New F1 2021 Rules Bring Cost Caps To Level The Playing Field, Plus Sexier Car Designs

Formula 1 has officially announced the changes in regulations and the car design that will take place in 2021.

The new rules mark the start of a new era in Formula 1’s history, bringing significant design changes to make the cars more beautiful and more capable of following one another without losing downforce.

The new aerodynamics package will allow for a cleaner airflow behind a car; the current F1 cars lose around 40 to 50 percent of their downforce when following in another car’s wake but the 2021 cars will drop that to around 5 to 10 percent, making not only close battles easier but overtaking as well. Other technical revisions include a bigger 18-inch wheels and lower-profile tires.

Formula 1 officials believe these changes will result in a speed reduction of up to 3 seconds per lap that would bring the 2021 cars closer to speeds of the 2016 season, though they say that speed was not their main priority, but to make the cars more raceable.

Related: 2021 F1 Cars To Feature A More Futuristic Front Wing Design

A key change is the introduction of spending restrictions for the first time ever, with the cost cap to be set at $175 million per team on a yearly basis. Today, leading teams regularly spend over $300 million per season pushing close to $500 million, but the budgets of smaller teams are below $100 million. That restriction applies to anything performance-related but excludes areas like marketing costs, driver salaries and of the top three members of the team.

The goal of the spending limits is to even the playing field, putting a stop to the growing gap between F1’s top teams and the teams with fewer resources. Car upgrades over the race weekend will also be limited, as well as the number of aero updates a team can apply to its car throughout the racing season.

The spending limitations will be overseen by a independent regulator, with both financial and sporting penalties to be applied in the case of a team failing to comply.

“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,” said Chase Carey, Chairman and CEO of Formula 1. 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.”


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  • Matteo Tommasi

    Cars look silly, some parts are inefficient as proposed, weight is further increased. Already a failure.

    • Arthur

      Looks are subjective, I don’t know if I like it in drawings as much as I’ll like the real thing but from the drawings so far I do like the more streamlined looked. Weight increase is minimal, shouldn’t affect performance much and mostly due to the larger wheels/tires and some additional safety measures taken throughout the car.

      I’ll hold final judgement when we see the cars out on track and how they are able to race one another. Being an avid fan for the last 20 years and seeing multiple iteration of cars, I want closer racing more than anything and I don’t really care what lengths the sport needs to go to make that happen but most races are a snoozefest so if Liberty cares about raising annual viewership then this is an absolute priority to make that happen.

      I watch BTCC and Australian Supercars and that’s what I want in F1, multiple lead changes in a single lap, not a handful of passes throughout a 2 hour race.

    • Zandit75

      Look out, we have an aerodynamics engineer over here!!

      • Matteo Tommasi

        Wings without endplate are less efficient. Basic

        • Bart

          That’s what is intended! They want the aero stuff to happen under the floor, utilizing ground effect even, so the cars could follow each other.

  • Ben

    Why not just let them come up with whatever they want? Why all the regulations!?

    • Zandit75

      Simple, to see competition. Otherwise it becomes just a case of who has the biggest pockets.

      • Ben

        So be it. I’d rather have the very best engineering in a small sample size rather than tons of teams that are being held back. If it becomes a money issue, teams can start pairing up or you could just set a cap. But let engineers do what engineers do best.

        • Six Thousand Times

          That’s always been the classic conundrum: I love tech, too but F1 has gotten too predictable. Yay, M-B can outspend everyone.

    • Kagan

      I have always said that. Ofcourse you need a outer limits.

    • David Lee

      They want more viewers and fans. That was their priority. The biggest complaint right now is that there’s no real competition. People want competition. It’s more fun to watch.

  • Kagan

    If they restrict it to much huge manufacturers will disappear. Only Ferrari left so they can win.

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