Teams may reject 6-second slower F1 cars

Pat Symonds
Pat Symonds

(GMM) F1 teams have expressed concern about the latest version of the 2021 technical rules.

On Monday, they were presented with the latest concept of the 2021 car, codenamed 'Lima'. The main difference compared to the earlier version is a more elegant front wing.

But Auto Motor und Sport claims some teams have calculated that the 2021 concept produces 60 points less downforce than the current cars, amounting to about 6 seconds per lap.

The FIA's Pat Symonds denies that.

"It will certainly be less than that," he said.

However, it is rumored that Sergey Sirotkin was three seconds off the normal pace with Pirelli's 18-inch tires at the recent Paul Ricard test with Renault.

Not just that, the teams are worried that the rules are far too restrictive.

"I doubt there's any aero department that's read those rules and got particularly excited about them," said Red Bull's Christian Horner.

However, F1 sporting boss Ross Brawn played that down, insisting: "The good teams will still be in front. The gap to the back of the grid will just be smaller."

After a delay, the final regulations will be handed to the teams on October 31, with the public set to be shown the concept in detail a few days later.

But rumors remain that the teams may not sign up for the new rules.

Asked what would happen then, an unnamed team boss answered: "We would just have to continue with the old rules."

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F1 bosses cry when the costs are too high and cry when the costs are lowered
F1 bosses cry when the costs are too high and cry when the costs are lowered

Racing Point says the cars that will be built to the new regulations in 2021 will look identical due to the "restrictive" wording of the rules.

For the 2021 season, the cars will be heavily revamped in an effort to see closer racing on the circuit, while also attempting to level the playing field.

However, Racing Point's team principal Otmar Szafnauer stated that the level playing field should be a success due to the budget cap and the way money is distributed to the teams, rather than the technical aspect of the cars.

"A level playing field should happen from the financial regulations, as well as the cost cap," Szafnauer told media including GPToday.net. "Together with the money distribution and cost cap.

"We need to have the ability to differentiate one car from another, otherwise they are all going to look the same and go seven seconds a lap slower.

"So we're not there yet, but hopefully we will come to a set of regulations where we can differentiate one car from another. We need that freedom and latitude."

With the technical regulations set to be signed off next month, Racing Point's technical director Andrew Green commented that the regulations will still be a prominent topic of conversation in 12 month’s time.

Green and Szafnauer both believe that the new regulations will see the cars look extremely similar in design.

"I guarantee in a years’ time we will still be discussing the regulations for 2021," said Green. "Is it restrictive? Massively. The cars are going to look identical, there is very little scope for freedom."

Cars will 'barely' be quicker than F2

Break out the crying towels folks, the F1 cry babies are shedding tears already
Break out the crying towels folks, the F1 cry babies are shedding tears already

Szafnauer added that he is concerned that the sport is taking away a large portion of downforce, while also making the cars heavier – predicting that the cars will be "barely" faster than Formula 2.

"My personal worry is that the cars are getting heavier, the downforce is going to be a lot less, so we're going to be five, six, seven seconds slower than where we are," Szafnauer affirmed.

"We're going to be spending $175 million if you spend up to the limit and then there are some things excluded as well, so you'll spend $200 million to have a Formula that is barely quicker than Formula 2, where the cars look the same."

Open source parts proposed by FIA

Green explained that less standardized parts would be an easy solution to stop the cars from looking alike in 2021.

However, he also revealed that an open source system was proposed by the FIA at a recent meeting in which teams create designs that are visible to all competitors.

"The FIA proposed a system for open source parts where teams publish their design on the FIA website and all teams can see what people are using, and pick and choose the bits they want to," Green said

"We naturally tend towards one design, but efficient and performance design. It's a better way of doing it. It was just proposed at the last meeting so I'm hoping they're going to expand on that."

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