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F1 gurus lead a revolution in car design

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Andrew Benson | 11:23 UK time, Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Formula 1 is undergoing a quiet revolution.

In two years' time, the cars that line up on the grid for the start of the 2013 season will be vastly different from those that raced in 2010.

Governing body the FIA has already announced that the current 2.4-litre normally aspirated V8 engines will be replaced by 1.6-litre turbocharged versions with integrated energy recovery systems.

Now, BBC Sport can reveal that, driven by this big change to the engine regulations, the cars will also undergo their own huge revisions.

To the casual observer, they will still look like F1 cars and, importantly, will still go like them. But within the limitations of an open-cockpit, single-seater racing car with exposed wheels, they will be very different from current machines.

Gone will be the huge, snowplough front wings that have been required since the last major change of rules. Gone will be the high, chunky rear wings. Gone, too, will be the high-revving shriek of the engines.

In their place will be a car with much smaller front and rear wings and the much flatter, lower-pitched sound of a lower-revving turbo.

And critically - although largely invisible - there will be a shaped underfloor, replacing the flat bottoms that have been on F1 cars since 1983.

The 1982 Ferrari - a 126C2 - also possessed a small front wing

The 1982 Ferrari - a 126C2 - also possessed a small front wing

These external changes reflect a major change in the philosophy behind the cars and, as with the turbo engines, it is a case of back to the future. As the 1980s dominate the latest High Street fashions, so F1 is borrowing from technologies last seen then and updating them for the 21st century.

F1 last saw turbo engines in 1988. The last time cars had shaped underbodies was 1982. Those were the days of 'ground effect', when designers created huge amounts of aerodynamic downforce - and high cornering speeds - by accelerating the air under the car through the use of curved underfloors to create a 'venturi effect'. This was enhanced by the use of 'skirts', which sealed the underbody and prevented air leaking out of the sides.

We are not talking about a return to those days but the general principle is the same. Just as the cars in the 1979-82 period had small front and rear wings, so will the cars of 2013 and beyond.

The difference now is that whereas in the late 1970s and early '80s aerodynamics in F1 cars were still relatively in their infancy and designers were simply chasing as much as they could, now they are highly refined. And the men behind the proposed new rules are using the underfloor of the car to create efficient - but strictly limited - downforce.

The FIA recognised that if it was to make such a major change to the cars, it needed to be done as effectively and credibly as possible. So to help draw up the new rules they asked two of the most respected and experienced designers they could find - Patrick Head and Rory Byrne.

Between them, Head, the engineering director of Williams, and Byrne, now retired but formerly of Benetton and Ferrari, have won a total of 17 constructors' titles and 15 drivers' titles. They were first approached by FIA president Jean Todt in March 2010.

Among the provisos Head and Byrne were given were: a) at the very least, make sure the changes did not make overtaking any harder than it already is; and b) make the cars a bit harder to drive - the target being for a driver to be able to be on full throttle for only about 50% of the lap, as opposed to the current average of 70%.

The new regulations are being fine-tuned by FIA race director Charlie Whiting this week before being sent to the 12 F1 teams for analysis. In the new year, they will be critiqued at the sport's Technical Working Group, a group of leading engineers who effectively define the technical rules.

Head says "sure as hell there'll be some small changes" there. The basic philosophy, though, is expected to stay the same, while Head says the shaped underfloor is "inevitable".

"It all starts with the fact that we are only going to have roughly 65% of the amount of fuel, and a (limited) fuel flow rate," he explains. "When you're very limited on fuel, it's very clear you've got to reduce drag enormously. OK, the tyres are a very high proportion of the drag but we decided not to put tiny skinny tyres on it because it's still required to go around corners quickly.

"So the next thing you turn to is the massive rear wing we're running at the moment and as soon as you replace that with a much smaller one, it's 'Oh, we've lost all our downforce, so what can we do?' So inevitably you end up with a shaped underside."

This idea has been around for a long time - as long ago as 1998, when another working group, led by the late Dr Harvey Postlethwaite, also suggested reducing the sizes of front and rear wings and re-introducing shaped underfloors. The idea was canned by then FIA president Max Mosley.

Back then, the motivating factor was to improve the racing. In theory, cars designed this way can follow each other more closely than modern F1 cars.

Currently, drivers experience a severe lack of grip when they get to within about a second of a car in front because the airflow to their cars, particularly over the critical front wing, is badly disturbed.

In theory, with smaller wings and a greater proportion of the total downforce coming from under the car, there is less disturbance in the wake of the car in front, so a following car loses less aerodynamic downforce. It therefore retains more grip, allowing drivers to get closer to the car they want to overtake, making passing easier.

Under these new rules, any benefit to the racing will be secondary. The first goal is improving the cars' efficiency.

But it's just possible that, in chasing a goal that is all about keeping F1 in step with a world of diminishing fossil fuels, the effect will be to make overtaking easier.

Chastened by years of rule changes aimed at making cars more raceable that made no discernible difference, those involved are cagey about that for now. But one senior figure will at least admit the thought is on their minds.

"One of the fundamental parts of this," he said, "was that it wouldn't make it worse. But we do believe that if you can ensure there's less disturbance in the wake, that's good."


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  • Comment number 1.

    One of the big problems is that all of the cars can start with different amounts of fuel and thus teams try to run faster by putting less fuel in than is required to complete the race. This creates incredibly dull "fuel saving" during the race.

    They should make it mandatory for all teams to fill their cars with the same amount of fuel and have this amount be greater than is required for the least efficient engine to finish. That way everyone can race properly on every lap and not need to save anything.

  • Comment number 2.

    Formula One is going down the totally wrong track at the moment.

    It's like change for sake of change.

    We've just come off possibly the best ever F1 season, but the FIA feel the need to shake up the recipe.

    This aero will be interesting for sure, but the designers will still find a way to innovate and find advantage.

    It's easy to hark back to the early 80s, but the money, professionalism and design talent is just so much greater these days.

    As for the engines... if there's one thing that will make me not ever attend a Grand Prix again it's the thought of listening to a low-revving small capacity turbo drone past.

    Honestly, the people making these rules can't be F1 fans. They miss the point entirely.

  • Comment number 3.

    The development of the car required for these new rules in 2013 & also the changes already in place for next year will cost a phenominal amount of money for all the teams, when they are constantly saying they need to save money.
    It is confusing for the public to have constant changes every year and in light of the past 2 years champoinships going to the wire with a number of drivers involved why not leave it as it is.

  • Comment number 4.

    I have long been a campaigner for a return to the "ground-effect" days as a means to aid overtaking whilst allowing F1 cars to be controllable at high speeds (simply removing downforce generating measures is not an option for safety reasons). It's a far better solution that the artificial concept of moving the rear wings about, but only when within some arbitrary distance of the car in front.

    GE allows close, but fast, racing with no gimmicks. It removes the stupid amount of irrelevant upper aero tricks present even on 2010 cars (even after the 2009 regulations came in to "clean up" the cars and supposedly make overtaking easier). The current front wings look ridiculous and just don't work.

    The 2010 season was close for one reason, Red Bull's inability to crush the opposition with a far-superior car. Their mistakes, unreliability and poor man management provided for a thrilling season as those who should have been fighting over scraps found themselves in contention for the drivers title. Despite this, there was still an obvious problem with cars following each other and an inability to overtake. Why else would Ferrari need to tell Massa to move over? Even a driver with Alonso's talent couldn't get close enough to pull off the move himself.

    2013 cars will already be radically redesigned to fit turbos (no need for a large air scoop to aid a normally aspirated engine for starters), so it's a good time to get in other sweeping changes now.

  • Comment number 5.

    it seems the last great bastion of the petrol head is slowly being eroded in to a tree hugger's paridise

    fuel efficient engines? why? its F1 for pete's sake, its supposed to burn biblical amounts of fuel. thats the whole point - to go very fast in a massively powerful engine at breakneck speeds

    what makes me laugh is that these people think that by making the engines more fuel efficient they are somehow justifying their existence in the 'green' world we now live in. what they fail to remember is that all of the people who turn up to watch these races burn a hell of a lot more fossil fuels to get there than the teams do in their F1 cars. plus all the fuel teams burn to actually fly to races

    so if you want to save fuel ban F1 altogether. and ban all other sporting events that people travel in their cars to watch. plus ban the 'save the planet' pop concerts that we throw, because everybody turns up to them in their cars

    and why make them "no more than 5 seconds per lap slower" than current cars? they are already slow enough as it is, carting hundreds of litres of fuel around because they cant refuel

    smaller engine turbos? i'd rather bust my own ear drums with a rusty screwdriver than listen to that. and to think that all car manufacturers will ditch bigger engine V6/V8/V10 engines and replace them with pathetic turbos because F1 have done it makes me feel quite sad. buy your normally apsirated cars now and stock pile them people. they are going the way of the dinosaurs

  • Comment number 6.

    at last, it takes Patrick and Rory to see some sense. smaller wings are the only thing they HAVENT tried to improve overtaking and its so obvious.
    Im not sure about limiting the amount of time at full throttle tho, how are they going to do that, electronics?? not good. better to drop that bit I think.

