VIDEO | What regulations are changing in 2021?

21-01-2021 17:33
Video

2021 was set to be a big shakeup in terms of regulations but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the biggest regulation changes since the start of the turbo-hybrid era have been delayed until 2022. That doesn’t mean things aren’t changing this year, and we are set to see some fairly significant alterations. Here’s the rundown of some of the new rules.

The Budget Cap

The biggest change isn’t one we’ll physically see on the cars, but it is set to make a big impact. The 2021 season will introduce a buget cap of $145 million US dollars, this doesn’t include the team’s marketing budget, the salaries of their drivers and the salaries of their three highest earning executives. Some teams argued this should be reduced further to $100 million dollars due to the pandemic and Ross Brawn has already stated that the aim is to reduce this even further. 

The hope of the budget cap is that the gap between the top teams and the midfield will be closed making for more entertaining racing and a more competitive championship. However, we don’t expect to see the full effects of this for a few years, given Mercedes and Red Bull’s already significant advantage. Teams could face a variety of punshiments for breaking the budget gap, ranging from point deductions, race bans and the most extreme being championship disqualification.

Technical Regulations

There are also plenty of technical regulation changes being introduced. One thing that caused quite the comotion in 2020 was Mercedes’ DAS system. The dual-axis steering system allows the driver to adjust the toe of the front wheels to optimise mechanical grip by pulling or pushing on the steering wheel. However, Mercedes won’t have this advantage after it was banned.

Teams will be limited to what components they can change in order to ease finacial restraints posed by the pandemic. For years the drivers have been wanting to push the tyres to more extreme limits and they’ll be introducing a new range of compounds this year. All drivers will now recieve the same sets at each race weekend. The 2021 tyre plans had been met with resistance after they left drivers frustrated during tests last year. Cars will now have a maximum weight of 749 KG 3kg more than 2020 and the floor of the car is set to be simplified and made narrower making it less complex. 

2021 will also see changes to aerodynamic testing rules. The lower a team finished in 2020, the longer they’ll get testing the wind tunnel this year. Williams will therefore get the most time after finishing bottom of the Constructors’ Championship, whilst Mercedes will have the least after romping to the 2020 title. 

And finally, there will be stricter rules on copying teams. Mercedes and Racing Point's similarities led to the latter recieving a 15 point penalty but there will be now stricter rules to stop this from happening!

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