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Mid-season rules changes will close any 2021 “loopholes”

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In the round-up: F1 motorsport director Ross Brawn says the FIA will have the power to immediately stamp out unintended consequences of the major rules changes for the 2021 F1 season.


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Jean Todt, Janette Tan, 2020

FIA president Jean Todt president the first Charlie Whiting Award to Janette Tan, the deputy clerk of the course for the Singapore Grand Prix and member of the Women in Motorsport commission.

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Comment of the day

Should F1 reverse its track limit rules?

I would favour a reversal of current rules: Rather than getting a penalty if it results in an advantage, give a penalty unless it results in a clear disadvantage. This should be automatic, but able to be overruled by the stewards. All four wheels off the road, penalty unless the stewards say otherwise.

These are the best drivers in the world. They can drive within the limits if they want. If they go off track, one of there things has occurred:

  • They purposely left, which they would only do to gain an advantage and deserves a penalty
  • They were forced off, which doesn’t deserve a penalty so the stewards could overrule
  • They made a mistake, which deserves a disadvantage – this could be a penalty, or it could be a natural disadvantage which would allow the stewards to overrule the penalty


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On this day in F1

  • On this day in 1932 Cliff Allison was born. He pushed his Lotus across the line at Monaco to score a point for sixth on his F1 debut in 1958, peaked with second for Ferrari in Buenos Aires two years later, but retired in 1961 after two huge crashes.

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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...

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51 comments on “Mid-season rules changes will close any 2021 “loopholes””

  1. Brawn insisted this change is focused on preventing teams doing anything which “corrupts the principle” of the new rules, while still allowing for great ideas within the regulations to flourish, as the boundaries would be clearer.

    This concerns me.

    I get that Brawn wants teams to follow the spirit of the regulation, and not the letter. A good example might be McLaren using the driver’s hand to cover a duct to stall airflow to the rear wing.

    However, it feels as though Brawn’s intent is subjective, because how well-specified is the spirit of the regs? And why is the cost of fixing the gap between the spirit and letter now being pushed onto the teams. Further, how can one determine that a team has willfully interpreted the regs in a creative way to steal an advantage. Maybe they just interpreted the regs that were laid out, and their interpretation differs from other teams.

    More worrying, with the incredibly restricted testing regime that exists in F1, the FIA deciding to close a loophole mid-season can impact a team significantly. Heaven help the team who designs a front wing or floor that adheres to the technical regs, but is ruled to fall afoul of the spirit of the regs.

    Is a great idea the fact that someone put a comma in the wrong place which means a lawyer can interpret the regulations in a diverse way? I don’t think it is

    I chuckled at this reference to the Oxford comma lawsuit :)

    And this bit made me smile as well:

    “What we don’t want – and I say this with some hypocrisy [Brawn’s blown diffuser played a big part in helping the team win both world championships in 2009] – is that we don’t want a championship being won because of the loophole.

    1. Spot on, @phylyp. CoTD. For May, 2021.

    2. @phylyp, I also have to agree that the comments Ross has made there are disheartening, as what one person might think of as a “loophole” might be what somebody else considers to be a “great idea”.

      Giving the power to define what is the “spirit of the regulations” gives a lot of power to whomever is making that decision and allows them to retrospectively interpret what they intended the regulations to say.

      My concern is that this could be intended as a mechanism to “level the playing field” in favour of “the show”, with the rule intended to target a leading team to clip their wings – and bring the sport even closer to a semi-spec series by restricting how far somebody can diverge in design before it’s banned as being outside “the spirit of the regulations”.

      In practise, though, as @neilosjames notes further down, the vote mechanism – which relies on other teams voting against it – is a mechanism that is potentially rigged in favour of a few large teams. Red Bull have used Toro Rosso (now Alpha Tauri) to block rule changes in the past – so long as they own that team, they won’t ever lose such a vote because they can always block it.

      Similarly, given that Haas uses Ferrari as a parts supplier, it’d be actively in their interests to vote against changes if it impacted a part that they also happened to use, and the same argument applies to a lesser extent to Sauber too (they don’t use quite as many listed parts, but still use a fair number). Mercedes isn’t quite as close with its customers, but it is likely that they would also vote in a similar direction as well to Mercedes if such a vote came about.

