The Ten Most Ingenious F1 'Cheats' EverS

There are many ways that teams 'cheat' in F1 in order to get ahead. Like ordering your driver into a wall, or blocking a corner "by accident." The best 'cheats' don't break the rules, but bend them using technological loopholes. These were the ten most brilliant efforts.


10.) Renault's mass damper in 2005

The Ten Most Ingenious F1 'Cheats' EverS

Renault didn't want their cars to move too much vertically. c_beyer2 explains:

Renault first used it and other teams followed. It was basically a weight that was suspending by hydraulic springs in the nose (and some in the rear too) of the car that counteracted bouncing in the chassis. If the nose bounced up the weight would move down and vis versa, helping the car to stay planted and stable. It was banned as a "movable aerodynamic piece" even though it was mounted inside the the car and had no effect on aero...

Read more about Rob Marshall's genius invention here.

Suggested By: c_beyer2, Photo Credit: Getty Images


9.) McLaren's F-duct in 2010

The Ten Most Ingenious F1 'Cheats' EverS

The F-duct was simply brilliant. A tiny hole in front of the cockpit gave them superior straight line speed by channeling air to stall the rear wing. Using nonlinear fluidic effects to implement a logic switch for airflow was so smart that the FIA gave it a go as well creating what's known as DRS today.

Still, the original was way more interesting. Just click here to see why.

Suggested By: ThrillerWA09, Photo Credit: Getty Images


8.) BMW's turbo engines in 1986

The Ten Most Ingenious F1 'Cheats' EverS

Simply everybody was turning those turbos to eleven for qualifying, but only BMW could get close to 1,500 horsepower out of 1.5-liters. How? Well, since there were no engine limitations, it was okay to blow up engines after completing just four laps. Four very fast laps. They simply put a new one in for the race.

Let Jackie Stewart explain it to you while wearing a cowboy hat. Gotta love the eighties!

Suggested By: FastAndBoxy, Photo Credit: Getty Images


7.) Tyrrell's weight-saving water-cooled brakes in 1984

The Ten Most Ingenious F1 'Cheats' EverS

Formula One cars all must meet a minimum weight in the name of safety and performance. Tyrrell figured out a way around the rule to make their car lighter and faster on the track.

Feel free to ask Sir Frank Williams or a certain Mr. Murray how to cheat with "water-cooled" brakes, but Tyrrell was at the peak of this game, as themanwithsauce points out:

Tyrrell's 1984 car actively racing underweight only to have the water injection system topped up with 2 gallons of water and 140 pounds of lead shot at the end to make minimum weight for the post-race inspection. A clever way to do it given that Tyrrell was not a huge economic power in F1 and their car was I believe one of the few non-turbo cars of the era.

Suggested By: themanwithsauce, Photo Credit: Getty Images


6.) Brawn's double diffuser in 2009

The Ten Most Ingenious F1 'Cheats' EverS

Formula 1's rules explicitly stated that a rear diffuse could only be so big, but Brawn F1 managed to contour the whole shape of the car to act like there was a second 'double decker' diffuser area stacked on top of the one the rules intended. Other teams protested it was illegal, but it was so effective that it practically secured Brawn the championship.

I you want to win a championship on a tight budget, this is how to do it:

  • Use Honda's money to develop an innovative new car.
  • Buy the team for one pound once the Japanese got fed up with Bernie and all.
  • Win everything while the rest tries to catch up spending millions in the process.

Suggested By: Braking Bad, Photo Credit: Getty Images


5.) The Williams CVT in 1993

The Ten Most Ingenious F1 'Cheats' EverS

Not only did Williams use an active suspension, they also pioneered a continuously variable transmission to their advantage. Axel-Ripper knows why:

I believe they figured that you'd save almost a second of lap time with a CVT.

Why? First, those .050s shifts add up. Second you are ALWAYS in the correct gear to give the most available power at all times. Even with 7 or 8 speeds, you still wind up not being at 100% power at all times, something a CVT will do.

Here's more.

Suggested By: Axel-Ripper, Photo Credit: Getty Images


4.) The twin-chassis Lotus in 1981

The Ten Most Ingenious F1 'Cheats' EverS

DOWNFORCE, DOWNFORCE, DOWNFORCE! This is what Wikipedia has to say about the Lotus 88:

The 88 used an ingenious system of having a twin chassis, one inside the other. The inner chassis would hold the cockpit and would be independently sprung from the outer one, which was designed to take the pressures of the ground effects. The outer chassis did not have discernible wings, and was in effect one huge ground effect system, beginning just behind the nose of the car and extending all the way inside the rear wheels, thereby producing massive amounts of downforce.

Suggested By: Gino King, Photo Credit: Getty Images


3.) McLaren's rear brake in 1997

The Ten Most Ingenious F1 'Cheats' EverS

The original MP4/12 had one pedal too many. McLaren was eliminating understeer and wheel spin in any corner quite efficiently until photographer Darren Heath discovered the trick.

Suggested By: kevinbotz, Photo Credit: Getty Images


2.) Benetton's traction control in 1994

The Ten Most Ingenious F1 'Cheats' EverS

We don't know if Red Bull have given Vettel his fourth championship with the help of traction control or not, nor if Michael Schumacher started his winning career by cheating or not.

All we know is that the hardware was there, the software was there, and the team boss ordered his second driver into a wall 14 years later just to win a race.

Suggested By: Arch Duke Maxyenko, Great Job, Photo Credit: Getty Images


1.) Brabham's fan car in 1978

The Ten Most Ingenious F1 'Cheats' EverS

Designed by the legendary Gordon Murray, the Brabham BT46 was literally sucked to the ground by a huge fan stuck on the back of the car. Other drivers complained that the fan picked up stones off the track and shot them at following cars. It won its first race, and it would have won many more, but Brabham agreed to give up the technology after months of development for the sake of the sport.

The fan car was too effective, too out-of-the-box for its own good.

Suggested By: Braking Bad , Photo Credit: Getty Images

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