SPORTS


2021: A first look at concepts for F1's future

Baku, September 14, AZERTAC

F1 has been working with the FIA and the teams to create a Formula 1 car for 2021 that delivers better racing and has the looks to match. The design will continue to evolve over the next year but here’s a first look at the concepts that will shape F1’s future.

Ferrari have taken the fight to Mercedes this year, with Red Bull getting involved and fighting for top honours, too. And F1 is working on a design for a future car that will increase the chances of great fights, all the way down the field, every year.

High on the agenda, then, is a solution to allow cars to follow each other more easily, which in turn should increase the opportunities to overtake. But there is also a desire to have cars that look so good, kids want to have posters of them on their walls.

“When we started looking at the 2021 car, the primary objective was to enable the cars to race well together,” says Formula 1 motorsport boss Ross Brawn. “What we established early on in our research is the cars we have now are very bad in following each other.

“Once the cars get within a few car lengths of each other, they lose 50% of their downforce. That’s a substantial amount of performance lost. So we set about understanding why that was and how we can improve it. I’m pleased to say we’re at about 80%.

“As time has gone on, another of the primary objectives was to make great looking cars. We want cars that look better than what you see in a video game, cars that kids want to have up on their walls. At each stage, as we have been evolving the car, we’ve had someone we are working with create a graphic representation artist to give us a feel of what the car could look like.

“That is not to control the development, because it’s critical this development achieves its objectives, but why shouldn’t we have great looking cars as we’re evolving the cars? We want a car that is inspiring. F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport and the car should look sensational.”

F1 has worked hand in hand with governing body the FIA throughout, while the teams have been kept in the loop, too. This process has led to a series of concepts, which have evolved in three stages – and will continue to develop.

The first concept shows how the halo cockpit protection device can be much more integrated and subsequently more aesthetically pleasing.

The second concept is more refined and stylistically more aggressive. “As the aerodynamicists were evolving the car, the graphics designer was taking where they were and trying to capture it at each stage,” says Brawn.

“Concept 2 is a bit more extreme. One of the things you’ll see is the bigger wheels. We’re committed to 18-inch wheels for the future. They look better but there are a lot of technical reasons why we want them.”

The third concept is the most current but there are still a lot of interesting ideas that have come out of the research that haven’t yet been brought to life by the artist. However, in this concept you can see the first signs of devices to control the way the airflow comes of the wheels.

“The tyres and the wheels are the dirtiest area of the car, they cause huge disruption in the airflow,” says Brawn. “We are starting to look at devices that can stabilise the flow as it comes of the wheel. It’s maturing as we go along.”

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