Five F1 tech talking points of 2017: How Mercedes F1 featured something not seen before
Posted By:   |  27 Dec 2017   |  6:31 pm GMT  |  142 comments

In this latest look at some of 2017’s most interesting technical developments in Formula 1, we analyse a specific development pioneered by Mercedes to improve the front-end of its W08 chassis, something not seen before in F1.

Arriving in pre-season testing ahead of the 2017 season, Mercedes seemed to struggle relative to the team’s previous three years of F1 dominance, and it’s considered that Ferrari arrived at Barcelona with a stronger car.

While Ferrari’s new SF70H chassis was balanced and user-friendly, the Mercedes seemed to endure a number of struggles with handling over the early rounds, and was famously described as “a bit of a diva” by team principal Toto Wolff.

Naturally, Mercedes’ engineers had to make some drastic developments if they were to overhaul the early advantage of Ferrari.

Mercedes’ splitter design

To combat the front-end instability and improve airflow to the increasingly intricate bargeboard designs, Mercedes arrived in Barcelona again – this time for the fifth round of the 2017 F1 championship – with a colossal upgrade package.

Keen to readdress the balance of the early championship fight with Ferrari, Mercedes had returned to Spain with an innovative new splitter design, combined with new front nosecone geometry.

The new nose was more dramatically tapered in towards the bulkhead mounting point, retaining the initial crash structure but maximising the area available for the splitter to work.

With the mandatory low noses in the current cycle of regulations, keeping airflow attached underneath presents a great challenge to F1 designers, and any failure to do so creates pockets of turbulence which can increase the amount of lift present underneath.

Any lift effects dull the effectiveness of the downforce-generating components of the front end, reducing front tyre loading and hence slashing the front-end responsiveness.

Mercedes’ addition of the splitter helped the team to accelerate the airflow underneath the nose area, and does so with a clear guidance of flow towards the components behind the suspension wishbones.

Accelerating the airflow simply produces a greater pressure differential underneath, recouping a smidgen of any lost downforce produced by circulating wake under the nose, and the subsequent direction of the airflow towards the front of the floor assists with maximising the effectiveness of the bargeboard section.

As is often repeated within F1 circles, the front wing and associated parts are the most important aerodynamic pieces of the car as they conduct how airflow interacts with everything behind. The addition of the splitter buys into that ethos, and allowed Mercedes the chance to further manipulate the flow of air before reaching the rest of the car.

Along with a raft of other components introduced at Barcelona, Mercedes’ splitter enjoyed a perfect debut as Lewis Hamilton beat Sebastian Vettel to victory.

While it didn’t turn the tide on the slower circuits – Mercedes’ comparatively glacial pace on the slower circuits were a result of its inherent design characteristics – it gave the Brackley-based team the chance to reignite its ultimately-successful championship charge.

It will be interesting to see whether this is an avenue that the teams will pursue next year. Save from the Toro Rosso team, the rest of the field opted for the thumb-nose solution last year, but Mercedes’ splitter design might just prompt a greater variation in front-end designs for 2018.

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Sorry, man, but this was just one of those articles with little content. An article with only generalities is of no interest to me.
Craig whats-his-name can’t seem to deliver any articles with any meant on them either.
Actually, neither one of you has effectively explained the concept of the “blown diffuser” or how it works. Considering that the exhaust velocity isn’t any greater than the vehicle speed other than, maybe, the slowest corners.


hot expanding air blown out of the diffuser reduced pressure within the diffuser so in the attempt of surrounding air trying to balance the pressure, push the rear of the car, further into the track surface.


Here you may find what you are looking for, he is very knowledgeable on all things tech with F1..


Unrelated…but thank you JA for the star upgrade to my comments. I’m now a 2 star writer I see! I thought I’d been relegated to Sauber Single star status for life for a while there. Despite my comments coach, Fernando, telling me “These are some of the greatest comments I’ve ever seen. Really fantastic, the best of my whole career”. 😉😄.

Now I’m a two star Maclaren commenter…I might be able to nip on the heals of the mid-field pack of 3 star Haas, TR, Renault writers. Lol.


The F1 technology trickle down is still happening. I notice couple of road cars are now adapting DRS system, albeit super expensive, so called hyper cars. But as history tells us it will filter down to the lesser models over time. No, I don’t expect a Toyota Corolla will ever have DRS. Same with lots of other pieces of F1 technology, diffusers are pretty common these days, yes, even on Toyota Corollas. Ceramic brakes are available on plenty of high level sports cars. Carbon fibre was once an F1 only material but now is quite common, both as decorative and weight saving. DSG gearboxes are another, yes, I know semi autos were “invented” by Chrysler in the 40’s, but their perfection came from F1. Ceramic diamond coating of engine internals was adapted to F1 use by Ferrari in early 00’s and found its way into their road car engines from 2010.

It’s easy to overlook the amount of technology that starts and/or is more commonly perfected in F1 because it often takes some time to find its way into mass production. But that doesn’t mean it’s not happening, every day.

Happy New Year to All


the fair, the porsche 911 had drs long before f1


I’m sick of this “diva” nonsense, of how the 2017 Merc was tricky and not the best car.

Sick of how many people are jumping on the the Toto “manage der dominance den git to zee chopper” Wolff’s media manipulation quotes.

