Williams 2019 F1 front wing test, Hungaroring, 2018

New front wing rule “wasn’t the right thing to rush through” – Horner

2019 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by and

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes most teams now oppose the new front wing rules for the 2019 F1 season, despite some having supported last year’s vote to introduce them.

The wider, simpler front wings are intended to aid overtaking by allowing cars to follow each other more closely. But Horner believes F1 has acted too hastily by bringing in the design, which arose from research commissions by F1 motorsport director Ross Brawn.

“Unfortunately there were some elements of a research project that Ross has been working on that have been cherry-picked by the FIA for application next year,” said Horner, “and unfortunately Mercedes and Ferrari supported it through the Strategy Group and it got voted through.

“Probably with hindsight I think all the teams would recognise now that perhaps it wasn’t the right thing to rush through. But let’s reserve judgement until until we see the first four or five races.”

Horner believes the new wings will have limited effect on the quality of racing but will add to teams’ costs.

“It’s a significant change,” he said. “As everything one thing affects another and obviously it’s been a very costly change.

Go ad-free for just £1 per month

>> Find out more and sign up

“Will it affect the ability for the cars to follow closely? Maybe a little but not tangibly so.

“And inevitably somebody will get it right, some teams will get it wrong. So if anything it’ll put more gap between the teams. The best way to achieve a close grid is stability and then the teams will concertina and converge.”

Speaking at the FIA Gala, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said he expects the change will affect the competitive order in F1 and explained why he supported it.

“First of all we voted in favour because we didn’t want to be dysfunctional,” he said. “The FIA and Liberty put a lot of effort into designing those rules, and where Mercedes stands, we don’t want to be unhelpful. And that’s why we voted in favour.

“We felt it would shake up the grid a little bit, which in itself provides an opportunity and a risk, but we like the opportunity. And then obviously is trying to compensate the loss of downforce as much as possible, and I’m quite curious to see when we hit the tracks by how much we are down or whether we are down.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season articles

Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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.

Posted on Categories 2019 F1 season articles, F1 newsTags , ,

Promoted content from around the web | Become a RaceFans Supporter to hide this ad and others

  • 54 comments on “New front wing rule “wasn’t the right thing to rush through” – Horner”

    1. Quite a surprising comment from RedBull there, they are generally the one in favor of any aero change just because they think they can do a better job than the others.
      I don’t expect a quick fix from this change. But if it can bring us to the same level of ability to follow than 2017 then I am pleased (as 2020 will then be similar to 2018) which mean a status quo on that front before new regulations are introduced.

      1. It does make sense. RedBull are not in favour because it takes away (quite significant) area of aero development.

        1. If you do triathlon and you are the strongest at cycling then you wouldn’t want cycling distance to be shortened.

        2. Not sure if that is true. Every aero change can have a very positive effect on RBR. If you are on top of the game you can expect a better RBR solution compared with other team solutions.
          But Horner is right.. it’s costly and only the rich teams will profit the most by the change.

          1. it’s costly and only the rich teams will profit the most by the change.

            The last thing Horner cares about is the poorer teams. He is just having a whinge, may the figures coming from the simulations are not as good as they like.
            On the other hand

            Toto Wolff said he expects the change will affect the competitive order in F1 and explained why he supported it.

            1. may the figures coming from the simulations are not as good as they like.

              if so, the other teams will have even greater problems.

          2. if so, the other teams will have even greater problems.

            Why? Toto Wolfe seems happy enough and so does Ferrari, Renault has not said anything negative so far. At this point only Horner has complained, unless you have heard something?

          3. erikje, that is not always the case – in 2015, for example, whilst Red Bull did initially blame Renault for their lack of competitiveness, Horner later admitted that the early season RB11 was aerodynamically flawed.
            Indeed, there had been quite a few observers who’d already noted that the front end of the RB11 responded fairly poorly in rapid transitions in direction in the early part of the season, which does seem consistent with Horner’s admission later in that season that the car was lacking front downforce.

            Furthermore, this season it was noted that there were more than a few instances of Red Bull copying parts from the SF71-H – for example, the floor that they were using from the Mexican GP onwards bore a striking resemblance to a prototype floor that Ferrari had been testing a few races earlier – so I would say that it is wrong to assert that “you can expect a better RBR solution compared with other team solutions” when there have been instances of Red Bull following the lead of other teams when it came to aerodynamic components.

        3. “the opportunity. And then obviously is trying to compensate the loss of downforce as much as possible”

          Looks like there is a reduction in downforce, making it more engine dominated. Sure RB can differentiate, but the
          simpler wings reduce downforce for everyone and the difference RB aero can make is reduced. Handing the formula
          more back towards Ferrari and Mercedes. I guess.

