Formula 1 Rules Green Lit For 2020/2021

Modified Rules approved by the FIA regarding the 2020 & 2021 seasons to bridge the investment gap from Small/Midfield Teams to the “Big Three”.

Formula 1 rules needed to be mended, that’s for sure. It’s been a habitual “problem” in the sport for some time. But with the current crisis traveling the globe, now is a good time for the FIA to make it official.

And that’s just what they’ve done. It’s essentially an “aero handicap” which monitor and limits development to the challenging car that can be done on a waterfall level based on your relative competitiveness. The wind tunnel testing is especially subject to this clamp down. Larger teams can usually leverage this significantly more due to the operational investment needed. Thus, the FIA has made it particularly tight on big tunnels to restrict too much wind tunnel testing.

Formula 1 Rules & Testing

Furthermore on testing, the power unit is also going to be monitored. While the pandemic was getting under control, the grid was in a freeze as far as testing goes. Now with things becoming more clear, that freeze is lifted and teams are now leveraging a “token” system.

This will allow the FIA to keep track of the general amount of testing that each car is getting but it’s worth noting it will NOT be contingent on where you were in the WCC.

This, along with the technical budget cap slashing from an already deflated $175 million to $145 million should really give some of the midfield cars punching above their weight an edge.

Ricciardo’s move to McLaren may have some legs after all.

Formula 1 “Wins Today”

Speaking of McLaren, they along with teams like Alfa Romeo and Aston Martin (Racing Point) are going to have a strong exit from this quiet period. Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing has been bucking for these sorts of caps all along. He feels the disproportionate advantages that emerge to the large teams inadvertently from a situation like this are grand. He went on to say the following about the FIA’s decision on the new Formula 1 rules for 2020/2021:

Formula 1 wins today. This is a crucially important moment for our sport. F1 has been financially unsustainable for some time, and inaction would have risked the future of F1 and its participants, who are to be commended for resolving this issue collectively and determinedly.

A uniform budget cap, in concert with more even distribution of revenue among the teams, will ensure greater competition and more people wanting to watch live and on TV, driving more sustained revenues to underpin the long-term financial health of the teams and the sport.

Ultimately the fans win, and if the fans win, the whole sport wins too.”

What’s Next For Formula 1 Rules?

The 2020/2021 Formula 1 rules have reflected the change the sport has needed – it’s unfortunate it took a global pandemic to get there. The FIA and FOM have plans to honor this well beyond 2020 with the cap in place for multiple years. Further proof of the trend of the sport can be seen in the fact the budget cap will take $5 million off the top incrementally over the course of the next two seasons. They’ve also decided to increase the weight of the cars in tandem with forcing teams to transition their 2020 chassis relatively untouched for the 2021 season. It’s been reported that the cars must inch closer to ~750kg, up 3 kg from where we currently sit. About 1/3 of this incremental weight is coming from the additional fuel flow monitor – you can thank Ferrari for that.

The sport seems to be at odds with what F1 drivers want vs what leadership think is best for racing. Naturally, it’s ideal for racing drivers to have lighter cars. But as technology advances, speed of the car & innovation follow suit. The FIA has the unique job of keeping up with both. The problem is only going to continue as the cars are set to increase about 3% in 2022 when the latest regulations kick in.

As the sport adapts, let’s just hope it’s in the right direction. As for the updated 2020/2021 Formula 1 rules and the waterfall testing regiment, it appears mission accomplished for now. But as we all well know, things in F1 have the ability to change in the blink of eye.

As more Formula 1 news pours out, I’ll be sure to keep sifting out the important stuff and presenting it here.