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FIA confirms “drastic improvements” to F1 car safety in 2021

2021 F1 season

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The FIA has confirmed it will ‘drastically improve’ the strength of chassis from the 2021 F1 season.

As RaceFans revealed last week, minimum car weights are set to rise by seven kilograms next year to allow teams to strengthen their cars in order to pass the revised crash tests which their designs will have to pass.

The FIA World Motorsport Council confirmed “drastic improvements to the strength and energy absorption of the chassis in front, lateral and rear impacts,” from 2021.

The change follows last year’s Formula 2 crash at Spa, which claimed the life of Anthoine Hubert and left Juan Manuel Correa with serious leg injuries, after their cars collided.

Correa’s car struck Hubert’s after a piece of debris lodged under the front of his car. In another change for 2021, the FIA confirmed “tethers will be mandated for rear wing and rear impact structures”, similar to those already used on car wheels.

Further improvements will be made to “considerably improve electrical (high voltage) safety on the cars”, the WMSC statement added.

Other changes to the F1 cars for 2021 previously revealed by RaceFans were announced by the WMSC. These include “changes to the front wing profiles to prevent downwash which would have resulted in a severe compromise to the overall objectives to allow cars to race more closely” and the “front wing endplates, top bodywork and rear wing endplates [which] have been modified to give the teams more commercial space.”

Two further developments for 2021 were confirmed. British pressure transducer manufacturer Kulite was chosen as the official supplier for Formula 1’s power unit pressure and temperature sensors for 2021 to 2023. Revised Financial Regulations have also been approved giving Cost Cap Administrators the ability to monitor teams’ activities “at any point in time, remotely or at F1 Teams’ premises.”

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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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30 comments on “FIA confirms “drastic improvements” to F1 car safety in 2021”

  1. All this talk about 2021 and making the racing better got me thinking. Why in the early years F1 only awarded points to top 5 or top 6. Barely half of the cars managed to finish the race. Then came the only count x amount of races because engines kept breaking and you couldn’t be sure which car or driver would retire next. Nowadays as mechanical failures have reduced points are offered for more drivers and teams.

    But should F1 reconsider the points system again. In the current era you probably know which teams are on top and which are not. So why not make win less important and make the championship more tighter. 20-17-14-11-9-7-5-4-2-1 or even more radical. 15-13-11-9-7-5-4-3-2-1.

    This could also mean FIA needs to change other WC series point system like WRC, WEC etc. but the recent problem for F1 has been one guy or team dominating and making win less important again could do the trick.

    1. it’s 2020, lets just give trophies to *EVERYBODY*
      Williams are a winner too, as long as they’re enyoing themselves! stop slowshaming NOW !

      1. LOL! @mrboerns

        And excellent point. We’re tired of this tiresome pursuit of technical excellence. Just racing in or watching F1 is reward enough.

        Let’s stop this numeric discrimination – abandon the points entirely. And expand the podium to include… everyone!

    2. because then everyone will complain that winning isn’t significant enough in the championship just like they were 10 years ago.

    3. Completely the opposite I would say! 25-15-10….Make the win and podium finish points worth fighting for till the chequered flag!!! We want fighting for position up and down the grid not just cars cruising around

      1. I see like this. If midfield teams perceive they could earn more points by finishing 7th, 8th or 10th, then they could fight more aggressively for those positions during the race. Even if 11th or 12t positios gave points, it could make teams more interested on gaining places.

    4. This has been discussed in some articles from Keith and it probably would not affect the outcome. The only thing worth looking at regarding point system is extending to more than 10. As you wrote, it was extended from 6 to 10 because of reliability increase, and I believe we have reached a new step in reliability.

      Under current regulation, there was a trend of biggest financial teams raising to the top. Ultimately we would have Mercedes, Ferrari, RedBull, Renault and McLaren occupying the top 10 positions most of the time. I don’t like the idea of the other teams being ranked based on their lucky break because they were best of the rest when 3 cars broke ahead. It could result in a lot of “Kubica was better than Russell in 2019” situations, as it would only appear in the ranking and not reflect the season.

  2. It’s almost as if they’re deliberately trying to put me off F1. That thing looks like an Indy car, let them have it. Why have a constructors championship if they’ve all been told to build the same car. I regularly look at the F1 car hardware and development topic on F1 technical and it used to be extremely active with contributions every few minutes. Nowadays, it’s static by comparison. A clear indication that the traditional enthusiast is losing interest.

    1. That’s just the ideal model from those who tried tirelessly to design a car that will be nice to it’s competitors by reducing wake and other effects.

      Teams won’t take the same design approach as the ideal model so I’m not judging what the 2021 cars look like until the teams reveal their cars next year.

    2. When IndyCar had the aero wars (before the latest formula) they had lots of winglets and appendages on the top as the majority of down force was generated at the top of the car like an F1 car. With F1 moving to generate more down force from the cars floor rather than the top of the car to reduce turbulence it’s natural they will look more like an IndyCar. Aero dictates the shape.

      IndyCar has had wheel, front nose and rear wing tethers for quite some time. The increase of additional kevlar and xylon protection to the cockpit and now the aero screen has added weight. I’d be surprised if F1 doesn’t add the screen to the next generation of car. The tacked on look of the screen (like the halo) will be fixed with the next generation 900 HP hybrid IndyCar for 2022, as it will be designed in from the start.

