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How much regulation does F1 need?


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#1 Afterburner

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 04:17

A post in another thread got me thinking about this. I've always felt that the spirit of F1 is innovation, and though you can get innovation with tight regulations (see DDD/EBD), I feel that more lenient regulations will allow for broader innovation among the teams. Personally, I feel that the only regulations F1 really needs in terms of car design are restrictions on height, width, and length, a restriction on weight, and a requirement that the car have four wheels and remain in contact with the track surface. I'd love to see what the teams would come up with when utilising the technology available to them today--I reckon it'd be something like the Red Bull X1.

Of course, a budget restriction would probably need to be in order to keep smaller teams afloat, which raises another question independent of the one in the thread title: given the choice, would you rather see tight regulations concerning car design with no budget restrictions, or heavily-policed budget restrictions with near-unlimited design possibilities?

I think the latter would have the potential to produce some truly awesome, fast, and unique machines, and bring a much needed element of variety and innovation back to F1--these days you almost need a telescope to tell the difference between some of the cars on the grid. One argument was that the cars might exceed human sustainability in terms of speed and that the racing might be boring--but we didn't have that problem in the 60's and 70's when things were mostly unrestricted, did we? Most of the excitement back then came from watching the drivers trying to tame their cars as much as they were trying to race them. I think it'd be awesome to see that come back, even if it meant we lost some of the tactical aspects of F1 as it currently is.

I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on the matter.

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#2 InvertedLift

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 04:48

I would like the second of those options, free design and heavily controlled budget restrictions. That way you would teams trying to achieve overall lap time in different ways.
I imagine RBR would spend their money on extreme aero development and Ferrari might try and use their cash to get the best engine/have lots of testing.

If I was designing the rules it would be pretty much like this:

*Safety regulations*
Everything else: free.

But then again, I love the pushing the boundaries engineering that used to occur in F1. If I was trying to design a series for the best racing it would just pretty much be a spec series with ground effect aero.

Edited by InvertedLift, 29 June 2012 - 04:48.


#3 Sakae

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 04:52

I feel strange reading Eric B.' comments on cost cutting issues, as I felt in the past some of those decisions will backfire as costly and ineffective, and here we are. But who am I, a fan. Regulations are necessary, better question however is, if they are correct quality, and allow F1 to be representative of F1 brand on technical side. On sporting side I wish they would reach better consistency rendering some of the judgements on track related altercations. Clarity in defining regulations is perhaps last issue on my today's rant-list.

Edited by Sakae, 29 June 2012 - 06:00.


#4 V8 Fireworks

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 05:21

I think the latter would have the potential to produce some truly awesome, fast, and unique machines, and bring a much needed element of variety and innovation back to F1--these days you almost need a telescope to tell the difference between some of the cars on the grid.

I agree that the golden days of rule 1 "maximum weight of X kg" rule 2 "race is ended with chequered flag" and the mammoth 600 hp 16 cylinder monsters (an awful lot by 1920s standards) sound intriguing.

You don't seem to have anything to limit the speeds of the cars? Some kind of simplified energy limit perhaps. E.g., Start weight no more than 670 kg, final weight no less than 600 kg? In such a situation it would be fairest to replace qualifying with a random draw perhaps.

So possibilities would include:
4(+?) wheel drive ground effects fan car with skirts and fully moveable aerodynamics, possibly with active suspension, traction control and so on
Corners speed should be very impressive :).

Also, haven't the cars always looked fairly similar to each other (be it 1955, 1965, 1985, 1995 or 2005) with the exception of the 1970s?

Edited by V8 Fireworks, 29 June 2012 - 05:29.


#5 BigCHrome

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 06:00

Free regulations are too dangerous and too expensive. It won't ever, ever happen.

#6 Afterburner

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 06:24

If I was designing the rules it would be pretty much like this:

*Safety regulations*
Everything else: free.

Excellent point about the safety regulations--crash testing regulations would likely become even stricter due to the increased speeds.

You don't seem to have anything to limit the speeds of the cars? Some kind of simplified energy limit perhaps. E.g., Start weight no more than 670 kg, final weight no less than 600 kg? In such a situation it would be fairest to replace qualifying with a random draw perhaps.

I don't necessarily think speed needs to be limited--it would fly against the whole point of an unrestricted sport, to be honest. On the other hand, though, I think requiring the cars to run on petrol and giving a limited supply of fuel each weekend (as suggested in the RBR legality thread) might not be a bad way to give an advantage to engines which strike the right balance between being powerful and being fuel-efficient--those with more fuel-efficient engines would have more qualifying attempts and more laps with which to fine-tune their setup, for example. If engine-mapping were unlimited, as well, it opens up a whole host of possibilities regarding fuel efficiency. In this sense alone, can you imagine the sort of appeal a cost-restricted but otherwise relatively unrestricted sport would have for automobile manufacturers?

It would still be neat to potentially see an unrestricted battle between hydrogen, electric, petrol, and diesel F1 cars all at once, though. :p

So possibilities would include:
4(+?) wheel drive ground effects fan car with skirts and fully moveable aerodynamics, possibly with active suspension, traction control and so on
Corners speed should be very impressive :).

Also, haven't the cars always looked fairly similar to each other (be it 1955, 1965, 1985, 1995 or 2005) with the exception of the 1970s?

