28 April 2023
When you think of six-wheeled F1 race cars, the Tyrell P34 springs to mind, the one with four smaller wheels at the front.
Several other race car teams have ventured down the six-wheel avenue.
March developed a six-wheeler with two wheels at the front and four at the rear, which never reached the track.
In 1977, Ferrari trialled a six-wheeler with the same wheel configuration as the March, and like March, their dalliance never raced.
Williams was the fourth team to evaluate the scope for two additional wheels in the early 80s when other teams were experimenting with various engine options.
Williams tried two different variants of the six-wheel concept. The first was the FW07D, and the second car was the FW08B, which was evidently very fast in practice, possibly partly attributable to the greater ‘downforce’.
However, the writing was on the wall; for the 1983 season, the FIA proclaimed that all F1 race cars should have a maximum of four wheels, two of which were the driven wheels.
From the various six-wheel attempts, the Tyrrell P34 was the most successful and remains the only six-wheeled car to have won a race: Sweden in 1976.
As a footnote, there were rumours that Ferrari was toying with the idea of an eight-wheeler.