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Horner tells FIA “don’t dick” with 2023 F1 aero rules

Christian Horner has urged the FIA not to “dick” with the 2023 Formula 1 technical regulations in an attempt to address porpoising.

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR22, Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C42, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, practice their start procedures at the end of FP2

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR22, Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C42, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, practice their start procedures at the end of FP2

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

F1 team bosses have expressed similar views with most insisting that it is already too late to make changes for next season.

As part of the recent technical directive regarding the governing body’s clampdown on porpoising for this year, the FIA’s head of single-seater matters Nikolas Tombazis has proposed a review of the regulations for 2023, and told teams that they will be expected to contribute with CFD research.

Tombazis noted: “It remains our objective to implement changes for 2023 which will inherently reduce the propensity of the cars to exhibit aerodynamic oscillations.

“In due course, teams will be asked to support these evaluations in CFD by performing a range of modifications on their car, and reporting back to the FIA their results.”

The prospect of changes for 2023 was also discussed last week in a meeting of F1 technical directors at an advisory committee meeting.

However, many teams have made it clear they are reluctant to support changes to the technical regulations because they believe that stability would be preferable, with Horner among the most vocal.

“I think that it's too late in the day to be introducing changes for next year,” he said when asked by Autosport about the prospect of changes.

“We have a governance for that. And the costs involved - sometimes [there are] unintended consequences of changing complete philosophies, it will affect what you carry over into next year, it'll affect your design and development.

“And the most important thing, and the biggest way to achieve stable costs, is stability. And the cars will converge. You can see that already, some cars are certainly looking more familiar. And I think that will continue over the next six to nine months.

“So I think the most important thing is, don't dick with it. Just leave it alone. And the teams will sort it out.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Alpine’s Otmar Szafnauer agreed it is too late to make changes for next year, while acknowledging safety concerns can override such considerations.

"To me it's always better to have sight of rules early on, and not change them mid-season,” Szafnauer said.

“Having said that, though, there has been precedent. If it's a safety issue then the FIA are duty bound to look at it and make changes.

“I'm always in favour of knowing the rules well in advance, having an even playing field, and then let everyone come up with their own solution. So the earlier we know, the better.”

Alfa Romeo chief Fred Vasseur also stressed that stability is key, with the need to keep the same parts for next season.

"At the end of the day, the most important thing for us is stability,” said the Frenchman when asked by Autosport for the team’s view on possible changes.

“And last year we didn't challenge a lot the regulations, and the most important thing is the stability of this.

“Because that if you want to reduce the budget, and we need to have carry over, we need also to be able to double the development, it means that you are doing the development of the current car but this works also for next year's car, you can carry over the parts of the car. If you change now for '23 the size of the diffuser or the stay, it's all in the bin.”

Haas boss Gunther Steiner made the intriguing observation that some teams have already investigated possible changes for 2023, and thus might have an advantage should they be confirmed by the FIA.

“In the technical advisory group it was discussed to change the rules, which I think the majority of the teams don't want to do,” he said.

“They are diligently working to find the solution without changing the rules dramatically, because I think if you go to change the rules in July, it's a little bit late.

“So I don't think that's the correct way to go about it. And on the other side you could say some people have already done some work with the new rules which are proposed, and they will be ahead then. And so I think we need to be careful here that they're not doing the wrong thing.”

Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-22, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-22, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Drew Gibson / Motorsport Images

Meanwhile Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott indicated that the Brackley team, which suffers more than its rivals from porpoising, is open to changes but acknowledged it won’t be easy to push them through.

“I think the drivers are saying it's uncomfortable, it's not safe for them driving the cars when there's heavy bouncing,” said Elliott. “And I think this sport has to deal with that. And the sport has to adapt and change as a result of that.

“I think the difficulty is these cars were designed around a ground effect set of rules they were designed to try and improve overtaking. And the question is can you maintain some of that and move away from the bouncing?

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“And the devil is in the detail. And I think it will come down to the sort of the aerodynamicists in the various teams to try and work out along with the FIA, how to change the rules in the right sense.

“But getting the teams to agree to that's also going to be a challenge.”

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