2016 and 2017 F1 car designs compared

Side-by-side: How the 2017 rules will change F1 design

2017 F1 season

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Three years after F1’s engine revolution, next season will see the sport introduce its biggest overhaul of the aerodynamic regulations in almost 20 years.

The 2017 rules will see a reversal of key changes introduced during the past two decades. The narrow-track format introduced in 1998 will be banished and two-metre wide cars, last seen in 1997, will return. And it isn’t just just the chassis which is getting wider – so are the tyres.

The front and rear wing configuration, which has had roughly the same unusual arrangement since the Overtaking Working Group changes of 2009, will also feature substantial changes. The sport is pursuing a more aggressive look for the cars, mandating a delta-shaped front wing, leant back sidepod inlets and new rear wing end plates.

There is one final technical change yet to be decided. The FIA has signalled its intention to introduce some form of enhanced cockpit protection using either the Halo or Aeroscreen options which have been tested over the last three months. It remains to be seen which will get the go-ahead.

Compare F1 Fanatic’s images of the current and planned designs to see what the 2017 regulations will mean for the next generation of cars.

2017 and 2016 F1 car designs: Top view

Overall width

Pedro Diniz, Arrows A18, Melbourne, 1997
Wide F1 cars are coming back
For nearly two decades the maximum width for F1 cars has been set at 1,800mm. An extra 10cm each side of the car next year should make a striking visual difference. This plus the wider tyres will also increase the amount of drag generated by the cars, which is why an increase in the total fuel allowance for each race has been agreed – drivers will get 105kg, a 5kg rise.

The additional width has allowed the FIA to introduce a larger floor and tyres in a bid to make to the cars quicker, although it is unclear whether the target of five seconds faster per lap will be achieved. Particularly as the use of softer tyres at many tracks this year has already seen lap times fall.

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Front wing

The front wing will be widened to 1,800mm – this is the same as seen during the 2009-2013 seasons, though in those seasons they extended to the full width of the car which will not be the case in 2017. While the extra width will provide the ability to produce more downforce, the teams still have to manage airflow through a 200mm gap between the outer tips of the wing and the periphery of the car – this is 50mm more than at present so expect even more extravagant designs next year.

The neutral Y250 section at the centre of the wing will remain. However, rather than having a straight leading edge, it will be angled away from the oncoming airflow along with the rest of the wing. The wing must be offset rearward by 200mm at the outboard section, resulting in a roughly 12.5 degree back-sweep. The wing has not moved any closer to the front wheel behind as a result of these changes, instead the nose has been extended forward to meet the main plane.

There have been no regulation changes surrounding the design of the flap elements and endplates which isn’t surprising considering how late the rules have been published. Instead the FIA have defined a 500mm radius within which these parts can lie.

2017 and 2016 F1 car designs: Side view


Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016
More radical bargeboard designs coming?
Since 2009 the bargeboard regulations have been very restricted, with bodywork only allowed within a tight fitting ‘box’ tucked just ahead of the sidepod. Although recent developments from Mercedes have proved that there is still progress to be made in this area, their overall size will finally increase once again for 2017.

The bargeboard can start much further forward than previously, less than half a metre from the front wheel centre line, and cannot exceed 475mm in height. It can then extend all the way back towards the sidepod, avoiding a small exclusion zone in roughly the same region as this year, ending on the floor’s ‘axe head’. Capturing and managing airflow coming around the nose and lower front wishbone will be made much easier by these changes.


The sidepods will feature an angled leading edge, as mooted from the start of the new regulation discussions. These will be inclined at 15 degrees when viewed from above, which shouldn’t cost the teams too much performance – this is merely an aesthetic adjustment.

Despite the increase in width to both the car as a whole and the floor, the bodywork must not exceed 1400mm from the car centreline which is the same as 2016. This will create a streamlined look to the car that will contrast the wider stance which could look quite intriguing.

Rear wing

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, testing, 2009
Tall, narrow rear wings appeared in 2009
The rear wing has arguably received the most alterations for next season, although the area in which the wing profiles lie within will stay. Its overall height will drop 150mm, not quite down to pre-2009 levels but indeed a much sleeker appearance, and its width upped to nearly a metre across.

At the moment the leading edge of the wing starts in line with the rear wheel centre line (RWCL), whereas for 2017 this will be shifted nearly 20cm rearward with extra room made to install its mounting pylon.

The endplates are the area of focus here as they follow the angular theme from the front wing and sidepods. The bottom of endplates must begin higher up than before, slanting back from the RWCL point to a point 190mm behind at the maximum height of the wing. The trailing edge of the endplate follows the same trend too.


Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016
A plan for larger diffusers was scrapped
Despite early talk of a much taller diffuser with a large central section, the floor regulations for 2017 are a just slight tweaks to what the cars have now. This may be a little disappointing for some however there was a lot of consideration on the impact of a bigger diffuser and how that would affect overtaking.

The leading edge of the floor – the part that forms the beginning of the T-tray – has been moved back slightly (100mm) but the main change is that the diffuser can start 175mm forward of the RWCL. At present the diffuser begins to slope upwards in line with the RWCL, so the added length will provide more room for the airflow to expand from under the car and therefore more rear grip.