          Juding by the fact Red Bull is squealing and the Mercedes comments on downforce reduction it is likely the right interpretation.

      2. @jeanrien I think you meant pre-2017. ‘The same level of ability to follow than/as pre-2017’

        1. @jerejj I did mean 2017. I believe that from 2017 to 2018, the dirty air has become worse but in the other hand teams found a way to be less disturbed. While this is not great, the front wing change is probably a positive change in the sense that if the dirty air is like in 2017, then they have an extra year of development making it worse while learning how to be less affected and the problem will be more or less contained and won’t escalate to a point where cars are 3 seconds apart (the risk if there was no change at all).

          But that’s just my 2 cents as someone who want to be positive during the break.

    2. “Will it affect the ability for the cars to follow closely? Maybe a little but not tangibly so.

      Let’s just reserve our judgement up until we see the difference. It’s not the first time that Horner has moaned about anything that simplifies aero. Even if it makes a slight improvement in following cars through high speed corners, it could make a massive difference to the quality of racing.

      My guess is that teams will eventually find loopholes to claw back aero performance and negate the new front wing rules, but at least Brawn’s effort is in the right direction.

      1. I’m actually surprised that the smaller teams haven’t screamed long and loud about the change and it’s expense as it definitely not going to be a cheap change.

        Given that they’re expecting a big hit in 2021 (although even that seems unlikely given the lack of true progress), I would have thought they’d have wanted the rules to remain as static as possible until then to minimise expenditure.

        As much as I’m sure we’ll all hope that it may improve the racing in 2019, I suspect that all it will achieve is to generate a much wider gap between the top 3 teams (or top 2 if one of them gets it wrong) and the rest of the field.

        1. It will be more costly for the biggest teams, because they will probably test 20 different designs, while the challenge on the smaller teams would be to get it right with one or two designs. It may benefit the cars ability to overtake, but I doubt there will be any smaller teams mixing it up with the big three on the race track.

          1. It will be more costly for the biggest teams, because they will probably test 20 different designs, while the challenge on the smaller teams would be to get it right with one or two designs.

            But of course, they’re producing 60% scale models, testing them in a scaled-down wind tunnel, hoping that the 60% version will scale up to 100% and maintain the same aero.

            The small teams can only afford one or two iterations pre-season. The big teams can have multiple teams working on multiple variations simultaneously, and afford to find the best concept, AND tune that concept, before Melbourne.

            Unless the small teams get lucky, they can’t afford to produce as effective a front wing as Mercedes, Ferrari and even Red Bull.

            Rapid rule changes favor the big teams, and penalize the smaller teams.

      2. @todfod You know your text is almost the same as Horners?
        Horner:

        But let’s reserve judgement until until we see the first four or five races.”

        Todfod:

        Let’s just reserve our judgement up until we see the difference.

        You are not a Horner fan it seems ;)

        1. Horner has been whining about how unfair things are to Red Bull so long that I wouldn’t believe him if he said the Honda engine is unreliable.

    3. In my opinion they should have made the 2019 rules worthwhile and as a stepping stone for 2021 by totally simplifying the front wings and trying to get rid of the y250 vortex a simple 2 element main plane front wing where the main planes go from endplate to endplate and not split as is currently so like the early mid 2000s in wash front wings something like this https://i.ytimg.com/vi/L_17Rf8oFi4/maxresdefault.jpg but outwash.
      Then have higher noses to get rid of the ugly noses (2inches or so in height and to allow more airflow to t tray area etc.)
      If it works (cars able to follow better) For 2021 length and width cars to go back to 2008/2009 level in my opinion they are way to big currently. A tunnel style diffuser with skirts for floor similar to when Lewis was racing in gp2 back in 2006 and return for traction control and more grip from tyres so a clear shift from aero to a more mechanical formula.
      It would be a shame if its a waste of reg changes.

      1. @arahman93 I don’t disagree with everything you’re saying, but I believe this wing change although deemed ‘expensive’ by Horner is still minimally expensive, whereas the bigger changes you speak of would cost a ton more money ahead of the main changes coming for 2021. I think Brawn would rather minimalise the really expensive changes until they can all be incorporated into the complete redesign for 2021.

    4. Horner is like any other team boss, quite happy to kill the sport if it means they win the next race. Drivers always want more grip, team bosses are always looking for an angle. We actually saw some good racing in 2018 despite drivers and teams saying it was ‘impossible’ to follow.

      1. “Impossible” to follow … I suspect the following part is easy, it is the passing where the challenge is.

        1. No its the following that was difficult, within 7 seconds they encounter some wake, then at 1.5 secs they were complaining it was like a repelling magnet. Course the reality was they could follow and pass. Maybe not quite Senna Mansell style but lets not kid ourselves that happened every week either.