      1. Wasn’t that mainly because the underfloor area was so heavily restricted in development options in IndyCar, pushing those teams towards developing those wings because they were the only avenues open to development?

  3. As long as F1 doesn’t adopt that hideous screen what’s wrong with looking somewhat like an IndyCar?
    The current F1 cars look like hedgehogs in comparison, ugly little bits tacked on all over, i love the way that car looks, smooth, like a current jet fighter..

    1. @budchekov I love how complex F1 cars look/are because I love that aspect of F1. The constant development race & pursuit of performance via things such as all those little flaps, winglets & such are a big part of what got me hooked on F1 and what has kept me hooked for the past 40-45 years.

      I honestly fear that making things too simple & too restrictive over the next few years & making them ‘look more like indycars’ is just going to put me off. Fine the racing may be better but that isn’t the thing I watch F1 for, Never has been & never will be. Sure seeing some good racing is nice & all but i’m more about it been the pinnacle of the sport both in terms of performance, looks & technical development. Without those things or with those things made less part of it you just turn it into Indycar+ or GP1 & that will see it lose a big chunk of it’s appeal.

      if you want to watch something that looks like indycar with close racing & equality of performance then just watch indycar & let f1 be what it’s always been, the pinnacle of the sport. thats what got it so popular, if equality, close racing & restrictive regulations are so great then why does hardly anyone watch indycar?

      f1 is missing the boat big time with these gp1 regulations & i predict in 10 years it will be just as irrelevant as indycar has become since it went spec where it became far less popular than it was when you had multiple chassis suppliers & teams had a bit more technical freedom to develop the chassis! spec isn’t the way forward, it is the path to irrelevance & unpopularity!

      1. “if equality, close racing & restrictive regulations are so great then why does hardly anyone watch indycar?”
        In America we do, NBC sports upped ratings 9%, last year, races averaged 1.1 million not including streaming, F1 averages 659,000 a race.
        I love both :)

        1. Magnus Rubensson (@)
          11th March 2020, 18:14

          I would like to, but I’m in the UK and I don’t want to enter into a completely one-sided “agreement” with Sky Television for a massive satellite TV package just to watch one racing series.
          Anyone know how to see the IndyCar races from the UK? Now.TV…?

      2. I did read that as these new regs mature they will be opening up more areas of development to the teams. I think the big thing about the regs being soooooo restrictive for 2021 is to prove out the concept and then go from there.

  4. F1 cars will be made safer due to a horrendous accident involving a F2 car last year. What safety changes are the FIA mandating for F2 cars in 2021 or don’t the drivers in that or any open wheel championship matter?

    1. F2 has adhered to F1 safety standards since gp2 was created, I expect the bect iteration of there car to do so as well. F1 has been rising in speeds greatly since 2017, thus the necessity to greatly increase safety standards.

      1. Gabriel Valtonen
        7th March 2020, 11:18

        Laptimes is not speed.

  5. I would have thought that “drastic improvement” would have equated to a significant weight increase or had that already been factored in to the existing increase in minimum weight?

    An as stated above, I hope that similar regulations have been applied to F2, F3 etc and just not mentioned.

    1. @dbradock Yes, it’s been factored into the seven-kilo increase from the originally chosen mandated minimum driver+car weight figure of 768 kg for the season. However, the same ‘improvements’ should be achievable with the 768 as well.

  6. ”to allow teams to strengthen their cars in order to pass the revised crash tests which their designs will have to pass.”
    – But why wouldn’t the same intended outcome be achievable with the originally chosen minimum driver+car weight figure (768 kg) as well? Why would the figure always ‘have to’ be higher to achieve this or that?

  7. Lowering the car’s mass should improve safety as long as the integrity is still there but I guess it is not.

  8. Another 7 kilos… if it keeps going like this in 5 years time the car will weigh a tonne and be the size of a mobile home…

    It makes me sad.

  9. Ahh! They’re safe enough already!


    1. People were saying the same thing prior to Imola 1994 & then it was very suddenly discovered the people who thought f1 was ‘safe enough’ were very wrong.

  10. Lewisham Milton
    7th March 2020, 14:52

    What do the things over the front wheels do?
    Is this the end of open-wheel racing?

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      7th March 2020, 15:20

      I believe it reduces turbulence off of the front tyres so there’s less “wake” behind the car.

    2. The problem with an open wheel is it generates lift as it rotates at high speed. I don’t know why that fin is there, but my guess is that is there to reduce spoilt the lifting effect. If it is, then I’m not sure why the didn’t add them to the rear wheels as well.

  11. I came across a Yellow Flag Talks video on Youtube where they discuss this tragic accident. The finish by reminding the viewer that they, like nearly all of us, aren’t crash analysis experts and that those who are need to be given time to make sensible decisions.
    However, one point they did mention that I thought worthy of merit was crash barriers that don’t “bounce” a colliding car back onto the track, but “retain” it. Such barriers wouldn’t need to wait for the next season to be installed, they could be installed this year without affecting the race cars. Note that even with a barrier that did “hold onto” Herbert’s car he could have still been killed due to the G forces involved.

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