Top F1 teams will "lose more performance" in 2019 - Budkowski
Formula 1’s top three outfits are set to be pulled back closer to the midfield teams thanks to the 2019 regulations, reckons Renault executive director Marcin Budkowski.
With F1 teams having to design all-new aero for this season, thanks to a raft of rule changes aimed at helping overtaking, there is potential for a change in the pecking order.
Budkowski thinks that the changes will hurt the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull more because they had built up a bigger advantage with the older specification cars.
And that could mean the huge advantage the three teams had over the other teams in 2018 could be much reduced for the season ahead.
Speaking about the loss of downforce from the 2019 rules, Budkowski said: “I am not going to tell you exactly where we are, but the loss was significant at the beginning yes.
“It is difficult to say whether it was more significant for us or others, but my personal opinion of this is that the bigger teams, the best teams, will have lost more performance.
“That is because by definition they had a quicker car, so they had a more optimised car. Everything was more in tune and more optimised. So they will have made a bigger step back.
“But they are also better equipped to recover, because they have bigger structures with more resources.
"Also, the understanding they had that allowed them to get to that previous level, they still have it, so they can use it to try to find further performance. So it is difficult to say who has made the bigger step back and who has made the bigger step forward.
“My feeling is that probably you will have closed the gap a little bit between the top teams and the midfield, because the regulations are more restrictive than they were before. There is less available performance.”
Renault finished last year as the best of the rest behind the top three teams, and has set its sights on being closer to the leading trio in 2019.
Budkowski thinks it too much, however, to expect that the French car manufacturer will fully bridge the gap this season.
“Realistically if you look at the situation as it was last year, the gaps, recovering 1.5 seconds of performance over one winter is nearly impossible,” he said.
“Now, we have a regulation change so that could have influenced the pecking order. There are some changes at the front as well that could jeopardise some people’s performance or reliability, so there are external factors, but we are not in control of these.
“From our point of view, it is to get the best possible car out and do the best possible job with the regulations, do our homework and reach our targets.
“Overall the pecking order is a question of relative performance. If we reach our targets of performance we should be progressing compared to last year, and if the others don’t do as good a job then it is going to be good for us.”
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