  • Comment number 7.

    Slower cars in F1? And making it easier for passing? Does no one in F1 understand what the sport is about? The fastest, safest speeds possible & a test of man & machine. If these changes come in I think I'll start watching the Tour De France. Probably quicker & more exciting.

  • Comment number 8.

    Why are they trying to kill off my favourite sport?

    Whats glamous about going slowly with less noise and making things last?


    stop it, stop it, stop it!

  • Comment number 9.

    I think the 2013 regulation changes are a brave and bold move that will stop F1 becoming a dinosaur. The world is changing and motorsport must follow. True motorsport fans will be looking for the cars to continue racing each other, it doesn't matter what power train or aerodynamics are required to deliver the spectacle, as long as it continues into the future.

    F1 has, in the past, had the opportunity to provide new technology into the motoring world and this has (partly) kept it relevant in the eyes of big sponsors and manufacturers. Now F1 is turning to the toughest challenge, that of substituting the fuel cars have run on for 100 years. For this reason, companies like VW are now looking at F1 as a progressive technology platform.

    In my own opinion they should go further and faster. I would love to see an all electric power train, and I'm sure F1 could solve many of the problems that stop all electric power trains being practical at the moment. Shaking off oil completely, however, may just be a step to far for the corporate times that we live in.

  • Comment number 10.

    deejaybee, you do know that the original F1 turbos were only 1.5 litre engines? Turbos give such a massive advantage that these tiny engines were generating 1000bhp in qualifying trim and destroying the old V12/V8 3.5 litre normally aspirated engines on most tracks.

    There is virtually no limit to the amount of power you can get out of a turbo apart from the mechanical strength of the engine/turbo/gearbox assembly itself and the properties of the fuel being used w.r.t. pre-detonation in the engine.

  • Comment number 11.

    Smaller front wings? Good, the current snow-ploughs are awful.

    Ground Effect? Interesting, and if it aids overtaking, then great.

    Less time at full throttle? Well this would be a good thing if the reason was the engines being too powerful (i.e a V10 going through Eau Rouge) but with a low revving 1.6 litre turbo that won't be the reason.

    Engine Efficiency in F1? Surely a contradiction in terms.

    F1, The pinnacle of high speed motorsport, RIP.

    What about what the fans want?

  • Comment number 12.

    This is absolutely the right move.

    The diffuser is the main cause of all F1's overtaking problems right now; everything else stems from it.

    Getting rid of it, and instead incorporating a much more gradual rake angle on the floor will significantly reduce the upward velocity field in the wake (which has always reduced front wing efficiency for the following car). It will also reduce interference from the rear wing (which has been a cause of turbulence through entrained flow around the rear wheels and from the diffuser wake itself).

    One thing I would caution - while reducing the angle of the front and rear wings would be good - reducing the chord (length) may not; a shorter chord wing is much more sensitive to small* scale turbulence than a longer chord wing.

    *its all relative.

  • Comment number 13.

    I have to say I actually agree with these regulation changes.

    Yes, this season has been very close, but that doesn't mean the racing has been exciting. Koboyashi aside, the overtakes have been rare and dull. Smaller wings are the PERFECT ANSWER.
    Also, the smaller capacity turbos are a good idea, although they don't sound so good.

    2 things i don't agree with...movable rear wings and KERS, far too artificial. This is the pinnacle of motorsport...come on. Drivers shouldn't have what is effectively an 'overtake button'.

  • Comment number 14.

    I also do not know why people are complaining about F1 engines and efficiency.

    F1 engines are the most efficient on the planet. Try to find another reciprocating engine that produces more Nm or bhp per kilo of fuel used...

  • Comment number 15.

    I am looking forward to 2013 already but I am worried what the cars are going to sound like?

    It will be good if these changes does allow closer following which results in during a race the driver race each other! Well until their teams tell them to pull over so their team mate can win. Thats the worst thing done this year getting rid of that rule, they should have found a way to make it work.

  • Comment number 16.

    Ok, so I'm going to wade in now with my two cents worth, whilst many of you are undoubtedly going to say that F1 is meant to be all about glamour, excess & the unjustified burning of as much fossil fuel as possible, you must take some solice from the fact that we are in a period of not just recession financially but also in terms of energy.

    Car makers such as Renault & Mercedes cannot be seen in this current day and age to be ignoring the target market. The target market that says "I don't care too much for the environment, but I do care that petrol is now £1.22 p/l, that my VAT is rising 2.5% & that my money isn't going as far as it used to"

    It is for this reason that the manufacturers know that it is inevitable that they must crack the alternative energy & efficiency solutions sooner rather than later. At burning levels of 1990s-2000's it was estimated we would run out of oil (in the ground, not in reserves) by 2032. Whilst efforts have been made, the most recent estimates say we have so far onyl saved 5 years of oil. This means that sooner or later, we will be out of it or not it is inevitable, so why not react & be a competitor before this happens, rather than after it happens & spending the next century catching up!

    So whilst I agree & probably the entire world will agree that a majority of fuel burning @ sport is actually done by fans & promoters and not the cars on track, it is the cars on track that people tune in & go to races for, it is these cars that win races. If the cars that win races, trophies, championships, awards and covetted respect from the motor industry are those that are fuel efficient, energy saving then they will in turn generate appeal to the viewer to the alternative energy options available at your local car dealer.

    Whilst I am a die hard F1 fan who agree's that F1 is all out fast paced racing, what we need at this point in the history of the Earth is some well thought out steps to ensure that we as inhabitants are responsible, but also that our current enjoyments are maintained, if F1 fails to react to the inevitability now, it like the steam engine will find it's way to be confined to nostalgia!

  • Comment number 17.

    What next? Mandatory front-engined cars? Manual gear changes? Clutch pedals? Steering wheel with a minimum radius of half-a-mile?

    I say we return to the good old days. Tear up the rule book, say to the designers that the car must have four wheels (uncovered), an engine with a minimum of 8 cylinders and a maximum of 12 (just for Ferrari!), and a steering wheel. Leave them to it. May the best designer/team/driver combination win. Simples!

  • Comment number 18.

    Oh and on KERS and the moveable rear wing: Yes to KERS as is everyone has it then it just makes all the cars faster. It will not be an 'overtake button' as they can all use it.

    Moveable back wing is a NO. It risks making racing artificial. Yes we want racing and overtaking but from skill nothing else.

  • Comment number 19.

    Hi all,
    Thanks for the responses so far. Just to clarify on comment six, they won't be limiting the amount of time on full throttle by electronics - the idea is for that to come about naturally through the cars being harder to drive.

  • Comment number 20.

    @ livpoksoc

    Couldn't agree more.

    I can't believe how some people (eg. 5) on this blog are so nonchalant regarding fossil fuel depletion. F1, although of course it will burn a huge amount of fuel in travelling the world etc, is not exempt from playing its part in preserving fossil fuels.

  • Comment number 21.

  • Comment number 22.

    The best racing sounds I have ever heard: The V12 Superleague Formula cars, the V12 Aston Martins, Maseratis and Lamborghinis. The V8 Ford GT's in the World Sportscar Masters.

    No decent racing noise comes from a wheezy turbocharged 1.6.

    Sport damaged in one easy move.

  • Comment number 23.

    I couldnt care less about fossil fuel saving measure. Just make the cars look and behave like racings cars.
    Thanks Andrew for the clarification about time at full chat,I dont think it will make a lot of difference, these guys are the best there is and will soon work out how to get on the pedal coming out of a corner.
    I just hope we get to see four wheel drifting again, although, tyre wear is the downfall of that art.

  • Comment number 24.

    When you allow the FIA to rule the roost, so to speak, with regards to the rules, you ignore the interests of the fans and the teams. Sure, the designers will get together and offer their opinions and maybe vote on the new rules. However, the FIA is controlling the cars, not the teams. If the FIA once wanted to control costs, this is not moving in the proper direction as the costs to make these changes will likely result in the newer teams losing out and eventually pulling out of F1.

    Here's my formula (I'll be as brief as possible... really).

