Formula 1’s teams have agreed a number of regulation changes aimed at leveling the playing field in the sport on top of a lower budget cap, including a sliding scale of aerodynamic development.
In a meeting of team bosses on Friday, the previously reported new lower budget cap level of $145 million was approved for 2021, with that number to be further reduced in subsequent seasons. In 2022 it will drop to $140m, and then will be lowered again to $135m for the following three years.
However, in an attempt to also deliver closer racing and a more competitive grid, teams will be allocated aerodynamic development time based on their previous year’s constructors’ championship finishing position.
A defined amount of development time — via both wind tunnel and computational R&D — will be specified, and the most successful teams will get less of the quota than those who finish towards the bottom of the championship.
New technical regulations will come into force in 2022, so from that point on the defending champions will receive 70% of the development time, on a sliding scale of 5% for each position — so 75% for the team that finishes second, 80% for third and so on — until the team that finished last is allowed 115%.
The difference between what teams will be allowed to do in terms of R&D in 2021 — ahead of the new rules coming in – is understood to be smaller due to the technical regulations already providing a reset opportunity and being implemented under the budget cap.
While the bigger teams had reservations about some aspects of the proposals, they were voted through. RACER understands the concessions being made by the big three in terms of car development restrictions and a sliding scale that will limit their ability to remain at the front was deemed a satisfactory compromise for not dropping the budget cap further in 2021.
There was also agreement to allow Liberty Media to make changes to the race weekend format as necessary in order to fit in as many races as possible once F1 can restart. The 2020 season has yet to get underway, with the opening 10 rounds either postponed or cancelled and a first race taking place on July 5 at the earliest.
The regulations still need to be ratified by the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council, but this is expected to be a formality and has been happening via e-vote during the current climate.