Mercedes seeking F1 regulation changes

This years Azerbaijan Grand {Prix weekend was greeted with a high degree of anticipation. How would the new double qualifying session work out and would we see the usual exciting overtaking opportunities?

Yet the result was something of a damp squib. Whilst Sergio Perez stopped the Max Verstappen band wagon and won the race, it was a Red Bull 1-2 and with just 23 overtakes, the Grand Prix was deemed a failure.



Wolff wanted to win on merit

Predictably with Red Bull looking invincible for the coming year the inevitable questions about regulations changes began to surface. The Milton Keynes team have aced the latest round of FIA rule changes brought in for the 2022 season and it seems the only way the others can close the gap quickly is for another change in the car design rules.

Yet when asked whether this was the right way to go, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff disagreed.

“We basically have two cars that are sailing off into the sunset on merit. So we either have to do a better job, all of us together, to catch them up, or we have to change the regulations.

“And I don’t think we should be doing the second. We have to win on merit and that means being more clever,” said Wolff.

Mercedes next big upgrades



Red Bull won 25 of 30 races

Now eight races Ito the season and all of them Red Bull wins, the world champions are completely dominating Formula One winning 25 of the 30 races since the FIA’s big regulation change for last year.

Now it seems the regulation change debate is stirring once again. Earlier this month both the present of the FIA and F1’s CEO referred the the obesity of the current crop of F1 cars which are around 200kg heavier than they were in 2008.

“One thing I would like to see is very clear: we need a lighter car,” said the head of the FIA, Mohamed Ben Sulayem. 

“I believe this is better. I come from motorsport, where lighter cars are safer and they won’t use the same amount of fuel.  

“It will be hard to achieve, but everybody wants it. So I am pushing because I come from rallying, where nothing is worse than having a heavy car.”



F1 bosses want to reduce car weight

Stefan Domenicali agreed. “One of the points that has always been a debate has been the weight,” he said. 

“As you know, with the hybrid engines, with the batteries, the weight is getting higher and that is something that is not really in the nature of F1. So, it’s a topic for discussion for the future.”

Mercedes’ Technical Director James Allison has now weighed in on the topic maybe in the hope of a change for 2024.

“Year-on-year, [the cars] were getting heavier. It isn’t super trivial to get the weight moving in the other direction. It is particularly tricky to dream up technical rules that are going to make the car much lighter.”

Ricciardo accepts midfield team return to F1



Mercedes Allison agrees regulation needs changing

Allison argues it should be down to the teams to decide what systems they put on their cars given the penalty the extra weight may bring.

“The way to make it lighter is to lower the weight limit and make it our problem,” he added. “If cars are over the limit, then it forces us all to make some fairly difficult decisions about what we put in our cars and what we don’t”.

For 2026 the current controversial and weighty heat recovery systems are being ditched yet there’ll be little weight reduction due to the increase in the amount of electrical power the cars will deploy.

This will rise to 50% and in turn require bigger batteries which carry more weight.

Red Bull admits to copying rivals



FIA missed opportunity

One option was when the current 2026 power unit regulations were being designed was for F1 to return to the much lighter V8 engines and use 100% renewable fuel.

Christian Horner raised hopes that this may be something the FIA could consider for 2030 when their net zero carbon target needs to be met.

The Red Bull boss was commenting on the decision by Honda to remain in Formula One after initially stating they were leaving the sport.

“For me it demonstrates that the combustion engine isn’t dead yet. That there’s still life in combustion, because obviously when they withdrew it was because of electrification,” said Horner.



Horner calls for V8 engine return

With an estimated 2 billion vehicles on the roads of planet earth, the current Western push to replace their combustion engine cars with electric versions is a drop in the Ocean to make road vehicles more sustainable.

Non-carbon based fuels looks to be the future in running these vehicles in a more environmentally conscious fashion. At present F1 power units use 10% renewable fuel, but the switch to 100% in 2026 is making combustion engines relevant again for car brands, according to Horner.

“I think perhaps with sustainable fuels and zero emissions and the route that Formula 1 is going for 2026, combustion became relevant to them again, whereas it was something that was very much off their agenda,” he explained. 

“So who knows? Maybe we’ll get to back to V8 and V10s that are fully sustainable. Wouldn’t that be fantastic.”

READ MORE: Pirelli vote could hurt Red Bull

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