FIA president Max Mosley has revealed that he is keen to continue revising Formula One's technical regulations with a view to improving the spectacle for those watching the sport.
In a letter to the Formula One Teams Association [FOTA] chairman Luca di Montezemolo, which was obtained by the Reuters
news agency, Mosley admitted that the lack of overtaking in the top flight remained a problem, and that he hoped that the sport would consider rules that would provoke a return to 'slip-streaming' and 'wheel-to-wheel racing'.
"We intend to seek FOTA's help to investigate the use of moveable aerodynamic devices," the Briton wrote as part of an exchange of correspondence that also included his latest ideas on cutting the cost of competing in the top flight.
"If sufficiently radical, these could give a car following another car a performance advantage by virtue of being behind. In a primitive way, this was the case in the 1960s, when a car would get a 'tow' and lose lift and thus be faster in the wake of another car. The result was wheel-to-wheel racing at the so-called slip-streaming circuits - for example, pre-chicane Monza.
"Using modern technology, moveable aero devices could be used to give a car more downforce and less drag whenever it was in turbulent air. This would produce wheel-to-wheel racing on all
types of circuit. It would however require significant (possibly automatic) moveable aero devices."
Although moveable aerodynamic devices have been frowned upon for many years - despite teams attempting to get around the regulations with increasingly subtle ideas - the latest raft of technical proposals put forward included provision for them to be included, provided all teams followed a common set of rules. The idea would see drivers able to manipulate the angle of wings for a limited period during races in a bid to make their cars faster due to reduced 'drag' and therefore facilitate overtaking. Mosley's proposal, however, would seem to take the thinking further.
Despite the president's urging that costs be clashed in order to keep F1 alive, and the teams' apparent willingness to fall into line since the demise of Honda in November, research and development of any new technology will undoubtedly force participants to spend more. The same is true of the introduction of KERS - Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems - which are due to be permitted from this year, but which are forcing teams to invest heavily in technology no-one appears convinced about - either in terms of relevance to the 'real world' or benefit to racing.
Mosley has long been an advocate of introducing 'green' thinking to F1, and even went as far as claiming that KERS should remain a differentiating factor between teams in his vision of an increasingly homogenised category, but now appears less convinced of its viability as the teams push for consideration of a commonly-developed system to reduce costs.
"It remains to be seen whether these [moveable aero devices], plus an extra 80bhp from KERS, will help overtaking," he admitted in his letter, which also detailed other ideas designed to spice up what he called 'the show'.
"There are also proposals for changes to the sporting regulations, such as wholly or partially reversed grids, allocating leading grid places by lot, giving the world championship to the driver with most wins and so on. Arguably, however, none of these deals with the problem that, once the faster car gets past, it tends to drive away. None of these proposals is conducive to close, wheel-to-wheel racing."