The most telling glimpse into Formula 1’s future has been revealed, with the sport unveiling further details around the planned 2021 regulation changes.
Notably, the 2021 cars will feature ground effects – which have been banned since the 1980s – in the effort to increase overtaking.
The presentation of the rules was delayed from June to October this year to allow for further refinements, signalling the sport’s clear intention to get it right.
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The changes mark a significant shake-up of the sport, with the released details including an artist’s render of a 2021-spec car.
Regardless of the visuals of the car – with a simpler front wing, smaller rear wing and less-excessive bargeboard area expected – the return to ground effects, via venturi tunnels and diffusers underneath the car, will provide an overhaul of racing.
Improvements from regulations brought in for 2019, in an attempt to better racing following the 2017 regulations overhaul, will pale to what the 2021 changes will achieve, according to FIA single-seater technical boss Nikolas Tombazis.
“We want to make it more possible for cars to race and follow each other and to have more exciting battles,” former Ferrari engineer Tombazis said.
“We want to have tyres that enable people to fight each other without degrading or only giving a short interval for the person attacking to attack.
“They are simpler than the current cars because a lot of the small components have been removed: especially in front of the sidepods, the front wings are simpler.
“There is a diffuser going right under the car – a venturi channel type manner. There are tunnels under the sidepods from the front to the back.”
Other proposals were made, including the banning of tyre blankets and certain driver aids, while 18-inch wheels – up from the current 13-inch – will be standardised along with pit equipment, brake systems and more.
For Formula 1’s motorsports managing director Ross Brawn, the objective of the changes is simple – make the sport “more entertaining, more accessible, more sustainable – sustainable from a commercial perspective, not just an environmental perspective”.
“This is the first time in the history of Formula 1, certainly in my period, that there’s been such a deep study of what’s needed,” Brawn said.
“I think we can do an awful lot better job than we’re doing now [and] we’re tackling that on every front.
“We’re going to put ourselves in a better place, and then we’re going to carry on tuning and developing to achieve what we believe Formula 1 needs.
“My view is that [Formula 1 is in] the wrong position, for lots of reasons – and this is the first step in putting it into a much better place.”
Brawn wants to halve the current gap between the front and rear teams, an issue amplified at last weekend’s British Grand Prix when pole sitter Valtteri Bottas was over three seconds ahead of Robert Kubica.
“We have three teams that can win races at the moment, that’s all,” Brawn said.
“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.”