F1 Strategy Group gets tough on fins and T wings, favours shield over halo in latest talks
Shark Fin F1
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Apr 2017   |  6:47 pm GMT  |  167 comments

The F1 Strategy Group met Tuesday and agreed a number of welcome measures, including a restriction on T wings and Shark Fins on engine covers and a step towards better transparency by inviting other teams outside the top six to attend Strategy Group meetings.

But the eye catching development was the decision to proceed not with the Halo frontal protection system, but with the screen. The F1 drivers have been pushing for frontal protection and a programme of evaluation was carried out by all F1 teams during Free practice sessions last season.

However there are widespread reservations about its introduction on the grounds of looks and the screen has got the nod. It will be tested and evaluated ahead of an introduction in 2018.

Other measures which arose from the Strategy Group include:

Representatives from the non-member teams will now be invited to meetings of the F1 Strategy Group as observers, demonstrating the effective commitment of both the FIA and the Commercial Rights Holder to improve transparency in the sport.

Driver names and numbers
From Barcelona (12-14 May 2017) onwards, the sporting regulations will be strictly enforced to ensure that visibility of drivers’ names and numbers on the cars will be clearer.

Sporting and technical changes
Changes in the regulation boxes around the engine cover have been made so that designs incorporating the ‘t-wing’ and ‘shark fin’ will be strictly limited

Measures will be taken to ensure that oil will not be used as fuel. In addition, only one specification of oil may be used for any given power unit during an event.

Pirelli will be allowed to develop 2018 wet weather tyre compounds using previous specifications of cars and wheel dimensions
In the event of a red flag period during a race, the race will be resumed from a standing start.

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The red flag standing restart would be more exciting.

But imagine a driver leading the race by 30 seconds and then they have to line up on the grid for a second time after a red flag, but get a bad start and drop down to 5th. Seems a little unfair.


it's no different to a safety car, you build up a good lead then the safety car comes out and everyone's back nose to tail. exactly what happened to RIC at the last race.


Exactly what happened to RIC at the last race?!?? I must have missed something then. When did RIC have any sort of lead, nevermind a good lead?


How would the red flag restarts work when it's a wet/damp track and half the grid starting offline and substantially disadvantaged? Could be interesting to see if a driver deliberately goes off track behind the safety car to give up a place in case the red flag is then hung out just so they're on the correct side of the track for the restart


Works in MotoGP and WSBK. Haven't heard any complaints. Nobody ever said racing was "fair."


Leader cruising 30 seconds in front never was a good thing.

Standing re-start after red flad period, I like. Unfair or not, higher chance of on-track action for us - the viewers - and that's good thing.


Silverstone 2008 - a young Lewis Hamilton drives a masterclass in the wet (outperforming the entire field - he lapped all cars to P4 and won by over a minute). Now imagine with a few laps left there is a safety car and a standing restart; Rubens Barrichello or Nick Heidfeld ends up winning that race! Do you really believe that is the spirit of motorsports. The primary intention of the rolling starts was to preserve the status quo of the race prior to the event that interrupted it. It preserves the track places of each car so that random safety issue do not have precedence over the skill of the driver. This rule change takes that away from the driver and adds the potential of turning a 60 lap race into a 1 lap crap shoot. We used to call that junk INHERITED WINS and that was a derogatory term.


The red flag restart will never come into effect, I bet.


@ KRB....How much?


Yes, that is exactly the spirit of motorsport. Also, an older nearly man stealing the win out from under some young hotshot's nose is one of the most popular events in any sport. If Nick Heidfeld had driven a blistering six laps in an inferior car and beaten Lewis to the win people would still talk about it now.


JV came from 2 laps down at the Indy 500 94 albeit aided with a few safety cars...kinda bankrolled his way into F1 landing a seat in the best package at the time.


If a superior driver in an inferior machine CHASES DOWN and passes a superior car we cheer. If you roll the dice and the inferior machine wins we are cheated out of the art of racing!


if a driver outperforms the field in the wet, they can repeat their performance if the race restarted on the grid.
race will end behind the safety car if there were only a few laps remaining anyway.


I don't think it's unfair, any more than it's unfair to have rain in the first place (unless it's because Bernie snuck in and switched on the sprinklers).

It's not like someone rolls a dice who determine who gets a good start or not - It's up to the drivers to make sure that they get a good start and if they fumble it then tough luck, that's racing.


well said random79..conditions are the same for all afterall.


If you have multiple standing starts, there's too much emphasis on drag racing and it devalues the actual race itself.

Why not stop the race before the final lap and have another standing start if we're looking to artificially spice things up? I mean, it's up to the drivers after all.


