2020 competition will prevent 2021 domination says Symonds
F1 Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds hopes that a close championship fight will prevent the top teams from focusing too much on their 2021 entries, making for closer racing after the regulation changes.
The decision on when to make the switch from developing a current season's car to looking ahead to next year is never a simple one and is, as Symonds puts it, one of the most difficult decisions for a team boss to make.
“That’s always one of the big problems,” said Symonds. “That’s always one of the things I found quite difficult. When do you stop work on one car and start on another?
“Between ’19 and ’20, it’s been very easy. We’ve got less regulation changes between ’19 and ’20 than I can remember for many, many years, so the ’20 cars are very much an evolution on ’19. We had good racing in ’19 and I hope this will continue in ’20.
“The teams have started on it [the 2021 car] because they’ve been working with us for over a year now on it. But like all learning, you have a very steep learning curve in your early days of experimentation, and you start adding many points of downforce in your first runs, then it levels out.”
Symonds continued by explaining how where a team sits in the championship has a drastic effect on when they car switch complete focus onto the 2021 car, suggesting that those at the back in the early stages may not wait for too long before implementing this change.
“It’s a function of where you are in the championship and also how much money you’ve got,” continued Symonds. “The budget cap doesn’t come in until 2021, so teams can spend and also employ an awful lot of people this year.
“If there’s domination at the front then that dominant team, whoever they may be, can probably afford to switch a little bit earlier. I think there’s not going to be domination at the front. I think there’s going to be a good fight at the front, and that, I hope, will stop the teams from just sitting back and getting on with the 2021 cars.
“The teams towards the back may be able to put a little bit more effort into the 2021 cars, so we should see a good season this year and, even though change will generally initially separate the cars before they come together again, I hope in 2021 we’ll see good racing as well.”
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