This has been coupled with an increase in both the height and width of the diffuser, which will be 50mm taller and 50mm wider than 2016. Along the flanks of the car the floor will branch 1600mm out from the centreline of the car too, further increasing the potential to produce even lower pressure to pull the car into the ground.

2017 and 2016 F1 car designs: Front view

From the front view the car does not immediately appear to be much wider. This can primarily be put down to the increase in front tyre width. Such is the increase that the front suspension components will barely need to extend any further outwards to reach the upright, giving the appearance that little has changed.


The main source for slashing lap times will come from the wider Pirelli rubber next year. Currently the overall width of the tyres are 305-355mm at the front and 365-380mm rear, depending on the design of the wheels and how far that pushes the sidewall of the tyre outward.

For 2017 we will effectively see the rear tyres come to the front and a brand new set of rear tyres at 450-465mm. This will be another striking change, though a recent image purporting to show such tyres being tested was fake.

The increased contact patch will drastically improve mechanical grip, bolstering low speed performance and allowing the driver to attack high speed corners with even more confidence.

Over to you

Will F1’s new technical rules for 2017 make the cars more spectacular? Are we going to have faster, better racing?

Have your say in the comments.

Posted on Categories 2017 F1 rules, 2017 F1 seasonTags , , , ,

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  • 154 comments on “Side-by-side: How the 2017 rules will change F1 design”

    1. I’m still not convinced these rules will do any good for F1 in general (overtaking and costs in particular). However the cars might look rather decent and that’s at least one thing to be excited about it. If they only would change the nose regs in a way these thumb tips would disappear… Anyway, let’s hope for a miracle and overtaking doesn’t get worse from next season onwards.

      1. Can it be worse than processions and passing only from DRS or drastically different tire states? Even if aero still rules over mechanical, at least they will have the ability to haul back aero going forward while having the beefier tires and wider cars for mechanical grip, in case they find themselves no better off than now. But I find that hard to imagine. I’m imagining tires that behave much differently than the current ones are designed to do.

        1. Yes, it can. It used to be, in fact, if people would take off their freakin’ rose-tinted Nostalgia(tm) brand glasses, they might notice that the racing now isn’t that terrible. It’s about an 7/10, whereas it was more like 9/10 at the peak of the 2009-2013 era (2011).

          But by all means, let’s go back to 1995-2008, when you passed via pit stops, or not at all.


          1. @grat In your opinion, and as discussed below.

            1. So, the fans say “There’s not enough overtaking! Let’s institute these changes!”– someone points out that the last time we had those sorts of regulations, we had 1/3 the amount of passing we have today, and many of those were in the pitlane.

              Then the fans say “well, yeah, but we don’t have MEANINGFUL passing today!”– what the *#%% does THAT mean?

              I went back and rewatched the 2008 F1 season, in it’s entirety, complete with pre-race shows. Most of the races, the commentators were able to accurately predict the top 5 finishers BEFORE THE LIGHTS WENT OUT. Except for rain races like Monaco, Silverstone, Spa and Brazil, there were damned few surprises once qualifying was over, because everyone knew roughly how much fuel the cars had, and what tires they were on, and barring the bad call, or “unfortunate” crash, the races were by and large very, very predictable.

              I can’t believe people want to go back to that.

            2. @grat If there is anything I can’t believe it is the either/or scenarios. Either we accept what we have or we go back to something that was in some people’s opinion no better?

              How about we try something different and new? How about for starters these new torquey hybrid pu’s have yet to be on a wider car with wider tires. Tires of which we don’t even know the final makeup.

              For now I’m at least willing to look at the glass half full in that they are talking about faster cars, harder to drive, which is what the drivers themselves are craving. Perhaps the new tires will actually overcome some of the dirty air issues, or at least if the racing is still too processional they can tweek downward the amount of aero downforce and they’ll have within the car/tires the mechanical grip now.

              So in terms of ‘going back to that’ I think it is very much an unknown as to what the new gen will bring, but I do know that for now it is certainly predictable who the first and second place finishers will likely be, right? Not really any better now than 08, right?

            3. @grat Meant to say too, a meaningful pass by my definition is one done by one driver over another without DRS and without a vast difference in types of tires or state of tires…ie. A fairly apples to apples pass that gets us closer to determining one driver’s skill over another’s. DRS has nothing to do with a trailing driver out-skilling a leading one, nor does a driver passing another driver with a tire disadvantage or having to conserve and stick to an overall computer model for fear that racing a guy or defending might ruin his tires and his overall race plan.

          2. Hear, hear.

            People either have short memories indeed or are just simply too young. Or have passing interest only. Or all three combined.

            We are being spoiled by the amount of wheel-to-wheel action in F1 nowadays, even if it’s DRS, even if it’s slightly worse than it was around 2009-2013.

            1. Tony Mansell
              10th May 2016, 16:50

              I agree, too many short memories, or short trousers. Racing can and always will have a chance of being processional. Personally I think this year its been good, to very good. Yeh a 7. Id love to see (it’ll never happen) the amount of skate a tyre is still optimal at, increased. Seeing someone like Lewis attack 130R with a small amount of OPP lock is as good as any overtake. Check Berger qualifying at Monaco in 1994 on youtube. ‘glorious power sliding’

          3. Jimmy Price
            10th May 2016, 18:01

            you mean back to when a pass happened on track it actually meant something? Oh pleAse don’t bring that back!!!

