F1 2017 bloated / overweight 728 kg (vs e.g. 1991)

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hollus
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Re: F1 2017 bloated / overweight 728 kg (vs e.g. 1991)

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I'd argue that the bloated weight of today's cars is a direct consequence of the minimum weight regulations, or at least of the way this has been used.
They apply a minimum weight that is super conservative and that allows the poorest team to design a car with zero weight penalty. That, by definition, gives the richest teams weight-space to play with. They react partly by making their cars longer, with gives more ground effect, better front section and lower CG. At that point, that weight difference has turned into an aero difference, and the poorest teams have to make longer cars to have decent performance. At this point (idealized example), we have the top teams at the weight limit with a longer car and the poor teams complaining of overweight with a longer car. Cue the next raise in the minimum weight "so that driver do not need to lose weight".
The same argument applies to other things that bring performance and add weight. Would we have seen FRIC if it increased the weight of the car? I doubt it, but a big team faced with 40 kg of slack will often prefer to use it in extra complexity than in ballast. And that extra complexity, with its extra weight, then becomes a performance differentiator whose weight gets accounted for in the rules.
A similar argument applies to the weight distribution, which effectively forces you to add ballast to get it in the range decided by the rules, which hurts the poorest teams more. We've seen it a few times: after a rule change, 1-2 teams at the tail of the pack must run overweight for the first 4-5 races of the season... cue minimum weight increase shortly afterwards... by a time when even those teams had sorted their weight issues.
And around we go again.
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wuzak
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Re: F1 2017 bloated / overweight 728 kg (vs e.g. 1991)

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gold333 wrote: Why do you think onboards back then show that level of violence with the steering almost ripped from the drivers hands.
Because the tracks were bumpier and the suspension was less developed.

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Blackout
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Re: F1 2017 bloated / overweight 728 kg (vs e.g. 1991)

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A 2009ed pre-2007 RB.
IMO an F1 car could host a Merc or a Honda type PU and retain a length, or atleast proportions, close to this...
The fuel tank area would be tricky to package but I'm sure they can do it (if the rules want it) :mrgreen:
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gold333
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Re: F1 2017 bloated / overweight 728 kg (vs e.g. 1991)

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wuzak wrote:
gold333 wrote: Why do you think onboards back then show that level of violence with the steering almost ripped from the drivers hands.
Because the tracks were bumpier and the suspension was less developed.
I must disagree here.

The suspension was not less developed. They just ran on bump stops more often. This due to the fact that the lower the flat bottom to the ground, the higher the downforce, ergo an ultra rigid suspension was used.

Ground clearance could be as low as 4mm at the front and 7mm at the rear on tracks such as Monza or Hockenheim. In fact on some tracks the type of bump stops used determined the setup as they ran on them for so long.

I remember Lewis commentating watching the old onboards of Senna saying he was amazed how stiffly sprung the cars were back then.

Also on the point of instability, I remember in 1995 almost all the drivers complained of pitch sensitivity when the stepped bottom was introduced (admittedly the reduction in the diffuser played a part in these comments aswell.) So I'd argue that a flat floor adds stability going by those comments.
F1 car width now 2.0m (same as 1993-1997). Lets go crazy and bring the 2.2m cars back (<1992).

zac510
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Re: F1 2017 bloated / overweight 728 kg (vs e.g. 1991)

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And of course the camera mount was probably not dampened (to isolate it from vibrations) either.

timbo
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Re: F1 2017 bloated / overweight 728 kg (vs e.g. 1991)

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gold333 wrote:But for all the catastrophic eventualities you mention, F1 cars ran a flat bottom from 1968 - 1995 and nothing catastrophic happened because of the flat bottom in those 27 years, apart from awesome sparks and cars that were vicious to drive!
Eh? Flat bottom in 1968? Why not 1936?
Also from 1978 till 1982 it was anything BUT a flat bottom. And prior to Tyrrel 019 the floor not much relied on actually getting more air UNDER the car, so there were less sensitivity all around.
gold333 wrote:We (people who have followed F1 for decades) know the stepped floor was a measure just like the grooved tires or the narrowing of the chassis.... All made to slow the cars down. It has no place in an out and out Formula One World Championship.
We? I am following F1 for "decades" too.
And Craig Scarborough as well. Here's what he had to say:
The stepped underfloor was a reaction to the accidents of 1994, when the floor could be flat and was purposely run as close to the track as possible to gain ground effect, leading to issues with stalling if the gap between road and floor closed up too much.
http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/120521

And I can say that rules which are intended to limit pace were part of the sport from its beginning.

gold333
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Re: F1 2017 bloated / overweight 728 kg (vs e.g. 1991)

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timbo wrote:
gold333 wrote:But for all the catastrophic eventualities you mention, F1 cars ran a flat bottom from 1968 - 1995 and nothing catastrophic happened because of the flat bottom in those 27 years, apart from awesome sparks and cars that were vicious to drive!
Eh? Flat bottom in 1968? Why not 1936?
Also from 1978 till 1982 it was anything BUT a flat bottom. And prior to Tyrrel 019 the floor not much relied on actually getting more air UNDER the car, so there were less sensitivity all around.
Thanks for your reply! You are right. With flat bottom pre-1982 I meant more "lack of a stepped flat bottom". Prior to 1982 the entire underfloor of the car was a diffuser with the edges closed (skirts) touching the ground, creating a semi-vacuum. The closed sides had ride height measured in millimetres and skirted the ground. When ground effect was banned there was a reason engineers adopted a flat bottom instead of a stepped bottom.

