With the unveiling of the 2021 regulations looming, the drivers, their teams and all the fans are eagerly anticipating the new regulations as they will undoubtedly transform the sport of Formula One for the foreseeable future.
The new regulations aim to tackle four categories that have been identified as currently hindering the sport, they are: producing more ‘racable’ cars; having more competitive grids; having a more financially viable championship; and having more attractive cars. Whilst this all sounds incredible, I do have an underlying doubt that they may have bitten off more than they can chew. Changes in Formula One regulations do have a bit of a reputation for going wrong. Pirelli’s degradable rubber for tyres being the one that jumps to mind, with a significant portion of those involved in Formula One blaming the tyres for preventing them from racing.
Whilst they are ambitious and I have my concerns, some of what they are suggesting sounds promising. For instance, their proposal of reintroducing ground effect and, therefore, reducing the loss of downforce from chasing a car certainly fulfils the challenge of producing more ‘racable’ cars. It is estimated that at the moment when a car is around two car lengths behind another, they are losing around 45% of their downforce due to most of it coming from external aerodynamics. The implementation of ground effect aims to reduce this to around 5%. With cars being able to chase one another with more efficiency and less loss of downforce then surely there will be more overtakes and ideally without the use of artificial aids such as DRS.
However, in doing this a lot of the design of the cars is going to be prescribed to the teams, leaving them with less freedom to design their own. Alongside the new financial limitations where teams will now have a limit of $175 million and bringing in standardised parts such as brakes and radiators, teams are concerned that the cars individuality is going to be taken away. And I can understand where their frustration comes from, obviously they want to have as much freedom over the design of their own car so they can try to get an advantage over other teams. Also, the standardised parts seem a step to far, especially when you take into consideration how heavy some of these parts that are being suggested are. The brakes for example are around 10kg heavier than the ones currently being used. Surely the financially limitations are enough to achieve their goal?
The teams have pushed their agenda through the argument that if all the cars become standardised then they will all look the same. But, in reality, can you tell the difference between a Red Bull and a Ferrari if they were to lose their colours? And surely the sport needs to put the fans before the frustrations of a few hundred engineers?
On top of this controversy, there are some dreadful regulations Formula One are considering, refuelling potentially coming back is a disaster waiting to happen. Have we all forgotten why refuelling was removed in the first place? Remember how long those pit stops were and how they regularly determined strategy and results? I have always wanted the drama to take place on the track not off it, and whilst I understand that strategy plays a huge part in Formula One, I want the emphasise of races to be on the driver’s ability and not the team strategy.
Overall, I like the aim of the 2021 regulations, the sport is gasping for some dramatic changes and who wouldn’t agree with more ‘racable’ cars and a more competitive grid? But they have a long way to go before they announce the final regulations in October. With the last two races being so competitive and exciting and demonstrating the potential the sport has I live in hope that the regulations produce more races like these.
What do you think of the regulations so far? Please let me know by leaving a comment below!