the fuel flow.

The moment you do that you are obliged to reduce the drag from the car and that means smaller wings and different floor. At the same time this should make them more exciting to watch as the overtaking opportunities will improve. Overtaking should also be helped by the significant power boost which will come from the energy regeneration systems. We are talking about a boost worth something like 20% of additional power for 20 seconds or more.

Working groups from teams, engine makers and the FIA have been looking at this. On the FIA’s side Gilles Simon, formerly with Peugeot and Ferrari, has been brought in by Jean Todt to oversee this important transition. And the plans are beginning to take shape. The engine will be smaller capacity, 1.6 litre turbos, with plenty of energy regeneration, far more than in F1’s rather half hearted first attempt at KERS last year.

The changes to the engine will mean that the aerodynamics will have to change because if you are regulating the fuel flow, you have to reduce the drag of the cars. There has been talk of going back to a ground effect, in other words deriving more of the downforce from the floor of the car, rather than the wings,

“Any freedom to make the cars have a shaped underside will make them less set-up sensitive so easier to engineer and drive,” says Frank Dernie, a veteran of the ground effect days of the early 1980s. “I would personally be grateful for any freedom to make the underside of the cars less awful and think it can only be an improvement to do so. If we get more ground effect and smaller wings the engine will need to be a fair bit less powerful…”

I’m quite excited about the prospects for these changes and once we get some more clarification I’ll look at organising a fan discussion on 2013, with some engineers to help decode how it will work.

In the meantime, I’ve posted a video at the bottom of this post, of an interview I did a while back with Cosworth CEO Tim Routsis. It was primarily about how Cosworth has diversified as a business into new fields like military applications, clean air technology, but the second part of it, (starting at 2m 22s) is a very interesting take on the 2013 rules and what kind of engine and chassis F1 is heading for.

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I know F1 is trying to paint itself as a environmentally friendly / aware sport. We all know the amount of fuel used by the race cars themselves is very small compared to all the air travel / logistics.

I would like to see F1 cars with V12 5.0 or larger engines. Really gutsy beautifully sounding engines, maybe knock the revs back to 9,000 rpm or so.

I suppose back in the day the old 1.5 litre V6 turbos were cool though.


By 2020 the cars will probably be required to run the races on two AA batteries, with a limited supply of batteries per season to boot.

This is just the way things are going. It will still be good racing, probably. Just a bit quieter.


Yeah but they sounded boreing!!!



The message may be right or wrong, but is anyone else fed up with the constantly changing playing field and hypocrisy? One great way to save money would be to stop forcing the teams to completely redesign their car every year by meddling with the rules in small ill thought through iterations. Constantly tinkering also makes comparisons between drivers of yesteryear utterly meaningless as they, to all intents and purposes, took part in a completely different sport. Who has a clue if Senna is better than Hamilton or Alonso - they were driving in what amount to be completely different formulas. We can't even compare points anymore, whoever wins this year will probably break the record for most points in a season by default! Just leave it alone for five bloody minutes please! And please don't say that F1 needs to innovate or die, perhaps some fans would like to see a bit of consistency so they do not have to get used to a whole new sport every season. Surely this also turns off new fans who have no idea what is going on from one season to the next and can't look to previous years for meaningful comparisons. James, I also do not buy your 'this is the same for any world class sport' comments about infrastructure costs - Football, Cricket, Rugby have nothing like the overheads of F1 and they really should start there. We are happy to accept high travel costs because Bernie needs to service CVCs debt but it's the on track racing that has to adapt to cover it? F1 is a business not a sport and as much as I love and adore it - I really do not know why rationally.



Why does it take a fan to figure it out?

Logic and F1 do not go together.

Hey... lets pull out all of the old tech ideas we banned in years past and use them for 2 years,then we will change them again.

What a joke.


Important points all...

Before making any irreversible decisions on the Formula post 2013 F1 must decide what it wants to be in this rapidly changing world.

Is it glamorous escapism /entertainment for the masses or is it the pinnacle of cutting edge, relevant and valuable design / engineering?

Can it survive as a motorised America's Cup - glamorous and beautiful but utterly irrelevant to the world's population and economy?

Alternatively, will people pay to watch corporate-sponsored R&D teams slug it out each week?

Combining the two is tricky as hell - F1 is trying to do both at the moment and it's not working. Rapid F1 rule revisions are reacting-to rather than leading societal change on the one hand; whilst on the other hand it's reliance on complex technical parameters is restricting the 'fun factor'...

It needs to go fully one way or the other - problem is that the money men are calling the shots right now and they need to maintain current peak revenues so badly that they really don't want to rock the boat as much as they say they do.

The firework show we're heading for is round 2 for full control of F1 aka 'biggest willy in the sport' and I reckon when it properly kicks-off it's going to make last year's wrangling look like a family reunion.


All this 1.6 v6 engines talk is really awful... Imagine a Ferrari/McLaren passing by, making the sound of an honda civic...


Just like the awful-sounding 1.5 litre turbo F1 cars of the 80's?

Surely you jest.


The Honda civic is nearly silent unless in the hands of a rep.

Company cars can do amazing things and go much faster than their privately owned counterparts.

They also use tyres and gearboxes at twice the normal rate and do only half the mpg. Reps are forbidden to look at either the rev counter or the speedo. And are know to "Love the smell of hot clutch lining and brakes in the morning"

(Signed: An ex rep)


That sounds like a proper direction to go in.

Rather than having many many restrictions on a gazillion things, a general rule that restricts fuel usage to basically limit the energy available from fossil fuels to the cars, and leave the rules a lot more open after that should make for a lot more interesting developments rather than having teams gain huge advantages with tricks that barely have any impact on road technology, like F-Ducts for instance, or blown diffusers, which I am sure you will not see any time soon in the average Ford Fiesta.

I approve of this message.


What I want to know is will an F1 car be the fastest thing on four wheels around a given track? If yes, then by all means fill your boots. If no then these proposals will tear the spine from my sport and slap me round the face with it. James how much slower, if at all, will the cars be?


They'll probably make a hash of it as usual! I've always said the key to a better F1 car is simple - 3 standard wings, (low, medium and high downforce). No apendages dangling from the car, but you can shape the body to create downforce. Basically, make them like the 7UP jordans - the most beautiful cars ever made, and what F1 cars should look like.


First: those Jordans were beautiful.

Second: spec wings should never be used in F1. The only spec parts that should ever be considered are unseen/unheard parts like gearboxes, suspension arms, brakes, computers and ground-effects tunnels.

Third: This 2013 rules package has got me very excited!


I agree with you, F1 will only be saved by a comprehensive overhaul within FIA because its become vividly clear that the cosmetic change of removing a controversial figurehead in Mosley has achieved very little for F1.


All the Jordans were lovely cars.


Hmmmm... The lotus 79 and Lamborghini Miura are in my opinion the two most beautiful cars ever made... Just saying... I can respect your approach though.


James, My only concern is the effect on the aural experience of F1. I went to this years British GP and the GP3 cars using their 2 litre turbo engines sounded DREADFUL!


...and very little HP for an F1


I agree on the GP3 cars - they sound like badly tuned lawnmowers. Similarly I don't care for the TDI Diesels at Le Mans because they are too quiet and smooth.

However, there are a lot of nicer sounding Turbos out there and the older F1 turbos did sound good, so I am open to them coming back...


1.6.litre Turbo engines fitted with built in MP3 player to simulate the sound a real engine makes.

Imagine the options for half the race the car sounds like a real racing car but for the remaining time it can play adverts from their sponsors... which of course would have to be controlled by FOM ... oh dear the noise has just got political!!


A regulated exhaust note....

Please, NO more artificial manipulation

The sound is very important, but who will get joy when they know it's false?


A 1.6 4 cylinder engine in an F1 car is joke.

I drive the same thing on the road.

Jeff in Melbourne

Exactly. And that's why f1 needs to evolve to stay relevant. V8's are dinosaur technology that won't exist soon and f1 should be leading automobile development, not playing catch-up.

Hopefully these changes won't be junked in the too-hard bin by the usual vested interests.


I know people loved the old 1.5 turbos, but to me it's a bygone era. F1 to me is screaming V engines, not relic configurations from the past.

I know turbo road car engines are de rigueur at the moment and they have come on leaps and bounds, but touring cars are designed to help manufacturers sell their models.

F1 cars should be like nothing on the roads and like nothing else on earth. It's bad enough they are 2.4 V8s - V10s and V12s sounded awesome.


Turbo V6 engines sounded glorious in 1100/1500 bhp form,though the BMW was indeed a 4 cylinder engine,but we are talking about a 4 cylinder engine producing around 650 bhp at 12000 rpm,not quite the same thing but i take your point.

SteveH i certainly hope there is scope to allow the engine manufactures to choose between a 4 or 6 variation,and use different fuels,so far i see the guide lines appear to suit Cosworth,ie Sierra/Escort turbo,s,they never produced or competed with an engine beyond that using 6 cylinders and a turbocharger.


Hey Alexis, they used to be 1500 cc turbos back in the day. They also got nearly 1500 hp in qualifying trim. You drive the same thing? Must be a blast.

I think an even more innovative approach would be to allow the use of any fuel but regulate the flow so that heat of combustion was equal between fuels. This would mean that diesel could be used, as well as the old rocket fuels from the previous turbo era (mostly toluene, if I remember correctly). I just hope that the new regulations allow designers to chose number of cylinders, bore, stroke, c.g., weight, angle, etc. so that we actually have some engine differences. It would be great to have F1 at the bleeding edge again.


I agree with you 100%. It's very important they get the sound right


I think that as long as they are extracting massive amounts of power there will be a fantastic sound. Perhaps not the nostalgic scream of a V10 revving past 20,000 RPM, but that really was rather indulgent.


So even the sound won't be real anymore? We already have manipulated results, CVCs debt determining the entire course of F1 and comedy stewards decisions. I can see American Wrestling and F1 having increasingly more in common...... Again I ask is it a light entertainment show or is it a sport?


I also hope they pay attention to the sound. Turbo's sound simply too basey, the naturally aspirated scream of an F1 engine is ear drum burstingly spectacular!


It sounds like a pretty big shake up, my only thought at this point is are the F1 cars of 2013 going to be the fastest thing on rubber round any given racing track. Green credentials are one thing but i don't watch F1 because it's saving rain forrests. The suspected 650hp doesn't sound like alot given current F1 engines produce somewhere around 900hp. I think it would be a shame if the 2010 Torro Rosso could lap Silverstone quicker than a 2013 McLaren or any other top team!

On a totally different note i'd like to state my sadness over the death of Shoya Tomizawa the Moto2 rider who died on Sunday. It's always going to be impossible to remove danger from motor racing but never the less my thoughts go out to all involved!


Hi Christos,

Hopefully it will help to know that the current cars are probably at about 560 kW rather than the 670 kW you are suggesting from the 3 litre V10 days.

Basically the peak torque per litre (or the power per litre per 1000 rpm) hasn't changed a great deal over time in racing cars. Modern technology has spread the breadth of this peak torque. Turbo charging can increase this. For the current engines to produce 900 Bhp they would need to rev to about 23000 rpm. Peak piston speeds - it is only about 25 m/s - might make this hard to be reliable with the current cylinder dimension limits.


F1 engine DESIGN is similar to that of a model t ford, they don't even have multi valve or VVT for gods sake, the rules are already restricting efficiency.... This new engine thing is a deal that someone is benefiting from, but it's not the fans.


Completely agree, how many fans really, honestly care about how much fuel and F1 car uses especially when they are already ultra efficient. F1 fans want to see the best tech in the fastest cars in the world. Anything else is utterly missing the point.


I totally agree, they are missing the point. How many fans will jump up and down saying "WOW, my favorite driver only came in second, but he used 10 gallons less fuel than the winner! Woo-hoo!".


