Wolff: Potential 2030 F1 windtunnel ban may affect safety

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes that a potential ban on the use of windtunnels in Formula 1 from 2030 could have safety implications

Wolff: Potential 2030 F1 windtunnel ban may affect safety

A ban was discussed in the F1 Commission meeting that took place after the Portuguese GP as part of the sport's push for sustainability.

The long lead time has emerged because it would take teams time to make the transition to operating solely with CFD, with the expectation that simulation technology will advance sufficiently in 10 years to ensure that cars could be developed without windtunnels.

Like other team bosses Wolff has accepted the principle of a ban, but is wary of relying solely on simulations.

"I think there was broad agreement that over the long term this will happen," said Wolff. "But it is such a massive regulatory change that also involves certain safety aspects.

"We must not forget that these cars are the fastest on the planet, with the most downforce, and we don't want to experiment live with drivers in the cars based on CFD."

However he added: "I think setting a target like 2030 for banning windtunnels is a path that works for everybody, and it's going to help us make the sport more sustainable from the financial side."

Renault executive director Marcin Budkowski said a windtunnel ban would be a big challenge, but a transition to CFD could be achieved given the lead time now being discussed.

"It's not a new topic, it's been talked about for a little while," he said.

"I think the key on this kind of significant technical restructure is to do it with enough anticipation.

"Today windtunnels are an essential part of the development of an F1 car, and the risk of doing everything with numerical simulation is that you get to the first race and the car behaves completely differently from what you expect, and you have a hard time actually getting back on track.

"The risk is that people lose the correlation with the track, and the tunnel is an important element of this.

"F1 loves a challenge, and I think if you tell us that in 10 years' time we move away from something that is essential for development, because we're going to ramp up the simulation part of it, I think it's doable.

"Every time this topic came up before it was let's ban them in two years, let's ban them in three years, which wasn't realistic.

"So as an objective for 10 years' time, which is in line with the sustainability message that we're building around F1, it's a realistic prospect."

McLaren is currently embarking on the construction of a new windtunnel that may now have a life of less than a decade by the time it is commissioned.

However, team principal Andreas Seidl insisted that the plan would not change in the "short and medium term".

"The discussion we had there in the F1 Commission which is still early days and is something for the long term," he said.

"We definitely see there is a possibility in the long-term future to ban at some stage or to reduce massively the use of windtunnels, with CFD progressing fast, but at the same time, if you look at what CFD can do nowadays, we are still far away from not using windtunnels, for various reasons.

"And so the discussion we had there is not having any influence on any short and medium term decisions."

shares
comments
F1 Turkish GP: Verstappen leads first practice on slippery Istanbul Park track

Previous article

F1 Turkish GP: Verstappen leads first practice on slippery Istanbul Park track

Next article

Renault explains value of Alonso's 2018 F1 car test programme

Renault explains value of Alonso's 2018 F1 car test programme
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Susie Wolff
Author Adam Cooper
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Plus

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Plus

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021