    1. Allow the teams, via the FOTA, to arrive at the rules. It will be their money which will be spent in adhering to any rules, so the rules need to come from the teams, not the FIA.
    2. The FIA needs to be present to force safety standards in the designs and rules.
    3. The FIA needs to be the various rules meeting organizer and leader, but cannot be anything more than the enforcer of safety and the enforcer of the final set of rules during the season. Let's see more FIA professionals used as stewards who travel to all races.
    4. Fans want more over-taking on more exciting tracks, places where they can attend. Give it to them.
    5. Enough with the FOM being involved, as it is doing nothing for the advancement of the sport. Allow the FOTA and FIA to purchase the licensing and promote the racing in venues where the fans actually live and can afford to attend. Enough with the racing at venues where less than 50,000 fans can attend or where they race in reclaimed swamps or sand dunes.
    6. Allow F1 to be more green, more environmentally responsible. It can be inexpensive and can even result in better racing... give it a chance, don't force a few, incredibly expensive approaches (KERS and 4-cyl turbos) to lead the way. How about allowing whatever power plant a team can muster to a specific power rating, but force a specific MPG and close to zero emissions? How about forcing the use of Ethanol, but not developed from corn? One can get Ethanol from grass and farm waste, with a much lower carbon footprint than with corn... let's do it.

    I don't object to the new ideas for 2013 and beyond, as they could be very interesting. However, allow the teams to determine the rules and designs, with the FIA as the enforcer.

  • Comment number 25.

    I've just read a couple of the posts and its very disappointing and laughable at the responses.

    the thing which stands out in my mind is that people are already questioning something they haven't seen in action, which wont be in action to 2013. Ok, we can relate and look back at what the new concepts may perform like, but this is not looking towards what seems to be what F1 Biffs are trying to push towards. Which is a different style of racing which will improve the general entertainment all round. To me it doesn't matter what sort of engine the F1 Cars run, as long as the action is packed full if over taking, fun and sexy style to boot.

    The thing to remind people of is that F1 isn't a dying sport and IMO its is starting to go from strength to strength and will provide decent all round excitement and entrainment, weather its at the track or on TV.

    Im going to let the top heads do what they do best, develop the ideas and hopefully these work and make F1 even more exciting then it already is :)

  • Comment number 26.

    All well and good for the teams with big research budgets.....but watch out for Ross Brawn producing another of his 'cut price miracle' cars as in 2009.

    PS....the carbon footprint of making all these new parts?

  • Comment number 27.


    I agree with your sentiment, F1 is all about that beautiful noise.

    I don't think the FIA have any idea how much of a turn off small, low revving turbos will be.

    It was bad enough when they did away with V10s, or for that matter, V12s.

    The first GP I went to was in Adelaide 1992. Lamborghini, Ferrari and Honda V12s, Renault V10s, Ford V8s.


    This is Jean Alesi in qualifying for the last F1 race for a V12, the 1995 Australian Grand Prix.

    You can't tell me the tiny turbos will sound anywhere near this good.

  • Comment number 28.

    "Among the provisos Head and Byrne were given were: a) at the very least, make sure the changes did not make overtaking any harder than it already is..."

    Er, what about making it [much] easier? It's bad enough watching the pinnacle of motorsport take place on an increasing slew of Tilke-designed tracks located at the back end of nowhere, now these proposals. As a long-standing fan of the sport since the 70s, I really do despair at the direction the sport is taking.

    Deejaybee at #5 has it spot on but I guess this is what you get when the sport is run by committee....

  • Comment number 29.

    "The new regulations are being fine-tuned by FIA race director Charlie Whiting..."

    This will be the same Charlie Whiting whose incompetence in drafting rules caused the debacle at Monaco regarding the legitimate (or otherwise) of Schumacher's overtaking manoeuvre during the final sprint to the line, the difficulty entirely due to Whiting's inability to prescribe the safety car rules to purpose - indeed, the ambiguity which delivered Brawn's advantage from the get-go in 2009 was also attributable to him.

    I foretell of fun and games in the courts as well as on the track...

  • Comment number 30.

    #24, NickOhio, I disagree strongly with the notion that FOTA should be allowed to set any kind of rules. They may be consulted, and even create their own rules and suggest them to the FIA where the teams are united 100%. But *force* through their own rules? No. The FIA should always have the final say.

    FOTA have never looked after the interests of the sport, only the cabal of road car manufacturers who use F1 as a giant advertising billboard. The truly independent teams lack political clout and are often in the pockets of the bigger teams via engine deals or technology sharing arrangements. Also, being a committee of competitive factions on the track, FOTA is not quick enough to change the rules, particularly on safety grounds. The need to get 100% of the teams to back changes mean that F1 would be left to drift along with no direction.

  • Comment number 31.

    Rip up the rule book (as far as vehicle specification is concerned) and let the teams construct the fastest cars they can, with the racing limit being the ability of the driver to control the car.

    And fine the teams HEAVILY for mechanical failures, and for any other failings which imperil the driver's safety.

  • Comment number 32.

    If some of the changes make overtaking easier, I'm all for that.

    I'm not sure about limiting the fuel rate though.

    Seriously, if it's all about being greener, then it's pathetically insignificant compared to how much fuel is used to fly 12 teams to 20 races worldwide. Perhaps they could sail instead.

  • Comment number 33.

    "High time that diesel was allowed as an alternative fuel..."

    Oh, the horror....

  • Comment number 34.

    I'll predict 2020's F1 regulations now;

    Everyone races in a 1.1-litre Ford Fiesta.

    Job done.

  • Comment number 35.


    WOW! That V12 is a monster. A beautiful sounding one mind.

    It's this sort of thing that 'hooks' people to the sport in the first place.

    I just can't see how a low revving engine and numerous other 'limits' are going to attract people to the sport.

    The pace car will sound better than the main event!

  • Comment number 36.


    You're dead right, when I first heard the wailing Mugen-Honda V12 in the back of Aguri Suzuki's Footwork at that race my ears nearly bled, but I was hooked forever.

    Even the current V8s sound so much worse that the V10s.

  • Comment number 37.

    Andrew, are you sure the ugly front/rear wings will be gone? Do you know if they are roughly going back to 2008 proportions?

  • Comment number 38.

    If we are now 20-30 years further down the line with the understanding of chassis, tyre, aero and suspension....then why oh why must the F1 cars nearly half the power of the mid eighties.

    It boggles the mind.

    I'm all for the changes stated so far, even the return to Turbo power, but the cars should be knocking out in the region of 900 BHP to retain any level of credibility. And why use inline 4s, when a v6 would've been so much sweeter....??

  • Comment number 39.


    Yer I forgot about the pace car. I have always loved tho sound of that anyway but if it sounds better than the F1 cars what is the point?

  • Comment number 40.

    I really can't say I am keen on making cars more undrivable, I really can't understand the need for reversions to the 1990's which gave us snow shovels as front wings and whacky racers rear wings, now they are going back even further to the 1970's or 1980's and having some compromise with the underfloor producing the car's downforce, we have to be thankfull they are not getting rid of all modes of downforce whilst making the cars slower with the proposed new engines for 2013.

  • Comment number 41.

    Totally agree Potmotr.

    I hate the V8'S in relation to the V10/V12'S as it is. They sound pathetic from the tv, although they still sounded pretty good at Silverstone this year close up.

    But they are a shadow of bygone era's.

    And now we are faced with this!!? If they really want to drive down costs/carbon footprint, do fewer races (20 next year for god's sake), and have less unnecessary long haul flights which have a bigger carbon footprint than an entire racing season of F1!

    Please don't kill the essence of the sport, it'd be like watching football in front of an empty stadium.

  • Comment number 42.

    It's the noise that I will miss. The other changes seem to be in the right direction, I'm sure that the clever people know what they are doing and what is needed.

    The tech needs to be more relevant and transferable. More manufacturer's may join and that can only help. As for the speed I'm sure that will be addressed in time. The speed will come in different parts of the track.

    Change is good, lets embrace it like an old friend.

  • Comment number 43.

    John Doe, the FIA should be the one to control the meetings, and enforce the safety aspects as well as the actual rules once determined. They do not have any monetary skin in the game, as they are the enforcer. The teams have money in the sport and they need to be the ones to provide the rules. Any decisions on rules would have to be unanimous. They would make rules which they could use given their budgets. Having an outside force impose the rules when that outside force can be influenced by one team, is just plain wrong. No one team would have control in my scenario and the FIA would be relegated to being the keeper of the safety key and be the enforcer of the rules once determined and agreed-to by the teams (with the FIA being present as the arbiter, and leader of the meetings, but not able to vote). Safety is #1, so the FIA would have specific requirements in that area. But, as for whether or not to use a special front wing, computerized rear wing or rev to only 18k rpms, that would be the sole responsibility of all the teams to agree to.

