F1 drivers want car weight reduced as part of 2021 overhaul

F1 cars await scrutineering

Formula 1 drivers are calling for the overall minimum weight of the cars to be reduced in order to help facilitate closer on-track racing.

Under current regulations, the minimum weight of the car, which includes the driver’s weight, stands at 743kg.

This has gradually increased over recent years, with the introduction of the halo, hybrid power units, as well as wider – and heavier – tyres.

In 2009 the minimum weight stood at just 605kg.

The restriction on refuelling means Formula 1 cars can often weigh around 850kg at the start of a race.

Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton has called for the weight to be addressed in 2021 and says the idea has been brought up in previous GPDA (Grand Prix Drivers’ Association) meetings

“The cars don’t need to be 730 kilos, they just don’t need to be that heavy. They used to be 600 or something was it, years and years ago.

“I spoke to my engineers and they said if they change the rules we can make it that weight. We just have to take some things off the car but we can make it lighter. Performance items will come off but they can do it.

“They’re constantly making these cars heavier and heavier and heavier every year and we’re going faster and we have more downforce and the tyres…

“It’s really hard for Pirelli to develop a tyre with such limited testing that can sustain that weight, etc.

“All these different things, it’s like a domino effect so with lighter cars, we could fight harder.”

The idea of refuelling has also resurfaced after FIA President Jean Todt suggested it should return as part of the regulation overhaul for 2021 to help improve racing.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc said: “I’ve never raced with refuelling but it was definitely one cool thing to see, so if it’s back in Formula 1 why not? I will be happy to try.

“I think the main problem is still that the cars are probably too heavy so these two things for me are separate things but refuelling can be a good idea. Then, to limit the amount of information to the box or to stop.

“I think we are quite limited in that the cars are so complex now that we also need to make them run, having the help of the engineers, in the background.

“Yeah. maybe reducing some information but I think we are limited into that, just by the complexity of the cars now. That’s it.”

GPDA Director Romain Grosjean added: “I am for refuelling, I think it’s a positive to get the car faster and lighter. It makes it more demanding on the drivers. I believe also it could open some strategy.

“Driving a heavy car is not amazing. If we have lighter cars due to refuelling, it’ll be better and also easier on the tyres.”