Regulations for the 2021 Formula 1 season have been tweaked to cut the level of downforce further and limit the stress of Pirelli’s current tyres.
The global pandemic forced F1 and the FIA to delay the introduction of its radical rule overhaul from 2021 to 2022. Consequently, the current 13-inch wheels will remain for another season before the introduction of the 18-inch design.
But with the rapid rate of technical development by all teams this season, the FIA is now concerned that its originally intended 10 per cent reduction in downforce for next year is no longer safe.
Tyre supplier Pirelli came under scrutiny at this year’s British Grand Prix after several tyre failures occurred in the latter stages of the race. Following the race, the Italian manufacturer said teams encountered the largest forces ever seen on F1 tyres.
Teams had already agreed to changes to the cars’ floor for next season. The objective is to reduce downforce and ease the strain on the tyres.
But now, more work has been done and rules modified to reduce the strain of the tyres further and ensure similar tyre failures don’t occur next season.
From 2021, teams are outlawed from using slots on the border of the floor towards the rear tyre cut away.
Likewise, brake duct fins and diffuser stakes have been reduced in size. Fins will now only be permitted with a maximum width of 40mm, while diffuser stakes are now allowed to be no higher than 50mm.
However, the rule changes are not worrying Red Bull team principal Christian Horner who said teams will easily retrieve the lost downforce very quickly throughout the season.
“I think the teams will get back all the downforce that they take off,” Horner told Autosport.
“Maybe more could have been done because the rate of progress in F1 is such that, if there are concerns about the load of the tyre, maybe it should have been look at more.
“But of course whenever you change something, it does introduce cost because whatever you change creates differences, so it’s finding that balance.”
Pirelli has responded to its tyre failures at the British Grand Prix by mandating higher minimum pressures for the rest of the season.