The Future F1 car has been designed…so to speak

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Patrick Head
Just when you though Patrick Head and Rory Byrne were not doing much these days, boy were we shocked to find out they’ve just designed the future of F1!. It seems that these two paragons of F1 engineering, and no I am not joking with that statement, have just proffered their design of the 2013 car. Now before we keep perpetuating that old notion that McLaren is rigging everyone’s ECU as the sole supplier for the entire grid, Ferrari mustered up some computer simulation time to help Rory get his plan in action. Let the rumors begin.

Here is the scoop from the lovely and quite handsome Andrew Benson over at the BBC. Now that you’ve read that with great interest, let us discuss. Patrick Head said:

“We are only going to have roughly 65% of the amount of fuel and a [limited] fuel [flow] rate – that was a given,”.

“We were just told ‘That’s what it will be, you’ve got to come up with a car spec that is not going to be more than five seconds a lap slower than a current F1 car’.
“So some circuit simulation was done by Rory at Ferrari and when we’d come up with some numbers in terms of drag and downforce it was then to try to come up with a geometry of a car that could try to achieve that.”

Andrew Benson said (yep, even with asterisks):

* Much smaller front and rear wings;
* A far greater proportion of the total downforce of the cars will be created by the underfloor, compared to the wings;
* A major reduction in the amount of total downforce created by the car;
* To achieve this, the underfloor of the cars will be shaped along its length to generate downforce for the first time since the 1982 season – currently cars have bottoms that are flat between the wheels;
* The average proportion of a lap that a driver is able to spend on full throttle to be cut from 70% in 2010 to 50% in 2013;
* Tyres will remain large and chunky to ensure cornering speeds remain high.

What do you make of the small wings, more aero increase with the underfloor? How about the offset of a smaller engine, lower revs and less fuel? So we’re going to have slot cars? What’s your take on an otherwise incredibly complicated tale of woe that has been knocking about for nearly three decades? I recall James Hunt explaining during the 1983. He mentioned it twice if memory serves about not being able to pass the Ferrari of René Arnoux due to the aero effect destabilizing the Brabham of Nelson Piquet. That was in 1983 and certainly the regulations were different, as mentioned in Bensons recap above regarding 1982.

What do you think? Hey, if anyone can solve this issue it is the F1B readers/listeners!

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