Haha Yep, why not every lap, it's up to the drivers after all.


they've already stopped. due to red flag. so...


Who said we're looking to spice it up artificially?

When the conditions are unsafe the race needs to stop, and then when the conditions are safe again the race needs to be re-started - That can't be helped.

The only question is *how* the race is restarted, so why not have a standing start? You say it's unfair the the leader might lose a 30 second lead because of a standing start? Fair enough, but then again maybe the driver who was previously leading the race lost the lead because they were unlucky enough to aquaplane somewhere before the race was stopped. Shouldn't they get the chance to win the race that they otherwise would have won?

There's usually no need for multiple standing starts and there's certainly no need for for what you suggested (I know you weren't serious, but man that was a silly one 🙂 ) but like I said, it's racing, and like it or not luck does play a factor.


You say it's unfair the the leader might lose a 30 second lead because of a standing start?

No, I didn't say that. I said it's unfair to compound that with the chance of then losing multiple positions on top of whatever lead was hard earnt. The safety car restart is clearly the most natural way to resume a race after a stoppage.


I agree, but it does happen this way in other forms of motorsport. Only last weekend at the Moto 3 race in Austin, Texas there was this exact situation where the leader of the first part of the race had a significant lead wiped out and then found himself in a battle in part two of the race with someone who wasn't anywhere near him in part one. He eventually crashed out. The question is - will this standing start see the cars lined up in single file or on a new starting grid formation and will this format change depending on how much of the race has been run?


"Pirelli will be allowed to develop 2018 wet weather tyre compounds using previous specifications of cars and wheel dimensions"

Confused, previous as in 2016 cars? How does that work, when the wheels and downforce are completely different?


I believe previous to 2018 wet weather tyre means 2017 spec, which is same technical characteristics.


Aah good news that the sport has outlawed the shark wings and T wing because they're different from what a typical F1 should look like.

As for the screen protection system, unfortunately, the sport took a wrong turn with making the sport too safe because danger is part of the DNA of certain sports and changing this is changing the sport because F1 is supposed to be open wheel

Basically introducing the screen is tantamount to boxers introducing helmets or Ruby players introducing helmets and body suits

So yes, with F1 bringing in huge run off areas and red flagging the race whenever it rains, it feels like the past's stars were made of stronger stuff as they too had a lot to lose but they still laid it all on the line as shown by the fact that it's the drivers that have been pushing for frontal protection.

All in all, only the brave should step inside a racing car, the rest of us should watch from the sofa


"...a typical F1 should look like." And what pray tell Oh Wise One does a typical F1 car look like?


@ spokes

It's quite simple, a typical F1 car comprises of a chassis, open wheels, rear wing, front wing and lastly a smooth curve engine cover


Sure, now that's what's considered an F1 car. But until around 1969-70 aerofoils were considered anathema to F1, and only a few years before that the engine went in front of the driver. And in the mid-50's the Mercedes W196 had a streamline version for the high speed tracks where the wheels were covered.


even with shark fins and T wings and the Halo, F1 cars look better than the current Indy cars. Alonso' biggest challenge will be not throwing up every time his McHonda gets overtaken by one of the ugly things.


@ Axel Knutt...I am still interested in why people still refer to the 'finned engine covers' as shark's fins? Obviously they've never actually seen a sharks fin in the water, it looks nothing at all like those on an F1 car!!!!


I guess if you started talking about an ugly fin in an F1 car, people would think you were talking about Valtteri Bottas 😀


Totally agree. Plus I've invested heavily in the firm that makes the halos. This is no way to run a sport...


@ Phil Glass

Hahaha is that right


because F1 is supposed to be open wheel

Well, the wheels would still be open, just that the cockpit would be less so.

The introduction of headgear to boxing and rugby hasn't reduced the spectacle, and given the long-term head injuries that we are increasingly becoming knowledgeable about suggests that these have only been a partial solution. It's a particularly big deal in the NFL, for example.

The stars of yesteryear were likely made of sterner stuff when it came to taking risks, however this is the element of sport and life that is increasingly becoming unfashionable: the advent of media coverage and instant information has meant that it is decidedly unpalatable for a driver to die / become seriously injured on screen. Check out the documentary "1" for more information on this.

Seeing that a racing driver's job is to throw themselves at the scenery at a barely believable speed, bravery will always be an essential part of the job description.


@ BigHaydo

Aah yes, I meant to say open cockpit and I agree that the advent of media especially live coverage means the sport has to be cautious as possible considering the fact children are viewers of the action

And sure, all drivers are brave however, there is a different level of bravery knowing you're driving a pretty safe modern car to the less safe cars from yesteryear


Not sure if I agree with your T-Wing & Shark Fin comment. F1 has always introduced new, innovative and evolving components in motor sports. I personally don't like the look of these two things in a close up shots, but it made no difference visually to me once the race starts. So, limiting these are another "waste of time" activity by the strategy group in my view.

