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F2's radical rear wing idea could offer clue to F1's future DRS route

When Formula 2 pulled the covers back on its new generation 2024 car at Monza on Thursday, it was the rear wing that caused the biggest stir.

F2 2024 Car rear wing

F2 2024 Car rear wing

Alex Kalinauckas

The radical design, which fans out high in the air like the feathers of a peacock, prompted a great deal of close-up focus from onlookers, including several F1 team principals.

But rather than it being the result of some wild idea by F2's design chiefs for the car to look fancy, instead, it has been created that way for a specific reason: to help the racing.

As F2 boss Bruno Michel said: "The rear wing itself has a round shape that is quite close to what F1 is having at the moment.

"The big difference is probably what you saw, which is the flap that is quite heavy and big. That's really been done to make sure that, with the kind of set-up that we have at the car, we can have extremely strong DRS efficiency."

The specific push to increase the DRS delta – the top speed difference between the rear wing flap being opened and closed – is interesting because it has been a topic of concern for F1 ahead of the new 2026 regulations.

As F1 moves towards a more active aero, aimed at reducing drag on the straights to counter the loss of power from the new power units, there have been worries that overtaking will be much harder.

If all cars have less drag, then that will reduce the potential DRS delta, and make passing on the straights so much harder. That could be alleviated if a bigger top DRS flap, like the F2 car has, is mandated.

F1 is also making an intense effort to try to get rid of DRS trains, which are the consequence of the delta not being big enough to allow pursuing cars to get past.

F2 2024 Car rear wing

F2 2024 Car rear wing

Photo by: Jon Noble

As F1 chief technical officer Pat Symonds told Autosport recently: "One of the objectives, and what we're trying to do in 2026, is to get rid of the DRS train.

"At the moment, we're talking about a car that has four aerodynamic states. I don't think we'll end up with four aerodynamic states, we will end up with two or possibly three.

"But while some of that will be through technical regulations, some of that will be through sporting regulations as well."

As work continues on framing the final 2026 F1 chassis regulations, the lessons learned from what happens with the F2 idea will almost certainly be taken on board, and could therefore influence what happens in F1.

Michel says that F2's previous moves to lead innovation, such as with 18-inch tyres and fully sustainable fuels, will continue.

"F2 has been pioneering for a few things for F1 in the past," he explained. "And we'll continue to do it.

"It started with 18-inch tyres before F1, and it helped Pirelli quite a lot in their development. F2 is working with sustainable fuel already now. And I think there are a lot of things that we can put in place in F2, and that will be implemented in F1 later on."

FIA deputy president of sport Robert Reid concurred that the range of ideas being pursued in F2, from safety to car dimensions to aero, were important for helping learnings in other categories, including F1.

F2 2024 Car rear wing

F2 2024 Car rear wing

Photo by: Jon Noble

"We're learning in all different directions all the time," he said when asked by Autosport about the potential for F2's DRS lessons to flow in to grand prix racing.

"We have a car here that meets the F1 standards, and all this data that we gather goes into one pot.

"Within the FIA, we have a single seater department: we don't have an F1 team, and then the rest of the pyramid. So it's the same guys, like Tim Goss, in terms of the technical side, that are working on the whole pyramid.

"And that consistency, whether that be steering weight, or more adjustable cockpit size, or safety, is really important to us to have over that whole pyramid."

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