Formula One has approved aerodynamic rule changes for 2019 aimed at promoting closer racing by making it easier for cars to overtake, the sport’s governing body said on Tuesday. The measures include a simplified front wing with a larger span, front brake ducts without winglets and a wider and deeper rear wing. The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said its Formula One commission, Strategy Group and World Motor Sport Council had approved the changes. The changes should reduce turbulence for cars that are following each other, and come after criticism of the lack of overtaking in some races. Overtaking in Formula 1 was more dismal last year than your rainy-day poetry. Total overtaking figures went from 866 in 2016 to 435 in 2017, and the average overtakes per race went from 41.2 in 2016 to 21.8 the next year. There was a grand total of one in the 2017 Russian Grand Prix.
The FIA said the vote, on the last day before unanimous agreement is required for any 2019 regulation changes, followed research carried out by a majority of the teams and backed by commercial rights holders Liberty Media.
However, it seems that a lot of teams were not on board with the changes, but F1 slipped the rules by thanks to an arbitrary deadline of April 30, which Motorsport.com reports is the last day to get new technical regulations pushed through without a unanimous agreement. In fact, a proposal before that date could get through with as few as four of the 10 teams voting in favor so long as F1, the FIA, and representatives of sponsors and promoters agreed with it, according to the news site.
This one seems to have been far from unanimous, with Motorsport.com reporting that not many team heads were supportive of the aero ideas. From the story:
Although there has been no official confirmation it is believed that when it came to the vote up to six teams were still opposed to the plans, with sources suggesting that Ferrari, Red Bull, Renault, McLaren, Toro Rosso and Haas said no, and that Williams was joined by Mercedes, Force India and Sauber in voting yes.[…] The wing changes proposal was a direct response to the lack of overtaking in the Australian GP, which prompted the FIA and Liberty to look for ways to make improvements for 2019. They were able to draw on some of the research already conducted by F1’s team of engineers for the 2021 package.
As previously reported, a meeting of team technical bosses in Bahrain failed to come to a firm conclusion on the ideas put forward in what had become a joint FIA/F1 project. Team heads against the aero rules echoed each other to Motorsport.com, basically saying no huge changes are needed before the planned 2021 rules overhaul.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told the website it’s “better to leave things alone as they are for now” and make changes in 2021, and Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul said in his opinion, “F1 is good enough for the next two years.”