Diva because it didn’t take over 90 percent of race wins as in Rosberg’s title year?!

Diva because it only managed 100 percent reliability for Lewis?!

Diva because it couldn’t lap the field at Monza?!

Diva for only managing 12 wins from 15 poles?!

Diva because it had to race other cars now and again?!

Diva because it couldn’t smash everyone at Monaco and Hungary?!

Diva… my @rse!

About as much Diva as a Majorcan Karaoke bar hosting a duet with Jake singing as Beyonce and James singing as Celine Dion!!


If Toto thumps the table when he says ‘diva’ you know it must be true!


Diva because it was difficult to set up. Just because something is fast and reliable, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a handful to get working. As we saw in a number of races.

Perhaps you don’t understand what a “diva” is? It’s not synonymous with “under-performing.”


Difficult to set up as in it was “dominant” but not “completely dominant”, but certainly not “diva”.

Can’t be that difficult with 15 poles, 12 wins and only TWO out of the TWENTY races where either of the Merc drivers couldn’t finish in the top two.

That was so diva-ish that in Hungary the best result was a horrific THIRD place and, catastrophically in Monaco the best result was FOURTH… so season long, not a handful to get working.

Maybe a handful to break the lap records in Q2 compared to the cranked up engine mode for Q3, at best…

To call that car a diva is complete bull, complete Toto spin.


Diva in the sense Clarks that the driver’s under-performed on certain weekends so rather than say they didnt maximise the cars full potential, we’ll just blame it on the car itself so the real divas don’t get upset and damage the brand through a social media rant.


@ Sars.. I find it most difficult to associate the word ‘diva’ with that of an innanimate object. I’m surprised that the feminist PC police haven’t been right onto that terminology as it can be interpreted as ‘objectification’ of what men see as being a ‘difficult woman’ or a ‘prima donna’ hahaha insanitry


More imagination Sarsippious…


Okay, so you don’t understand “diva.”

I’ll write it in capitals so perhaps this time you’ll read and understand. “DIVA” DOES NOT MEAN “UNDER-PERFORMING.”

Ricciardo Aficionado

It does in the context Wolff used it. He was explaining why the team
Were struggling against Ferrari at certain times.


Exactly. But the original argument from C4WD was “it can’t be a diva if it still managed to do well.” Which was nonsense. The point was that in order to make the Merc perform at its maximum at certain tracks, it was a nightmare to set up. I don’t know why this is such a contentious point, it seems perfectly reasonable to me.


Jim, it’s not contentious at all, the car was fast, but had a narrow sweet spot. Not the first time we have seen this happen in F1, and no doubt we will see it again. The reason the arguments come is because this perfectly reasonable explanation doesn’t chime with peoples pre set ideas, which usually revolve around the Merc being three seconds a lap faster than the competition due to their 500bhp advantage, and that everything Toto says is a lie.


will the other teams be as competitive with that piece of wing?


Hi James, is there a reason the photos cannot be enlarged? It makes it difficult to get a detailed look at the photographed components.


It would be much easier to follow this article if there were some side-by-side photos showing the nose arrangement before and after the Barcelona upgrade.


i can see the longitudinally bowed wing along the side of the nose cone very clearly. no need for diagrams or side by side comparison. my question is, will adding those wings to other cars render them winners?


Is this design was so,good how come no one else copied them?
R&D = Research & Duplicate


Interesting stuff, but as with the last article, some diagrams would be really useful to help visualise what’s being discussed. You’re talking about the change in nosecone design without any illustration of the changes.


The front wings seem a bit overly complex, beautifully designed, but do we really need that level of intricacy? I guess if you just made them simpler without looking at the overall aero package, then you would end up with wildly under steering shopping trolleys!


i have a suspicion that so long as the cars are traveling so fast, the level difficulty to overtake will remain because the larger mass of the car influence the wake much more than those tiny turning vanes on the wings. vortexes created by larger surfaces result in much more challenging turbulence than those from smaller surfaces. the theory that simpler wings would improve racing is not true. the main factor is speed. overtakingbstatistics from 2014-2017 proves that speed is the main factor.
drivers want to drive faster and more challenging cars and now have those cars so just let them get on with it. the fia have said they have a wind tunnel in which they carry out aerodynamin experimentation to find solutions to the problem. let’s see if one of those solutions is simple wings..


@chriss green…the fia have only just bought manor’s wind tunnel with which they are experimenting so we’ll see what solutions they propose.


f1 has had 10 years to come to grips with the overtaking issue and nothings happened. f1 decision making has become gridlocked by selfish vested interests. i’m not convinced that liberty and brawn will make much of an improvement to the problems with f1’s technical regs.


“wildly under steering shopping trolleys”

Is there any other kind? 😉


Random, the ones with the special wheels so you take them on the escalator tend to aquaplane…..


Understeering *and* aquaplaning? Now that’s a racing series! 😀


If this is one of the “most interesting” technical developments of 2017, I implore you not to publish any articles on any of the less interesting technical developments. Thank you. 😁


For good or bad the new regs should remain in place for a good few years.
Sure. Make a few tweaks here and there. IE. Shark fins.
It’s a fact that keeping regs the same closes the field up.

Thanks everyone for a good read during 17!


“A fact that keeping regs the same closes the field up”

Would be nice to think so…

Not a fact, a theory, based on the F1 past, and common sense logic.

