Wolff sees slower F1 cars in 2021 following aero changes

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff says changes to next year’s aero regulations inevitably entail slower lap times for Grand Prix racing’s 2021 cars.

In a bid to limit costs, teams must carry into 2021 their current chassis. However, with this year’s increase in downforce putting Pirelli’s tyres on the limit of their resistance, the FIA has mandated a series of aero tweaks.

While there will be changes to the diffuser and brake ducts, the most significant modification will involve a reduction of the rear outer floor area of a car, the trimming of which will impact downforce levels.

In-season development will likely allow teams to recover a portion of the last downforce, but slower lap times will be in order at the outset in 2021 according to Wolff.

“The aero was cut back considerably on the floor around the tyres, and it’s going to take a while to catch up,” says the Mercedes boss.
“We’re still right in the middle of our development for next year, but I doubt we will be there quickly.

“In that respect, and with the tyres going a notch harder, I don’t think we will [be] near the lap times that we have seen this year. At least not in the first half of the year.”

In the wake of a number of failures it experienced this year, Pirelli has tweaked the specifications of its 2021 tyres to increase the structural strength of its compounds.

The changes have resulted in an overall harder tyre that will also generally weigh on lap times.

    Read also: DAS delivered ‘most of what Mercedes hoped for’

Williams head of vehicle performance Dave Robson believes that only part of the one-second loss recorded by teams when testing the new tyre earlier thus year will be recovered.

“I’m sure once we understand them, and we look at the data properly and the aero interaction, that we can better deal with them, and I’m sure we can recover some time there,” Robson said, quoted by Motorsport.com

“I don’t think they will be a full second slower, but I don’t think we’ll get all of it back. I think it’s genuinely a slower tyre, which is probably not unreasonable if it’s stronger and has more endurance.”

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