Simplicity rules OK


How I agree with Paul Frere's splendid letter in February's MOTOR SPORT. Changes in the technical regulations are urgently needed for greater spectacle, closer competition, substantially reduced cost, and safety for drivers and spectators, as well as directing the attention of the world's finest car designers to evolving machines which push forward the frontiers of fuel economy and engine efficiency and lowered pollution emission levels.

Frere's concept revolves around just two principles. Firstly, there's the reduced width of the F1 car. For no good reason F1's girth has spread from 5ft in the early 1960s to over 7ft in the early '90s. Wide cars make overtaking much more difficult, and passing usually takes place at the approach to a corner or a chicane where space is often limited. Wide cars also allow much higher levels of mechanical grip and much greater downforce to be generated. Thinning cars down to 5ft 9in, the average width of a road car, would solve a whole lot of problems at a stroke and would be simple to police.

Secondly, Frere advocates power reduction by means of restricting fuel allocation, from a typical 220 litres down to just 100 (48 gallons down to 22). At present, F1 cars achieve less than 5mpg; even if this was increased to 10 mpg, you could hardly call them frugal, but it would be a step in the right direction.

However, rather than allowing a maximum of 100 litres, which might produce that boring late-race touring which we saw last time we had such a fuel allowance, why not adopt as mandatory that very clever fuel-flow restrictor which Keith Duckworth designed nearly a decade ago. That would only pass 0.8 litres of fuel per minute, irrespective of fuel line pressure. Thus engine designers would have to work on efficiency to gain a power advantage over their rivals, and hence we'd have lower pollution from standard pump fuel.

These are straightforward changes, and could easily be monitored. They would address the present problems by producing a more exciting spectacle and necessitating research which is more relevant to passenger vehicles.

Richard Hinton, Ware, Herts.