      As a mechanism to hobble a leading team for the sake of “the show”, it could turn out to have limited applicability in practise as the larger teams could just persuade one smaller team to vote against it. At worst, it has the potential to disproportionately hit the middle and smaller teams who wouldn’t be able to raise the support they needed to block a vote.

    3. @phylyp I question your point that Brawn wants teams to follow the spirit of the law but not the letter. I highly doubt that. He wants teams to follow both. Follow the letter of the law, and if you find a loophole and it is not in the spirit of the regs, then it can be shut down immediately, not one season later. I say good.

      How well specified is the spirit of the regs? I think we already know the answer to that. The spirit of the new regs is that they want the teams to be closer together in performance, and the cars physically able to race more closely. So if someone finds a loophole because they found a misplaced comma, that means they have not actually come up with a good idea that can benefit F1, because it now means they are going to dominate and run away from the field, and that is not in the spirit of what is trying to be accomplished here. Namely teams closer to each other and cars racing more closely.

      I have no problem with this, and am particularly buoyed by the fact that Brawn’s team has been working hard to break their own rules and find any glaring loopholes before the teams do.

      I have absolutely no fear of F1 being too spec just because teams that have to go outside the letter and-or the spirit of the regs in order to compete, might be shut down from doing that. I have no fear that suddenly the lesser teams are going to be so equivalent to the top teams in a spec series kind of way that suddenly Williams and Haas are going to be fighting for wins just as well as Mercedes and RBR.

      So bottom line for me F1 will never be a spec series, and I’m fine with teams working within the letter and the spirit of the regs. Interesting how most seem to agree with cotd and a black and white default to automatic penalties for going off track, subject to scrutiny with each case and possible removal of said penalty based on the circumstances (an interpretation of what constituted an advantage gained) yet there is this fear of the rules being too tight around innovation. You want the track limits rule to be strict because these best drivers in the world should be able to stay between the lines…but their teams shouldn’t have to stay within the lines of the technical rule book? They should be able to exploit the rules and find gray areas to their own advantage without Brawn stopping them, or else it will be spec, but a driver dare put a tire wrong once the whole teams’ efforts have been put to work where we actually get to see the action…the actual visible exciting part for us viewers…and nope, you want the drivers well confined and restricted, afraid to push for an extra tenth here and there or an automatic penalty will ensue subject to steward intervention.

      1. @robbie – I expected you to come out in defence of Brawn, and you did not disappoint. :)

        The spirit of the new regs is that they want the teams to be closer together in performance, and the cars physically able to race more closely.

        That is the objective, not the spirit of the regs. The former is too broad, it’s a one-line statement of intent. If that’s the basis, then taking it to the extreme, it means all designers should sit together and interpret the regs together, arrive at a common understanding, and then go away and implement their own version of it.

        As @drmouse put it, there is no “spirit of the regs” in F1. There is just “the regulations”. However, it has become a convenient catchphrase to explain away “whoops, we didn’t realize that could be done and didn’t write the regs tight enough”. Which is why I object to mid-season course corrections like this – it disincentivizes the FIA to do a good job on the regs up-front (not referring to 2021 per se, but laxity can creep in years down the line), it also discourages teams from being creative.

        I don’t think we should conflate the difference between letter/spirit of the law in the real world, and that of motorsport. The former has implications on the lives of people, which is why its implementation involves the decisions of a judge and/or jury. The latter is, well, just sport. If a team gets a leg-up on the others due to a smart interpretation, let them have it and not get all huffy with “Oh no, that’s not what we meant, you’ve got to stop doing that”.

        You want the track limits rule to be strict because these best drivers in the world should be able to stay between the lines…but their teams shouldn’t have to stay within the lines of the technical rule book?

        But they are staying in line with the technical regs. If there is room for ambiguity between what was meant and what was written, then tighten up the written regs.

        I think we have to admit that you and I are not going to agree on most discussions on topics related to the 2021 regs, and we might have to agree to disagree :)

        1. @phylyp, there is indeed a strong difference between what might be termed the objective of the regulations and the “spirit of the regulations”, whatever that latter phrase is meant to mean.

          The objective is supposedly to encourage closer racing – if the “spirit of the regulations” means anything in this context, it is to force the designers to stick to a single extremely narrow design philosophy (given that they’ve indicated that even minor deviation from that philosophy would undermine the objectives they are aiming for).

