Formula 1 has revealed images of its 2021 car concepts that are currently in development with the aim of producing closer racing.
The next major regulation change is set to be implemented in 2021, with a working group from F1 itself being headed up by managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn. In partnership with the FIA, the sport is working on new concepts for future regulations and in unveiling images of those plans, Brawn says the biggest focus is on ability to race and aesthetics.
“We’ve been working on the new car for over 12 months now,” Brawn said. “The aesthetics of the car for me are very important. I think everyone agrees we want great-looking Formula 1 cars. One of the primary objectives has been to work on the raceability of these cars and how well they could race each other, how close they could get to each other without losing substantial amounts of performance.
“The current cars lose once they get within two or three cars lengths — they lose up to 50 percent of their performance, which is why when drivers are on the same tires of the same age, they struggle to race each other. When you get into that condition where you’re two or three car lengths behind, then you’re losing grip, the tires degrade more, and it becomes very challenging.
(Click on the photos below for larger images)
“The prime purpose of the work we’re doing is to try and produce cars which are more raceable. At the moment, we’ve got designs which only lose 20 percent, so they’re 80 percent of their performance. So the cars out there at the moment, on our assessment, lose 50 percent when they get right behind. We’ve got cars now which will maintain 80 percent, so a substantial improvement.
“But alongside that, we wanted to make sure that we have some great looking cars. We’ve had a designer working with the aerodynamic group, so as we’ve progressed. Concept 1 which is where we started, Concept 2, a little bit more extreme, our ideas have started to form more. I think one of the things you can see on these cars, the bigger wheels which we plan to go to in 2021, is we give a more modern feel to the car.
“Concept 3, we’re starting to firm up now on what the car will look like. There’s features on each part of the concept which may well carry over.”
Brawn revealed that aerodynamic fairings around the bigger wheels are being considered to limit the impact of dirty air, while the drivers have been consulted as part of the development of the concepts. As well as that feedback, F1 has been looking at the impact of new regulations in other categories — including the latest IndyCar aerokits — when analyzing its own future direction.
“We see with other forms of racing that (raceability) has been achieved more. But they’re often categories with fixed designs, so everyone races the same car, so you don’t have the extremes of design that we have in Formula 1.
“Our Formula 2 cars, for instance, lose less performance when they’re racing together. The new IndyCar is quite good in that respect, and we’ve been sharing some information with IndyCar on their experiences.
“So I’m pretty optimistic that we’re going to produce some great-looking cars that are going to be able to race each other much more effectively than they were in the past. I think it’s the first time Formula 1 has majored on these aspects. But I want exciting-looking cars.”