    5. Good ol’ Christian. At one point he was demanding a quick, expensive (and damaging) rewrite of the engine rules until suddenly Aston Martin got cold feet and it became in his best interest to shut up about it.

    6. I agree, but of course, it’s now too late to go back on that anymore.

    7. Yes, he stated that he approved it cause the FIA and Liberty put a lot of work in it. Didn’t want to make waves. That tells you everything right there.

      1. Only if you actually believe all that these guys say…

    8. Lol.

      Since when Red Bull liked change? Any aero change they loose their advantage. Look at this year. By the end they were on top of aero game.

      Early 2017 they were not, neither were they in 2014, all previous changes were aimed at stopping their aero dominance.

      If anything this change takes away some of their competitive edge. Meanwhile Mercedes and trailing Ferrari win.

    9. TBH I think they should have just left the regulations as they were until 2021 because by introducing this change it’s going to be an added expense for teams before an ever larger one in 2 years & given how there revenue is going down due to them getting less from Liberty I honestly don’t think it’s the right move especially considering pretty much everyone feel’s like it’s not going to have that big an impact.

      Although TBH I also don’t think 2021 will have that much of an impact either, Especially longer term.

    10. The problem with the stability in the current regs and achieving convergence in teams performance that way, is that the current regs have the cars unable to follow the each other very well. So I don’t disagree with Brawn trying this. It is at least something, as surely doing nothing was not going to solve the dirty air problem in it’s current iteration.

      Yes there is a cost to this change, and yes we will have to see what it does, but I don’t believe the costs are formidable, and I do believe they had to do something.

      1. @robbie Cost’s won’t be formidable for the top 3-4 teams but for the rest having to redesign the cars for the 2019 changes is significant & will likely see them start 2019 off further behind the top few teams than they otherwise would have been.

        A team like Force India or Sauber who already had a good car would usually have simply evolved it, Keeping the elements that works while putting development into the areas that didn’t. Now that is out of the question & everyone will have to go for a full rethink & totally new design philosophy which always add’s significant expense & for the smaller teams always takes resources away from performance development. And consider something like the double diffusers in 2009, Somebody finds something that gives them an advantage & everyone else then has to pour resources into figuring out how it works so they don’t fall behind.

        Then consider there going to have to do it all again in 2021, It’s a significant expense the midfield could have done without. Especially when you consider that teams overall budgets are also going to be declining for the next few years due to Liberty Media taking more out of the prize pot to invest in other areas.

        1. @gt-racer Thanks for the info. I do appreciate that this new wing is not without costs and that those are always going to hurt the less resourced teams. I was hoping this was something the teams were more on board with than it now seems is the case. Perhaps they could have done something different but hearing drivers complain they can’t follow cars in their dirty air without ruining their front tires to me isn’t sustainable either.

        2. G&T Racer: “… full rethink & totally new design philosophy…”

          ‘Rethink’, Yes, though maybe you exaggerate it with the addition of “full”… but… ‘new design philosophy’…? I don’t think so… (especially when also exaggerated, by the ‘totally’… :-)

    11. I wonder if teams will try to make more dirty air behind their cars in other ways besides the outwashing wings that are gone, in order to prevent the rearward car from following closely, in spite of the new front wings. It will likely take the 2021 big changes for the regs to dictate the shapes of wings, diffusers, and floors much further so that cars will make a lot less wake than they do now.

      1. I feel your first point is highly likely – why wouldn’t they…?

      2. That’s exactly what they have been doing. They will have to quantify wash and then limit it. Ive said many times, the teams would all happily kill the sport if it meant they won the last race. Of course that’s crazy but there is an element of truth in it. Its only since the sport has started haemorrhaging fans that they even gave even one second thought to the fans.

      3. @robbie, the cars will inherently generate a substantial wake due to the fact that you have open wheels, which are by far and away the largest contributing factors towards generating a turbulent wake.

        As to your question, whilst it has been speculated about in the past, there has never been any clear evidence of a team deliberately trying to make a car harder to follow by creating a more turbulent wake.

        Generally, deliberately trying to generate a turbulent wake behind the car is not attractive because the aerodynamic devices which you would need to fit to the car to generate that wake are, in turn, likely to be having a negative impact on the performance of the car they are fitted to, and it seems that the negative impacts that it would have on the car that it is fitted to are likely to outweigh any benefits from being harder to pass – it’s no good being harder to pass if your car isn’t fast enough to be in front of its rivals in the first place…

        1. It’s maybe a question of balance… and maybe they’re all doing it, to some degree or other. 90% to get in front and 10% to hinder the guy behind…

    12. When NBC had the US rights for F1, Steve Matchett used to say that if a component design was changed, everything behind that component will be redesigned. If that is in fact the case, which I have no reason to doubt, it would seem that it would have been worthwhile to introduce sweeping design changes since the whole chassis will be redesigned anyway.
      I for one expect that the engineers will compensate for any losses due to the wing change and we’ll find that things won’t change very much.

