Sweeping Changes Rumored for Formula 1 in 2021

Ross Brawn, Managing Director (Sporting) of the Formula One Group and Chase Carey, CEO and Executive Chairman of the Formula One Group in a press conference (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Formula 1 is on the brink of change.  After several predictable championship years, and a distinct lack of competition from the smaller teams, Formula 1 is on the brink of change.  FIA President Jean Todt, along with Ross Brawn, the Managing Director of Motorsport for Liberty Media, the owners of Formula 1, have both touted rule changes that will make the sport more affordable and competitive.  Everything from engine changes to aerodynamics packages is on the table and the discussion between Formula 1 and the teams promises to be a lively one.

Sweeping Changes are rumored for Formula 1

At the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, the discussion was not of the last race of the season, or even the upcoming 2018 season, but of the changes that will be coming after the current rule package expires.  Ross Brawn started a firestorm of rumors when he had been quoted as saying “For 2021 we will have great looking cars that can race each other” (www.msn.com). There had been many discussions before, as well as hints and rumors, but this was on the record and a firm statement.  The top three teams, Petronas Mercedes, Scuderia Ferrari, and Red Bull have all expressed displeasure at the proposed rule changes and have pushed back hard on the proposals.  Ferrari went so far as to threaten to leave Formula 1 if the changes were implemented.

Brawn, however, has remained unshaken and instead has promised that Formula 1 will be addressing some of the problems that have hindered competition in the last few years.  Included in this promise will be finding the solution to the aerodynamic problem of dirty air which has caused cars following closely behind others to experience aerodynamic problems.  As a result, things like passing and hard racing has been made more difficult and more dangerous.  Finding a solution to this problem would make more cars more competitive, at least in theory.

Revolutionary ideas for the pinnacle of motorsport

The idea of a less expensive, more competitive Formula 1 has met with resistance, however, from the top teams.  The engines changes proposed will make the engines less complicated and will require a re-working of the entire car, as well as all the setups.  Some teams, such as Ferrari, are steadfastly defiant against such changes.  Sergio Marchionne has been quoted as saying Ferrari will quit Formula 1 if they become a “global NASCAR” (www.msn.com). Brawn has, so far, held his ground though.  He has stated that to remain relevant Formula 1 must change and he intends to usher the peak of motorsports into the future.

In addition to rule changes, rumor has it that change in the structure of Formula 1 weekends may also be in the works.  Friday practices may be scrapped in order to add more races to the schedule.  While that remains a rumor, Brawn has reiterated that he and Liberty Media fully intend to move Formula 1 into the future by retaining the essence of the sport while helping it evolve enough to appeal to future generations.  From engine changes to more races, while rumors abound in Formula 1, one thing is for sure, Formula 1 is on the brink of change.

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