  • Comment number 44.

    I like this a lot, for many reasons.
    Firstly, the sport is going to become more about driver skill, and less about the Car, which sadly played a large part in the 2010 season. From 2013 onwards, hopefully we can see who really is the best driver of them all.

    Secondly, F1 going greener is going to bring big manafacturers into F1. Both Peugeot and Audi have been running Diesel and KERS cars at Le Mans for a few years now and couldn't miss out on this golden oppurtunity to join the pinnacle of motorsport could they? The green image may also bring back Honda, Toyota and BMW, which would be fantastic for the sport.

    Thirdly, The new rules will be really interesting to see as these are HUGE changed. Which designers will come out best for their respective teams? Brawn did it in 2009, Newey in 2010. 2013 will be much more interesting in an innovation point of view.

  • Comment number 45.

    Why does the FIA think GP should be 'Green'. This is a big, loud and dangerous sport. Going 'green' seems slightly ridiculous. The amount of fuel used on a GP weekend is a drop in the ocean compared to the carbon foot print used by the teams and the FIA to get to long haul events.
    If they are trying to set an example perhaps there are other 'areas' of FIA expense that could be looked at.
    I was fortunate to start my GP viewing at Silverstone in the 1950's, a very dangerous and spectacular event. I certainly wouldn't want to put drivers in that type of peril again, but how much more sanitisation can us spectators take.

  • Comment number 46.

    #38, the main reason for reduced power outputs is cost. We all hear stories about those 1980s 1000bhp turbos. However, these engines barely lasted a qualifying session before destroying themselves. They exploited poorly worded regulations to use "special" fuels. These toluene-based fuels facilitated the enormous boost levels needed to get the power out of a 1.5 litre straight 4 (or V6 in the case of the 1986 Honda turbo). For a full race these engines had their boost levels reduced so they could go the distance, and "only" developed 800bhp as a result.

    Nowadays, the FIA has much better fuel regulations, which restrict the use of chemicals to those found in regular pump fuel (although in different ratios) with no additives/derivatives. High boost levels with this kind of fuel would cause pre-ignition in the engine, with catastrophic results (read, *bang* and lots of broken bits).

  • Comment number 47.

    Why go to a 4 cylinder turbo? If you want a great sounding F1 engine, and I think we all do! I would suggest going to five cylinders instead. The Rally Audi Quattro in the eighties sounded great and would be much nicer than a four.

  • Comment number 48.

    This is great news!

    I totally understand the comments about the engines being a little quieter and to a certain extent this will take away from the sport a little, but at the end of the day the current cars don't sound that good either really compared to those in the past. Also to suggest that these engines will be anything like those found in a supermini is frankly ridiculous! Finally on the smaller capacity turbo engines I suspect we will see alot more manufacturers interested in supplying engine and electronic packages.

    However my main love of formula 1 is all to do with seeing beautiful cars undertaking seemingly impossible overtaking moves due to brilliant drivers and we haven't seen that for a very long time now.

    The current cars with their tall noses and gawky air intakes look hideous, and the bulky wings with all their winglets only seem to increase the likelyhood of someones race being over due to another drivers fault after the first complex of corners (plus can we also have bigger wheels and lower profile tyres please). Just look at the low, wide sllek Ferrari pictured above, a genuinely beautiful car.

    This past season was only exciting due to the usual mix of off track politics and because the resource agreement meant that teams couldnt go completely crazy with their development programmes. Plus the tightness of the scoring throughout the season meant any accident or mechanical failure would have a major consequence on the outcome of the season.....

    However, there wasn't many races were I was gripped by the overtaking and when I was it was all over after the first lap or down to Kobayashi! And whilst I hope that next years adjustible wings may help in some way it does seem a bit artificial.

    So this is great, great news. 2013 can't come soon enough!

  • Comment number 49.

    Hmmm, Ground Effects are all very well in theory, until a car bottoms out, loses all it's downforce and spears of the track like Senna at Imola 1994!

    Low capacity Tubo's were always going to be the way the Engines would go and whilst I agree that Engine noise is one of the few remaining reasons for going to Grands Prix, the Greenies were always going to win on this one whilst the major car companies are in involved in the supply of engines.

    The unfortunate thing which everyone seems to be overlooking is that we haven't given the current aero regs a chance without the double diffuser! Everyone seems to be rushing to dismiss the regs as failed without us actually seeing them perform as they were intended! The racing hasn't been too bad over the past 2 years with the current regs and that is with the cars having the double diffuser. Why don't we wait a season and see how the cars perform without it before introducing the gimmicky bits and pieces like moveable rear wings, (and to a certain extent KERS although that was incorporated into the thinking in the original regs anyway).

    Too much rushing to change a product which is actually working even though hampered by the DD.

  • Comment number 50.

    I think the new regs are a good thing, im all for bringing back the skill of driving an awkward, truculent, sliding car back to the sport instead of these "on rails" missiles that we have at the minute.

    I love the fact that we're keeping big sticky tyres, make em even bigger and cut even more downforce i say!! - If these proposed regulations dont get shot down then we'll see some really interesting variations in the cars from differant teams. I think that the new engine regs should be opened up though, leave the capacity at 1.6 litres and turbocharging, with a fixed amount of fuel but let the manufacturers decide on their own format, and own rev limits we'd probably end up with them all the same anyway, but maybe, just maybe we'd see some 1.6 litre V8 Screamers that the driver really has to manage to get to the finish but produce 1000bhp as well as some V4's, V'5's, In-line fours, in-line sixes, who knows!! - the engine regs are partly designed to bring car manufacturers back to the sport, let them use their innovation to see what happens

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 52.

    It is relatively simple. People like racing, and you can't race without overtaking, otherwise you get processions. You can't get overtaking if you're reliant upon downforce, so you have to rely on the tyres. A yearly succession of releases out of season about changes in aerodynamics that "will surely change the racing" but never do wear people out and turn them on to other motorsports like MotoGP, where there is overtaking throughout the field every lap. I'd love to see F1 with proper racing (and overtaking) but the return to team orders have just proved another decision that means I watch F1 in spite of the FIA, not because of the FIA. Granted, there have been some good racing in 2010, in part because of a hot and cold Red Bull team, but too many times I read, watch and hear that "this track is not good for overtaking". I then question the point in that track to hold a race. I'll say it again - race.

  • Comment number 53.

    For all the moaners RE engines: The engine in this video is a 1.5-litre 4-cylinder turbo that produces about 400bhp. It is very similar to what we will see in F1 in 2013, but the 2013 engines will be far more powerful (650bhp compared to 400bhp). Bear with the video becuase he doesn't really get stuck in until about 0:37.

  • Comment number 54.

    Oh, and another thing, what is the point in the engine manufacturers each producing a new engine and then the FIA making sure that they are 'Equalised'! Surely the way to drive development in both fuel economy, reliability and power per CC is to at least give them free reign without homologating them!

  • Comment number 55.

    The FIA cannot stop changing the rules to make F1 more exciting.
    for example:
    2009- KERS, changing wings, Slick Tyres
    2010- Ban on Refulling, which was brought in as an encouragement to drivers to overtake.
    2011- Re-Introduction of KERS and Movable rear wings- which i can't see being succesful at all
    2013- New Engines and Smaller Wings
    The FIA's efforts to make the sport more exciting generally ends in the sport getting worse. All they need to do is make a decision and stick to it until it is no longer plausible to do so.

  • Comment number 56.

    Simple way to make it more 'interesting'.....teams can build whatever they want and use whatever engine they want, BUT...give them less fuel.

    Teams/drivers then have to pace themselves throughout the race, or drive fast to overtake, then slower to make up for it.

    Big engine gives more POWWER**, but will the car make it to the end of the race?

    ...GWizz wins F1 race ???

    ** copyright J Clarkson

  • Comment number 57.

    1.6 inline four turbos? Like a peugeot 206? You're kidding me, right? And why low revving? Yes, the 1.5 turbos of yesteryear produced upwards of 1000bhp, but they had more cylinders, no restrictions on longevity, and stratospheric rev-ceilings.

    Alas, this sort of regulatory idiocy is not exclusive to formula 1.

    MotoGP have agreed to INCREASE capacity from 800cc to 1000ccs, but the sport as a whole is currently beset by all manner of idiotic rules and regulations. Which lead to engine blowups on track and therefore oil spills and crashes, and where all the teams are restricted to using the same bore and stroke - so advantages (and therefore overtakes) are minimal.

    The world rally championship is now so anti-speed that the only cars you can enter are pathetic shopping-cars your dawdle around practically uninhabited venues a good bit slower than the cars did twenty years ago.

