Hamilton: 2021 weight limit rise “puts more pressure on Pirelli”

2021 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton is disappointed new rules for the 2021 F1 season will lead to a further rise in the minimum weight level for cars.

The minimum mass of cars under the 2021 rules will rise to 768 kilograms compared to 740 this year.

“The cars are getting heavier and heavier,” said Hamilton. “I hope they don’t keep going, adding, which it looks like they will continue to.”

The increased weight will make it more important for Pirelli to produce tyres which can stand up to the increased cornering forces, said Hamilton.

“It slows the cars down, makes the tyres harder. And the tyres are a huge element in terms of our racing. We are struggling to follow [other cars] and then the tyres always overheat.

“The cars are too heavy and then pushing more in that direction just puts more pressure on Pirelli. It makes their job even harder in 2021.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2019
Hamilton: “The cars are too heavy”
Formula 1 communicates its requirements for tyre performance to Pirelli through a ‘target letter’. Hamilton said it is “really important” the sport gets this right in 2021.

“They’ve never had a good target letter in terms of what to deliver and the tyres, the tyre scenarios,” he said. “The GPDA is working closely with the FIA to try and make sure that target letter is written well.

“I don’t know who wrote it before, but it was terrible. It wasn’t great. Hopefully this time we’ll have a better target letter and hopefully they’ll be able to develop a tyre which [will] help us race better.”

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By 2021, F1 cars will have gained 163 kilograms in 12 years – a rise of 26.9% compared to 2009. The FIA’s head of single-seater matters Nikolas Tombazis said the latest rise is “clearly not a desired objective” but a consequence of several changes to the cars.

“It is a consequence of of largely the bigger wheel [rims], but also some increase of the minimum weight of the engine,” he said.

“There’s some increase of the weight of some of the prescribed components, and there’s some reduction of weight of of bodywork because it’s a lot simpler in terms of shapes and construction. So overall, the weight of the car will increase.”

F1’s minimum weight limit, 1961 – 2021

NB. Separate minimum weight limits for turbocharged and normally aspirated cars were set in 1987 and 1988.

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Image: McLaren via Twitter

24 comments on “Hamilton: 2021 weight limit rise “puts more pressure on Pirelli””

  1. Hamilton is right. I hope F1 cars will not look like a tram in a decade.

    1. @bulgarian But what does Hamilton, or any other driver, but particularly a 6x champion, know about how a F1 car works?

      1. He’s just scared because he knows the driver who has the best tyre management on the grid will come out on top……..oh wait.

  2. The cars will be heavier mainly because the garbage tires that pirelli provide are heavy.

    1. Actually the rims (going from 13″ to 18″ ones) are the single biggest thing raising the weight @megatron

    2. @megatron, as @bascb rightly notes, the increase in weight is down to the increased mass of the rim – if anything, the rubber tyre carcass would slightly reduce in weight, but by less than the increased mass of the rim that it now has to fit around.

      Michelin have also confirmed in the past that, if they had won the tender and increased the tyre rims to 18 inches, the total weight of the wheels would have ended up increasing – which did in fact happen when Michelin introduced 18 inch rims to Formula Renault 3.5.

  3. …like, literally.

  4. Why is the weight limit even needed…? The cars have to undergo loads of tests to do with safety and structure so that’s not an issue. Materials are all limited by the FIA regulations so the weight limit doesn’t stop costs spiralling that way. I just don’t get it. Please can someone explain?!?!

    1. @robinsonf1 It’s more to ensure a more level playing field because if there was no weight limit there would be some surprisingly large weight differences between teams given how engines, gearboxes & of course drivers among other parts of each car are all different sizes & weights.

      If you had no minimum weight limit then larger/heavier drivers would be at a big disadvantage. In fact one of the reasons for the weight increases the past 7-8 years has been because in the early days of KERS the larger/heavier drivers (Like Nico Hulkenberg) were seen to be been overlooked by top teams because of the disadvantage there larger size would bring to the team.

  5. Cars are to big. End of story. F1 should never exceed the size of a hot hatch. Well maybe in width. But not.

    If cars would be 1 meter shorter I bet they could loose 20-40kg. Maybe even much more.

    1. With shortness would also come a lot more nimbleness. Angular momentum would be way lower as that increases with size and mass alike.

      More size also in general promotes more mass.

      Longer wheelbase makes the car more stable… less spectacular to watch.

