F1 2016 actually faster than ‘the golden age’ V10s of 2004


The F1 fans of today have often waxed lyrical about those halcyon days of V10 power and how much better it was. The truth of the matter is really there was very little in the way of racing back then with most passing done in the pit lane.

Such was the fan backlash of the new 2014 hybrid power units and their lack of noise, the sports governing body knee-jerked themselves into achieving “5 seconds a lap faster” than the current formula produces. Straight away the efforts of the Overtaking Working Group were cast aside in favour of a set of technical regulations that would ensure that we’d likely end up back to square one in terms of on track racing.

Regardless, the powers that be have dictated that us – the fans – will be better off with quicker cars. Back to the ‘good ol days’ of F1 where all the lap records still remain.

A very interesting video appeared on Reddit today  showing pole laps from Lewis Hamilton in 2016 against Michael Schumacher 2004. What makes this a very good comparison is the fact that in 2004 the cars had to qualify with race fuel on board making the lighter 2004 spec close to 2016 weight in quali trim.

Also, 2016 Pirelli slicks are actually closer in terms of grip to the grooved Bridgestone tyres. 2004 rules allowed tyre competition between Bridgestone and Michelin so development had been focused solely on Ferrari with the Bridgestone rubber making them a very good set of boots.

TJ13 writer El Jef Maximo wrote an article yesterday outlining what he thinks F1 should be doing to bring back excitement during a race weekend.


So to you, the Jury. If you were to have the power of instantly changing the rules of F1 for 2017 back to 2004, would you do it? If you would, what aspect of that era do you miss? If not 2004, perhaps a different era? Let us know in the comments.

13 responses to “F1 2016 actually faster than ‘the golden age’ V10s of 2004

    • sounds good Verstappen, the DRS does nothing for me, I’d prefer one proper overtake (think Alonso/Schumi 130R) than a million DRS passes, and these biodegradable Pirellis are no fun at all (not their fault I will say, you get what you ask for).
      I’m with Bruznic, manual gear change – really manual, i want to see the right hand having to be taken off the wheel!!
      I always get offended when asked at the airport if I want an automatic – no, I want a car!!

  1. So let’s review then, a 2004 v10 filled with fuel, as opposed to just enough for qualifying, on grooved tires, not slicks, is less than 1 sec slower at Australia. If you want to see how incredibly fast 2004 cars were watch JPM’s lap at Monza. That was the fastest average speed in a lap ever turned in F1. Also, when did you see a car not make it out of the pits on time or retire on the formation lap in the early 2000s because of engine issues, never that I recall. So stop trying to tell me how wonderful the current rules are.

  2. It goes without saying that 13 years of progress would make engines more reliable. If you back dated 13 years from 2004 we would enter 1991 whigh suffered a variety of reliability issues amongst the grid.

    Similarly, aerodynamics and the understanding of their application has improved, DRS is a proper that’s available for free use in qualifying and no doubt fluids, fuels and oils have all released performance from the cars.

    I don’t want Bridgestone tyres again. Nor do I want aerodynamics governed by how well your composites department can stack the elements.

    The cars should sound deafening, shock you as they scream past and be driven by men who are old enough to shave and are heroes to the audience – not members of that audience!

    The V10 era was great because it sounded better than now but if you want proper fundamentally scary cars, go back to the mid to late 80’s turbos and the early 90’s V8,10 & 12’s.

    Give the sport back to the drivers and the fans. Imagine Bruznic Ickx racing a Ferrari 640… divine lord 👏

    • Hahah. Don’t look at me. My favourite f1 cars are Tyrrell p34, most of the Ferrari’s that had 312t in their name and Mclaren’s M23 (with the low air intake above the helmet). I’m also a “bring back the beasts” kinda guy. That’s why I want them to bring back manuals, that would make it so much harder to drive. More respectable. Senna’s clip in Monaco with one hand steering and one hand shifting is the most insane thing ever. If they had that now No-one would ever argue that it’s too easy.

  3. 2011-2013 era! A lot of teams and drivers where potential race winners each weekend.

  4. Pingback: F1 2016 actually faster than ‘the golden age’ V10s of 2004 — thejudge13 | BWOAH Racing Acid·

  5. There are several ways to skin a cat, and to make cars fast as well. The 2016 cars were never slow, but they were heavy and cumbersome in comparision to previous generations of F1 cars dating back over a decade. The turbos were powerful, light and unruly. Think of Senna’s pole at Adelaide 1985. Then came years of screaming and wild V10s and V12s which grew to develop massive power and set several records. Later on, even with the adoption of the V8s (but before Pirelli came along), the cars were agile and benefitted form tremendous grip and downforce. Think of how those 2010 cars were so quick and close to breaking records as well.

    Then came Pirelli and their poor tyres, followed by these heavy and uninspiring cars which even drivers openly criticise. Think of Alonso comparing them to jumbo jets instead of fighter jets.

    So, were the 2016 cars slow? No. Were they inspiring and memorable in any way? No. Will they be missed? Not by me.

  6. The reasons why present cars are so fast is because of the 8-speed gearbox, turbos, hybrid system, ers and slick tires. Give a 2004 f1 car the same advantages the rules stipulate today and you can bet that it’ll leave the present generation of cars in the dust.

    And yes, present day cars are actually faster (Sergio Perez, Force India, 370 km/h). But only because of extra advantages and new technology.

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