Horner: 2019 rules an expensive "mistake"

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner thinks even Formula 1 owner Liberty Media would accept that rushing through aero rule changes for 2019 has been a "mistake", as he expects them to make no difference to the quality of racing.

Horner: 2019 rules an expensive "mistake"
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F1 teams have spent the winter preparing all-new cars thanks to a raft of regulation changes introduced for 2019 to try to boost overtaking.

As well as the front and rear wings being wider and simpler, there are new restrictions to the bargeboard areas and brake ducts in a bid to allow cars to follow each other closely.

But at a media event on Tuesday at Red Bull’s London offices ahead of the 2019 F1 season, Horner was sceptical about the rules delivering anything better.

Asked by Motorsport.com about how different the racing will be thanks to the new designs, Horner said: “I don’t think it will change at all.

“From what we see, the characteristics of the car are slightly different in different areas of the track, but in terms of following each other closely, I don’t think it is going to make any difference whatsoever.

“But, what I think will happen in the early part of the year, is that some people will have got it right, and some people won’t. Then, the development and evolution you have will be on probably quite a steep development graph over the first three or four months of the year.”

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The changes to the 2019 rules were pushed through after a lack of passing at last year’s Australian Grand Prix, despite scepticism from some teams about the need for such a dramatic overhaul.

Pushed on how concerning it would be if the rules failed, with Liberty basing some of its 2019 ideas on concepts it has for 2021, Horner said: “I think they would even accept that it was probably a mistake to rush through this front wing change for this year.

“They have cherry picked something in isolation off a future concept for 2021, and rushed it through onto the current car.

“Like with all these things, there is no silver bullet. It has to be everything working in harmony with everything else. 

"Just taking a front wing and saying that will make racing better, it is quite a naive and ultimately expensive approach. And of course the burden of that expense is on the teams.”

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Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko said over the winter that his team had spent an extra 15 million Euros in developing the new aero rules.

Horner is not expecting any more overtaking for the season-opener in Melbourne, but he thinks that remains down to the circuit’s tight layout than a particular fault with the cars.

“I think the race in Australia will be exactly the same,” he said. “The problem isn’t the car so much in Australia, it is the circuit.

“You don’t have any big stop braking zones into a slow corner in Australia, so unless you have a significant speed differential between the cars, overtaking there is damn nigh impossible.

“That has been the same for years. It is not unique to this set of car regulations. It is a great place to go to, a great venue, but as a circuit it has its limitations in providing good racing.”

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