Let's have a look at the story of the Tyrrell P34, the six-wheel F1 car.
In the 1970s, F1 engineering and technology was a time of research and development between the various participating teams. Not all F1 cars looked virtually identical to each other as they do today. F1 cars left their bathtub rounded design and started to realise the advantages of having the cars wider, lower and far more aerodynamic than previous versions.
During this time in F1, around 1975, F1 racecar designer and engineer Derek Gardner, developed a new type of chassis for the Tyrrell F1 car, which was the P34 F1 car. This was one of the most recognisable F1 cars of all time as it featured six wheels as opposed to the usual four.
Derek Gardner opted for the Tyrrell P34 F1 car to have four wheels in the front of the car, which were far smaller than the standard size. This helped with aerodynamics in the sense that air could flow more consistently over the rear wing which resulted in far more grip. Furthermore, the front four tyres had more road contact combined, which also resulted in more grip.
This proved to be successful to the Tyrrell F1 team as their race winnings and podiums increased during that time. However, the entire P34 project was cancelled in 1977 due to the tyre manufacturer complaining that it was far too costly to develop a smaller tyre size just for one race team, as well as the Tyrrell P34 breaking down more often due to the car having many more suspension parts and components that could ultimately go wrong.
Take a look at the video below by YouTube channel, Aidan Millward, on the six-wheel F1 car – the story of the Tyrrell P34.
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