F1 rubbishes cookie cutter 2021 design concerns

F1 will present its 2021 package to the Strategy Group this month

Ross Brawn has moved to rubbish claims that the Formula 1 grid in 2021 will be made up of cookie cutter cars that all look the same.

Further details of the proposed 2021 regulations, which have not yet been signed off, were released earlier this week.

Included in the presentation were details on greater design restrictions and an increased use of standardised parts, including wheels and brake systems.

Aerodynamically the rule book is also being tightened, leading some to suggest the restrictions to the little freedom designers currently have will result in cars that are fundamentally identical.

The intent of the 2021 regulations is to close the gap between front and rear of the grid, while simultaneously producing better on-track action.

However, Formula 1 managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn argues the existing field is already almost indistinguishable.

“There are complaints that all the cars are going to look the same and the other nonsense,” said Brawn.

“As an exercise, Pat (Symonds) took all the existing cars and took the livery off them and put them up. You cannot tell the difference between the cars we have now once the colours are taken off them.

“You need to be an extreme geek to pick them out, and even within our office we managed to pick three out! So when you see the existing cars with the colours taken off, you wouldn’t know.”

“We know with these very prescriptive regulations, the fertile minds of F1 will come up with different solutions,” Brawn added.

“They will be prescriptive because we have to make sure we achieve these objectives, but there is enough latitude there.”

Nikolas Tombazis, the FIA’s head of single-seater technical matters and effectively Brawn’s opposite number within the sport’s governing body, agreed with his counterpart.

“There are plenty of aspects that the teams are pushing back on, especially depending on where on the starting grid they lie and that influences their positions,” he admitted.

“Also within teams, not everybody sees it the same way.

“Sometimes you have the team principals who have an overall view of the situation and understand what we are doing, and then the engineers who see that some of the freedom or playground will be reduced and therefore object.

“If you take the aero part of this study, a lot of this is focused on reducing the ability of teams to control the front wheel wake: that is a key part of this work.

“The ability to control front wheel wake is maybe one of the greatest challenges of the current aerodynamicists and reducing that creates this kick back.

“We have taken a lot of comments into account and have been discussing this with teams over a long period, and sometimes we have realised that certain things we were planning to do are wrong and we have changed and we have taken them into account,” he added.

“We have to be selective in our judgement.

“When we see the teams’ comments are genuine and not because they want to preserve a certain advantage but are highlighting a weakness of what we are doing, we are open enough to admit we made a mistake and go back on it.”

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