            It’s not even close to fair to compare the to eras given the change in refueling but I’d much rather have 10 meaningful passes in a race than 30 that I can’t remember.

          4. Great post. F1 today might have gotten a little too “safe” and fly-by-wire pit lane controlled [only me, but I also long for signs of good old-fashioned sweat.. (say, instead of diamond earrings)], but I’d rather 100 DRS assisted overtakes than waiting for 4 overtakes over the course of a race like it used to be – and those being by vastly superior cars on weaker ones.
            So instead of bashing F1 today and DRS, look at the stats which prove F1 has become dynamic again. Then lets instead spend the effort discussing how to optimize DRS to not make it too easy either. I say: Reduce it by 50-100 meters on each track and that might just bring a bit more nerve back.

            ps. New cars might potentially look great which is all part of the F1 romance.

            1. most DIR passing is from faster car passing slower ones,
              when it comes to Red/bull Ferrari Williams Mercedes DRS makes no difference, they can not get close enough when coming out of the corner onto the straight unless the car infront losses traction for a split second.
              some people speed all their time on here just nit picking F1, go get a life its better now than its ever been,
              if you dont like dont watch it.

      2. knoxploration
        10th May 2016, 20:44

        Yep, it seems the cars will at least be better looking, even if the racing will still be terrible.

        Sadly, pretty cars isn’t something which will persuade me to start watching F1 regularly again unless they’re also competitive. For me to begin watching again, we’d need to do some or all of the following:

        * Get rid of DRS completely
        * Increase mechanical grip significantly
        * Decrease aerodynamic downforce significantly, or replace it with ground effect to a large degree
        * Either bring engines to parity, require them to be available to any team at an affordable cost (including all parts, lubricants and software, with engines assigned to specific team / car by lottery), or remove lifecycle management and allow a reasonable amount of testing in-season (ie. far more than is allowed now)

        Without some or all of these, the racing will never be close and meaningful again, and pretty cars don’t fix that.

        1. F1 must be the pinnacle of motor sport – what you are describing makes it GP2 or, more probably, the local Formula Ford competition.
          Ground effect is most certainly not a solution because of the disaster that occurs when (not if) it lets go. There’s a reason it’s not been used in F1 since it was tested in the 70s/80s.
          F1 is a developmental formula and to have parity (ie: 100% driver skill) flies in the face of all the technological developments that it spawns that trickle down to road-going cars.
          What is needed is LESS regulation to inspire innovation. Leave it to the teams to come up with the next big thing. If that means one team dominates with their latest wizardry (eg: the stab/traction controlled Williams of ages past) then that is a risk we have to take. The nostalgia of F1 is nauseating. It will “always be better back in the day” yet, at the time, people where whining during the Schumacher era – now that’s the last golden era. Are you kidding?
          Also, if you don’t watch it, how do you know what it’s currently like?

      3. Dan Rooke (@geekzilla9000)
        11th May 2016, 8:44

        That wider rear wing harks back and people tend to look fondly on past cars!

        I don’t know enough about tyres or aerodynamics to comment on that, I’ll just have to wait and see – but one thing I would like to say is…

        I *LOVE* the ‘slide-able’ comparisons above, such a fantastic way to get an idea of how the changes will have an impact. Really nice and detailed illustrations, whoever is responsible for those on the website – thanks! This is why F1Fanatic.co.uk is the webpage a visit for my F1 news.

        Thanks for making the internet a little bit more awesome.

        1. I would think it is Will Tyson you want to thank this time. If you look closely, you see that he put he’s name on it with copyright. ;)

      4. How is increasing the width of the cars to 2 metres going to help overtaking on circuits like Monaco and other narrow circuits? As it stands the races are won in qualifying on the Saturday, both Hamilton and Rosberg have spent Sunday just driving around in circles, I don’t see any of the 2017 changes doing anything to address this boring spectacle.

      5. Yes it will change the sport dramatically for the better from a spectator point of view and that’s the point. I am sick of the predictability of the last couple of years. The tracks are the same width but the cars are a little over 11% wider so two cars side by side take up 400mm more width of track , great stuff. Cornering speed will be faster , faster starts and acceleration more drama turn one. At least the new rules are suiting the spectator who is me and that is most important as we pay the bills

    2. “This plus the wider tyres will also increase the amount of drag generated by the cars, which is why an increase in the total fuel allowance for each race has been agreed – drivers will get 105kg, a 5kg rise.”

      I was glad when I read this. It seemed obvious that wider cars, more downforce etc. would also increase fuel consumption but the way F1 management is I had thought they might overlook this – or perhaps just assume that the efficiency of the power units would increase enough to compensate. So if they’ve done their calculations right there shouldn’t be any additional fuel saving next year. That was one (of many) concerns I had for the new regulations.

    3. I wasn’t convinced by these changes. But then I saw the front view of the 2017 car and wow. Thats what an F1 car should look like (As far as I’m concerned anyway!). Just hope the racing produced by these cars will be just as good as they look.

