In Depth

Why everyone’s talking about Formula 1’s 2021 changes

Future of F1 is revealed with new cars, regulations, rules and budgets

The future of Formula 1 has been unveiled with a major announcement of new rules, regulations and car designs which will be introduced for the 2021 season. 

At a press conference at the Circuit of the Americas in the United States, Formula 1 chairman and CEO Chase Carey and FIA president Jean Todt explained the changes and revealed the new-look car that will take to the track in two years’ time. 

Among the changes include a budget cap to be introduced for the first time, cars designed to make grands prix more exciting and race weekends that will be condensed. It’s also been revealed that with race weekends being revised it would allow a maximum of 25 GPs per season.   

F1.com says “this is the moment F1 fans have been waiting for” and the new regulations will “reshape grand prix racing as we know it”.

The sport’s official website added: “The regulations are targeted at promoting closer racing and more balanced competition, as well as bringing economic and sporting sustainability to Formula 1.”

F1’s 2021 changes include the following:  

  • Cars that are better able to battle on the track
  • A more balanced competition on the track
  • A sport where success is determined more by how well a team spends its money not how much it spends – including, for the first time, a fully enforceable cost cap - $175m (£135m) per season - in the FIA rules
  • A sport that is a better business for those participating and more attractive to potential new entrants
  • A sport that continues to be the world’s premier motor racing competition and the perfect showcase of cutting-edge technology

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What happened?

Formula 1 CEO Carey explained that the changes from 2021 will deliver “more exciting” races for the fans and make the sport an “attractive business” for all stakeholders. 

He added: “Formula 1 is an incredible sport with a great history, heroes and fans all over the world. We deeply respect the DNA of Formula 1, which is a combination of great sporting competition, uniquely talented and courageous drivers, dedicated teams and cutting-edge technology. 

“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. 

“The approval of the rules by the World Motor Sport Council is a watershed moment and will help deliver more exciting wheel-to-wheel racing for all our fans. The new rules have emerged from a detailed two-year process of examining technical, sporting, and financial issues in order to develop a package of regulations.”

What has the response been?

There has been concerns that the new cars will be slower and will increase lap times by more than three seconds, RaceFans.net reports.

However, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen say that if the racing is improved then the times won’t matter. 

Vettel said: “The target that we’ll set out is to make a step forward. Now, obviously we have an idea. I think everyone was sort of waiting for that day to come. And now I think we need to try and understand what exactly that idea means. 

“Obviously, on paper, the ideas are always great. I think it will materialise a little bit more in the coming weeks. So we’ll see in the end of the day. No matter how the cars look, if the racing is better for us, it’s more fun then. That’s a win.”

Raikkonen added: “I don’t think three, four, five seconds makes any difference. Like if you take qualifying, yes, we are fast. But you take the race we are probably five, six seconds with fuel and everything else. 

“I think even if we are ten seconds slower, for people to watch the races, if it’s more exciting nobody cares. Every year the times are slightly different.”

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo agreed with Raikkonen and said: “I think anything that is going to be close, I think that’s exciting. So I would rather have good racing than single file lap records. Then we might as well just do time trials for the rest of our career. So I’m okay with three seconds slower.” 

Motorsport Technology’s Fraser Masefield says the new cars are “futuristic”, but warned that purists may argue against the changes.

Masefield said: “At first glance, the new cars certainly look striking and have a very futuristic look about them, receiving many positive remarks from fans on social media. 

“Conversely, there are the purists of the sport who will argue that F1, as the pinnacle of motorsport, should always be about pushing the boundaries towards lighter machines, greater speed and technical advancement.”

What’s next? 

After two years of discussions, the new regulations have been unanimously approved.

F1.com says: “The regulations will be married to a new governance and profit sharing structure that will enable the sport to grow and improve while further strengthening the business model. These agreements are in an advanced stage with the teams.” 

FIA president Jean Todt added: “The 2021 regulations have been a truly collaborative effort, and I believe this to be a great achievement. 

“A crucial element for the FIA moving forward will be the environmental considerations – 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. 

“What the FIA publishes is the best framework we could possibly have to benefit competitors and stakeholders, while ensuring an exciting future for our sport.”

Twitter reactions to F1’s 2021 changes

 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

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