F1's 2019 rule tweaks force teams to split development
Formula 1's rule tweaks for 2019 will force teams to split development focus between this year and next season's cars – with little scope for carry-over of parts.
Following a lack of overtaking at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, F1 chiefs and the FIA managed to push through a raft of changes aimed at helping cars follow each other closer next year.
The new rules include new front and rear wing concepts, plus changes to the bargeboards and brake duct concepts.
Although the changes appear to be quite minor from the outside, teams have quickly come to realise that it will require a change of approach in how they push forward.
Renault technical director Nick Chester said: "It's made it quite a bit harder because, had we stayed with the same regs, you could have pretty much carried on developing your 2018 car and it would have been very similar to your '19 car. The split would have almost not been there.
"Now it's a really definite split. Any work you do on an '18 wing now you're not going to carry forward into '19. It's changed our philosophy of how we do our split."
As well as the aero changes forcing a change of approach to wings, the increase in fuel allowance for next year will also force teams to build all-new chassis too – something Force India was originally planning not to do.
Technical director Andy Green said: "For sure the changes were much bigger than we anticipated a month ago. We weren't even thinking about 2019 a month ago because it was going to be a continuation of current regulations.
"Then, all of a sudden, one or two of the teams decided that they wanted more fuel, an extra 5kg. That really scuppered next year's plans because that is a new chassis. We weren't planning to do a new chassis.
"The new front wing, new brake ducts, new rear wing and new chassis is a significant amount of work for us. So we've already started allocating resource to it, which is going to have an impact on what we can do this year.
"We cannot do both. We are not a big enough team to be able to focus on that sort of project without taking some resource off this car."
Green said that with so much resource needing to be put into the 2019 challenger, it would limit the developments that would be added over the second half of this season.
"As soon as we get to the summer shutdown, we will probably get one more update and that will be it," he said "We will doing a large stint of the season with just optimising what we have got. I think it will be the same for a few teams, not just us."
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