In addition to delaying Formula One's next major rule change to 2022, motor racing's governing body, the FIA, has banned all aerodynamic development of those cars until the end of this year.
F1 was planning to herald a new era of racing in 2021 with heavily revised technical regulations aimed at encouraging wheel-to-wheel action and making the sport more competitive. However, the impact of the coronavirus -- both financial and in terms of postponed races -- means the rules have now been pushed back to 2022, with the teams looking to restrict spending as much as possible during the hiatus to protect their finances.
In order to stop the teams from spending money on two very different projects ahead of 2022, aerodynamic development relating to the new regulations has been banned until the end of this year. The decision, which received unanimous support from teams and was signed off by the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) on Tuesday, is significant as it means all forthcoming spending on aerodynamic development for 2022 will fall under the new budget cap regulations, which are still due to come into force next year.
There had previously been a concern that the top teams would spend relentlessly on the new designs before the $175 million budget cap is enforced in 2021, thus giving them a locked-in advantage from the very start of the new regulation cycle. However, the tweak to the rules means teams should enter the new era of the sport on a more level footing, while aiming to protect them as much as possible from the inevitable financial hit of the coronavirus pandemic.
In an effort to save costs further in 2021, the teams will also have to use this year's chassis again next year, with additional measures still under consideration to extend savings to other parts of the car. The FIA also ruled that Mercedes' novel Dual Axis Steering (DAS), which made its debut during testing in February and is unique to the world champions' car, would be outlawed next year despite the rest of the regulations remaining unchanged.
The WMSC also confirmed that F1 and the FIA now have permission to change the 2020 calendar without approval from the teams, which will prove a crucial step in finding a way to accommodate as many of the postponed races as possible. A further rule change also means the FIA only needs the support of 60 percent of the teams to make changes to some other aspects of the regulations.
The teams are currently in, or about to enter, a period of three weeks of enforced factory shutdown to save costs and remove the need to have F1's traditional summer break in August. The WMSC confirmed the same enforced shutdown would apply to engine departments, meaning they too have to halt all work for a period of three consecutive weeks at some point in March and April.
Finally, the FIA has tweaked the plans for F1's postseason test, which traditionally takes place over two days following the final race of the season. The test will now take place over a single day and be limited exclusively to young drivers who have competed in two grands prix or fewer during their career. However, teams will be allowed to run two cars at the same time as opposed to one car, opening up opportunities to sell the test drives to young drivers or try out new talent in their junior programmes.