Yes, the Tyrrel 019 notoriously had a high nose, to aid airflow to the sidepods but the bottom was still flat. To quote wiki:

"the generation of low pressures relies on increasing the speed of the air passing underneath the flat bottom of the car, in relation to that passing over and around it. In simple terms, the more air that can be drawn underneath a car, the faster that air will have to be moving, and the faster the air is moving, the lower the pressure."

Image

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In 1990 McLaren also tried it:
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But for some reason preferred the low nose solution coupled to the flat bottom. High noses (apart from the Benetton team) never really caught on until the stepped bottoms of 1995. I'd really love to know why high noses coupled to flat bottoms never caught on if it was demonstrably more efficient.
timbo wrote:
gold333 wrote:We (people who have followed F1 for decades) know the stepped floor was a measure just like the grooved tires or the narrowing of the chassis.... All made to slow the cars down. It has no place in an out and out Formula One World Championship.
We? I am following F1 for "decades" too.
And Craig Scarborough as well. Here's what he had to say:
The stepped underfloor was a reaction to the accidents of 1994, when the floor could be flat and was purposely run as close to the track as possible to gain ground effect, leading to issues with stalling if the gap between road and floor closed up too much.
http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/120521

And I can say that rules which are intended to limit pace were part of the sport from its beginning.
I think with "stalling" Craig is referring to the National Geographic documentary on Senna's crash which purports that Senna crashed due to the rear flat bottom touching the ground due to low ride height due to reduced tyre pressures due to the safety car. I don't share this view and share the view of Adrian Newey (left rear puncture) as Senna's rideheight was good enough to take Tamburello at racing speed on lap 6 (when the pressures would have even been lower).

I can't think of any other crashes between 1982-1994 due to diffuser stall as Craig mentions. I'd (really!) love to hear an example and be corrected though.

I remember a lot of drivers in 1995 saying the new stepped bottom was causing a lot of pitch sensitivity though. Also, Prost notorious for removing his seat and sitting on the tub of the car in the early 80's to get a better feel for the handling, as the bottom was touching the track so often.


I semi-agree that the sport had rules to limit speed since the beginning but the Weickershof protocol adopted (mainly post Senna's crash) had profound "castrating" effects on the cars. the effects of which are only starting to wear off 20-25 years later:

-1.8m narrow cars (from 2.2m)
-grooved tires (from slicks)
-15inch narrow tires (from 18inch)
-lowered wings
-stepped bottom (from flat)

And all those changes in just 3 years (1995-1998).

I've always wanted to take a peek into that parallel universe where Senna had not died. Just to see the cars we would have today, had the Weickershof not been implemented. I think 2017 and beyond may begin to offer a glimpse.
F1 car width now 2.0m (same as 1993-1997). Lets go crazy and bring the 2.2m cars back (<1992).

wuzak
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Re: F1 2017 bloated / overweight 728 kg (vs e.g. 1991)

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gold333 wrote:I semi-agree that the sport had rules to limit speed since the beginning but the Weickershof protocol adopted (mainly post Senna's crash) had profound "castrating" effects on the cars. the effects of which are only starting to wear off 20-25 years later:

-1.8m narrow cars (from 2.2m)
-grooved tires (from slicks)
-15inch narrow tires (from 18inch)
-lowered wings
-stepped bottom (from flat)

And all those changes in just 3 years (1995-1998).
The 1995 cars were 2m wide, as they were in 1994. Those from 1983 - 1993 were 2.15m wide.

gold333
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Re: F1 2017 bloated / overweight 728 kg (vs e.g. 1991)

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wuzak wrote:
gold333 wrote:I semi-agree that the sport had rules to limit speed since the beginning but the Weickershof protocol adopted (mainly post Senna's crash) had profound "castrating" effects on the cars. the effects of which are only starting to wear off 20-25 years later:

-1.8m narrow cars (from 2.2m)
-grooved tires (from slicks)
-15inch narrow tires (from 18inch)
-lowered wings
-stepped bottom (from flat)

And all those changes in just 3 years (1995-1998).
The 1995 cars were 2m wide, as they were in 1994. Those from 1983 - 1993 were 2.15m wide.
Yes, sure.

They also didn't have grooves in 1995. I only said those massive changes were implemented over just a three year period.

