By the sounds of things there were three main goals for 2021. Closer racing, better-looking cars and more balanced spending between teams. These are all good things, and all things that the sport currently lacks.
So, the cars. The aim was to reduce the dirty air that spooled off the back of cars, in theory making it easier for the drivers to follow each other in close proximity without losing a whole heap of downforce. Currently a car could lose up to 50 per cent of its downforce when running a length behind a competitor.
With the new regulations for 2021 and the rendered car you see above, that would reduce to 15 per cent. That’s mainly down to the simpler wings at both ends and an increased use of ground effect to create said downforce. DRS is set to remain (boo) but at least we should get some more wheel to wheel action before those fake overtakes.
The car looks the business too, doesn’t it? We were worried about 18-inch wheels and low-profile tyres, but matched with that flowing bodywork and the less flimsy wings, they really do add some serious drama. The Halo system seems to fit beautifully as a design element as well as a safety tool, too.
Of course, every car will look slightly different as teams develop their own aero packages and interpret the rules in different ways (we’re yet to find out how much room for manoeuvre there is), but in-season development will be limited thanks to wind tunnel restrictions and – for the first time ever in F1 – a spending cap.
Yep, every team from Mercedes right down to Haas and Williams will only be allowed to spend $175m per season. For context, Merc has spent around double that to win the title in recent years. There’s no virtue signalling going on here. Here’s hoping the cap encourages more manufacturers to return to the sport.
There are other rules and more updates to come, of course, but we’re not in the business of printing out technical regulations. The main thing to take from this is that Formula 1 might just be about to get its mojo back. We’ve just got to get the 2020 season out of the way first…