Formula 1

F1 2021 regulations will be biggest change ‘since ground effect’

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Formula 1’s planned 2021 revolution will mark the biggest set of aerodynamic rule changes since the abolition of ground-effect cars in the early-1980s.

This year’s F1 cars will feature simpler front and rear wings, brake ducts and bargeboards in a bid to make it easier for cars to follow.

It is a change F1 is introducing to test methods ahead of a much bigger overhaul for the 2021 car designs.

Asked if teams will learn much for 2021 from this year’s rules, Racing Point technical director Andy Green told Autosport: “Absolutely not, 2021 regulations is another departure from all the 2019 changes. [It is a] different animal, completely.

“2021 is the biggest set of aero regulations ever. Since say we got rid of ground-effect cars, that sort of change.

“I’m really looking forward to it.”

Ground-effect cars, pioneered in F1 by Team Lotus, dominated in the late 1970s and early ’80s by introducing dramatic levels of downforce.

However, after rapid progress meant cornering speeds increased, the rulemarkers stepped in and banned side skirts – there to seal the underfloor and suck the car to the ground – first before mandating flat-bottomed cars in 1983.

Green expects the 2021 changes to be so significant that F1 needs to keep its 2019 rules for 2020 as well, so teams can carry over parts.

This would help them prepare for “the tsunami of work that’s about to land on us for ’21”.

F1 has worked through a trio of concepts for 2021, with windtunnel testing taking place with assistance from all 10 teams.

The broad aim is to introduce cars that help improve the racing but help F1 make a step forward in visual terms.

“It’s infinitely more researched than any other regulations ever, but that’s not difficult, because there was zero done before,” said Green.

“They’re not going to get everything right for sure, but it’s a huge step in the right direction.

“I think 2021 is a completely different concept of car.

“It’s going to be really exciting for exciting for engineers, to work on a completely different set of regulations like they’re proposing.

“I can’t wait, it’s going to be amazing. Those cars that they’re looking at for ’21, I do believe will make a big difference to racing, and car following.

“That is a massive step from where we are now.”

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