Why today could help define F1's 2021 title battle

The 22 July could play an important role in the 2021 Formula 1 title battle as the first deadline for teams to confirm how they will deploy their development tokens

Why today could help define F1's 2021 title battle

In the light of the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, and with the current regulations extended for an extra season, it was agreed to freeze most mechanical elements of the cars as homologated components.

There was an initial deadline at the first race for some parts, and another on 22 September for the rest.

However within that framework teams can deploy two development tokens after the deadlines in an area of the car of their choosing, based on a "price list" that is now built into the regulations.

In essence the token system is intended to allow a team to fix a fundamental issue that would otherwise remain in their package until the end of 2021, thus creating an opportunity to take a step forward.

The only team which does not have a choice of how to use its tokens is McLaren, due its planned change from Renault to Mercedes power. The rules specify that it has to use both tokens to modify its engine installation.

"The problem with the freeze was that we had a team that was changing an engine, McLaren," F1 boss Ross Brawn told Autosport last month. "You can't ignore that, you can't say that you can't change your engine.

"So we had to find a fair system that was going to accommodate their need to make the change.



"We also recognise that some teams may have a flaw in their car that they shouldn't have to live with for two years. The token system allows them just that little bit of scope to put right what they had wrong.

"One team said to us that they got the cooling wrong on their car, so they couldn't live with the cooling system for two years. So by just giving them a little bit of leeway I think we've found a good compromise."

PLUS: Why the jury's still out on Ferrari's updates - and may be for some time

The FIA has named three deadlines, D1, D2 and D3, for notification of how the tokens are to be used.

22 July 22 D1: "Notify the FIA of the intent to modify an HC [homologated component], with an estimate on the parts it affects and a brief description of the reasons."

5 August - D2: "Provide the FIA with a full specification of the intended changes of the HC and any affected components."

21 September - D3: "Provide the FIA with a detailed scheme of the intended changes."

If the modified part doesn't work, within five races the team can still go back to the original version, in which case it will have to discard the new one. This will prevent teams from giving themselves the option of two specs, which they could then swap back and forth.

Although McLaren doesn't have the same opportunity as rivals to make a performance change its team principal Andreas Seidl has no regrets about the rule.

"No, there's no frustration," he said when asked by Autosport about the situation. "In the end, it was clear that to put all these actions in place that we signed off during the crisis we were in it was important that all teams come together and accept what are some compromises.

"And for me, to be honest, it is still a miracle that it worked out like that, because at the beginning of the discussion I didn't expect that we can find common ground.

"We have to accept some compromises as well. In the end the communication we're having on the specific topic of the engine installation with the FIA, it's an open and constructive discussion. It's clear where the limitations are for us.

"And it's important now to get on with the job, one because timing is obviously very tight. There's no frustration on this."

One controversial area that is still being discussed is that the rules allow customer teams currently running 2019 parts to upgrade to the 2020 versions next year without using tokens.

This will allow Racing Point and AlphaTauri to take the 2020 gearboxes and other elements from their respective partners, Mercedes and Red Bull.

shares
comments
Formula 1 logistics – How do teams move equipment between races?
Previous article

Formula 1 logistics – How do teams move equipment between races?

Next article

Renault's F1 season "far from over" as Ocon awaits car upgrades

Renault's F1 season "far from over" as Ocon awaits car upgrades
Load comments
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Plus

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021