Pre-Season Warm Up


This month and a half window before the start of the season (usually in March) is a crucial time for the world of Formula 1. The teams, who have been working on the development of their new cars over the winter break, finally unveil the final product that will race in Melbourne in March. 


The regulation changes for the upcoming 2021 season will make the cars somewhat different than what we have seen in previous years. The front wing design will no longer look so sophisticated, as the flaps that control the air flow have been limited in number. The floor of the car has been mandated to be cut and reduced in the area approaching the back wheels, and the exhaust reduced in size. The cars have also been slightly shortened in length, but only by 6 centimeters. 


These regulation changes are truly minor when compared to the original ones planned by the FIA. It was in fact expected for the 2021 season to be the kickstarter of a new era in Formula 1, with cars that would look far more aerodynamic and slick. 


These regulations have had to be postponed because of the pandemic that has trampled the sport and the economic budget of many of the teams, but the FIA wanted to step towards the new era nonetheless. 


The regulations that have been made for this year are actually expected to make the cars slower, which isn’t a common theme in the sport. The real reason behind these changes is that the current cars create a “dirty air” flow behind their wake which makes it very hard for cars to race close to each other. 


This impediment of close racing makes for boring races, and fans have spoken out about this in the 2020 season, where they have felt some races just haven’t delivered the spectacle they should have.  


Hearing the fans and taking precautions, the FIA planned new regulations that would fit with the theme of cutting dirty air while progressing towards their new era plans. They expect cars to lose about 10% of the downforce they currently have, but also expect teams to gain about 4 to 5% back via season development. 


The unveiling of the 2021 cars tells us little about the way they will perform on track, but it’s still cool to see what decisions the engineers have made to adapt the new regulations and how the flow of the cars look. The liveries also play a big part as they represent the team and carry historic symbolism, such as the red for Ferrari. 


So far, only four teams have announced the dates for when they will drop their new cars. The earlier being Mclaren on February 15th, followed by Alpha Tauri on the 19th, Alfa Romeo on the 19th and Mercedes on March 2nd. The other 6 teams will also soon release their dates and succedently their cars, as the field begins to take shape in the last month or so of pre-season.