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F1 outlines its blueprints for the 2021 regulations

  • Published on 17 Jul 2019 16:34
  • comments 3
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Formula 1 has announced its biggest revelation yet as to how the sport will look in 2021 when a series of new regulations will come into effect. 

The original sign off date for the rules was at the end of June, however following a meeting in Paris, it was agreed that the deadline should be postponed until October of this year.

There are four main areas of the new regulations that will be revolutionised, all aimed at making the sport better for the teams competing and the fans watching at home.

1. Cars that can follow and race

In recent years, downforce levels in Formula 1 have spiralled, with the current specification of cars the quickest that the sport has ever seen due to their cornering speed abilities.

However, while the speeds may be spectacular to watch, the increase in downforce has also raised the amount of dirty air the cars produce, which makes it extremely difficult for cars behind to follow closely due to the turbulent air being generated.

For 2021, it is expected that the dirty air will be significantly reduced as ground effect will play a much bigger role in how the cars produce downforce.

Speaking about the 2021 car, the FIA's head of single-seaters Nicholas Tombazis said: "Typically, from about a 50% loss of downforce for the following car at two car distances [in 2017] it’s down to about a 5-10% loss.

"So we have a massive reduction of the reduction of downforce for the following car.”

The FIA is also working with tyre supplier Pirelli who will introduce 18-inch tyres in 2021, but is not willing to produce high degradation tyres.

At the same time, F1's chief technical officer Pat Symonds insists that getting the tyres to degrade rapidly is not the way forward for the Italian marque, but knows that F1 pit stops are important for the sport. 

Tyre blankets, that prepare the tyres and process heat through them before the drivers take to track, are also set to be banned.

2. A more level playing field

In the turbo hybrid era that began in 2014, just three teams (Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull) have won races.

The aforementioned teams have more money, and can, therefore, use it to push development faster than others, while also having more resources to build their cars.

“We have three teams that can win races at the moment, that's all,” said F1's managing director Ross Brawn.

“Over the next couple of years, Formula 1 will be on a much better path where a really good, moderately-funded team, can cause a lot of trouble.

"That's what we want. If you get a Charles Leclerc or a Max Verstappen in a midfield team, it can make a difference. It won't matter at the moment.”

One big talking point heading to the October deadline is the driver's ability inside the cockpit, which would see them having to manage issues like overheating and tyre wear, rather than receive coaching from their engineers.

A reduction in the car-to-pit telemetry is being discussed, as are other driver aids in the car.

3. Producing aesthetically pleasing cars

While F1 is remaining firmly focused on producing cars that can race closer, they wish to ensure that the cars look good for the fans and have a 'wow factor' to them.

“We do aim for the final product to be aesthetically pleasing,” said Tombazis. “To be a car that promotes a certain amount of passion and a certain ‘wow factor’, so we want that to be part of the new Formula 1.”

Tombazis says there are still discussions ongoing regarding the front wing, as they are not yet entirely happy with it both aerodynamically and aesthetically.

“The front wing, we're still not completely pleased about, both from an aerodynamic point of view and from an aesthetic point of view," he stated. 

"So we're trying to make it a bit better in both aspects. There's good reasons why the wing is very wide aerodynamically, but we all will appreciate that it's not the best aesthetic result, so there's work going on there.”

Brawn added that fans will be consulted on the front wing, which will give the FIA more of an indication as to what they want, and why those who have stopped watching have stopped. 

There will also be an investigation into the type of circuits that F1 will race at in order to make more exciting races, with Vietnam, which will host its first Grand Prix in 2019 will be a "test of a new philosophy" for F1.

4. A financially sustainable series

A lot of the talk in recent months regarding the 2021 regulations have been about the budget cap that is set to be $175 million for all teams.

However, there are exceptions to the cap such as drivers' salaries and the salaries of key team personnel, and also marketing activities for F1 teams as "it's good for everyone", according to Brawn.

As well as the budget cap, F1 aims to invite new teams to the championship by lowering the costs of competing, doing so by introducing a number of cost-reducing elements.

These include;

1. Standardised wheel rims
2. A standardised brake system
3. A ban on hydraulic suspension systems
4. A restriction on the use of certain exotic materials
5. Standardised radiators
6. A frozen specification of gearbox parameters
7. Standardised pit equipment for all teams 

The items on the above list are all being discussed for the 2021 season as well as other aspects that will become clearer when the rules are signed off in October.

The size of teams will also be limited as to halt the big spenders and major manufacturers from gaining an advantage over the privateers. 

“The great teams will still be the great teams,” said Brawn. “But in all the marginal gains that they do where they have 10 people on a project instead of two, which brings 5% more performance, they won't do that anymore.

"They can't, or if they do, they'll be losing out in other areas where perhaps they could perhaps be making better gains.”

Replies (3)

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  • this sounds positive

    • + 0
    • Jul 17 2019 - 20:38
  • I'm glad Brawn is there. I saw where he said in an interview that he considers the challenge of making the future of F1 a success like he did the challenge of running a championship team, and we know how that turned out.

    • + 1
    • Jul 17 2019 - 21:23

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AT Grand Prix of Austria

Local time 

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  • Free practice 1

    11:00 - 12:30

    Free practice 2

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