How does F1 let innovation thrive without stifling the rest of the sport?



Formula One is a sport in which pushing the limits of Technology and design is part of its very DNA it's set apart from a lot of other single seater Motorsports by allowing teams to come up with their own solutions to the limits of the regulations in an attempt to create the fastest cars on the grid and often the world but allowing endless innovation isn't a win-win situation and those that run the sport often have to push back against breakthroughs and inspiration by adjusting or flat-out rewriting the rules this becomes a point of annoyance for many fans but rules aren't changed without reason though it is fair to say that not every adjustment to the rules is the best possible choice that has the most desired outcome because it's hard so how do we keep f1 the pinnacle of technology rewarding envelope-pushing technology and design or simultaneously managing the problems of trailblazing R&D like out-of-control costs muted racing and unacceptable safety risks the answer is a lot trickier than it seems at first door and while a lot of people may shout just let engineers loose and let them make the best possible cars or even stop this ludicrously overcomplicated technology and pair everything back to the good old days of racing there's very good reasons why both of these avenues of thought lead to problems while the Formula part of Formula One technically represents the rules and regulations that all cars must adhere to it goes deeper than that Formula one as a concept represents values visions and character it wants to be the motorsport that drives technological innovation produces some of the fastest cars in the world sets a platform for the best drivers to go head-to-head and provides world-class entertainment that millions will flock to see a few weeks ago Porsche modified its old sports car beyond the rules of the series it competed in and in doing so the car was able to beat a lap record at Spa frankish our previously held by a regulated Formula One car and a couple of weeks ago Formula One voted in new rules that were both simplify some of its aerodynamics probably to the effect of making the car slower while increasing the effectiveness of its DRS a more artificial means promoting overtaking so it's these kind of things start getting the f1 community frustrated why are we hampering technology when we can literally see what's possible if you let engineers run free well let's start with the limitations here's one obvious limit with the knowledge we have we could probably make cars that are too fast for humans to drive with the right tires air mechanical magic cars could be made that would corner so fast that humans may pass out from the forces even if we gave drivers g-suits which seems a bit ludicrous but ok even then the cars would become unsuitable for a lot of the circuits they race on faster cars they did much more and better designed runoff areas and better barrier technology that a lot of circuits currently have or are capable off good bye Monaco in Singapore immediately good bye spar and Monza 2 problem even if we discount driver safety we still have to account for marshals and spectators another limit is expense the big budget manufacturer teams can push the envelope much further and in many more directions than the lower budget privateer teams unconstrained innovation would put the smaller teams at risk of being laughably uncompetitive and while mum might say if they can't keep up they shouldn't be there you also need a healthy number of teams for the sport to actually be a sport for competition and fun to exist more on costs a bit later we also have the technology to automate a lot of what the driver does we saw the very beginnings of this when launch control and traction control were allowed in f1 but if you were really allowed to go while the computer could aid with steering braking constantly changing engine modes the optimal setting changing movable Aero parts on the car etc etc right now we control for this by having a standardised ECU a development constraint that I think we all agree is for the best as the drivers should get maximum control over their car so now we hopefully agree that there are obvious limits to allowing free unconstrained development let's look at what happens in the real world let's look at technological evolution F on rule sets are drawn up with the best of intentions and I know some of you may disagree to me but let's go along with the benefit of the doubt and say F on rule sets I've drawn up with the best of intention let's simplify this write down and say f1 wants to maintain its core identity by maximizing certain criteria speed the ability to innovate style and entertainment which comes in the form of good racing while f1 attempts to maximize these parts of the sport it has to do so while maintaining safety and costs and accessibility which can be directly affected by out-of-control innovation now when you create a rule set you can only do it with the knowledge you currently have about the sport and its technology but as technology grows with brand new research and development the design of the cars start to push the whole sport away from the values he tried to foster with your rule set just as the giraffe grew a ridiculously long neck in the game of which horse can get the most leaves f1 cars will start diverging away from there year one interpretation of the rules as loopholes are found as new engineering solutions are discovered and as research discovers brand new directions in development to explore teams will find solutions and ideas that the rule makers never even imagined just like in the film Air Bud where a dog was allowed on the basketball team because no one had thought to include the rule humans only air but now back in the middle period of F one's life unconstrained innovation led to really interesting solutions that are relevant today like wings side pod cooling carbon-fiber for body aerodynamics they also led to weirder things like six wheeled cars ludicrous wings controller will ride high mid wings and winglets from hell some people really liked the weirder outcomes of technological competitions some people hated them for their own gain leanness in terms of keeping f1 stylish and sexy some of the more absurd bits of bodywork could be given the band purely on aesthetic grounds but why else would you want to curb innovation one reason often cited is safety now we're getting slightly mixed messages on this one I agree 2017 saw a raft of new rule changes brought in to make the cars notably faster but that blip aside the FIA does tend to move in every time it sees f1 cars getting too fast this is a bugbear people but there are obviously quite reasonable safety concerns not to allow the cars to get too fast one as stated earlier is the circuits themselves have limits on what they can handle I'll be doing a full dive into runoff areas soon but believe me when I say that the hunger ring isn't gonna be able to protect an out-of-control Bloodhound supersonic car but here are the questions that the FIA has to ask when the cars speeds start to ramp up what happens if the car fails mid-corner what happens if the brakes fail or the accelerator gets stuck open what happens if a car t-bones