Formula One and the FIA announce key changes to the regulations

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Following the first F1 Commission Meeting in 2021, Formula One and the FIA have announced key decisions including changes to the calendar for the 2021 season and the power unit objectives.

The first meeting of the F1 Commission took place on 11 February in an online format with key topics such as the 2021 calendar, the future power units, cost-cutting measures and race weekend format having been discussed.

The sport has confirmed that the 2021 season should go ahead as planned. However, the constantly changing nature of the Covid-19 pandemic may force the sport to update its schedule throughout the championship. The TBC slot on the initial calendar for the 2021 season should be filled by Portimao, but the final agreement is still subject to contract with the promoter.

Formula One will move from 13” tyres to 18” tyres in 2022. The sport’s sole tyre supplier Pirelli requested the increase of test days in order to fully prepare itself for the new generation of tyres. The FIA accepted the request which will see the number of test days increase from 25 to 30. This proposal was accepted unanimously.

A proposal to freeze power unit development from 2022 has been given unanimous approval at a meeting of the Formula 1 Commission. This means that engine development will be frozen from the start of 2022. Red Bull were particularly keen to freeze the engine development because it would make taking on Honda’s power unit project from next season viable.

Furthermore, a high-level working group has been established including current and potential Power Unit manufacturers and fuel suppliers.

The teams, Formula One and the FIA have also agreed to bring the introduction of the new power units forward by a year which means that the new engines will arrive at the start of the 2025 season.

The key objectives for the 2025 Power Unit are: environmental sustainability and social and automotive relevance, fully sustainable fuel, creating a powerful and emotive Power Unit and the significant cost reduction, attractiveness to new Power Unit manufacturers.

Formula One is set to introduce the revolutionary cost cap in 2021. Various topics around this complicated cost ceiling were also discussed during the meeting. As part of this, a working group will be created – including the drivers themselves – to discuss the topic of driver and senior team management contracts. The initial Financial Regulation does not include any limit regarding the salary of the drivers and the three highest-paid member of the team.

The change to the race weekend format was also discussed during the meeting. Formula 1, the FIA and the championship’s 10 teams have offered 'broad support' to proposals to introduce a new qualifying format – in the form of a Saturday sprint race – at selected Grands Prix this season.

“All teams recognised the major importance of engaging fans in new and innovative ways to ensure an even more exciting weekend format,” said F1 and the FIA in their statement.

“There was, therefore, broad support from all parties for a new qualifying format at some races, and a working group has been tasked with creating a complete plan with the aim to reach a final decision before the start for the 2021 championship.”

All changes are subject to approval by the World Motor Sport Council.