If they were all painted the same color without their liveries I wouldn’t be able to tell which car belonged to which team, unless I memorized their noses and engine cowling fins. The designs are basically identical now, except for Force India and Manor, who retained distinctive long noses.
Amy thoughts exactly. Everyone seems to interpret the rule book identically. The days of imagination in engineering appear to be gone. Is that a result of narrow rules or a lack of out-of-the-box thinking? Or perhaps the designers arent willing to make a bold move because of the costs involved it it doesnt work out?
Aerodynamics regulations are the cause of this image redundancy (and challenging close racing)- there’s “ONLY” so much you can do. As they asked in Indianapolis if it was “allowed to overtake in Formula 1” – there are smarter engineers than rule makers. I didn’t study fluid dynamics, but my passion for motor racing has allowed me to discuss and read many viewpoints, one of which is to re-allow ground effects, thus not creating an exaggeratedly dirty air window behind the car you could overtake if you were a better driver and got up in the gearbox of the one currently in front…
Piquet’s white Williams was quite amenable lacking entirely a front wing as designed…
As far as liveries, CVC invested in F1 because precisely because of… brand “x”‘s advertising’s revenue’s product building.
An offer to a possible happy medium- less emphasis on visible aerodynamics ( for those interested it exists under the cars, makes for better racing at speeds that have nothing to do with road cars) that allows for close Grand Prix racing, might free up chassis design (hence more discernible)…
Now the liveries- that has already been determined by the 21st century we live in. Choose your monied sponsor, if you can, and a better graphic designer! 🙂
I would love for the rules to basically state “here are the outer dimension limits for the various sections (front wing, chassis, side pods, rear wing, etc.) Now design whatever you want within those boundaries, providing the car’s flat-bottomed and the nose is low enough so that it won’t take another driver’s head off” and then just let genius designers run wild.
I would offer no flat-bottoms as part of improvement measures (no joke intended!). Ground effect seems to be proven at some level as a way of gaining aerodynamic downforce without dirtying the air too much behind, allowing for closer racing.
Added bonus- with no (or minimal) front wings, we could quite possibly reduce such accidents/punctures as the front wing falling off (Huldenberg´s Force India last year, an STR (Ricciardo´s?) in a past year), or complaints such as “Nico´s hit me!!!”.
I could foresee this as win-win (add more wins?) – closer racing, less opportunity to trip over (or use as a tactic) front wing entanglement causing punctures.
My dislike of ground effects is because it encourages stiffer suspensions and less mechanical grip so as to keep the underbody as level as possible relative to the track surface and maximize its effectiveness. Adding more suspension travel for mechanical grip, and thus more pitch, roll, and yaw, would constantly vary and disturb the ground effects airflow.
Personally I’d like to see the cars go back to the level of suspension travel that existed in the mid-70s before the introduction of ground effects. It seems like they’ve never regained that amount of flex post-ground effects.
Apart from the paint jobs, peas from a pod, except the Mclaren, with its low line side pods, which makes you wonder if they have got it right. The Haas looks startlingly like the Ferrari – big surprise huh?This extends even to the vortex generators at the bottom of the rear wing end plates. No, of course we are not a Ferrari B team – cough cough.
The one thing 2014 gave us was a set of cars that were distinctive (if unattractive).
Is it mandated that the top of the chassis, in front of the cockpit, needs to be flat? We’ve lost some beautiful curves from the cars, as seen in the early 1990’s Ferrari’s, Jordan’s and Sauber’s. It seems the cars all have a ‘square’ cross section, which eliminates a lot of the opportunity for individuality.
Like most things in F1 design, it’s dictated by the rules, in a way.
As I understand it:
The maximum height is dictated by the rules. Equally you want to raise the underside as much as you can for aerodynamic reasons, and at the same time the minimum internal cross section (at specific locations along its length) of the chassis is mandated. This means that the best chassis performance comes with a flat top to the front of the tub.
Maximum torsional stiffness of the chassis comes by maximising the cross sectional area of the monocoque, so unless there is an aerodynamic penalty, you go for a squarish cross section. You don’t want to make the tub wider than you need to as the flow down the sides (especially around the front wheels) is very important.
If you choose curves, you lose either aerodynamic performance (reduced floor and front wing performance) or you lose chassis stiffness (or increase weight).
The rule push you towards that shape if you want to maximise performance. And, ultimately, F1 cars are about winning races, not beauty contests.
As is often said, if the car wins, it looks beautiful.