it on the car full speed can it take off what happens if it takes off if the answer to any of those questions are it could lead to serious injury then the FIA has to bring it all back a bit to protect drivers track staff and spectators that's its job another reason to curb innovation is costs now it's easy to go or capitalist free market on this and say let the teams decide what they want to spend to be the best but this gets out of hand very let's imagine that for some reason huge gains were made in overall suspension performance by adding a little riddle to their arms once this is discovered teams start researching and developing in this area they spend some money and gain some performance in their first year the second year they spend more money and gain a bit more performance the next year they're spending more money to gain a fraction more performance each year they keep throwing money at the problem because they can but the gains in return are miniscule this is a case where diminishing returns are being brought in for escalating costs you've probably been reasonable in this case to stop teams throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars or more or finding some good technology to a ridiculous degree and this is when you sort of say suspension has to be a certain shape or within certain parameters the innovation at this point has been made it is just refinement to an absurd level and it's just not fun interesting or sporting for the massive big-budget teams to be able to make enough expensive but tiny refinements to their cars to outclass the other teams and then we come to the racing the best example here is one of the biggest problems that the technical working group is still trying to solve after over a decade of headaches the dirty air problem now I've gone through this before but essentially the complicated aerodynamics of the modern f1 car can create a storm of chaotic air behind the cars such that a chasing car struggles to get close and therefore can't actually race wheel to wheel on a regular basis even if the drivers and cars are faster and more skilled than the cars ahead this is a problem where the increased innovation in aerodynamics is directly led to the detriment of actual racing and it's an invisible problem so people don't see that there's a direct connection between the fancy schmancy bodywork here and professional racing the front wing complexities turning vanes and cutouts down the body of the car basically create an invisible force field that are holding chasing cars at a distance I mean that's an analogy but only just if we could see it we'd be happy to ban it if the cars dragged a fan of spikes behind them so it was super difficult for the car behind to get close the fans would say get rid of the spike fan I don't care how innovative it is it sucks but that analogy fails because you can remove the spike fan independently of the rest of the car dirty air that's a different story see dirty air is the byproduct of knowledge we have learned a lot about manipulating air forever it's the point where we're making tiny variations in wing and body contours to shape energized and direct air exactly how we need it to first aerodynamics was mainly about downforce but as we've learned in earlier videos we're now creating vortices we're energizing specific layers of air with channeling air to particular areas etc etc we know what we want air to do and we know how to do it it's not a genie we can put back in the bottle while the spike fans I hypothesize about are not a byproduct of some other technology and can easily be removed independently dirty air is absolutely intrinsic to everything aerodynamicists are trying to do they don't want to create a big trail of dirty air behind the cars but that's just what happens when you supercharge a load of vortices and send them off down the bodywork people can't unlearn the need to work air in that way it's too advantageous this is a big part of the reason where we haven't really solved the problem in many many years of knowing about it and why our best solution is to slap a DRS on the wing to help alleviate some of the problems so where do we go from here well we often look at other series like IndyCar on formula 2 and say wow the racing is so great why can't Formula One be like that and a big part of the reason is that these are spec series where everyone basically has the same chassis and very little technical variation you can easily remove problems by designing all the cars to be identically problem-free don't like winglets give everyone a winglet free car don't like dirty air design cars that produce minimally-invasive wakes it's simple when you can control the exact design of all the cars Formula One though that's not in its nature it wants to be a breeding ground for cutting-edge design but is always chasing the bad side effects that come with it like rapid development of the internet brought us all together with social media and interactive content hooray but this also gave rise to hordes of horrible internet trolls and abusers and now we're not sure how to keep the good bits of the Internet and get rid of the problems of trolls at the same time we can't undo the internet and we can't undo aerodynamics so that's why we have a lot of very strange very precise rules dictating the exact shape in which the bodywork can and can't exist exact weights and balances are parts of the car exact stress tests limits on what materials can be used and how they can be used it's all in aim of trying to thread designers to tighter and tighter needles in the hopes that they can stop producing effects but the bad for f1 we saw it in recent years with car noses where the FIA tried to bring those heights down so that drivers didn't get smacked in the head in the t-bone accident but designers wanted high noses so they did the bare minimum to comply with the rules and made the most hideous cars possible so the FIA had to sigh like beleaguered parents of teenagers and give them very specific instructions over how the noses could be shaped and now they all pretty much look the same apart from the tips here's one Thor with dirty air maybe we can measure effect maybe there's a wind tunnel test they can perform where they measure the disturbance of the air behind the car I don't know how possible that is but I think it would be better to make a mandate on the effect then try and write rules that constrain how designers approach their car in the hope that the bad effect goes away I mean that's how crash tests work to an extent the FAA doesn't care what solution you come up with to pass the crash test you just need to pass it so they know your car provides a safe monocoque in the event of an accident the same with wing flexibility the FAA don't want the wings to flex too much so they literally just test the flexibility instead of trying to mandate a wing design that probably won't flex again it's a complicated field and trying to create technical regulations that are effective and lasting it's a very hard job which is why the 2021 rules are years and years in the making and that's why we sometimes get band-aid solutions like the DRS or the halo while we figure out how to craft the rules in a way that allow technologies to thrive but keeps the spirit of f1 alive