In terms of the screen or halo or whatever the new protection gear will be, it has to be visually attractive. I think something is necessary here. Of course danger is part of life, but any improvement to increase safety is a good thing. To me accepting danger as part of F1 is no excuse to stop improving safety. That's a bad principal to establish.

Finally, we need to be careful about introducing artificial and fake rules to spice things up. F1 should learn from its history that it always backfires. I'd keep the start as it is & fair.


I guess the reason why the shark wing and T-wing were outlawed is due to the fact they aren't really adding performance to the car and yet aren't visually pleasing

Regards safety, indeed, it's proper to always improve safety for better protection of participants however, this shouldn't be at the expense of the core roots of the sport and in this case that being open cockpit


twings are know to have fallen off cars and became hazzards on track..


But they do ad performance to the car. Engineers don't just slap them on there for the hell of it.


@ Dren

Good point

Perhaps the teams should protest this ban


Shark Fin and T-Wing has huge impact on the downforce and corner speed. I refer to Ted's development corner interview with Bob Fernley, explains it well (the data from wind tunnel shows it, so does the on track data). As I said, for me visually it has zero impact while watching it on tv. Only time I find it ugly when there's a close up shot, even then its minor. So, I find this part of the discussion a giant waste of time considering how much time they had before the season started.

I have issue with many people's version of "Core Root of F1". If you look at the cars since the very beginning, it has always evolved very well. A thoughtful protection piece will not change anything about the open cockpit car. We already spend 2 plus years hearing about halo and other ideas. And right now we are back to where we were right at the beginning!!

My objection about the strategy group meetings never changed. There are bunch high powered people sit there to bully the little guys and ignore the fans majority of the time. Remember they banned personalised helmet not couple of years back? It's like someone is getting paid loads of money without a job and they are constantly coming up with useless ideas to prove that they have a job. They haven't come up with one solution to reduce the cost of engines let alone the overall cost, haven't done anything about the sound issue, nothing about the distribution of the funds, nothing about making the engines more equal so that the engineers can focus more on aero (it's a visual sport after all and we can't see engines as you know) etc. However, the standard is so low that I found this was still the best strategy group meeting ever. Because, they at least mentioned having teams outside the top 6 and funnily enough making the names and numbers of the drivers more visible (even if it's got nothing to do with the performance).


@ Formula Zero

Actually the way cars look visually is important to a lot of people especially those on the ground therefore the strategy group had to take this step after getting feed back from the fans

Regards the core roots of the sport, yes, the cars have always evolved in terms of appearance however, the one thing that has never changed is the open wheels and open cockpit

And yes a protection screen will change the appearance of the car the way the shark wings changed the appearance


actually the shark fin does have a significant effect on performance. As the cars come out of the corners and accelerates with a slip angle, the airflow over the 'back' side of the fin is producing a low pressure area as it has to travel further. This is sucking the car back into line and allowing the driver to accelerate harder.


see, science proves that shark fins suck!


@ Obiron

Oh I see... Cheers


the shark wing and T-wing were outlawed is due to the fact they aren't really adding performance to the car

If they weren't adding performance to the cars they wouldn't be there. Personally I'm astonished that people are focusing on these and just letting the ugly noses slide. I guess because the noses have been ugly for years most people have "gotten used" to them. I, however haven't. They're uglier than sin.


@ The New JC

To be fair, the noses are simply an innocent byproduct of the bigger rear wings that were introduced in 2009


Who are you trying to be fair to??

Anyway, F1 noses didn't get ugly until 2012, so I doubt it has anything to do with the 2009 regulation changes...


@ Formula Zero

I guess the reason why the shark wing and T-wing were outlawed is due to the fact they aren't really adding performance to the car and yet aren't visually pleasing

Regards safety, indeed, it's proper to always improve safety for better protection of participants however, this shouldn't be at the expense of the core roots of the sport and in this case that being open cockpit


Totally agree on the danger part in what should be open wheel racing. Their taking this aspect (danger) out of the sport which to me makes it less appealing.


@ cheesypoof

Indeed for how else can the drivers become folklore heroes if they are faced with zero danger


goferet, there will never be zero danger.


