Formula 1 cars will feature 1980s-style tea-tray front wings from 2013 onwards, the BBC has reported. Great Scot!

With the sport undergoing several significant technical changes in the next few years – most notably adjustable rear wings and the reintroduction of KERS in 2011, and 4-cylinder turbo engines for 2013 – this adds to the current culture of radical change within the sport.

Could we see incarnations of Ferrari's radical front wing under the 2013 regulations
Could we see radical front wings under the 2013 regulations, such as that on Ferrari’s 1980 car?
[Image via The Cahier Archive]

The rule change will see the not very eye-catching ‘snow plough’ front wings in use today being dumped, while the new rule will reduce front downforce and create more grip through the channelling of air on the underside of the car. The concept has been drawn up by the hugely experienced engineering pair of Rory Byrne and Patrick Head, the latter of whom achieved great success with Williams’ ground effect technology in the early 1980s.

The draft 2013 technical regulations – which will see the ‘tea tray’ front wings balanced with smaller rear wings – will be presented to the teams and discussed by the Technical Working Group in early January.

In pitching this concept, Head said: “We are only going to have roughly 65% of the amount of fuel and a [limited] fuel [capacity and flow rate in 2013] – that was a given.

“We were just told ‘That’s what it will be, you’ve got to come up with a car spec that is not going to be more than five seconds a lap slower than a current F1 car’,” he added.

“So some circuit simulation was done by Rory at Ferrari and when we’d come up with some numbers in terms of drag and downforce it was then to try to come up with a geometry of a car that could try to achieve that,” he concluded.

The aero change to the regulations will go a long way to address many drivers’ and fans’ concerns that the sport was heading in the wrong direction with respect to aerodynamic design. Perhaps an historical-thinking perspective might be what is really needed.

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.