Competitive changes abound for F1 2021 season

New car regulations for Formula 1

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By Olivier Ferret

21 December 2020 - 17:43
Competitive changes abound for F1 (...)

Another season of near-immaculate dominance from Mercedes and front-man Lewis Hamilton has come and gone, with the British driver smashing historic records en route to his seventh Drivers’ World Championship. While his with Mercedes is somewhat up in the air at the time of writing, the initial offseason headlines have primarily been dominated by the changes coming in the 2021 edition of Formula One.

Once again, the competition is looking to make changes to its regulations in an attempt to make the racing more competitive. Few will deny that Hamilton is a world-class talent, but runaway championships have made a lot of the work put in on other teams seem inept. Of course, this is why there’s a Constructors’ World Championship, but fans want to see more upsets and closer runs for the titles.

So, what changes are coming in 2021 for F1, and are they expected to make a difference to the outcome of the campaign?

New car regulations for F1 2021

Many tweaks have been outlined by the FIA that manufacturers will have to adhere to for the 2021 F1 season, ranging from new floors to natural fibers like cotton, flex, and bamboo now being permitted. One of the heftiest changes, literally, is the increase in the minimum weight of the cars. As shown when you go on Auto Sport, the minimum weight will be 749kg in 2021 – up 3kg – with the power unit minimum weight also seeing an uptick to 150kg.

Aerodynamics and wheels will also be seeing some changes in the upcoming Formula One campaign. The aerodynamic systems will be made less complex according to this EVO page, which should reduce dirty air while increasing the competitiveness of races, with the air going over the vehicle rather than behind. This will also cut downforce to enhance the likelihood of overtaking opportunities. In a move aimed at making the sport more relatable to fans, wheel size will see a striking increase of five inches to 18’’ and feature LED displays.

Will it make a difference to Hamilton’s title hopes?

A huge point of controversy coming into the 2020 F1 season was Mercedes’ revolutionary dual-axis steering system. A superb design creation that was feared to give the driver a significant advantage, per the BBC, its use in the Mercedes still yielded what many would have expected with or without DAS – a dominant season from Lewis Hamilton.

Without DAS next season, and even with all of the upcoming changes, the status quo isn’t expected to be upset. As you can see when you visit Space Casino, Hamilton is still the -250 favorite to win the 2021 Drivers’ Championship and break Michael Schumacher’s record. Just behind are Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas at +500, but beyond them, it’s only George Russell (+2200) and Charles Leclerc (+2800) who are given dark horse odds.

The competition behind Hamilton has been shaken up a bit, though, with Ferrari deciding not to renew former champion Sebastian Vettel’s deal. The German will instead team-up with Aston Martin (formerly Racing Point). Two of the most exciting prospects joining the grid next season, though, are Mick Schumacher for Haas and 20-year-old Japanese racer Yuki Tsunoda for AlphaTauri.

The FIA are making deliberate attempts to up the level of competition in F1, but only so much can change over one offseason. As such, Hamilton appears primed for glory once again, even without DAS.

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