Guys - are we not missing the point of F1. I have watched pretty much every race since the early 80's, been an avid follower on BBC, then ITV and of course the great new coverage back on the BBC but please - I leave you with this question. Why can't we design, build and support cars to go around a track in the fastest possible time. Regardless of cost, emissions, design, engineering. F1 used to be the pinnacle of what we can really do with a car - yes a car. Why are we restricting it. No other sport has the capability of doing this. Let the teams, new and old make the fastest cars possible ( Within the floorplan restrictions I know) race. This is the pinnacle of racing - let them reach the pinnacle


Charlie: you can pick up the bodies then....


Hi Lynnduffy,

These guys know what they are getting into. It's in their blood and they go into it with eyes wide open. As do the WRC, BTCC, GT3, GT2 and MotoGP guys. It's not a case of signing a health and safety leaflet. It's their life. Let them lead it and give them a car that does it


I totally disagree. It's not about building the fastest car possible. In fact, I'm pretty sure that, without all the current regulations one could build cars that dance circles around a current F1. There are road cars today that have more power than an F1 as is, remember. Add in ground effects for instance and F1 would gain quite a bit in performance again. And would probably become unpayable under totally free regs.

Look at what happened to WRC due to rising costs, there are effectively 2 brands now. Two. In a type of racing that even has the potential of being more interesting than F1, just ask Kimi.

What I care most about in F1 is that I get close, exciting racing. This year is doing fine as is, yes. Ferrari years? Yawn... Dominance by one team leads to boredom (and trouble for other teams to find sponsors for the exorbitant cost, see again: WRC).

I for one think that the new regulations might make for interesting racing, and in the end, that's what I want to see.


Honestly gents. I hear what you're saying above but we cannot say that to make a car too powerful for a man/woman is too much. It should be tamed by the driver. Bring it back to what I said further up? This is F1, the pinnacle. Why not show the world it is the pinnacle. We can have run off areas, gravel traps, high rise curbs and all the stuff we see, hear about, but please - let F1 be F1! These guys get paid (well most of them) a large amount of money for their day job. Let the guys race - they want it! They don't want to restricted and neither does the paying public!!!


I think this is just a reflection of the changes in the motor industry (well, any industry in general). Back then, the important was to produce the fastest car no matter what, both F1 and road cars, so the development in F1 could be implemented in a road car easier than nowadays.

But today, the road car industry wants efficient cars, enviromental friendly. F1 cannot be used as a development platform if it continues like it is today.


It is the pinnacle of racing because of the state of the art technology. Technology that would be relevant to road cars.

What's the point of having the fastest car but not making use of the 95% loss of energy? It would be amazing to have the fastest car with only 15% loss of energy. Now, that would truly be the pinnacle of technology … and motorsport.


No Oliver, what you are describing is the pinnacle of environmental technology NOT motorsport. If NASA had STARTED out worrying about how much of their tech could be passed to commercial jet liners we would never have got to the moon. Sorry I'm firmly in the Clarkson camp on this one! The car should be safe to driver bit other than that if it is to be the pinnacle of motorsport it has to be the fastest period.


They keep regulating things so they don't get TOO FAST. If they could remove more drag and increase power to somewhere over 1000 bhp they would go so fast that drivers WOULD NOT survive if they crashed - eg 300mph crashes !


Gents, I totally understand - truly. It's not a flippant remark and James I hear what you are saying. It's just that we believe F1 is the absolute iceberg tip of motor racing. If the car can't handle the driver then the car should be tamed. If the driver can't handle the car then we should change the driver. It's F1 - nothing else should be greater. Car, driver, pressure and lap times (and I believe it's the lap times that should drive the future). No restrictions. Lap times, that what the sport needs, what the drivers want and ultimately what the manufactures and sponsors want... Come on guys - Ultimate racing - ultimate F1


Charlie, F1 has always had various restrictions. Engine size and weight initially. It didn't take long for wings to be regulated, if only for safety.

A top fuel dragster has about 6000 kW, more than 10 times the power of an F1 car. The tyres that can handle 5gs of acceleration with no downforce (standstill) could equally generate enormous force around corners, levels above which we would expect drivers to grey out. Indy Cars have achieved this at the NASCAR-inspired track at Texas.

Put simply we'd be taking the drivers and tyres to limits that wouldn't be about driving talent. The performance step from lower classes would be huge.

Engine power is the primary factor in lap times. It determines what the optimum downforce to drag point is, is more power allowing more downforce. Active suspension is primarily an aerodynamic aid. Four wheel steering could be used to dial out certain characteristics such as power understeer.

Engine power has been reigned in from the 3.5 litre engines in early 1990s to the 2.4 litres now (compensated by increasing revs) primarily on safety grounds. The problem with this strategy is that corner entry becomes the dominant performance differentiator between drivers as corner exit is pretty even most of the time. This means that passing opportunities exist only a short distance, rather than the length of a straight.


because as ant d says on 5live commentary if you let the designers and engineers off the leash you will end up with a car no human could drive. they would be too fast and would create enough g for blackouts to happen the driver. i would make it harder for the drivers. worse tyres and worse aero and brakes but faster in straight lines would be my choice to challenge them


That's not how the world works. Also if cars' design were effectively unlimited, they'd soon be too quick to be safe for current tracks.


Well, this would certainly make some interesting differences to F1, with smaller wings perhaps the cars could run closer without suffering the same understeer problems that they currently have.

I would think there would need to be some relaxation on the 8 engines per season rule while the new engines are developed though. I could see a lot of engines going bang in the first year!

Personally I don't like the energy capture idea, the speed boast button is very artificial as a means of overtaking and if everyone has it why bother.

F1 isn't meant to be and doesn't have to be super green. Afterall the cars themselves use very little fuel over the course or a year, because they run so little. Maybe smaller motorhomes and a restriction on the number or personnel a team can bring to a race would have a bigger effect on overall F1 carbon emmissions! Once again, it's about looking not about being green!


I sometimes wish they would just let it be, it seems hugely hypocritical of the FIA to be pushing budget cuts and cost savings, but changing the rules every few years. And I'm also completely against this idea of removing engine power and downforce, the whole point of F1 is that it is the pinnacle of the World's motorsport. If we keep limiting what they're allowed to do won't some American formula take that title over? A lot of my satisfaction in watching F1 is knowing that no vehicle on Earth could do a lap as fast as the cars I'm watching, but that won't be true soon. They don't do this in other sports, Footballers don't have to wear hemp kits because it's more environmentally friendly, it's just a pointless empty gesture.


I tend to agree. I haven't heard anyone clamouring to make F1 green. Most people either think the whole sport is a waste of energy or they love the rush. How about addressing the 99.7% of F1's energy spend that isn't on the fuel used by the racers at races? That would be less of a gesture and more of an action.

But that's the trouble with getting older - the world looks more and more naive and blinkered the wiser you get. So F1's rulebase, like everything else, is only going to look stupider and stupider as I get greyer and greyer. It's a good thing the drivers still have the same wonderful instincts they always had. Humans don't evolve anything like as fast as technology fads, thank goodness.

Anthony Tomlinson

I think you're missing the point. F1 has always been a platform for automotive r&d, and the real benefit of incentivising efficiency in F1 cars will be more efficient road cars, not a lower energy footprint per race.


At this rate, we'll be watching flamin go-carts racing around these tracks & calling it F1... this is pathetic, F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motor racing, not the little brother of the Indie 500... why does it matter if these cars burn 150 litres of fuel per race, when there are 5 billions cars on the roads nearly every day burning a lot more fuel???

I think if the FIA carry on like this, a lot more people will decide not to go to these races & stop watching them on TV too, so the sport will die a death...

Stop making these cars smaller, we the public want to see super cars racing at high speeds with high excitement, not a poxy 1.6 turbo which you see everyday being driven by idiots on the mains roads... not a happy camper here!!!


It really does annoy me to think that F1 could be slower in 3 years time. How can something meant to showcase what's possible become more primitive?

Having said that, F1 needs to get the big car manufacturers onside to ensure their participation in the sport. If the big car companies can't see a connection between F1 and their road cars, why are they going to invest billions into the sport?

Anthony Tomlinson

There is no reason why the cars should get slower. Rule changes have several motivations, eg safety, overtaking, and less racing-related issues such as driving relevant innovation. Longer lap times are not a goal and have basically never been a result.


The size of the engine isn't what's important. It's the acceleration and top speed the car can do.


What a load of tosh.... a 2,4ltr V8 can outstrip a 1.6ltr turbo anyday in acceleration & top speed, thats why supercars have them & not a 1.6 turbo.... 🙁


The right 1.6 will blow away a FIA design resrticted V8. It will never sound as good though!


Is it me or do the 2013 rules seem to be going backwards with the aerodynamics and the engine? F1 should be about moving forwards and creating newer and more efficient technologies. I'm no aerodynamicist, so I was hoping someone could rectify me if I get this wrong. To maintain the current lap times in 2013 by creating downforce mainly by 'ground effect', will there not be as much if not more 'dirty air' produced as the floor is worked sufficiently harder, thus maintaining the current levels of overtaking? And I think the 'turbo boost' will be towards another step of creating artificial racing.


Hi Jimmy,

I'll have a go at explaining the aerodynamic differences between wings and ground effect.

Wings work through basic Newtonian physics (F=ma). The wings accelerate the air upwards. The faster the vertical component air's velocity (total acceleration) the more force in an equal and opposite direction is applied to the tyres.

Wings do not work on the difference in path length from one side to the other (this is often taught, based on the Bernoulli principle, but the effect is not significant). The complex shapes are a result of attempts to keep the airflow laminar for a long a possible behind the car to minimise drag and increase lift.

Ground effects do work through the Bernoulli principle. Here the air travels through a venturi (with a large surface area). As air is effectively an incompressible fluid a sub-sonic speeds, when it travels through the narrowest point it needs a greater velocity so that the mass flow rate remains constant. The greater velocity leads to a reduction in pressure and this sucks the cars down to the ground.

The key difference is what is happening behind the car. A perfect venturi results in the exit air having exactly the same entry and exit velocity and pressure. A wing wants to maximise the velocity of the air. The increased velocity leads to a reduction in pressure. Turbulent airflow is generally predicted by increasing velocity, and reduced pressure is a contributing factor.

So producing more downforce using ground effects will help the ability to follow the car in front through corners. The increased air pressure behind the car does reduce the overall drag, and this means that slipstreaming is less effective, but overall, passing should be helped.

With the current cars there are complex interactions that I don't claim to understand, so I won't make a strong prediction that following will be worse next year when double diffusers are banned, but that is my suspicion.

I hope this makes sense.



I will reply to your original so you get an email notice. 🙂

Sorry, I was throwing around "velocity" and "speed" interchangeably, and should have been a bit more clear. I meant "instantaneous velocity", which would be the same numerical value as speed.

From Wikipedia, here is a statement from Bernoulli's principle that applies best in this case: "In fluid dynamics, Bernoulli's principle states that for an inviscid flow, an increase in the speed of the fluid occurs simultaneously with a decrease in pressure or a decrease in the fluid's potential energy."

Also, the assumption that the two "air particles" separate and meet again is false, sometimes referred to as the "Equal Transit-Time Fallacy". Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lift_(force) for more info.


Here is an image from my thesis; I will use this to illustrate what I am referring to:


By incorporating those gaps in the wing between the elements, that accelerated air going between the elements creates a localized low-pressure zone, which in turn increases the air-speed under the previous element.

The free-stream air-speed is 55 m/s. Under the first element of the wing, the air-speed is reaching roughly 100 m/s at its peak, and going no less than about 85 m/s over the full chord of the first element. The point of the latter two elements is purely to help suck more air under the first element at a higher speed. Of course, since the air is sub-sonic, a feature at the trailing edge of the wing will still have a great effect on what happens at the leading edge (hence the ubiquitous nature of Gurney flaps).


Regarding the diffuser, again, Wikipedia describes this well: "The pressure under the car is affected by the diffuser. By providing what is essentially an expansion chamber, the air has to flow under the car fast enough so that it can expand back to ambient in the diffuser, as the car moves through the air." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffuser_(automotive)

Therefore, a less steep diffuser would yield a smaller volume, and would therefore generate less downforce because it wouldn't suck as much air underneath the floor ahead of it (more air travelling under the floor would necessitate a higher air speed, which coincides with a lower pressure according to Bernoulli).


