Following a meeting of team technical bosses on Tuesday, it’s been agreed that returning to ground-effect cars would be the best option to ensure overtaking is maximised whilst allowing for greater speeds.
A mandate to increase performance, achieving laps “five to six seconds” quicker, was set by the F1 Strategy Group earlier this year, leading to a future overhaul of the sport in 2017.
As part of the changes, team bosses also want an increase in natural overtaking. To do this, it’s likely that the ground-effect route will be followed, putting less reliance on the front-wing to create downforce.
Is the past now the future of F1? (© Williams F1 Team/LAT Photographic)
By moving to a simpler front-wing, combined with a floor that creates substantial amounts of downforce, ‘dirty air’ – the turbulent air coming off a car ahead – no longer becomes a major problem.
This is a technology used during the late 1970’s and early 80’s, but was outlawed as cars became too quick and were deemed dangerous.
To avoid a similar scenario, a standard floor could be used to avoid teams developing the area. This is an idea put forward by Force India, though it’s unclear if it has much support amongst the larger teams.
The cars will likely be wider, whilst McLaren’s Eric Boullier confirmed that a wider and lower rear-wing will also be included in the regulations, to help balance the car due to the loss of downforce created by the less complicated front-wings.
Technical bosses are due to meet again to begin finalising plans for 2017 before draft rules will need to be written and agreed before March 2016.