Aero changes to promote F1 overtaking to be brought in for 2019
Posted By: Editor   |  01 May 2018   |  10:31 am GMT  |  204 comments

Important changes have been voted through to improve overtaking from 2019 onwards in F1.

The F1 Strategy Group, F1 Commission and the World Motor Sport Council have approved changes to the technical regulations effective from next season.

The changes will include a simplified front wing – with reduced outwash potential – simplified brake ducts, and a wider, deeper rear wing.

Formula One is set to introduce a range of changes for the new Concorde Agreement, which will begin in 2021. However, following complaints about the lack of overtaking chances in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, Formula One chiefs have been seeking solutions which could be brought in sooner.

These proposals have been backed up by a period of research by the Formula One teams, who were able to demonstrate the positive impact that the modifications will have on the quality of racing.

The findings were put to a voting panel – which included the FIA, F1, all ten teams and sponsor and promoter representatives, and the proposals secured enough votes to proceed, pending approval from the World Motor Sport Council.

These will be added to the modifications already planned for 2019; an increase in fuel allowance, a separation of the driver weight and car weight (to not disadvantage heavier drivers) and the requirement for drivers to wear biometric gloves.

Formula One’s Managing Director (Motorsports) Ross Brawn highlighted the incident between Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen as an example of the current aerodynamic issues facing the sport.

“One of the key episodes of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was the collision between team mates Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen,” said Brawn. “I don’t want to comment on who might be held responsible or how a team should manage these issues during a race, but I do think the Steward’s decision to reprimand both drivers was the right course of action. But I would like to highlight a technical point.

“Once Daniel had settled for his line, and Max had changed direction once more, the Australian suddenly had to cope with a car that was very light at the front end due to the turbulent air generated by the leading Red Bull.

“In these conditions Daniel was no more than a passenger with few, if any, options to manage the situation: he could not change direction and the hard braking he tried would have had little chance of success.

“This highlighted once more the need of finding a way to re-write the rules so as to make the cars more raceable in these conditions. The decision of the Strategy Group and the F1 Commission taken yesterday, sanctioned by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, to approve a number of aerodynamic modifications, aimed at promoting closer racing and more overtaking, to the cars already for 2019 season is definitely an important step in the right direction.”

All images: Motorsport Images

Do you think Formula One needs to improve overtaking? What you think of the proposed aerodynamic changes? Leave your comments below.

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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

I’ve been saying it for many years, if they ditched carbon brakes went back to steel discs, braking distances would increase giving much more of an overtake window because of the extra braking distance. While at the same time helping to develop road going brakes, after all, we will never have ceramic carbon brakes on a 4 door saloon.


Hey James – watched the WEC race this weekend to follow Alonso and maybe it’s due to being enclosed but at least the on board footage made the Toyota V6 sound great. It’s no MP4/4 V6 sound but the onboard videos really make the engine sound good in my opinion.

Plus it’s simple to follow. 6 cylinder hybrid, that’s it. Mercedes and Renault might care about this MGU-H-K whatever jargon, but I doubt most fans do.


Key thing: F1 agreed and stuff got done. That’s a good change in itself.

Reading between the lines, FOM and FIA must have agreed to force the matter through the Strategy Group.

That group was setup so that if Bernie and Todt agreed on a motion, it would pass, irrespective of how the 6 teams in the group voted. But that never happened and everything stayed deadlocked because FOM would vote one way, FIA another and the teams would not be unified.

Now it has happened. Enough people were on the same page that a change could be voted through the Strategy Group and on to the F1 Commission.

That’s a big development. Finally FOM and FIA have acted together.


Just watching the 2007 Bahrain GP. Granted there’s not been masses of overtaking but the front wings are interesting. The whole width of the wing is downforce generating and it very obviously directs air between the front wheels rather than around them like the rules for next year are aimed at. It’s very noticeable after being used to modern F1 just how much more closely the cars were able to follow back then and for many laps at a time without anyone moaning about tyres. Maybe the rulemakers are finally onto something. Fingers crossed.