A theory that has been disproven the past 4+ years by the Mercedes PU and the massive gulf that remains front to back, without the field closing up, without any customer team ever having a chance to close up, all those years later on.

You can’t close the field gap when the gap is controlled by the frontrunners.


Clarkes. Auto Motor und sport recently reported that gps data analysis done by a rival team showed tge Mercedes PU knocks out 949bhp, while the Ferrari has 934…..


without any customer team ever having a chance to close up

When has the competition between the front runners and the back of the field ever been close? I’m not saying it shouldn’t be, but when has it ever been so? You all started watching a competition and presumably enjoyed what you were watching and became fans. What has changed?
As an example, I was watching an old re-run of a race on Sky the other day and Mansell broke down on the final lap – Canada 1991- yet he was still classified in 6th place as everyone else was so far behind.


@ Clarks4WD One of the biggest problems looming is that if the teams are financially forced to scale back then there is going to be a lot of highly skilled depressed people who will end up on the dole queue. Where do all those retrenched staff go? Then there are the suppliers of speciality services to add into the mix. Massive disruption, across the board, that is, apart from the rats and mice who know how to live off the smell of an oily rag and few discarded crumbs from the top table.


there isn’t and has never been a sport where everyone wins.


#C4drift That just about sums it up.
Aero innovation can be copied within the season , as in the 2009 double diffuser example
Engineering innovation usually gets copied the following season, as in suspension design or mass dampers
Engine technology may take a long while to be equaled as in Renault dominance back in the first turbo era and look at how many tried to emulate but failed.
Let’s hope Renault / Honda can get their act together soon


I wish Mercedes and Ferrari and Renault and Honda and any other manufacturers who enter the sport would be compelled by regulation to make sure all of their customer teams had exactly the same engine that the factory team had. that would create closer racing and would make the manufacturer’s competition more compelling too. surely, if the customer car wins a race, the engine manufacturer gets an equal share of the glory and would also be seen as more “sportsman-like”. (whoops…”sportsperson-like”!)


all f1 teams are in business for profit. nothing else. if glory can improve their balance sheet, they’ll chase glory. if williams notice their chances of glory is slim and see a better chance of improving their balance sheet, they chase those chances instead of glory..


Are the gaps between teams wider at the start or the end of a period of static regulation?
Closing up doesn’t neccesarily mean everyone matches lap times within the period of fixed regs, but it’s a fact that over time you face diminishing returns and everyone can observe and copy and learn from your developments. For the gap not to close – would be unthinkable, given a significant enough amount of time with static regs.

Ricciardo Aficionado

Gaps are wider this year than last.


Ra, really? Which gaps?

Ricciardo Aficionado

Second to third… Third to fourth… eighth to ninth.


Are you looking at the drivers or constructors? In the WCC nine of the gaps between positions were narrower in 2017 than 2016, including the all important first to second which closed by 151 points!

Ricciardo Aficionado

Ferarri closed on Mercedes but customers we’re cut adrift…


RA. Constructors championship points gap between Force India and Mercedes;
2016, 592.
2017, 481.

Ricciardo Aficionado

Don’t be obtuse TW. We’re talking about time gaps.


You were aware the regs changed right???!!!

Ricciardo Aficionado

I am now… It slipped my mind because of the hoo har over the PU in this PU dominated era. Which, unless I am (again) mistaken, has not changed. Yet the customers seem further away.
My mistake. Let’s put it down to aero then…


Tell that to Honda and Renault, tell that to ALL the customer teams that can do jack to make a difference in aero or pitcrew or drivers or working tyres to bridge the PU differences in relation to the works team.

That covers nearly the entire field…

Not unthinkable when Merc and Ferrari have massively bigger budgets each year and when you factor in not just power advantages but the skills and budgets for software development for engine modes and energy recovery or deployment, plus crucially the reliability which has a requirement change year after year favouring the one PU that can be turned down a bit to manage race wins whilst being 100 percent reliable.

I predict Vettel’s Ferrari will be further away from Hamilton’s Merc in 2018 and Hamilton does not have a teammate that can race him, so the only saving grace will be a bit more strategic variety with softer tyres. The best racing will be around Dan Ric, Alonso and Max as per usual in this pathetic PU formula.

Liberty and F1 will be in trouble if Lewis waltzes even more unchallenged to the title in 2018 with these PUs.


@ Clarks4WD…a very good summary, well said. Renault produced rubbish last year…DR’s last four races is all the proof you need, a 75% fail rate. What is there to indicate that next year will be any different perhaps even worse considering that the teams only have three engines for the entire season!!! Insanity. That is unless you are Mercedes. Honda are a totally unknown quantity but if the past has any relation to the future then it will be same old same old. Two days ago they indicated that they’ll be relying on the ’17 engine as a back up!! That doesn’t bode well at all in the confidence stakes. And that leaves us with???????


Couldn’t agree more Clarks.


Why would a dominant team require maintenance of one of the largest budgets if the gap wasn’t at risk of (or actually) diminishing along with the marginal returns available during extended periods of static regulations?


“I predict Vettel’s Ferrari will be further away from Hamilton’s Merc in 2018 and Hamilton does not have a teammate that can race him, so the only saving grace will be a bit more strategic variety with softer tyres. The best racing will be around Dan Ric, Alonso and Max as per usual in this pathetic PU formula.”