49 Comments

  1. Rafael Lastra com said:

    Formula 1 is first and foremost a showcase for mechanical engineering. As such the regulations should allow greater freedom in the engine/transmission while reigning in aero which sees ZERO transfer to commercial vehicles. Innovation is key and should be encouraged. Naturally those teams with greater budgets will be faster which hurts competition which is why weight penalties should be used to keep the cars close to the rest of the field while maintaing their hard won advantage. That formula would satisfy on many fronts.

    June 27, 2019
    Reply
  2. Jorge said:

    I find the article at 1:50 hilarious. I don't think I need to explain why

    June 27, 2019
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  3. Jason Irwin said:

    Let the engineers be free and build what ever they want does not equal good racing. An engineer looks at the challenge of winning a race and says the best way to win is qualify pole and then start the race in first and not get passed. This results in cars that are very fast but due many factors don't do well over taking. No over taking equals boring racing.

    June 27, 2019
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  4. frodbolf said:

    Say after me "PORSCH-E" 😉

    June 27, 2019
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  5. Foch 155 said:

    Then give everyone a Mercedes oh wait that would make it Formula Mercedes

    June 27, 2019
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  6. cornishcactus said:

    I'm starting to think maybe there should be a standard rolling chassis and bodywork as lets face it true innovation here is dead
    You can't invent something new because the FIA would ban it, there's simply not much "new" left to invent, none of this is relevant to the road anymore and the small changes are stupidly expensive for small gains.

    Everything under the bodywork is up to you.

    You can also have customer teams which simply buy whoever's components they want a bit like HAAS so entry into the sport is cheaper.

    This not only improves competition through cars designed to race close together but small teams get a double boost.

    Their small budgets are no longer spaffed up against the wall on aero but can be focused on engineering.
    They also don't design themselves to the back of the grid as Williams have done with a poor chassis.
    Or take Renault who are doing worse than their customer team simply based on chassis.

    As much as I like that the cars can be so different and that two solutions can be so close I don't like that the season result is pretty much set over the year before's design stage and that any fundamental issue has that team done for the year.
    It was mooted even after the first race Merc have far more aero development potential than Ferrari.

    So let's give them one spec cars and let them design the gubbins inside.

    June 27, 2019
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  7. Spoony said:

    Article 34.2.1 a. HAHAHAHA

    June 27, 2019
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  8. Alfalfa Male said:

    WE NEED GROUND EFFECT

    June 27, 2019
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  9. Jason Gruber said:

    I totally agree with your idea of creating a regulation of the quality of air coming off the back of the car. Let the teams do whatever aero the want as long of it leaves an agreed upon amount of "clean" air behind. That would allow the team to innovate while providing for better racing…I would add a rule that teams with new designs get to keep their innovation for the span of 5 races or set amount BEFORE other teams are allowed to copy it. Like a temporary patent. This way the innovative team wouldn't have to keep their ideas secret. The fans would benefit from the technology.

