F1’s future was seen in Singapore earlier this month, with three concept cars for the 2021 season revealed; each more aggressive than the last.
The aim, to take the sport back to the mainstream, not only with cars that excite future generations, but provide close racing, with F1 chairman and CEO Chase Carey unequivocal on the topic when asked last year.
SOUNDBITE (English) CHASE CAREY,
CHAIRMAN & CEO, FORMULA 1:
“I think it is part of what makes sports special is the unexpected, the surprise and the underdog and so hopefully have more of that. But it is first and foremost competition, so we just want great racing, great action and we want it to go to the very end.”
In creating that close racing, a lot of the change needs to be aerodynamic – with current cars losing around 50 per cent of their total downforce when within two to three lengths of a car in front.
The 2021 cars aim to cut that down to just 20 per cent, with elements from each of the concepts incorporated into the final regulations.
But not all of the squads are fans of the presented concepts – with Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene saying the Scuderia’s engineers were less than impressed.
“They said it's a bit underwhelming in their opinion and it looks like an old ChampCar but it's an exercise,” he said.
The majority of stakeholders, though, are in favour in terms of the overall direction the sport is going and what needs to be achieved for 2021, with promoters like Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott knowing exactly what the audience wants.
SOUNDBITE (English) ANDREW WESTACOTT,
CEO, AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX CORPORATION:
“It’s got to be exciting, you’ve got to have cutting edge technology, so I don’t think it’s going to preclude and make it too even but at the end of the day we do want to make sure that there’s competitiveness and uncertainty.”
And while its hoped that next year’s front and rear wing regulation tweaks will assist with overtaking, the end of that season should see 2021’s rules finally set in stone for 12 months of research by the teams.
It’s a brave new direction for the pinnacle of international motorsport. One it’s hoped will have the whole world talking, and for all the right reasons.