I really hope you aren’t right, however I expect you will be.
At least 2017 started well, until Merc sorted out their car and Ferrari fell apart under the pressure.

I do wish we had more time watching the mid field battles as they have been great, or if I could control my viewing feed better to select what is exciting as otherwise I end up fast forwarding a large section of the race.

I’d be interested in a JAonF1 readers poll as to how many people watched more races in 2017 than 5 years ago. Or perhaps more tellingly how many of us watched everything like practice, quali and the race compared to 5 years ago.


how many people watched more races in 2017 than 5 years ago

My viewing habits haven’t really altered. I watched them all in 2012 and I did the same in 2017 (and the intervening years). I try to watch them live if I can but occasionally this isn’t possible and I will record and then watch as if live (ie avoid finding out the result). I also do the same for quali. Practice I record but don’t always watch unless something of note is reported – I tend to read about what happened on here and then decide whether to watch (editorial content and also comments section).


My love hate relationship with F1. I love the extreme technical ability and the cutting edge engineering. I hate the clever stuff that stops us getting close racing and gives one driver a major advantage over another.


So, how do you resolve this issue?

I propose the whole grid gets the same equal cutting edge engineering. Never gonna happen thought, because sport is about advertising and in advertising advertisers want to be able to buy their way to the best spots, pages, tv ad window, etc. And that’s what F1 has become – and advertisement, in this PU era entirely for Mercedes and their AMG Hybrid you can’t buy or EQ Power cars, which are coming in 2019, starting with a 100% electric SUV.


f1 has always been in the business of advertising.
all those complaining are not stating the real reasons for their displeasure that’s why it all sounds illogical..

Ricciardo Aficionado

Not always. At first it was a motor race. All those complaining remember that.


Ra, and why do you think Mercedes and Maserati got involved in the fifties?


when is ‘at first’, 1950’s?

Ricciardo Aficionado

Whenever. I might be wrong I jut assumed it was so.


f1 doesn’t on assumptions.
f1 is the best global motorsport, has always been and will always be.

Ricciardo Aficionado

Wrong. Cricket is the best global sport. Has been longer than F1, always will be.
Tellingly, F1’s thrill factor was officially rated below Boycott last year.


Yes, let’s make them all the same and then we’ll have global NASCAR. A brilliant…. oh wait. No. That would be crap.


It wouldn’t be crap. In fact, in the nineties we had a phenomenon called CART. It was basically a spec formula where teams could buy a chassis from Reynard, or Lola or Swift and an engine from Honda or Cosworth and go racing. The competition was close and exceedingly intense and at one point CART was starting to rival F1 in popularity.

In fact, rumour has it that Bernie Ecclestone felt so threatened by CART that he played a part in the famous split with IRL.


I remember Cart. It’s no bad thing, but why would we want another series that’s exactly the same?

I’m not saying Nascar shouldn’t exist. I’m saying we shouldn’t copy it in F1.


Jim; the idea is not to have a series that’s exactly the same as another series. The idea is to have a series with some competition and entertainment value.

In other words a series which is known as the pinnacle of Motorsport because it features the fastest, most brutal and most difficult cars to drive. A series where winning is down to the driving ability of the drivers much more than the engineering ability of people you never get to see. A series will an element of risk, and therefore a pronounced extreme sport flavour. A series where the speed and sheer power are palpable both from the grandstands and on TV.

What we don’t want is a series which is the pinnacle of fuel saving and engine rationing due to insane costs associated with pursuing some high tech ideal, and which not only contributes nothing to the spectacle, but in fact reduces it. Unfortunately this is what f1 has become in recent years, and I don’t see it continuing on this patch for very long.


So what you’re saying is that at no time do you actually want a valid driver’s championship competition and are putting the ability of the constructors to buy championships at will as the right thing to do?


Sebee. That’s how Formula one worked when you chose to become a fan. You have clearly changed your mind, is it really fair to expect the sport to change for you?


There’s always been a disconnect between the WDC and the WCC, it’s a circle that can’t be squared. What we have is an uneasy balance between a competition for drivers and one for manufacturers. What amazes me is that anyone who finds that difficult to accept actually watches F1 anyway because it’s been that way since 1958. Manufacturers have always come up with new ways of beating the competition by improving their cars to give their drivers an advantage, once upon a time it was perhaps easier, now it takes vast amounts of computer engineering (and cash) to find an advantage that hasn’t already tried before (and possibly banned). Fixed spec off-the-shelf racing series already exist, I suggest anyone who hankers after such a thing goes watches them. F1 isn’t perfect, and never will be, but weirdly all the moaners keep tuning in, go figure!


Plus 1 – well said.


But F1 has always been an engineering formula firstly and a drivers championship as a secondary thing.
Yes I know most fans focus is on drivers and how god-like they are and that is what draws the masses in – but surely most well informed people on this site know its about the designers and engineers and because they are dull we have the driver as a figurehead.
Let me summarise it as “F1 is like Hollywood, lots of beautiful idiots that people worship, which leaves the very clever people time to do their work”


Dave, that’s a good analogy. So F1 is just a show like I say? 🙂

The problem is that just like with Hollywood, F1took a bad turn. All these superhero Marvel and DC movies are really making me yawn. But strangely, the keep raking it in at the box office. I’m not sure what this says about the masses to be honest. And that’s probably why F1 is so gang-ho about spending so much money on budgets. There is no control.

