PARIS – The FIA has approved a reduced cost cap for Formula One teams and a new sliding scale rule for aerodynamic testing after a vote of the World Motor Sport Council on Wednesday.
The teams and FIA officials had previously agreed on a cost cap for the 2021 season, but Wednesday’s vote reduced the initially agreed-upon figure from $175 million per year to $145 million per year, with further reductions possible in future years as well.
The reduction in the planned cost cap is a measure brought about in F-1 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has delayed the start of the season until at least July and seriously impacted many team’s finances.
Meanwhile, the sliding wind tunnel test scale will afford teams that finish lower in the constructor’s standings additional hours of aerodynamic testing for the following year.
The hope for the sliding scale is to tighten the field from a competitive standpoint and reduce the advantage the factory teams have from a standpoint of resources.
Other minor rule changes from Wednesday’s meeting include:
– An approved measure for downforce reduction on the 2021 cars. With key parts of the cars – including the chassis and suspension – staying fixed from 2020 to 2021, the new rule means teams will have to trim part of the floor to reduce the downforce created.
This rule was implemented so a new tire compound will not be needed for next season, before F-1 switches to 18-inch tires in 2022.
– A number of components, including the chassis and gearbox, have been frozen between 2020 and 2021. A token system will be used to allow a very limited number of modifications, such as changes necessary for McLaren to accommodate a switch to Mercedes power.
– Starting next season, there will be a limitation on the number of upgrades a power unit manufacturer can do over the course of an F-1 season.
– For 2021, the minimum weight increases by three kilograms to 749 kilograms.
– Provisions can be made for open and closed events in 2020. This comes as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, during which holding mass gatherings is a challenge.