      1. Mustavo Gaia
        10th May 2016, 13:25

        irony gauge, check, irony, check. ok. go on.

      2. Good? F1 is mimicking the eighties and now the nineties, then racing was okay how can it be okay if they are going to make everything so it won’t. The car is looking more and more like the Formula 3.5. Since when does carbon origami look good? 80’s tyres look like black marshmallow’s, proportions are 50% of beauty. Fans say they want to see the driver’s head, nobody says they want to see the tyres, they are going to be as hidden as they are. Heavier and longer and wider cars, it’s the late 80’s and early 90’s merged together. Go watch aeroplanes.

    4. Overtaking (on average per GP) was at an all-time low from 2005 to 2008. Cars would often struggle to follow one another from 50 meters behind through high speed complexes (eg. Suzuka eases, Silverstone maggots-becketts). We now are going back to the same low rear wings in 2017. F1 seems geniunely incapable of learning from their own mistakes. Although I suspect that it might even be worse this time, because of how much more complicated aero has become in the last 10 years alone. I mean, when you compare the complexity of the front wings from the 2016 cars to the 2006 cars, the difference is night and day.

      1. Not sure you can just write the new regs off because of wings alone. You cite 05-08 but there was very little passing in the MS/Ferrari era as well. They will be on much different tires next year, with much different pu’s than the past. Perhaps let’s just see. The racing can’t get worse than what we have now which is processions due to dirty air or passes from DRS or drastically different tire states only. I will remain hopeful until we actually see what racing is like in the new era. None of us know how the tires are going to be made to behave. If they are as sturdy as they are being talked about needing to be then perhaps mechanical grip will have gained a little ground vs aero in spite of the new wings.

        1. Trust me, it can get a lot worse, just go and watch a race from before 2009. The problem with dirty air was a lot worse than it is now. This is a step in the wrong direction.

      2. I think we are in worse situation now than we were in 05-08. The current cars are almost completely unable to pass without drs. In that earlier era a common way to pass was by using the slipstream. Nobody can pass in f1 with slipstream anymore. Sometimes even slipstream and drs together is not enough.

        There are also lots of other things that make the current cars look bad. The cars in the earlier period were harder to drive. Physically and from driving pov. This meant driver meant mistakes which allowed the cars to try overtaking. Current cars are physically easy and also not very challenging. Much harder to make a mistake. The difference between the cars in the earlier era were also bigger. This generally made overtaking to be more rare because it was unlikely that slower car ended up in front of faster car. But when it happened the drivers had to overtake and not just press a button. The power units were also more equal which allowed better and closer racing.

        Also despite the massive aero the ealier era cars ran I think they could follow others cars betters than the current cars. Last year’s brazil race is the shining example. Lewis could not overtake nico in brazil despite having the slipstream and drs. Couldn’t be any worse.

        In worst case in 2017 we will only see drs passing. Which is not even a downgrade because that is what we have now. There are almost no wheel to wheel racing in f1 anymore. Just press a button and change positions with the driver in front of you. I watched the wec race in spa and it was amazing to see the drivers having to work for overtakes. Sometimes for multiple laps. There were battles on the track. It was exciting to see if the driver can pass. It was exciting even if he couldn’t. In f1 when a car gets close enough it is just a press of a button and yawn at how predictable and boring it is. What should have been a good wheel to wheel racing moment was a dull predictable switch of positions.

        1. @socksolid you’re slightly mistaken. Nobody can currently pass because the loss of downforce from slipstreaming/following causes the front end to lift and the tyres start laterally sliding through corners. That overheats the current Pirelli spec and ruins them.

          If the 2017 tyres drop the plasticising compound then there’s a good chance that drivers will be able to follow easier because doing so won’t kill their tyres. They’ll still have to take care, as their downforce will be reduced, but that’s always been the case.

          1. Paradiddlesixix
            12th May 2016, 1:47

            Believe me, I have sympathy for smaller teams, and in a perfect world, anyone that wants to form a team and can do it, should be able to. But, that’s not the case. And the fact that so much has been sacrificed in order to let smaller teams that can’t afford the sport dwindle along, and barely survive has taken away from the ability to keep F1 at the pinnacle of motor sports.
            The money winnings should be more fair than they are. Ferrari doesn’t deserve more earning than force India if they can’t beat them on the track. And that’s part of the problem too.

            Make things fair without having to go backwards in order to accommodate teams that are in way over their head financially.

        2. @socksolid

          I think we are in worse situation now than we were in 05-08. The current cars are almost completely unable to pass without drs. In that earlier era a common way to pass was by using the slipstream. Nobody can pass in f1 with slipstream anymore. Sometimes even slipstream and drs together is not enough.

          You are completely mistaken. The 2016 Chinese Grand Prix had the most overtakes ever with 126 recorded passes completed in the race. There wasn’t a single race from 2005 to 2008 which even comes close to that many passes.

          There are also lots of other things that make the current cars look bad. The cars in the earlier period were harder to drive. Physically and from driving pov. This meant driver meant mistakes which allowed the cars to try overtaking. Current cars are physically easy and also not very challenging. Much harder to make a mistake.

