Ferrari SF70H, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

FIA proposes new rules to limit ‘shark fin’ and ‘T wing’ designs

2017 F1 season

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The FIA has revealed new plans to prevent teams from running ‘shark fin’ and ‘T wing’-style designs.

A meeting of the Strategy Group plus the F1 Commission, FIA President Jean Todt and Formula One Group CEO Chase Carey took place today in Paris. The necessary regulations changes were drawn up and will go before the World Motor Sport Council for approval.

Sergio Perez, Force India, Bahrain International Circuit, 2017
Poll: Should F1 ban ‘shark fins’?
“Changes in the regulation boxes around the engine cover have been made so that designs incorporating the ‘t-wing’ and ‘shark fin’ will be strictly limited,” the FIA announced following the meeting.

The designs have been strongly criticised by some in the sport. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner revealed he tried to get teams to agree to ban them before the season began.

‘Shark fins’ were previously seen in F1 between 2008 and 2010, after which they were banned on aesthetic grounds. Changes to the aerodynamic regulations for 2017 allowed for their return and all teams have run the vertical engine cover extensions this year.

Most have also introduced the horizontal ‘T-wings’. One fell of the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas in Bahrain and caused what Horner claimed was £50,000-worth of damage to Max Verstappen’s car.

Teams have also been warned to ensure drivers’ names and numbers can be identified more easily on their cars. “From Barcelona (12th-14th May 2017) onwards, the sporting regulations will be strictly enforced to ensure that visibility of drivers’ names and numbers on the cars will be clearer,” the FIA noted.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 66 comments on “FIA proposes new rules to limit ‘shark fin’ and ‘T wing’ designs”

    1. All good news. The sharkfin is ok but it cant get any uglier than the t-wing

    2. Ferrari, Seb fan
      25th April 2017, 20:29

      Don’t mind if they ban the fins

      1. What’s wrong with Valtteri and Kimi?

        1. He might be Swedish

          1. Ferrari, Seb fan
            26th April 2017, 7:48

            I mean the shark fins
            And I am not swedish

          2. At the moment, I think Ericsson could give Raikkonen a beating in the Ferrari.

            I don’t mean the shark fins
            And I am swedish

            1. @chrischrill

              At the moment, I think Ericsson could give Raikkonen a beating in the Ferrari.

              Hey, I’m all for criticising the worst personal decision Ferrari might’ve ever made, but there’s no need for you to be that nasty. :p

            2. you lost that argument because you are swedish @chrischrill

              And I’m not a Swedish nor a Fin

    3. Happy to see the t wing leave because it was endangering drivers since no one was securing them properly. I could care less about the shark fin, if it means better racing then good, if it’s just to appease people who couldn’t stand the aesthetic: eh.

      1. So I guess the shark fin is pretty important to you eh?

    4. The problem was right in front of their noses and they decided to scratch their backs.

      I don’t like them, but prohibiting a device that gives performance is a bit silly. They should adress the noses!

      The numbera and names is a good thing to enforce their visibility, what’s the point of having those personalized if they are weitten in size 12 font

      1. +1 @johnmilk, i didnt mind them at the start of the season purely because the cars where new (i mena they still are….but), but as this season gets underway and we get more time the see the cars they look more and more obtrusive on the look of the car. (to me only the williams looks ok with one).
        although it doesnt look great haveing two sticks placed horizontally on another stick (in the case of merc) its seem like they should offer some soloution – even if it is the lower t-wing that williams have.

        ive been waiting for this subject to be raised. im always so enfuriated by teams who put the drivers name on the car once and diectly behind his head so no one can see it. im note saying bring back saubers attempt at making names visable by making them look like a main sponser, but somethig is a more visable area of the car. great. news

      2. @johnmilk @greggriffiths

        2015 and 2016: “The cars must go faster; they’re too slow!”

        2017: “Okay let’s ban this to decrease performance.”

