F1 - Historica

Formula One’s six-wheeled winner

Read more to know about the first (and only) successful six-wheeler F1 cars with a single win and 15 podiums in between.

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Formula One’s six-wheeled winner
Fuente imagen: google.com

Let's go back through F1 History and remember together about the most interesting 6 wheeled car, the Tyrrell P34.

Certainly one of F1 racing’s most unique and interesting designs, the “6 wheeler” was also a successful design as it did win a Grand Prix.


The concept of the car, designed by Derek Gardner, was to have front wheels that were small enough to fit behind the wedge nose of the car for improved aerodynamics. Less drag created by the four small front tires, as well as smoother airflow to the rear wing. With four front wheels, there was also a greater tire contact patch area for improved traction.


 The downside was the increased complexity of the front suspension system as well as increased weight compared to conventional design cars.


The car was successfully kept secret until it’s unveiling in September 1975.

At Zolder circuit, the Belgian GP, the 6-wheeled car scored its first points ever in the championship finishing 4th in 1976. However, the P34 has competed in the championship in two seasons 1976 and 1977.

Drivers Jody Scheckter and Patrick Depailler were competitive right away with the radical new design coming home second and third at Monaco, but the best result came soon afterward in the Swedish GP at Anderstorp circuit where Scheckter won the race and Depailler came second!

Despite the success Jody Scheckter had in the P34 - one win, one pole, five podiums, third in the world championship - the South African has never spoken favorably of the P34, particularly not liking its braking characteristics.

With four front tires and six axles, brake balance was no longer just a matter of front-to-rear, but rather front-to-front-to-rear - something which would play havoc with the car’s handling as the wheelbase effectively lengthened or shortened depending on which axle locked. “The braking was supposed to be better: well, it was when you were braking in a straight line, but as soon as you turned in, the little wheels slid and you had to come off the pedal, so there was no advantage there,” Scheckter told Motor Sport magazine in 2008. “It only really worked on very smooth surfaces and, back then, there just weren't many of those around."

The P34 and P34B were the first (and only) successful six-wheeler F1 cars with a single win and 15 podiums.

The car was revamped aerodynamically and raced again in 1977 with less success as Goodyear really didn’t keep developing the custom made small front tires.

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