You betcha! Ten years ago, that's the sort of thing I imagined they'd be racing by now, to be honest. In a way, it's sort of disappointing that they aren't--not much to look forward to on the technological/mechanical side these days apart from clever engine-mapping and diffuser design, lol.

And 'similar' is a point of view, really. I thought it was pretty easy to spot the body-style differences between the Macca, Ferrari, BMW, Toro Rosso, and Honda at a glance in '08, for example, but these days, such differences are not immediately obvious to me without studying photos of the cars. :lol: I miss the days where everyone was trying something different--even if the racing was lacklustre in the aero-era, at least everyone had their own unique solutions, haha.

Free regulations are too dangerous and too expensive. It won't ever, ever happen.

Given the choice, would you rather see tight regulations concerning car design with no budget restrictions, or heavily-policed budget restrictions with near-unlimited design possibilities?

Please read all of the opening post next time. :)

#7 pingu666

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 09:43

open regs arent expensive.
I mean hillclimb, off roading, have lots of unique cars and different concepts, and few of those projects reach over a million in budget.
its refinement that costs.

#8 undersquare

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 09:55

open regs arent expensive.
I mean hillclimb, off roading, have lots of unique cars and different concepts, and few of those projects reach over a million in budget.
its refinement that costs.

Very true. What you need is regulations that CHANGE to force redesign.

One way or another also you have to limit speeds to suit the tracks, otherwise overtaking just becomes impossible.

#9 Fastcake

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 10:19

open regs arent expensive.
I mean hillclimb, off roading, have lots of unique cars and different concepts, and few of those projects reach over a million in budget.
its refinement that costs.


That's nothing to do with open regulations, the low costs are because hillclimbing and off-road racing are small, niche sports that no one is willing to spend large amounts of money on.

#10 Johnbull

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 10:48

I believe that Formula 1, as "the pinnacle of motor racing" that it is supposed to be, should be as unrestricted as possible, except for safety issues.

I say put a minimum weight limit, and let the designers do their work. Four wheel drive? 16 cylinders? Running on methanol? 6 wheels? Active suspension? Why not?

As things are, if you painted all the cars read, you wouldn't be able to tell one from the other.

#11 uffen

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 11:15

I don't like all the rules but they are there for a reason. As one can see from the comments already posted many favour an unrestricted formula, except for...
It's the "except for" bit that gets you eventually. Everyone has good reasons to "except" something. They add up.
If the formula was truly unrestricted the cars would be too fast for the drivers to cope with, the tracks would be too restrictive, the spectator areas too close, the least ripple in a robust economy would see teams fold and frankly I think the racing, the spectacle, would be boring.

#12 Afterburner

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 15:03

Very true. What you need is regulations that CHANGE to force redesign.

The regulations don't need to change--competition is enough to force teams to redesign their cars frequently. A single design might work for a year or three, but sooner or later someone will always come along with something better. Regardless, the best car would always succeed, which is sort of the point of an unrestricted series.

One way or another also you have to limit speeds to suit the tracks, otherwise overtaking just becomes impossible.

If it meant we had to move to new tracks to accomodate the new cars, I'm fine with that--every other week it seems as if a new track is waiting for Bernie to give them the nod. I think venues like Monza and Spa already have the kind of layout that could handle cars which are 10+ seconds faster than the current ones, too--Monaco and Silverstone are probably the only two 'classic' venues that'd be in danger of becoming boring, and one of them already is, lol.

Plus, with adjustable aero, ride height, engine-mapping, unlimited KERS, and ground effects available to the drivers, slipstreaming could potentially be more effective for overtaking than it is currently. If not, then there's always the control tyre/DRS route. :p

#13 Johnbull

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 15:04

I don't like all the rules but they are there for a reason. As one can see from the comments already posted many favour an unrestricted formula, except for...
It's the "except for" bit that gets you eventually. Everyone has good reasons to "except" something. They add up.
If the formula was truly unrestricted the cars would be too fast for the drivers to cope with, the tracks would be too restrictive, the spectator areas too close, the least ripple in a robust economy would see teams fold and frankly I think the racing, the spectacle, would be boring.


In the days of the enormously powerful Mercedes and Auto Unions the cars were "far too powerful" but I don't think the racing was any less spectacular.

I think things have gone far too far and we now have virtually identical cars with different colours.

The excitement these days come from contrived things like tyres that go off after 10 laps, compulsory pit stops, and worst of all, giving following drivers an unfair advantage over the quicker guys in front, with the DRS rules. Yes I know it creates overtaking, which is what the casual viewer wants to see, but is it Grand Prix Racing, or is it a show?

#14 Sakae

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 16:02

As Williams (subtly) said, some men in the paddock have more hair than him, and while we are at it, we better get also adjusted to the idea, that some teams do operate in a different class. That's F1 as it should be. Specification series it is not, and mandatory normative references ought to reflect that.

Edited by Sakae, 29 June 2012 - 18:30.


#15 uffen

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 16:02

John Bull, you've cited some of the rules/features I dislike but they are sporting rules (backed by technical rules) and I believe the thread was meant to discuss technical freedom.
Engine power is one thing but I was thinking more of cornering and braking G loads on the driver when I was talking about them not being able to cope.

As ever it is a bamancing act.