        1. Point taken @beejis60.
          And well said. It just I’ve grown to dislike everyone’s shark fin and t-wing arrangement apart from Williams and Suaber

      3. @johnmilk : “I don’t like them, but prohibiting a device that gives performance is a bit silly.”
        Nope, thinking that way is actually silly mate :)

        Look, an entire Formula 1 car is a result of rules, ones that include prohibiting something. Covering the wheels is prohibited, using a jet engine is prohibited, using a 3 litre 1000bhp engine is prohibited, using wider tyres is prohibited etc etc. There are thousands of things you could think of that would improve performance that are prohibited. The whole point is to build the best car within those constrictions.
        The silly T wings have no significance for the cars, nor the sport to make their disappearing a thing worth even noting. They are just one of thousands of possible things on a Formula 1 car. If there’s a single reason to ban them, then they should be banned with no sentiment.

        1. Tony Mansell
          26th April 2017, 16:21

          Well said that man

          1. Agreed @damon and @Tony Mansell When Horner first brought up banning these items he said the performance gain was minuscule. Their absence will not make a noticeable different performance wise, but a huge difference visually.

        2. IF there is a good reason to ban them. The aesthetics of the car are not a good reason to ban something. If they prove to be dangerous then fine. If they are affecting the following cars ability to overtake then fine.

          Also I hope they wait until next season to change the rules as I despise mid season rule changes as moving goal posts are no good for the sport.

    5. Its great to see all the important issues have been addressed

      1. This.

        Racing is.good, cars are sexy… Now remove all ugly appendages.

        I agree with all purposed changes.

        1. It was satire, l can’t believe these people got paid for attending this meeting.

          1. Tony Mansell
            26th April 2017, 9:49

            No it wasn’t it was sarcasm. And as Jureo states – great looking cars are important. Its form and function

            1. + 1

    6. I’m fine with the shark fins, much more fine than I was when I first saw them. The T-Wings however… No. Just get rid of the gap in the regulated spaces and be done with it

      1. A casual observer of F1 asked me what the aerial was for on the back of the Mercedes.
        (no tuning jokes please)

        1. Antenna for the T-cam (T-Cam > T-Wing)

    7. MrF1GuyV12POWAHHH (@)
      25th April 2017, 21:52

      I didn’t mind shark fins. T Wings are horrible though

    8. pastaman (@)
      25th April 2017, 22:05

      Happy about making drivers’ names and numbers more visible. A lot of them I just give up and look at the t-bar color.

      1. Vettel Is ahead of Raikkonen and Hamilton is ahead of Bottas, use this formula and you will be mostly right

      2. Making ‘drivers’ names and numbers more visible’.
        Maybe use the big vertical surface above the PU, and get 3D initials (like the letter ‘T’) at the top-trailing end ;)

      3. Making the names and numbers more visible is a step in the right direction, but what would be better is the teams allowing custom styles for the drivers.

        When the personal numbers were introduced I thought we were in for something more like MotoGP – whether Rossi is on a Yamaha, a Honda or a Ducati, he’s got a whopping great neon yellow 46 on the front. For people like us, it’s as recognisable a brand as Coca Cola.

        Back in F1, we have tiny numbers on the cars in the corporate style of the teams. It’s poor marketing and worse, boring.

    9. Is the ban on the fins and T-wings coming into force from Barcelona too, or just the visibility of the names and numbers? It’s not clear

      1. Really? I think the second and final paragraphs make the distinction clear.

        1. @keithcollantine Oh dear, you are presupposing people are reading beyond paragraph 1.

          1. There is an second paragraph?

            ..just kidding!

      2. @N, the T-shark finwing ban will be effective next year (if approved by the World Motor Sport Council).

        I do understand that it might be confusing. The article is subtitled as ‘2017 F1 season’. And not everybody knows that the World Motor Sport Council (until 30/4) can only make changes to next year’s regulations.
        Changing this year’s regulation requires a unanimous decision by the teams; also the ones not in the Strategy Group*.

        * yesterday the Strategy Group also decided to improve ‘transparency by inviting other teams outside the top six to attend Strategy Group meetings’.

