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Formula 1 cars are set to take on radical modifications ahead of the 2013 season, according to an investigation conducted by BBC Sport, as team bosses hope to improve racing and in particular overtaking opportunities. The new-style and slightly slower vehicles, inspired by the ideas of designers Patrick Head and Rory Byrne, would have significantly smaller wings and specially-shaped floors.
With the proposals having been drafted by Williams’ Head and Byrne, a major player in the Michael Schumacher domination years at Ferrari, the aerodynamic changes would see downforce being created differently as cars used around 35 percent less fuel and become more challenging to drive, despite speeds decreasing to some extent.
The drafts have now been sent to F1 governing body the FIA in Paris ahead of a meeting for the Technical Working Group (TWG) in January.
The most significant changes would be the following:
- 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
“We are only going to have roughly 65 percent of the amount of fuel and a (limited) fuel (flow) rate - that was a given,” Head, who with Byrne began drawing up ideas in March, explained 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.”
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