Sponsor-friendly bodywork tweaks for 2019

By on

Teams agreed at last week's meeting of the Strategy Group to implement changes regarding the bodywork for the 2019 Formula One Championship in an attempt to create better space for sponsorship logos.

Sponsors’ labels and logos has become a major factor recently in discussions regarding the aerodynamic surfaces of the cars. Teams’ desperately tried to preserve spaces of the bodywork which could entice sponsors. One of the latest rows affected the ‘shark fin’ engine cover which was due to disappear only from 2019 onwards. However, McLaren used its veto to avoid the postponement of the ban of the huge panel which means the 2018 cars will be equipped with the usual configuration of engine cover.

At the latest meeting of the Strategy Group the subject was widely discussed. Teams agreed to push through a set of changes to secure enticing sponsorship surfaces.

Bargeboards will have to sit lower which will allow a better visibility for the side of the chassis. This change was triggered by the new bargeboards rules introduced in 2017 which led to the birth of monstrously big vertical elements, often equipped with additional curved side-components.

Furthermore, the visually valuable top of the rear-wing endplates can not have any horizontal louvres to give space for logos.

Teams also sought for a solution regarding the minimum weight of the car. In recent years, taller drivers were forced to slim down dramatically to give the engineers the chance to balance the cars out in the best way.

In 2017, the new technical regulation led to the increase of the weight of the car to 728kg. For 2018, the weight will climb once again because of the introduction of the head protection system, the halo. The new limit will be at 734kg.

The device is believed to weigh 14kg, so the increase only covers partially the additional weight of the ‘halo’ which can make teams encourage their drivers again to drop weight. To stop dangerous diets, teams agreed to increase the minimum weight of the cars to 740kg for 2019 and the introduction of driver's weight with a ballasted minimum weight of 80kg.