2030 F1 wind tunnel ban raises safety issues, says Wolff

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

2030 F1 wind tunnel ban raises safety issues, says Wolff

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, and because it's expected that technology will advance sufficiently in 10 years to ensure that cars could be developed without tunnels.

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

"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.

He added: "I think setting a target like 2030 for banning wind tunnels 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 tunnel 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 wind tunnels 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 just embarking on the construction of a new wind tunnel 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.

"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 wind tunnels, 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 wind tunnels, for various reasons.

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

shares
comments

Related video

Renault expands on value of Alonso test programme in 2018 car
Previous article

Renault expands on value of Alonso test programme in 2018 car

Next article

Turkish GP practice as it happened

Turkish GP practice as it happened
Load comments
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021