Formula One team bosses have described the 2019 aero regulations as a “massive step backwards” in terms of performance, but are hopeful the losses can quickly be recovered. F1 agreed upon new rules which will see simplified front-wings and other smaller changes introduced for the 2019 season, in the hope they will lead to an increase in overtaking by reducing the amount of dirty air coming off the car ahead.
However the major downside is that these new aero rules will dramatically cut downforce levels, therefore reducing the current record breaking cornering speeds and laptimes F1 has witnessed this season: “It’s difficult to have a clear picture today [of what 2019 will be like] but for sure I think we will improve on the engine. We have still some doubts about the tyres and on the aero package,” commented Sauber’s Frederic Vasseur. – “If you are speaking about the aero regulations, it’s a huge step back. I think everyone is focused on recovering [the lost performance]. I don’t know when we will recover and if we will be able to overshoot but it looks tricky.”
Force India was one of two teams to trial a 2019-spec front-wing during a test in Hungary earlier this year (pictured), and team boss Otmar Szafnauer described it as a “massive step” backwards: “We did [a test] and it was a significant step backwards,” he said. “We’ve got aggressive targets, I don’t know if we will be able to hit them. We’re trying to predict the future as to what we can find, but yeah, it was a massive step back for us.”
Meanwhile Toro Rosso’s Franz Tost is hopeful that the losses can be recovered quite quickly, but is skeptical as to whether the overtaking benefits will actually be realised: “I discussed it with the people in the wind tunnel and as it currently looks, they do not believe that overtaking will become much easier. Therefore I’m not sure that this regulation change will end up where we expect – that overtaking will become much easier.” He added: “I think that at the beginning of next season the teams will have reached a similar level on downforce as nowadays.”