Last year, with the season still to get underway, it was agreed that the overhaul originally planned for this year would be postponed until 2022, though the introduction of the budget cap would go ahead as planned.
With the continued uncertainty over the pandemic, and at a time the schedule is already being revised, there has been talk of delaying the rules overhaul for a further year.
Not so, insists F1.
“Any suggestion the 2022 regulations will be delayed is wrong and has not been discussed,” said a spokesperson, according to Motorsport.com.
“The new regulations are designed to improve competition on track and give our fans closer racing,” they added. “This combined with the new financial regulations will improve F1 and create a healthier and stronger business model for the whole sport.”
The rules overhaul has been a cornerstone of the sport’s ambition almost from the moment Liberty Media took control in early 2017, as they sought to level the playing field in a bid to improve the competition.
Along with the rules overhaul, which is aimed at improving the actual racing, the budget cap is intended to ensure that all ten teams are effectively matched on spending.
However, the pandemic has turned the sport on its head, and with the future of a number of teams in doubt, F1 had to put together a schedule last year, and it is to the sport’s credit that they pulled it off.
The teams in question all seem to have their futures assured now, while agreement on a new Concorde Agreement – albeit with a one-year opt-out – has also inspired confidence.
However, while the fact that the teams will essentially be using their 2020 cars this season, preparations for the rules overhaul are set to drive up spending, this at a time the sport is still suffering the financial impact of the pandemic.
Last year, at the time the sport was considering delaying the overhaul until 2021, some teams argued for the changes to be postponed until 2023 concerned at the costs at a time their revenue was already severely compromised.
However, F1 MD, Ross Brawn argued that the fact the new generation of cars were less complicated than their predecessors would help the teams keep spending down.
“Some teams pushed to delay them a further year,” he admitted. “I think there’s a justifiable need to carry these current cars over into next year because we’re in the middle of the lockdown. That’s completely justified.
“The initiatives we’re bringing with these new regulations are to make the sport more economically viable in terms of the complexity, where the money is spent,” he added. “With the cars we have now, they’re so complex that with the more you spend the quicker you’ll go and we need to level off that slope and create a situation where money is not the only priority in how competitive you’ll be. Therefore, we need these new cars to even that slope.”
Another reason to see the new regulations introduced sooner rather than later, despite the uncertainty over the pandemic, and other than the fact that fans have been sold on the changes, is that yet another season with the same cars would only lead to yet another brace of titles for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes, and quite simply many fans are growing tired of it.