FIA: New 2021 F1 rules won’t force all cars to look the same

2021 F1 season

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Formula 1’s new rules for the 2021 season won’t force all the teams’ cars to look alike, according to the FIA’s Nikolas Tombazis.

Several F1 teams have raised concerns that the regulations are so restrictive that cars designed under them will look largely the same.

Speaking at the presentation of the new rules for the 2021 F1 season, Tombazis showed images of several different designs which would be legal under the proposed regulations (above).

Tombazis confirmed there have been minor changes to the regulations to increase the scope for teams to produce visibly different designs.

“There’s been quite a lot of discussion about visual differentiation of the cars and shape differentiation,” he said. “There was, in the last month and a half, some initiatives taken to increase a bit certain areas of differentation.

“So we do expect there will be numerous areas where cars will look different to each other and can look different to each other: The nose, the front wing, the engine intake, the sidepod inlet, the sidepod shape itself, the rear wing, there’s quite a lot of areas where were see still notable performance and visual differentiation.”

The rules have been made more restrictive in order to reduce the amount of turbulence the new cars produce. Tombazis said the 2021 cars will lose far less of their downforce when running closely behind another car, compared to current designs.

“We have of course restricted some areas because there are some areas that are key to this wake performance,” he said, “and we don’t to throw away that massive advantage.”

Image: Formula 1 via YouTube

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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23 comments on “FIA: New 2021 F1 rules won’t force all cars to look the same”

  1. Well good, I suppose. But they all look largely the same now anyway.

    Of course there are differences with the wings etc, but they hardly leap out at you. The liveries are the only real differentiation.

    1. I have to agree, all the cars look the same already.

  2. I mean really, in motion, to the average viewer? The cars already look the same. They had differentiation in the sawtooth bits, the shark fins and the t-wings and they got rid of em.

  3. And over time, the cars will all look alike because some things work better than others and the teams will all gravitate towards those that work best. I understand not wanting the rules to be so restrictive that innovation is removed from the sport, but I don’t think they should focus solely on whether the cars look the same or not. I think that was more of a general statement on restrictive rules rather than the actual main concern.

    1. I don’t understand “rules to be so restrictive that innovation is removed from the sport”. F1 is leaning towards F2. New rules is a huge step back.

  4. Huge success for Carey and Liberty to get everyone to agree to these rules.

    I think Ross Brawn’s was key to putting forth rules that are laser focused on getting their goals achieved. 86% Downforce at 1 car length is huge and will sure give the drivers mega confidence to stick their noses into the draft and late brake into corners.
    The big unknown at the moment though is Pirelli and what they can achieve with the Tire. You want to see the pit stops and variance in strategy, but you want a tire that the drivers can push. Hopefully the reduction of Dirty air will decrease degradation and even out the wear but hopefully Pirelli can find a way to make a tire that can be pushed hard for X amount of laps and then fall of in performance.

    On a sidenote, I think what got Ferrari to agree in the End is to not change the Engine rules thus guaranteeing them an advantage retained with their class leading Engine. I think it was telling that they focused on changing or standardizing the Fuel formula.. Perhaps this is where Ferrari have found their sudden advantage in straight power compared to Mercedes.

    1. There is no need for them to fall off in performance. There is no need for tire changes or pit stops or different strategies, all of which take away from the on track action. There should be 1 strategy, GO FAST. If there is someone ahead of you then pass them, not in the pits, or thru an undercut, but an on track overtake, that is what I want to see.

      A big problem with F1 is that they line up the fastest ahead of the slowest and give them a huge head start, it is absurd to expect an exciting race under those conditions.

    2. Ferrari have not agreed until they sign the new concord agreement.

  5. I dearly hope so. After a rules change we should see very different looking cars, otherwise F1 has lost something.

  6. They will have different colors?

    1. @f1osaurus: No. Teams, however, are free to choose from the vast 3 colour Liberty/FIA palette of sour lime, dead red and sad baby blue.

      1. @f1osaurus: No. Teams, however, are free to choose from the vast 3 colour Liberty/FIA palette of sour lime, dead red and sad baby blue.

        LOL.

  7. I’m hearing something very different from some people around F1.

    A number of engineer’s have a very real feeling that the 2021 regulations are far too restrictive. Especially given the way the FIA are talking about how they are going to be working to close things up as teams find gains in order to prevent anyone finding any advantage.

    1. If it turns out the rules are too restrictive then what’s to stop the rules being relaxed a little? We need to let Liberty Media try these new rules before we abandon this idea. The current rules might have worked well if there was less of a funding imbalance between the most affluently funded and the least well funded team. However, it is important to address a number of issues, and these rules are the consequence.

    2. @gt-racer These new regs do look restrictive but if the teams are allowed to innovate and develop news ideas this may be a good move. But going on what you have said which to me sounds rather heavy handed. And with the feeling I have that the changes that have been taken off the table are likely to reappear down the track, they are edging closer to a spec series.

    3. Thanks for that input GT-Racer. I was wondering the same–the agree to it now and a few months later, the teams find out that the scope for innovation is very little, then i guess the discussions would be reopened again as @drycrust mentions.
      Also @gt-racer, if you do hear something about DRS being gone for 2021 and beyond, please do let us know. Its early days, but the images that i see on this site tell me that the wing would become a solid structure without any movable parts.
      Thanks.

  8. i’ve spent a lot of time reading/watching everything this evening and this formula sounds a lot like they have just turned F1 into GP1 :(

    GP1 Formula? GP1!

  9. Sadly the days of the 1970s and early 80s is never going to come back. Computer simulation, CFD analysis, AI, sensors and highly advanced wind tunnel technology will ensure that all car designs will edge closer and closer to a single otimum form. In the 1970s car design was an art…..then it became a science now it is simply decorated physics.

    1. There is only one solution…..ban all aerodynamic devices and wings beyond an envelope defined by the centre of the wheels (front, rear and above) – return the sport to ground effect and chassis.

      1. A whole field of Lotus 88s? Sounds intriguing.

  10. The fact they even have to clarify this for all the lOOkS lIkE aN iNdYcaR Twitterati is ridiculous.

    If you think a team of 20-30 FIA engineers are going to stump teams with 10x the personnel, talent and budget then you’re kidding yourself. There will be as much variation as there is now which is to say, not a huge amount visually but a ton of devil in the details.

  11. WOW!
    I can see exactly ONE difference, which will at least be slightly visible during races (other will not be seen at all)!

    I AM SO EXCITED!

    NOT.

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