I was really amaized no one did it before what Verstappen did to Ricciardo. There have been many instances where Ricciardo used someone as a brake to make the corner plus few occasions when he did not make the corner at all. Ricciardo is too desperate to be a champion without hugely dominant team.


Not this is a kner jurk reaction.
The current rules deal with this adequately. Let them race ratther than compensate for Team orders present or not?


I’ve been following all types of racing since the late 60s and have been involved also

The answer is real simple take away Aero grip of the front and rear wings and the Aero wash that they produce go to even wider tires and let the mechanical grip

And the drivers talent shine



It would be interesting to take a pulse on DRS all these years later, now that it will be boosted 25% in 2019. How do fans feel about it? Are we used to it? Is it good? Or do we detest its existence?


If the “fans” want to see more overtaking why not just have the same software that enables DRS on the trailing car instead simply take power away from the leading one? Boom, instant overtake and no more fussing about with aero arguments!


Wow, they’re finally doing what I’ve been saying they should have done since 2009 when they made the front wings massive and decreased the width of the rear wings to make them look like vaginas.

Hopefully they’ll keep listening to me and get rid of the thong and banish the pseudo-green Prius nonsense that is only there to pander to virtue signalling followers of climate change shysters such as Al Gore.


I think you have won your bet Luke!


We keep dancing around the head of a pin here.

Just abandon the rule that stops us having adjustable front wings.

Then restrict the number of elements and bring in a strengh rule that will enable a wing to take a minor “ tap” and not disintegrate.


They had adjustable wings a few years ago. They didn’t make any difference.


They had a 6 degree adjustable flap that they could adjust twice per lap. As I temember Alonso did not like it and claimed he did not use it. However after that much was made of the “ tricks” some teams used to flex wings ( mainly Red Bull)

So give the idea to a decent aero engineer rather than come up with an FIA generic idea and I think you would see a big difference.


Best explanation out there on the effect of front and rear wing. ->


If you want another perspective on wake/turbulence, have a look at this…

Any pilots on here will know all about the dangers of crossing the powerful wake of an airliner…


The front wings certainly look a little over-engineered… Also, I don’t want DRS removed, I think it would be good to limit it though. Say drivers are allowed to use it 10 times a race. That would allow for drivers to use it for both attacking and defending. Lastly, make the cars narrower again (like they were before the wider tyres). That will help overtaking as attested to by Ricciardo.


Why not allow ground effect? Would downforce from shaping the floor produce more/less turbulence than from wings?

I still find it very bizarre that teams spend many millions trying to produce aerodynamic masterpieces, then bolt a plank of wood to the bottom.


Yes of course, EsKay, ground effects would create far less turbulence/wake than upper body and wings!

I haven’t said much recently, because I’ve pretty near given up on F!, but I’ve ranted on about reducing the size of the wings and using a higher percentage of ground effects for probably 6 or 8 years! Not only would this allow closer following/better passing/better racing, but the cars would be visually more sexy/attractive! How ridiculous is it to fit bigger rear wings!!!! They will cause a bigger area of turbulent air behind cars thereby reducing downforce on the following car!!!! I often wonder just how clever the powers-that-be in F! really are when you see that over the years they’ve made rules then not too many yaers later they deem them to be wrong. E.G. going from wide slicks to groved tyres, then to narrower slicks and narrow track, and then back to wider track and wider slicks! Of course a wider vehicle will create more turbulence than a narrower one! Not to mention they take up more room on race tracks thereby making it more difficult/risky to pass and to go around corners side-by-side. I can’t believe Ross Brawn doesn’t understand these things. It’s got to the point that F! is a laughing stock, and Indycar are cleverer and wiser, and their cars look better and they can follow each other and pass. Oh well, what the Hell!!! And now they’re changing the engine rules which will cost teams multy millions and yet they’re talking about cost caps—bloody crazy!!!!