        1. Cheers mate.

    10. It’s all right as far as the new rules are applied starting from next season: shark fins were there before the season start and nobody said nothing about them (but Horner and nobody replied to him anyway). Banning the shark fins now that the only team not using them has lost its almighty rule on the sport looks kinda…how to say…not ridiculous…unfair maybe?

    11. I don’t see how this rule can pass with the top 2 runners both using T-Wings and shark fins. One likely outcome is that it would affect one team rather than the other and ruin the good racing at the front we’re having. But even if that doesn’t happen, would Ferrari and Mercedes just sit around and say: “Sure we’ve put much effort into this, but let them ban it anyway.”

      1. I seem to recall at the start of the season Horner saying the benefits were minimal so it was more important from an aesthetic viewpoint to ban them. I can see the top teams agreeing to this.

    12. Can we at least wait for the teams to homogenize their shark fin designs before banning them? I quite like how pretty much everyone has a different take on them at the moment…

    13. This is so dumb. I was just beginning to think that this sport had turned a corner and had started to make decisions based on quantifiable facts.

      Enforcing a ban on performance enhancing devices that are here because of the soul fact that you didn’t sufficiently tidy up your own regulations’ because a few (subjectively) don’t like how they look is just plain silly. Shall we start banning cars because a few (subjectively) find the liveries ugly?

      Or, shall we just have Red Bull put pressure in the FIA to ban every car but theirs?

      1. +1 @andybantam

        I don’t like the shark fin (especially the Force India style billboard, Merc is ok) nor the T-wing. But that is solely due to aesthetics.

        However, the FIA ought to realize teams are not out to built the prettiest cars, they’re building the fastest ones. And if the regulations were left wide open to allow shark fins and T-wings, then so be it.

        In the interest of safety, I wouldn’t mind a regulation around stronger T-wings, or a deflection test for T-wings, similar to the front wing.

    14. I like both the fins and the T-wings.
      For the fins, they make the cars look fast and they’re a good spot for sponsor names.
      For the T-wings, I want the cars to look extremely technical and designed to within an inch of their existence. (The McLaren in the tech museum in London is amazing.) And they are obvious technical differentiators between the cars that you can see while in motion, unlike most other parts on the car. What’s the difference between the wings / floor / diffuser on a Ferrari and a Mercedes? Very little idea without still photos taken from all the possible angles. But you can see obvious differences in side-pod shapes (this year) and the T-wings. This gives a talking point for the commentators. People (particularly in F1) forget how important positive technical discussion is to get the technically-inclined viewer involved.

      1. Agree entirely, @juan-fanger . I don’t mind weird appendages – they are there for a reason. Especially if this leads to different solutions by team, I think that’s a good thing.

        1. @mike-dee, precisely, they either allow widgets to shape airflow or not, if not they should revert to smooth unencumbered bodies and single plane wings .

      2. Tony Mansell
        26th April 2017, 9:46

        Couldn’t agree less. Ridiculous appendages have sprouted up ever since they put aero on cars and they’ve rightly been banned. If we followed your argument all the cars would look like an elephant man version of the 2008 cars. Id go for one single plan at the back and front and stop pandering to a few aerodynamicists.

      3. I’m with you on this. F1 bills itself as the ‘pinnacle of motor sport’, then it bans the very thing that makes it cutting edge. I am against mid-season rule changes. But as this is F1 then let the stupidity continue. If they didn’t mess with the rules last year we would have a different champion. No other sport changes rules for no good reason like F1. Then they (the fools in charge) wonder why people are no longer bothering to watch. It is because it is inconsistent and farcical.

    15. “One fell of the Mercedes of” missed an f on proof

    16. Typical FIA, demand more visible numbers at the same time as banning an obviously excellent location for a large number roundel. On top of course, of wanting to impose on every team a complete redesign of the bodywork aft of the cockpit due to sloppy drafting of regulations, they should have to pay for it with the $60million they were gifted from the sale of F1.

    17. So they planning on ruining the cars’ performance on aesthetic grounds? If they’re so concerned with aesthetics, raise the nose back up so the teams won’t feel the need to run those thumb noses anymore. The cars would look better AND perform better, win-win.

