Why don't F1 cars have 4-wheel drive?
Simple, it's illegal. Article 9.1 of the technical regulations: "9.1 Transmission types : No transmission system may permit more than two wheels to be driven."
it was tried many years ago but didnt work - its possible it would now but nobody seems interested in trying.
They tried it, in the late 60s and early 70s. 4WD was an advantage in the wet, but in the dry the cars understeered and were too heavy, and the drivers hated them.
There's no real reason why F1 cars couldn't be 4-wheel drive but there are a number of considerations ... Firstly, 4-wheel drive systems are more complicated. You need at least a front differential and possibly a central differential. You need an additional shaft to transfer power to the front wheels. For something under the strains of an F1 car, particularly the lateral forces around corners of several g, I think you'd see a lot more failures. That's not good for the sport or for viewers if cars are less reliable. Secondly, F1 cars have to be low to the ground to help the aerodynamics and handling. Now, if you think about it, what that would mean is that drivers would be sitting directly over a rotating shaft bringing power to the front wheels. I dread to think what sorts of injuries might be caused in collisions and accidents as a result of those parts being *that* close to a driver. Thirdly, you could, in theory, protect the driver from that shaft but you'd need some heavy duty transfer case. This would add weight to the car as would the additional differentials and the shaft. The question you'd then have to ask is whether the benefits of traction and control with a 4WD system are offset by the weight increase in terms of performance around a track. For example, you might hope that you have better traction and therefore better acceleration but if your car is heavier does it cancel the effect? If you hope you have better control with your 4WD moving through the corners, does that translate to faster lap times when your pig heavy car then lumbers out of the corner afterwards trying to pick up speed? And if you're now trying to brake from 200 mph to 50 mph to get around that corner, how much energy are you having to dissipate in your brakes? Are your brakes going to get bigger and thicker? Is that going to add even more weight? OK, these are rhetorical questions I'm thinking of off the top of my head and there are probably answers and solutions but the point is it is not immediately clear to me that 4WD would benefit an F1 car in terms of lap times. Fourthly, if your F1 car is now heavier this will have an impact on tyre wear and also on fuel usage. So, you'd need more fuel (adding even more weight) and probably enhanced tyre degradation. If you used more robust tyre compounds to reduce that degradation, chances are they won't be as fast around a track. So, as I said, you *could* have 4WD F1 cars. I'm just not convinced they'd do faster lap times!
May be in the future ...but now it is against the present regulation which seems to be written by foolish people (to many, absurd, constraints than penalize the design potential and the spectacle : most of the OVERTAKINGS are at the pit-stop)
Firstly under current rules , it's not allowed. It has been tried in the past, by Ferguson, Lotus, McLaren and Cosworth but no one had much success. The weight penalty would probably outweigh the advantages like better starting and wet handling.
Because it's not allowed in the rule book + likely nowhere to safely put a shaft to run power from the back to the front wheels without it spearing the driver in the crotch in a crash + Four Wheel Drive is known to have a habit of self-destructing when launching from a standing start if you're not careful with it.
Probably because for the most part, the drivers tend not to get involved in off-roading.
weight and driving , sliding is driving .