If this improves overtaking and reduces costs would be great


This is the same bunch of muppets who decided to make the cars 5 seconds a lap faster by adding more aero, despite being told by many within and outside the sport this would make overtaking more difficult. I’m not sure they’ll ever learn, they’re all too selfish. Without an increase in mechanical grip, less aero and better tyres nothing meaningful will change. If there are great improvements then excellent, but I’ve heard it all before.


No that was a different group of muppets.


what ever happened to “f1 cars are too easy to drive”?

they are trying to make it even easier.


Exactly, Aveli, and they drive on super smoothe tracks with power steering and power/electric brakes, I bet if the F! drivers tried to do a Indycar race on a street circuit they would end up with blisters on there hands and be totally stuffed before the end of the race!



I think this a good change and I’m glad they made it. It seems like there is some solid science behind this rule change as well. I’m just surprised they didn’t anticipate that increased down force rules introduced in 2017 would make it more difficult to overtake.

It remains to be seen which teams will benefit. My thoughts are that if the Y250 vortex is used by RBR to seal the floor then this may not help them. So maybe why a low-rake team like Mercedes voted for it?


One of the major factors in this situation is that the aero designers have to design almost the exact same concept as everyone else with very little room to work around potential problems and come up with brave, clever, positive solutions.

Due to the similarities, I f one does something, they all do it within a couple of races.

This is another reason why a more open set of car design parameters would allow these extremely clever people to make their own decisions on what they design.

This “clone” idea of making the rules so watertight and restrictive that it must make F1 more equal across the field is inherently wrong.

If they are all the same, the problem is the same for everyone with no room to make changes.

If their are 3-4 different design concepts utilised, there is the opportunity for some teams to find advantages and tweaks to get around those problems.

If everyone has almost exactly the same wings, the ones with the biggest budgets and resources like state-of-the-art windtunnels and calibration software will be the ones who find the minu’te tweaks that give them an advantage.

These incredibly complicated wings aren’t just for directing airflow around wheels and through cooling ducts or creating downforce.

They are specifically designed as a defensive tool to deliberately disrupt the airstream behind the car for as far back as possible so that the car following behind it is almost undriveable whenever it gets within 2 secs of the car in front.

Truth is, it’s bloody dangerous because it renders a car undriveable at the highest speeds. Which is when slipstreaming is used. Crazy!

That’s what happens when the entire field has almost exactly the same car. Designs become negative rather than forever chasing positives … like less drag, more speed and a compromise of both to create as much downforce as possible to create grip.

In an incredibly hi-tech world, it’s rather simple, allow the engineers more room to design and engineer their cars and they will always chase performance … lock them into a highly restrictive set of rules and they will spend most of their time trying to find every tiny loophole. In this case, it is doing everything to slow the car behind rather than spend the same amount of time, money and effort to find a positive advantage through looking forward.


While I think it’s great to try and improve overtaking, we all want great racing, and so far this season it has been good, I also think the circuits need looking at also, we need more medium/ fast corners leading on straights, there are too many slow corners leading to straights with the consequence that the following car can’t get up to speed until its too late to make a move, enable them to get closer following on the corner get a tow and be able to make a move sooner, then you wouldn’t need DRS


Liberty are well on the road to getting what they want – IndyCar


I would also like to see the radio communication reduce by a large margin. I don’t like seeing drivers totally relying on engineers for decisions they should be working out themselves.


I would like to see a race that has not been manipulated by safety car, tires, PU output, DRS and god knows what.


I agree with you. They tried that thing a couple of years ago but IMO it didn’t work because they didn’t go far enough. I would get rid of the radio all together. Have a light that comes on whenever the team want the car to come in and a button for the driver to press when he is coming in. Other than that let the driver make the calls.


Radios are a very powerful safety device, they enable the teams and race control to warn drivers of impending danger. From a stalled car on the grid to debris on the track, oil and water spills, slow moving car, rain etc.

Radios are also a cost reduction contributor, the engineers can warn the driver of issues that might damage the car or its mechanicals.