          1. @anon For the purpose of this discussion I see the “objectives” and the “spirit of the regs” as one and the same. I don’t think Brawn has indicated that even minor deviations from their philosophy would undermine the objectives. You are claiming a narrowness to a design philosophy, when in reality the current cars can barely be distinguished from each other when the liveries are removed. So there has always been a certain narrowness to the design philosophy. It is loopholes such that would corrupt the principles of what the whole of F1 is trying to achieve, that Brawn is talking about, and that he would shut down quickly and not let a team run all season long. e.g. try taking your car back to aero downforce and being uable to follow in dirty air, and you’ll be shut down quickly. Better said though, I highly doubt any team at this point doesn’t get what is trying to be achieved here, and likely would not be looking for loopholes that would help them do something that they know darn well Brawn is just going to shake his head at and roll his eyes.

        2. @phylyp As per Brawn…”but if one team stands out there with a solution that has never been conceived, and has never been imagined, and destroys the whole principle of what is trying to be done…” Brawn also speaks of not allowing a “corruption of the principle” of what they are trying to achieve here.

          So perhaps let’s get away from being hung up on the term ‘the spirit of the regs’ which is what you originally coined in your first comment and what I ran with. Personally I took ‘spirit of the regs’ to mean ‘not corrupting the principles’, but hey you started by bringing up spirit of the regs only to then agree with @drmouse that there is no such thing…only ‘the regs.’

          I think you (and others) are confusing mid-season course corrections of the type Brawn is talking about, with a squelching of innovation. As you can see from the quotes of Brawn’s that I pulled off the article above, what Brawn is talking about is loopholes found, that if allowed to be exploited, could corrupt the whole principle of what they are trying to achieve. Collectively. The example I gave to John below is that if a team somehow found a way in the regs to change their wings and head their car back towards too much aero downforce and a tendency to be quicker because of it, but unable to follow a car while in it’s dirty air, then that goes completely against what they are trying to achieve collectively as the entity of F1, and that will be a loophole shut down quickly.

          I find it strange that you have somehow turned this around and overthought this to mean Brawn will now do a lesser job, not in 2021, but ‘somewhere down the line’ with the regs, just because he is giving himself more ‘power’ to shut a principle harming loophole down as soon as it comes up. I highly doubt Brawn will in the future be careless with the regs just because he has a theoretical default to shut a team down. I highly doubt teams will feel any more disincentivized to innovate just because there is a bigger chance going forward that their idea might be shut down as it comes from a loophole, not the principle of the regs per se. Weren’t they already leery of a loophole found actually remaining for the season? Weren’t they already playing in uncharted territory with a loophole, dangling on the hope that it would be allowed, let alone for the whole season, at which point others will just copy it anyway?

          All I envision is that as much as ever teams will continue to look for loopholes but then they now will (as they have often done in the past anyway) take them to F1 first before just going ahead and implementing them in hopes (and with potentially unfounded confidence) that their new bit on the car will be allowed to stay for the rest of the season. And you know what? Brawn has given them advance notice that if indeed they find a loophole that drastically contravenes the principles of what they are trying to achieve in 2021, it will likely not fly. ie. come up with all the loopholes and innovations borne of mere technicalities in the regs all you want…they’re going to be judged by how much they go against the new principles that they have all signed up for and are going to spend big money on…that being teams closer to each other in performance on the grid, and cars able to race more closely with each other due to no longer being dependent on clean air.

          You say if they want to remove ambiguity then tighten up the regs, and that is exactly what Brawn is trying to do. I really doubt he is going to get ‘all huffy’ at innovation and good ideas over a smart interpretation. But if the result of that corrupts the whole idea of what they are trying to do, then ya, it won’t last. And as I said, the teams would already have a pretty good idea of what kind of idea Brawn would get huffy about. The teams already know what Brawn means with these new 2021 regs. They signed off on them.

      2. @robbie

        The spirit of the new regs is that they want the teams to be closer together in performance, and the cars physically able to race more closely.

        You don’t get the idea of competition at all do you. Would have knobbled Usain Bolt because he was measurably faster than everyone else?
        The reason F1 has developed into the fastest form of Motor Racing is because of the level of innovation that has been the essence of F1 since it’s beginnings. The 2021 rule changes will not turn it into a spec series but the things Brawn is saying the changes he is proposing in the future are of a concern.
        This season will see the best racing for sometime because the teams have had the time to develop within the current regs nothing artificial. No ballast, no bringing out the safety car just to close up the field.