    June 27, 2019
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  10. Stephen Whitemore said:

    If you want fun you need to move F1 away from this shit eco image.

    Remove fuel flow limits, lets cars run at 100% the entire race, stop making it so people have to conserve engines, lets them run them as hard as they can, im sorry but watching people save cars is not fun and will never be fun.

    Also complexity is no excuse for bad solution, bring a proper solution or nothing, DRS is stupid, the Halo is stupid.

    June 27, 2019
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  11. EnjoyTheSilenc3 said:

    Maybe no one reads this, but I think that if they want to analyze dirty air in the wind tunnel, they should put a huge air net behind the car, that analyzes the air force in all directions coming from the car.

    June 27, 2019
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  12. Kraniumbrud said:

    this sport has gone downhill since they limited the number of wheels to 4… also I fully approve of article 34.2.1 a.

    June 27, 2019
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  13. Anchor Bait said:

    Screw you Formula 1 Fellow. I hope you burn your mouth on a Hot Pocket and can't taste anything for a week!

    June 27, 2019
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  14. Mustakrakish said:

    New to F1. Why don’t people like DRS? I think it’s kinda cool.

    June 27, 2019
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  15. Im Phanta said:

    You wont pass out when driving into a corner like you do when flying a jet.
    Also G suits would do absolutely nothing, they work by pressing blood out of your legs into you upper body.
    You've mistaken horizonal forces with vertical ones as the reason you pass out in a jet is that the blood is pressed out of your head into your legs.
    When cornering you wont have that effect to even a close extend to that.

    June 27, 2019
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  16. Poushal said:

    Mercedes wants to know your location

    June 27, 2019
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  17. Guntur Mahesa Gaming said:

    If i was in FIA I will change the rule requested by the people split into 4 parts :
    1.Safety
    2.Model
    3.Speed
    4.Modification
    Whit theese rules there be no Shingo Points taken or Crashes if you dont know what it means

    June 27, 2019
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  18. Guntur Mahesa Gaming said:

    Why not make the team change only 1 part/section of the car what they like only 1…fricking 1 FIA

    June 27, 2019
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  19. WakandaForeva said:

    when redbull made their not limited redbull car on simulation vettel did a 20 seconds lap on suzuka

    June 27, 2019
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  20. WakandaForeva said:

    wasnt the porsche record on spa got beaten by hamilton on 2018 lol

    June 27, 2019
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  21. resqwec said:

    I don’t think the poor teams would be unable to compete if the engineers went nuts. Some of F1’s best innovations: mid engined cars and monocoques for instance, were developed by cash strapped teams

    June 27, 2019
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  22. esox202 said:

    I find F1 boring, but your videos are remarkebly interesting!
    Completely unrelated to that, Giraffes are closer to cows than they are to horses.
    Cheers

    June 27, 2019
    Reply
  23. Robert Miller said:

    My current thinking is that I am skeptical. What if we have reached "peak innovation"? Meaning, what if we have reached the point where a car designed with what is today just basic commonplace technology could already exceed that list of concerns such as speed and safety, etc.?

    For illustration, imagine there is some performance envelope that is determined by those aforementioned speed and safety concerns. Now, you want to keep cars to operate within this envelope. Back in the day, that wasn't an issue and even innovation did not exceed those boundaries. But now, cars can easily be built with "common ordinary conventional technology" that can readily exceed those limits. So if one can so easily exceed those limits with common technology, how is it possible to allow for any innovation? Thus in order to have any innovation, the rules must significantly curtail somehow or even ban some of these now "conventional" technologies in order to make space within that envelope to allow space for innovation to increase car capabilities. I mean such things have been tried before in F1 and elsewhere to mixed results at best. There was the whole "treaded tire" debacle. Other bodies have banned ground effects in the way of requiring "flat bottom" cars.

    My suspicion is that there is an elephant in the room and that elephant is an "identity crisis" for top tier racing. Historically racing has been at it's heart about innovation not just in racing but also as a development lab for consumer cars and manufacturer promotion ("win on Sunday, sell on Monday") and it may be that such character can't exist in a post "peek innovation" reality. Heck, these days, even some many passenger cars are more technologically advanced than race cars are or could be without the result being vastly outstripping that envelope if those technologies were adopted in racing. It now seems to be turned on it's head with the traditionally technological benefactor tail (passenger cars) wagging the traditionally technological development dog (racing).

