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F1 cars set for major changes inspired by Head & Byrne

F1 cars in 2013 could resemble the Williams from 1980 (FW07), driven here at Brands Hatch by Alan Jones
F1 cars in 2013 will have a small front wing, just like the Williams from 1980

Exclusive by Andrew Benson

Formula 1 cars are set for more radical changes in time for 2013 as bosses look to make the sport more efficient and potentially more exciting.

Cars will have much smaller wings and specially-shaped underfloors designed to generate downforce differently.

They will use 35% less fuel and be a little slower but more challenging to drive, although passing may be easier.

Drawn up by respected engineers Patrick Head and Rory Byrne, the rules would be the biggest design change since 1983.

The draft regulations, which were requested by governing body the FIA, are to be sent to teams this week ahead of a meeting in January of F1's Technical Working Group (TWG), which scopes out rule changes.


The TWG, which includes the design heads of each team, will discuss the proposals and suggest any changes they feel might need to be made.

But the fundamental philosophy that has been created is expected to remain intact.

The major changes will be:

* 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.

Head, director of engineering for Williams, and Byrne, a former chief designer for Ferrari, have between them been involved in the design of cars that have won 17 constructors' titles for Williams, Benetton and Ferrari.

The 1982 Ferrari (126C2), driven by Didier Pironi at Long Beach
The 1982 Ferrari - a 126C2 - also possessed a small front wing

The pair started work on the new rules in March and have now presented a set of draft regulations to FIA race director Charlie Whiting, who will finalise them before sending them off to the teams.

"We are only going to have roughly 65% of the amount of fuel and a [limited] fuel [flow] rate - that was a given," said Head, talking exclusively to BBC Sport.

"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."

Head and Byrne were charged with ensuring the new rules did not make overtaking any harder and, as it turns out, they could actually make passing easier.

That is because a car should lose less downforce when it is following another car if more of its total downforce is created by its underfloor rather than its wings.

This makes it easier for drivers to follow closely behind cars they are racing and therefore easier to pass.

Shaped undersides were banned in F1 at the end of the 1982 season because it was felt cornering speeds had got too fast and the cars too dangerous.

But back then they were used with skirts that touched the ground and sealed the low-pressure area, vastly increasing its efficiency.

This will be made impossible in 2013 by making the centre of the car lower than the sides.

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see also
F1 drivers face tougher penalties
13 Dec 10 |  Formula 1
Ferrari hail end of 'hypocrisy'
12 Dec 10 |  Formula 1
F1 chiefs drop ban on team orders
10 Dec 10 |  Formula 1
F1 to adopt new 'green' engines
04 Dec 10 |  Formula 1

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