        1. @johnrkh Yes of course how could I possibly understand the idea of competition. That must be it.

          You might be concerned about the things Brawn is saying, but I am not. Where has he said he is not for innovation? Why would you suggest such a nonsensical thing as knobbling Usain Bolt? I mean, I would ban him if he was controvening the rules, but just for being fast within the rules? Of course not. Nobody is suggesting such nonsense so you can stop with that rhetoric. Just because Brawn is looking to close loopholes before teams find them, which is likely what has been going on in F1 all along? Suddenly fans need teams finding loopholes and one-upping everyone in order to enjoy the sport, and Brawn is taking that away? We can’t just let teams innovate within the rules…no, that would be boring. We need our teams trying to find commas in the wording and pulling one over on the dreaded governing body (read ‘the enemy’ for the sake of this discussion) in order to call them successful?

          How strange. People here are equating loopholes with innovation, like that is the only room in the regs for innovation…to find sneaky back-door ways of, in essence, cheating, other than for it just narrowly escaping that definition by a technicality. By finding something Brawn missed. Like I said above, like he is the enemy here, to be defied at all costs.

          No I am quite confident that the teams will have plenty of room to innovate, but that won’t stop them looking for loopholes. If they find any and exploit them, we’ll see what Brawn will do about that. Particularly, if someone finds something that goes against the principles of what they are collectively trying to do here. And to me that just means mainly that, for example, if a team finds some way technically to change their wings to make more aero downforce and thus be more clean air dependent when they are trying to get away from that type of car, then Brawn will shut that down.

          Hey I understand the loopholes have been found in the past and exploited, and thats pretty fascinating and cool, and sometimes teams have even won Championships over them, but I have no problem with Brawn and his team trying harder than ever to break their own rules before a team finds a way to do so, so that we have a fairer and more balanced F1 going forward. Teams have, I’m sure, always looked for loopholes to see if they can actually employ an idea they have that seems to be shades of grey…but I highly doubt they start on the drawing board months in advance of the next season, counting on finding enough loopholes such that they may be successful. They’ll look, but of course overwhelmingly they’re following the parameters of the rules. So why are fans suddenly so obsessed with loopholes just because Brawn has spoken about closing them pro-actively, and shutting them down more quickly?

          I support Brawn (and the teams) who supports a closer knit field of teams, and cars able to race closely with each other. In that spirit, one of close competition, I support him shutting down a team that might potentially, because on one comma, take all that Brawn and Liberty, with the very teams we are talking about signing on and agreeing, and with all the money and R&D going into 2021, and throwing it out the window because one team found the proverbial ‘double diffuser.’ But what do I know about competition? No…it’s much better to have competition removed due to a lawyer finding a comma in a document. That’s what racing and the action on the track is all about. That’s why we watch. To see who found a comma so they can dominate all season. Ya that’s good competition that will help F1’s cause of putting a better product on the track and growing the sport globally.

          Oddly, you claim that this season should be better than we have had for some time because teams have had the time to develop within the current regs. Don’t you mean it should be a terrible season because due to the stability in the regs there are no loopholes to be found that haven’t been discovered? How will you enjoy a season of stability in the regs and no loopholes? As to it being the best racing for some time, let’s remember this will still be a season of clean air dependence holding cars back from racing, on terrible tires. Ya there will be some exciting times, but 2021…now that’s going to be much more a driver vs driver F1. Talk about competition…

  2. @drmouse, your COTD sounds meritorious to me. Congrats.

    1. Wow!

      Thanks for the CotD, @keithcollantine! Never expected that :)

  3. I’m in full agreement with the nice CotD by @drmouse.

    In fact, I’d say that rather than the three cases laid out there, it be simplified into two: if a driver leaves the track intentionally or mistakenly, they get a penalty. Yes, in my opinion they should get a penalty even if there is a natural disadvantage, that’s double the incentive for them to improve their driving.

    That way, the FIA can focus exclusively on the one messy area of drivers being forced off, and lay out some ground rules. I won’t be surprised to see drivers taking a page out of diving footballers’ playbooks to see how they can engineer a situation favourable towards them, so it is better to have some guidance laid out there.

