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How To Fix F1

It's hard to see how F1 can fix its woes this season. In fact its going to be a season spent praying for inclement weather, safety cars and qualifying problems to mix up grids.

So what this graphic represents is a model for fixing the issues with overtaking and side by side racing.

1. Front wings and nose. My new formula calls for a standard single plane front wing devoid of Gurney flaps. With the need for air over the front of the car to generate front-end down force reduced, it should be possible for a car to follow another car through a corner in order to gain a tow down the subsequent straight. There will also be a requirement for the monocoque to have a flat floor with no gaps or twin keel type arrangements for the same reason.

2. Tyres and brakes. Tyres get wider - about 30% wider than today's Bridgestone. This further increases mechanical grip and coupled with the new front wing should see a car able to closely follow another through a corner in order to line up an attack. The greater tyre size should see extra drag to keep top speed manageable despite wing size reductions. Reintroduce a tyre war, use some of the funds in F1 to incentivise manufacturers and offset their development costs. Stick with two compounds per race but ban planned pitstops. Restrict pit crew to five people to ensure only necessary stops are made. Brakes must have steel discs in order to increase braking distances.

3. No airboxes or aerodynamic devices above the plane of the sidepods.

4. Fixed length sidepods between wheels, no other protrusions barring rear view mirrors. Defined minimum and maximum side pod height and no venting through the top or sides of the pod itself.

5. Standard rear wing mounted much further back and restricted to one plane and one Gurney flap. No bodywork to protrude beyond the centreline of the rear axle. Height and length of the rear wing support governed by min and max dimensions. Rear wing width reduced to 75cms.

How will this help F1? Firstly the concept of following a car through a corner will return. Also drivers will need to setup their cars for both heavy/new tyre and light/old tyre circumstances. Inevitably different drivers, teams and tyre companies will reach different compromises leading to different drivers being quick at different points in the race. Drivers will also have to balance speed and tyre conservation whilst second guessing their opponents.

For the teams expenditure will be reduced - the standard front and rear wings plus reduced scope for aerodynamic appendages should significantly reduce wind tunnel time and also limit the need for expensive 3d prototyping machines to run constantly.

Can the teams agree such a change? Probably not straightaway, but surely it should be possible to agree a package similar to the above ahead of the 2012 season... shouldn't it?

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