      1. @velocityboy That I’m aware of this relatively minor front wing change, which of course is going to affect other things, is not so big a change that they are having to redesign the chassis’. They will have to tweak some other things, but obviously if this new front wing was going to cause all that much expense and grief the teams would not have agreed to it. They’re not ready to introduce a major chassis redesign from one year to the next (2018-2019) but want the teams to have a few years to prepare for 2021 when they can save costs by doing many things at once rather than chasing bandage attempts that don’t add up to much change. A ground up restoration is in order and is slated for 2021. There’s little point trying to beat this current car into submission when it is just so clean air dependent.

        1. @robbie It may seem like a small change but it’s actually pretty big because it completely changes the overall design philosophy of every aerodynamic surface behind the front wing.

          but obviously if this new front wing was going to cause all that much expense and grief the teams would not have agreed to it.

          Only 4 teams voted in favor of the 2019 changes & not all of those 4 would vote the same way today now that they have all of the information.

          1. @gt-racer Fair enough and thank you for your input which is always something I look forward to reading.

          2. G&T Racer: “It may seem like a small change but it’s actually pretty big because it completely changes the overall design philosophy of every aerodynamic surface behind the front wing.”
            Try using fewer adjectives in an attempt to strengthen your argument… ;-)

            1. Is this an English class? Boring and nothing to add? Pull someone up on grammar.

              SO I don’t become a hypocrite: the cars are constantly being revised anyway so the teams squealing about increased cost is just nonsense.

            2. It’s called ‘communication’ and not a case of “pulling someone up on grammar”…
              Without offering suggestions many people feel they are communicating, but in fact are failing to do so… which is why many online arguments arise. Especially when so many languages are used online on the same site. If people don’t read to the end of a comment, or are unable to see the point being made, where’s the value of commenting.
              But I’m sorry you find it boring…

      2. Although Steve Matchett is probably theoretically correct many (most…?) of these changes might be so minor as to be irrelevant. As a designer myself I’ve often had the problem of the ‘customer’ wanting to make a change in one area, which invariably has a knock-on effect… but, in practice these problems are usually quickly and easily solved. Especially with CAD.

    13. “and unfortunately Mercedes and Ferrari supported it through the Strategy Group and it got voted through.“

      This is all I needed to read.

    14. The thing that I think is been missed is that cars running closer together does not necessarily mean there will be more overtaking.
      I found a Youtube channel with some races from the 1960s & 70s recently & the thing that stood out is that despite having way less aero & despite been able to run significantly closer there actually wasn’t any more competitive overtaking towards the front than we see today, In fact the races were actually fairly similar to what we see today in most of the areas people now complain about.

      Also more overtaking does not necessarily mean better races as a good race is about way more than how many times cars passed other cars.

      1. @gt-racer That is something I have always appreciated in F1, their general philosophy that passes should be relatively rare and memorable, something that will never come from drs. I know for me personally it is not more overtaking I hope for with cars less dependent on clean air, but just the driver vs driver stuff. The art of passing meeting the art of defending. Close action and suspense.

        1. I agree. It isn’t the ‘passing’ that is important. It’s the ‘dicing’ (a word that is never used today) that makes racing exciting. And entertaining. And worth paying ‘loadszmoney’ for… ;-)

      2. Nice one! Ive been making this point for years, usually to be met with ‘shutup grandad’ (im 48). Also, cars back then were often driven over the limit so they could scrub speed into a corner. Watching a car drift, at high speed, not these boring driftcars from our friends in Japan, is a fabulous sight. Any in car clip of Senna qualifying is something to behold, but him wrestling the car round a dusty bumpy circuit has also been lost in these crazy billiard table, power steering, button gear shift days.

    15. And, as for Horner: “But let’s reserve judgement until until we see the first four or five races.”
      Why not just reserve the comment, ditto…?
      Another compulsive attention seeker…?

      1. Hes the teamboss of red bull, people wants to hear his comment.

        1. “But let’s reserve judgement until until we see the first four or five races.”
          Tell me how you benefit from hearing this… ;-)

    16. The sooner F1 adopts standard aero parts the better for everyone! …Ok maybe not the minorty of fans who get excited over endplates and winglets, but even they must realise that spending untold millions on trying to find milliseconds doesn’t benefit anyone other than carbon fibre suppliers.

    Comments are closed.