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"There's going to be a lot of debate," admits Brawn of Mercedes upgrade

NEWS STORY
10/03/2022

Admitting surprise at Mercedes radical approach to the 2022 regulations, Ross Brawn says he expects the W13's controversial sidepods will create a lot of debate in the F1 paddock.

While the debate over whether Christian Horner has really questioned the legality of the Mercedes continues, F1 MD, Ross Brawn, admits that he, like everyone else, was caught out by Mercedes latest reaction to the 2022 regulations.

"There's no doubt that Mercedes concept is one we didn't anticipate," the Briton told F1 TV, "it's a very extreme interpretation of the regulations.

"I think, inevitably, there's going be a lot of debate about their interpretation," he continued. "That's what happens with new regulations, however hard you try to close off all the options, and believe me, we closed off hundreds of them, as I say the innovation in F1, it's always extreme.

"From our perspective, it's largely about does it affect the objective of the regulations?" he said of the W13's upgrade, most notably the 'missing' sidepods. "From the teams’ perspective, they want to be sure that no one's taken an interpretation that they don't feel is correct. So I think there's going to be a lot of debate in next few days.

"It's impressive," admitted the ultimate poacher turned gamekeeper "I think this is the great thing about the innovation of F1, it's just keeping it within boundaries which are sensible, there are no compromises as I say, in terms of the objective of what we wanted to achieve.

"You have to be fair," he continued, "when a team comes up with an idea, with innovation, with novelty, you shouldn't penalise it straight away.

"But I think as it's understood more the FIA really, as a regulator of the sport know everything that's going on there, we don't as F1, because we're not entitled to have information. But the regulator of the sport knows what's going on. I think they're okay with it so far.

"But of course, a team may come in and raise an objection that the FIA hadn't considered. And then you have a problem. And I've been through that many times where your idea is okay, the FIA agrees it's okay. But then a team comes in with a perspective that had never been considered and have an argument that's valid.

"So I'm sure there's going to be a lot of discussion about it. But it's impressive for a set of rules, which everybody said was too prescriptive. We're seeing all these solutions."

However, the man whose double diffuser caught the rest of the grid on the hop back in 2009, says that under the sport's revised governance the regulations be 'adjusted' over the course of the season.

"One of the significant things that we changed was the governance in F1," he said. "Because in the past you needed everybody to agree to a change in the season, now you can make a change with 80% of the teams agreeing, as long as the FIA and F1 also agree.

"Once the interpretation that Mercedes have made has been understood, then we can get a balanced view or we can take a view on its impact, what effect it's going to have, because spirit is such a grey area.

"At the end of the day, you have to go on what the wording of the regulation is, because if you take it to a court, that's what they judge it on. But that wording can be changed. With an 80% team majority, we can change the wording. So if something has slipped by, then the teams are aware that that could happen. And that can happen live during the season. So we need to see how this one plays out."

That said, Brawn insists that nothing he has seen thus far looks likely require such a drastic move.

"It's impossible to anticipate the creative scope of the teams," he said. "Once they get the regulations, you've got a thousand engineers working on all the regulations, and they can use them.

"So some of the solutions quite honestly, we never anticipated. And I think we will go back into investigating those solutions, and make sure they maintain the objective of the new rules. I think they do.

"Our initial impressions are that there's nothing here that we would be overly concerned about in terms of those objectives of the regulations. And so it's just fascinating to see such a wide range of solutions.

"And what's I think become a step change for the teams is a lot of new cooler innovation, a lot of new innovation in the heat exchangers, and the radiators, that has become available, as it's given them more scope to create the designs they've got."

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1. Posted by Spindoctor, 11/03/2022 8:23

"Brawn has become an expert in spouting near-meaningless Management-speak. Take a random selection of bland statements, drop in a twist of cliche et voila!"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by kdxrider, 10/03/2022 17:14

"Ever since F1 showed their 'idea' of the concept car, I've been suspicious of their ulterior motive behind spending millions to develop and build it. I'm still convinced that their aim is to have a series that races it. I think these few years between now and the next Concorde Agreement will determine how that pans out. So far the teams have produced their variation of the F1 concept, even Mercedes first showing followed the line. But now they've gone down a different route -----
As an aside, I think Brawn and his design team should join Andretti and see if their idea really works --- "

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3. Posted by RP, 10/03/2022 14:56

"Perhaps, Brawn should wait until the last race of the year to adopt changes to the rules. As mentioned, his single loop hole allowed him and his team to win a championship. But, other comments concerned the "intent" of the regulations. Sweeping changes to the regulations have always, as I recall, led to larger gaps in performance as some teams (aerodynamicists and engineers) came up with better designs. Over time, the gaps in performance reduced as others adapted. Then, along comes a new rule change and the cycle begins all over again.
Formula 1 is about teams - engineers, construction, strategists and drivers. Some seem to want it to be just about drivers - then have a spec series where the only difference between teams is the livery. The best drivers are still capable of making a difference, although Hamilton or Verstappen would not make Williams (no offence intended) a contender.
I recall a Grand Prix if my memory is correct, where Stirling Moss's car broke down and he hopped in a Jensen 4 wheel drive car in the rain, not having a chance to win just to drive, and his pace caused the race director to have him stop. Someone with a better memory may recall all the details. In those times, a driver was a big part of performance. Today, the driver still is with thousandths of second separating one car from another.
We shouldn't dumb down F1. Resources are important but the best TEAM usually comes to the top."

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