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Calls for rules revision "naive" says Horner

NEWS STORY
17/04/2021

Red Bull boss, Christian Horner admits surprise at Aston Martin calling for a revision of the 2021 aero rules after just one race, describing the move as "naive".

The Briton was reacting to Otmar Szafnauer's admission that legal action could follow if the rules introduced this season, allegedly influenced by F1 bosses, and in the name of safety, are not revised.

In a bid to limit downforce in the final season before the rules overhaul for 2022, the FIA mandated changes to the floor, diffuser and brake ducts that have impacted the performance of those cars running low rake, such as Mercedes and Aston Martin.

Speaking in Bahrain, Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff said: "I think we've probably suffered more with the change of regulations than the cars with the higher rake," said the Austrian, a claim confirmed by Szafnauer.

"When we last raced here, just four months ago, we were heading for a podium on merit," said the Aston Martin boss. "We will not be anywhere near that kind of performance here now and the direct cause of that performance drop-off is the new for 2021 aero regulations. It looks like the high-rake aero philosophy cars have gained around a second per lap."

"We couldn't run our suspensions and settings in the way that Red Bull does," added Wolff, "and so we need to do the best out of it and tune the car to what we have available."

Aware that it doesn't have the resources of Mercedes and that it will therefore spend the entire season playing catch-up, a situation not helped by the impending switch of focus to 2022, Aston Martin is calling for the rules to be revised... even though the season is just one race old.

Red Bull's, Christian Horner has little sympathy for his rival's plight.

"We had a sample of one, that Mercedes won with what we classify a low-rake car," he told Sky Sports. "They had absolutely equal, if not maybe better, tyre degradation than we had in Bahrain. They've looked mighty impressive here and we've only run at one circuit so far.

"But ignoring all of that, there is a process for regulations to be introduced and they were voted through unanimously through the different regulations," he added. "Aston Martin or Racing Point would have had to vote for before being passed through the Formula 1 Commission and the World Council. They were all voted through unanimously.

"When there was a front wing change a few years ago it really hurt us," he added. "We voted against it, but you just have to accept it.

"It seems a little naive to think that suddenly the rules are going to get changed after the sample of a single race after the process has been fully followed. I'm struggling to get my head around that."

Indeed, rules can only be changed 'mid-season' in the interests of safety, which is ostensibly why the 2021 rules were introduced - and voted for - in the first place.

"Whether it was blown diffusers, double diffusers, flexing wings, non-flexing wings, F-ducts, front wing regulations... as I mentioned just a couple of years ago, it's part of Formula 1," said Horner. "Regulations evolve and change and you've got to swing with those punches... that is F1.

"We've got a big regulation change for next year, but the teams have known that. That's been part of the sport for many, many years."

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