          This is completely false. Yes the current cars are physically easier to drive than the old cars, but from a driving pov they are much harder to control. The V6 Turbo engines deliver way more torque than the V10 or V8 engines. Martin Brundle himself noted just how hard the current cars are to drive when he drove the W06 at Silverstone last year.

          Also despite the massive aero the ealier era cars ran I think they could follow others cars betters than the current cars. Last year’s brazil race is the shining example. Lewis could not overtake nico in brazil despite having the slipstream and drs. Couldn’t be any worse.

          This is a terrible example. They were both driving the same car and there wasn’t much difference in pace. There are literally hundreds of examples from 2005-2008 where a much faster car could not pass a much slower car because of the terrible dirty air. To give just one example, Raikkonen couldn’t pass Villeneuve for 13 laps around Monza in 2005 despite being 1.5 seconds/lap quicker. He couldn’t pass him, around Monza.

          The difference between the cars in the earlier era were also bigger. This generally made overtaking to be more rare because it was unlikely that slower car ended up in front of faster car.

          No, the difference between the cars was not bigger in 2005-08 than it is today. If anything, it was significantly smaller, especially in 2008 where we would sometimes see ~15 cars covered by 1 second in Q2.

          The power units were also more equal which allowed better and closer racing.

          No, the power units were not more equal. The Honda V8 was said to be atrociously poor compared to the Mercedes V8, estimated to be 70-80 hp down. In the V10 era, the Cosworth was nothing compared to the BMW. Again, nostalgia is blinding an accurate judgement.

          In worst case in 2017 we will only see drs passing. Which is not even a downgrade because that is what we have now. There are almost no wheel to wheel racing in f1 anymore. Just press a button and change positions with the driver in front of you.

          Have you even watched the opening few races? In China we had countless non-DRS overtakes by the likes of Hamilton, Ricciardo, Vettel and Raikkonen. Overtaking spots included Turn 1, Turn 6, Turn 7, Turn 9, and Turn 11. Many of these would have never been overtaking spots in the 2005-08 aero regulations. Impossible.

          1. @kingshark, on a related note, Brundle did also inadvertently provide a demonstration of the fact that the current generation of cars are not as easy to drive as some think on another occasion. Remember when he crashed the VJM08 that he drove in a demonstration piece for Sky when he was caught out by how much more powerful the engines are than the V8’s that he experienced (such as when driving the RB7)?

      3. I think overtaking is not what the people want to see. It is fighting for positions. Can you name 5 races in the last decade that shows drivers where fighting for a position over 5 laps or more? They using KERS, DRS, stupid tyres… If they can overtake, they do quite fast… so, is that interesting? You know the one title decider race in Abu Dhabi when Vettel won the Championship and Alonso could not pass Petrov all the race. That was interesting, that’s what people want to see. It was much more fun seeing Petrov defending Alonso the whole race, instead nowadays 2 laps with KERS and DRS, which was introduced one season later…

    5. I think they may actually have underestimated the gains that will be had here just targeting 5 seconds. From 2013 to 2014 we lost about 5 seconds from a combination of weight, aero and harder tyres and they’ve been making up about 1 second a year of that within the same rules.

      These changes would seem to allow more aero than they had in 2013, more mechanical grip and the power units are being developed as well.

      This year I realistically expect a dry pole position around Barcelona of 1:22, maybe even into the 1:21, next year I think we’re going to be very close to the mid 2000’s times of 1:14-1:15 provided the tyres don’t turn out to be an absolute disaster. I don’t envisage anything that’s going to make following and passing any easier though, more mechanical grip sure, but unless they make them less prone to graining and thermal degredation it’s going to be the same old tyre nursing fair we already get.

      1. @philipgb
        Barcelona was a completely different circuit prior to 2007. The final chicane did not exist back then, so it was just two conscutive fast right handers in the final sector. If the 2017 cars can match the 2004 cars on lap time around Barcelona despite negotiating one extra chicane, that would be absolute insanity.

    6. On dear, they still cannot get rid of THAT NOSE!!

      1. Mustavo Gaia
        10th May 2016, 13:38

        F1 needs a friend who says: Oh, dear, you wouldnt make it in the big city with this nose. get it fixed.
        Or they should call Mrs. Streep carachter in Devil wears prada and listen when she says: boring. how imaginative. sooo last season. really!? flowers for spring. Wake up baby, no body wants to be like us anymore.

      2. Not sure they will stay tho.

        I might be an armchair aerodynamicist here, but afaik the teams try to get the nose high up is to get more air under the car, in order to maximize the effect of the diffuser. And since the current cars are rear-limited in terms of downforce, teams absolutely have to do squeeze out every possible point of downforce at the back.

        With the rear wing getting wider and the diffuser gaining in volume in 2017, my guess would be that the balance of the cars will shift more towards being front-limited, which could maybe lead to lower noses that don’t require a thumb at it’s tip to meet the regulations.

        1. Forgot to add that shifting the rear wing rearwards will add to my speculation, since the further back the rear wing sits the more downforce it adds (leverage).

      3. The needle nose isn’t a regulation, it’s engineers and aerodynamicists pushing the written rule as far as they can get away with.

