Aston Martin reins in on aero rules threat

21/04/2021
NEWS STORY

Following a meeting with the FIA at Imola, Aston Martin boss, Otmar Szafnauer says he is "pretty satisfied" with the manner in which the sport's governing body handled the 2021 aero rules.

At the beginning on the Imola weekend, Szafnauer hinted at legal action over the regulations, which, he claimed, not only unfairly compromised his team, but were influenced by the sport's Commercial Rights Holder, who, he argued, should not have been involved in the changes which were ostensibly about safety.

"When we last raced here, just four months ago, we were heading for a podium on merit," said Szafnauer at the beginning of the Bahrain weekend. "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."

Three weeks later, at Imola, his opinion had not changed.

"I think the right thing to do is to have the discussions with the FIA and find out exactly what happened and why," he told Sky Sports. "We as a team have to work hard to try to claw back everything we can, but at the same time we should be having the discussions with the FIA to see if anything can be done to make it a bit more equitable."

Referring to F1's influence on the decision to change the rules, he said: "The regulation change that was made for safety reasons, that kind of governance rests solely with the FIA.

Pushed harder on what influence F1 bosses might have had on the changes, he added: "Like I said, I think that type of regulation change rests solely with the FIA. They're the experts."

Asked whether his team, should it get no satisfaction from the FIA, would consider legal action, he replied: "I think we get to that point after the discussions.

"It's hard to predict," he added. "I think the right thing to do is to see what can be done."

Having met with the FIA on Sunday however, Szafnauer's mood had clearly changed.

"We've had a couple of meetings with the FIA, and I think we're - at this point - pretty satisfied that all the correct steps were followed.

"I mean, we're still in discussion," he continued. "We're just trying to discover what all the steps were, you know, to make sure that it was done properly and equitably. So that's the reason for the discussion."

Asked for further insight, he replied: "We're still discussing with the FIA. I'll be able to answer that question probably in three, four days' time."

"How the rules have fallen into place last year, one can always question what the motivation was," added Toto Wolff, who had previously claimed that the rule changes were specifically made to compromise his team.

"There's certainly the right to review and look at things and discuss them with the FIA," he added, "to find out what has actually happened and how have things happened.

"That's why I respect Aston Martin's enquiry and the whole thing and maybe things were targeted at us and they are collateral damage."

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Published: 21/04/2021
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