Christian Horner, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Horner slams “rushed” new 2019 F1 rules which will cost “millions”

2019 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said new rules which have been approved to increase overtaking in the 2019 F1 season have not been fully researched and will cost teams “millions”.

“Sometimes this sport has the ability to shoot itself in the foot,” Horner told Sky when asked about the changes for next season.

A vote last week confirmed a decision to introduce changes to the front and rear wings next year aimed at making it easier for cars to follow each other more closely. The proposal came about as a result of research aimed at revising F1 car designs in 2021.

“What has been done for 2021 is all good stuff,” said Horner. “The problem is a snapshot of that has been taken, it hasn’t been fully analysed, there’s no proven conclusion from it. It’s been rushed into a set of regulations, it completely conflicts existing regulations. Now they’re scrapping around trying to tidy that up over this weekend.”

Although the changes are limited to a few areas of the cars, Horner said they will have an impact on the entire chassis.

“It completely changes the philosophy of the car,” he said. “The front wing will be wider. The point that the air meets the car is the front wing, that then changes everything behind it so suspension, bodywork, absolutely every single component.

“And we talk about costs and [responsibility] – what’s just been introduced is a completely new concept. It will cost millions and millions of pounds.”

The changes were “rushed after Melbourne because it was a race with not a lot of overtaking,” Horner continued. “When has there ever been any overtaking in Melbourne? And we’ve had three great races since then.”

“I just find it frustrating that decisions are made on zero evidence, zero conclusions, on theories,” he added. “And the burden of costs is passed [to the teams].”

Yesterday the FIA’s head of single-seater technical matters Nikolas Tombazis said the new rules for 2019 had been more extensively researched than any aerodynamic rules change since 2009.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

28 comments on “Horner slams “rushed” new 2019 F1 rules which will cost “millions””

  1. No surprise there, Red Bull worried and complaining about aerodynamic clampdown.

    1. Neil (@neilosjames)
      11th May 2018, 18:10

      @michal2009b +1.

      Any loss of complexity anywhere on the car is a lost opportunity for Red Bull (and similarly funded rivals) to gain an advantage. Horner complaining about this is like a turkey moaning about Christmas… understandable given their position, but 100% rooted in self-interest.

  2. SparkyAMG (@)
    11th May 2018, 12:19

    Hard to argue with Horner on this one to be fair, although I suspect there’s more than a political undertone to what he’s saying.

    The 2017 aero regulations were billed as being highly-significant but they didn’t alter the aero concepts that the teams had been working on for years, rather they just improved on those concepts to make the cars quicker, so I’d agree that this is the biggest change since 2009 and comes about at a time when FOM are trying to sell the idea of a cost cut to teams.

    There will of course be winners and losers to this, but I’ve read somewhere else that in addition to the front and rear wing changes, they were also looking to ban blown front axles and if I remember correctly both Red Bull and Ferrari have been doing this for a long time and would theoretically suffer a bit more than the likes of Mercedes who don’t do it. It’s no wonder Horner seems displeased.

    1. I wouldn’t say this is the biggest aero change since 09. FIA is saying it’s the most extensively researched change since 09, but to me the biggest change was changing the cars and tires back to the pre-98 dimensions.

      I do take CH’s point and I have been arguing that this is relatively minor and inexpensive, and perhaps I am wrong with that, but for RBR it is also an opportunity not only as aero experts who can adapt well, but as a team that could enjoy finding it easier to trail cars, since they have been hovering in third in the Constructors race and aren’t generally starting on the front row and running away with races.

      1. @robbie I’m no aerodynamicist but I think the move from an ‘outwash’ style wing is more significant that perhaps it first appears. While the move to a wider car was a major change, the front wings grew proportionally so roughly the same aerodynamic concepts would still work. Getting rid of the outwash area fundamentally changes how the airflow is channeled around the front tyres, changing how it attaches at the sidepods and feeds back to the duffusor. I can totally see that you’d be having to go back and design a new concept from scratch, in a way they probably didn’t need to do with the 2017 changes.

      2. SparkyAMG (@)
        11th May 2018, 13:25


        The 2017 aero regulations might have looked drastic on the surface, but the teams are still managing vortices and tyre wake using the same methods they did pre-2017, they just have more scope to manage it better now with the changes made to the bargeboard area and floor edges etc. It’s why Mercedes being the first team to win the WCC before and after a ‘major’ regulation change was a bit of non-event in my opinion.

        Removing outwash front wings and blown axles means a complete change to how air is managed across the car and will force teams to find new methods of sealing the floor, feeding the diffuser, managing tyre wake etc etc. The last time teams had to rethink the whole car like this was 2009.

        It’s a big opportunity / risk depending on your point of view and will probably scatter the field again.

        1. @mazdachris @sparkyamg Fair comments. Just rushed for time right now but I’d like to chat further later.

