Bodywork, dimensions and cockpit

What the technical regulations say:

  • The overall width of a car, excluding tyres, must not exceed 2,000mm.
  • The length, height and shape of the car are effectively governed by other specific parameters. For example, bodywork between the front and rear wheel centre lines must not be more than 1,600mm wide.
  • In order to prevent tyre damage to other cars, certain pieces of bodywork (such as front wing endplates) must be at least 10mm thick.
  • No part of the car can be more than 950mm in height.
  • The positioning and size of other bodywork or aerodynamic appendages (such as wings) on the car is strictly controlled.
  • With the exception of the rear wing (see below), moveable bodywork is not allowed. Furthermore, any system, device or procedure which uses driver movement as a means of altering the aerodynamic characteristics of the car’s bodywork is prohibited.
  • Cars may be equipped with moveable rear wings which allow the driver to control the wing’s angle of incidence (within specified limits) from the cockpit (commonly known as a Drag Reduction System, or DRS).
  • The DRS system is electronically governed and is only available during the race when a driver is less than one second behind another car at pre-determined points on the track. The system is then deactivated once the driver brakes.
  • Bodywork that flexes excessively could in theory be used to gain an aerodynamic advantage. Therefore specific sections of the bodywork, such as the front wing, must be sufficiently rigid to pass the FIA’s ever more stringent deflection tests.
  • The size of a Formula 1 car’s cockpit opening must comply with strict specifications. Compliance with these specifications is tested by lowering a specially made template into the cockpit.
  • The driver must be able to enter and get out of the cockpit without it being necessary to open a door or remove any part of the car other than the steering wheel.
  • From his normal seating position, with all seat belts fastened and whilst wearing his usual driving equipment, the driver must be able to remove the steering wheel and get out of the car within seven seconds and then replace the steering wheel within a further five seconds.
  • The steering wheel must be fitted with a quick release mechanism.
  • The car’s survival cell structure, designed to protect the driver in the event of an accident, must extend at least 300mm beyond the driver’s feet, which must not be forward of the front-wheel centre line.