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Formula 1 Brazilian GP

F1 impeding solution a "sticky plaster" to real problem, says Horner

Formula 1 should stop messing around with "sticky plaster" rules to prevent impeding problems, and instead focus on the root cause of drivers’ qualifying troubles, says Red Bull’s Christian Horner.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

The build-up to the Brazilian Grand Prix was overshadowed by controversy over a new pitlane exit rule that has been aimed at stopping drivers impeding each other in qualifying.

But the solution introduced at Interlagos has been labelled as "terrible" by world champion Max Verstappen, and it opened the door for a number of grid penalties as drivers were caught out by the new requirements.

While the FIA continues to fine-tune ways that it can avoid drivers tripping over each other in qualifying and risk dangerous collisions, with the solution used in Brazil specific to this circuit layout, Horner thinks the focus is in the wrong area.

He thinks that a deeper investigation needs to take place to better understand why drivers are having to carefully manage their pace on out-laps, which is ultimately triggering the traffic problems.

“We're just making it too complicated,” said Horner, who saw Verstappen have to muscle his way past other cars in the pitlane as a result of the new regulations.

“There is a rule for driving out the garage, driving in the pitlane and driving out of the pitlane. You've got to go basic: why are the drivers needing to do these out-laps and whatever? Go to the root cause.”

The issue of slow out-laps is ultimately about drivers aiming to put their tyres into the right operating window for qualifying laps.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23, Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C43, in the pit lane

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23, Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C43, in the pit lane

Horner felt it was critical to understand what the core elements at stake are, so that these could be addressed to produce a solution that would solve the traffic problem.

“Is it tyre pressure? Is it the tyre temperature?” he asked. “We need to go to the root cause of the problem, because it is something that didn't exist in F1 for 50 years. So why is it an issue now?

“I think for me, it's looking at the root cause rather than the sticky plasters that keep getting applied.”

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Horner said that in an engineering-led discipline like F1, it was inevitable that teams would try to exploit any performance advantage that came from tyres – which is why preparation had become so important.

“I think you've got a lot of very clever engineers that are always looking to find an absolute advantage and tyres are a little bit of a black art,” he said.

“There's a certain mystique to being able to get the tyre into the right window and the tyre is so much of the performance of the car. You can see why there's so much effort that goes into the preparation.”

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