  3. Exactly that Michael.

    Read Horner’s words as we’ve already started on our 2019 car and it’s basic idea. Now you want us to spend more money again to do what teams do every season? How unfair so we’re going to hope the media ignores the facts and just listens to us. Sorry Red Bull but you could leave F1 and it would only be richer for it.

    1. Every team will have already begun work on their 2019 car already to some extent – it’s standard practise to have one design team working on your current car and another team to be working in parallel on the car for the following year.

      The main differences come down to how many resources you allocate to the two different teams over the course of the year, but all of the teams will have already made that investment in the overall concept of their 2019 cars by this stage given the lead in time to getting prototype components ready for testing.

  4. It doesn’t matter. The teams have a budget. They will spend it.

  5. I think Horner is absolutely spot on, here. This will mean a complete aerodynamic redesign for the teams and inevitably those struggling on lower budgets will lose out. There’s no guarantee that the changes will achieve the desired result, and it’s not even clear that the changes are required in the first place. It’s yet another poorly-thought-through kneejerk reaction of the type that characterised the last couple of decades in F1. It feels as though Liberty have learned nothing.

    1. I don’t think Horner’s heart is bleeding for the teams on lower budgets though.

  6. I suspect that Horner’s comments are mainly political posturing.

    When it comes to costs & development, I think this probably just moves things around. What it strikes me aas is an attempt to make a more gradual move towards the 2021 regulations: Introduct a bit now, see how it works, then tweak it for 2020, followed by a final 2021 spec. It may elevate some costs in the near term but, as long as the concepts are sound, it should decrease them in 2021 (or at least mean that, for the same money, they can produce a better car as they’ve already got a handle on some of the changes).

  7. This is a tricky article to comment on.

    On one hand what he said makes perfect sense, on the other I have to agree with Horner which inclines me to refute those claims.

    Not easy being an F1 fan and sensible at the same time you know

    1. Horner has pulled out a plum. What a good boy.

  8. I think the cheapest solutions for all teams would be to freeze rules (bar absolutely needed changes) for a longer period. And after a couple of years you change the aero regs drastically, OR the engine regs, but never both in the same year. Consistency is cheap.

  9. Guenther Steiner was saying pretty much the same thing a few days ago saying that the changes mean Haas will likely have to scrap there current plans for there 2019 car to be an evolution of this years car & come up with a 2019 car from scratch.

  10. Agree with Horner here. It’s so obvious I’m actually surprised this is coming from Brawn.

    It sounds like a typical knee-jerk thing that Ecclestone/Mosley would come up with in order to jumble up the order, with massive unintentional consequences as a result (cost, field spread).

  11. No, this is precisely the right approach. In the end, the cars are where the problem really lies rather than the circuit layouts.

    1. @jerejj I think that’s taking a bit of a simplistic view of it. As Horner points out, we had a bad Australia, but then Australia never has lots of overtaking unless weather or tyres become a big factor. Whereas since then we’ve had three great races with lots of action. You can’t just dismiss the fact that on some tracks there is overtaking, and on other tracks there isn’t. No amount of changing the cars is going to make overtaking easy around Monaco, for instance.

      I agree that aero is a major factor, but again it doesn’t mean that just making arbitrary changes as a kneejerk response to just one dull race is the right way to approach the problem. Well throught out changes were mooted for 2020/21, but this is taking one element of those changes and asking the teams to fudge it into their existing designs, at huge cost, and hoe it achieves the desired effect.

      They will never truly solve the issue by looking very narrowly at individual elements, trying to find that one magic bullet. You have to look at the whole thing holistically, including aero, tyres, chassis, track layout, and any number of other factors. Identify the areas where obstructions to close racing come from and then consider what a formula would look like if you addressed all these issues together.

  12. Am I reading that right, that front wings will be even wider?

    1. @maciek He’s referring, I believe, to the horizontal ‘working’ elements of the front wing. What you’d traditionally call the front wing flap, though it looks more like a men’s razor now with half a dozen different elements. If you look at the Ferrari wing it highlights it quite well – the red horizontal parts (and a little bit of the black towards the trailing edge) are the bits which will be wider, having eliminated the black ‘outwash’ parts on the outside edges, which currently work to guide the air to the outside of the front wheel. The front wing flaps will essentially extend all the way to the end plates.

      That’s my understanding of what’s been proposed – it’s about simplifying the design, increasing the size of the flap, and doing away with the outwash elements which generate a lot of turbulent air from either side of the car.

      1. @mazdachris ah ok that makes sense

    2. @maciek @mazdachris There’s an explanation for wider front wings in this video around 1:50, or skip to 3:20 if you want to cut straight to it.

      I’m not sure if it’s completely correct though

  13. pastaman (@)
    11th May 2018, 16:00

    When are they never spending millions of pounds on aero development?

  14. I thought we were making front wings narrower?

  15. Michael Brown (@)
    11th May 2018, 20:24

    They’re ether going to be spending millions on a new front wing design or spending millions on adding winglets to winglets.

Comments are closed.