While the Formula 1 world waits impatiently for direction on regulations for 2021 and beyond, motorsport chief Ross Brawn has revealed that the delays have been by intent, in an effort to try and balance the opportunities available to teams irrespective of resources.
In a way, rule makers are caught between a rock and a hard place with regards to the rules deadline, too soon may benefit the big budget teams – Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull – to the detriment of the minnows. However the same could be said if the rules are released too late, hence timing is critical.
In his end of the season review, Brawn explained, “The FIA and ourselves have issued a framework of what the car could be like with tasks for each team to look at aspects of it. It’s not enough for teams to go off and start designing a car, we’re purposefully trying to hold back on that.”
“We don’t want teams with a lot of resource to gain a march on those who don’t. But it’s a difficult balance because there is a perfectly valid argument that the later you leave the issuing of the information, the more it suits the teams with a lot of resource.”
“The teams will have about a year or so to work on the designs of these cars, I think that’s the right sort of timescale. Once they’ve designed their 2020 cars, they need to be able to focus on 2021,” added Brawn.
Simple maths suggests that a “year or so” from now is circa end of next season, upon which teams will have the double headache of embarking on an all-new project while maintaining their race programme at the same time.
On the upside for fans, sweeping regulation changes can tinker with the pecking order as his own BrawnGP team proved in 2009 with Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello.
“Whenever you introduce fairly major conceptual change in the regulations, the opportunity exists for a team to devote its resource to that project and leapfrog a year – accept where it is and that it might not be the greatest year – in favour of jumping up to where they want to be the following year,” reasoned Brawn.
Big Question: When should Ross release the rules?