    Whenever comittees design regulations to minimise differences between the car, it all becomes about setup. At which point, you make it a lottery, because on friday practice either you'll hit a setup, or you won't. And if you don't, you might as well throw the car/bike back on the lorry and go home, because your whole race weekend is scrubbed, and so is the spectacle for the fan.

    Motor racing needs to realise that these measures drive fans away, and without us - there is no motor racing.....

  • Comment number 58.

    Quote - Asanator: "Hmmm, Ground Effects are all very well in theory, until a car bottoms out, loses all it's downforce and spears of the track like Senna at Imola 1994!"

    Senna was racing a car with a flat belly pan - and therefore no ground effect. What you describe could not have happened.

  • Comment number 59.

  • Comment number 60.

    Sense at last! Thank you, thank you, thank you Messrs Head and Byrne (and Jean Todt for presumably giving them this task). Enormous front wings are BAD because: 1. they raise cornering speeds, 2. it's impossible for cars to run in close company, 3. they're very vulnerable to damage in close running. This has been obvious for decades. At last some proper engineers have been put on the case and come up with the obvious answer. I can't wait for the changes to be enacted.

  • Comment number 61.

    It will be a very sad day for the millions of fans worldwide to lose the high revving engines and to replace them with the much smaller turbocharged ones - just to be politically correct. Whatever's next? silent running electric engines in a few years? - Boring, boring, boring! The whole lure for the spectator in particular (and television viewer)is to 'feel' the power and listen to the engines scream. If you want to lose fans by the hundreds of thousands, go-ahaed won't be anywhere as nearly as exciting or adictive for the adrenalin junkies. At the end of the day, if it wasn't for the current volume of spectators and television viewers, there wouldn't be any F1....

  • Comment number 62.

    Wow that Alesi clip is epic! The best I've found is Kimi in Monaco in 2004.

    I must say I too am very worried about the direction F1 is now taking. The move to reduce the downforce generated by the wings can only be seen as a good thing but the part of F1 that hooked me and I'm sure a huge number of others was always the engine noise. Nothing comes close particularly at the street circuits like Monaco where the noise reverberates through the streets. The replacement of the V10s with V8s and then rev-limited V8s was bad enough! This further drop in capacity and revs is one step too far in my opinion. Its very sad that online clips like those above will soon be the only place to hear a screaming F1 car in action.

  • Comment number 63.

    The rule changes sound absolutely spot on. It's not going to be 'worse', it's not 'killing our sport', it will just be a bit different, that's all.

    And as for those of you who, by your comments on this blog, must only watch F1 for the noise - get real!!

    So many of us probably think Senna (and or Prost) was one of the greatest of all time, and reminisce about their talent and performances - but remember what they were driving for 50% + of their careers - 1.5L turbo engined F1 cars. They sounded ok then..... no-one said when Villeneuve won at Monaco in 1981 'ooh, it sounded so awful'.

    The racing will always win.......

  • Comment number 64.

    I hope the 50% average throttle line is meant that the power will exceed the grip so they can't use full throttle as early in corners and under accelleration, rather than the fast circuits being dropped (Spa, Monza, Montreal, Interlagos all 70+ full throttle, heck I think Monaco's over 50%!) Seeing the skill of the chap driving being the key rather than the technology is key - WRC went downhill when the cars became computerised and the playstation box did more of the skill stuff than the driver (youtube early 90s rallying and compare it with the modern clever diffs etc, no balancing the trottle etc) Some drivers shine when things get a bit slippy in F1, well, if that was the normal grip level, thn the best drivers would do well, and the renta drivers and moaners wouldn't!

    The rules this year didn't work that well, yes we had great racing, but often from mistakes, and random events (weather, safety cars, quali/practice issues) If the current regs worked then a two times world champion is the 2nd quickest car woud have been able to pass a crash test dummy with a big wallet in a regie around a boating pond with a fancy hotel!

    An engine loosly similar to the one in mum's car, that churns out 750 bhp is great, more relevance to road cars, and more likelihood that the technology developed for the track will filter down to the road cars (i think nascar kept the same engine regs for decades, with cars using engines that were effectively antique designs [be like Williams running the DFV his year!] and while it gave even performance, it really helped the US car industry!)

  • Comment number 65.

    Please, please everyone... I think only a handful of people get it (tozthemaz certainly has).

    Has anyone noticed that FIA means International Automobile Federation, and not International Motorsport Federation?

    F1 has, in the past, been of value to the car industry because it has been a testbed for technologies, that would filter down to road cars.

    When Honda and BMW left F1, what they basically told Mosley was the big, BIG tech they really needed to develop was fuel efficiency, and while the current V8 engines ARE the most fuel efficient on the planet, they are doing so with technology that cannot be transplanted into road cars over the next decade.

    So Mosley took this to mean that F1 would have to go it alone, as the car companies with their mega budgets would all leave. The only way to keep it viable was to cut the cost of running a team so independents would fill the grid. Before this year, I think Stewart GP were the last 'from scratch' independent team, and that was with huge backing from Ford.

    Well, we dont have Mosley anymore, we have Todt. It seems he has decided that his predecessors solution was the wrong direction. Todt seems to believe that getting the car companies to come back is the only way for F1 to continue, so the whole reason for the cost cutting has now flown out the window.

    So the engine redesign that is coming is all about having tech in F1 that will be in what you drive on the road in the next decade. And from the engine redesign it follows, as Patrick Head has said, that an aero redesign is also necessary.

    I can only assume that Todt believes that the 3 new teams will either fail before 2013 anyway, or will grow and be strong enough by then to absorb the massive costs this car design revolution will entail.

  • Comment number 66.

    So the FIA have finally figured out that by trying to reduce turbulence via aero down force restrictions, it takes less turbulence for the reduced down force to put you back exactly where you started, or even worse as it panned out.

    Ground effect was so obvious I suppose the FIA had to trip over it eventually. They have a couple of safety issues they have to address in removing any bumps from the circuit on dangerous sections, anywhere else would just add to the spectacle. Running with the current full tank does not seem wise when you consider the problems with ground effect and the massive varying weight of a full tank.

    The use of limited turbo engines and fuel economy is only a sop to the auto industry, who will not be interested in this ruse. I can hardly see it fitting in with Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren road cars, the manufacturers actually in F1. When your most valid contribution to the green equation is ceasing to exist, you really are stretching peoples intelligence with this appeasement.

  • Comment number 67.

    Underbody generated downforce, small wings and with Turbo-charged engines?

    So this then?

  • Comment number 68.

    This is not a good choice to make , F1 cars of the current age are works of art, the beauty they have come from functional parts to its all well and good saying its going to cut fuel use and everything but there already been a bad dessision made on that front recently with the engine change, i just wish that these people would stop harming the sport

  • Comment number 69.

    This extraordinary!

    F1 is basocally borrowing the design philosophy of Indycars! They've always had shaped undersides (ground effects) having never been through a flat-bottomed phase, and have used very small wings to control speeds on high speed ovals.

    The only major differences between an indycar and an F1 car in the future will be the weight (F1 at 560 odd kg vs 750kg for an indycar) and the capacity of the engine at 2.2 litres in the states, although in terms of bang per litre 1.6 litres for petrol vs 2.2 litres for methanol would give roughly the same power, I would have thought.

    When you bear in mind all the other things that F1 has borrowed from the states;
    - Re-fuelling (it'll come back...)
    - Running the race behind the pace car after an incident
    - HANS devices
    - Attenuators
    - Crash-testing
    - adjustable wings
    Why don't the F1 rule makers finally admit that their counterparts in the states were years ahead of them in trying to ensure that the racing was some sort of spectacle and in improving driver safety?

  • Comment number 70.

    #21, thanks. Great clip and beautiful sound.

    I too am worried about the return of the turbos. Has everyone forgotten how excited we all were to get them banned and get the normally aspirated engines back in the early 1990s?

    The fuel restrictions are what worries me though. They were the death of racing in the last years of the turbos as people ended up coasting to the end of the race as they ran out. All right, it was a bit of fun when they did actually run out and the drivers had to push the cars over the line, but for the whole race before that, no one did any racing at all because to race was to use fuel that they didn't have...

    Much better to mandate that all cars must start with too much fuel to stop all the nonsense we saw this year with cars stopping racing / chasing because they didn't start with enough juice.

  • Comment number 71.

    Personally I think this is all a great idea. They are refining some fantastic innovations which were banned in the past and I perhaps it's through rose tinted specatcles but I think that the racing action was better in the 80's before aerodynamics ruled all.

    And regarding comments about the noise the cars make I would actually prefer the sound of a lower revving turbo, back in the 80's the engines were a 1.5l turbo so the ones for 2013 will actually have a greater capacity. One of my favourite turbo cars:

  • Comment number 72.

