Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn spoke in an untelevised press conference at Marina Bay, in order to add more information to the 2021 concept he presented at a motorsport convention earlier this week.
Brawn pointed out that what F1 has to strive for in terms of design and performance is raceability. Once a car gets close to another, it automatically starts losing performance as it experiences a significant loss of grip, which implies more tyre degradation. “When two cars gets close to each other, the guy behind has to slow up and let the tyres recover” he said.
This whole process makes overtaking and battling way more challenging than it should be, and it translated into the fact that cars perform at 80% of their full potential in this situation, if not less. The objective is to optimize and increase the performance percentage and overcome such a large loss of balance and downforce. The time differential for one car to attack another one should be less and concerning performance, Brawn revealed: “It will be less than where we are now. The cars are pretty impressive now, if the continue to develop at the rate that they are developing, I think we need to put it back. It will be a readjustment back.”
The procession-races have turned into one of F1’s weakest leagues of the sport, which is going to be sorted through reducing performance and downforce. As for now, it is known that a limited amount of aero testing will be conceded to teams but Brawn assured the FIA has granted an extra time to review and tweak the concept.
The DRS might be kept for the 2021 rules, although Brawn is open to make the device less critical in order to improve the quality of overtaking.
The area around the tyres would feature detailed fairings, aimed to clean the air and reduce degradation. Brawn reiterated that a ‘proactive process’ has been developed to improve F1, involving engineers of Tombazis’ calibre.
Having such a skilled team and group of consultants like the teams and drivers, Brawn is pulling through to define the 2021 regulations as soon as possible and asked about setting a deadline, he answered: "Realistically, by the end of 2019 we shall issue the principal regulations for 2021".
A lot of learning goes into such process, as the idea of the downforce level reduction was IndyCar-inspired. The positive feedback this change received on road circuits encouraged Brawn to carry on the idea. Brawn stated he also presented the idea to some drivers such as Alonso and Hulkenberg, with all the teams being continuously informed.
A further and crucial factor is aesthetics. Brawn wants ‘exciting-looking cars’ and admitted he gets frustrated when he notices that the cars look better on videogames than in real life. Therefore, the ultimate marketing target, which blends well with engineering, is engaging the fans through visuals.