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2022-Spanish-Grand-Prix-Sunday-4-1 f1 closer midfield

Midfield F1 team bosses agree new rules making racing closer

2022-Spanish-Grand-Prix-Sunday-4-1 f1 closer midfield

While stats show that Max Verstappen dominated the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship, the consensus among some team principals is that the new rules this year have improved racing and will continue to do so, as was intended.

Of the 20 races run so far, Verstappen has won 14 of them for Red Bull, with driver and team sealing the respective titles already suggesting the contrary.

But Verstappen has made the difference, if a lesser mortal were in the other car and teammate Checo Perez leading the charge, it would be a different kettle of fish.

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Furthermore, this year has been dominated by the traditional top three teams – Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes – in that pecking order; the Silver Arrows are a step behind the other two teams despite a surge of competitiveness at high-altitude Mexico City.

Time will tell if they can challenge so potently in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, their last chance to claim a win this year.

So it is fair to pencil-in Red Bull and Ferrari to have the edge (excluding Mexico where the Reds went AWOL) with Mercedes as a buffer to the midfield F1 teams, where all the action is happening according to team bosses.

Vasseur: The midfield group is a mega fight that every single weekend

vasseur tost krack f1 closer cost cap rules good new

Discussing the matter with reporters in Mexico City, Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack said: “If you look at the midfield battle, definitely the goal is achieved. I think we are all within a very few tenths, a tenth can decide if you are eighth or 18th. Unfortunately, there are three teams that are a bit ahead, which makes the racing much more predictable.

“So as such, you could say the rules have not worked but on the other hand, if you look at the midfield you can say it has because it’s very exciting racing in the midfield so split view from my side.”

Also in attendance, Alfa Romeo boss Fred Vasseur added: “The whole group and the midfield group is a mega fight that every single weekend, you don’t know if you will be P7 on the grid or P19 or 20. And it’s very exciting.

“At the end of the day, it’s a bit of a shame that you have three teams ahead, so except for them, I’m sure that they are very happy with this. But no, I don’t know if it’s technical regulations also the first consequences of the cost gap regulation, but it’s probably a combination of these two.”

AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost was in agreement with his peers: “Yeah, the new regulation brought the cars closer together, especially in the midfield. And I think that the gap to the three top teams could also be closed in the next years when the cost cap is coming closer or will help to bring the teams closer together because the top teams can’t spend any more so much money.”

The thinking is that leveling the tilted playing field will be sluggish initially

LE CASTELLET, FRANCE - JULY 24: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari F1-75 leads Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 and the rest of the field into turn one at the start during the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on July 24, 2022 in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) innovation

Still, the richer F1 teams still benefit from the years of unlimited spending but will level out exponentially as the current F1 rules mature and sink in for the long term.

Tost explained: “I think it will already start in 2023 because this year, they still had the advantage that in 2021 they could keep some of the employees until June, and from next year onwards, and then especially in 2024, I think that the cost cap regulation will be more efficient to bring all the teams closer together, which is the target.”

Thus it will be mission accomplished at some point according to Vasseur: “The impact for the big team was much bigger than for us and at least for me but on the other hand they have also the advantage of the technology and the know-how that they invested so much in the past and that it means that they are still a step ahead of us.

“I hope that we will able to compensate in the future. And we all we have to consider that the good side of this is that we are playing in our garden in terms of budget, and we are much more used to dealing with this kind of budget than them. And perhaps that in the near future that will compensate part of the gap,” concluded the Alfa Romeo team boss.

His Aston Martin counterpart agreed: “Yeah, I think the combination of cost cap and stable technical regulations will even out the field over the coming years so I think the racing will become better.

“I think the midfield teams will close the gap, step by step, to the top teams and I think it will be better and better over the years to come,” predicted Krack.

2022 Formula 1 World Championship standings after 20 Rounds:

2022 f1 standings after United States GP graphic