      In 2017 Mercedes was a staggering 5.7m long. By turn of the century F1 cars were around 4.5m long max. Lets say they need 20cm for the hybrid extra… but that’s it 4.7m could be the maximum.

      That should help with all this nonsence. I’d hate to see another pre-season where Hamilton comes out of first test explaining how his F1 car feels like a land yacht. He should know, he has a Maybach. Maybach 57 is similar in length length to his F1 car. 57 denoting 5.7 m.

      1. @jureo: Liberty’s new plan. Formula Land Yacht Racing.

      2. Neither hybridization, nor ban of refuelling actually requires the cars being longer.
        they could just as easily be bulkier. The current cars look quite silly. They barely have anything between the rear wheels.
        Just limit the length at 4.5m and be done with it.

  6. I think the weight going up in 2021 is a big issue and I agree with hamilton that it makes the job even more harder for pirelli. In the end about 100kg of that weight increase is in the engine. Put heavy engine in the car and you get a heavy car. Not rocket science. But the hybrid engine is the holy cow for f1 which can not be changed so heavy f1 cars are going to stay. After all it seems everything else could be changed for 2021 except that one thing. All the manufacturers need to do is to make sure the cars get heavier and heavier so the eventual weight increase to electric cars and 1000kg is just maybe another 60kg at that point. I think it is fundamentally not f1 to put road car tech into f1 cars but then again this is what f1 is nowadays.

    1. @socksolid, the change in engine regulations saw an increase in minimum weight of 48kg (the V8 cars themselves having grown in weight by 37kg over the previous years).

      That increase is significantly smaller than the 78kg increase in minimum weight that is taking place due to the introduction of changed safety measures and the imposition of standardised parts. Your continued desire to blame the engines has blinded you to the fact that they have not been driving the increase in weight in recent years.

      In fact, you have actually argued in favour of measures that have helped to drive up the minimum weight even more – you have argued in favour of standardising more parts, but one of the major contributions towards the planned increase in minimum weight for 2021 was so more standard parts could be introduced.

      As an aside, if you think that it is “fundamentally not f1 to put road car tech into f1 cars”, then you should absolutely have hated the 1980s and the turbo cars. Almost all of the turbocharger manufacturers based the designs of the turbocharger units on units that were used in heavy diesel engines – some of them, such as Holset, were even directly supplying off the shelf units that were originally built for HGVs to their customers.

      1. In 2014 the teams could not reach minimum weight. In 2013 they could put a lot of ballast where they wanted to make the car drive better which could be 25kg. The reason the v8s got heavier was because of hybrid elements. Kers and battery and the electronic control unit was 25kg (I’ll give you a small number here). Those two numbers already put your 48kg to be actually 98kg (48+25+25) when you actually add all the facts in. And the cars still did not meet the minimum weight. The weight went up even more. To make matters even worse NOBODY in the internet except you denies the fact that a v8 after all the electric junk was regulated at 95+5kg which is 120kg with ancillaries. The hybrid is 200kg. Period. I don’t even need to post sources because it is not possible to find sources that contradict any of this.

        But whatever. You do you.

  7. Lewis is a just fatphobic! #RacyAtEverySize

  8. Just a thought, what precisely is the point in moving to the 18-inch wheel-rims? Why wouldn’t the 13-inch size that has been in place for a long time be appropriate in the longer-term future anymore even though road cars (at least not all of them) don’t use 18-inches? I have never really found a specific reason behind this upcoming move.

    1. @jerejj just as engine manufacturers want more road relevance (thus the hybrid engines), Pirelli also wants more road relevance. Having 18 inch wheels in F1 makes it easier for them to sell F1 technology applied to their road products than 13 inch wheels with an enormous sidewall that’s not even remotely similar to a road tyre.

    2. @jerejj Why do people put 18″ rims on their car? Or actually bigger even.

      1. @f1osaurus: To look cooler and enjoy a choppier ride. Also… to look cooler.

      2. Why don’t we have 13 inch rims on the road anymore?

  9. What happened in 95? Was it one of rushed changes after Imola 1994?
    They even allowed fueling in 94, so that alleviates a lot of weight, yet it jumped 80 kilos for 95.
    That’s a lot, considering they went from 515kg.

    1. Yes, I believe the panic to introduce a significantly more substantial survival shell on the car drove that weight increase.

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