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Bigger and heavier the wrong direction for F1, warns Newey

NEWS STORY
26/05/2022

Adrian Newey, arguably one of the finest technical directors to grace the sport, believes that F1 is going in the wrong direction with its move towards bigger, heavier cars.

The Briton, who has designed championship-winning cars for Williams, McLaren and Red Bull, believes that while certain aspects of the new regulations work, fears that the new minimum weight is too much. Indeed, this year's minimum is more than 170kg up on the minimum in 2000, when his MP4/15, in the hands of Mika Hakkinen, was battling with Michael Schumacher's Ferrari for the title.

"I think the principle of helping cars to overtake by reducing the sensitivity of the following car to the one in front is fine," he tells Motorsport Magazin. "I think it helps to be able to overtake a little better.

"I don't think it's a significant change but it will help a little," he adds. "If you make such a significant rule change, which inevitably brings with it many other changes, then it will probably lead to the field expanding further in the first few seasons."

However...

"In just a few years, the weight limit has increased from a low 600kg and 30-40kg of ballast on board to cars with 800kg and more," he continues. "And we are all working like crazy to achieve the currently prescribed minimum weight.

"In short, the cars have become bigger and heavier and not particularly aerodynamically efficient because they have a lot of drag.

"Obviously this wrong direction is the same in which the general automotive industry has developed recently," he adds, "bigger and heavier cars and people obsessing over whether they are going to run on batteries or gas.

"But the biggest problem is the amount of energy it takes to move the damn thing, regardless of where that energy is coming from."

His solution...

"Low weight and aerodynamic efficiency are the two most important characteristics," he says. "Obviously some of the safety issues become a self-reinforcing issue. The heavier the car, the stronger it needs to be. In my opinion, we need smaller, lighter and more energy-efficient cars."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Monaco, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Defiant, 27/05/2022 22:02

"@Spindoctor... you nailed it."

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2. Posted by Spindoctor, 27/05/2022 13:42

"Apologies to Colin Chapman for that stupid typo"

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3. Posted by Spindoctor, 27/05/2022 13:41

"Great to see Mr Newey channeling Coplin Chapman!
This generation of F1 cars is decidedly "lardy" and oversized in all dimensions (except for the drivers, of course). Having a "gas" engine as well as some storage batteries etc. doesn't in itself necessitate the move to the automotive equivalent of 3XL jogging bottoms & TEES....
F1 need to dump its increasingly prescriptive approach to car design & simply specify a broad set of parameters, of which Driver & Spectator Safety would be paramount. Then Mr Newey & his opposite numbers could really design some brilliant light & fast cars which would probably be much more "fun" for the pilots too."

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4. Posted by Mortulmo, 27/05/2022 13:25

"Adrian Newey is the best designer of his generation. I'm sure his view is correct. Instead of relying on second rate talent to create the new cars the FIA should have consulted the BEST. At least try to gather the best minds ! These new cars are an embarrassment. Last weekend I watched qualifying for the Indy 500....240 MPH and guess what.....NO Bouncing Cars! "

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5. Posted by elsiebc, 27/05/2022 4:38

"I've been watching the Monaco Historics from two weeks ago and those smaller, more nimble cars are making for some great racing. F1 had the magic formula many years ago, why did they feel the need to mess with it?"

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6. Posted by Egalitarian, 27/05/2022 1:34

"I don't know about Newey's claim. He needs to get on board with the program. If F1 really wants to get a foothold in the US, the cars need to be as big, fat, ugly and compensatory as 'SUVs'. And maybe with the rear wing doubling as a gun-rack."

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7. Posted by Defiant, 26/05/2022 19:16

"My suspicion is that they are increasing the weight, then making the teams add more and more batteries, then shrink the ICE more and more until they can say, ohhh well its nearly an electric car anyway, why dont we ditch the ICE altogether and make golf cart replica racing the new F1"

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8. Posted by Greg, 26/05/2022 17:02

"And these comments by Mr Newey make so much sense. Who better to know some good solutions"

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9. Posted by Superbird70, 26/05/2022 15:48

"Fully agree. 1m shorter, 1m narrower and 250kg lighter will make for more entertaining racing , especially on narrow street circuits."

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