7 Brilliant Pieces Of F1 Technology From The Last 15 Years

F1 rules may be quite restrictive, but there have been some brilliant technological innovations in the sport over the last 15 years
7 Brilliant Pieces Of F1 Technology From The Last 15 Years


Image source: Mercedes AMG Petronas
Image source: Mercedes AMG Petronas

The Head and Neck Support device was developed and tested over several years before being introduced to F1 in 2003. It is actually a safety system that has been introduced across many motorsport championships over the years and has helped save the lives of many.

The HANS device is mandatory in most motorsport series and is made of carbonfibre. The U-shaped shoulder collar is attached to the helmet by two elastic straps. It is secured under the drivers’ seat belts.

2. Double diffuser

7 Brilliant Pieces Of F1 Technology From The Last 15 Years

The double diffuser sparked controversy in F1 back in 2009 but when it was found to be legal, all teams designed their own versions. Originally Brawn GP, Williams and Toyota showed up with ‘double-decker’ diffusers, taking advantage of a loophole to create more downforce.

In basic terms, they incorporated the crash structure into the diffuser design, shaping the central part of it to allow air to flow through it, into the diffuser, creating more suction and downforce from it. The devices remained legal until 2011 when they were banned.

3. F-Duct

7 Brilliant Pieces Of F1 Technology From The Last 15 Years

This was one of McLaren’s most recent inventions and debuted in 2010. The rear wing stalling system used a duct at the front of the car, which could be covered by a driver’s knee when on a straight to redirect the airflow down a vent and stall the rear wing.

This cut drag significantly and helped McLaren enjoy increased top speeds of up to 6mph. The nifty little piece of innovative genius was not deemed to be a moveable aerodynamic device but it was eventually banned at the end of the season.

4. Tuned mass dampers

Image source: Renault
Image source: Renault

Renault brought this technology to F1 late in 2005 with the R25, where the system was only used at the front of the car. However for the following season the R26 was fitted with tuned mass dampers at the front and rear, before it was banned at the German grand prix (despite the fact the FIA had previously said it was legal).

Tuned mass dampers featured a sprung weight enclosed within the nose of the car, which decreased the amount of pitching and movement experienced over bumps, kerbs and through slow corners. It had a considerable impact on the handling of cars and was duly copied by rivals until it was banned.

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This is far from a new concept and different versions have been around in F1 from the 1980s onwards, but Red Bull reinvented it in 2010 to give the RB6 a big advantage over the rest of the field. Blown diffusers generate downforce through the exhaust gases being blown into the diffuser area.

It creates a huge boost in aerodynamic efficiency from the bottom of the car. Teams quickly reacted and created their own low exhaust layouts, but the innovation was eventually banned from F1 in 2012. Now F1 cars have central exhaust exits which prevent the kind of downforce improvement in this area.

6. Intricate aero

7 Brilliant Pieces Of F1 Technology From The Last 15 Years

There are some stunning aero innovations on the 2016 cars, including the Mercedes, which features some brilliantly aggressive looking bargeboards and front wing elements that are beautifully designed. It’s all in the detail and even the smallest changes can have a big impact on the flow of air over the cars.

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In 2009 the Kinetic Energy Recovery (KERS) device debuted in F1, bringing hybrid technology to the pinnacle of motorsport. It wasn’t a big hit from the start (only four teams used it at some point during the year) but the majority of teams used it in 2011, and by 2013 the entire grid featured KERS.

The system took waste energy generated under braking and turned it into a power boost of 80bhp for up to six seconds per lap. It brought a new tactical element to racing and kick-started hybrid technology in the series. Now cars run with ERS within the power units, providing a performance effect 10 times greater than KERS.

What other F1 innovations from the last 15 years or so fascinate you the most? Let us know below!


Drifting Dutch

Such a great idea, let’s ban it ~FIA

04/03/2016 - 11:03 |
610 | 0

Designers can’t have much fun nowadays, but when they do it’s banned at the end of the season..

04/03/2016 - 11:05 |
194 | 0

That’s amazing idea but i want to ban it anyway

04/03/2016 - 11:28 |
4 | 0

F1 in some years after all the bans: A metal box with 4 wheels, literally.

04/03/2016 - 11:41 |
12 | 0

Japan won once with an original car/engine (787B) which was fully on par with the requirements, but since germoney owns that industry, we gotta ban Rotaties

04/03/2016 - 14:16 |
10 | 2

They’ll ban drivers by 2020 at this rate

04/03/2016 - 16:41 |
48 | 0

I hope in next couple of years some of these technologies will be in road legal cars..

04/03/2016 - 11:04 |
4 | 0
ramses rizal

Can you imagine how F1 now if there’s no ban or whatsoever?

04/03/2016 - 11:29 |
34 | 0

Sir you just got a million dollar idea ( ;

04/03/2016 - 11:33 |
6 | 6

It would be a bit unfair for teams that can’t afford those innovations

04/03/2016 - 11:34 |
8 | 12

The drivers would need pressurized suits like a fighter pilot. The increased g-forces would be deadly otherwise. F1 without technical bans would actually be too fast.

04/03/2016 - 11:47 |
76 | 2

GT6’s Red Bull cars would be a real thing.

04/03/2016 - 18:35 |
2 | 0
slevo beavo

McLarens 4th pedal to brake the inside rear wheel in corners

04/03/2016 - 12:18 |
22 | 0

Seriously? Wow O.O

04/04/2016 - 00:51 |
0 | 0

What about the S-duct?

04/03/2016 - 12:25 |
2 | 0

Oh wow! Look at the ingenuity, the intricacy, the originality! No, don’t care. Ban it.

04/03/2016 - 12:27 |
62 | 0

Should make a formula-u (u for unlimited). Everything allowed within certain car dimensions and it has to be a full electric engine at the core. Would be a great technology race which hopefully ends up giving results down to consumer cars.

04/03/2016 - 12:29 |
2 | 2

“has to have an electric engine”

I don’t think you understand what unlimited means…

04/03/2016 - 19:57 |
8 | 0
Tavi Birda

Before long they’ll ban internal combustion engines too.

04/03/2016 - 12:29 |
74 | 0

For real though! They’re already starting Formula E

04/03/2016 - 14:02 |
8 | 0

Bringback the V10s.You don’t need NASA technology for motorsports.

04/03/2016 - 12:37 |
2 | 2

Yesterday a lap record was broken in Bahrain…one which was set by the V10 cars…they actually are the most advanced engines to date in F1 and the least of its problems.

04/03/2016 - 13:05 |
0 | 0

I am not against technology.But this thing should stop.Of course speed and lap times are important.If the speed is the most important thing,go and watch something else.For instance; why there are emission rules for F1 cars?How many F1 cars exist in the world?What if they have V10s and so 2x Co2?Would the world become misarable?There are few racing cars in the world,don’t forget.I am not against emission rules for the cars,but i am against the emissions rules for racing cars;F1 cars for instance.Sound is one of the most important things about F1.Electric Formula is good too,but why destroy V10s and V8s for stupid turbo sounds?Why not both?One shall be for fun,the other is for technology.And about aerodynamy,engineers become more important than the drivers.They can’t overtake each other anymore,don’t you see?Is F1 place to create technology or sport?You should decide.I don’t think F1 is a place to create technology.Why?Because we are not using f*cking F1 cars as daily.Do you think that F1 teams are used in producing Mercedes S classe?Don’t be fooled by the liars.

04/03/2016 - 14:52 |
0 | 0

What about those flexible front spoilers used by redbull and then ferrari?

04/03/2016 - 12:41 |
0 | 0


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