If a Superman movie bombs at the box office, they won’t make another one. There is nothing threatening the revenue stream of F1 and forcing it to deliver a quality product to the track. This is why it is so lax and often indifferent to what it puts on track for us fans.


No – I neither said that nor implied it. It’s a complete non-sequitur on your part. No wonder people don’t take you seriously when this is how you try to make your points.

It’s a TEAM sport. Sometimes – often – one team is dominant over the others – Williams, McLaren, Red Bull, Ferrari… and for the three years preceding 2017, Mercedes were dominant. This year Ferrari were right back in the game, but some operational errors by the team and hot-headedness from their star driver saw them throw their advantage away.

I know you’re convinced that Mercedes are buying and controlling the whole thing. But of course you have zero evidence for this. Yes, Mercedes have lots of money. But so do Ferrari. So do Red Bull. Why didn’t one of them “buy [the] championship at will?”

While you keep on setting up straw man arguments as counterpoints to other contributors’ reasoned comments, we’ll continue to laugh at your silly theories.

And I say again – if you think the whole thing is a setup, why don’t you just bugger off and watch Nascar?


What do you mean you didn’t imply it? You absolutely implied that fair equipment for all competitors is not an option worth exploring.

And how can you have a fair driver competition when the drivers aren’t equipped comparably?

Yes, it is a TEAM sport, but it also has layers that result in conflict of interest and conflict in quality and fairness of competition. Suppliers won’t allow customers to beat them. Team out spend and out resource other teams to success. Drivers aren’t driving hardware that gives them a chance. Ocon does not arrive at track thinking he has a shot at pole or podium for example. That’s a competition?

Your generalizations and personal attack leaves me to believe this discussion is over Jim. Happy New Year to you.


I didn’t imply it would, or does, put the ability of teams to “buy championships at will.” That’s the problem with your argument – you bundle two separate things and then pick whichever one enables you to score points against the guy who disagrees with you.


F1 has never been just about the driver.
What you are saying about the manufacturers buying a championship does have a ring of truth about it. The history of motor racing in general reflects that. It’s always been about manufactures testing and improving their cars. The whole point of motor racing is a marketing campaign to sell cars!
The rules need to be a balance between a competitive field and allowing engineers room to innovate. Difficult….yes but not impossible.
What you are proposing is going to far, one make racing sucks!

Ricciardo Aficionado

One make racing does suck. Which is what F1 now is.
Personally I enjoyed ’14 ’15 and ’16 because I felt there was a real intra team competition going on. But when Mercedes decided to go with a number one and two driver line-up it became quite dire. Who here really thought Vettel had a shot at the title? Where was Bottas’ Baku engine mode after the summer break? Schumacher and Ferrari… Almost killed F1.
Sport needs competition. It just doesn’t seem evident in F1 anymore. Merc had any number of options to replace Rosberg with a competitive driver but they chose Bottas. And then they chose Hamilton.
It is also the fault of the rule makers, Jean Todt and Bernie for allowing a monopoly to creep into the sport. Simple greed. They sold the competition and the manufacturers dissolved it.
As for innovation… It’s happened already. There’s only so many ways you can build a table and chair.


Ricciardo, “Merc had any number of options to replace Rosberg”. Such as?

Ricciardo Aficionado

… the whole grid.


Ra, Sorry I didn’t realise we were playing fantasy F1 where boring stuff like contracts don’t matter, clearly they should have put Vettel in the other car, silly Mercedes…….


When Colin Chapman entered F1 racing, he did so for his Team Lotus, which was his business as well as his passion. Ditto x2 for Enzo Ferrari. Nobody went out and built cars and spent money so some unknown Jim Clark or Niki Lauda would become famous.

Ricciardo Aficionado

Jack Brabham did.


I understand what you’re saying JohnH.

So it’s all a pissing contest about who can spend the most really. A spending competition. A resource competition.

I guess even the Olympics is that way. Bolt is fast because of genetic factors. Phelps because of his weird body proportions and giant flipper feet. No matter how hard anyone else tries, you can’t beat genetics.

And so the search for the perfect fair competition continues.

In the mean time I guess the people find it entertaining to see those lowly teams try to take on the mighty manufacturers. I guess shooting fish in a barrel is a competition of sorts. Go fish.


And so again: Stop watching. Bugger off and watch something you consider fair. F1 has never been “fair” according to your criteria, so you can’t possibly be a fan. So the only logical explanation for your presence here is to moan and complain and belittle and flame. You’ve already admitted that you only watch F1 while doing something else so it’s not like you actually care.

You’ve been given the yellow card once already by the admin of this site. One wonders why you persist in spreading your misery and bullshit here.



Plus 1.


Well I wouldn’t use such fruity language on here, but it’s difficult to disagree with Jim…..


one step at a time sebee….as you very well know, the haves have so much because of their greed so it’s a lot easier to convince them give away some of what they have than to give away all they have. we all heard their threats to quit.
if liberty are serious about levelling the playing field, they’ll quit the talk of cost capping and set out a gradual plan to distribute the funds equally. eg gradually reduce the free cashed to zero over a 3 year period. then gradually reduce the difference in price money until they each receive equal funds over another 3 year period and then set a plan for cost capping.
starting with cost capping will just bring about the confusion of policing coupled with pundits complaining about penalties issued to those caught cheating, before we know it it’d be abandoned again.


