Teams Urged to Rethink Aero Approach

Formula One designers are being urged to consider a complete rethink of car aerodynamics in a move that would dramatically change the look of Grand Prix machinery, Autosport-Atlas has learned

Teams Urged to Rethink Aero Approach

With discussions currently ongoing about a major revamp of the sport's technical regulations for 2008, FIA president Max Mosley has now asked the teams about whether it is time to change the emphasis on car design.

He suggests that rather than the technical challenge of Formula One being a battle to produce as much downforce as possible, it should instead become a competition between designers to create cars with the least amount of drag.

Mosley believes that such a shift of focus would not only help increase overtaking in the sport, but would also have more relevance to the road car industry.

In a letter that Mosley has written to Formula One team bosses on Wednesday, he has asked them whether they believe a complete overhaul of aerodynamic regulations is a good idea.

"We believe there may be a case for placing a limit on the amount of downforce a car can generate (ie a maximum of x newtons) rather than constantly regulating to restrict the aerodynamics in the hope of containing performance," wrote Mosley.

"Research would then be directed to reducing drag, possibly useful to the car industry.  Techniques for generating massive amounts of downforce from the bodywork of a single-seater racing car have limited practical application.

"Also, if we have a fixed but relatively low maximum permitted downforce, why would we need to continue to ban moveable aerodynamic devices?  Could we not allow them at least under braking?  Or perhaps forward of the front wheel centre line to help aerodynamic balance when following another car closely?

"We would have to have an accurate and reliable means of measurement, but I am told this will be much easier with a single tyre supplier.  Moveable devices might also be useful for safety."

Mosley's previous suggestion to reduce levels of downforce to just 10 percent of their current levels has been greeted with some scepticism by some car designers, who have argued that it would lead to F1 cars being slower than other major single-seater championships.

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