Vettel, Hamilton frustrated by 2021 car weight increase

Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1 champions Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton say series officials must address the impact of the increasing weight of cars in order to avoid a negative effect on the quality of racing.

Formula 1 presented its overhauled 2021 sporting, technical and financial regulations at the end of last month, with the vast majority of developments receiving approval.

But the minimum weight of the cars – including the driver – will increase from 743kg to 768kg, mainly due to the use of 18-inch tyres, additional safety measures, and more standardised components.

When the duo began racing in Formula 1 in 2007 the minimum weight was just 605kg.

“I think the cars are a lot more spectacular since 2017,” said Vettel. “Now we know what the cars can do now it was quite slow before that.

“The wrong direction in my point of view is that the cars are so heavy, related to in a way some of the safety measures but I think everybody accepts that and the power unit.

“That is really I think the biggest difference if you make a big compare to where we are now and where F1 was 20 years ago and maybe further.

“Certainly the going up trend in weight is the wrong direction. I think that’s our collective opinion as drivers, it’s my opinion.

“Because the cars are already very heavy and obviously with the measures for 2021 they will get even heavier.”

Hamilton fears that the job facing Pirelli – which will switch from supplying 13-inch to 18-inch tyres – will be even tougher due to the additional 25kg. 

“The cars are already getting heavier and heavier I just hope they don’t keep adding weight, which it looks like they will,” said Hamilton.

“It just slows the cars down, makes the tyres harder, the tyres are a huge element.

“We are struggling to follow and then the tyres overheat because the cars are too heavy and they are pushing it more in that direction. I think it just makes Pirelli’s job even harder into 2021.

“I think what’s really important is the target letter, and they’ve never had a good target letter in terms of what to deliver in the tyres. So the GPDA [Grand Prix Drivers' Association] is working closely with the FIA to make sure that the target is better.

“I don’t know who wrote it last time but it was terrible, well it wasn’t great. So hopefully they’ll be able to get a better target letter which is more in the direction to help us race better.”