2021 F1 car wind tunnel model, Circuit of the Americas

F1 presents its new car for the 2021 season

2021 F1 season

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Formula 1 has revealed how cars could look under its definitive rules package for the 2021 season.

The latest model of a 2021 car, above, reveals small changes over previous versions. F1 has also released images showing how a 2021 car could look (below).

The most significant change is at the front. The square-edged front wing seen on earlier iterations is now more tapered and pointed. The endplates are triangular and angled more aggressively upwards.

The new car design also shows a substantial cut-out beneath the engine intake and revised dual central rear wing mountings.

As this model represents how a car built to the planned 2021 regulations could look, there will be some scope for teams’ designs to differ, and each car may not look exactly like this one. The confirmation of the rules is likely to prompt teams to increase the development rate on their 2021 cars, as their designs for next year will be fairly advanced at this stage in the year.

2021 F1 windtunnel model

Formula 1 2021 car design

Teams’ 2021 F1 car renderings

Previous illustrations of F1’s new 2021 cars

2021 F1 car concepts
Early 2021 F1 car design concepts
F1 2021 'India' concept
F1 2021 ‘India’ aerodynamic concept

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “F1 presents its new car for the 2021 season”

  1. For the 1st time in a long time it looks like the F1 car models will be worth buying.

  2. Initial impressions: looks great.

    Front wings in particular

  3. I must say, I quite like it. If the initial estimates of only 10% of downforce being lost when in another car’s “dirty air” end up being accurate, I must say that I’m quite excited for 2021. I think it would be unrealistic to assume that now all of a sudden F1 will become like F2 in terms of its action, let’s not forget that following cars was relatively easy (compared to now) in the period of 1998-2010 when we didn’t have design-to-degrade tyres or DRS, and we didn’t tend to get a lot of on-track action back then. But it certainly is preferable to what we have now. Fingers crossed the rules turn out to be a success.

    1. @mashiat, the thing is, focussing solely on the total downforce loss is perhaps not the right way to look at things. There have been academic studies that have pointed out that, in reality, it’s not so much about the total downforce loss, but the change in the aerodynamic balance.

      If the downforce loss for the trailing car is relatively symmetrical over the car, and therefore the handling balance stays similar to what it is in free air conditions, then it’s not actually that bad for the trailing driver – as the handling balance in that case is still relatively predictable, then they can adapt to the reduced grip relatively easily.

      The problem with a number of the cars in more recent years has been the tendency for the front of the floor to stall, shifting the centre of pressure rearwards and tending to induce understeer – sometimes in a rather unpredictable fashion. That is a much more difficult situation for a driver to adapt to, because they cannot be entirely sure when going through a corner quite how much grip they will have, and that is what tends to induce the understeer that we have heard drivers complain about when following another car.

      Now, there has been a comment from the person behind “The Secret Aerodynamicist” column on the BBC that does perhaps give food for thought. One of the ideas behind the 2021 regulations seems to be a plan for a stronger upwash effect, with the intention of driving the turbulent air above the following car – however, he has commented that some teams were concerned that this could have a rather negative impact on the front aerodynamics of a trailing car, particularly the front wing, and could induce significant understeer.

      Currently, the suggestion was that the aerodynamicists responsible for developing the 2021 aero rules felt that the net increase in airflow over the following car and the lower total downforce loss offset that issue. However, I could see a situation where a limited loss in total downforce, but one that causes a marked shift in the handling balance, might still make following another car quite challenging.

  4. 40% slower? Great racing but LMP Cars are faster…Welcome in F1ndycar.

    1. I don’t know where you’ve read that they’ll be 40% slower. That would be MotoGP pace.

  5. Looks good. The front has been improved a lot, now very aggressive rather than that ‘flattened hammerhead shark’ look. Beyond that, let’s hope the aero changes work.

  6. I’m impressed, it looks good. I hope that the final cars look as good (I’m personally not fussed for all the cars being completely different, I’d rather see a close field, though that’s probably an unpopular opinion on here)

    Does anyone know what the wheelbases will be like? It appears to be shorter but it’s hard to tell from this model and renderings. I hope it’s not too long

    1. They’re probably getting rid of the 18 or older rule, as well.

  7. @dot_com
    This made me lol. Thank you!

  8. So weird seeing a modern F1 car without barge boards. That’s my favourite part.
    The front wing is too radical for my taste but it does make it look more futuristic, which is good I suppose.
    I was hoping for better integration of the halo frankly.
    Regarding the length of the car what do we know? Shorter or the same? It looks the same to me.

  9. Knowing how F1 teams work, I’m going to be very impressed and very deceived if the final cars look something like this. The prototype looks good, but I like to see what a brilliant engineer/designer brain can produce. I hope that they have enough freedom to develop different solutions from one team to other and if it’s possible, in areas thay we can actually see.

  10. That wing looks HUGE. And vulnerable; should make for lots of carbon fiber scattering and tire cutting in turns one.

  11. They look great. Shame they’re so heavy, but they’ve done a good job by the looks of things. Just hope it works and we can rid of drs

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