Formula 1 is an arena full of innovations. Moreover, many of these technologies have also inspired today’s vehicles. There are so many crazy technologies that have been tried in the history of Formula 1 that some of them have been banned. Here’s a small selection of some of the best and weirdest technologies in 70 years of history.
1) 6-WHEELED VEHICLES, 1976
The idea is simple, you need more contact area between tire and road for better cornering grip. Based on this idea, Tyrrell suddenly decides to separate the front wheels and builds a vehicle with four wheels at the front and two wheels at the rear.
This decision makes the tool heavier, more complex, essentially less efficient, and for other manufacturers this leads to many costs and operations. Therefore, manufacturers do not want to develop such an interesting format. The F1 committee closed the discussion in 1983 and it was switched to 4 wheels again.
2) SIDE SKIRT AND FLOOR EFFECT OF 1977 LOTUS 78
In the late 1970s, a major aerodynamic discovery turned Formula 1 upside down, namely ground effect. Colin Chapman, Lotus’ brilliant engineer and leader, covered the sides of the car using the skirts that slipped on the ground. The result was frightening for other teams, Lotus dominated the championships. However, the FIA decided to ban skirts and enforce a flat sole in 1983.
3) KOCA FANLI FORMULA 1 ARACI 1978
Instead of adopting the skirts invented by Lotus a year earlier, Brabham and his brilliant engineer, Gordon Murray, decided to solve the problem in a different way. He put a big fan in the back of the car so that it would suck the air under the car and blow it out from the back, sticking the car to the ground. Murray claimed that this fan was first used to cool a radiator to circumvent the regulation, which stipulated that the aerodynamic extensions could not move.
At the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix, the car was allowed to be driven, despite protests from competitors. Niki Lauda at the wheel dominated the race, but Bernie Ecclestone, then head of the Brabham team, decided to abandon the project to avoid creating a split in F1. The FIA then decides to ban the BT46B to close the argument.
4) ACTIVE SUSPENSION 1992
Always with the goal of creating more downforce, the Williams team decided in 1992 to take a different approach. The FW14B used software controlled active suspensions. It always controlled the ride height, which was within an ideal window to operate the flat floor.
Williams was crushing opponents in 1992 and 1993. Frankly, other teams felt that to stay competitive they needed to adopt the system and that it would be extremely expensive to develop. Therefore, they put pressure on the FIA in 1994 and this technology was banned.
5) DAS TECHNOLOGY MERCEDES 2020
This innovation remained top secret and went unnoticed. In the 2020 pre-season testing, experts noticed that Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas’ steering wheel moved deeply. This technology was a system that made it possible to move on the geometry of the front wheels.
In this way, the drivers could control the temperature rise of the tires and the time during the race, and the vehicle would stay closer to the ground in the corners and provide more solid grip. DAS technology was banned in 2021.