    7. I must say, I am not conviced by all the cosmetic sweeping of wings dictated by regulation. Its a bit kitschy if you ask me.

      1. Mustavo Gaia
        10th May 2016, 13:32

        At least the baroque/rococo art movement had a legitimate cultural intention.
        Wing-sweeping is like putting a bad joke in italics and saying: oh, that’s better, it’s not offensive anymore.

    8. Mustavo Gaia
      10th May 2016, 13:28

      In the 70’s poorly constructed aero-devices often killed F1 fans.
      Since the 2000, expertly concieved aero-devices has been killing F1 audience.

      1. I suspect the Pay Wall has driven off more F1 fans away than poor aerodynamics.

        1. Driven off the occasional fan and prevents new fans, the hard-core will pay.

    9. WheeledWarrior
      10th May 2016, 13:33

      Love the lower, wider rear wings. Even if it’s affecting potential overtaking in a negative manner.

      1. Rear wings were very low pre 2009 but to me were much higher in the late 80’s early 90s when for me the cars were so beautiful. Is this a fact or my bad memory regarding rear wing heights?

        1. No, you’re right. They definitely started dropping/getting wider in the late 90’s, around the time the car width was reduced in 98.

      2. These new cars really do look cool indeed. The wider, lower rear wing is the biggest improvement. Don’t worry too much about overtaking, that’s mainly tire-dependent and not aero-dependent. If we keep the current tire rules we’ll be fine.

        By the way, will DRS become more powerful?

        1. To me logic suggests if you get more down force from the rear wing the Drs becomes more powerful when opened as you are getting rid of more drag.

        2. @f1infigures “By the way, will DRS become more powerful?”

          They are looking at making DRS more powerful to counteract any additional problems with following/overtaking that the downforce increase will produce.

          1. That would be a step in the wrong direction I think. I’d love to see how this Formula Pirelli performs without DRS, because I think it will vastly increase the quality of the overtakes. From a scientific point of view It would be interesting to see how much F1 relies on DRS for overtaking. Sadly, that’s not going to happen.

    10. Mustavo Gaia
      10th May 2016, 13:34

      A final word, when “intelligent” people do no come up with intelligent solutions, it is time to call the dumb persons.

      1. Mustavo Gaia
        10th May 2016, 16:53


    11. It seems perverse to me that we haveto regulate the way the cars look. For me, this should be dictated by whatever is fastest. I know there need to be limits to keep things reasonable, but telling the designers what angle to sweep a line seems prescriptive. I hope someone finds a sneaky way round it.

      1. @splittimes the problem with F1 is engineers and their apprentices don’t unlearn stuff – They’ll never forget how to make cars blazingly fast *just* by doing their normal jobs.

        Don’t forget that Adrian Newey’s RB-X cars are perfectly feasible with existing technology, albeit way outside of the written regulations and sometimes using banned technology (in the case of the fan-car variants).

      2. yes, the irony is indeed thick when it comes to that perversion :) Even more so during the Monaco GP, where overtaking the established order, is almost impossible. Think about it, a bunch of rich wigs celebrating domination, and the ‘masses’ asking for more rules. You have to wonder what F1 is really about?
        F1 is not about competition or innovation, it’s about promoting political agendas and branding for the masses (the cow bell tolls for thee).

        WEC, well, give it a few more years, I am sure the ACO and the FIA will have ‘perverted’ that in to something just as great. But it will never be allowed to challenge ‘the pinnacle of four wheel motorsport’, Less fuel for them….

        Anyone who wants to understand what the environmental/internationalist movement (last 70+ years) is all about, F1 is a great case study.

    12. I’m quietly optimistic about the new ’17 cars … I think they could be quite aggressive looking. I just hope the racing is worth watching.

      I don’t understand why the massive floor, that’s going to be mostly empty? You can only assume the engine cover etc will shrink even further next season (size 0-1!) so we will have race cars that are a blob on top of a platter :)

      Will the introduction of a halo/aeroscreen mean changes to the cockpit sizes/regulations or is the assumption they’ll just be a bolt-on?

      1. Well, basically the bigger the floor, the higher the downforce induce by so called ‘groundeffect’, which in turn is (almost) not affected by other cars running close.

        Therefore, the more downforce is produced by the floor rather than by wings (which need clean air), the easier it will be to follow other cars and hence there should be more wheel to wheel racing.

        I said: let them go nuts with ground effect!

        1. Sounds encouraging. I guess this will also encourage drivers to stay on the track and not drive up onto the kerb.

        2. The problem with relying entirely on ground effect is you have the issue of safety.

          The cars get faster because there’s no loss of downforce caused by dirty air from other cars, meaning the driver is pushed harder and if the floor gets air under it or a tunnel/aero device fails at speed, you get a nasty crash.

          1. Safety will not be an issue they will have the halo.

            In all seriousness the fans wanted faster cars as one of the complaints in 2014 was they were too slow barely faster than GP2 but now they are around 3 seconds quicker than 2014 with stable rules. If they left the rules how much faster next year? Next year every time they update the engine there is more potential as well with no tokens. What the 2017 rules produce could be by far the fastest ever, I will go to a few races as they will slow them again in 2018.

