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Formula 1 is being reinvented - some might say revolutionised - and if it's a success, it will be closer, more competitive and more exciting.
Everyone involved in the sport has known for years that one of its biggest problems is that the cars cannot easily race closely together. Now, F1's bosses have set themselves the task of addressing this in time for a major reset of the many aspects of the sport in 2021, and they believe they are getting somewhere.
"I'm confident we are going to make a big step forward," says Pat Symonds, Formula 1's technical director and the man leading research into the new-look F1. "I think we'll have a much more race-able car. I think we'll have a better-looking car."
Revealing exclusive details about the cars that will race in 2021, this is how they are planning to do it.
What's the problem?
Symonds and his small team of former F1 engineers at the central London headquarters of the sport's owners Liberty Media have been looking at ways of solving a problem that has haunted the sport for decades.
The current cars have awesome performance, with braking forces as much as six times the force of gravity and cornering forces that can top 5G. But the way they generate that performance is exactly why drivers find it so difficult to race.
The performance comes from huge amounts of aerodynamic downforce. But the cars can only generate that load if they are driving on their own. Put another car in front of them, and the airflow to the car behind is badly disrupted - and that has a huge effect on how much downforce it can create.
A 2018 F1 car following another car within 10 metres would lose as much as half of its total downforce. So it is literally physically impossible for that car to keep up.
They only way a car behind could follow at the same speed as one in front was if it fell back to about two seconds adrift, out of this 'dirty air'. Which by definition makes it impossible to overtake it.
To look at it from a performance perspective, on the vast majority of F1 circuits in 2018, a car following behind needed to have a lap-time advantage of nearly two seconds to overtake the one in front.
In other words, two closely matched cars competing for the lead cannot reasonably be expected to overtake each other. In many ways, it's a miracle there is any overtaking.

Premium Member
1,032 Posts
F1 has been saying it will make rule changes to improve racing and crowd enjoyment,
since at least the early 1980s,
when speeds out grew the tracks by a large margin.

So if aerodynamics are much of the problem radically reduce it. Simple front spoiler, smaller rear spoilers, no underbody defuser, just flat all the way back, make the cars a brick again.
No tyre changes.
No fuel top up.
No communication with pits.
No wireless diagnostics.
No in-race reprogramming of the car.

What the driver starts with is what they have.

Driver has to make the tyres last, use fuel wisely, and work things out for themselves.
Then there will be more unpredictability,
and driver skills will matter more.

Premium Member
14,800 Posts
It does not matter what they try to do to make it more exciting. It was the Drivers that made F1 interesting not the electronic in the car:wink:

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