Martin, I hate to break it to you, but you are wrong.

Wings DO work largely from the Bernoulli principle. This is why they have multiple elements; the slot-gap between each element energizes the flow underneath the wings and helps speed it up, further sucking down the wing from the underside. The wicker/Gurney-Flap yields the same effect, by creating a low-pressure zone at the back of the wing to suck up the air going under the wing.

Also, wings would not have camber if they were mere air-deflectors. The end-plates would not extend below the wings, and the front wings would not be mounted so close to the ground (since they take advantage of ground-effect).

My mechanical engineering thesis was to design and build a rear wing for a racing car. I used CFD to design a triple-element wing. Judging by the pressure fields in my design, the pressure on the top of the wing is marginally above ambient, but the pressure below the wing is significantly below ambient (and this is consistent with all other wing designs I have seen tested). Beyond that, as a lab, the entire class had to test a wing in a small wind-tunnel, using small holes linked up to a manometer to determine the pressure drop over the length of the wing, and similar results were found.

Aside from that, the effects of wings and tunnels that you stated are still correct. Wings will have a significantly higher aerodynamic wake than a nice, smooth ground-effect tunnel (especially the multiple-element, high-camber, high-angle-of-attack wings on cars today). The current tunnels are so steep, that they actually have the same effect as the wings, and create a massive aero wake. The distance between the flat-bottom and the end of the diffuser is so short that the air gets really turbulent.

If the cars start running slimmer wings, with more emphasis put on tunnels, I am sure you'll see cars running closer together.

What is "often taught" is true; wings do use the Bernoulli principle, and many many hours of work go into how to increase the air-speed under the wind to subsequently increase downforce.


Essentially, from how I understand it, yes. They are definitely close to stalling, which is why the advent of a double-diffuser has enabled a huge jump in downforce.

While the diffusers are very efficient, they still create a lot of turbulence because of their steep nature, and the vortices created to ensure the flow stays attached in such extreme conditions. A small amount of flow separation is acceptable as long as you are benefiting more from the increased downforce caused by the increased "angle of attack" of the diffuser, than the drag created by the small inefficiency.

Beyond that, it will be very interesting to see how the racing changes with the reintroduction of diffuser tunnels. The longer, shallower tunnels will definitely improve overtaking, as the aero-wake will be much less turbulent, enabling following cars to run much closer in corners. The current cars have a very messy aero-wake, much worse than just about any other racing cars on the planet; if these new tunnels reduce that effect, great racing will definitely result.


Hi Malcolm,

Thanks for the reply. The plot from your thesis was particularly interesting.

To explain what I meant with the diffuser a bit more, having a really steep diffuser sounds similar to having a steep angle of attack on a wing - losing efficiency to the point of stalling. If the flow is becoming turbulent, as you suggest (even in a higher pressure, slower moving flow than under the car) then are these diffuser on the point of being total ineffective if they were made any steeper, similar to a wing just before stalling? Is some turbulence creation okay because the majority of the flow is expanding as desired and this is better than a less aggressive profile?




Hi Malcolm,

I won't claim to have studied aerodynamics to quite the same level as you have - my university experience of CFD was quite limited and 11 years ago. And I'm forgetting the maths.

I will suggest that Bernoulli's theorem often gets stretched too far with wings. The simplified Bernoulli view of a wing is that particles split by the wing would meet up again behind it, proving a conservation of mass flow. The longer path leads to the velocity and pressure differentials. Your results suggest that the air under the wing was accelerated upward much more quickly than the air above the wing. The Bernoulli bit about pressure and velocity applies, but not the mass conservation above and below the wing.

I guess where I'm coming from is that a venturi works directly from the Bernoulli principle that through conservation of energy (mass flow and velocity) in the air, while a wing is about increasing the energy in the air by taking it from the wing (drag, or in this case the engine). The velocity and pressure could be calculated from each other using Bernoulli's theorem.

I'm on shaky ground here, but off the top of my head I'd suggest a pure Bernoulli view of a wing wouldn't care about the air velocity under the wing, only the speed. This then raises in my mind the angle of attack, and why increasing it would be of any value, as why would it help the pressure differential (except by creating a wake).

I welcome your thoughts - as I said possibly to my earlier response to Jimmy. Also, I don't know much about diffusers, so I'd be interested in how far behind the diffuser you think the flow needs to remain laminar for it to work. Turbulence, i.e. low pressure, sounds inefficient and suggests, why not make it less steep?





Thanks Martin, that was a brilliant explanation. I'm feeling like Adrian Newey now haha!


Getting downforce mainly through ground effects allows the cars to run much closer to each other.

This is why Indy cars are able to run nose to tail at over 200mph.


F1 cars find it diffcult to follow each other because the WINGS are so sensitive to dirty air.

Dirty Air/Turbulence doesnt affect the underneath of a car (ground effect) as much it affects the wings. F1 in it's current form has a heavy reliance on wings (when it comes to downforce).

So re-introducing ground effects will essentially shift where the majority of the cars downforce is being produced. I'd imagine the new regs will also demand the cars wings to be significantly reduced in size and surface area. The resulting skinnier front wing will be present mostly to fine tune the cars balance rather than produce high amounts of downforce (like f1 today).

I think this is a very positive step all in all.


I wish people would stop banging on about improving overtaking in Formula 1 because as I've said a million times if everybody has a 'perfect' weekend there won't be any because the fastest driver/ car combos will be at the front and the work back to the slowest at the back.

The only way to get loads of overtaking is to make the racing artificial like touring cars but I for one don't want that, not that it'd ever happen to be fair.

I'm all for moving technology forward but I really think people need to accept that we're never going to get 100 overtakes a race.


In fact, the only way to get more overtaking is to make it more difficult for teams and drivers.

How to do this?

Cars that are more difficult to drive (more power, less downforce), more difficult circumstances where mistakes are greatly punished (one-lap qualifying) and more options available for the teams for strategy (allow any number of pitstops for tires, and any combinations of tires used).


I agree that more downforce from the floor is a good idea. If its akin to indycar\GP2 then great, but if they want to go towards full skirted tunnels ala F1 pre-1983, has anyone remembered the impossibly hard suspension, porpoising, broken skirts and cars flying off the road after riding kerbs in fast turns. Wing cars are not necessarily the silver bullet F1 is seeking.


They're not bringing back sliding skirts.

They are bringing back tunnels, just like in IndyCar, old ChampCars, Formula Atlantic, ALMS, etc. The tunnels will be strictly regulated to ensure that they do not produce ridiculous downforce, much like they were in Indy Cars for the past 20 years.


Yes I remember, also the drivers complaining of their spines being compressed and bums turned to stake tatare. A bit of kerb run over would lift the front (since there was virtually no suspension movement) and break the ground effect partial vacuum, resulting in a swift exit to the barrier.

I also remember the turbo era and the very attractive plumes of white smoke and vapour from the Ferraris. But then turbos were in the stone age in development, now they are smooth and controllable.

Just to confuse everyone the ekranoplan uses ground effect the other way up and skims across the surface of lakes and even the black sea.




Do the whole eco thing with the engines, so that F1 isn't attacked in 10 or 20 years by the treehuggers but why not take away grip from the cars by giving them super hard tyers as James has already suggested. It's cheep and will save a load of man hours.


I worry about a move to 650bhp engines. When I was a boy watching cars with 1500bhp engines, when supercars of the day had 450bhp, was so impressive . Now with road cars sporting up to 1000bhp I fear some of the cachet that attracted me to F1 in the first place (no one else watched F1 in my family) will be lost. Obviously if the racing is improved my current self would be all for it but for young boys watching some of the magic will be lost.


I hope that the "650 hp" is just from the gasoline engine, and that it will get bumped up to 800 or so with the addition of the energy recovery system and electric motors.

James, any word on this?


Not if the drag is going down. These things will be very fast


I also started watching F1 during the turbo era.

Those cars where so spectacular they liturely breathed fire out of the exhust pipe.

Even after the turbos where banned,they used to run the car so low they had to have titanium skid blocks that used spark as they went down the track.

I do miss the sheer specticle of those cars.



What this is in essence is the death of F1 as we know it. It will be replaced by a completely different formula, cunningly called F1. But even those who watch soaps find it difficult to accept when a face suddenly changes.

That’s not to say it will be a tragedy. We could get exciting racing from it.

The thing is, though, that since Todt left Ferrari we have had a succession of exciting and enjoyable seasons. We’ve even had a last race, last lap, last corner decider for the WDC. How about that for grandstanding?

And it seems to get better all the time. 2010 is a case in point. With five drivers in the frame and six races to go – well, when was it closer? And there are three teams as well.

I’ve got to say that cutting fuel consumption and then flying around the world is a bit silly. Would you like to give a percentage of the greenhouse gasses saved?

A recent survey showed that only 10% of the public believe the PR claims of being eco-friendly because they think they are partial – greenwashing – and sticking a turbo on a four-pot and taking off a bit of wing will fool only the foolish.

Saying that other sports are just as profligate with regards transport is no really a justification.

The real battle will be political. I can’t see the constructors being able to stay united unless there is strong leadership and an easily identifiable enemy. That worked last time. But I can’t see Todt making the same mistakes. He’s too shrewd.

The big question is whether FOM and the FIA will be buddies with a common purpose. Is anyone running a book?

When regs change those with money benefit. It is all very well suggesting that Cosworth will stay in F1 (or join the new race series if you prefer) on the understanding that it will be cheaper, but it seems to me to fly in the face of history. Changes cost.

1.5-litre turbo engines on a fuel efficiency formula was binned some time ago as too costly. Why the massive expectations of a slightly bigger engine? From what I know of F1 engineers, they’ll soon find a way to spend the £millions. It is what they do so well.

I know that forced induction is what many car manufacturers are looking at to ensure compliance with new emission regs and having the senior race series go that way makes sense so why not just say that?

I’ve got to say I’m nervous about the outcome. This is a big risk for the sport I love. Recent history, although to be fair, not under Todt, has shown us that politics takes over when such matters as this are decided. The interests of the spectator are trampled underfoot at the first opportunity.

FOM is powerful. Both it and the FIA depend on F1 for their income. Neither is going to part with money, or worryingly the chance of more money, without a fight. We spectators, fans and nerds might well be seen as collateral damage.

Todt has confounded me this season. He seems to be strong and sensible. Is he up for the battle against FOM and the teams? Best of luck, Jean. You will need it.


All interesting propositions, but they'd have to change the name to Formula 14 because they wouldn't be the pinnacle of motorsport anymore. How many other race cars can already go around a track quicker than an F1 car (especially in the wet). Since we don't have turbos, moveable wings, traction control, abs and all the other marvellous technologies, Formula 1 is going further and further back. It really can't call itself the ultimate motorsport. So many rules for the drivers and so many for the teams, it's beyond the joke now, and by the sounds of it, 2013 will be even worse.


Well... how may other racing cars can lap quicker then an F1 car (on the same track)????

F1 is the pinicle because of:

1) the amount of money which is spent on it

2) the technology involved (and that not just the engine formula - but its all the technology used to design the ares and put them onto the grid. In on other form of motor racing do individual teams run up to 3 wind tunnels...)

3) and finally the cars are faster then anthing else round the circuts used by F1. Much faster.


Any chance of a forum outside the uk. I think it was suggested earlier this to have a few these leading up to a race as other fans around the world can take part.


Many of these posts do seem to be missing the point... the FIA are facilitating this process and the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes are looking to have these types of engines.

Ferrari a new months ago talked about only wanting to participate in the sport if these engines were in use. After all they would like to have a Road Car running the exact same engine as their F1 Team... Marketers dream!!

