Unveiled: 2021 Formula 1 Design Will Reduce Wake, Increase Competition

Revamped cars take a more aerodynamic approach

2021 Formula 1 design
Formula 1's 2021 design opts for increased aerodynamics and greater competition.
Formula 1
By Tobias Carroll / August 24, 2019 6:39 am

Formula 1 cars blend innovative design with benchmarks in high performance, a process that’s continually refined year after year. This week brings with it the first glimpse of the design for 2021, and the retooled aesthetics of the cars make for a more aerodynamic style. 

But the look of the cars isn’t the only thing that’s changed. One revamped element could have a major effect on the races themselves.

Writing at Autoblog, Tony Markovich explored these changesspecifically, the way the new design will alter the wake left behind by the car. The current Formula 1 design’s wake “can reduce a following car’s downforce by up to 50 percent.” Reduce the wake and you allow cars to travel more closely together, making for a more exciting race. 

By analyzing computational fluid dynamics in a wind tunnel this past July, F1 found that its new car design could reduce its impact on the vehicles behind it, while only reducing the following car’s downforce by 5-10 percent — a massive improvement. A few of the design changes include bigger wheels, a new rear wing, a remodeled floor, and tweaks to the front wing.

Earlier this week, Formula 1 released a video of the new design in a wind tunnel, further demonstrating these new features. The design process continues, however. “Elements such as the sidepod areas and rear wing are expected to remain the same in the final iteration, but expect the front wing to evolve as they continue to develop it,” the article notes.

These refinements should make for some thrilling races once the 2021 season begins.

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