2021 regulations and the revolution to come

2017 United States Grand Prix, Friday – Wolfgang Wilhelm

Since Liberty Media took ownership of Formula 1 just over a year ago, across the worlds of social media it was clear a raft of requests from fans towards the new owners pleaded for as plethora of changes. While some have taken place within the realms of the fan areas at the race tracks, social media interactions and accessibility around the paddocks, far more is now at stake as time continues to pass us by with the 2021 regulations soon pressing the top of the agenda and the revolution of the sport it represents and will ultimately lead to.

As the saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and it couldn’t be more true with what Liberty Media aim to achieve as they attempt to create a racing series themselves. Since 2010 I have personally been left wanting more from Formula 1 after witnessing four possible drivers go into the final round in Abu Dhabi all with a chance of being world champion, I asked myself, why can this not happen more often? It’s clear Liberty Media are also thinking on that same level and the prayers of many fans might get answered soon.

Why shouldn’t Formula 1 have the biggest and best teams, but who are also competitive against each other on a similar level? Having had plenty of discussions with experts over this past year, I have felt there are many that look back on years gone by using glasses with a rose-tinted hue on what is often deemed as the “good old days” which were inherently just as troubled as they are today. Despite what it appeared to be like on the surface through the television screens, the same problems still persist today and are amplified by not only a much clearer picture produced by the media but also the ability for fans to communicate on social media.

While I empathise with the fans in wanting to see change within the sport, we must be patient and support the new management in achieving their goals.

Stephen Camp

In terms of what the 2021 regulations are aiming to achieve is very simple: create a much fairer and competitive sport for everyone to watch and compete. It may sound easy to say, but it’s going to be a gargantuan task to achieve. The current Concorde Agreement which began in 2013 binds the teams to their current contracts to the sport until the end of 2020, this is a non-negotiable part of the situation Formula 1 itself faces.

To overcome this hurdle, Chase Carey and Liberty Media have to work with the teams and make the tough decisions in order to push through the necessary changes required to bring about a revolutionised Formula 1 to ensure it lasts into the future, much like Dorna had to in order to bring MotoGP to the current competitive level it experiences today. The current model of how Formula 1 works is just simply unsustainable in the long term.

Technical regulations are also due to be shaken up on both the power unit and aerodynamic fronts in order to readdress the performance balance of the field and allow for noisier, cheaper and closer racing for everyone involved. We’re going to be sticking with the 1.6 litre turbo-hybrid power units, but there will be some changes as the it looks like the MGU-H will be taken away and a bigger turbo put in place to help regain some of the power lost.

Aerodynamics will also be taking another overhaul in order to reduce the severe effects of turbulent air being thrown at the car behind which for a long time has meant cars can’t follow closely and therefore race each other competitively. Liberty Media’s Ross Brawn is heading up a team of technical experts to help understand the fundamental problems that plague the drivers trying to follow the car in front. With the work being done, the aim is to create an aerodynamic regulation set to ease this and give drivers a much better chance of catching and passing cars around them.

If the goals are realised for 2021 and beyond, we will see Formula 1 become a richly competitive racing series able to attract more teams, engine suppliers and sponsors, on top of that the fans should flock to the sport in order to see the best drivers take on each other in cars that are able to compete with each other on a much closer level, meaning we will see a bigger variety of winners and a closer title battle, isn’t that what we all want to see?

The pain over the next few years will feel very real as cars continue to develop more downforce and more power which exacerbate the on-track issues we currently see. The financial packages the teams receive at the end of each year remains an issue – teams who do get less of a fiscal input will have to get by on what they currently account for.

While I empathise with the fans in wanting to see change within the sport, we must be patient and support the new management in achieving their goals to create the fastest, most exciting and competitive motorsport racing series in the world.

We all want to see close battles and great competition, but it will just take some time to get there. The revolution is coming.




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