Speaking in the post-qualifying press conference at the Mexican Grand Prix, the drivers were asked for their views on reducing downforce if it meant the overall show was improved for fans, with both Vettel and Verstappen agreeing that F1 should move to slow the cars from the record-breaking speeds they’re currently reaching.
With a presentation of the 2021 regulations expected at next weekend’s US Grand Prix, Vettel began by saying how he believes the trend towards increasing downforce with each recent set of new regulations must be reversed.
“It’s always exciting to have fast cars, I think people in the grandstands can see if the cars are slow, hence I think [that’s the reason for] the trend towards faster cars with the regulations from 2017 onwards,” said Vettel.
“But I’m sure we’re all ready to go a little bit slower as long as it’s a step forward for us in terms of racing so if not, then obviously it’s obviously not really what we want.”
Verstappen echoed Vettel’s comments and explained his belief that producing slower F1 cars under the 2021 regulations will not make them any less impressive to watch.
“The cars are really quick at the moment and I don’t think you can find a way of following [other cars] in a better way with the same cornering speeds that we have now,” said Verstappen.
“I think we do have to go a little bit slower, but not four or five seconds slower, maybe two and a half maximum. The car will still be very impressive through the corners, anyway, whenever you drive on the limit it’s very hard.
“If it’s going two seconds faster or slower, at the end of the day it’s more important that we can actually race than just to be there and [unable to] do anything.”
The regulations which are set to be revealed later this month, are expected to confirm the use of ground effect designed to facilitate closer racing by reducing the impact of ‘dirty air’ for the following car.
It’s estimated than a substantial improvement has been achieved from around 50% loss of downforce with the current regulations to an estimated 5-10% loss under the proposed 2021 design.
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing