The "romantic” push for F1 cars to look more different

The FIA hopes "liberating" areas of Formula 1’s 2021 technical rules that were set to be more prescriptive will support the “romantic” ideal of teams creating different-looking cars.

2021 rules rendering
2021 rules rendering
1/8

Photo by: motosport.com

2021 rules rendering
2021 rules rendering
2/8

Photo by: Motorsport.com

2021 rules rendering
2021 rules rendering
3/8

Photo by: Motorsport.com

2021 rules rendering
2021 rules rendering
4/8

Photo by: Motorsport.com

2021 rules rendering
2021 rules rendering
5/8

Photo by: Motorsport.com

2021 F1 car of Renault F1 Team
2021 F1 car of Renault F1 Team
6/8

Photo by: Renault F1

2021 F1 car of Williams
2021 F1 car of Williams
7/8

Photo by: Williams

McLaren 2021 F1 car
McLaren 2021 F1 car
8/8

Photo by: McLaren

Prior to the unveiling of F1’s 2021 rules, some teams were concerned the governing body was restricting too many areas of development and critics suggested it risked edging towards spec cars and a “GP1” formula.

However, when it presented the new technical rules for the first time, the governing body outlined seven key areas of the car it believes give room for designers to pursue different shapes.

Part of the process of defining the rules included testing experts and more casual observers on the shapes of current cars to see if they could be identified without liveries, and FIA head of single-seater technical matters Nikolas Tombazis told Motorsport.com the push to make it easier to differentiate between the cars is a valid one.

“If you go to a non-expert fan, and take the liveries off the car, they would probably struggle to differentiate the cars and to say which is which,” said Tombazis. “Even today, the cars look less different than people would say. From a sort of romantic point of view, it would be nice if the cars looked different.

“Like in the good old days when you had some cars with six-wheels, another with ground effect, another with radiators in the front or whatever.”

Read Also:

To emphasise its point, the FIA presented three different versions of cars that would be legal under the new rules, illustrating the scope for freedom with major elements like sidepod designs and the front and rear wings.

“When we showed these different options of the car, it was to illustrate you can still have some fairly distinct shapes between cars, that are not irrational shapes, that could still lead to a bit of differentiation,” said Tombazis. “Now what exactly will be the best solution, we don’t know yet.”

Even after the technical regulations were published, ex-F1 technical director and Motorsport.com expert Gary Anderson was critical and described them as “painting by numbers”.

He added that “it is very prescriptive and will definitely reduce the opportunity for individual flare”.

Read Also:

However, Tombazis insists that the FIA has not only relaxed the prescription in the rules from when it was receiving the most criticism, but also allowed more freedom in areas with more aesthetic significance.

“The truth is that part of the reason cars have converged is A) regulation and B) the fact people know what they’re doing more now much more than they did in the past,” said Tombazis. “They have simulations for almost every single thing. They can predict performance. They study each other’s solutions, and they select the best ones. There’s a natural convergence in every set of regulations and this will be no exception.

“That said, up until about a month and a half ago, we were very strongly criticised for the amount of prescription in the rules. And we did get quite a lot of input from teams on areas they felt could be made freer. We had our own views. We combined our views and the teams’ input and we did some simulations, and we selected some areas they could be freer and more visually differentiating and more interesting from a development point of view.

“We liberated some of these areas a little bit more.”

shares
comments
Prost admits Renault “still not in a very stable situation”
Previous article

Prost admits Renault “still not in a very stable situation”

Next article

Haas "a team with 11 defenders and no strikers" during F1 races

Haas "a team with 11 defenders and no strikers" during F1 races
Load comments
Why Aston Martin is unlikely to repeat Jaguar’s F1 mistakes Prime

Why Aston Martin is unlikely to repeat Jaguar’s F1 mistakes

Two famous manufacturer teams born out of humble midfield origins, splashing the cash while attempting to rise to the top of F1 in record time. There are clear parallels between Lawrence Stroll’s Aston Martin and the doomed Jaguar Racing project of 22 years ago, but Mark Gallagher believes struggling Aston can avoid a similar fate.

How rejuvenated Haas recovered its F1 mojo Prime

How rejuvenated Haas recovered its F1 mojo

US-owned but until recently Russian-backed, Haas seems to have reached a turning point in car performance after three gruesome seasons. And it needs to if it’s to attract fresh investment. Team boss Gunther Steiner tells Oleg Karpov how close Haas came to the abyss.

Formula 1
May 14, 2022
How F1 race leaders have now lost their comfort blanket Prime

How F1 race leaders have now lost their comfort blanket

As Formula 1 teams have settled down in understanding the new generation of cars and the way they need to maximise their performance, fresh lessons have emerged. Jonathan Noble investigates how they have brought with them an all-new kind of grand prix racing

Formula 1
May 12, 2022
Gilles Villeneuve's 10 greatest F1 drives Prime

Gilles Villeneuve's 10 greatest F1 drives

Formula 1 lost one of its brightest stars when Gilles Villeneuve was killed during practice for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix. Forty years on, Motorsport.com picks out the greatest drives by a Ferrari legend

Formula 1
May 11, 2022
The silver lining of Ferrari’s Miami GP defeat Prime

The silver lining of Ferrari’s Miami GP defeat

OPINION: Much was made of Formula 1’s first Miami Grand Prix – what turned out to be a very ‘marmite’ event for both those in attendance and everyone following on TV. But even as the on-track battle between Red Bull and Ferrari it produced continued the negative run of results for the red team, it contained a glimmer it must hope continues to shine

Formula 1
May 11, 2022
How imperfect Miami offered F1's drivers a unique challenge Prime

How imperfect Miami offered F1's drivers a unique challenge

OPINION: Despite all of the stylistic embellishments festooning Formula 1's inaugural Miami Grand Prix, the Miami International Autodrome offered the drivers a unique challenge and punished driver errors; a stark contrast to the usual cast of modern-day circuits

Formula 1
May 10, 2022
Why F1’s turbulent relationship with Russia is nothing new Prime

Why F1’s turbulent relationship with Russia is nothing new

Russia’s involvement in Formula 1 has been big on promise but short on delivery – then reached the end of the road prematurely. MARK GALLAGHER investigates why

Formula 1
May 10, 2022
Miami Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Prime

Miami Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

Formula 1's eagerly-anticipated debut in Miami was the scene for the latest bout for victory between Red Bull and Ferrari. But there was plenty of intrigue up and down the field at F1's newest race, including another stirring drive from a 2022 returnee

Formula 1
May 9, 2022