F1 has today revealed the set of sporting, technical and financial regulations for the 2021 season in a press conference held in Austin ahead of the US GP.
2021 has long been sighted as the next big shake up in F1 since 2014 when hybrid V6 engines and radically new aerodynamics were introduced, however the announcement has been delayed multiple times with the total development time at around 2 years.
The presentation began with and introduction from FIA president Jean Todt, who appeared via video link, and then Chase Carey (CEO F1) stating the guiding principles of the new rules. This included the ability of cars to race as close a possible and a cost cap to shown who can do most with their money not who has the most.
The technical regulations. announced by Nikolas Tombazis, began with a general discussion of the changes, the main point of which being the removal of the bargebooard structure which currently sits in-front of the side pods and guides the air around the rest of the car, as the cars will now lean more towards ground force with a massive diffuser that starts just in front of the side pod inlets.
He went on to say that through simulation the loss of downforce due to following another car has been greatly reduced, currently the cars loose about 45% aerodynamic performance from one car length behind but the new regulations reduce this to approximately 14% loss with the cars effectively loosing no downforce from about 7 car lengths plus.
The second thing announced was that legality checks of the cars will be more CAD based with scanners being used to measure the cars and compare them to CAD models.
The new rules are also designed to allow for variations in design with three different examples being shown which had different side pod shapes, diffuser designs, front wings etc.
In terms of power units these will mostly be the same but with some minor changes such as: increased weight, restrictions on materials used, non exclusive ES cells and turbochargers, standard HP fuel pumps and requirement that all manufacturers give the same spec engine as their own to all customers. Additionally there is the intention to achieve 20% renewable sources in engine fuel by 2021 and to increase this number over time. The will also be more standardised fuel system components.
Transmission systems will also become standardised for a number of years with teams allowed mirror variations. This is help with cost reduction.
Simplified suspension will also be implemented with the banning of hydraulic systems and inerters in the inboard parts. The new 18″ wheel rims will be used with tyre blankets remaining for at least 2021/22 despite the belief they would be banned along with the new wheels. Along with the new wheels bigger and more standardised brakes will be used.
The chassis will also see some changes. The internal cockpit will be enlarged to accommodate larger drivers, there will be an increased side beam impact structure as well as a standard floor below the cockpit.
Some safety changes were also announced including a new rubber membrane within certain components to reduce the amount of debris after an impact and work to prevent the front wing and rear components coming off. A longer nose will be used to improve the front energy absorption during a crash as well as a number improvements to other safety components of the cars.
Sporting regulations were presented by Ross Brawn. These will again be mostly the same as in 2019 but with some small changes.
The maximum number of races per season is set increase to 25 compared to the 23 set for 2020, the weekend format will also change slightly with most Thursday events such as scrutineering and press conferences taking place on Friday.
Teams will now be required to race the exact car that is checked on Friday although they will be allowed still to test new parts during practice. There will also be new restrictions on dyno usage and wind tunnel/CFD simulations.
The main point in terms of financial regulations is that they will now be part of the FIA regulations rather than an agreement and so there will be much harsher penalties for breaching them inducing the possibility of exclusion from the championship.
A cost cap of $175M for a 21 race season will be introduced prevent richer teams developing faster than smaller teams. However this will only cover costs related to performance, with marketing, driver salaries etc being excluded from this cap.
Ross also showed a road map for the introduction of this cost cap with a voluntary submission of finical data until 2022 when this will become mandatory.
With that the panel moved on to a short Q&A session before concluding he presentation.
So what do you think of the new regulations for 2021 and will they make the difference they’re designed to?
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