Even though the new Formula 1 rules from 2021 aim to bring the field closer together again, Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto does not expect the competitive situation to change radically.
“I think the top teams will initially have a performance advantage because of the amount of resources we have to develop a new car,” he says. “Hopefully in the long run the smaller teams will be able to make a leap, but at the moment it’s hard to understand how it’s going to develop.”
Despite a major overhaul of the rules, including new financial rules and cars designed to be better for racing, Binotto predicts:
“The best teams will remain the best. We still have the best people. We still have the best know-how. We have the resources and the budgets.”
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner shares Binotto’s view, because with every major rule change it is usually the larger teams that can adjust better and faster to it: “It always takes time for things to come into line”.
“We’re just getting started, after a period of about four to five years,” Horner says, referring to the beginning of the hybrid era. “So you can say that those teams with more resources will benefit when they go into 2021. Inevitably, some will master the change and others won’t.”
Not an insignificant role will be played by the $175 million budget cap. Numerous expenses such as marketing budgets and driver salaries are not covered by it. Manufacturers like Renault believe they will have to spend even more, which is contrary to the intention of fairer competition.
That’s why Renault Formula 1 chief Cyril Abiteboul believes that more should have been done: “If we talk about the budget cap, it will be years before we see any effect on the track.”
“For me, it was important to agree the budget cap, but also to have some restrictions on development: stricter regulations, aero, standard parts, banned parts and design. All these measures serve as safety precautions to accelerate the impact of the budget ceiling,” he says.
Not everything has been achieved in this respect, which is why Abiteboul believes that the financial gap between the top 3 teams and the rest will only be reduced by about half of its current level. “I don’t have the figures to prove it, but it’s my gut feeling,” Abiteboul explains his assessment.
He hopes for future adjustments: “I think we will take one step in 2021, and then the budget cap for 2022 and 2023 will take another step. We have to accept that the change in Formula 1 will take time.”
Sneak peak of the new F1 car – shorter, taller and wider
A direct translation (excuse the grammar) from Auto Motor und Sport, the below article explains what to expect of the 2021 cars in terms of dimensions – honey for the tech geek among us.
F1 2021 – Shorter, wider, higher
The 2021 Formula 1 car is visually very different from the current models. But what are the exact dimensions? If you read the regulations, you’ll find it hard to find what you’re looking for. That’s why we provide information.
We have now seen the new Formula 1 car for 2021 from all sides. Is it more beautiful? That’s a matter of taste. Is it easier? In any case. The rules eliminate all the aerodynamic frippery that nobody understands anyway. Will it be faster? Certainly not. Lap times will increase by three to four seconds per lap at the beginning of the new era.
Will it serve the purpose and make overtaking easier? On paper, yes. We won’t see whether the promise will be kept on the race track until 2021. The engineers will continue to build only cars that are optimised for lap time. What happens behind the scenes is not part of their job.
One question has not yet been answered. How high, how wide and how long are the new cars? In the past, one would have said: simply leaf through the regulations! Have fun with it. You won’t get far unless you’re sitting in front of a computer with CAD software.
The new Technical Regulations were written directly for the design programs. It has been CAD-optimized so that the engineers can see right on the screen whether they are moving within or outside the rules.
Anyone looking for dimensions or drawings in the Technical Regulations for 2021 will not find what they are looking for. On 141 pages, the entire car is divided into 186 three-dimensional legality boxes, 58 of which are for the underbody alone. If you want to know how wide the front wing is and how high the rear wing is, you must first look under paragraphs 3.9. and 3.10. to see in which section the component in question is located, and then calculate later under Annex 1 (Regulation volumes) how large the part in question may be.
The dimensions of the legality boxes are defined in the X, Y and Z directions, refer to three reference planes and leave design freedom only in this respective volume. Because this is too complicated, we have calculated the most important measures for you and compared them here with cars from 2020. The 2020 rules hardly differ from this year’s rules.
New is a wheelbase restriction. The distance between the two axles must not exceed 3,600 millimetres from 2021. With a wheelbase of 3,698 millimetres, the Mercedes is currently the longest car. The width of the vehicle, at 2,000 millimetres, remains unchanged. The maximum width of the base plate between the wheels also remains unchanged at 1,600 millimetres.
The vehicle height increases from 950 to 960 millimetres. The space for baffles between the front wheels and the side boxes is currently between 850 and 950 millimetres, depending on the wheelbase. Baffles will no longer be available in 2021. Flow aligners are only permitted under the car. From the beginning of the two tunnels in front of the cooling inlets, the maximum length is 1,225 millimetres. In this area, the engineers may accommodate up to three vertical “fences” of any shape.
The width of the front wing shrinks from 2,000 to 1,950 millimetres. The main blade then floats at least 100 millimeters above the road to avoid ground level turbulence. At the moment, the front wing height at the lowest point is 75 millimetres. A maximum of four elements is permitted. The 2019 and 2020 cars still have five front wing elements.
A striking detail of the new front wings are the wide end plates. They are up to 375 millimetres high. At present, the maximum height is 225 millimetres. On the other hand, the length of the end plates is shrinking from 575 to 500 millimeters. The rear wing end plates will also have less depth in the future. Today they are 810 millimeters wide from the front to the rear end. In future they will only be 540 millimetres wide.
The rear of the 2021 cars has been completely redesigned. There are two reasons for this. On the one hand, lost downforce must be compensated for by eliminating the flow controls and the simpler front wing, on the other hand, the control authorities want to ensure that the bad air behind the car is deflected upwards. Two powerful tunnels under the car and a larger rear wing should generate additional contact pressure.
This also has an impact on the dimensions. The rear wing is 900 instead of 870 millimetres higher in the wind. A maximum of two elements are permitted at the top. They may be 1,300 millimetres wide. This is an increase of 250 millimetres compared to the 2020 rules.
The rear wing will have a lower element again in 2021. It must not be wider than 800 millimetres. The diffuser of the future is higher, but narrower and longer. Its height climbs from 150 to 310 millimeters, its width shrinks from 1,050 to 700 millimeters.
The so-called “kick-off point”, i.e. the point at which the ground may rise again, is also decisive for the effect. This point is currently 175 millimetres in front of the centre line of the rear axle. In the future it will be 700 millimetres. The bad news at the end. The cars are getting heavier. The minimum weight increases from 743 to 768 kilograms.