@ TimW

Indeed and Alonso's shunt in Melbourne 2016 reminded the fans the sport can catch you out when you least expect it


@ Goferet...F1 is still open wheel and it will still be open cockpit...if i read this proposal properly. Different yes but stlll F1 with a certain refinement. Imagine it without the fin and T wing and it should look fine. However i do wish that they would show us what the proposed 'new screen' looks like?


this is the latest idea... https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/exclusive-how-formula-1-s-new-shield-idea-could-look-892544/

that'll be one doozy of a windscreen wiper @seebee


At this angle any material they going to use is going to be barely transparent. Not to mention the glare of the curved shape they proposed.
Take peace of glass, and look through it while angled at 2°-3° as is at this proposed image. Even plexiglass, or opti white glass isn't much better.
If one can't see through, how can they drive?


@ kenneth

Hmm... But with the new proposal it wouldn't be completely open cockpit as it would have a screen in front of the driver hence changing the definition of of the word open


@ Goferet...i'm not too sure how ling we can keep this going but in desperation.....If the cockpit is 'materially' open [not covered at all] then it is still an open cockpit. The images sent to me show that the concept does not encroach any of the existing cockpit. It is still open. Besides F1 has never been referred to as 'open cockpit' racing. It has always been known by reference as 'open wheel racing'.


Pretty much every Brabham had a screen, Hunt's McLaren in 1976 had a screen, Ferrari during the 60s adopted a screen, the tyrrell six wheeler had a screen, Mansells Red 5 williams in 1992 had a (little) screen....and the list goes on.


@ aezy_doc

Interesting, thanks for these examples


@ Goferet.... The cockpit is still majorly open, otherwise how would the driver get in and out? You should also look at the fact that the opposite of open is closed and this variation on the Red Bull design is by no means a 'closed' concept. In saying that i haven't as yet seen it and i don't actually know anyone who has. It is 'supposed' to be very close to the Red Bull design...if so then it is a 'screen' and a screen does not not cover but enclose the cockpit perimeter.


@ kenneth

Indeed, the screen won't cover the cockpit per se, however, it would shield the cockpit thus turning it into a shielded cockpit which is also the opposite of open


why do you know exactly what it would do and not do while the final designs have not yet been seen?


I'll forgive the screen if they manage to make the cars sound like proper Formula One again!!
Whatever happened to talk of sound generators for 2018??


I really hope 'sound generators' never get introduced. We don't need more artificial input. Ross Brawn knows what he's doing and has already alluded to having an engine that is much simpler and less expensive, which hopefully means the end of these unnecessarily complex PUs.


f1 cars sound like proper f1 cars now and i love it..


So you're one the .05% of fans who actually think these PU's sound better then what we had.
Or maybe you haven't attended a race since 2014, or you've never heard a v10 or v12 in full voice..


@ Aveli really? and that coming from someone who, purportedly, subcribes only to the truth! Listen to what Alain Prost has to say.


prost love formula e.
i know that these pus are a lot more efficient than any f1 engine in the history of the sport.
the current f1 sound is isn't hazardous to auditory systems of people at work at the circuit.
they are a lot more technologically advanced than any f1 engine in the history of the sport..
there is absolutely nothing you can say in support of any the old engines apart from the fact that you like the sound of it.


Whatever happened to talk of sound generators for 2018??

It was quite rightly put back into the cupboard of ridiculous ideas from which is came, and where it rightfully belongs.

Some of these silly ideas, such as double point and new quali formats, manage to make a bolt for it as soon as they've escaped the cupboard. Luckily sound generators were quickly recovered.

I really hope that Liberty take more care securing security breaches from this dangerous little cupboard than Bernie managed in recent years.


@ Mr Stick

From the rumours I have seen, it appears the sport is considering bringing back louder engines in 2020 therefore I guess the sound generator idea was shelved


don't dream so much..


HALO, or any sort of screen, I'm not fond of. I don't think it will help the safety other in the case when than a bouncing wheel is on the way to hit a driver (when was the last time that happen in F1)?
It takes away some of the history out of the car.

Shark fin and T wing....I don't care at all weather they are there or not. I don't find them ugly. Some are uglier then others, but no big difference.

I'd love to see the bigger and more pronounced numbers on the cars, aka '80s - Renault had huge red 15 and blue 16 on the front wing. One could tell from waaaaaay back who's Prost, and who's Arnoux. 🙂


yeah, Arnoux was the one weaving all over the track and ignoring the blue flags 😉


HAHAHAHAHAHA....yeah he did know how to weave.
On the other hand, he was protagonist (together with Gilles Villeneuve) on one of the greatest battles in F1 history. The battle still being mentioned today, even it was way back in '79, the famous last couple of laps of French GP in Dijon.


Good news with the screen, not only will it look far better, but it will be more effective especially in stopping debris like the Massa incident the other year.