Personally from the video I like the quoted idea of identifying a few restrictions and setting baselines and then letting innovation be the way forward. This is what the pinnacle of F1 is about... understanding the boundaries and then making the cars go as fast as they can within those boundaries...

Look how cool this year has been with different team bringing new innovation to their cars that has to be copied by the other teams so they can stay in the game.


"Look how cool this year has been with different team bringing new innovation to their cars that has to be copied by the other teams so they can stay in the game."

Yes... that is cool. But then the FIA turns around and bans the tech/innovation the following year (Blown diffusers/F-ducts).

Anthony Tomlinson

Twas ever thus. Ground effect fans, skirts, driver aids, etc etc. Personally I like to think that F1 leads motorsport and leads automotive engineering, and that the FIA reins it in enough to maintain a certain performance/safety envelope and allow close racing while directing research into fruitful areas. To say development should be unfettered is just naive.


It's a pity they'll still regulate the engine displacement and amount of cylinders. Restriction of the total amount and maximum intake of fuel is enough to ensure engine development takes the modern demands of automotive technology into account. Why not leave engine suppliers completely free on the rest? IF they could make a snarling V24 that doesn't use more than the allotted amount of fuel, please let them. Or perhaps rotary engines and other left-of-field solutions have unexpected benefits. It does nobody any good to close of those possibilities.

Ideally the regulations would set X amount of energy (in Kilojoules or something similarly generic) that can be "translated" to different types of fuel (petrol, electricity, hydrogen, diesel). Innovation would really take of and in a road-relevant direction to boot! Diversity too: we could see blown four-pots up against wankels and all-electric solutions.

Formula 1 employs some of the finest engineering minds in the world and pours hundreds of millions into technological development. When the regulations are too restrictive (like they are now) they start to focus on bending the regulations instead of the laws of physics and that's such a waste.


Took the words straight from my mouth, and then some! 100% agreed.

That would be great to see!


I agree with this post, take the shackles off. This is an opportunity to let bright people create new technology, if Ilmor, for example, want to develop their 5-stroke concept, let them. There are a number of unusual engine designs extant, beam engines, rotaries, among them. Give them a specified amount of fuel if you must bow to the greenies and let's see who finds the best solution. If it really is a 1.6 turbo, so be it.

Unfortunately, this proposal won't get a moment's consideration, conventional engines are what people understand. We'll have to hope that the resulting powertrains produce enough power to make the racing exciting. Please let's not hear anything about electrics, just try muting the sound from Monza this weekend to see what that would be like. I except the clever Porsche system which they deployed in an endurance race at the Nurburgring recently, that still had a proper engine in the back as well as the tricky electric FWD setup.

If we are changing the formula, as we do from time to time, let's do it for our own reasons, not green reasons. In the map of the overall World consumption of resources, it's nonsense to suggest that F1 itself is a big offender and saving 20 litres of fuel per car per race is ludicrous. If that's all it takes to bring back 4 litre V12s, I'll go by bus.

Our planet regularly goes through this cold-hot-cold cycle, we are currently heading into warm. The cold will probably happen first at Spa in a few thousand years, let's see them tip-toeing through Pouhon then!


That won't work. Everyone will just use petrol, as it is still one of the most efficient and cost effective ways to store energy. Diesel is better, and I'd actually like to see a diesel in F1--Audi I'm talking to you...


i agree. i really hoped they would have come up an ever-decreasing amount of fuel allowed per race over the next few years, kind of like what they did in '87/88 with the turbo tanks. that way, the focus is on improving efficiency as much as speed, which clearly translates directly to road car technology.


This is my thought on the matter,but I sense there is only one optimum layout that all the manufacturers would end up following.

When there was no restriction on the number cylinders,you had V8's V10's and V12's all competing at the same time.In the end though they all ended up producing V10's because they where the optimum balance of power against thirst.


hear hear


I can answer why they don't allow this in one number: 2002. Although this wasn't so much a by-product of the rules, there was one team so far ahead of the others the races were fairly dull.

If you allow diversity, then the chances of one team getting a long way ahead are great, and there will be little chance for the others to catch up if they have different design philosophies.

I would love to see such diffent ideas going head to head like you describe, if only there is a way to keep them close without adding artificial rules (e.g. reverse grids).

Anthony Tomlinson

Good response, but still it'd be good to see something along these lines. I just can't accept that a single-turbo straight 4 is the absolute best layout conceivable for an engine.


What a great idea - just say X kilojules of energy per race, per season. Go and sort it out. It would be great to see what they could come up with, because you'd get different engines, different aero etc, etc.

I for one would like to see an electric F1 car - the acceleration would be neck snappingly fast without gearing. 0-150 in 1.9 seconds.

But you'd need more engine suppliers in F1, and that might be difficult.

Still, it's a great idea.


Another asking why were counting the green credentials?

How about we increase mechanical grip and lessen the aero appendages, while were at it lets remove the mandatory tyre stop (that'll save having to use tyres when there isn't the call).

How does a F1 Grand Prix weekend compare to a Premiership week or a NFL Weekend in the way of carbon footprint?


If F1 wanted to be green why aren't these new tracks solar powered? Plenty of real-estate around a track that largely goes to waste.


Formula One was about the Power, the Massive Acceleration, the Massive Corner Speed, the Awesome Sound. It was about drivers pushing and pushing, thrashing the car until the end of the race. Now we have drivers conserving fuel and tyres, a by product of FIA regulations. Why not end the sport if that's the direction they want to head in, after all we can watch Le Mans 24 if we want to see that. In the last 10 years i've missed less than 10 races, the way the rules have changed and are heading towards, my passion is dying. I love this sport, I don't know what i'd do with out it...Please think very carefully when you change regulations, Please think very carefully why people loved this sport.


only a few years ago, the cars had 650hp and less downforce, so the lap times were higher than they will be in 2013, so relax, it's not the sea change you think it will be.

Anthony Tomlinson

Remember the awesome turbo cars of the late 80s and early 90s, running out of fuel just at the finish? It's really not so bad you know...


Frank Dernie is the posterboy for Ground effect. His perfect GP car is the exact opposite of what most fans want to see....

Can you imagine just how efficient a Ground effect F1 car would be in 2013...christ...they were pretty dire things to watch in the 80s....especially if this is to be combined with an underpowered engine.

I have no particular issue with F1 trying to show the world in can be enviromentally sound although it will make bugger all difference, but we have a chance to throw away a lot of the downforce, allow much more mechanical grip and get the cars sideways, no matter what engine is behind the driver.

Noisless car cornering on rails ??? no thanks.


Interesting points James, and interesting reaction to it. Personally I agree with the need for change - Money makes the world go round, and the sport will become less interesting on this current path to the corporate goliaths who often back the innovation required.

However, the video made me realise that yes lower drag will be needed for a fixed resource fuel system, which will lead to lower downforce which by most peoples accound (rightly or wrongly) is THE problem in F1 for overtaking, but - and could you post on this at all - what about mechanical grip? And I'd place £50 that next year (with Pirelli) we'll see more overtaking in the first 10 races than we see all this season.

Worth a chat with Heidfeld?


I don't think there is anything to worry about if these new 2013 regulations come in as a whole or partially. We have seen the FIA many times over the years try to slow down the cars and yet the engineers and R&D folk always find new ways of eeking more speed from the cars (whether in the spirit of the rules or not). The teams will find ways to make these cars fast.

And on the environmental note, yeah, getting the cars to save fuel is no biggie, but the technology developed in the process that could then be applied to road cars could have massive influences on road car emissions. Engines that save a few litres per mile multiplied by the billions of cars on the roads = a huge environmental impact.


Beyond that, even if the technology isn't applied directly to the road, just getting people interested and excited in alternative-energy cars would be worth it. In the 80's, a ton of road cars were sold that had turbos. Why? Because F1 cars had them. Maybe in 2018, a ton of hybrids will be sold because F1 has shown how exciting hybrids can be.

F1 has some major pull in terms of automotive trends, and they can use this to the environment's benefit.


My concern is one of suppportability. If F1 is pushing down the route of regenerative energy supplies (regenerative braking, heat capture, etc) then I assume that the main parties interested in such technology would be manufacturers of cars. This leads us down the unfortunate path we had a few years ago of being highly dependant upon the car makers to support and sustain these racing programmes. As we've seen, these parties are happy to be involved as long as they're winning, but if they're not, they are just as happy to pull the plug. BMW, Honda, Toyota, etc.

If we are now entering a realm of developing these new technologies, we must ensure that we keep the resource restriction agreements in place, if necessary re-writing them to ensure that the cars can only use technology developed by the team, or within an accountable framework that avoids a manufacturer paying millions of dollars to develop a powerful new technology that independants cannot afford to replicate. An alternative solution would be for the FIA to centrally log any new developments and ascribe a nominal value, at which the developer must sell to any F1 team confirmed as being not afiliated with a manufacturer.

The problem with developing this kind of technology in racing is that once someone comes up with a single workable solution, the temptation is normally to copy and refine that solution, rather than develop another different one. This solution, obviously, would be the right one for a racing car, but may not stand up to scrutiny on a 5 door hatchback.

I look forward to seeing how the FIA manage this brave new world. I hope, as mentioned before, that the spectacle of F1 is not lost in the search for a better heat scavanging system or braking heat collector.


1.6 litre engine? Let's from the F1 title and call it FSmallFamilyhatchBack. The day when the porche support race looks and sounds more exciting than the F1 does, will be the last day I go to watch a race. I and the millions like me, who do 1 - 2 races a year and watch the rest avidly on the TV, are the bread and butter of this sport, alienating us is not the way forwards. I like the limiting the fuel idea, but worry we'd get short burst of racing and then fuel saving till the end, even more so than we do now. I'm happy with allowing energy recover, but don't then like the gimick of boost buttons, let them use it the best way they can and watch the innovations flow out.

What happened to the CDG wing, has that been scrapped completely now?

The ground effect stuff worries me too, isn't that fundamentally what robbed of Senna?

Starting to lose the faith 🙁



Ground effect? I wonder if Lotus kept any of their old paperwork? If they did, I'll have a tenner on them winning the drivers and constructers titles before 2015...


• I don't care about how much or little fuel is used

• I don't give a toss about how they use energy or how teams capture waste energy

• I don't care about watching weedy sounding cars and certainly won't attend any grand prix if there's no deafening spectacle

F1 is about speed and racing. Every other stupid rule complicates matter. If the FIA want to alienate fans with castrated cars, gimmicks to appease motor manufacturers, whilst at the same time driving costs through the roof as the tear up the rulebook once again, they're going the right way about it.

The only changes that need to be introduced for 2013 are cost cutting measures. Except the FIA have suddenly abandoned that idea, leading us once again to an age where the likes of Toyota turn up, spend billions and then leave.

They never learn.


i think those rule changes would strangle f1 ,bigger engines and lower revs woud be better and ground effect is fine but push to pass is not


Guys, the post above by Orrin is exactly what I was trying to say above. This is the pinnacle of motorsport - meant to be the absolute edge of speed, cornering, acceleration and completing a lap/race is the best possible time - i.e. first. Think back to those fantastic videos we see of the fiats, mercs, ferrari's and lotus sliding round the corners in a full out duel.. come on F1 - get it back to racing, not computers and tyre temps. Race - please, with the best you can afford, produce and technical prowess! C


Aren't we in the middle of the best F1 season for decades?

Patrick Head always says, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."


I thought the original reason for banning ground effects was that they were effing dangerous once the seal between car and track was broken turning the cars into low flying missiles. Some people have very short memories.

They were bloody fast though......


Why is 150 kilos of fuel per car per race "clearly" unsustainable? As was pointed out in the original post, this is surely peanuts compared to the resources used to stage the race. Not to mention the unnecessary environmental costs of staging night races just to keep the marketeers happy.

While I generally support green issues I think this is a complete red herring.

As for the idea of a 20 seconds power boost, that just sounds like yet another step toward the motor racing equivalent of WWF wrestling.