    @ potmotr

    I have to agree with you too, F1 for me must have a great sound as well as good looking cars and speed. I have heard the sound of that Ferrari V12 many times before and I had to listen to it agsin!

    Another great sound in my opinion is the Ford ED V8 engine from the mid 90's (and also the HB from a bit before!) I caught the sound of it at full throttle on Andrew Benson's Hockenheim 1996 highlights when Pedro Lamy's Minardi was being lapped and it just quality! The V10s around it made this even better!

    On another topic, I'd like to see the wide track cars back too in 2013!

  • Comment number 73.

    I always like the v-12's in aircraft too. They just sound, well, different, In a great way.

    Does F-1 get it? Not so much from what I see and hear on the West side of the pond.

  • Comment number 74.

    re post number 10 - yes i am aware that old 1.5 litre turbos chucked out more than 1000 bhp. whats your point? i dont care what they did in the past. turbos sound rubbish and will filter down in to production cars because car manufacturers are like sheep. have you ever driven a turbo car? they are hideous, the turbo lag is horrible. my point was that and the fuel efficiency argument, not the relative power outputs of turbos and V8's

    re post 20 - why should F1 become 'green'? why cant the major manufacturers or oil companies come up with alternative fuel sources off their own back, instead of looking to F1 to come up with fuel efficient engines? F1 is not a test ground for safety and fuel efficiency (though i admit some safety features have come out of it and benefited production cars). its supposed to be the pinnacle of motor racing, so let it be just that

    horrifyingly, somebody has suggested electric F1 cars in the comments above. why dont we just get the drivers to race in a Prius and be done with it

  • Comment number 75.

    i would just get rid of the no refuelling rule. i just love watching the best racing drivers in the wourld "saving fuel" during a race... get rid of that. so useless. and to be honest. And make way of this "having to use both sets of tyres". you may argue that "then teams will just stick to the tyre that their fastest on all race." that happens now anyway.
    would make things a bit more fun up front these proposed cahnges mee's thinks. i cant really remember any of the top 5 overtaking each other last season at many points (aside pit stops (yawn)) without hitting a team mate or due to an engine problem.

    on another note, if they want to become more eco friendly, maybe they shouldnt get abu dhabi, bharain, texas(?), south korea, malaysia, china, turkey, etc, to keep building these ridiculously expensive circuits, shipping materials far across the world to certain areas so they can be built. And when theyre done, flying thousands of staff, cargo etc across the world to race at these events. then i suppose its all about the money these days...

  • Comment number 76.

    Morning All
    A few themes here keep comming up.
    Noise, Cost of travel, Green issues, overtaking.
    Yes the noise non tubo ve Turbo (Mclaren v F40s at Lemans) no comparison but part of the intrest to many, of F1 is the technical highs and what F1 can give to road cars. I don't see much of that out of US Cart racing.

    Cost of travel and waste around the main event football still outperforms F1 there. Green issues can not be ignored and i for one will cope with 1.6turbo to keep the sport growing. Big engine racing is always around in other forms of motor sport. so get you fix there and enjoy the changes as they occur.

    However it is very important to keep the 'racing' going. Economy drives occured a lot mor in 2010 than you might think. Remember the Hamalton requests 'can i race now'

    A couple of good ideas where suggested such as over fuel all cars so nobody can bank on mid race crusing.

    Personaly i miss the mid race refuel. Yes it was stopped to a degree to prevent pit stop overtaking. However if they get it right and overtaking on track is back to driver skill then the classic charges on three fuel fills or the splash abd dash as Murry termed it would be back.

    With BBCs fab coverage and the Brawn brains of each team able to contribute lets get refueling back, No wiggley wings i've a video game for that, Kers is cool as driver opperated. But let a driver build unused Kers rather than fixed per lap.

    I'm sure that by 2013 a few more tweaks to these rules will come out.

    We have 2011-12 to go yet. So after last years run around much entertainment to come

    Keep it up BBC coverage at an all time best atthe moment

  • Comment number 77.


    you are deluded if you think this season was 'one of the best ever'.
    if you enjoy watching numbers on a board go up and move about , and counting differences between numbers - then yeh, it was exciting.
    but in terms of on track action and racing? possibly the dullest yet.

    i cant even think of a time vettel passed one of the other 4 contenders for a race win or on track for position.

    this move should reset the cars back to the 80's. 2013 can't come soon enough.

  • Comment number 78.

    from a green f1 fan:

    Green f1 engines are pretty much a joke considering the travel involved (by the teams especially). Instead, I suggest holding a race as close to the other as possible, or having alternate europe/asia/america seasons. I also would say a biofuel option is better.
    Although as a greeny i do understand the potential benefits of F1 leading by example, and developing the engines of tomorrow. But without anyone watching, what good is that?
    However... note that in 20 years F1 will be electric (sorry petrol heads) - indicated by the c02 reduction path to 2050 report from UK govt.

    2-Refuelling and fuel use
    I advocate no refuelling, but the suggestion by #1 should definitely be listened to (no fuel saving). So let's clarify... all teams must demonstrate a fuel efficiency within a certain tolerance. All cars must burn the same amount of fuel (also within a range) during a race. Engine modes cannot dump unused fuel or be too lean.

    Paraphrasing #52: If the track is "not known for overtaking opportunities" why is it on the calendar? I'm Angry angry angry about money money money. Use the money to improve it.

    4-Aerodynamic efficiency
    Bit of a balance issue here, we want the cars to be the fastest in the world around a track, and therefore more downforce helps. Yet, the turbulent air stops cars overtaking. Catch 22, what to do? If the underfloor plans help, then good.

    5-Braking zones
    if the cars can brake too well, not enough overtaking opportunities. But if we reduce performance, same problem as point 4.

    6-Movable rear wings
    as proposed=fail and artificial. Who wants to see cars overtake each other every second straight. Odd number of laps = pole wins. Even number = 2nd wins (all other things (not possibly) being consistent).
    KERS on the other hand = relevant to future cars, green, also deployable at any stage, driver tactics = very good.

    7-Harder to drive?
    May clash with the issues raised in points 4 and 5 (i.e. not the fastest around a track) but not necessarily. If the cars are very difficult to drive then it will increase variability in a race and therefore excitement (hopefully addressed by the 70%-50% in the original article.)

    8-Nearly unlimited designs?
    Give the teams a box to fit in and an amount of fuel to use. go.
    -won't work, some teams will come up with the "double diffuser" of tomorrow = procession.

    Harder to drive cars? Possibly, however: point 3 of above (suitable tracks) as noted by many seems to be the most unbearably glaring solution.
    however, my personal opinion:

    -clone kobayashi and get this overtaker driving all the cars. (or another of your favourite overtakers,, I'm just a fan)
    (also get rid of legard so i can listen to brundle commentary again)

  • Comment number 79.

    History is turning full circle here going back to the days of when driving skill and talent was at the forefront of all the technology driving the cars...and in those days we saw legends made like senna, piquet, mansell, prost, and the list goes on.

    Greater overtaking would definately provide a spectacle and change driver mentality more hanging around for a reliability issue or pit-stop jumping, which will be replaced by guns blazing attitude that we just simply havn't seen until the 2010 season.

    The re-introduction brings me to a point of VW trying to come in using diesel turbo engines..which would really bring about some unpredictability coz both petrol and diesel have their pros and cons..and since Audi have been at the front with their diesel cars in Le-Mans...imagine that the thunder of a diesel vs the loud shriek of a petrol ..and obviously diesel gives better fuel consumption..which means less fuel to carry around.

    Put all these together and you have a winning formula...for an EPIC age of racing

  • Comment number 80.

    Thank God!! At last they have decided to do what all the fans have been asking for! The wings, we don't need huge wings, reducing these is the answer to overtaking. I hope this means we won't have computerised "movable" rear wings too? The ground effects will really help, they should also allow the underbody to produce sparks like they did in the 1990's. Maybe they should also introduce a slightly wider car, fatter tyres, steel brake discs and we'll have a 1980's GP car again, the golden era will be back!

    It will be a shame to have quieter engines, I think the FIA need to re-think the engine formula again or think about introducing an exhaust system which enhances the sound. This would be a gimmick but it would solve the problem. Turbos do have their advantages though, the engines should be spitting flames out of their exhausts again!

  • Comment number 81.

    I support support most of these changes, for a long time I have advocated the removal of the front wings and a return to "old" ground effect skirted cars. The increasing part the front wing has played in the down force package and its vulnerability in overtaking has clearly been a key component in the reduction of overtaking.