How good will it be at attracting rubber and oil and other debris? What about in the rain? Giant tear offs won't be an issue when recently they tried to ban the tiny helmet ones? Drivers won't be able to tear off that thing buckled up, so what - pit to tear off?

This whole thing is a little silly. It doesn't feel like a move in the direction of safety somehow. It feels like a path that lets them put the whole screen/thong thing to bed by choosing the option that will have safety objections that will allow them to excuse it away and burry it.



its better than halo


The choice you speak of is like dropping your phone into the toilet and deciding to pull it out. Right hand or left?


They have screens in WEC and other racing series though. How do they cope? ah yes, the humble windscreen wiper. I'm sure they'll cope.


OK, so I'm staying here and now that when/if an Formula 1 car has a windscreen wiper - I'm out 100%!


Ohhh, don't be a party pooper! Windscreen wipers and a little horn on the side which makes little roadrunner sounds.... beep beep.... it would be great😄


Fine. You want wipers? I'll accept wipers, when you accept sprinklers.


I don't want wipers! I don't even want mandatory screens or halos.


I'll accept sprinklers Sebee. Will you accept the furry dice? They could hang them from the T-wings...


I'm all for a new safety component to the car. I think it should happen soon as well. So, I'm confident that the people in charge are taking the concerns you raised into account. I'm not sure that the screen and halo are the right solutions. But if there were a choice between the two, I personally choose halo. The screen that we have seen so far reminds me of the riot scene from "Blood Diamond", which isn't fun.


The times they is a-changing, eh ? Any detail available on the limits being placed on engine cover fins and T-wings? Does the comment on T-wings exclude those wings not incorporated into the "fin" on an engine cover but growing out of a stalk ahead of the regular wing ? Simply curious.

Am remembering when McLaren had the driver names predominantly displayed on the side pods of their mounts. That was very clear, indeed. Any details available regarding what the specs are for this new name-related development regarding enforcement of the regs? For example, will they now become visible on the telecasts ?


Were the Mclarens you refer to when they were sponsored by West cigarettes and for the non cigarette advertising countries they changed the West to "David", "Mika" or "Kimi" in the same font, that was quite cool.


Those are the ones ! ! !


Sod letting the smaller teams in on the utterly ridiculous Strategy Group...scrap it! I thought Ross Brawn was supposed to be looking after this stuff with a team of enlightened folks...not the same old self serving, bickering teams. The blasted Strategy Group is responsible for absolutely nothing positive in F1...it was another whacky Bernie idea. Liberty seem to be doing well so far, carry on and get rid of the SG as soon as possible.


Always did think that the players being rule-makers was a weird suggestion... however without consultation you get rule changes that don't work out in practice (elimination qualifying, for example) or lack fundamental understanding of complex aspects of the sport.

Use them for consultation and sounding boards - absolutely. Not for making the final decisions in unanimity.


This seems like a great start. Well done.


What a pitty... I was going to suggest placing a LED TV in the shark fin so they could have a live advertising board.
Viva Las Vegas !!! xD
About the standing start after a red flag, this could lead to serious championship manipulations if the team mate of a WDC contender crashes on purpose to provoke the red flag and a possibility to gain several positions at once.
IMO, this rule should be desalowed for the last race - at least.


No thats a pointless rule, they should just impose the existing ones and throw the book at any one that dares to try it. Back in the days when they actually punished people Schumacher got disqualified from the entire 97 championship for bashing Villeneuve!


Yet he got away with bashing into Damon Hill in 1994, and winning the title that year.

Rosberg speared into his direct title rival last year in Austria, and only got a 10 second penalty!

There's no consistency between any of those decisions.


Good news about the car numbers.

As for cockpit protection, I'd like to know what's going to happen if the new 'shield' concept fails FIA testing. Perhaps there should be a parallel program to establish whether it's possible to paint the Halo a colour other than black?


Yes, good that there IS news about the numbers. Now, they should establish some proper size, contrast and eligibility rules.


This what's going to happen if the shield fails FIA testing, we will be no further ahead than where we were in 2015. That means bunch people got paid loads of money for sitting on their bottoms for two years.


Perhaps there should be a parallel program to establish whether it's possible to paint the Halo a colour other than black?

I'm not sure colour was the biggest complaint about the Halo's aesthetics...


There were major driver reservation about the screen, with several probable vision obscuring situations if they are used, any one of which should be sufficient to ban it.

It is good that the coat-hangers wings have been dispensed with, they looked very amateur; reminded me of 1970's replacement for broken car aerials.

The full grid restart after a red flag can be little better than if the correct current single file restart were to be followed.


