The World Motorsport Council met on the 5th of December in Saint Petersburg, Russia to discuss the regulation changes for all the FIA Championships. One of the most interesting conclusions were the changes to the 2019 Sporting regulations in F1 and other series allowing:
‘Unrestricted CFD simulations to be carried out for the development of cars in accordance with the 2021 regulations.’
The FIA have also implemented a complex array of formulas and regulations to restrict the amount of Aerodynamic testing that the teams can complete
The Formula One world has been promised more overtaking in 2021. Arguably the most effective way of implementing that is modifying the aerodynamics. Therefore, it is not surprising that at this initial stage, FOM is turning to the teams to help the aero development for 2021 and could be the reason behind the regulation change.
Something may well have been agreed to allow the larger teams with more CFD resource to evaluate the 2021 concepts from FOM, without compromising their current car development. These results should then be shared between the teams to enable evaluation of the different concepts, giving the FIA and FOM a much bigger data set on which to base their final decision.
This may suggest that FOM is unclear of the direction they want to take the 2021 regulations. However, this suggests collaboration with the teams and that F1 are really doing their homework. Having previously used Esports as a platform to experiment with different racing concepts, and now allowing the teams to run as much CFD as they want shows a dedication to establishing a set of 2021 regulations that are backed by theory and research, which can only be a positive.
Of course, there is no such thing as a free lunch, so I’m sure this change is accompanied by a long list of terms and conditions.
In reality, as the 2021 regulations are not yet defined it is unlikely that the big teams will invest a huge amount of time into these simulations (particularly if they are to be shared with everyone else). Most likely they will run them as lower priority cases as and when their CFD cluster has the capacity to do so.