    However I am not supporting the move to 4 Cylinder turbo engines, we had these in the 80's and they basically sounded awful. I instead would ignore the ecomentalists and bring back the V12's, an automotive orchestra.

  • Comment number 82.

    74 deejaybee, Yes I have driven a properly tuned road-going turbo car (and even built my own turbo engine) and they are perfectly manageable, with little to no apparent lag. The key is not to oversize the turbo, only use turbo-optimised camshafts and keep an eye on the compression levels. Sounds like your experience of a turbo car is something like an MG Metro Turbo (one of the most terrible turbo cars ever designed) or something else running massive boost levels for the sake of absolute power, with all the lag problems they bring.

    Tuned normally aspirated engines have their own issues too. Typically they either need huge capacities (4-5x the size of a turbo for the same power), or they need high rpm figures, which requires very "hot" camshaft profiles with destroy low to mid range rpm performance. This makes the engine very "weedy", needing to be thrashed for power and unable to idle properly or perform in part-throttle conditions.

    Of course, 80s F1 turbos were terrible to drive due to the huge turbo lag when running in excess of 5 bar boost pressures, such was the insanity of the era. However, this time they will be using smaller turbos with less lag. With overall power levels curtailed by regulations, it's likely that the most "driveable" engines will be the fastest.

    So really your argument boils down to, "I don't like the noise turbo engines make." If that's the worst to come out of these regulation changes, they I think they'll be pretty successful ;)

  • Comment number 83.

    What a shame!

    Andrew Benson's blog mentions the FIA recognising the need for changes to be 'credible' - maybe they are to an environmentalist - to a motosport enthusiast, they are not. This sport is supposed to be about two things - the Driver and the Team (i.e. the car). We are arguably in a time when we have some of the greatest drivers to have graced the sport of Formula 1, but the FIA is trying to turn the cars into a bad taste joke. An F1 car should be the pinnacle of engineering achievement that a team is technically able to put on a track. Not some dumbed-down, low-emission, bastardised hybrid. If Formula 1 is the pet and the FIA the owner, someone call the RSPCA!

  • Comment number 84.

    I went to a formula 1 race recently, I was asked by someone in a petrol station what the top ten was, I could not tell them, I could not tell which car was which and there was no information in the stand and I have been a fan for thirty years. The races this year were the best and the cars and the sounds made it a great season, the changes they are making are for all the wrong reasons, it should be the ultimate engine, car and racing for the fans, that is what formula 1 should be. Four cylinder engines with restricted fuel pressure, restricted revs, that is not the pinnacle of engineering. Cars that thrill, engines that excite and drivers that dazzle, racing that enthrals, that is what Formula 1 should be!

  • Comment number 85.

    Oh common efficiency comes first!? what a ridiculous notation. F1 should always be about the limit of what man can achieve. The best drivers, the highest speeds, the most g forces, the biggest innovators etc

    They should be increasing the engines to v12/w16 to what they were in the good days. I like the idea of reducing aero but the smaller, less revving engines are the biggest turn off for any F1 fan I have ever heard! The idea of reducing full throttle from 70% to 50% is stupid. How is that gonna help anyone? Do they actually realise how safe F1 is? Take a look at Kubica's crash in 2007 at Canada, Montreal and try imagine the guy walking out of that!

    Sure it might make it more entertaining to watch but I'm one of the many f1 fans who will be now more than ever less likely to come to a race. The backing of turbos are a great thing in my opinion.

    So it might make us more fuel efficient but thats never been F1s appeal. I guess its a good idea to show off to car companies to be fuel efficient and still have reasonably fast car, but on the whole I feel F1 is getting softer and softer and that doesn't make it the pinnacle of motor racing.

  • Comment number 86.

    2013 is an awful long way off. You look back nearer the time to see just how inaccurate this article actually is.. They will change the rules, and designs by then.. Christmas sure is a no news season !!!

  • Comment number 87.

    The 2013 rules are nonsense as is the re-introduction of KERS, push to pass didn't work before so what's going to make it work now?

    One of the most discussed and least answered questions in any of these discussion threads is about overtaking, and the lack of it. The FIA and the working bodies such as the (unsuccessful) Overtaking Working Group and the Head & Byrne consultancy continually fail to improve overtaking by any considerable degree because they are constrained by regulations that F1 was never supposed to labour under.

    F1 began with a limited number of rules, basically it was run what you brung within a Cubic Capacity Limit; some vague recollection is that the cars didn't have to be open wheeled (although I stand to be corrected on that one) which in these days of aerodynamic efficiency and fuel conservation is completely illogic as wheels & tyres are nothing more than mobile bricks; there's one way the FIA could save fuel. Overtaking was achieved in the past by teams, not the FIA, coming up with the next killer idea, wings, ground effect, turbos, fly by wire etc. dominating the opposition.

    It is, furthermore, ludicrous that an organisation that promotes fuel saving as a reason for introducing restricted turbo lumps utilizes several cargo carrying Jumbo Jets, several pantechnicons for the governing body alone, several pantechnicons for each of the 20 or so teams (Including 'trailers' for each of their Diva drivers) never mind the private jets the wealthiest drivers operate; and finally, as one observer pointed out, all the cars, helicopters, motorcycles, buses, trains and planes spectators use to get to the track. The only reason the public are aware the cars are doing 4 Miles Per Gallon is because of daft commentators on the TV, are they going to ban offshore powerboat racing? I hate to think what their consumption is.

    My belief is, and I bang on about it constantly, that artificially generated aerodynamic 'downforce' (it's not really downforce, its a partial vacuum particularly when it utilises and underfloor venturi that hoovers the car onto the ground, it was only commentators helping uninformed viewers understand the concept that coined the phrase) needs to be eliminated altogether.

    The teams submit a chassis to the FIA for wind tunnel testing that is aerodynamically neutral in the same way they submit chassis for crash testing. Then basically its a free for all, as long as the car gains no 'downforce' the teams could use any format of engine they want within a given capacity. Ultimate power wouldn't matter quite as much because there is nothing forcing the tyres onto the track reducing their propensity to spin up so normally aspirated engines of 2.5 Litres could be used in any configuration although turbo's may need to be restricted with intakes or wastegates etc.

    The emphasis would move to making the cars slipperier thereby reducing fuel consumption but increasing top speeds as the cars aren't dragging bricks shaped as front and rear wings around. With no aid from downforce and with higher top speeds braking distances would naturally increase and cornering speeds would be slower.......and therefore safer! My understanding is that a car vacuumed to the ground accelerates, momentarily, on leaving the track when the aerodynamic forces glueing it to the ground are lost instead of instantly beginning to slow. In addition, modern aerodynamics are the reason F1 cars can corner so quickly, and predictably, how often do we see a driver power sliding a car round a corner unless its a mistake.

    Run off areas could be reduced and spectators could get closer to the track making it a watchable sport once again and more interesting tracks could be used with say, hills, and even bumps instead of the billiard smooth, flat, boring, artificial tracks that have become a feature of F1 necessitated by the lack of suspension movement caused by.......guess what, artificially generated aerodynamic downforce.

    'Downforce' has been the blight F1 never needed; from the first days of the rickity outboard wings to ground effect and now today's uber expensive, aerodynamically reliant go carts that gobble up more resources in aerodynamic research than from almost any other aspect of their design.

    Don't let the sport become the domain of bureaucrats and financiers, give it back to the small teams like Frank Williams and Peter Sauber and we will get competition and innovation again instead of regulation and restriction.

  • Comment number 88.

    I'm amazed by the number of people who think that the sound of the engines is an important part of motor racing. Consider that the generated sound represents wasted energy - a 100% efficient engine would be completely silent (it would also run cold).
    I've been an F1 fan for 30 years because I'm an engineer, and F1 is mostly a contest between engineers, even though most of the attention of the fans and the press is given to the drivers. If everything goes to plan, then the best car will win, as long as the driver is reasonably competent. Having a Fangio, a Senna or a Schumacher behind the wheel is only an advantage when the unexpected happens, and even the best driver of all time couldn't make a slow car into a fast one.
    As an engineer, I haven't been happy about the freeze on engine design that's been in place in F1 for the last few years, and I'm a little concerned that the FIA seem to be trying to impose a similar situation on the 2013 engines before they've even been designed. I can't see why an RPM limit needs to be imposed - isn't limiting the number of engines per season enough? This would allow the engine designers back into the contest, competing to produce the most powerful engine which is durable, reliable and efficient. If that also means quiet, so be it.

  • Comment number 89.

    If people are so bothered about the noise of the turbo engines, surely the FIA can introduce a regulation so that all F1 cars have to fit something to the exhaust that will generate the proper noise? Or maybe fix a piece of cardboard to the wheel with a clothes peg like we did on our bikes when we were kids?