"to continue down the path of burning up 150 kilos of fuel per car per Grand Prix race, let alone what is used in practice and qualifying, is clearly not sustainable"

that really is a strange statement , i think most people would be amazed to know it burns such a small amount. i guess promoting how enviromentally friendly really is NOW would be a honest aproach , but you can get away with anything if its "enviromentally friendly".


I agree that we should call a spade a spade. 150kg of fuel is not so much when you consider what you get for it. This seems to be about sending a green message to the public, but the only spade-like green message is to stop racing altogether. So it's window dressing because the transport really would be the logical place to cut fuel use. Why cannot the public be informed of the innovations that make F1 engines extremely fuel efficient and therefore super-green?

And what's that ubiquitous misnomer "sustainablity". What is supposed to be sustained? the public acceptance of the use of such an amount? Can't be because no-one knew until today!


150 kilos a small amount? What do you drive?


You mention ratio of power vs fuel in the same sentence! If thats good then 150kg is not a serious amount for motor-racing.Are other series anxious about the consumption? i havent heard a thing.

Anyway , im not commenting on the engine formula , as we can never know the outcome , its too early and then there are factors of rpm-limits, hubrid systems , engines/year that can affect the season more than displacement.

If the factories want small engines (for marketing and road-car-engineering reasons) , no problem , as long the small teams can afford to run with the hubrid gimmicks , just dont tell me its about saving fuel in races.


Sounds good to me, not sure what everyone is getting so hot and bothered about. We all know what era of f1 was the best and with the reintroduction of turbos and ground effect... its back to the eighties people!


The idea of restricting fuel available, either in total or by the amount that can be delivered at any time, is a very good one. People asking for an unrestricted formula, the fastest thing on 4 wheels, are living in cloud cuckoo land as its simply not possible. It would simply be a contest to see who had the most money like the BMW/Oracle America's cup super yacht.

So since you have to restrict something it seems more sensible to restrict only the biggest variable than try to control every last aspect of everything. Double/blown diffusers, f-ducts, traction control, active suspension, flexi floors etc etc have shown this.

There are a few things that are essential to the success of this approach though.
- Remove as much regulation as possible. The engineers need freedom to get as much out of their fuel as possible.
- Don't impose artificial limits on boost as it will create artificial racing.
- Make sure its fast
- Don't forget the sound (ever hear the drone of the lower formulas on an F1 weekend?)

One thing is for sure, 2013 will not produce close racing as some people will get it very right and others very wrong.


Allow active suspension.

Put 4 inboard mounted Brushless DC motors. Allow unlimited regenerative braking to force the technology to grow.

Allow for complete active traction control from the motors and ESC.

If you let the cars become the for front of technology. Then we can experience f1 in our own cars. You get buy in from the fans and get recognized for being the cutting edge of automotive technology. If F1 does not do this a better formula will do this and become the cutting edge of racing. Electric cars are the future, KERS is the future, let it be the pace setting technology.


Electric cars are the future? Are you mad? When you plug your line into the 3-pin socket to get tomorrow's 60 miles charge, where do you think that power comes from? It's not free, power stations burn things like coal, like gas! The emissions from that process push pollutants into the atmosphere, so what exactly are you saving? Let's get this straight: are you saving pollution or energy? What's the most important?

The future will laugh at electric cars, there'll be hydrogen, fusion, all sorts of undreamed of power sources. However, we are dealing with what we have now.

I have a feeling that the demographic of this blog is a fairly mature one, a largely like-minded bunch of F1 fans who really don't want to see their sport change very much. We don't want radical changes; by and large, today's races are pretty good and we don't want too many changes. Fortunately, human beings are largely conventional and changes will be minimal. I base my hopes on the fact that FOM dare not allow the golden goose to be damaged, let alone killed, they need us too much.


It seams to be a problem of Perception. 1.6 littre turbo engines conjure up undesirable imagery of mundane mass produced road cars and modified boy racer kit cars. It's just not sexy enough for F1. The hi-tek hybrid angle is cool though.


Isn't F1 FIA approved carbon neutral* at the moment anyway? I think the drive toward better efficiencies on the car are welcomed, and any use of new techology should be applauded. After all F1 should really be about innovation. If markets dictate that this innovation should be sustainability related then so be it.

However, its my opinion that even if we were to adopt fuel efficient cars, it would make no overall difference. Why? Because of the ancillary caused emissions.

1. Manufacture (CFRP in particular)

2. Transport (Teams, fans and media)

3. New circuit construction

Improve efficiencies in these three parameters and it would offset F1s total emissions significantly.

Even a basic LCA woud show this. Unfortunately addressing things like this don't sell cars or make headlines.

* or trying to be at least!



Thanks James for another great feature,

I agree that F1 needs to move forward and think that the proposed changes are all good ideas. I dont like the fixed engine size though.

I think fixing fuel consumption and flowrate is a bit silly, why not go back to what they did in the 80s and give them say 100 kg of fuel, and that has to do them for the race.

Allow the engine manufacturers to come up with their own designs and ideas, that way we might get some variety (making f1 a symphony of noise again unlike those hellish sounding 2.4 V8s we have now).

Either way I think allowing scope for inginuity would be a massive improvement. However in recent years the culture has been if that one team invents something (Double diffuser, F-Duct etc.) the rest just copy it (at great expense) and after a few races its status quo again. I hope that this ends, and soon.


AGREED! If they are going to limit fuel and displacement, let them run any # of cylinders or turbos and see what wrings out. Plus, limiting flow rate is stupid and hampers progress, who cares if a car gulps fuel on the straights if it has an efficient regenerative braking system that ends up with the same total amount of fuel consumed over the race? It will allow diversity in research.

Yes, we all miss the great engine sounds of yesteryear, so when three 4-cylinder cars are running neck-and-neck, close your eyes and it'll sound like a V12. :-).


Rules have changed in the past yet F1 continues to find ways to keep the public watching.

We may not like the 1.6 turbo engine but the sport has to be relevant and marketable.

Personally, I prefer a complete overhaul rather than the minor changes that have been pushed through in recent years.

The idea behind KERs wasn’t bad but it did incur significant costs and many teams were unable to make the system performance positive.

I don’t dispute that a 1,500 bhp, flame spitting V16 would be a great technical achievement but that wouldn’t help Renault sell more Clios.

Even Mclarens new supercar MP4-12C has twin turbos, one for each bank of 4 cylinders.

Quote: "In fact the McLaren MP4-12C develops more horsepower for CO2 emitted than any other internal combustion car, including hybrids."


I don't think Renault could afford it anyway. All these changes will cost money. We'll just be going back to a few years back when companies like Jaguar would enter, fail to win and then leave.


James, you will remember the sound of the Indy V8 turbos built by Ilmor and Cosworth in the 90s, they always sounded good to me. I wonder if a I4 would sound as good though? A V12 would be my preference but it isn't going to happen.

On the subject of Indy, they evaluated a car called the Delta Wing by Ben Bowlby which most fans didn't like too much but it was low drag and had clean aero. F1 could do worse that follow something similar.

If you Google "Delta Wing Indy" I am sure you will see what I mean by a different looking car.


I'm excited about the changes. It's good for F1 to be pioneering technology for road cars.

I'm kind of wondering what the teams are going to do. if the focus is on development of the engine and the aerodynamics are quite heavily restricted then doesn't it mean the teams have to sack half their astrophysicists and hire some more engine people?

I hope they are allowed to recover energy in any way they can invent and not just from regenerative braking. ...so waste heat, braking and from suspension movement etc.

One of the problems with KERS was you couldn't tell when they were using it unless the on-board KERS graphic was on screen. I'd like to see there being some way that the TV viewer and spectators could tell what was going on. lights on top of the car maybe.


"Of course the real environmental impact of F1 is in the air travel and logistics sending people and freight around the world to 19 Grands Prix and in spectators driving to circuits. But that is broadly the same for any world class event."

But F1 is the only sport the off-sets its carbon footprint from racing, testing, travel, and the travel by the fans, and has been doing so since 1997.

When will other sports catch up, or even start?


I am a massive fan of the ground effect idea and it's about time we became less dependent on grip generated by the front wings in particular. However, I have concerns about the engines..

Firstly, they can't be quiet at all. I went to Silverstone in 2003 and was at the maggots sectons, everytime a car went past it sounded like it was going to explode, the sound was incredible. Truly one of the best memories I can recall. Todays engines are much less exciting already, surely V6's would be even worse :/

Secondly, we're seeing a much tighter field because the power to grip ratio is nowhere near where it used to be. before there was so much power but little grip, but because aerodynamics generate so much grip and also the tyres are just fantastic now, the ratio is relatively small and hell even Eau Rouge is flat out and we're seeing virtually everyone post identical lap times in almost identical cars :/


Not true. There have been massive differences in lap times this year between the cars. McLaren and Red Bull were at least a second a lap faster than everyone else in the race for example.


This could be an interesting angle _if_ they give the teams the freedom to innovate at their own pace, within the same budget for everyone:

- Give the teams a set amount of tires

- Give the teams a set amount of fuel

- Give the teams the dimensions the car has to adhere to

- Give the teams certain engine specs they need to fall within

- Give teams budget for the year

and that's it. Have at it and see which car comes out on top. It'd be back to the most innovative engineers with the best drivers to tell them how the car is behaving.

I'd be happy if the teams' budgets were centrally controlled as well. Set the maximum budget, let the teams handle how they come up with the money and then have all the money go to a central financial entity which handles all the spendings for each team seperately. If you have a good year, coming up to the maximum amount of money will be easier the next, from all angles including sponsors. Any excess money can go to team salary bonuses and/or track improvements of choice where necessary or even environmental causes.


Do you not remember the massive break down between FIA and FOTA over budget capping? Not happening.


If there's one thing that matters more to F1 than the interests of the fans, it's making F1 development relevant to the wider motor industry. It's no good creating a formula that's the pinnacle of motor sport if none of the major manufacturers want to invest in it.

F1 is the greatest racing formula, not because of the speed of the cars but because it's where the car manufacturers want to spend their money. They need to get something back for that - something they can apply to their road cars. If they don't see the point in developing big engines, we shouldn't try to force them to. If they think KERS is the future, so be it.

Certainly F1 needs to remain a fast and thrilling spectacle but the days of bottomless budgets are over. Over the last two decades the sport got completely out of hand. It's back to reality for Formula One.


Improved overtaking and more overtaking opportunities with the new formula you say!

Doesnt sound like Crashkid Vettel is going to have a bright future! Well not unless they fit the new formula cars with dodgem bumpers anyway. Bit of luck he might have gone to Formula 1 stock cars by then!

Went to a cracking little pub called the Stag in Mentmore the weekend. Top food, very impressed! Apparently Webber is the co owner with his Mrs.


Webber doesn't have a Mrs.


Anyone who lives with their partner, has a Mrs!


i agree with some comments in particular about the over-regulation of the engine specifications. i too think something along the lines of here's x amount of energy in petrol or diesel (i think pure electric is maybe a step too far!!), do the best you can with it.

however, even tho the engine regulations are now seemingly fixed, we do at least have complete openess on energy recovery devices and will hopefully see variations in turbo application, exhaust heat recovery etc, and ways to show differentiation using alternative solutions, which most people have lost sight of. we need manufactuers back in, and we need the focus to be on the powertrain. this will acheive that.

having spoken to giles simon, i also know that his intention is to use these new regulations to emphasise driver skill more and one thing he is very keen to acheive is to reduce the percentage of full throttle usage around the lap from the current 70% mark down to about 30%. at the moment, the cars are too easy to drive and you're mostly flat on either one of the two pedals. however, if you have to be a lot more careful and modulate application of both brakes and throttle this is where we can see a difference between drivers. as mentioned, this will also necessitate a reduction in aero grip, at least from upper surface downforce, which is something i'm very keen on. however, we do also need to keep a compromise - whilst i like the sight of a 4-wheel drift on neutral steering in a 60's lotus far more than the cornering on rails of a modern F1 car, as soon as you slow the cars down too much F1 will no longer be the pinnacle of motorsport.


