A raft of new rules have been adopted by the FIA for Formula 1 which will come in 2019, although Ferrari and Mercedes have supported the tweaks Red Bull F1 chief Christian Horner believes that the decisions were rushed and not thought through.
During the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, Horner did not mince his words with regards to the subject, “Sometimes this sport has the ability to shoot itself in the foot. The work that’s being done for 2021 is all good stuff.”
But some of the aero rules have been afst-tracked for introduction as early as the start of next season, “The problem is a snapshot of that has been taken, it hasn’t been fully analysed – there are no proven conclusions from it.”
“It’s then been rushed into a set of regulations which completely conflict existing regulations so now they’re scrapping around trying to tidy that up.”
“It just completely changes the philosophy of the car. The front wing will be wider, it will be different. The point that the air meets the car is the front wing and that then changes everything behind it: suspension, bodywork, absolutely every single component.”
“We talk about costs and being responsible, what’s just been introduced is a completely new concept, a completely new car that will cost millions and millions of pounds.”
“I just find it frustrating that decisions are made on zero evidence or zero conclusions, on theories and the burden of costs is passed onto the teams. Is it going to guarantee that the cars can follow closer next year? Probably not.”
“It was rushed after Melbourne because it was a race without a lot of overtaking. When has there ever been any overtaking in Melbourne?”
“And then we’ve had three great races, so shouldn’t we be looking at the tracks and tyre compounds and how they influence races rather than burdening the teams with what will be hundreds of millions in costs?”
“If you look at the nature of the circuits, long straights with big stops and hairpins like China, Baku and Bahrain – they were all good races. Those types of circuits always produce good races. Focus on what is creating good racing,” insisted Horner.
The new regs are likely to make cars about 1.5 seconds a lap slower on a 90-seconds lap time, but is being introduced to allow for drivers to be able to follow the car ahead without aero generated turbulence that currently negates efforts by drivers to hunt down and overtake on track.
Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff revealed that the rules were not universally popular, “I haven’t seen [Horner] that livid. It seems to be upsetting them massively. I don’t know why for us it was a 50-50 decision. We wanted to be supportive of the work that’s been done and the direction looks correct.”
“I think the biggest factor is that the teams that are fighting for the championship this year will need to switch their development at a certain stage into next year’s aero regulation because it’s so different. That is complex and that is probably the biggest factor,” explained the Mercedes boss.
Ferrari technical director Mattia Binotto added, “It is a big change, a drastic change to the rules, to the aero. I think each team will be focused on trying to develop what are the new regulations, it’s quite a game changer.”
“I think that as a team we have a duty and a task to improve the show, to improve Formula 1. I think that certainly, the regulations may be a good step in that respect.”
“Overall I think from an egoistic point of view we could have stuck with what we had at the moment but I think that looking at the show and the good for the sport, it was the right choice,” concluded Binotto.
Big Question: Are rule changes necessary in 2019 to spice up Formula 1?