    13. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      10th May 2016, 13:49

      Meh ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    14. @keithcollantine You must know how much we appreciate it when an Arrows A18 makes its way back onto your blog. :)

    15. It does feel like an improvement, but front wings still too wide and overdeveloped unfortunately, that’ll always be a problem if you want close racing, yet they keep DRS, sheesh.

      1. I don’t think you can just isolate the front wing as you have. The new tires may well be much better too. And it is about how the overall package works. For all we know the new tires and wider cars may help create a gain in the ratio of mechanical to aero grip.

      2. Jimmy Price
        10th May 2016, 18:09

        Wider front wings mean the DF creating section of the wing is out of the diffuser wake of the car in front.

        1. True but there making the rear wing & diffuser larger/wider which in theory will put more of the front wing into the turbulent airflow.

          Its effectively undoing one of the key things that was implemented in 2009 & one of the things which DID actually work…… Right up until the double diffusers started throwing more turbulent air out of the back of the cars & the front wings became more & more complex which therefore made them more affected by said turbulent air.

          Something that i’ve been told over & over by people who know about this stuff is that if they got rid of all the little flaps & multiple layered tower winglets on the front wings & went back to the simple single element front wings we saw at the start of 2009 then the cars would be able to run within 1 second of each other through the medium/high speed corners that the cars behind are currently the most affected in.
          1 second may still seem like a long way back but that is apparently about the optimal gap to pick up things like a good slipstream down the straights & its about as far back as you really need to be to try a late braking move on someone. If your further back than 1 second then you get less of a tow which is also less effective & obviously trying to outbrake somebody is more difficult.

          1. @gt-racer I thought the diffuser was getting longer, not wider?

            Also, maybe the problem is that we’re still using a spec devised by the OWG in 2008 – the teams have mastered it and the aero compromise from the multi-faceted wings is offset by the performance gained when they’re working.

            Bloody engineers etc…

    16. Unicron (@unicron2002)
      10th May 2016, 14:21

      I’m personally just very worried that the generally good work that the Overtaking Working Group implemented in 2009 will be undone. ‘Throwing out the baby with the bath water’ springs to mind. Then again, I imagine I know as much about aerodynamics and Kim Kardashian knows about quantum mechanics so I’ll just have to wait for next season to find out how it pans out.

      1. Jimmy Price
        10th May 2016, 18:11

        The OWG was under funded and under studied. The only person who has claimed the findings useful is Patty Lowe and only because he needs to protect his teams advantage.

        I believe the OWG had a budget of 1 million. That’s nothing, I’d imagine merc spent a million developing the W floor alone.

        1. The OWG was under-funded & the windtunnel/CFD stuff they did was fairly basic but they did get a lot of very useful data & its not just Paddy Lowe that says that, Pat Symmonds has also pointed that out many times over the years including during the time he was outside of F1.

          The 2009 aero changes were a step in the right direction & did help things early on in 2009, Cars could follow closer & we did see an increase in overtaking. The things that played against those changes long term were the double diffusers & increasingly complex front wings.

    17. The whole thing seems misguided to me. The cars will change speed less. They’ll come onto the straights faster, top speed will be lower and they’ll go into the corner at the end faster. They won’t need to brake as much and what they do need will be done with more downforce and so on less track. It’ll look like going round and round, with less acceleration and braking.

      The current excess of torque over grip will be less or gone so there’ll be fewer mistakes of losing the rear under acceleration.

      I’m nervous the swept-back look will be a bit adolescent and contrived.

      On the plus side the extra drag will give more of a tow, I suppose.

      I think it was the wrong objective, and they’ve overdone it as well. Another F1 ego trip, trying to fix the pay-TV and weak coverage issues fiddling with something that was not the problem at all. The just had to fix the front wing height Charlie messed up a couple of years ago, let convergence do its thing, and work on conveying the racing they have already.

      1. @lockup You have summed up my suspicions about next year very nicely.
        I wonder who will be the first to post a “I told you so … ” comment on F1 Fanatic post Melbourne 2017.

        1. Haha there might be a bit of a queue for that @drycrust :)

          1. @lockup, to be honest, it feels as if some of the posters here actively want the 2017 regulations to fail simply so they can turn around and smugly claim “I told you so”.

            1. lockup (@)
              11th May 2016, 7:45

              The closer something is to perfect @anon, the more we complain about it.

            2. @lockup Without anyone knowing the makeup of the new tires I don’t know how you can make these sweeping claims. Even if there is ‘less acceleration and braking’ that won’t be noticeable, just as they talk about is not noticing faster lap times. For me it would just help is we have the sense the drivers are more taxed.
              And I don’t think there are a lot of mistakes under acceleration as it is. And extra drag might mean they will run less wing and will be able to with their greater mechanical grip.

              I don’t know how the OWG could have missed what you know to be the only problem…front wing height? Come on. Let convergence do the work? While the product sucks and the drivers hate it? Hate the tires?

              I say let’s give these new cars and tires a chance, and let convergence do it’s thing at least with cars that have the potential for the greater mechanical grip that they so badly need. The problems are already so plentiful that massive changes are happening, which rather flies in the face that it is merely a wing height issue. It’s a tad more complicated than that, no?