We have had a great run in F1 seasons for the past 3-4 years.

Why change it?

Saying we have to go green is not a valid reason! F1 itself does not impose that, its this constant "needs to be seen" non-sense.

Sort out the race calender for a start; jetting to the same ends of the world at the START and END of the season makes no sense. All the Pan-America races should be done in a batch, as should the European, Asia and then the Middle-East. Teams will be away from home, but life is tough at the top!

Job done!


If F1 really wants to be at the forefront of engineering development with a green application, it should leave room for the very bright engineers who work in it to be innovative.

F1 is not contributing as much as it should because the regs are too tightly drawn and the teams spend millions chasing a tenth by doing the same thing as the others but very slightly better. So I hope that they draw the regs loosely enough to give the engineers the space necessary to think left-field. That's where all the real breakthroughs come from.


One thing that comes to my mind with the fuel flow restriction is that the engines could effectively be constant power across the rev-range, rather than near constant torque as they are now. The effect on driving could be quite interesting, with more errors coming out of corners, as the cars could have three times the torque of the current cars (800-900 Nm) at low revs.



When the F1 moved from the V10s to the regulated V8, I thought it was the end of it - the cars went down from some 950 bhp in 2005 to merely 720 bhp today. In fact, 2010 lap times are roughly as they were in 2003, despite the cars being some 15kph/10mph slower on the straights; this thanks to the ingenuity of the F1 engineers. I trust these brilliant guys will bounce back with the 2013 regs. In the end, it does no harm to the image of F1 to be eco-friendly and road-relevant, so let’s hope the racing is also improved!


Yeah, we can't do anything about the new regs, they're set in stone (at least until the following season LOL). So, as some put their faith in God, I'll have faith in the F1 engineers. You could give them a moped engine, and they'll find a way to wring 500HP out of it!


Hi James,

Thanks again for the report... Good work.

It looks like I'll have to get to one more race before they ruin it for us... I can't understand why we can't leave the sport to choose it's own direction, no budgets with basic safety rules....

Let's have f1 being the fastest sport about !!!!

Thank you


I think people are worrying too much about the change. The engineers are still the best in the business and I'm sure they'll find away around the new regulations to make the cars go faster.

James, shouldn't this play into the hands of Adrian Newy and Patrick Head? They produced some of the best cars of the 80's when ground effects were about.


Patrick Head maybe but I think Newey was working on Indy cars then, a bit before his time.


"The moment you do that you are obliged to reduce the drag from the car and that means smaller wings and different floor."

James, can you explain this correlation? I'm interested why the reduced fuel flow requires smaller wings and a new floor


Well, PaulL, if you want to go fast with less power/fuel, then you've got to reduce drag, high downforce wings create incredable drag at high speed, so you've got to use smaller/ reduced downforce wings otherwise you're going to be slow on the straights. Oh damn, you're now slow on the corners, so you've got to develope a floor/bottom of the car that developes a negative pressure/ground effects condition to compensate for your loss of downforce generated by the wings. In the "old days" they had sliding skirts and computor controled "active" suspensions etc, but I doubt if they'll get back to that level of technology for reasons of safty and health, but with small skirts and venturi tunnels and the currant blown difusers they'll probably achieve a surprising level of downforce from the underside of the cars, especially with the modern "biliad tables" they race on nowerdays.



All this talk about going green seems hypocritical and the efficiency thing inefficient. I see the investment and effort put to improving efficiency seldom justifies the output they gain. If the world is to be made green why not promote mass transit system instead of making more road cars ? I wonder how much ozone layer is destroyed by 19 F1 races which take place for almost (1.5hr race + 1 hr quali + 4 hr practice = 6.5 hr/GP) 123 hours per year.

Let's not forget a considerable number of people follow F1 for technology. I myself had aspired and still dream of a F1 career due to the fantastic way of thinking involved in F1 (Like some RBR composites guy exploited property of composites to flex the wings) and amazing performance machinery. With a mediocre 1.6 litre engine, I wouldn't even want to watch a F1 race, let alone the career in F1.

Also what exactly has the electric KERS offered ? Recovering some energy over one lap and then the lithium batteries disposed causing even more land pollution ? Again we seem to be taking one step ahead and one backward.

IMO F1 needs to re-consider it's stance on the engines. I'd say reducing the number of races or altering the calender so as to cause less flyaways would help environment a lot better than switching from 8 cylinders to 4


' I wonder how much ozone layer is destroyed by 19 F1 races which take place for almost (1.5hr race + 1 hr quali + 4 hr practice = 6.5 hr/GP) 123 hours per year.'

I can tell you how much ozone layer is destroyed by F1 cars; None. Ozone layer depletion is caused by CFCs in the upper atmosphere, it has nothing to do with global warming and carbon emissions.


Good comments, Faisal, except it's 1 step forward and 3 steps backwards!



I understand the rule changes for 2013, but why is the FIA obsessed with changing the rules every year, so the cars have to constantly be started from a clean sheet? Surely a dramatic amount of cost would be saved if they had a period of stabilisation between rule changes, every three or four years perhaps?


Would this be a good point for Mclaren to make their own engine? Or would that not be economically feasible. Get the feeling that the relationship between Mercedes and Mclaren is still very sour.


It is unfortunate that Formula One, and all motorsports in general, can so easily be seen by the general public as a wasteful, environmental harming sport (ie, literally watching humans drive around in circles while burning fossil fuels - all for entertainment). Because of this fact, I understand the need for Formula One and the FIA to address this public image in a time of global change. But it is frustrating that the true carbon footprint of this sport, and other world class sporting events (as mentioned by James), is never considered by the public. A football, cricket, basketball, ice hockey, or NFL team is obviously never televised while they travel and burn their fossil fuels.

Due to this very nature of Formula One, I'm afraid I am doomed to see my favorite sport turn into an eco-war between cars running turbocharged Toyota Prius engines. Will the pitlane, or certain sections of track be an EV-mode only zone? Maybe the constructors championship will be awarded to the team that releases the least CO2 over 20 races? A driver can still be rewarded for winning races of course, but only after he plants a tree for every lap he led (which must be televised).

This new 'formula' is a truly discouraging prospect for all the true racing fans of this amazing sport. Can the FIA not find a better compromise between pleasing the fans and shutting the mouths of those that cry foul of the sports wasteful image? For me, it feels like they are only hoping to achieve the latter.

My only hope is that FOM can make an archive of past races available by 2013. That way I would always have access to the sounds and power of what true racing always was and should always be.


650 hp (supposedly what these 1.6 litre turbo engines will have) isn't nearly enough. The cars should be progressively getting faster and at least be able to challenge the 2004 lap records, but instead they'll be going backwards in lap time.


Remember that Stirling Moss, Fangio, Mike Hawthorne and their contemporaries all raced at around 190mph average speed. That was on thin cross-ply tyres with no seatbelts and the massive supercharged engine in front. So the speeds we have now are nothing new. In fact they are lower than in the 30/40/50s

Turbos and ground effect will be a welcome change for most except possibly the drivers (who will get back problems)


I understand that F1 wants to go greener, however, i have some issues, with 2013 regulation, has the FIA or the teams consulted the fans, the senior opinion from retired F1 people or do some kind of survey what can be enhanced to improve the show. Formula 1 may create cars but its the people, the fans that like to see the excitement of the show.

For Me, i dislike the green stripes on the tyres, it makes little relavance, i dislike V8, i dislike the fact that for instance like Monza, teams liek McLaren and Ferrari would always bring special engines, the aero work, that special tyre war from Michelin and Bridgestone, thats what made me to be excited about F1, it was always hair raising stuff. There would always be these clever things introduced to the cars at every grand prix, F1 was about innovation and F1 did stand out but im very saddened by the current standards. Even testing was exciting to watch and teams would fine tune their beasts. But thats just my opinion. However, i feel that every step that is introduced in F1, it destroys further innovation. We have had cars with superior technology like the McLaren MP4-13 of 1998, the Ferrari F1 2002 and the Williams of the early 90s, you had cars that could lap the entire field because they pushed innovation to a degree where the opposition team had no answer.


I think it sounds sensible. Nobody is going to pretend that F1 is going to have anything less than a huge carbon footprint, with the logistics of moving teams and spectators. But auto manufacturers consider the manufacture of efficient vehicles using recapture systems and supplementary fuel sources as their number one priority in the development of the next generation of road cars. If you can show them a vested interest in investing in F1 then we can look forward to large scale stable investors in it for the long term, I think this can only be a good thing.

If I remember the swansong of the turbo, they were 1.5 litres, and limited to 150 litres (admittedly just for the race) and they certainly didn't lack spectacle. Technology has moved ahead considerably in the 25 years (to 2013) so I don't really think they will be in any way inferior.

I like to watch racing, and don't care very much about what they sound like, MotoGP racing is a lot more exciting on the racing side and they sound like battling wasps.

Bring it on, and if you don't like the sound, put a lolly stick in the wheels. It made my pushbike sound like a Harley.


Only seems like yesterday F1 was happy for us to sit and watch the 'fuel burning stage' of Qually 3.

Orrin Eitzen above is right,

Do Ferrari make diesel road cars? No - Nobody would buy them, and we don't want F1 jumping on the Green bandwagon

F1 going green is misguided. Its the pinnacle of engineering.


Given 2013 will be a completely new formula - and another overhaul of the rule book - I wonder how the cars will look like. I sure hope they will continue to look, sound and "feel" structurally elegant and sleek.

Last year, 2009 (when the rules were also greatly changed), the new look to the cars took some getting used to (the Renault looked really ugly!). Although, this year - maybe I just needed to warm up to it - the cars have started to look like proper F1 cars again.

But you're right, James. The proposed changes look quite exciting. I just hope they finally get rid of all those silly cost cutting sporting measures (e.g. no testing, etc.). As for the planned technical revolution... That is one thing Formula 1 is definitely about: state of the art engineering and leading the world in technological innovation. Roll on, 2013!


By limiting the amount of energy used/fuel flow rate, Formula 1 will put itself back at the cutting edge of 'useful' engineering. Road cars will have to become more efficient over the next ten years and the technology that is developed for this 'new Formula 1' will have a direct impact on this. F1 cannot afford to ignore the changing world, otherwise it becomes as relevant as Nascar with its carbs and 5.7 litre V8s.

F1 won't suddenly turn into F3. It will still be the pinnacle of motor racing and the cars will still lap quicker than any other formula. I don't remember the turbo cars of the 1980's sounding anything less than magnificent and for the true F1 enthusiast, it will be fascinating to see the different engineering solutions that the boffins come up with.

One thing that I do agree with, is opening up the rules on cylinder numbers/configuration. It would be great to see a V8 vs a I4, or maybe even a V12 screamer. Diversity in engine design would be cool to see again.


Hay Huggy, you've got it all wrong! There's plenty of other car racing classes that are more clossly related to road cars (think Le Mans, eg) that can develope road car type stuf, just let F1 be Formula One, (the furthist away from a street car that you can get)!



Inline-4s for F1? Oh great. I'm with Steve Dearsley, who wants to see a compromised F1? Only the politicians.

Better make sure I get to Spa/Silverstone next year so I can at least hear the sound of a HALF-proper F1 engine one last time. Should never have got rid of V10s in my opinion.

Get rid of the fussy wings by all means but don't emasculate the formula. 🙁

Viva la V10!


Interesting prospects for 2013 and an interesting debate on the pros and cons of the various possibilities.

But many a team's R&D department and engineers would rightly take exception to your claim: "...far more than in F1’s rather half hearted first attempt at KERS last year." Afterall, some made it work well and with great




Have to agree with the majority here and say these rules sound like a change for the worse, a lot of people watch F1 because they want to see the most exotic machinery in motorsport not something they can relate their road cars to. Motorsport has touring cars for that. It will be a crying shame if F1 loses V8's. Turbo's just sound soulless.

All these boost gizmo's are a turn off aswell, the racing this year has been great and also real not fabricated by Kers, shame it has to come back.

