The idea of cars running LED wheel covers to display extra information to fans has been considered for several years, and the option was even there in the rules for them to be introduced for racing if the technology was ready.
As long ago as the 2021 post-season test in Abu Dhabi, McLaren trialled the LED light system on its cars, amid hopes that they could be used to help fans better understand what was going on during sessions or the race.
Pirelli’s head of car racing and F1 Mario Isola said the options for the information that could be displayed through the LEDs was limitless.
Speaking at the time, he said: “When you fit this [LED light] device and the device is working, you can do whatever you want.
“You can display the position, you can display logos, you can display the lap time in qualifying or something like that. There are many possibilities.
“You have the technology, so it’s easy to programme what you want to display.”
Mario Isola, Racing Manager, Pirelli Motorsport
Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
But the idea to introduce the LEDs has now taken a step back following the latest meeting of the F1 Commission.
In revised technical regulations for 2024, the rule detailing the potential introduction of the LED systems has been removed – which officially rules out any possibility of them coming in to play.
The original Article 8.18 has stated: “Depending on the availability of the necessary technology, and in order to provide visual information to the spectators, the FIA may request each of the four wheel covers described in Article 3.13.7 to be fitted with a rotating LED display panel.”
While the technology may have been progressing, one of the biggest concerns about the LED systems was a potential weight increase in a sensitive area of the car.
F1’s switch from 13-inch to 18-inch wheels had already triggered a notable increase in mass, with the fronts being 2.5kg heavier and the rears 3kg up.
And, at a time when many teams have struggled to get their cars below the minimum weight limit, adding extra weight due to the LED systems was clearly not something teams were willingly going to embrace.
Leave a Reply