Tombazis defends regulation changes for 2023


Nikolas Tombazis, the FIA's Single Seater Technical Director, has defended the regulation changes for 2023, insisting that the move is not 'over the top'.

Earlier this month, the World Motor Sport Council, in a bid to counter the porpoising phenomenon confirmed a number of measures for this season and 2023.

As we saw last weekend, the technical directive introduced has had little outward impact, some cars are still clearly bouncing while Red Bull appeared to have found even more speed.

However, it is the planned changes for 2023 that have caused concern among the teams, changes that include the raising of the floor edges by 15mm, the raising of the diffuser throat and the stiffening of the diffuser edge.

Teams like Red Bull are unhappy for a number of reasons, one being that work on the 2023 cars was already well underway and the regulation change will mean a costly rethink.

However, the Austrian team, and others, believe that over time, and certainly by next season, the teams will have overcome the phenomenon.

As a result it is being claimed that the FIA has over reacted.

Not so, says Single Seater Technical Director, Nikolas Tombazis, who began by defending the need for the technical directive.

"Obviously there's been a lot of discussion about this topic," he admitted. "We had concerns about the safety and about the long-term effects of porpoising which is why we felt compelled to make some amendments.

"Safety is one of the topics that falls squarely into the FIA's prerogative," he continued, "because it cannot be clouded by competitive positions and so on.

"I've been on the other side of the fence," said the Greek, who has worked in the past with Benetton, Ferrari and McLaren, "when you are in a team the only thing you worry about there - I mean, obviously you care about safety - but the only thing you worry about is your competitive position.

"The championship fight is so intense that always, that prevails, and that's why it cannot be falling into the normal process, in order to introduce changes.

"So this TD, and some minor rule changes, introduced for Spa effectively introduce the measurement of the porpoising and a stiffer underside of the car, in order to have parity across the grid.

"There's been some... following a lot of negotiations, and even the President got involved very closely to this topic and discussed it with all the teams, all the drivers and we've made some compromises and some amendments also for next year.

"We see that generally speaking with increase of performance, there's also a tendency to increase the phenomenon, while at the same time teams are learning more about it and they can control it better.

"Now, we have to act responsibly in the sport," he added. "We see examples of other sports who have ignored the long-term effects of certain conditions they subject the sportsmen under, so we felt we had to take the long-term view on this.

"These regulations will continue until 2025, inclusive before we go to new regulations for '26. And we felt it was better to act early than to be here discussing the same thing again in one year's time and so on.

"So, it was the combination of all of these factors, plus, of course, we did compromise, as I said, earlier. The President got heavily involved in all of this compromise and therefore I think we came up with the right solution in the end. But we've got no doubt that some people on one side of the argument would say it was too much, and other people will say to us too little. That's normal."

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Published: 01/09/2022
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