There is no pleasing everyone, as FIA has learned, in spite of an epic race in Silverstone. That race was worthy of being called a classic, but the FIA wants to improve it even more. They confirmed that the 2021 F1 cars will use ‘ground effect’ aerodynamics. The idea was that that will improve the chances of overtaking by at least 90%.
This ‘Ground effect’ was last seen in Formula 1 in 1983, when it was banned for safety reasons. This was in the wake of a series of big crashes, including those which took the lives of Gilles Villeneuve and Riccardo Paletti.
The racing of that era, however, was undoubtedly thrilling and with modern safety advancements having made F1’s cars safe enough to walk away from in the instance of most crashes, it may be the right time for change.
According to Nikolas Tombazis, FIA head of single seaters explained the technical reasons for seeking the switch: “The first part of the objective is to improve the wake [from] the front car so the rear car doesn’t suffer so much performance loss.
“As an indication, current cars two car distances behind front car may lose almost half of their downforce and that makes it much more difficult to follow closely and creates a situation where you destroy the tyres much more easily, for two reasons.
“One is because the cars slide more and hence they destroy the tyres and secondly because obviously adding more turbulence and slow-moving air the tyres and the rest of the car don’t cool down as they do otherwise.”
He added: “What the following car receives is much cleaner flow.
“Typically we are [going] from about 50 per cent loss of downforce for the following car at two car distances [behind] down to about five/10 per cent loss.
“So we have a massive reduction of the downforce [loss] for the following car.”