The FIA has released it's guidelines for the 2021 season and I must admit I am not a fan of where they are trying to take the sport. Trying to make all the cars the same is taking away from what the sport was originally meant to do and that was to go faster than the other cars around you. I see it as communist thinking and the opposite of what should be happening. Too many controls cuts development and that is not what this sport needs. Controls for safety and that is as far as they should go.
How the slip stream behind the car or dirty air has changed over the years. The slipstream has disappeared causing concerns now about being able to race properly.
The FIA says that from 2021 the cars will be able to battle better on track and in theory sounds good but this is plain and simply wrong. They then go on to say it will be a more balanced competition on the track. My thoughts are there will always be teams that are better than the others so there will always be an upper level for the lesser teams to strive for which is good and healthy.
The problem with the current cars are that they are designed to go as quickly as possible by improved aerodynamics. These improvements have created dirty air for the cars behind and they just can't get close enough. The FIA has taken it upon themselves to design a car that allows for closer racing behind the leading car allowing for overtaking. Currently a car driving in dirty air loses as much as 50 % performance and the new design only 20 %. The problem I have it is for the teams to develop and not the FIA to sort this out. The FIA have pinched technical wizards from teams such as Williams and it is no wonder some of those teams are struggling today.
2021 will bring in a cost cap of $175 Million and say it is how you spend your money and not how much you spend. I find this very naive as the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull and Renault will pull away even further now. The likes of Williams,McLaren and the smaller teams are obviously pushing the FIA as they don't have the spending power of the bigger teams. Maybe they should be developing new things as that is what made them great teams in the past.
I say the 4 teams listed above will pull away even more as 3 of them are car manufacturers and can hide costs in other areas. Renault for instance gets their engines from their own factory and can put a cap on a set cost for the season but it doesn't stop Renault as a company spending more developing it further. No one would be any wiser and Mercedes and Ferrari can do exactly the same. Red Bull is in partnership with Honda and the same applies here as well and the figure could be hidden away very easily. They could in fact reduce the cost of their own engine supply and free up more spend on the team and development in the car.
Currently McLaren are $45 Million over budget
Way over the cap and why I say they will need to hide some things. $230 Million is the amount over budget and it is unrealistic to make them lose 55% of their spend by the end of next year.
The rationale behind this is to make it a more profitable business model for the existing teams and to lure new teams in increasing the size of the grid. Currently there are 10 teams with 2 cars each and the FIA wants to see more teams involved. A new prize fund is being sorted out and the teams are in advanced talks currently. The FIA has to be very careful as they could easily alienate the top 3 teams and a breakaway forms. It looks to me they are trying to keep the smaller teams happy at the expense of the bigger teams. This wouldn't be the first time that a threat to start a new championship has been raised.
Fans want to see the individualism of the teams and not everyone on the same type of car and engines. The owners of the Formula One business is a company called Liberty Media and they could cock up everything if they aren't careful. Putting teams into boxes with too many restrictions because it is unfair on the smaller teams would alienate me if I was a big team owner. I would say tough as that is life and improve your technology as they need to improve. They are in theory holding back the bigger teams from development and stifling the technology.
This is why I say two things could happen. As I mentioned earlier in my post teams will hide spending which I would do and is just an obvious loophole or they break away and Liberty Media doesn't have a business any more. It will be interesting to see how this plays out but I would think Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes and Renault have already discussed a break away amongst themselves as that is nearly half the grid.