UPDATE - 11.03.2019
Formula 1's 2021 regulations willl have a drastic impact on racing thanks to a heavy reduction in 'dirty air' produced by each car. That's the opinion of the sport's managing director, Ross Brawn, who told Motorsport.com that current cars lose half their aerodynamic performance when following within two car lengths of another.
"The car we have [in the works] now, you lose 10 per cent of the performance," he said. "So it's a huge improvement over where we are today."
The new aerodynamic regulations suggest Brawn is pushing for racing without the need for DRS, something the former Ferrari technical mastermind has previously stated was his intention. Brawn dismissed comments that F1 could cut downforce and rely more on mechanical grip to boost racing.
"We don't want to lose the speed of the Formula 1 car," he said. "We want it to be the fastest racing car on the planet, the most impressive racing car on the planet - and you can only do that by harnessing the aerodynamic performance.
"So I don't think we can take a simplistic view and just get rid of all the downforce and think that'll solve it. What we need is the downforce to be delivered in a way that cars can race each other."
Brawn also said that racing quality, rather than the number of overtakes, was how he measures success, stating that "close racing and the ability of cars to run behind each other and run side-by-side and get close to attack is the thing that everyone gets excited about".
Do you agree? Would you rather see fewer overtakes, but with each of a higher quality in a DRS-free world, or does F1 need a high volume of passes to entertain? You know the drill...
ORIGINAL STORY - 14.09.2018
It's fair to say there's a certain amount of consternation about contemporary F1 cars; specifically the relatively limited opportunities they seem to offer for overtaking and close, fast, racing.
To address those concerns, F1 has revealed these designs for new cars in the 2021 season. Shown today at the Singapore Grand Prix, all three represent collaborations between Ross Brawn and the FIA; Brawn saying that by the beginning of next decade every entrant will incorporate cues from all three.
Encouragingly, the former Ferrari technical director has confirmed that the main aim of the new design rules will indeed be to ensure drivers can follow each other more closely. "With the current cars, when they get to within two to three car lengths, they can lose 50 per cent of performance, the tyres degrade more and it becomes very challenging. At the moment we have (new) designs that only lose 20 per cent - maintain 80 per cent."
The most notable change in all three concepts is the introduction of fairings near the wheels to improve the airflow, with cars for 2019 already set to include changes to the front wings based on similar principles. Interestingly, Brawn reckons that next year's cars will be slower than the current ones as a result, though conceded that the existing rate of progress could have made them dangerously fast: "The cars are pretty impressive now but if they continue to develop at the rate they're developing there will be a need to pull it back," he said.
Of the three, the third concept is the one most closely related to the current F1 cars, with the other silver car (Concept 1) representing a more futuristic ideal - see the cleaner halo incorporation and more intricate spoiler. Concept 2 is a bit more extreme than 1, described on the F1 site as "more refined and stylistically more aggressive."
Clearly there's a way to go before the full design rules are finalised, let alone till these cars hit the racetrack, but 2021 will be here before you know it. If the cars really can look like this and improve the racing, then it can't come soon enough!
PHers are already discussing the new look F1 cars - join the chat here.