Lewis says what we’re all thinking (saying)

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Most, but not all of us, have been saying this for the better part of seven years now and it’s never taken root in the decision making in Formula 1 because, in my mind, of two reasons.

Less aero which should beget less aero wake and more mechanical grip for more overtaking. At least that’s our consistent refrain. After all these years, the sport has not changed the levels we feel is needed to achieve this.

With all deference to F1, they have reduced some aero but not enough because teams continually claw back much of the lost aero through crafty interpretation of the regulations.

Reason One

Aerodynamics is the least expensive way to claw serious time out of an F1 car. Sure, it’s expensive but not as expensive as other more radical means like an all-new hybrid engine development program or changing wheel size and drastically altering the entire chassis design. Before you heap scorn on me, I’ve spoken with a few key engineers in the sport who have told me this, I’m not making it up so it isn’t just my silly hunch here.

Reason Two

Teams know that big gains can be made through magical interpretation of the regulation via aero tricks when the FIA makes big changes to the technical regulations. They still recall 2009 when Brawn GP showed up with a dual diffuser and rubbed everyone’s nose in the dirt over a relatively inexpensive stroke of genius. They also don’t want to eliminate their current performance advantages or mothball their enormous wind tunnels they spent millions on.

Reason Lewis

Leave it to our friend Lewis Hamilton to say what other drivers won’t and certainly team boss won’t or can’t.

“There’s been a lot of talk about the rules and whether the drivers should be more involved in decision making,” Hamilton said. “It’s not our job to come up with ideas and we all have different opinions anyway.

“But personally, I think we need more mechanical grip and less aero wake coming off the back of the cars so we can get close and overtake. Give us five seconds’ worth of lap time from aero and nothing will change – we’ll just be driving faster.

“I speak as somebody who loves this sport and loves racing. I don’t have all the answers – but I know that the changes we’re making won’t deliver better racing.”

Good on him I say! It’s great Lewis has the brand equity at this stage in his career to call it out when it needs calling out.

It’s not a popular opinion and I know this but it may be one of the biggest ways to get F1 back on track and fans reinvigorated again.

We’ve done the hybrid sustainable thing and the gimmicky baubles like HD Tires and DRS so let’s try something different for the next 4 or 5 years. What do ya say? It couldn’t be any worse could it? On second thought, don’t answer that.

Hat Tip: Sky Sports F1

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Jack Flash (Australia)

Like… we all haven’t been saying this as Fans… for years.
“No sh#t Sherlock”

Paul KieferJr

True, but who would they listen to?

Jack Flash (Australia)

Nobody it seems. Not fans. Not ex-racers. Not media. Not even the current 3-time WC I expect. This nefariously greedy, self-serving and polemic groups… loitering in pretenses of interest in Formula 1, actually don’t give a crap about the health or long term interest of the Sport. FOM/CVC, Strategy Group, Manufacturers, Teams, etc. They all are just fighting for power and veto, and bettering their own narrow ‘short-sighted’ interests in survival and leverage over others, with no mind to the greater good of Formula 1. This ‘old time Formula 1 fan’ is f’n sick of it. The Time for REVOLUTION… Read more »

Shane Phillips

According to Martin Brundle, every 10KG of fuel the cars carries adds ~0.33 seconds to their laptime owing to the fact that the extra mass has to be accelerated and decelerated. So extrapolating from that, the fact that the cars are 97KG heavier than they were during the V10 era would mean that, in fact they have gained about 3.3 seconds worth of aero performance since 2005, despite the changes to the regulations in 2009. So when you look at it objectively, the argument that this current generation of cars don’t generate enough downforce is simply ridiculous. Simply changing the… Read more »

MrBlubz

I agree on all counts. Recently I read someone saying that aero designers in no way intentionally create aero turbulence in the back of the car, in this persons mind the design team has no idea how to do this. Crap, total crap, there are teams of aero and mechanical designers at each top team doing nothing but maximizing wake turbulence at the back of the car to stop from being overtaken, to do otherwise would be irresponsible. This is an important job and it works magnificently. Lets call the aero that provides down-force and minimal drag offensive aero and… Read more »

Sakae

Lewis is repeating basically what I think Vettel said ages before him.

General Rush Hour

Vettel has complained that the cars are too slow. The opposite of what Hamilton wants out of F1 regulations.

Sakae

He was quoted on more than that, if you do some search in depth, including comments on downforce. I actually agree with both of them. Speed is really not an issue, just personal preference. Seb reached 366 km/hr last year in Mexico I think it was, and that’s good enough for me. If he wants to go faster, fine with me. I do however suspect, that he was (probably) referring to regime under fuel saving parameters, that speed is adversely affected. Drivers says they cannot “push”. As far as I know, long time ago he had his doubts about that… Read more »

xorpheous

Is it feasible, or desirable, to simply say, “No more wings. Period. Full stop?” The problem with the regulations is that although they continue to constrain the boxes in which the engineers have freedom, the engineers always read the rules more creatively than the rule’s architects. Perhaps we need to simplify the cars by simplifying the rules.

Richard Piers

I have been arguing for the elimination of wings since they first arrived many years ago and have always been told I am a Luddite. I can’t quite agree that aero costs little, the wind tunnels are hugely expensive and the army of aerodynamicists and engineers do not come cheap but the science for F1 adds little overall, nothing to the racing and negatively to safety. The wake is a consequence of the negative lift and is not designed to impact the following vehicles, the objective is always maximum downforce with minimum drag. Lap times are relatively unimportant, seen only… Read more »

charlie white

Lewis is talking but no one at the Strategy Group, WMSC or FIA is listening. The sport fears if it rolls back to these suggestions, it will lose “something” in its value and become something inferior to the rest of the motorsports world. Let it(F1) rush headlong into that brick wall called reality.

228929292AABBB

I agree with Lewis Hamilton, no question there, but he would say that, right, I mean he’s got the fast car. Take away the obstacles to passing and he doesn’t even have to concentrate on the start, or show up for qualifying. He’ll just ooze his way to the front every race. Vettel would probably say the opposite, because he’s a better starter in a slower car. I was a slow motorcycle racer with a preternatural gift for starts, it didn’t get me sh** because it’s easy to pass on a motorcycle. I’d just ooze my way back to my… Read more »

geeyore

Completely agree, no realtime telemetry, it only incites the engineers and strategists to control the pilot/driver… and to covertly control the racecar from the pit. It’s very, very bad from a motorsport perspective. Except that I’d possibly allow for radios – not much to say when you have no realtime telemetry – and possible good for safety. And chalkboards or (bowing to technology) LED signs at the pit wall.