Banned! A video history of six-wheeled F1 cars

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Unless it’s a Reliant Robin or broken, cars tend to have four wheels, and the same goes for F1 machinery… 99% of the time. Jump back to the late 1970s and Tyrrell unveiled its P34, the first six-wheeled F1 car, and caused a storm with the potential that this new innovation could unlock.

The P34 was the product of lateral thinking at Tyrrell in 1976, as it looked for a way to outsmart its rivals, most of whom were using the same Cosworth DFV engine and the Hewland gearbox. It featured four 10-inch wheels mounted at the front of the chassis, with the steering directly attached to the front axle, whilst a bell crank arrangement was used to steer the second.

It was also anticipated that with four wheels at the front, rather than two, braking would be improved. However, it turned out that one unintended consequence here was a bigger headache in cooling the brakes, with numerous solutions arising in an effort to improve the issue.

Read Also:

  • The secrets of Formula 1’s six-wheeled racer
  • The Minardi star with a six-wheeled love affair
  • Retro: The 6-wheeled Williams F1 car that never raced

It wasn’t long before it was banned, but this didn’t stop other teams trying to find loopholes though, and in the sixth episode of our ‘Banned!’ series, Jake Boxall-Legge take a look at all three times we saw six-wheeled F1 cars, both on the track and behind closed doors.

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