Velocity RPB Concept Should be the Future of F1 (w/ Video)


Since the deaths of veteran Justin Wilson in IndyCar and the promising young talent Jules Bianchi in Formula 1, open-wheel race car series have been looking at a number of ways to enhance driver safety without ruining the look and feel of their race cars. Formula 1 seems to have chosen the “Halo” concept, for now, but did they rush to that decision without considering other, better options? One look at the brilliant Velocity RPB closed cockpit racing car concept from Chris Beatty will tell you: Yes. Yes, they did.

“As a fan of high-powered single seater open wheel racing cars I wanted to create a design that removed the heavy reliance on over the (wing-generated downforce) and, instead, focus on mechanical grip with a degree of ground effect generated from the under body,” says Beatty, in his description of the project. “Current top tier racing cars have become so overly refined they’ve lost what a lot of us fell in love with them for in the first place, that interaction between man (or woman) and machine. That perception of taming the beast.”

“A lot of recent race car concept design and speculation has been around taking the current F1 car (or 2017 spec) and re-styling it by shifting around the dimensions and then sticking a load of plastic aero paraphernalia all over the surface combined with other gimmicks that tick all the ‘futuristic look’ boxes,” continues Beatty. “To me, this is just a development exercise of what already exists, and does not provide a significant change in design philosophy. I wanted to produce a car that would be a game changer both visually and in the way it interacts with the driver and the race track. At the same time, I also wanted it to look like it could conceivably roll out of a Silverstone garage on a cold spring morning for an initial shakedown test within the next two years.”

If you ask me (you didn’t), Beatty has absolutely nailed it. His Velocity RPB concept is absolutely the kind of race car I’d like to spend my hard-earned money to watch tear up a track on race day.

Is the Velocity RPM perfect? No. I’d like to see a front wing, albeit a simple one. I’d like to see a bit more height on the rollover bar to give it a bit more Jordan 191. Beyond that, though? I mean- wow.


Velocity RPB Enclosed Cockpit Formula Car Concept

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About the Author

I’ve been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.

  • Steve Hanley

    I like the emphasis on mechanical grip over aero but may need a front wing to get the car to turn. I would severely restrict the design of the front wing, though. Single element only. Small end plates. The idea is to make it so cars can pass each other on track.

    Pretty much hate the cockpit cover. Too much could go wrong, trapping a driver inside the car (Remember Alonso upside down in one race this year? )

    Formula One is in love with aero. It revels in how many hundreds of millions it wastes on wind tunnels and computer modeling. If it used cars like this instead of the upside down jet fighters it has now, small teams might actually be able to compete.

    About 80% of this idea is good versus about 20% not so good, imho.

    • Watch the video, though. Their rollover escape (modeled after Alonso’s) is quite easy.

      • Steve Hanley

        True, IF the car comes to rest at an angle. Maybe it is my innate claustrophobia, but that enclosure would make me very hesitant to drive such a car.

        • It’s not going to come to rest flat with that rollover bar, though.

          • Steve Hanley

            And the possibility of the hook from a rescue crane coming into contact with Jules Bianchi’s body was exceedingly remote, but it happened. I deem it impossible to plan in advance for all the ways a race car travelling at high speed will behave when it contacts immovable objects trackside.

            Ask Francois Cevert……