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Brawn dismisses claims 2021 cars will look the same

NEWS STORY
18/07/2019

F1 technical boss, Ross Brawn has dismissed claims that the regulations being planned for the sport post-2020 will lead to the cars all looking pretty much the same - a charge that many might feel is already the case.

In its bid to level the playing field, other than increasing the number of standardised parts, not to mention the introduction of a budget cap, the planned "very prescriptive" regulations will strictly limit those areas in which teams can at present 'do their own thing', leaving some concerned that there will be no individuality in terms of design.

"We have been very prescriptive to begin with," said F1 MD, Ross Brawn at a presentation where the blueprint for the sport's future post-2020 was unveiled, "because if we are not we will not achieve the objectives.

"There are complaints that all the cars are going to look the same and the other nonsense we have heard, so as an exercise, Pat took all the existing cars and took the livery off them and put them up on a wall. You could not tell the difference between the cars we have now once the colours are taken off them. You need to be an extreme geek to pick them out, and even within our office we managed to pick three out! So when you see the existing cars with the colours taken off, you wouldn't know."

Ironically, the sport appears to be severely restricting the very same ingenuity that led to Brawn's own team winning the world championship at its only attempt. Essentially, throwing the baby out with the bathwater in its determination to level the field.

"We know with these very prescriptive regulations, the fertile minds of F1 will come up with different solutions," he admitted. "They will be prescriptive because we have to make sure we achieve these objectives, but there is enough latitude there.

"Undoubtedly from the relative freedom that the teams have had so far, it is going to be frustrating," he agreed. "But if they can take the approach that 'these regulations are the same for everyone and they will do a better job than anyone else, we just won't be two seconds faster we will be two tenths faster', then that is what we want in F1."

The FIA's head of single-seater technical matters says that while engineers have perhaps been most vocal in their complaints about the plans, he thinks team principals are more open to the path that F1 is heading in.

"There are plenty of aspects that the teams are pushing back on," added Nikolas Tombazis, the FIA's head of single-seater technical matters, "especially depending on where on the starting grid they lie and that influences their positions.

"Also within teams, not everybody sees it the same way," he continued. "Sometimes you have the team principals who have an overall view of the situation and understand what we are doing, and then the engineers who see that some of the freedom or playground will be reduced and therefore object.

"If you take the aero part of this study, a lot of this is focused on reducing the ability of teams to control the front wheel wake: that is a key part of this work," he added. "The ability to control front wheel wake is maybe one of the greatest challenges of the current aerodynamicists and reducing that creates this kick back."

However, Tombazis was keen to make clear that where teams have expressed doubts as to areas of the intended rules that they feel won't work, both the FIA and F1 has listened.

"We have taken a lot of comments into account and have been discussing this with teams over a long period," he said, which uncannily echoes the response of the official F1 Help channel over race weekends as fans vent their frustration over the numerous issues they face with the various official apps and streaming service, "and sometimes we have realised that certain things we were planning to do are wrong and we have changed and we have taken them into account.

"We have to be selective in our judgement," he concluded. "When we see the teams' comments are genuine and not because they want to preserve a certain advantage but are highlighting a weakness of what we are doing, we are open enough to admit we made a mistake and go back on it."

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1. Posted by RDFox, 19/07/2019 19:19

"I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The solution is to simply set a maximum permitted amount of downforce (to be measured by FIA with the car in the highest-possible downforce configuration at a reference wind tunnel speed), and then remove *all* restrictions on how you generate that downforce. Want to use wings? Sure. Shaping the body to make the entire car act as a wing? All right. Ground effects? Go ahead. A fan car? Have fun. Artificial gravity generators to pull the planet towards the car harder? Good luck with that, but we won't stop you from trying.

That way, you can shift the emphasis over from aerodynamic to mechanical grip while simultaneously giving the engineers more freedom to develop their own solutions to the aerodynamic issues--resulting in the cars looking different as each designer's solutions will have a different optimum design."

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2. Posted by Cobra Racer, 19/07/2019 12:56

"Come on Ross! At one time, you were more intelligent than this.
"

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3. Posted by Spindoctor, 19/07/2019 10:56

"Oh dear. It seems that when you sup at the corporate trough you have to promote their 'vision', no-matter how clearly flawed it is.
As Mr Noble will attest, technology is rooted in science, and a key hypothesis in Science, yet to be disproven, relates to evolution. This strongly suggests that in a specific environment characteristics are developed which best suit that environment. It's no coincidence that there are currently few dinosaurs, but lots of birds, though many now believe that birds' distant ancestors were TREX et al. Being a bird works better than being a dinosaur in the world that has developed.

The same is true in F1. If Brawn & Liberty generate a very tightly-controlled set of rules (or 'environment') then the cars which evolve will necessarily be very similar (as they are today). The tighter the rules, the less diversity there will be, because there are only a limited range of engineering solutions to a specific set of problems.
Mercedes current "dirty downforce" solution works better (on the whole) than Ferrari's cleaner design. More teams are copying Merc than Fezza."

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4. Posted by elsiebc, 19/07/2019 4:27

"So the complaint is that being too prescriptive with the rules the cars will look all the same. The response is that they look all the same now. An intelligent person would have realized what they just proved."

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5. Posted by Jezzer, 18/07/2019 19:18

"Unlike the amazing cars of the early 70's without too much regulation, they all looked VERY different and the racing was much closer. I wont go into the tracks that sorted men from boys or even the drivers themselves who were real characters, rather than the corporate soulless clones of today. "

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6. Posted by Anthony, 18/07/2019 18:53

"Without the paintwork very few people could tell one current car from another. "

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