Formula 1
Formula 1
28 Mar
Event finished
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
FP1 in
3 days
R
Portuguese GP
02 May
Race in
19 days
09 May
Next event in
23 days
23 May
Race in
41 days
R
Azerbaijan GP
06 Jun
Race in
54 days
13 Jun
Race in
62 days
27 Jun
Race in
76 days
04 Jul
Next event in
79 days
18 Jul
Race in
97 days
R
Hungarian GP
01 Aug
Race in
111 days
29 Aug
Race in
139 days
05 Sep
Race in
146 days
26 Sep
Race in
166 days
R
Singapore GP
03 Oct
Next event in
170 days
10 Oct
Race in
180 days
R
United States GP
24 Oct
Race in
195 days
31 Oct
Race in
202 days
R
Australian GP
21 Nov
Race in
222 days
R
Abu Dhabi GP
12 Dec
Race in
244 days

Mercedes: 2021 F1 cars 'near 2019 performance levels'

Mercedes technical director James Allison believes that Formula 1 aerodynamic rule changes mandated for this season will initially trim performance to 2019 levels.

Allison says that trying to recover the lost downforce in the wind tunnel and via CFD has been “an entertaining ride.”

The changes were introduced to reduce loadings on Pirelli’s tyres by negating the natural increase in downforce that teams would have made with their 2021 cars, given that aero development is not restricted by the freeze that impacts other aspects of the package.

An initial change to the floor was followed by three smaller tweaks that were agreed late in 2020.

“Four quite significant aerodynamic changes were made last year in anticipation of this new season,” Allison said in a Mercedes video.

“First and foremost, there has been a triangular cut-out to the edges of the floor in front of the rear wheels which when you see it you’ll think, ‘That doesn't look that big,’ but on its own in its rawest form if you just chop that area off your car it’ll take about a second a lap away from the car.

“Then added to that first change three others came. The first was that the little fins and flicks that were on the rear brake duct were reduced in their span just by a few millimetres, but again they were very powerful devices, and that change lost a lot of performance from the car.

“At the back of the car underneath in the diffuser area the fences that you can see if you peer up the back end of the car, they were reduced in height so that they can't go as near to the ground, they can't create as good of an aerodynamic seal to the ground as they did previously. And again, they shed a bunch of downforce when they are trimmed upwards.

“And then finally the front-end of the floor as you approach where the bargeboards are if you looked at the 2020 versions of those floors you see that they look a bit like a venetian blind with lots and lots of slots, an aerodynamic feature there that generates downforce and all of those slots have been removed for 2021.”

Read Also:

Allison says that what appear to be four relatively minor changes add up to a significant overall cut in downforce.

“The combination of those four effects in their rawest form just cut-off and trim back in a way that the rules require brings the performance of the car way back to sort of somewhere near 2019 levels.

“It's been our challenge over the weeks and months since those rules were set in stone to try to recover as much of the performance as possible.

“That has been quite an entertaining ride in the wind tunnel and in CFD to try and make sure that we get that performance as far as possible back onto the car.”

The changes were mandated because it was anticipated that Pirelli’s 2019 tyres would be carried over for a third season in 2021.

However in the end there was a change to the construction for this year, in an attempt to make the tyres more durable, giving the teams another variable with which to deal, including a revised profile on the fronts.

The change in construction also means that a set of 2021 tyres is around 3kg heavier.

“We got a first glimpse of these new tyres back in Portimao in 2020,” said Allison.

“We've had two other occasions where we could test them, and they were in Bahrain and then in Abu Dhabi the last race of last year.

“That's not really very much opportunity to take on board a new tyre and get ready for a new season with it because these tyres will affect the way that the car performs, and they affect the way that you have to design the aerodynamic platform, and the way that you have to set up the car.

“So it's been a big challenge for us to try and stretch out that testing data that we had at the tracks last year and to try and make as much as we can out of the tyre data supplied to us by Pirelli, so that we would be ready to really optimise the car around the characteristics of these new tyres.”

shares
comments
Sainz makes maiden Ferrari appearance in Fiorano test

Previous article

Sainz makes maiden Ferrari appearance in Fiorano test

Next article

Where F1's calendar shuffling hurts its new drivers

Where F1's calendar shuffling hurts its new drivers
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Mercedes
Author Adam Cooper
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Prime

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. Ben Anderson looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Prime

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says Nigel Roebuck.

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Prime

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now? Prime

Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Prime

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Prime

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle.

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his teammate's F1 career climb Prime

How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his teammate's F1 career climb

Kimi Raikkonen's emergence as a Formula 1 star in his rookie campaign remains one of the legendary storylines from 2001, but his exploits had an unwanted impact on his Sauber teammate's own prospects. Twenty years on from his first F1 podium at the Brazilian GP, here's how Nick Heidfeld's career was chilled by the Iceman.

Formula 1
Apr 3, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Prime

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021