    June 27, 2019
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  24. ValoTheBrute said:

    The cost issue is whats hurting lmp right now

    June 27, 2019
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  25. Darth Iniquitous said:

    11:31 “they all look the same really, apart from the tips”. Such a true statement. 😜

    June 27, 2019
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  26. Phill Gizmo said:

    Actually there is a good way to deal with dirty air behind a car. This technology already have been used, but was banned. It's using fans to suck air out beneath a car instead of wings. That can bring back exciting overtaking back.

    June 27, 2019
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  27. Darrell Leber said:

    I disagree. There should be NO restrictions on ANY of the engineering – IN A SERIES BUILT FOR THOSE RULES – The world NEEDS a race series without rules. But F1 is not that series? Maybe?

    June 27, 2019
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  28. Fetus Gaming6000 said:

    Instead of all these 'Solutions', why don't we have the drivers play video games instead?

    June 27, 2019
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  29. Ted Schoenling said:

    #5 vs Marvin? Yeah Marvin would just depress him and win.

    June 27, 2019
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  30. tonkatoytruck said:

    Simple. It doesn't.

    June 27, 2019
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  31. Alchemistake said:

    We need Formula A: Fully automated, no hardcore regulations.

    June 27, 2019
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  32. Gamer Deluxe said:

    I'VE FOUND A GROUND BREAKING INNOVATION TO GIVE CARS NO DIRTY AIR!

    🤔 Set the speed limit to 20mph [32.19kmph] and therfore, no dirty air. 🤔

    June 27, 2019
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  33. McLaren F1 said:

    Just do a group B for F1 but with restricted budgets for certain parts

    June 27, 2019
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  34. the_rustydoornob said:

    Omg I love the short circuit guy I can imagine him coming up to Luis and saying “hello bozo” Luis confused spins out and misses a turn and Johnny five wins

    June 27, 2019
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  35. Paul Green said:

    Yes!!!!! I am been voicing that they should just right a rules for the allowed arrow effects and measure it.

    June 27, 2019
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  36. 42crazyguy said:

    It's obvious that technology has outstripped the tracks we are racing on. It's time for a new set of tracks and a new formula to go with them. It's time for Formula 0.

    June 27, 2019
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  37. Hailstorm said:

    Dunno about innovations in F1, but there is a place fore almost regulation free motorsport (Group B).

    June 27, 2019
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  38. Thomas Caswell said:

    lol thats not a 2014 ferrari sf14h

    June 27, 2019
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  39. 1337Space said:

    while f1 attempts to maximise these parts of the sport, it HAAS to do so…

    June 27, 2019
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  40. HojozVideos said:

    How about the new 2021 WEC series top class regulations?

    June 27, 2019
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  41. avada said:

    They solved it by smothering all meaningful developments and simultaneously letting costs go rampant…
    F1 stopped being the pinnacle of technology a long time ago. It now takes follows road trends (hybrid technology) and reuses old stuff (turbo power). It's the pinnacle of spending with over-engineered aero toys.

    June 27, 2019
    Reply
  42. Patrick McPolin said:

    I think a good judgement of f1 getting to fast would be if they could go round the red bull ring quicker than a minute. I'd love to see that but I think that would be a good mark

    June 27, 2019
    Reply
  43. Regit said:

    Idea:
    All the engineering brains form teams work within the FIA – like Ross Brawn does – they come up with genius plans, economic but incredibly powerful engines, and world-leading safety systems that are implemented and standardised on all cars to ensure close racing.

    June 27, 2019
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  44. Alex Leigh said:

    love the robots there funny

    June 27, 2019
    Reply
  45. Robert Horwood said:

    Another great Vid CB, thank you and keep 'em coming please:-)

    June 27, 2019
    Reply
  46. Bobby Morelli said:

    but like what about the cvt ban

    June 27, 2019
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  47. Mathias Lundgren said:

    mankind is the best at creating dirty air, you just have to accept it

    June 27, 2019
    Reply
  48. jayant pagadala said:

    If the profits of the teams are declining every year, then why are they still competing in F1, Innovation can still be done outside F1 also.

    June 27, 2019
    Reply
  49. LootableCorpse said:

    lol brits always say social mediar

    June 27, 2019
    Reply

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