Formula 1's 2021 concept car, which has been developed with the specific aim of increasing overtaking and on-track action, is delivering "exceptional" results, far beyond what was originally expected of it, according to Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds.
F1 has been working on a new set of regulations for 2021 for several years now and at the forefront of those plans is increased overtaking and an equal playing field. Whilst the latter is being achieved mainly through cost controls and a fairer distribution of prize money, the on-track excitement centres around new technical rules which will usher in a completely new concept of car to what fans will be familiar with at present.
There will be a move away from complex wings, winglets and fins to a cleaner car which produces much of its downforce through the floor, which features larger venturi channels and a massive rear-diffuser. This creates cleaner airflow for the following car, rather than the current so-called 'dirty air' or 'turbulent airflow' which results in a following car to lose up to 50 per cent of its downforce.
According to Symonds, CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) data shows a great reduction in lost downforce, down to around 5-10 per cent, which has been backed up by recent wind tunnel tests using a 50 per cent scale model of the 2021 concept car.
Symonds says this is "beyond what I thought we could achieve" when he initially started working on the plans.
"With the configurations we have got at the moment, the results are exceptional," he added.
There is still plenty of work to be carried out on the new regulations, despite an October deadline for the rules to be presented and signed off, but Nikolas Tombazis, Head of Single Seater Technical Matters at the FIA, says there will still be some freedom to make adjustments if necessary.
"As with any set of regulations it is a constantly evolving process," said Tombazis. "In October we will publish a full set of technical and sporting regulations which will come into force in 2021, and will not fundamentally be changed.
"If we do find an area where we feel some updates are necessary to maintain our goals for better raceability, then this is something that we will be able to do working with the teams within certain time constraints."