Formula 1 minimum weight has been increased almost consistently throughout the history of the sport. The only reductions took place in the 80s, before new safety measures skyrocketed the curve following the 1994 tragedies. If from 1960 to 2010 cars’ massive evolution required only an increase of about 180 kgs, in the last seven years alone 100 more kilos have been added in the name of safety and technological progress. The adoption of the HALO and hybrid Power Units are the most representatives features of each category.
Now the three more kilos, that will rise the minimum car weight from 746 to 749 kgs, have an economical reason behind. Reduced finances for the teams prevent them from using exotic materials, necessary to increase engine performances without adding extra pounds. The cheapest and immediate solution is therefore to keep working on the materials already in use, and the call to the FIA is just the subsequent step in this direction.
Of course racing will be affected in a negative way, with less and less agile cars definetly not helping wheel-to-wheel racing, but it’s not that easy.
“Everyone would like to see lighter cars” Ross Brawn stated answering complaints, “but there are some things we can’t turn the clock back on”.
Indeed, for 2020 an extra kilo had already been added to allow the teams to install a second encrypted FIA fuel-flow meter (possibly following the investigations of the Ferrari’s 2019-spec engine), but the big step is yet to come: new regulations and new safety measures will drastically increase the minimum weight in 2022. The new “ground effect” cars, featuring larger impact-absorbing structures, will reach the unprecedented 778 kilograms minimum.