The impossible dream is a cost cap but that is slightly less likely than than the 2018 champion being Maldenado in a Peugeot powered Minardi.


🙂 The Olympics? Here are the Olympic ideals:-
Not they they are adhered to these days but at least they started out trying and the athletes still do.
Now back to motor racing.
It seems we agree that motor racing is and always has been primarily a commercial venture to sell cars and successful, as it has been on the whole entertaining.

And so the search for the perfect fair competition continues.

There will never be a”fair competition” simply because of the human factor, E.G. drivers of varying skills and abilities in different conditions. Competitors have off days or very good days it will affect their performance. (That’s about as close as you will ever get to comparing motor racing to the Olympics.)

As I said it’s the rules and how they are written and enforced. But in my opinion they must never stifle innovation. You don’t have to be a major corporation to have a winning idea. Go through the history of motor racing around the world, you should find it very interesting.


what is there to explain johnh?
in f1 humans compete to build cars and race them. in athletics humans train and race. in business huamns are pitched against other humans. every machine is built by humans.


all competitions are based on “the human factor” they all strive to give each competitor an equal starting point. this is where the distribution of funds in f1 doesn’t comply with.


That’s certainly one point. But not nearly enough and certainly not the silver bullet. You need to limit the spend as well. Starting point is nice, but how much of a starting point is it when the guy next to you already has 8 bags of cash at his feet before the starting gun goes off?


all competitions are based on “the human factor”

What? Would you mind explaining that please.


James- Jake, do you have any idea on how much of the teams budget is spent on the aerodynamics alone? Mercedes had an estimated budget of nearly 500 million for the past season and with these cars being so aero dependant knowing a figure would be interesting.


It seems the engine was 50% of most F1 budgets last I checked.


i now have a better understanding of your posts.


try looking up the words “truth” and “honesty”.


Just because someone disagrees or doesn’t share your opinion about a certain driver doesn’t make their opinion any less truthful or honest then that of your own.
Your apparent infatuation with my posts is concerning and its becoming obvious that you need to seek professional help. School counsellor maybe???


how can an estimate be “nearly….”?
wrongly wired up i guess..


The estimate of 497.5 million is nearly 500 million. Whats so hard to comprehend??


Mercedes estimated budget £500 million.??

According to the latest figures Mercedes budget was £290 Million compared to Ferrari’s £350 Million.


To clarify the 500 million I referenced was in Aud which equates to 290 in pounds so our numbers are the same.


Since when does an Aussie talk in pounds?
Haven’t you got the the Dollar as your currency? How much is an Aussie Dollar equal to? A mate wing and hat cork?😉


Since when does an Aussie talk in pounds

Um, where was I?


So when Dan Gurney pop-riveted a little aluminum strip to the rear of the back wing,
he had really good dumb luck. Life was simpler with gobs of horsepower.


Sure seems the “complexity” of aero-related design/cost and dependence thereon is out of proportion to the rest of a ‘package’ in any F-1 car. Button has focused on the reduction of importance where driver skill/car control is concerned. Might be something of a point there.

How relevant is all of this aero when it comes to the mundane (real) world ? When the down force is lost or disturbed by following, the handling goes away and saving the package from a slide or otherwise out of shape situation isn’t the option it once was.


Agreed, but more to the point when they got rid of all that rubbish in 2009 it seemed to improved the racing – 2010 and 2012 in particular were highlights.

Of course you have the arguable exception of 2009 itself when the Brawn was so dominant early on and then later on when Red Bull introduced their blown exhaust (2013ish I think), but somehow all those little winglets and aero bits have snuck back to ruin things again.

As has been said many times by many others, just make the cars simple: A simple wing on the front, a simple wing on the back, four wheels, and an engine.

How hard can it be?


With the current ability of engineers to design and understand airflow in a way never before seen with today’s technology Random, why isn’t the idea of reintroducing ground effects being seriously considered by the sports governing body?
Surely it would decrease the cost of aero development and also clear up the amount of dirty air coming off the cars to once again enable slipstreaming to be a major factor in overtakes instead of the gimic/joke DRS is.

Here’s a quick link for those unfamiliar with the concept.


@ Sars….Ground effect has been around for a very very long time. Adrian Newey cut his teeth on ground effect, in fact his thesis for his degree was based on ground effect. So, it’s not as though the knowledge isn’t there. Like most of us, it seems the obvious choice that would help to restore closer racing but unfortunately we never get to hear the opinions and reasoning behind the lack of introduction. Perhaps James could arrange for a thread to deal with this and in so doing coax Adrian Newey to give us his thoughts..Now that would be a mighty scoop….

Ricciardo Aficionado

Ground effects means G-suits and impacts even a Halo can’t save anyone from on the occasions they let go.


there are motoracing series with “simple cars”.


The designers can’t unlearn things. They know what is possible with aero and with active suspension (which allowed them much greater control of the trim of the car), and when the rules change they will look for areas they can exploit to try to claw back whatever is lost.

