formula one racing car

Formula 1 2021 rule revamp will see heavier, more environmentally friendly vehicles

Image credit: Dreamstime

Formula 1 has overhauled its vehicle design rules for the upcoming 2021 competition which places a greater focus on reducing the environmental impact of the sport and, for the first time, will impose a hard cost cap on teams.

New regulations around the engines will ensure they are more efficient than previous years. The motorsport's body, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), has said it ultimately wants to “eliminate” the environmental impact of the sport.

For the first time in the sport’s history, teams will now be limited by a $175m cost cap to be spent on vehicle performance in order to reduce the value that spending power has on F1 teams' competitiveness.

This cap is about half what some of the top firms such as Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull spend at present, but still much more than some other teams can muster.

An independent auditor will keep track of each team’s spending and those found to be breaching the limit may face financial fines or exclusion from the competition.

The type of tyres eligible for races will also change. Currently, high-profiles tyres are used, which tend to move around a lot and impact aerodynamics. The teams with the biggest budgets are able to look at these effects in detail and are better able to deliver solutions that give them an edge over other teams.

The new regulations will ensure that tyres have stiffer side walls that do not move around as much. The 18-inch, lower-profile tyre will help simplify the aerodynamics and therefore the investment needed by teams to understand and tackle its implications.

“The goal has always been to improve the competition and action on the track and at the same time make the sport a healthier and attractive business for all,” said Formula 1 chairman Chase Carey.

“The approval of the rules by the World Motorsport Council is a watershed moment and will help deliver more exciting wheel-to-wheel racing for all our fans.”

Ross Brawn, Formula 1’s managing director for motorsport, recognised the new cars would be slower than 2019's variants, but still quick and closer to the levels of performance seen in 2016, as well as being easier to follow and overtake.

FIA president Jean Todt said the 2021 regulations represented a “truly collaborative effort” and added that environmental considerations were a crucial element for the governing body. From 2021, the aim is to double the renewable content of fuel to 20 per cent.

“Formula 1 already has the most efficient engines in the world and we will continue to work on new technologies and fuels to push these boundaries further,” said Todt.

In July this year, E&T spoke to trackside analysts at Shell during the British Grand Prix about developing fuels and oils for F1 team Scuderia Ferrari and the importance of analysing these to meet regulations put in place by the FIA.

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