There are several drivers who wants some kind of protection as well. So, banning it is not a solution and it's certainly not sufficient when it comes to safety. I am confident that there will be a better solution to the issue from someone.

How is a full grid restart fair on the driver who had worked hard to build the lead? Let's look at it a football's perspective. When a team is ahead by 4 goals and 10 minutes before the end of the game the referee decides to cut that lead to 1-0 just to spice things up or because the the team trailing has injured player, would that be fair? Let's look at it from a cricket's point of view. Ashes going on, England needs 500 runs to win in the fourth innings. All of a sudden, the referee says that the Australian team can only have 2 bowlers for the whole innings just to spice things up, would that be fair? Tell me about any other sport that's considered fair. Sometimes, F1 doesn't know the meaning of manipulation and artificiality.


ever heard of Duckworth-Lewis? now that's unfair


My "favourite" visual eye sore, for want of a better phrase was the hideous "tower winglets" that the likes of Jordan and Sauber sprouted. I think it was 1997/1998 if my memory serves me correct. Whatever the chronology, they really were shockingly ugly to look at - and dangerous too if one of them flew off, potentially slicing open a drivers torso.........

If I remember correctly, I think it was Jean Alesi who leaving his pit had one of his "winglets" ripped off by an air gun, without damage to anyone, but a piece of razor sharp carbon composite heading towards some poor mechanics head? They really were a liability.


Think it was the Tyrrell they first appeared on old mate...the other teams then developed copied the following season. Bernie banned them due to being ugly/unsightly....around the same time or not long after he considered Hockenheim to be boring for the attending spectators.....and alas we all know the rest is history...RIP Hockenheim


Those were some corkers!

I find it somewhat ironic hat the towers on top of the tub that BMW Sauber wanted to use circa 2006 were removed on safety grounds, yet the more obstructive Halo was to be introduced on safety grounds...




Hallelujah, finally thoughtful decisions are being made now that the master of all puppeteers has been banned, Mr E. Shame on all of us who wanted the establishment to remain what it was. No wonder my younger nephews and nieces had no interest in this circus.


I don't get the issue with the shark fins and T wings. They are being banned on purely an esthetic basis? It wasn't clear as to when this ban is supposed to happen. I assume next year. It is just going to add additional development costs for teams to compensate for the loss of these items. The decision on the screen was a surprise!


"They are being banned on purely aesthetic basis" sure looks like it BobW, just a pitty they haven't banned the engines yet due to sound aesthetic's.


Isn't this just typical! They spend a whole year testing and talking up the Halo, only to decide they don't want to use it anyway.
Okay, when will they start testing the shield then?. I take it that it's the Redbull shield they're talking about now, the one that was put forward last year then thrown out for the Halo?


@James k - They tested the halo and found it wanting. Should they have just forced its use and then discovered the problems?


Of course they shouldn't push it through. They said that it passed all tests even before it was put on a car. Don't get me wrong, I hated the thing. But do they really have to use a whole year and all the teams to find out that the thing was "wanting".
It's FIA dithering at its best. 🍻


No, it's a different shield - longer and narrower, higher than the driver's head but not anywhere near reaching the driver. There's a couple of concept drawings on Autosport's website.


Ok, thanks. I'll check it out👍🏻


More meaningless nitpicking by F1 that does not address the main problem with the sport - unfair distribution of the purse! Imagine a sport where rules are changed because the equipment looks ugly on camera - no wonder fans are disillusioned.


Hi James,

From when do the t wing and shark fin regs take effect?


Next World council in June after Le Mans


I read one report that definitively stated the changes were to take place for 2018 regarding fins and t-wings.


I read that's when it's voted for approval (or not) but it won't take effect until next season.


James when are these changes and restrictions on the fins and T-wings going to be enforced from?


More changes -
Some good:
- Dropping halo for shields - I liked the red bull prototype way more
- T wing going away (aesthetically displeasing)
- Hooray for standing starts!

Some bad
- Not allowing oil burning - this is a nice loop hole that may or may not have been used by Mercedes -- disallowing it isn't bad per se, however I like this style of innovation!
- Shark Fins (am I the only one who likes them?)


Excellent news. The cockpit thong was a monstrosity. Shields can look good and have in the past. A modern evolution of the MP4/4 shield will suit me just fine thank you.


They were really really pretty cars...


What exactly does "In addition, only one specification of oil may be used for any given power unit during an event." mean? There's various readings, ranging from "you can change oil spec if you change your physical engine" to eliminating at a stroke the possibility for customer teams to have different fuel & oil suppliers from the works team for that engine (e.g., the current situation with Renault & Red Bull).


