Proposed plans for 2021 aimed at getting more competitive races
Main proposal is to reintroduce ground effect to help overtaking
Formula One has revealed details on its proposed plans to improve the racing with new regulations for 2021 that are set to be officially confirmed in October. Ross Brawn, F1’s sporting director, has been leading the investigation of ways to reinvent the sport. The most detailed version of their vision, including an intent to bring back the “wow” factor, was unveiled on Wednesday.
F1 revealed four categories on which it has been working: more raceable cars; more competitive grids; ensuring cars that are attractive; and a financially viable championship. Of most interest to fans and drivers has long been the pursuit of cars that can follow one another more closely, enabling more overtaking, potentially without the artificial aid of DRS. Lewis Hamilton is among those to have called on F1 and the FIA to impose their proposals without allowing the teams to have a say.
The central proposal is to reintroduce ground effect, to produce downforce from under the car rather than eternal aerodynamic components. Estimates are it will decrease the loss in downforce in chasing cars from 50% to 5-10%. To further the impact, harder, more durable tyres will be employed, with F1’s chief technical officer, Pat Symonds, admitting they had asked “completely the wrong thing” of Pirelli for the last two years in requesting high-degradation rubber.
Recognising that fans wanted to see aesthetically pleasing cars racing, the FIA and F1 will work with an automotive stylist to attempt to ensure an attractive design is reflected in the regulations. Nicholas Tombazis, the FIA’s head of single-seater technical matters, said they wanted “a car that promotes a certain amount of passion and a ‘wow factor’”.
After the last two rounds at the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone delivered superb racing, with drivers emphasising that it was the track layouts that promoted the competition, there has also been a commitment to analysing circuits to pursue a new philosophy of what F1 should do in track terms in future.
In pursuing a more competitive grid, Brawn said the aerodynamic regulations would be more prescriptive, with the intent of preventing a team discovering a silver bullet that would give them a major advantage. They were also investigating putting more emphasis on the driver, with the removal of some driver aids, a reduction of telemetry and proposing that the drivers manage tyre wear and heating rather than relying on instruction from engineers.
F1 has already agreed to impose a cost cap of $175m for 2021 but now also proposes the imposition of some standardised parts to further cut costs. They include wheel rims, brakes, radiators and pit equipment, alongside a ban on hydraulic suspension systems.