Formula 1 has revealed plans to improve the quality of racing with a new car design to be introduced in 2021.
F1 sporting boss Ross Brawn said the main purpose was “to produce cars that are more raceable”.
“I’m pretty optimistic we are going to produce some great looking cars and the are going to be able to race more closely than in the past,” he said.
Brawn said changes to the aerodynamics would mean cars were able to follow each other much more closely than now.
F1 has been working on a new car design for about a year, the 63-year-old former Mercedes and Brawn team boss said, collaborating with governing body the FIA and the teams on alleviating the problem whereby a car behind another loses a significant amount of its performance.
Brawn showed three different concept designs at the Singapore Grand Prix on Friday and said the new cars in 2021 would have features from all of them.
The designs had leaked a day earlier after he showed them to a group of young people interested in getting involved in engineering.
“Rather naively I put up this image on the screen and all the phones came out and that was it,” he said.
Brawn said the central aim of the new rules was to ensure drivers could follow other cars more closely.
“The primary thing we’re doing is trying to reduce the amount of performance lost to a following car,” Brawn said.
“It is like a force field. You can’t get near it, because as soon as you do you lose performance and fall back, and you see people dropping back and the loss of performance degrades the tyres more than it should do.
“We can’t eliminate that completely but we can reduce it, so the time differential for one car to attack another can be much less.
“With the current cars, when they get to within two to three car lengths, they can lose 50% of performance, the tyres degrade more and it becomes very challenging. At the moment we have (new) designs that only lose 20% – maintain 80%.”
The designs have a strong family resemblance to current cars, but feature farings near the wheels to clean up the airflow.
Brawn would not give further details of the aerodynamic concepts involved in reducing the effect of the wake of one car impeding the performance of one behind.
He said the aim was for the FIA to produce a set of regulations by the end of next year, to ensure all teams had enough time to work on their new designs.
Next year’s cars will feature changes to the front wings that came out of the 2021 research.
“In doing this project, we recognised there are some features that benefits come from the nature of the flow that comes off the car in front and the sensitivity of the car behind to that,” Brawn said.” Next year is an important barometer to see how much impact it has on the ability for the cars to follow.”
He said next year’s cars would probably be a little slower than this year’s as a result and added that the same would be true of the 2021 cars because there was a risk if development was allowed to continue the cars would become dangerously fast.
“The cars are pretty impressive now but if they continue to develop at the rate they’re developing there will be a need to pull it back,” he said.
Brawn added that no final decision had been made on the future of the controversial DRS overtaking aid.