It means 'don't use a special oil/fuel mix which slightly damages the engine but provides more power for either Q3 or the race' Presumably switching back to 'long engine life' oil for FP1,2,3, Q1, Q2


I fail to see why a single rearward leaning strake mounted forward and centre of cockpit would not do the job of head protection.


Massa got hit by a spring over his left eye, ie not central. Cockpit may be struck by an object coming in at an angle, missing your strake. Spinning objects, spinning cars, inverted cars with strakes digging in and causing car destruction, strakes slicing into pit crew. 'Known unknowns, unknown knowns and unknown unknowns' - Donald Rumsfeld


ever since superconductors were introduced, we haven't heard of a single complaint about lack of battery capacity, which used to hear of every race weekend.
"thanks aveli"


I just don't see how any clear screen is going to work in the wet a wet Visor on a helmet is bad enough let alone looking through another wet screen


Exactly Tony, I have wondered if the drivers eye line will be above the screen (bit like MotoGP bike) or if the driver will look through the Screen in which case the drivers safety could be affected any how due to a diminished visibility!


Have you ever watched a motogp race? Riders look through the windscreen on the straights, not above it!

I don't understand why everyone is complaining. Do you see any tear-off or wipers on the motogp bikes screens?? And yes, they USE them in the wet as well! So stop creating problems (with the screen) that isn't there, or has already been resolved in other race categories (e.g. heating, special coating and so on).


i assumed it is clear for a reason so they can look threw it not over it and of course you are strapped in so not so easy to just look over it like on a motorbike just have to wait and see how long it takes for them to scrap this idea as well


Great news - the HALO is an absolute disaster from an aesthetic point of view.

I think the screen could look great - very futuristic if done right.

It's nice to read about positive changes to F1. Long may it continue.


Will be glad to have the numbers visible again. I personally did not find the shark fins all that ugly, but it seems the great majority does. I soon will forget about them l am sure. The standing start after a red flag is a big one though. I can see this creating controversy in the future, on the bright side red flags are rare in occurrence. Finally with regards to drivers' protection, I did not like the look of the Halo, neither am l all that excited about the windshield but if there has to be some sort of protection, then the later seems better. I actually like the Renault prototype of the F1 of the future with the windshield doubled with a clear helmet front for us to see the drivers' faces. Roll on Russia. Marc


Interesting news on the oil JA...who's been burning oil as fuel? And who's been using different spec oils on the same power units at the same events? 🤔


Everyone is. The difference is that some engines have better performance gain than the others.


Great news. Finally steps in the right direction...after all these years!


Some good outcomes here and I like the abandonment of the halo concept, looks very bad. However, I do prefer the Red Bull shield as that is practical and looks good - just set it a bit further down the car, not so close to the cockpit.

Clamping down on oil as a fuel source and restricting to one type of oil per weekend is a great idea. Seems like we are getting to the stage where eroding the Merc performance is inline with what they did to RB a few years ago, nice to see but has anyone clarified if Mercs are using oil as fuel?


How much of a say does Ross Brawn have in the Strategy Group?


"Measures will be taken to ensure that oil will not be used as fuel. In addition, only one specification of oil may be used for any given power unit during an event."

Will be interesting to see what effect that has on the Mercedes dominance in qualifying that disappears in the race.


The comment about not using oil as fuel is interesting. I has be thinking to last year when the Merc's were often very smokey in pit lane or after idling. Could they have been using oil to increase available fuel burn (power) whilst still achieving race distance with allocated fuel tank capacity?
Or am I way off the mark?


There's no smoke without fire!!!!!


It's believed 2 of cylinders in the Mercedes are diesels and burn oil. During normal racing only 4 cylinders are used, but when necessary the 2 special cylinders are bought into action and give the Mercedes the extra boost that allows them to win so many races.


@ Rodger R....24 days late!!!!


Seriously Rodger R? That's bizarre if true.


Is the shark fin ban for Barcelona or 2018?


Great news about the numbers, watching on the TV it doesn't bother me so much as you can tell from the helmet etc and can see the leader board but if your actually at a race IMO its very difficult to tell which ones which as they zoom past. It's not like the cars are plastered with sponsors to the same extent they were in the past, there's plenty of room for a large number on the side pod / engine cover, or even the rear wing endplates, pretty sure they all used to have numbers on there.


I don't follow the oil as fuel issue? what do they mean by this?


There is a fuel flow limit, 100 litres per hour. In a qualifying lap they use 100lpr of fuel plus say 2 litres of "oil". The special "qualifying" oil is combustible, it burns like fuel. Or more correctly it burns when mixed with fuel. This gives a richer fuel air ratio which gives more power or it gives a more normal air fuel ratio when more air (than in the race). A higher boost level. Obviously in the qualifying lap the engine use a couple of litre of oil but they have say a 10 litre oil tank so there is still plenty of oil for lubrication.

