"Don't dick with it," says Horner of 2023 aero regs


Already unhappy with the FIA's bid to curb porpoising this season, Christian Horner has called on the FIA not to start playing with the 2023 aero regulations.

His call comes in response to Nikolas Tombazis', the FIA's head of single-seater matters, proposal for a review of the 2023 regulations and request that the teams assist with CFD research.

"It remains our objective to implement changes for 2023 which will inherently reduce the propensity of the cars to exhibit aerodynamic oscillations," he recently advised.

"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."

However, a majority of the teams are against the move, feeling there is no need to change the rules as they feel the cars will converge.

"I think that it's too late in the day to be introducing changes for next year," insisted Christian Horner. "We have a governance for that, and the costs involved that if... sometimes the unintended consequences of changing complete philosophies are... it will affect what you carry over into next year, it'll affect your design and development.

"The most important thing and the biggest way to achieve stable cost is stability," he added. "The cars will converge, you can see that already that the cars are certainly looking... some looking more familiar. And I think that 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."

"I agree to that," added Jost Capito. "I think they have to look at the regulations, they should be more simple instead of getting more complicated.

"It's very important to implement regulations that the FIA can control," he continued. "It doesn't make sense to put regulations in that can't be controlled. I think that's the... and we will have, I think, a very interesting discussion in the next F1 Commission."

"To me, it's always better to have sight of rules early on and not change them mid-season," said Otmar Szafnauer. "Having said that though, there has been precedent as if it's a safety issue, then the FIA have... they're 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. But like I said, if you're mid-season and there's some safety concerns then they have to act."

Understandably, Mercedes, the team most affected, sees it slightly differently.

"The drivers are saying it's uncomfortable, it's not safe for them driving the cars when there's heavy bouncing," said the German team's technical director, Mike Elliott. "And I think this sport has to deal with that, 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?

"The devil is in the detail," he continued, "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," he admitted.

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Published: 03/07/2022
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