Formula One 2024 - The end draweth nearer!

Frank can give you a lot more insight than me, but ever since the 1960s when downforce began to become an important factor in car design, more and more regulations have come into play to try to keep the speed of the cars (especially when cornering) within the abilities of human beings to control them safely.

It’s a bit forgotten now, but the '70s and '80s saw a lot of speculation/punditry about how F1 might develop as things like ground-effect, active downforce, and early kinds of systems automation/assistance came ever-more-conspicuously into play - active ride height, various braking controls, launch controls, gears, clutches and a ton of other stuff. From the POV of ordinary humans these things were unknown, controlled by ‘computers’ :robot: and were resulting in big steps forward in performance - meaning cars could attain G-forces in cornering especially, but also acceleration and braking, that were genuinely challenging to human physiology - even of super-fit athletes (which many drivers still weren’t back then! :laughing:).

I recall speculation about closed-cockpit 300mph+ cars that would need the drivers to wear fighter-pilot style G-suits, and indeed, ultimately whether F1 would cease to include drivers at-all and be a form of full-sized Scalextric!

Ever since that peak of innovation - which must have been an enormously exciting time to be working in F1 engineering - ever-more regulations have come into force to try to keep the performance of the cars within the parameters of what is safe and still make racing competitive. Consequently, today’s racing is as different as the cars look from how it was 40+ years ago - it’s a whole lot more predictable, and it’s basically impossible to suddenly come-up with a major engineering innovation (or even much in the way of minor ones!), that has anything like as much effect as something like (e.g.) ground-effect did when it first arrived. It’s all just tweakology nowadays, by comparison - with the FIA and F1 also tweaking the rules to try to mix things up and keep racing interesting…

I do wonder where the sweet-spot is nowadays for cars that are as safe as reasonably possible but also smaller, lighter and more nimble (which itself is a safety consideration…)?



Have the tracks changed ie become wider to accommodate these larger vehicles?

Some have, many haven’t. The bigger change has been in the increased size and proliferation of run-off areas, as well as safer, more effective trackside impact structures and catch-fences.

Several of these comparisons coming out now.

A handy alternative to having to do real journalism :ok_hand:

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Thanks, that makes sense. I guess there’s only so fast you can make the cars before you run up against the limits of human capability.

My son (11) finds Senna’s crash fascinating, in the sense that he can’t believe someone crashed and died from it. My dad (70s) told him it was quite a common occurrence in the 1950s and '60s and he was gobsmacked.

Not sure if this is the right thread for it, but I’ve been wondering for a while about the design differences between Le Mans cars and F1. How did LM cars evolve the way they did - they have quite a unique profile? Is it governed by the fact they’re closed wheel cars and so the optimal aerodynamic design evolved from there?

It’s also interesting as it seems the latest generation of LMP1 cars are as fast as F1 cars (though maybe an unfair comparison as they’re hybrid).

Just putting it out there for the Learned Gentlemen of the Forum to opine on.

The one thing @f1eng has commented on numerous times is what an aerodynamic black hole open wheels are. It seems like a significant proportion of the aero work on an F1 car is therefore handling this adverse element. Remove that from the picture and you get a lot more time to focus on other bits.

What I’d be interested to know is how much the nature of the Le Mans track factors into it too. The cars are of course designed for the entire WEC season, so they have to race on plenty of more normal tracks, but Le Mans is unusual for the amount of time you spend on long straights at full throttle.

The LMP1/Hypercar category seems to also give options for some non-standard car designs, like the ill-fated Nissan GT-R LM Nismo from a few years back - front engined, rear wheel drive, with the electr motor component exclusively then driving the front wheels. It also had some absolutely mad ducting running the length of the car for interesting aero reasons (think it allowed them to put a lot more airflow over the rear diffuser). Also the current Peugeot 9X8 which runs with no rear spoiler at all.

Thinking about it, LMP1 sounds a more interesting place for engineers to work than F1…?

Depends on the type of engineering, not unknown for powertrain types to swap between F1 and Perkins (big gen set or tractor slow revving diesel engines). Same type of work, different boundary conditions.

Unsure if it is truly news or not, but Adrian Newey is said to have signed with Ferrari until 2027 in a deal worth $105m.

Although it seems likely that he indeed has, I suspect it’s mostly clickbait at this point.


And then there is Garage 56 :nerd_face:

Reported in Business F1.

Contract negotiated by Eddie Jordan (who Newey has paid $5m) and orchestrated by Dermot O’Rourke, signed in London April 29th.

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So Renault re-hire the skank who got them in the Singapore mess

Genius move that, lads


I’m sure his bank balance will swell suitably, objective achieved.

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His ego certainly will.

They look like absolute fucking idiots. What a look


And what was the Renault team looking to use Mercedes engines.
What’s that about? :thinking:

The. Actual. Fuck?