How F1 teams tackled 2021's unique development war
The pandemic-induced delay of F1’s design reset until 2022 meant teams had to run tweaked versions of their 2020 cars, restricted by a token system for updates. Here's how the teams responded to the challenge of developing their carryover machines, in the knowledge any improvements faced a limited shelf-life
The immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic affected the 2020 Formula 1 calendar, necessitating circuits to double up on races to get in a full 17-round season within the space of six months. And its effects lingered into 2021; the calendar was largely back to normal, but the mandatory shutdowns for F1 teams to simply survive the March to June 2020 lockdown prompted the delay of the expected ground-effect regulations to 2022.
Instead, teams were effectively railroaded into producing a field of B-spec cars that were heavily restricted in their development from 2020's machinery. The FIA introduced a token system, with teams handed two tokens to spend on updating their cars for the new season. Although aerodynamic parts were largely unrestricted, larger areas – such as crash structures, geometry changes and the like – were each given a token value to stop teams throwing money they couldn't afford to spend on big-ticket items.
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