24 November 2022
The six-wheel Tyrrell P34 is one the most iconic car designs in F1.
Racing car design and innovation were significant during the late 60s and early 70s, but by the late 70s, it had lost momentum. That is until Ken Tyrrell decided it was time for a bit of a ‘shake-up’.
To give his team a significant advantage, he designed the new car with four small front wheels, which provided additional grip, allowing much faster cornering.
Additionally, smaller wheels shielded by the front of the body panels created significantly improved aerodynamics. In fact, it added 40bhp, which by any standard, was outstanding.
What could possibly go wrong?
Well, there were two major issues; Jody Scheckter recalled, ‘it broke a lot. All those different, smaller components proved pretty finicky, to the point where it could be a little scary from the driver’s perspective.’
Equally importantly, there was difficulty in seeing the small tyres, which is kinda important when you are cornering, so Tyrrell fitted ‘portholes’ so the driver could see the wheels; however, they quickly were unusable as they got caked with dirt.