United States Grand Prix – Formula 1 has published its all new technical regulations for 2021. Here’s all the main points of what will change on the cars.
Formula 1 has now finally published the long-awaited technical regulations for the 2021 season and beyond. They were presented at a press conference on Thursday at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, as part of a wide-reaching raft of changes being made to the sport from that season. Along with the technical regulations, sporting changes and an all new financial control system will be implemented in an effort to bring down costs.
The biggest and most dramatic changes will be to the look and feel of the cars, with a huge emphasis being placed on improving the ability of cars to race each other closely. An effort has been made to reduce car’s reliance on aerodynamic grip, with a focus on generating mechanical grip through soft use of ground effect. So what are the main changes you need to know?
From 2021, the weight of the Formula 1 cars will increase from 743kg to 768kg. This is a minimum figure, without race fuel on board – roughly about another 100kg on board the cars at the start of Grands Prix. The main factors behind this change of weight is the update from 13 inch to 18 inch wheels, and the resulting increase in tyre mass.
With certain parts being standardised or prescribed across the field in an effort to bring down costs, the teams will be unable to engineer them themselves in a fashion to lower the weight. The FIA also says some safety components will also contribute to the additional weight. This includes rubber membranes within some components to help with debris containment, front wing reinforcement to reduce chances of detachment, some rear component tethering and a longer nose. The side chassis is to be strengthened, with more comprehensive side impact structures in place. The headrest will be strengthened, with wheel tethers also needing reinforcement as a result of the larger wheel and tyre mass.
The aerodynamics of the car have been heavily revised and simplified in an effort to reduce the wake of a car and make it easier for the car following to pursue. The front wing has been simplified, with teams much less able to control the resulting wake over the front wheels. Barge boards are completely banned, while ‘certain areas’ will be desensitised by using prescribed parts.
The nose, front wing and endplates, sidepod intakes, engine intakes, the sidepod ‘coke shape’, brake ducts and rear wing and endplates have all been revised, while ground effect will be induced through the use of a diffuser under the sidepods.
Under-chassis devices, diffuser and rear wing endplate complexities are all now restricted parts – these details are explained in more detail in the full technical regulations.
Interestingly, the FIA say that policing of the physical aspects of a car will now be primarily done with scanning software and CAD, rather than using manual measuring devices.
The graph below shows the expected theoretical improvement in how easily a car can follow another in 2021, compared to the current regulations.
The FIA has also released a couple of designs that are all different, but all conform with the 2021 Technical Regulations.
Some non-performance related parts are to be standardised across the teams, in a bid to bring down the costs.
These include fuel system parts such as flow meters, dampers, piping, pumps and other internal components, as well as wheel hubs, nuts and wheel retention systems.
The front floor structure is to be prescribed, to stop teams from designing new floors such as ‘flexi-floors’ of recent years.
The power units will remain largely the same as they are now, but with some standardised parts and material restrictions being brought in to prevent teams from using exotic materials – materials will all become commercially available ones with a full rewrite of materials regulations outlined in detail.
The entire suspension system of the cars will be simplified, with a complete ban on hydraulic components. Springs and dampers are to be simplified with the inerters also being banned. Along with the prescribed wheel parts outlined above, the wheels themselves will be of a standard supply.
The proposed tyre blanket ban has been postponed until 2023, at least, as has the decision for a standard brake supply.
All components will now be put through a classification process, with each one falling into one of five categories.
- Listed Team Components (LTC) – components made by each individual team.
- Standard Supply Components (SSC) – Single supplier, selected by FIA tender.
- Prescribed Design Components (PDC) – Prescribed regulation design with free supply.
- Transferable Components (TC) – Components that can be transferred between teams.
- Open Source Components (OSC) – Components where designs are openly available to teams.