We present: Five extraordinary technology innovations from the past 15 years, each of which has caused a stir during Formula 1 winter testing
In Formula 1, everyone is trying to achieve what McLaren, for example, did in 1998: to develop a car that is superior to the competition through innovative ideas
The fact that this does not happen every year is partly due to the fact that Formula 1 regulations have remained stable over several seasons. This is because rule changes in particular offer engineers the space to play with new approaches and perhaps (discover) something that others overlook. If, on the other hand, there is continuity, most teams follow certain trends
that were truly exceptional, that were the talk of the Formula 1 winter tests before the start of the season and that were soon history again – for a variety of reasons.
So let’s raise the curtain on resourceful concepts from Brawn, McLaren and Red Bull from the past 15 years of Formula 1 history. And this much can already be revealed: Most of the ideas focused on the rear of the cars around the diffuser, which is responsible for a large part of the downforce. It is precisely this downforce that the teams have always tried to optimize, with varying degrees of success.
We also describe how the competition and/or the International Automobile Federation (FIA) have dealt with the innovations and why.
The role of the world governing body is particularly interesting in these matters: Innovations in Formula 1 often stem from supposed “loopholes” in the regulations. In other words, engineers do not interpret the rules in the sense of those who formulated them. This can lead to disputes that ultimately have to be finally settled before the FIA Court of Appeal.