The Tyrrell P34, Engineering Marvel or misguided experiment in F1’s History?

The Tyrrell P34, Engineering Marvel or misguided experiment in F1

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The Tyrrell P34, Engineering Marvel or misguided experiment in F1's History?

Like most other teams out there at the time, there was one goal with the P34 Tyrrell, to increase grip.

Other than pointing out the obvious, which was that the P34 had an extra 2 front wheels, there was another benefit from this unconventional wild design. The improvement of the aerodynamics.

By reducing the size of the front wheels it could allow for a more streamlined bodywork, aiding the top speed and reducing drag, another trending area in Formula 1 at the time.

The tyres were difficult to source and would have to be custom made, but that was the least of their problems.

Trying to get the 2 front axles to turn in unison whilst independently handling the bumps was a difficult task. The design consisted of a complex web of linkages and rods that connected to the front wheels from a steering rack in the centre.

The driver’s negative feedback added to this complexity, when they complained about the handling and understeer they experienced.

The team at Tyrrell did manage to secure some success. Despite the negative sentiment from the media and the other teams the P34 was fast straight away and won its debut race in Spain.

Although the handling issue remained, and it was eventually retired at the end of the 1977 season, it leaves behind an incredible legacy showing what can be done when designers and engineers push beyond their boundaries and design briefs, and eventually came up with the first ever 6 wheel F1 car.

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