Car widths:

1983-1992: 2.2m
Reference:
https://en.m.wikiped...y_proves_costly, http://www.f1technical.net/articles/8

1993-1997: 2.0m
Reference:
http://www.f1technical.net/articles/62

1998-2016: 1.8m
Reference:
http://www.grandprix.com/ft/ft00253.html

2017-: 2.0m
Reference:
https://www.formula1.com/en/championshi ... anges.html
F1 car width now 2.0m (same as 1993-1997). Lets go crazy and bring the 2.2m cars back (<1992).

Diesel
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Re: F1 2017 bloated / overweight 728 kg (vs e.g. 1991)

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Now we've got some pictures of 2017 cars, is anyone able to do some to-scale comparisons? I'm interested to see the comparison of length over the last few seasons, this years cars seem ridiculously long.
"Unbelievable how silly this Formula 1 is these days, with this stupid overtakes."
—Sebastian Vettel, 2012 US GP

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Re: F1 2017 bloated / overweight 728 kg (vs e.g. 1991)

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Diesel wrote:Now we've got some pictures of 2017 cars, is anyone able to do some to-scale comparisons? I'm interested to see the comparison of length over the last few seasons, this years cars seem ridiculously long.
The perspectives aren't quite uniform, but it's not gonna get much better...

Image
Image

wuzak
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Re: F1 2017 bloated / overweight 728 kg (vs e.g. 1991)

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Didn't you have a side shot of the last one for a fair comparison? :P

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Re: F1 2017 bloated / overweight 728 kg (vs e.g. 1991)

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Keep in mind we're talking hybrid cars (2017) vs. ICE-only (1991) cars. While electric motors are extremely efficient per kg, electrochemical/electrocmechanical (i.e. batteries, capacitance, flywheels) storage mediums are still pretty awful in terms of energy density compared to fossil fuels. They're just not going to be as lightweight with the dual-system scenario they have now.

Given a straight up allocation of kilos to devote to powertrain (energy source + motor + geartrain), I'm fairly certain every F1 team would opt for turbocharged ICE units, and hybrids would vanish entirely.
Last edited by VARIANT | one on Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: F1 2017 bloated / overweight 728 kg (vs e.g. 1991)

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gold333 wrote:All that really matters is power to weight.
Pretty sure downforce-to-weight is of MASSIVE importance as well here.
gold333 wrote:Senna's death (rest his soul) caused all this. Although I lost a good deal of interest in F1 after seeing the slow and methodical "castration" of the cars after 1994, I have always wondered what type of car we would have had today in a parallel universe had Senna and Ratzenberger not died and had the Weickershof protocol not been implemented in 1994 to slow the cars down over the subsequent decades.
On the converse, you could argue that Senna's death was caused by the banning of active suspension which would have maintained a safe aerodynamic ride height, flat bottom or otherwise.

timbo
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Re: F1 2017 bloated / overweight 728 kg (vs e.g. 1991)

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gold333 wrote:When ground effect was banned there was a reason engineers adopted a flat bottom instead of a stepped bottom.
Because rules did not specify a stepped bottom.
gold333 wrote:But for some reason preferred the low nose solution coupled to the flat bottom. High noses (apart from the Benetton team) never really caught on until the stepped bottoms of 1995. I'd really love to know why high noses coupled to flat bottoms never caught on if it was demonstrably more efficient.
That's a bit like asking why silicon chips were not used for UNIVAC.
The knowledge was just not there yet.
gold333 wrote:I think with "stalling" Craig is referring to the National Geographic documentary on Senna's crash which purports that Senna crashed due to the rear flat bottom touching the ground due to low ride height due to reduced tyre pressures due to the safety car. I don't share this view and share the view of Adrian Newey (left rear puncture) as Senna's rideheight was good enough to take Tamburello at racing speed on lap 6 (when the pressures would have even been lower).
I think Scarbs has enough knowledge to not base his assertions on NatGeo videos.
gold333 wrote:I can't think of any other crashes between 1982-1994 due to diffuser stall as Craig mentions. I'd (really!) love to hear an example and be corrected though.
It's always hard to trace a cause of accident to such specific reason if there's no HW failure, and back then it was simply impossible. It just would have registered as driver's loss of control.
gold333 wrote:I remember a lot of drivers in 1995 saying the new stepped bottom was causing a lot of pitch sensitivity though.
I highly doubt drivers attributed pitch sensitivity to stepped bottom specifically. Maybe the cars were more pitch sensitive overall, but it's again aero config far from maturity.
gold333 wrote:I semi-agree that the sport had rules to limit speed since the beginning but the Weickershof protocol adopted (mainly post Senna's crash) had profound "castrating" effects on the cars. the effects of which are only starting to wear off 20-25 years later
What do you mean by "wearing off"? Ten years from 1994 we had cars which lapped 5-6 second faster will smaller engines and all the restrictions you mention. Without such restrictions I recon we'd see 7-8G cornering and drivers would not be physically able to finish the race.