Fans want to be thrilled by the speed and sounds of Formula One, lose that and you lose one of its big selling points.


I dunno if there's too much point crying about missing the sound. Some day or other, the only vehicles with combustion engines in will be antiques. Times change.


Dunno bout that, Dom, but they might not run on petrol.



I hope they bring back testing and quickly, because as it is now unless you have a quick car from the outset your on the back foot, it will take at least half a season to catch up e.g. Ferrari this year. I'm not advocating unlimited testing as before, but why not for example have 12 testing days spread out over the season.


The sick eco-looney driven CO2 fraud is unravelling gradually as ordinary people increasingly become aware that Al Gore, the IPCC, "prof" Phil Jones of the CRU, Michael Mann, et al, have sold them a pup. And that is despite the constant stream of plugs for the scam on the BBC, whose pension schemes are invested in and utterly dependant on carbon trading markets prospering. If the scam is rumbled their pensions are toast.

Every week there comes a new revelation of the junk science and lies that are behind the man-made global warming scare.

Where does this leave F1? Quite simply it means that when Grand Prix racing has been wrecked and reduced to sanitised greeny boredom in a few years, in order to please a handful of Water Melons (green on the outside, red on the inside) and the politicians and their many hangers-on, the whole sick fraud will likely be totally discredited in the eyes of the public leaving the sport with egg on its face for nothing and having to pick up the pieces at great expense. By that I mean having to return to its roots again and provide unrepentantly exciting and politically incorrect entertainment. Maybe even with a hint of danger about it.

The very fact that the fuel consumption of the F1 cars is an absolutely insignificant fraction of the energy consumed overall by the whole F1 business amply demonstrates the inherent hypocrisy of the benighted eco-friendly F1 racing project. And that doesn't even take into account the energy used by the petrolheads getting to and from the tracks.

Do we need F1 to teach us how save energy? No, simple, old-fashioned, economics does that whenever we go to the filling station. Fuel is going to get much more expensive in future because millions more in the third world are going to be buying it. Simple law of supply and demand.

I fully don't expect this missive to appear on the site; the new world religion doesn't readily tolerate heresy does it?


Bravo ! ! And well thought out/written ! Good on yah, MartinWR!



Firsly, as a motorsport fan in general, I just wanted to say what a tragic loss over the weekend of Shoya Tomizawa. One can only imagine what his family are going through right now.

A reminder to us all that Motorsport is still unfortunately dangerous.

On the topic or the new formula.. I have read a lot of complaints about 1.5 engines with turbo, which seems strange as some of the most powerful engines in F1 had similar spec. I dont like the idea of 600hp though...

I am really positive about the potential of reintro of ground effect (in the right circumstances) and potentially lessening the impact of wing aero, as long as it is safe.

Lets hope this move fulfills it potential to provide us with great racing, with racing (not just green issues) at the centre of the formula.


In order for F1 to survive it must apeal to F1 fans, not "tree huggers".

Formula Ford 2000's with 1.6 turbos from VW Polo etc. won't do !

What F1 fans want to see is a Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren etc. race cars that are at least somewhat related to their road cars.

Current road sports cars feature 5 litre V8, or V10 engines, but at best the 458 Italia revs to 9k revs. So set the rev limit to that. Then the engine development will be related to road cars. The engines could last a season.

Cut the wings to Indy car size, then they will be able to follow each other and overtake.

Job done, very little cost.



(one time F3 driver)


Martim, I agree with your "fans versus tree huggers" comment, but not sure about your "road car" theory. Personally I see no relationship of F1 to production cars. There's heaps of other motorsport formulas/classes that are more closly related to street cars, (think most LE Mans classes, eg), so they can be used to develope street car technoledgy, but not F1, that's the oposite of what F1 is all about. F1 is about max engine power, aerodynamics, cornering speeds, straightline speeds etc., NONE of those things relate to street cars that we go to work in/shopping/Sunday drive/taking kids to school/going on holliday, etc. Although I agree that a certain amount of fuel should be alocated for a race, then let designers use whatever type of engine they think is best! (As long as it's not a four cylinder or rotary!) I sometmes/often wonder about the qualifications of the people who make the F1 rules, there are some highly qualified companies around, eg Cosworth, Illmore, Farrari, Renault, Honda, etc. Oh well, we'll see.



F1 is just fine as it is.


One more thing. If testing is brought back, how does this fit in with the green image F1 is apparently trying to pursue?

Back in the day, Ferrari used to burn much much more fuel testing than at race weekends.

Arrrgghhhh! Stop changing F1. Things are good now!


Here's a thought after reading all the "Toyota Prius" jabs posted so far... Formula 1, as so many of the perhaps older and wiser voices have posted, has always been a way that auto makers have tested and proven road car technology like variable cam/valve timing, traction control, and carbon fiber technology not just in cars but on aircraft, or things as trivial as the flexing winglets on the ferrari f458 to decrease drag at high speed. The current trend in the auto industry is smaller displacement with turbo and electonic assist, this rule change is a huge opprtunity for all car mfg to reap performance information related to the bulk of their car fleets. A few seasons back in topgear, clarkson drove Jay Leno's hydrogen powered Honda and raved it as the future of motoring because it was a desireable car that allowed us to preserve the future of our supercars by freeing up the strain placed by motor commuting on the worlds resources.
The main reason auto enthusiasts hate the Toyota prius is because it has a limp wristed motor and thus has to built to Chinese dimmensions to get anywhere quickly but immagine if the f1 engineers can take that same 1.6liter 4popper and bring supercar levels of power coupled with a truly efficient hybrid drive so that the prius tech is practically available in a car people other than the self righteous and ecomaniacs are willing to drive. That is my dream and I am super excited to see how 2013 turns out.


The Mercedes S Class done more for road automotive than anything F1 has ever implemented.

F1 technology frequently filtering down to road cars is a myth.


'F1 technology frequently filtering down to road cars is a myth.'

I don't know about that, F1 has pioneered and refined many road going technologies. While many don't originate in F1, they are defiantly refined and brought closer to road use in F1. Turbo's, ceramic brakes, carbon fibre (albeit limited application so far,) DSG boxes, regenerative braking, variable length exhausts, traction control, elastic aero, VVT, just to name a few.


I don't think F1 is used as a testbed for refining technologies for use in road cars. Volvo invented traction control for starters, and VVT came about in 1965 thanks to an American engineer.


Environmentally friendly? Is this Formula 1 or some green party? This is the top of motor racing and people who watch this do not care about this silly obsession with making everything "green". If Formula 1 wants to keep it's place a top all other forms of motor sport they better stop this talk of all this rubbish.


I don't particularly care what the changes are, as long as we have some! Not because there's anything inherently wrong with the current format, but because this is a sport for engineers as much as drivers. Rule changes create design problems, design problems create opportunities. Let's see what these geniuses can come up with when the rules are changed yet again!!

On a different note, did anyone else think of the old 'Group C' sports cars when restricted fuel, lower drag and more ground effect were mentioned? If F1 is half as pretty in 2013 as the 'carpet sweepers' or the late 80s and early 90s, I don't care what sound it makes.


James, can you please explain why we went back to normally asperated cars? My memory of the Turbo days and gound effects of the late 70's early 80's is and was very exciting racing...But I can't recall why the change, only to say that Murray during race calls used to bang on about it as it drew nearer. Cheers


Great. Weeny little cars with turbocharged sewing machine engines screaming like little girls at about a million rpm. And probably being outrun by IRL-spec cars.

2013: The Year I Quit Caring About F1.


Too bad they won't turn @ "a million RPM". They limit revs even now. 🙁


Regarding the reform of F1's regulations over the next few years, I think there are only really four things that people are concerned about.

1: The cars should not be slower than they are now

2: The engine note should be pleasing to the ear

3: The regulations should allow for exciting racing

4: The 'Big Four' tracks' should stay

Anything else, go nuts.

Scarlet Pimpernel

Someone very wise once said that we should never look... And this is doubly true of motorsports. Turos back then were an effort to produce gobs of power. Today we think it will help us hide our wastefullness by being green ! Well it won't work: F1 will be the butt of jokes for running 4 cylinder turbos when we only recently ran 10 and 12 cylinders. F1 IS NOT and WAS NEVER mandated to be the experimental lab for road cars. That was a crude attempt by the FIA to make itself look relevant in a very Green-obsessed political and media landscape. This will be the final nail in the coffin of serious F1 unless reporters like you call out the FiA on these ridiculous plans ! You have a voice in the media that the average fan doesn't. I suggest you use it quickly !


Hay, James, I'm quite chuffed about the idea of smaller wings and a higher degree of ground effects for the future! You might remember some months ago I was ranting on about just those things being advantagous to following and passing, and from memory I got shot down in flames for suggesting something so stupid. Oh well, we'll see what happens in the end.

Regarding turbo/non-turbo, if I was regulated to a certain minimum amount of fuel to go a certain distance in a certain time,(as quick as possable of course), I'm not sure whether I'd build a little turbo or a bigger naturaly asperated engine. (Assuming total freedom of cubic capacity). Are they talking about all engines having to be blown or will the choice be open? Interesting times ahead, that's for sure!



Sorry, I couldn't read all the posts but it seems, from the ones I did read that we, the punters, are getting to a point when the prospect of what is virtually a spec series is filling them with gloom and despair.

As you say, James, it is the flying that uses the fuel and CVC need the top dollars from new circuits but to promise great racing is a bit far fetched!

Just a thought, and not for this discussion, but why would the manufacturers want to bother with this watered-down version? Long live the break away and lots of time to sort it now!



I'm outta here, Guys, but b4 I go I wanna ask a question------Why the hell should Formula One racing cars be "green/eco-friendly"??? I would have thought it to be more important that the long-distance touring car/Le Mans/Sebring/Datona/Bathurst/Nascar/Indy 500 etc type racing to be more efficient. I mean they race for a lot longer time/distance, and they've got much bigger/inefficient engines than F1, not to mention there's a hellova lot more cars in the races! In my opinion someone's stuffed up!!!!


(But that's only my opinion!)


If the motivation is indeed to make F1 greener there are alternatives to emasculation. The statistics are not mine but are from a somewhat cynical, and even more despairing friend. But they seem, on the face of it, to have some justification.

The ‘savings’ by reducing fuel consumption are manifold. Not only is there the fuel consumption itself but the transport costs as well. Then there is the fact that the storage containers can be smaller. And that is, I feel, about it.

But there are many other ways of cutting emissions. The most interesting and simple is to limit the amount of car parking at, around and near the circuits and have a requirement for a year-on-year increase in the percentage of spectators who park and ride.

If there is a 40-mile exclusion zone then, I am assured, around 70 bus loads of spectators will save more than the proposed change in regs would. This takes into account the possibility of some spectators living nearer than 70 miles to the circuit and having to drive a greater distance than they normally would. Not to mention the distance the busses would have to travel to get to the park and rids spot.

The figures also take into account that fact that with the ‘new’ venues, such as China, there would be a negative effect on emissions, to the level of, one would assume, 70 busses.

But we don’t want public transport do we. How about limiting the number of helicopters landing at a circuit and replacing them with fixed wing aircraft? Massive savings there once the emissions from construction of runways has been worked off.

Another one is to have on-line WMSC meetings. Not only are travel costs lowered considerably but there’s all the staff who also have to attend to serve food and to wait at hotels, etc.

Or, perhaps, have the races near to one-another. Start in the east and then work westwards until Britain and then fly to the USA and Canada.

Or maybe, very radical this one and probably so off the wall that few would consider it: how about not having races in countries where spectators can’t be bothered to turn up. Instead we could have them in Europe where there will be a queue.

The justification of cutting fuel consumption at races is a farce. It is an insult to intelligence, and a breach of the new Direct marketing Association code of practice as it applies to greenwashing as well. If it was indeed a concern of the sport, instead of just a desire to polish the image, then massive cuts could be made.

I think any publicity to the effect that F1 is turning eco-friendly will not only be unconvincing but will lead to negative publicity as well.