  • Comment number 90.

    Quote #58- thirteen_ball "Senna was racing a car with a flat belly pan - and therefore no ground effect. What you describe could not have happened"

    Of course it could, and did!! Aerodynamic downforce/lift is generated by the air moving over one surface faster than it's opposite surface, whether flat bottomed or not, Senna went into tamburello (a then fast left hander)on cold tyres (lowering the cars ride height) following a safety car period and hit a bump on the track which bottomed the car out stopping the airflow under the car and therefore causing a total loss of downforce for a fraction of a second which caused him to spear off track.

    This is why the 'plank' was introduced later on in the season to stop cars losing all of it's downforce if they bottomed out. It is also, having read some more details of the proposals, why the middle part of the floor will be lower than the sides to stop this happening.

  • Comment number 91.

    #85 - re The idea of reducing full throttle from 70% to 50% is stupid. How is that gonna help anyone?

    If a driver can get round a track with his right foot nailed to the floor for 70% of the time, it means the downforce is too high - the corners are too easy in today's cars. Reducing the downforce and forcing the drivers to..... wait for it..... lift off the throttle, feather the throttle, change down, brake and actually use their skill a bit more will create far more opportunities for the better drivers to excel and far more opportunities for over-taking - the greater the number of "controlling inputs" a driver needs to make, the greater the chance of errors, and scope for excellence.

    With the reduction in downforce, the cars will be able to follow one another far more closely and therefore actually race, as opposed to wait for their pit crews to gain them half a second in the pit-lane. IT CAN ONLY BE A GOOD THING!

    I've already mentioned in a previous posting that the 'sound' argument is irrelevant. Probably 98-99% of F1 fans around the world watch on TV anyway, so don't even get to hear the true sound.

    One last point - watch the YouTube clip of Arnoux and Villeneuve at Paul Ricard 1979 with the sound off - then tell me that the sound actually matters.

  • Comment number 92.

    90, bottoming out looses you grip not because of loss of downforce, but because the downforce is now acting through the chassis straight into the track, rather than through the tyres/suspension. This unloading of the tyres massively reduces their grip and the car goes straight on or spins. See Jaques Villeneuve's massive crash at Spa for another example of a car bottoming out (both BAR's drivers crashed heavily that year due to poor suspension settings/performance leading to their cars bottoming out in Eau Rouge).

    The "plank" would not have prevented Senna's accident if it was bottoming-out that caused it. It is merely a regulatory device to enforce a minimum ride-height. Whilst a low ride height creates more efficient aerodynamics, it is not the same thing as the "ground effect". Indeed, look at old videos of the GE cars in action and you'll see they had a much higher ride height than the cars that followed when GE was banned.

  • Comment number 93.

    I'm more of a motorbike and motorbike racing fan myself (I'm 51 and I've never so much as driven a car let alone owned one), but I still like F1. Sure you don't get the frenzied fairing bashing and incessant overtaking you do with the bikes, but it has it's own slightly more subtle appeal. It's like nicking a goal away from home against a much stronger side then hanging on for a win, or maybe that time England qualified for the World Cup under Glenn Hoddle with a 0-0 draw in Italy: no fireworks, but still great sport. Of course, F1 has the glamour too.

    To my mind the single worst and most dismal thing about F1 can be summed up in one word; "Aerodynamics". Or Aero-bleedin-dynamics as it's more correctly known. I'm an engineering graduate, but seriously, has anybody ever heard an interesting conversation about "splitters"?

    I always thought the best and simplest cure for this would be to raise the ride-height; and not by a small amount either, to the sort of levels Jim Clark would recognise. The great thing about this is that not only would it make the sport safer; lower cornering speeds = slower crashes, but it would also remove the risk-factor that caused Ayrton Senna’s death, where his car hit a bump on a bend and suffered an instantaneous and massive loss of grip. Finally, when the car does come to the gravel-trap the wheels will dig-in and slow it, instead of it “floating” over the gravel like a boat.

    It would also improve the dignity of the sport; who hasn’t laughed a hollow-laugh to see a perfectly intact, multi-million pound car stuck in a shingle bank your child wouldn’t bother making a sand-castle in? Commentators often refer to the gravel-traps as “kitty-litter”; well I seem to remember Lewis Hamilton losing a world title because his car got stuck in a miniscule scrap of sand at the entrance to the pits in China that most cats would sneer it if offered it as their toilet!

    The problem is, I was never too sure whether raising the ride-height would make overtaking easier or not, since I didn't know what effect (if any) the turbulence created by the leading car would have on the follower's ground effect. It seems that the people in F1, the who are interested in conversations about splitters (and therefore probably know what they're on about), have come to the opposite conclusion.

    Let's hope they're right; despite some of the other comments on this story, I'm pretty darned sure they ARE F1 fans.

  • Comment number 94.

    Interesting to see the number of people willing to critise before the cars have even been thought about, let alone designed, built or run. Personally, I have faith that Head and Byrne know what would make a good formula, I'm not so self-confident that I could criticise them from this remove. What's more, I welcome the return of the turbo, I was very sad to see them go at the end of '88.

  • Comment number 95.

    As I have repeatedly said for many years now, give the teams a budget cap and some loose safety guidelines and let the designers go nuts!!

    Innovation is not dead, but it's far too restricted these days it's no wonder the car industry suffers as a whole, because sports like F1 are are being held back from unleashing their full potential.

    So ther you have it - cost saving (or at least limiting) and innovation, what every F1 fan wants.

  • Comment number 96.

    What we also need is to have a minimum fuel load so that everyone has plenty to get to the end of the race, so that they are racing all the time and not 'managing fuel'.

  • Comment number 97.

    Ok, ok, ok. We need to save fuel. I hate saying it but we do.

    We are doing it wrong though.

    F1 is about innovation. The rules are becoming far to tight. Open the rules up. Give maximum and minimum diameters, say it has to be open cockpit, and it can only have so much emissions.

    Maybe manufacturers will then try hydrogen engines in a formula one car sounds mad but Tyrell tried a car with 6 wheels remember. I would love to see cars with different engines. No telling them that it must be this this this and this so we have the exact same engines by every manufacturer.

    Trying new things like that would be a engineers dream.

  • Comment number 98.

    92-John Doe - Yes Cars bottoming out nowadays causes a loss in mechanical grip because the plank hits the floor, however the plank was introduced AFTER Imola '94 to precisely stop cars running so close to the ground that when they did bottom out they lost all of their downforce. Unfortunately yes, the plank would have saved Sennas life.

    The comparison to the Ground effects cars of the 80's is irrelevant, yes they ran much higher but they also ran 'skirts' along the outer edges of the bodywork which pretty formed a seal with the ground. When GE cars were banned, cars began to run as close to the ground as possible, to speed up the airflow beneath the car relative to the air passing over its upper surfaces, the resultant pressure difference effectively 'sucked' the car down to the track and is where most of the downforce is generated. The plank was introduced directly following Senna's death to stop the cars running so low and losing downforce when they bottomed out.

    Yes the BAR crashes were a result of the car bottoming out and losing mechanical grip due to the compression of the suspension at the bottom of Eau Rouge but this was after the plank was introduced in '94.

  • Comment number 99.

    There's one good thing that bringing back turbos will introduce that I don't think anyone has mentioned so far...

    They are horrendously unreliable, and tend to blow up spectacularly! So unpredictability will come back into racing, but they'd better stock up fire extinguishers...

    I must admit that I think the capacity is too large at 1.6L. They should have made it 1.2L to make it more of a challenge and more relevant to road cars. It would also have limited the maximum power.

  • Comment number 100.

    Excellent news i only wish these changes were to be in place for next season. I have to say im amazed by the lack of enthusiasm on both the engine and aero regs from many of the posters on here.
    First of all why don't people realize that the turbo engines will produce the same power as the current v8's. F1 technology often filters down to road cars so while transport to and from races is the main carbon footprint caused by F1, the technology used in these engines producing so much power per cc will fill filter down to our road cars saving a great deal of co2 emissions. Also i couldn't care less how they sound. So long as the racing is improved, the engines can be silent electric motors for all i care.
    The aero changes are long overdue, the challenge of great corners such as eau rouge pouhon and turn 8 have been greatly diminished with such high aero levels. Anything that places more responsibility on driver talent is great for the sport. This should hopefully see the return of a more deserving champions not just a far superior car (Button, and Vettel to an extent) although with the ingenuity of engineers this may still happen. Hopefully this will be the end of boring processional races. While i have enjoyed this season immensely, there has been far to few passes. And the majority of overtakes where done by out of place front runners.
    Hopefully this will be followed through with. 2013 cant come soon enough.


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