Formula 1 rules for 2021 focus on closer racing, better-looking cars, spending cap

Here’s your first official look at the next-generation F1 cars
by Greg Potts | Nov 2, 2019
PHOTO: TopGear.com

Here we go, then. Formula 1 has finally announced the rules and regulations for 2021’s big shake-up. We’ve brought you wind-tunnel shots and unofficial renders galore, but this is the real thing.

By the sounds of things, there were three main goals for 2021: closer racing, better-looking cars, and more balanced spending between teams. These are all good things, and all things that the sport currently lacks.

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So, the cars. The aim was to reduce the dirty air that spooled off the back end, in theory making it easier for the drivers to follow each other in close proximity without losing a whole heap of downforce. Currently, a car could lose up to 50% of its downforce when running a length behind a competitor.

With the new regulations for 2021 and the rendered car you see here, that would reduce to 15%, mainly owing to the simpler wings at both ends and an increased use of ground effect to create said downforce. DRS is set to remain (boo), but at least we should get some more wheel-to-wheel action before those fake overtakes.

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And the car looks the business, doesn’t it? We were worried about 18-inch wheels and the low-profile tires, but matched with that flowing bodywork and the less-flimsy wings, they really do add some serious drama. The halo system seems to fit beautifully as a design element as well as a safety tool, too.

Of course, every car will look slightly different as teams develop their own aero packages and interpret the rules in different ways (we’ve yet to find out how much room for maneuver there is), but in-season development will be limited thanks to wind-tunnel restrictions and—for the first time ever in F1—a spending cap.

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Yep, every team from Mercedes right down to Haas and Williams will only be allowed to spend $175 million per season. For context, Merc has spent around double that to win the title in recent years. There’s no virtue signaling going on here. Here’s hoping the cap encourages more manufacturers to return to the sport.

There are other rules and more updates to come, of course, but we’re not in the business of printing out technical regulations. The main thing to take from this is that Formula 1 might just be about to get its mojo back. We’ve just got to get the 2020 season out of the way first...

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NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.

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PHOTO: TopGear.com
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