In the race they use different (more normal) oil that isn't consumed in the combustion process. They couldn't use the special "qualifying" oil for the race as it would run out.

Keeping in mind that on its own "qualifying" oil probably isn't going to make all of the 0.5 secs that Mercedes have over their opposition, but it's may well be a substantial contributor.


You're talking like you know what they do. All of what you said is someone speculating on what could be happening. They are going to measure the level of oil consumption for qualifying and the race, so they'll be able to see any usage rate differences.

Lastly, max fuel flow limit is 100kg/hr, not litres.


Sounds good! Not sure about the screen though, screens get dirty etc (although it doesn't seem to be an issue in LMP racing for example) but it's good that we get these safety measures put in place.


Without a clear, published strategic direction/vision for the sport, it is difficult to judge these changes.
What are they trying to accomplish?
Where does it lead in the a. mid-term? b. longer term?
Our association here expects sporting changes to be better, since Ross has taken over from Bernie, but just who is in charge of making these rules changes?
How does the governance structure work?
Can we see an organization structure showing the process by which rules will be developed and adopted, preferrably overlaid on the strategic direction?

Governance is the weakest point in the F1 organization.
It's like the cheaters are all competing to 'game the system' in their favour, making the regulations changes look incoherent (much like the mainstream media these days).

party on!


Yes bring it on - closed cockpit, crash at 200 mph and drivers go back jogging to the pit crew - what else to make the sport "safe"? Absolutely no sense of danger, no driver has died past 20 years or will ever die in the next 1000 years, add to that the Turbo trolleys (which Honda cannot make of its own). The sport has become an absolute joke.


I don't agree with any cockpit protection either. But just correcting you, Jules Bianchi was the most recent F1 fatality and this was just 2 years ago, not 20. Having said that, the force he hit the tractor with and the angle, I doubt whether any protection would have saved him unfortunately.


As usual, F1 making "strategic:" decisions based on "looks" not performance. Fins are ugly but so what? I truly doubt people have stopped watching F1 races because of fins or t-wings.


Wouldn't be a bad idea in F1 championship racing to do away with held and waved blue flags either. Make 'em earn it!


Hiya James.

I understand all in the article except the technical directive about oil. Can you elaborate to include what the problem/controversy is to bring this change about?



"Driver names and numbers
From Barcelona (12-14 May 2017) onwards, the sporting regulations will be strictly enforced to ensure that visibility of drivers’ names and numbers on the cars will be clearer."

Ok, maybe this is a first step. But, really? Couldn't they have been a little more specific than "will be clearer"? How about size and position?


So what's next a windscreen wiper for the rain, rubber & oil on these new screens? Perhaps those peel off screen protectors? Those screens & halos look ridiculous! These guys are focussing on the wrong things. Get back to the real essence of F1.


Fins are there through a loop hole in the regulations, they were never envisaged to be legal but the ever so clever engineers in F1 exploited a loop hole in the regs. They are simply closing that loop hole and reverting to the original intention of the regulations.

The T wings, whilst also being an loop hole exploitation, are also dangerous noting the failure of the T wings on the Mercedes and HAAS cars, the resulting damage to Verstappen's RedBull and the subsequent ruling to remove them and/or prove conclusively that they were made safe. The subsequent banning of them is a strong indication that they were unable to provide sufficient evidence as to their safety.

Close loop holes and remove safety concerns, both sound like very logical decisions made in the appropriate manner.


I'm not really concerned with wet weather visibility due the slope of the shield and the use of the same low friction applications that we use in long distance Sports Car racing. Where we very rarely have to use the windscreen wipers. Tear off's are also another option.


Nice to see F1 constantly focusing on the irrelevent and meaningless.

The only thing they care about is how the cars look and sound. They stay focused on these irrelevencies. Yet, they've now created a racing series where the cars can't follow each other and there is much less overtaking. You'd think that this might be an important area to work on, yet they are constantly worried about how the 'shark fins' look. They've created an engine rule that blocks any non-factory teams from really competing, and yet they only seem to worry about how the engines sound.

And as to Halo/Shield, I just hope no one gets killed or seriously injured while they are dithering and constantly changing their minds on this.


I'm all for safety improvements. But will the shield mean that the weight of cars will go up yet again I hope not.


Hope they also decide to get rid of the crazy little "bunny ear" aerials on the cars that easily fall off and damage other cars....


good move to go r the screen instead of halo and ban t-wings

bad move to ban shark fins, let the designers express themselves ffs

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