In the battle to get the 2023 regulations changed the war of words has been predominantly been less by Red Bull’s Christian Horner and Mercedes’ Toto Wolff. However, Ferrari have now entered the fray suggesting Mercedes approach in lobbying the the FIA to change the car design regulations in a manner that will suit their car better is lacking in “dignity”.
The row entered a new level last weekend at the French GP when 6 teams protested to the FIA over proposals to raise the car floor by 25mm along with other changes to the aerodynamics underneath the car.
The teams object to the FIA using it’s veto to make these rule changes unilaterally on the grounds of ‘safety’ . Rule changes are usually voted on by the teams but given the complaints led by Mercedes’ George Russell – who is also chairman of the F1 drivers’ association – that new cars are “unsafe” the FIA eventually intervened.
Since the Canadian GP the FIA has been collecting data on the vatical oscillations of all cars and is set to introduce a limit which is expected to be around 10g at the Belgium GP.
The problem is created by teams wanting to run their cars as low as possible for performance reasons but when they then add a lot of downforce the cars bounce causing discomfort to the driver.
Christian Horner told the media in France, “I believe there is a strong influence to change many rules for next season so that some team can put their car down and benefit from this concept.”
“There’s a an awful lot of lobbying so a certain team can run its car lower and benefit from that concept”.
Toto Wolff responded, “I think he’s just bored at the front,” he commented.
“I don’t know what he refers to, because at the end [of the day], we are all part of the same circus, we work with the same stakeholders.
“Lobbying… is he not lobbying? He sits in his office and he doesn’t call anyone?”
Pierro Ferrari, vice president of the Italian racing marquee makes it clear that he does not agree with the treatment by the FIA of this on the grounds of safety.
We will show our reasons,” Ferrari told Italy’s Autosprint. “We will oppose any exploitation of this situation.”
Then Ferrari attacks Mercedes current behaviour as ‘undignified’.
“For many years, Ferrari had a lack of power in relation to the Mercedes engine, but we did not ask for any favors or shortcuts,” he added. “We lost with dignity, working peacefully to rebuild. Our opponents had to do the same, right?”
Ferrari’s team boss Mattia Binotto believes the proposed regulations should not be attained under the ‘safety’ reasoning. He argues the teams’ should be allowed the usual voting rights on late changes to the 2023 rules.
“There is no reason to classify the whole thing as a safety problem,” the Binotto told German publication AMuS.
“Most teams have long since had bouncing under control and for the race at Spa there are fixed limits anyway.
“If the cars comply with the specifications (the AOM), they should be safe with it.
“And if there is no safety argument, the normal voting process has to be followed when the rules are changed.”
The FIA could be shooting themselves in the foot by making this an issue of ‘safety’ because if the regulations are enforced and there is an accident despite the new car designs, they will be liable for the consequences.
TJ13 wrote earlier this week that the FIA may be subject to legal ramifications
And given the measuring they have been undertaking is only when the cars on the straights – not in the corners – their data collection is clearly deficient as this is where the cars bounce more with few ‘porpoising’ on the straights now.