      1. *they’re planning

        1. The fins and T-wings offer very minimal performance gain. From a performance standpoint they won’t miss them.

    18. F1 is entertainment. Look at the rest of sport, there is carefull attention to aesthetics. Uniforms, fields, stadiums. Even the F1 tracks.

      Besides, aesthetics are a giant part of automotive technology. This could improve merchandise sales a little.

      I do object to mid-season changes that impact development. For sure there will be winners and losers, and cost $$$.

    19. Nothing wrong with the Shark Fins. Yeah T wings are bit hard to look at, specifically Mercedes

      1. @johns23 worst one is McLaren’s IMO. But we don’t get to see it often currently.

    20. I think Red Bull and Horner have a trick up their sleeve. He never pushes an agenda unless he knows that Red Bull have something to gain. Maybe they feel it was not helping them as much as it was helping rivals.

      1. And again, apparently the performance gain from the fins and t-wings is very very small. The agenda to ban them is from an aesthetic viewpoint because their presence is really not necessary.

    21. I’m guessing we will end up with mini shark fins similar to recent Mercedes unless someone very boring can write something very cleverly?

    22. I hate the T wing and would love to see it gone but don’t want the rules changed mid season.

      Isn’t there already a penalty that can be applied for failing to secure bodywork that would take care of the situations where it falls off?

      Penalise Mercedes for theirs falling off and I’m sure it will disappear all by itself without the need for rule changes.

    23. Tony Mansell
      26th April 2017, 9:42

      The cars are so close to being beautiful getting rid of these 2 warts will allow us to appreciate them more fully. Cindy Crawford may have got away with one but she’d never have gotten away with 2.

      If we can just get rid of Todt we can get these fridge freezer power units consigned to the bin marked ‘old men’s ideas’

    24. I’m only disappointed the stupid thumb noses were not mentioned. I think everyone’s begun to accept these as ‘the norm’, sadly. They’re an absolute shambles. I’ve tried so hard to get on board with them, but I just can’t.

    25. I don’t get all the controversy. I think the shark fins look good and I love the concept of the engineers pushing to eke any and all benefit from regulation loopholes. This is one of my gripes about the FIA. They seem hell-bent on eliminating any engineering innovation as quickly as possible from what they bill as the “pinnacle of motorsport”.
      As for Horner’s comments, of course he’s against the fins/t-wings! The Red Bulls run a much, much higher rake than the other cars which has the effect of pushing their rear wings higher in the airflow for greater efficiency. Hence the Red Bulls do not stand to gain nearly as much aero benefit from the fins/t-wings as the other teams, as evidenced by them not having one. If Horner can get them banned, it will benefit Red Bull disproportionately in that it will be more of a detriment to the other teams than RBR.
      Frankly I would rater the FIA work to eliminate the horrible “thumb-noses” rather than shark-fins. At least the shark-fins have a performance benefit.
      As for bodywork falling off, why should t-wings be any different than any other piece of bodywork?

      1. However, the performance gain from the fins is minuscule and unnoticed performance wise but visually, another story to many, even if you don’t mind them. I doubt RBR’s rake is so much higher that your argument holds water. Many cars show lots of rake.

    26. First of all I was not at all a fan of the shark fins when I first saw them on the cars. Now I have kind of gotten used to them but I don’t mind if they go. Hopefully the teams will not come up some other ugly solution to improving performance.

      On the subject of the names and numbers on the cars, I think the decision which has been made is really good. I went to the Italian GP last year and we had pretty good seats not a long way from the track. However, I had great difficulty telling the cars apart when they were from the same team. I am short sighted but with my contact lenses I have pretty good vision but the small size of the numbers made them very difficult to identify. I just don’t understand this as there is plenty of space on the cars to stick a reasonably large number. Not on the shark fin though ;-)

      So I am pleased they have made this decision.

    27. I’ve always wondered why don’t the FIA designate intorduce a standardised number font / graphics kit for all the teams to use. In the early days of the Premier League all the teams had thier own individual fonts for shirt names and numbers until the FA intorduced a standardised typeface for all clubs. Now even all the football league clubs have a standardised shirt name typeface.

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