Sebastian Vettel feels Formula 1’s regulation changes to provide greater downforce and therefore faster cars wasn’t a mistake as he gives a tentative backing to the planned 2021 shake-up.

The Ferrari driver has previously said the outlook for F1 from 2021 onwards would guide his own future in the sport and reflecting on the rules presented during the United States Grand Prix he’s eager to understand how it will develop from ‘the ideas on paper’.

During the 2021 rules presentation led by Ross Brawn there was stinging criticism of the 2017 changes to give cars greater downforce to increase speeds because of the adverse effect on making it tougher for cars to follow each other on track – with an estimated 40% loss in downforce for following cars.

The next generation of F1 cars will produce downforce without creating ‘dirty air’ for following cars which is projected to cause a smaller drop of 5-10% in downforce for following cars, according to data provided by F1.

While Vettel has urged change he’s wary of making the F1 cars heavier in the future, with cars set to be 25kg heavier due to new tyres, chassis changes and engine materials, and he still holds reservations with the current V6 Hybrid power units.

“I think the cars are a lot more spectacular since 2017. Now we know what the cars can do now it was quite slow before that,” Vettel said. “Obviously we had very little drag and it was great in a straight-line but that is not what is exciting for us.

“It was maybe significantly slower than maybe some years earlier, so I don’t think that’s the direction. The wrong direction in my point of view is that the cars are so heavy, related to in a way some of the safety measures but I think everybody accepts that and the power unit. I would have liked a different engine [too].

“That is really I think the biggest difference if you make a big compare to where we are now and where F1 was 20 years ago and maybe further.”

With the initial plans for the next generation in F1 set in place, Vettel wants to see how it develops and feels better and closer racing will remain the ultimate assessment criteria of the 2021 rules.

“I think the target that was set out was to make a step forward,” he said. “Now we have an idea, I think everyone was waiting for that day to come and now we need to try and understand what that idea means.

“Obviously on paper the ideas always look great but I think it will materialise a little bit more in the coming weeks. We’ll see.

“At the end of the day no matter how the cars look if the racing is better and for us it’s more fun then that’s a win. So we will see.”

The 32-year-old’s current Ferrari contract expires at the end of the 2020 season.

 

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