Formula One’s 2021 technical regulations are expected to result in the cars generating approximately ten percent less downforce, but the actual difference could be much less significant as teams will be able to offset at least some of this reduction by developing their aero packages.
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner has said it’s likely that designers will be able to get back all the lost downforce through development.
“I think it’s a bit of a tricky one. I think the teams will get back all the downforce that it perhaps takes off,” Horner said in an interview with Autosport.
He suggested that the FIA should have potentially changed the rules to result in an even bigger reduction in downforce, so that the 2021 F1 cars will be generating lower levels of downforce regardless of how much teams are able to develop their aero packages.
“Maybe more could have been done because the rate of progress in F1 is such that, if there are concerns about the load of the tyre, maybe more should have been looked at.
“But of course whenever you change something, it does introduce cost because whatever you change creates differences, so it’s finding that balance,” Horner added.
Last month, Pirelli said it welcomed the FIA’s decision to tweak the technical regulations to reduce downforce levels and in turn reduce the loads that are being exerted on its tyres.
“Having another step in the direction of reducing the level of downforce is for sure beneficial because with more downforce… then we have side effects like overheating, blistering, for example, or additional degradation,” Mario Isola, head of F1 and Car Racing at Pirelli Motorsport, explained.
The 2020 British Grand Prix saw three cars suffer tyre failures in the final two laps of the race, raising concerns about the longevity and safety of Pirelli’s tyres.
Pirelli’s current edition of F1 tyres have been in use since the 2019 season, so the Italian tyre-maker hasn’t had a chance to develop its compounds to handle the greater loads that present-day Formula One cars are able to generate.
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