F1 calls off planned car weight reduction

A push to slightly reduce the weight of Formula 1 cars this year has been scrapped.

Drivers, team officials and fans have often lamented the steady and dramatic rise in the cars’ weight over the years.

Indeed, in the last ten years, the weight has increased from 642kg to a whopping 798kg in 2022 – some 156kg.

“The weight of the cars is extremely heavy now,” said world champion Max Verstappen, “which I think is not great.

“But I don’t see a quick solution for that.”

Ahead of the 2023 season, the intention was at least to trim the weight somewhat rather than add to it. In the technical regulations published in late June last year, the new minimum weight was listed at 796kg – a minor 2kg trim.

But Auto Motor und Sport claims that at the latest meeting of the sport’s technical advisory committee, arguments were made that the weight should in fact go down to only 797kg.

Others, meanwhile, argued for an increase by 1kg to the 2022 car-plus-driver weight, taking it up to 799kg.

Ultimately, it was decided that the 798kg figure of 2022 should in fact be completely unchanged for this season.

It is not clear why the original slight weight reduction was called off, but it is rumoured that Pirelli’s new tyres are a bit heavier.

The all-new 2022 ‘ground effect’ cars proved slightly slower than the previous 2021 generation, but FIA technical boss Pat Symonds thinks F1 will speed up this year.

“We can reach the old records this year with normal development,” he said.

“But these cars will always be faster in fast corners and slower in slow corners.”

Another factor, however, is that in a bid to stamp out ‘porpoising’, the floors will have to be 15mm higher in 2023 – which is expected to make the cars slower.

“But that is cancelled out by normal car development,” the FIA’s single seater director Nikolas Tombazis insisted.

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