The genie is long out of the bottle, and unless there’s a rule set that dictates the aero package and shape of the car, there is no way to go back to a simple wing at front and back.


Understood and agreed bobster, but that rule is exactly what some fans are looking for.


Guess this article at least addresses the question:

And the beat goes on. . .


I think Gunther is just saying saying that now that they have everything else more or less squared away they just need to sort out the aero but yes, I imagine it would be a little easier if the aero on the cars was simpler.


F1 can’t be relevant to the mundane (real) world because the the mundane (real) world is boring.

Remember what happened the last time they tried to make f1 relevant to the mundane real world? They introduced the hybrids, and that turned out to be a disaster.

It’s now clear as daylight that the less relevant and less politically incorrect F1 is, the more compelling and more dramatic it is a a sport and as a spectacle.

If the people in charge of F1 realise this, F1 will flourish. If they don’t F1 will perish, or at least it will decline to a mere shadow of its former glory.


f1 has become politically correct to accomodate the manufacturers and the big sponsors. big corporations are conservative creatures. greed has also played a big part in fi’s demise.


Chris green; indeed. I mean to say less road relevant and less politically correct.

In other words, road relevance and political correctness is killing F1.


political correctness is killing F1

I’m not saying you are wrong, but haven’t viewing figures gone up by something like 8% last season. That’s not indicative of the sport becoming less popular across the board…..


The 8% increase was in track side attendance, particularly due to the oustanding success of the Mexican GP, the Belgium GP and if I recall the British and American GPs as well.
The actual TV figures continued to drop albeit less than in previous years.


The actual TV figures continued to drop albeit less than in previous years.

According to an article on, that’s not right. The figures are up on 2016 and it’s the first time since 2010 that a year on year increase has been recorded. Looks like FZero was right after all 🙂


Fair enough Sars – my bad. I took the figure from a post Formula Zero made and which was accepted by Sebee. As neither of them I would describe as fans of the current Formula, I thought it reasonable to take the figure at face value as they showed an improvement. I shan’t make the same mistake again.


No need to apologize C63. I recall the comment you reference and looked the numbers up for clarification..

Now in my first reply to you the countries I stated that had showed growth in attendance were actually the few that hadnt (Spa aside).. my apologies for the lack of attention to detail I showed there.

Now people can blame the well documented decline of F1 viewers on whatever factor they want however the reality is what it is.


Sorry to double dip – but I’ve just noticed that British GP was down according to the figures in the article – that must be because they had less seats available as I read it was a sell out.


I would imagine that the loss of FTA is the main thing killing the TV figures – I wonder whether the teams and FOM are making more or less overall though, ie less ‘eyes’ on the screen but the ones who are watching are paying for the privilege.


The winding down of FTA viewing or the loss completely of that access is a huge reason for the dwindling numbers, not just here in Australia where we have seen 25% turn off since the change to PPV, but also many other countries as you’d be well aware.

A whole generation was brought up on F1 through that means (you could probably even say two) and we now see those fans bringing their children into the sport. How are we going to reach the current generation of fans though if they dont have parents pushing them towards F1 or are able to view the sport through PPV only? How are they going to get that initial exposure if its hidden behind a pay wall?

I’m telling you you can’t C63, irrespective of how much you saturate social media with highlights, snippets and whatever else they put on there.

You won’t get the excitement of the formation lap, the elevated heart beat of lights out, the thrill of the first few laps. These are the things that hooks people on the sport and without FTA F1 is lost to hundreds of millions of potential fans the world over.

From what I’ve read Liberty are intent on sticking to the PPV formula that’s lost so many fans already. If your going to charge people a premium price (like the one I pay for every year through the Sky led Foxtel coverage down here) then the product needs to be worth it and you can’t tell me that what we have at the moment in F1 is a ‘premium’ product.


Liberty are intent on sticking to the PPV formula

I imagine they will stick to whichever path generates the most income. I’ve had Sky for a long time (25+ years) and I originally subscribed as the BBC, which was FTA, did not cover all the F1 races and Eurosport did – so there’s nothing really new with the current set up where some races are FTA live and some are shown as a highlights package.
I remember having to avoid the news all day and waiting for the highlights, which were broadcast at 22.00hrs in the UK, to see what turned out to be the title deciding race at Japan when Prost turned in on Senna at the chicane. I agree with you that if there is no FTA coverage at all then gaining new fans will be troublesome – however, Liberty have spent a great deal of money purchasing the rights to F1 so I assume they must have something in mind as they won’t be looking to throw that money away. Time, as they say, will tell.


C63. We don’t know what the viewing figures are for 2017 yet, Chase Carey says they have increased, but the actual figures haven’t been released.

132 is reporting an increase year on year – Not all doom and gloom after all 🙂

Ricciardo Aficionado

The people in charge of F1 seem to have some ridiculously inappropriate penchant for “safety”.
F1 is doomed.
The guy in charge of tech also has a pretty shaky track record when it comes to “competition”.
I fear the series is going to move further from any notion of being a sport.
Just look at what they did to the logo. It’s all becoming a farce.


Tell a driver or a pit lane worker that their safety is “inappropriate”, sheesh! Oh and boo hoo they changed the logo, and it’s just totally ruined everything; seriously who gives a toss about a logo?

