Mercedes: No guarantee proposed 2023 F1 floor changes would suit car design

Mercedes has denied suggestions it is pushing to change Formula 1’s floor regulations for its own competitive gain, saying there is no guarantee any tweaks would suit its car.

Mercedes: No guarantee proposed 2023 F1 floor changes would suit car design

F1 teams have become embroiled in a row over the rules surrounding floor designs for next year after the FIA revealed plans to make changes to ease the porpoising issue a number of outfits have faced.

The FIA announced last week that it planned to tweak the technical regulations for 2023 by raising the floor edges and diffuser throat on safety grounds, only to face pushback from several teams who could challenge the move.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said on Friday in France there was “an awful lot of lobbying to change the regulations significantly for next year so a certain team can run its car lower and benefit from that concept,” hinting at Mercedes. 

But Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said there was no guarantee that any of the proposed rule changes would suit the team, but that tweaks were required in order to solve the fundamental safety issues resulting from porpoising.

“The reality is that we are working to solve our problems on our own, and I think that we’ve made good progress on that,” said Shovlin.

“You can understand the conundrum of teams that don't want the regulations to change. We don’t know as Mercedes that a regulation change will suit us.

“If you think back to 2020 into 2021, we didn’t know that regulation change [cutting downforce] was going to hurt a low ride height car like ours and barely affect a high ride height car.

"So we’re certainly not of the position of saying regulation changes are definitely going to be in favour of Mercedes.

“Our stance will be that if we want to solve some of the fundamental issues, you’re not going to do that leaving the rules alone.

“When that rule came in for 2020 on safety grounds, Red Bull weren’t opposing it, Ferrari weren’t opposing it, from a viewpoint of the governance, but importantly Mercedes weren’t opposing that change.

“It happened. It didn’t suit us, but it did come in and it happen.”

George Russell, Mercedes W13

George Russell, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The current FIA proposal for 2023 is to raise the floor edges by 25mm, but it has been suggested that some teams would be open to a compromise and may agree to a reduced increase.

Read Also:

But Shovlin thought the compromise was “just coming from teams that thought there will be a change but we want it to be as minimal as possible”, and that F1 could not lose sight of the safety issue at hand.

“As we said, as teams, we can probably all mitigate this, but if we actually want to get the cars running in a different way, these regulations will always have a car that wants to run very flat on the road,” said Shovlin.

“There have been a few notable accidents this year, where a car bottoming on the plank as part of that, a driver loses control, goes over a kerb, and it’s been the car hitting the ground that’s actually caused them to land in the barrier at speed.

“So the safety argument is as much about that as about the comfort.”

shares
comments

Related video

The changing priorities that caused an F1 giant's terminal decline
Previous article

The changing priorities that caused an F1 giant's terminal decline

Next article

Alonso primed for Alpine LMDh seat once F1 stint ends

Alonso primed for Alpine LMDh seat once F1 stint ends
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Plus

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Autosport in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Plus

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Plus

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022