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F1 2019 changes don't "do justice" to teams' research

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F1 2019 changes don't "do justice" to teams' research
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May 19, 2018, 8:27 AM

Renault chief technical officer Bob Bell believes the overtaking-oriented Formula 1 aero rules set to be introduced in 2019 do not "do justice" to the research undertaken by F1 teams.

A number of regulation changes for 2019, among them a simplified front wing and brake duct and a wider and deeper rear wing, were approved by the F1 commission at the final opportunity last month.

These had been initially proposed by F1's R&D department but teams were then invited to conduct own research, the findings of which, according to the FIA, indicated the changes would have "a positive impact on racing and overtaking".

Despite this, teams that backed the 2019 proposals were outnumbered by teams voting against, with the measure also requiring the support of FIA, FOM, sponsor and promoter representatives to pass.

Bell, whose employer Renault is believed to have been among the plan's detractors, said the FIA's move to involve teams in the research was a positive one, but argued it did not produce sufficient evidence in favour of the changes.

"We contributed to [the research] - which is a good step, because I think the teams are the organisations with all the capacity to do that sort of stuff, and know how to do it," Bell said.

"But I'm just not sure that it's been done justice to, I think it's all been a bit late.

"I'm not against the principle of changing the design of the cars to try and improve overtaking, nobody would be.

"But I think what I would be against is trying to do it in a hurry without really fully proving that they [the changes] are the way to go, and also doing it in a hurry and forcing the teams to react in a less cost effective way.

"I don't think that it's been fully proven, the extent that these changes will bring. And we're introducing them at the last minute.

"I personally would have preferred to wait, put all our effort into getting the 2021 regs right, and not try and introduce in a hurry something that hasn't necessarily been fully thought through."

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, who earlier lambasted the 2019 proposals as "rushed through" and based on "immature research", has argued that they would only serve to create "a bigger divergence" in an already spread-out F1 grid.

And when asked whether the aero changes would create an opportunity for Renault to close the gap to F1's runaway big three teams, Bell instead echoed Horner's viewpoint.

"There are two schools of argument I suppose," he said. "If you throw all the chips up in the air and there's a chance that that disruption will allow the teams that are behind to catch up in some way, there's more opportunity, it levels the playing field.

"I'm not sure. I think it tends to play to the strengths of the bigger teams who've got more resources because we are now faced with a decision that will be worse than it would otherwise be - in that, when do start backing off on the development of this year's car to focus in next year's?

"If you've got more resources, more people, then it's a slightly easier decision."

Additional reporting by Adam Cooper

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Series Formula 1
Author Valentin Khorounzhiy