It’s of no use trying to limit the conversation to only safety and cost reduction use, they will simply develop code words to get around it. It’s been tried before, “Multi 21” comes to mind.


It makes me feel good that when I fire up my PlayStation, I can do full races acting as Chief Engineer, Chief Strategist, and Driver all at the same time lol.

Like, can you imagine if a pilot would radio the tower, “umm guys, I’ve got this message on my dash, and I’ve no idea what it means…little help? Oh, and how do I get this thing in reverse?”


Sound step forward. I’d like to suggest a way to expand on this. A couple of weeks ago I read a post where it was suggested to incite the teams to themselves develop aero adjustments making the cars more raceable. No rules change, but get rid of mandatory giving way under blue flags! This will force the best teams to reconsider their aero configuration because front runners now will have to actively pass cars they lap. Don’t recall who’s comment it was but very good idea IMO!
With the rule change now coming up, maybe we could force the teams to further develop slipstream-friendly aero by implementing this new (actually old!) blue flag rule. Extra idea: allow DRS only during the first half of the race. Usually, in the second half of the race we’ll see lots of overtaking: lapping, passing cars on worse tyres, etc. At this stage, disallow DRS and only depend on team-developed aero. Force them to sort it out.


If DRS is to continue in use, then do this – leave it up to the driver. Anytime, anywhere. Allow refueling – if those guys across the large lake can do it, why can’t these tip-top world-beaters do it? Best – require ‘bulldozer’ noses, not wings, on the front, single element rear wings, and alter some corner exits on slower corners so that they gradually open out. That last will give the car wth better mechanical grip and advantage.


Blue flags—-now that’s another silly thing they are talking about!!! Blue flags for lapped cars have been around for as long as I can remember (and I’m very old), all the racing from childrens go karting through club racing to championship racing all around the world has used the blue flag the same way,so why change it just for F!



So what your saying is that if Hamilton is leading Vettel, Ferrari will then hold KR in the pits due to an “issue” and then dispatch him in front of Hamilton and order him to hold Hamilton up for Vettels advantage!


No. First of all, a top 6 driver being lapped is extremely rare. VER on HAM was about the only one last year I think. Second, dispensing with mandatory passing under blue flag and returning to the old custom of just a heads-up does not mean hard battle every time. In the past the understanding was, give way to a front runner unless you are up to speed. Use your discretion. In any case, no investigation if you did not comply within 2 turns.


Surely the halo could be gotten rid of as well.

The cars don’t even look like a driver is inside most of the time.

Whilst I applaud the efforts made to disguise the thing when viewed from the onboard camera with some simple graphics the fact is that it still looks terrible . Come on Ross get rid of it.


Or at least work on version 2. They still look like the first prototype. Is there no research into maintaining the strength but getting the bars thinner or more pleasing on the eye? Or is that it now for the next 100 years?


No bars, thinner or otherwise — nothing. Either race without the halo or go home.

If I can risk my a**e in my car and on my motorcycle driving through hills in the wet and between trucks and with trees sticking out onto the actual road, they should be able to drive these Kevlar and carbon fibre cars on those aircraft runways with their helmet clad heads barely sticking out of the cockpits without any problems whatsoever.


Finally!!! Some sense!! Good grief, why did it take so long though. I guess its good that what happened with the Redbulls highlighted this egregious situation we have had for so long. I am already looking forward to 2019 now..but wait…Can afford to watch it?


is it sensible to make f1 cars easier to drive?


Aveli the anti fan.


is it sensible to make f1 cars easier to drive?

Well I suppose that the recent display of erratic driving by Verstappen over the last 4 races means Liberty need to make cars easier to control. 🙂


Great news! A step in the right direction.

This is something that should have been addressed a few years ago. Better late than never.

Now that it remains to be seen IF these changes have been taught through carefully to avoid any unintended consequences down the road. In other words, that Ross and Co, together with the FIA have not only modelled this, but also tested this in a Wind-tunnel.

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