There is little doubt that a change in infrastructure of the circuits in order to ensure more spectators use public transport is by far the most efficient way of cutting emissions at individual events and the FIA/FOM should ensure that the calendar is designed to limit travel of the circus for equally large savings. Lev eth racing alone until there is a need to cut a fraction of 1% of emissions.


"Of course the real environmental impact of F1 is in the air travel and logistics sending people and freight around the world to 19 Grands Prix and in spectators driving to circuits..."

"But that is broadly the same for any world class event."

What a load of utter BS. A recent statistic showed that the F1 cars only account for less than 1% of the sport's co2 output. So how on earch does completely changing (ruining?) their engines count towards making the sport more sustainable?! It's a joke.

Who here genuinely wants to see the best drivers in the world flying round monza or spa in an overgrown prius?! Give me a V10 or V12 please, otherwise I'll switch off to BTC/DTM.

If you're genuinely worried about the environmental impact then start flying to every race together in convoy.


If F1 wants to be seen as energy-efficient, then one key enabler will be to fair in the wheels. A very large percentage of the drag of an F1 car is the open wheels.

Rather than reverting to old-style solutions such as ground effects, cast iron brake discs etc. why does F1 not look at the DeltaWing concept? Sure, it is very different from what F1 has today, but the looks of F1 and open-wheel cars in general have been pretty static for over 30 years. If you're going to shake up other aspects of the formula, then let's examine the looks of the cars also.


James - any chance of getting your video`s in high definition?


Is it really so wrong of me to want to watch the fastest cars in the World driven by the best drivers in the World.

I understand that people think F1 needs to change, but really, does it need to change so drastically.

The next step will be give the drivers the same car... Boring! I want to see the Best driving the Best...


Dear James,

I'm don't recall whether I set this to your site or Keiths, but I'm pleased that FOCA and the FIA are heading in this direction.

In regard to noise generated by turbo engines, they siound great. I was at Long Beach for the last F1 race and my only onw, and was thrilled with the sounds. People that are dissappointed in the direction f1 is going, should realize that if it doesn't go in this directionans soon, that the Green folks will sooner or later probably get it banned, if it doesn't fail entirely by itself through irrevelance. As it was, it took 5-10 years for most of the technology to hit road cars. Now it's 1-2, or f1 copies and improves existing automotive technology, which is then absorbed by the manufacturers.

My post fromm a few months ago;

"This is one of my favorite races of all time, an I post it to reinforce a point I'd like to make.


I would be interested in knowing if the rest of you think I'm missing the point.

I feel that some of the best looking cars and the best racing was during the era of ground effect.

So, in stating that, I'd like to give my wants or hopes for the future of F1.

First and most importantly, I'd like to have the classic tracks at least every other year.

I'd like the promoters to have a chance to make enough money to want to host the races.

I'd like ticket prices to be lower, not cheap, but more reasonable, so we the fans can afford to attend a race occasionally I'd like F1 to be viewable on the internet at a VERY reasonable cost, as it is I can't watch but very few races , and living in the US, (West coast) makes the hour unbearable for all but a few races. You guys in Europe have it easy compared to us.

I'd like to see the drivers , not telemetry and software be in control.

I, personally think that the re introduction of ground effect in the cars would :

1. Give us better looking cars

2. Give us more exciting racing, as turbulence wouldn't cause as big a problem in regard to passing, or running nose to tail.

This also has a benefit for road cars to an extent, in that it deals with adhesion and drag, an in turn fuel economy.

When it was banned, the reasons were primarily safety in relation to tire failure, and suspension failure.

These are still considerations , I admit, but speeds in turns could be controlled by tire width and diameter, and minimum ride height.

Wings would be somewhat reduced in importance, and could also be regulated in area, camber ,aspect ratio, chord, and thickness. They would wind up being trimming devices more so that down force devices. They could also be cockpit adjustable.

The safety of the cars and tracks now , and the ways I think the cars could be regulated, diminishes the causes for ground effects banishment. I also think that after the design and development phase of the season was finished and the racing season started, cost of mid-season aero development would be greatly reduced and other areas of development would take priority.

There are probably other things I would like to see brought into F1, but I'm sure the rest of you will bring them up, and I'll wish I'd thought of them myself.

I hope that with FOTA members seemingly able to live together in accord, that we as fans can learn to do so as well. We can all have our favorite teams or driver, but I'd hope civility will play a part as well."



Bring back fat tires & ground effect aero and simplify front & rear wings instead!

Regenerative breaking is a great innovation but the idea of having a push-to-pass button diminishes the whole art of overtaking. It should not be easy, it should be down to the driver, not aids – increasing mechanical grip and adding ground effect while modifying the wings will help in this area.

I’m all for being more environmentally conscious but don’t touch those engines any more. F1 is a sport, it’s entertainment first and foremost. Wants to reduce total carbon footprint? Let’s focus on road vehicles where it will make the biggest impact! In the grand scheme of things F1 cars don't contribute much to pollution.


I think that the FIA, FOM and FOTA are making moves in the right direction. I think everyone can agree that the costs associated with the sport need to be kept under control and that the racing needs to be exciting. Simple right?

The problems being faced now are that the FIA have painted themselves into a corner with their current aero-focused regulations. There is no way out without re-writing the rule book. The FIA have created rules which result in aerodynamic marvels that are boring. The teams have reached a plateau with what can be achieved. Sure there are gimmicks and tricks to be found here or there, but nothing revolutionary or ground breaking is left to be found in the current rule book. Certainly nothing relevant to the automotive world at large. Even with the double-diffusers, blown-wings and blown diffusers the top cars are only separated by a tenth of a second per lap.

What the FIA need to do is shake up the rule book completely. The "Formula" is not etched into stone, so why not change the direction? Why are the cars open wheeled? Why are they open cockpit? Aren't these just vestiges of simpler days when fenders and roofs were removed to save weight?

I say, specify displacement and the amount of fuel per race. The displacement can stay fixed for a number of seasons, but the FIA can reduce the fuel amount to keep the performance in check. Also, I say no wings and a flat floor with no diffuser. I can't stand watching the teams spend countless millions on the tiny aerodynamic details of a front wing end plate. If we take the money spent on ridiculous aerodynamic doo-dads and apply that to engine power and fuel efficiency then we will have great racing and great engineering developments. By only specifying the displacement, the teams will be free to use any engine configuration they want.

Also, allow any and all regenerative technologies. The argument that it is "push to pass" is only valid under the current regulations. Allow the engineers to have full control over torque application. The driver still controls the amount of torque with the gas pedal, but where it comes from should be up to the engineers. The teams with the best torque management and regenerative technologies will win. In my view, that is far better than the team with the best wind tunnel and CFD computers winning.


James, I'm not particularly happy about the direction F1 has gone and is headed from the V10 to the V8 and from the 08 aero to the 09 aero...I fear a golden era is behind us. I will always remember the last of the great V10 era, and a brilliant race to send it off at Suzuka, I can't forget that final pass and your call of the race "Grand Prix racing at its absolute finest!" when Kimi stormed passed Giancarlo on the last lap. That to me was the pinnacle.

The oil economy will not last forever though, and racing as it was back then is not something we can do forever, even as beautiful as it sounded and looked. Your enthusiasm about the next batch of changes makes it easier to move on, cheers!


I'm not really keen on the 'Limited Fuel' direction F1 wants to venture in.

It's a disaster in Motogp forcing all teams to use 21 liters of petrol per race. With this rule, the later laps become fuel saving laps. The gaps from the leader more or less remain the same since those behind cannot override the ECU when it goes to fuel conservation mode. The race is basically decided after 5 laps, barring crash or any unintended mishaps. THe only saving grace for MotoGP is that the bikes have small footprints, making the tracks relatively larger, plus they don't rely on downforce, so overtaking and slipstreaming still applies.

With Fuel limits, plus complicated aero, I wonder if it would push F1 to 'really really dificult to overtake' to 'impossible to overtake'...


In all honesty I'd love to see a return to V10s, 1000BHP and all that wonderfulness but F1 does have a genuine case for going green. All the talk of logistical costs and the carbon footprint of F1 in terms of freight and travel is something of an irrelevance. F1 possesses the finest engineering minds on the planet and as such is uniquely positioned to accelerate the development of green technologies which can be adapted by the vehicle manufacturing industry. The idea is to reduce the carbon footprint of the motor vehicle in general and this needs to be tackled at grass roots levels. Vehicles such as the PRIUS are something of a token gesture towards ecologically sound motoring, F1 provides a great opportunity to get some real innovation taking place. As we all know, F1 has new technologies coming out of its ears and we should be embracing the fact that they have the foresight to share it with the rest of the world for the greater good.

On the other hand, to satisfy the petrolheads i.e. me, it would be nice to see a legends race as a support event at 2 or 3 Grand Prix a year in which a historic season no earlier than say 1990 was chosen prior to the current season and the cars and drivers of yesteryear would be required/invited to re-live say Monaco 1996 or Silverstone 1998. It would be fun to see if the old boys could successfully recreate the bond between man and old steed and pull off a similar result.


I'd like to see them open up the engine rules and let them use whatever engines/energy recovery systems they want providing the car doesn't exceed a certain top speed and bhp on a dyno. I also wouldn't enforce a restriction on the amount of fuel a car could use, instead it shoudl be an advantage for a car to have a more fuel efficiant car (ie the car can be lighter)

That way we would have a nice mix of lighter more fuel efficient cars. The smaller teams could have the more traditional cheaper engines and the manufacturer teams could run with something more relevant to the car industry and more cutting edge.


a lot of people are missing the point. the reduction in engine size is not for green credentials primarily, it's to bring the manufacturers back with a relevant engine and chance for them to showcase their capabilities and allow them to drive technology in downsize boosted direct injection gasoline engines. there is to be no restriction on turbo size / design / configuration or boost pressure etc - energy recovery devices will be largely free. as long we still have around the same sort of power as we do now, i don't care what shape or size the engine is. the current v8's sound rubbish in the metal compared to the v10's anyway (except the toyota v10 which sounded like a robot)


My comment is purely designed to return Formula One to a sport, from the business that it is presently without Bernie & co. losing any precious dollars.

For decades, 99% of the 'races' have been processions. Any arguments?

Qualifying times for decades tell me that the racing is going to be unbelievably good, by providing exceptionally close racing, regularly having one second span the first ten or fifteen drivers. Within a few corners from the beginning of the typical GP, one second gaps seperate ALL cars. And then it only gets more processional. Any arguments?


Gordon Murray termed the words 'wing and slick tyre technology'. A very short 2 or 3 year period from both of these entering F1. Pre 'wing and slick tyre technology', qualifying times were not close, but often the racing was.

The reason?

Because gravity alone kept the cars on the ground. There was no 'one second barrier'. The cars performed as well cornering if they were ten inches behind or ten football ovals behind. Any arguments?

Ban all aerodynamics now!!!

Yes, the cars would be much slower around corners, but the extremely close racing would make up for the speed difference in excitement provided. Strewth, there might even be the 'holy grail' - passing!!

So, imagine the starter formula called Formula Ford on steroids being driven by the best of the best; Imagine the present lads actually able to get close enough to each other to actually sort out the men from the boys. They, themselves, must be annoyed (all the way to the bank though) about not being able to actually race.




One of the reasons for the changes in 2013 is so the cars are more ecologically sound, doing less damage to the environment.

Come on !!!

The CO2 emissions and damage to the environment are just a drop in the ocean and changing F1 cars is going to do nothing to help the plight of the planet.

As in anything else the changes are just a few people in high power positions, trying to justify their large pay packets by bringing in rule changes that are not required.

Ultimately all they are going to do in the long run is turn off the great following F1 has around the world both new and old.

Who will pay their wages then ?

If it ain't broke don't try and fix it.

Very wise words !!!

Martin Heavens

For anyone that thinks racing with a 1.5 litre engine is going to be boring you have never seen Rene Arnoux and Gille Villeneuve racing in 1979




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