Formula 1 presented a dramatic overhaul of the sport on Thursday with a new car and regulations aimed at producing closer and cheaper competition from 2021 as well as more exciting and environmentally-friendly racing.
The new technical, sporting and financial rules include a budget cap and represent the fruit of two years of discussions between stakeholders including teams, the governing FIA and U.S.-based commercial rights holders Liberty Media.
The regulations were earlier approved unanimously by the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council, with talks continuing over governance and profit-sharing.
“The goal has always been to improve the competition and action on the track and at the same time make the sport a healthier and attractive business for all,” Formula One chairman Chase Carey told a U.S. Grand Prix news conference.
“The unanimous approval of the rules by the World Motorsport Council is a watershed moment and will help deliver more exciting wheel-to-wheel racing for all our fans.”
Ferrari, the sport’s oldest and most successful team, said what had been voted on was a good starting point.
Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul said the rules confirmed the vision for a “more equitable, more entertaining and more sustainable sport.
“These measures represent significant opportunities for a team like ours, increasing our prospects to reduce the gap to the front and challenge for wins and titles in a reasonable time frame,” added the Frenchman.
The 2021 cars will be some 25kg heavier and are the product of a changed aerodynamic approach, with simpler front wings, no bargeboards and bigger wheels.
The budget cap has been set at $175 million for each team, about half the amount some of the top outfits like Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull spend at present but still much more than some others can muster.
Driver salaries, marketing costs, non-Formula One activities and the wages of a team’s three highest-paid executives will not be included in the cap.
Formula One’s managing director for motorsport Ross Brawn recognised the new cars would be slower, by some three seconds a lap, but still as quick as the 2016 crop and easier to follow and overtake.
“The cars are very quick now, but they are not raceable,” added the Briton, who said the new ones would be much more robust than current cars that shed their bodywork far too easily.
He warned that any team caught breaking the cost controls would be in serious trouble.
“This has teeth. If you fraudulently breach the financial regulations, you will be losing your championship,” he said.
FIA president Jean Todt, speaking by video link from Geneva, said the 2021 regulations represented a “truly collaborative effort” and “a new chapter for Formula One”.
He added that environmental considerations were a crucial element for the governing body.
From 2021, the aim is to double the renewable content of fuel to 20% with plans to increase that in subsequent years.
“Formula One already has the most efficient engines in the world, and we will continue to work on new technologies and fuels to push these boundaries further,” said Todt.
The sport will stick with the existing V6 turbo hybrid engines introduced in 2014 after abandoning plans to change them.
Brawn said the maximum number of races will increase to 25 but with shorter race weekends with current Thursday activities, such as scrutineering, condensed into Friday so that teams can turn up a day later.
Chase Carey, Chairman and CEO, Formula 1: “Formula 1 is an incredible sport with a great history, heroes and fans all over the world.”
“We deeply respect the DNA of Formula 1, which is a combination of great sporting competition, uniquely talented and courageous drivers, dedicated teams and cutting-edge technology. The goal has always been to improve the competition and action on the track and at the same time make the sport a healthier and attractive business for all.
“The approval of the rules by the World Motor Sport Council is a watershed moment and will help deliver more exciting wheel-to-wheel racing for all our fans. The new rules have emerged from a detailed two-year process of examining technical, sporting, and financial issues in order to develop a package of regulations.
“We made many changes during the process as we received input by the teams and other stakeholders and we firmly believe we achieved the goals we had set out to deliver. These regulations are an important and major step, however, this is an ongoing process and we will continue to improve these regulations and take further steps to enable our sport to grow and achieve its full potential.
“One of the most important initiatives we will be addressing as we go forward is the environmental impact of our sport. We already have the most efficient engine in the world and in the next few weeks we will be launching plans to reduce and ultimately eliminate environmental impact of our sport and business. We have always been at the leading edge of the automobile industry and we believe we can play a leadership role on this critical issue, as well.”
Jean Todt, FIA President: “After more than two years of intense research and development, of close collaboration with our partners at Formula 1, and with the support of the teams and drivers, circuit designers, the single tyre supplier, Pirelli and all F1 stakeholders, the FIA is proud to publish today the set of regulations that will define the future of Formula 1 from 2021 onwards.
“It is a major change in how the pinnacle of motorsports will be run, and for the first time, we have addressed the technical, sporting and financial aspects all at once. The 2021 regulations have been a truly collaborative effort, and I believe this to be a great achievement.”
“A crucial element for the FIA moving forward will be the environmental considerations – Formula 1 already has the most efficient engines in the world, and we will continue to work on new technologies and fuels to push these boundaries further. What the FIA publishes today is the best framework we could possibly have to benefit competitors and stakeholders, while ensuring an exciting future for our sport.”