            3. Well physics is physics @robbie. If the more constant speed won’t be noticeable what will be noticeable? If it’s not noticeable what’s the point? Drivers will just lean their helmet on the handy memory foam cockpit side that’s right there these days, so I don’t see the extra taxation, although it’s true more aero should make the cars snappier if they start to get sideways. But for passing the old days of wide superaero cars were the BAD old days. Were were younger then, is all :)

              I often see little sideways moments coming onto a straight setting up the guy behind for an attack. That was part of how the new motors were sold, with the excess of torque over traction. The OWG didn’t miss the front wing height Charlie did when he changed it, trying to reduce the frequency of cars taking off when one hits a rear tyre. Martin Brundle commented on the effect on following pretty much straight away.

              And they could easily have put wider, less shreddable tyres on the existing cars. Tyres that don’t spray rubber everywhere going in a straight line! That doesn’t need all the rest of it, which looks far too strong to me especially at the rear. The big change is anti-convergence by the way: the idea is that Bernie’s F1-promoting drinks company will take a leap forward.

              But what I’m mainly saying is the problem is elsewhere anyway – with the coverage and broadcasting.

              Anyway Yes, let’s give the new cars a chance of course … we have to. Meanwhile I’m with Pat Symonds and planning to make the most of this year.

            4. @lockup Where the lower lap times will be noticeable is on the time sheets, both compared to previous F1 seasons, and it’s feeder series.’ Particularly on race day is where the cars have been much slower due to the degree of conservation that goes on. For me it is not impressive that they are faster on a single lap… we need, and the drivers want, to see them working harder, concentrating harder, and actually combating much more closely with other cars. A higher front wing would do little for that.

              Sure coverage and broadcasting is an issue, one that won’t be fixed by 2017, but if the product on the track fails to impress to begin with, then I don’t see making more available a bad product as a fix. Create a better product on the track, a real buzz, and then let’s judge whether the coverage and broadcasting is sufficient for what could potentially be a gain back of some lost viewers.

    18. I really couldn’t care about the aesthetics of it all. They look pretty naff now but that is more due to the uninspiring liveries more than anything else. I don’t think these changes will make cars with dull paint jobs look any less worse. F1 cars have just generally looked completely naff for years now, but then I have seen some stunning concept liveries, so it isn’t the car itself which looks terrible.

      Onto the important areas: more downforce has been brought in by both IndyCar and by MotoGP over the past couple of seasons and they have been costly mistakes in terms of money and in terms of racing. I cannot see how it will change for F1. On a slightly better note, at least the tyres will be much wider, which should in theory make not only the changes in the speed between the tyres even more drastic, but it should hopefully reduce some of that awful dirty air. Times from the V10 era are already being beaten today so I don’t really care about whether that supposed 5-second gain is actually going to happen or not. The cars are incredibly quick as they are now, even if they do not look particularly exciting to watch from the cameras.

      I suppose we will need to wait and see. As long as it makes the effect of DRS less (or in my ideal world completely nonexistent) then I will not mind at all.

    19. These rules are sure to make Adrian Newey drool.

      1. Doubt it. A significant amount of the car is “designed by the regulations” which is something Newey in particular hates.

      2. There aren’t too many open areas to develop – all these diagonal lines and angles create more restrictive ‘boxes’ that can’t be exploited. It’ll be pretty tough to find something distinctive next year.

    20. I wish F1 would open the engine rules so you can have I mix of v10 v8 and v6

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        10th May 2016, 15:59

        same fuel flow & tank capacity limits?

        1. Make the only rules regarding this fuel flow / capacity. Then the car manufacturers can build whatever they want to be seen using instead of being forced down one layout. Surely this would attract more manufacturers than telling them you must build a 1.8 v6 turbo (or whatever else the regs have been over the years). Im certain with a completely open regs you could have a variety of different configuration – some small turbos, some large normally aspirated and maybe even a rotary from mazda!!!!

          Too sensible for BCE /FIA though,

          1. ColdFly F1 (@)
            11th May 2016, 6:31

            sensible yes, but a large normally aspirated engine would not be competitive. we simply cannot achieve the fuel efficiency of a (1.6) Turbo Hybrid.
            Rotary still has a very similar issue (even a lot more so).

    21. I enjoyed the article Will! However, I didn’t see any information about the floor. Current rules define 50mm high step plane formed by the skid block section. Any changes to its height?

      1. Thanks! Step plane remains the same height above the reference plane; the only changes to the floor are those described in the article, which are mostly to the diffuser.

    22. Jake Shebuski
      10th May 2016, 14:56

      how will the speed of these cars compare to the beasts in competition around 2004,will they be around the same speed or faster?

      1. They should be a bit quicker, especially considering the rate of PU development.

    23. Shame that there isn’t a change in wheel size to go along with the change in tyre size.

      1. @beninlux the teams shot that one down as it would require a complete change to the suspension concept in a F1 car.

    24. I don’t know Keith, you split images on one car in the front and another car in the back don’t offer anything useful to the reader for comparison. The idea of a comparison is to see how something looks in two separate scenarios. More images that are spilt left to right like your third image are much more useful. I have tried to not care…but it just doesn’t make sense to me.