Ricciardo Aficionado

How about we tell the drivers not to get in the car if they are concerned about their safety. No bugger that, let’s just put a thong around their head instead.
And the logo? Here’s the problem with the logo. It’s born of form over function. Exactly what F1 has become.
Instead of inspiring machines created to achieve a goal and evoking aesthetic wonder as a result, we have rule makers determining how the car shall come into being with a vague notion that they shall be raced in the background.
The logo is an ugly graphical reminder that F1 management is doing to much managing.


I agree. I’ve been watching old re-runs of F1 (mainly from the mid 90s and early 2000s), and using that as a reference of what f1 could be, I can’t get over what we are being forced to put up with now. I think what was done to F1 in recent years is borderline criminal actually. And nobody seems to be accountable.

Indeed, it’s easy to point out the individual aspects that are just plain wrong ie the safety obsession, fuel-saving pseudo-enviro posturing. But the fundamental problem seems to be a lack of understanding of the fact F1 needs to be, above all, a spectacle and a competition with a pronounced human element at the core.

Right now there are just too many contending interests, aims and philosophies, and the elements that make up F1 support neither each other nor the whole.

Within all of that the other major problem is the relentless push for high tech for the sake of high tech. It’s pretty obvious to me that that tech has now reached a saturation point in F1 to the point that tech will not make it better. Rather, it will make it worse. Hybrids have made it worse, electric would make it worse, autonomous tech would make it worse etc. it’s a dead end.

Instead they needs to go back to basics and start acknowledging and respecting the true DNA and true appeal of F1 once again, instead of trying to redefine that which cannot be redefined. There really is no other way.


@ Luke C…A very good post and i like what you’ve said. We all know what we’d like and it isn’t what we’re getting when it could be so much better. The main problem that needs to be overcome is the FIA and their cosy arrangements with the manufacturers, Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault, to a lesser degree. That nexus need to be disrupted and more independents brought in to provide us with the base ingredients for great action and great racing. Brawn has at least recognised this and will try and change things, maybe. I have no real expectations that he will be successful and a compromise will be put into place. That will satisfy very few of the fans.

Ricciardo Aficionado

You’re right that tech is now introduced purely for the sake of tech. There is no other reason because the fundamental reason for the tech, SPEED, no longer exists. F1 has reached max speed. It did so in the nineties and has been fumbling about for some new definition of “the pinnacle of motorsport” ever since.
Combined with this, the obsession with safety eliminates the human element of the racing. In the past one driver might beat another because he was willing to risk more for a lap time. But now there is no risk in the ultimate lap time. At least none that ALL drivers are willing to take because that risk is so minuscule. The ultimate laptime is now purely an engineering competition. And basically a machine performing it’s intended function is entirely un-appealing to anyone interested in sport.
To get back to the fundamentals of F1 means a return to chancing death and destruction around every corner. But that too is un-appealing because our screens are already providing a smorgasbord of death and destruction in other more abundant arenas.
F1 needs to shed the manufacturers and cultivate the gargistas. Manufacturers are not racers they are corporations seeking to shift units.
Bernie is to blame for turning the sport into a commodity. And now the circus feeding of the cash cow is so hooked on the dosh no one with any influence has any intention of scaling back to any level of purity.
After Melbourne this year, I suggested Mercedes threw the race. James A. poured scorn on such a notion asking if I really thought they would spend so much time money and effort just to throw a race. I asked if he thought they did all that just to win a race. I mean what the hell is a race win to a corporation??
Coming from behind and overhauling the mighty Ferrari with determination and technical innovation is a far better story than continuing a big budget domination of some obscure engine formula which had begun to stink amongst fans and become irrelevant to the general public.
And another thing killing F1 is the disparity between manufacturers and customer engines. It’s akin to doping in horse racing. Don’t expect any in depth expose on that front however. Which journalist suckling from the teat is likely to shoot themselves in the foot with those kind of questions?


You have encapsulated in your post the core reasons as to why sport has lost over a third of its audience the past eight years.
F1 used to be rhe realm of men only. Now its the realm of any man or teenager with deep pockets and an aversion to real work.

Finding a tenth or two in the past, even the recent past, involved a risk v reward scenario. Risk hitting a kerb a few kays quicker to find that time and if you didnt hit it flush you were off in the gravel or spinning backwards into a barrier and out of qualy or the race.
Now if you misjudge it you aren’t punished at all due to the forgiving runoff and lower kerbing.

Drivers don’t fear these cars and they don’t fear making a mistake because they are near indestructible. Certainly explains why both the senior and inexperienced driver’s treat these cars as battering rams and thus in the process lowering the driving standards to the worst I’ve ever seen.

In the past driver’s did this also, Senna at Suzuka for example, however Senna was risking his life in pulling off those stunts, not a bruised pinky like the modern guys. Thats why we forgave him and held him in even more awe. Those actions had real life consequences.

Formula One has lost its spice, it’s aura of men doing something we the fans could never do.


Ra, if you really believe all that is true, then why bother?

Ricciardo Aficionado

When I see that Halo racing around next year, I may not bother… We’ll see.
On the other hand, I am enthralled by this countries latest hope for a world championship. He’s worth watching.


Ricciardo Aficionado; that is an excellent summary of my thoughts. The conclusions at which we have both arrived seem so inevitable that I wonder what is preventing others from also arriving at similar conclusions.

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