    1. Although I do agree a further clampdown on leaving the track is needed, any decision left to the stewards will leave room fir interpretation and thus, discussion.
      I do not understand the worlds smartest engineers can not find a way to build a track in such a wat that the track itself penalizes the drivers for leaving the track. The thing they did in Austria is a perfect example. Of course the teams don’t like the damage, but I highly prefer this compared to more influence for the stewards

    2. I’m in full agreement with the nice follow up by @phylyp to the CotD by @drmouse.

      In fact, I’d say that rather than the two cases laid out there, it be simplified into one.
      A driver will always be penalised when leaving the track. In the case where another driver is involved the stewards can investigate and penalise this other driver as they see fit including instructing him to slot in behind the driver who left the track and was automatically penalised.

      Congratulations with your May 2021 CotD.

    3. @phylyp But there isn’t a point in handing a penalty if there’s already a ‘natural’ disadvantage in leaving the track serving for that purpose due to gravel, grass, or astroturf.

      1. @phylyp Unfortunately, in the official F1-games, the system doesn’t seem to realize that improving lap time is impossible after going off into a gravel trap. Yet, the games still sometimes invalidate lap times in time trial mode even if there indeed is a natural deterrent making sure that no time or speed advantage can be gained from leaving the track.

    4. @mosquito – good point regarding letting the track dish out the damage. It might only be unfair if the damage occurs to a car that has been forced off for no fault of their own.

      penalise this other driver as they see fit including instructing him to slot in behind the driver who left the track and was automatically penalised

      @coldfly – In principle, this is a great idea. Although the one problem is – what happens if the affected driver pitted in the interval between the incident and the stewards issuing their verdict?

      @jerejj – the only benefit of handing out a penalty (IRL, not the game) would be that it keeps things simpler, and avoids arguments phrased with “gained an advantage” or “gained a lasting advantage” and people splitting hairs over it. Worse still, in even more cases, this might end up deferring the stewards decision until after the race if they wish to hear from the driver.

      The FIA views violations of the technical regs with quite a black-and-white eye. I wish they’d do the same to more of the sporting regs, and that’s what I’m driving at with my suggestion.

    5. @phylyp Re COTD

      I don’t think it’s that clear cut. There’s going off track on a fast corner, alone (not racing), where drivers push to the very edge to maximize speed. Going slightly off (slightly miscalculating traction or whatever) doesn’t seem a good motive for an automatic penalty. The existing system of warning drivers seems better to me. Otherwise we end up with penalties for fractional advantages potentially causing major differences to the race.

      On the other hand, where I would like to see more penalties is with drivers going off track when racing other drivers and managing, say, to keep ahead only be going off-track – usually the alternative, staying on track, would involve more braking and thus being passed. Especially so when cutting chicanes or double corners. This, for instance, was the case of Leclerc at Monza, who went off track under pressure from Hamilton, but maintained momentum (when he could have braked to take the corner on track but would have been passed), cut the corner and kept ahead. The same may well have applied to Hamilton versus Ricciardo at Monaco the year before (I think). Obviously there are some situations where drivers seem to be forced to the edge or off track by another driver, maintain speed and then manage to keep or regain position after the corner. In these instances, stewards really do need to make a call on whether or not the racing was fair.

  4. Small functionality problem with the loophole-closure rule.

    ‘Sorry chap, that wasn’t intended, we’re going to hold a meeting now and if everyone agrees, apart from you, we’ll stop it’.

    If everyone agrees except one team? Everyone? Nice loophole, Red Bull. Now, let’s have a meeting and… ah, hi Alpha Tauri, you like it too? OK then. It stays.

    I’d strongly suspect at least one team within the Ferrari and Mercedes ‘spheres of influence’ would (though less obviously, perhaps) toe the daddy’s line as well, so they’re safe too. Out of the big teams, the only two that could be negatively impacted by this are McLaren and Renault… by trying to create a level playing field, they’ve produced a rule that only really prevents two of the big teams making creative interpretations, while leaving the other three to take advantage as they see fit.

    Not really in the spirit of the regulations, Ross.

    1. Spot on too, @neilosjames. CoTD, the day after @phylyp‘s, perhaps May 24th 2021.

      1. What is your fascination with the merry month of May, @jimmi-cynic :)

    2. @neilosjames I suspect Brawn is smart enough to know how not to be duped. And I’m pretty sure Horner would not think he can get away with any ‘loophole’ he wants just because he has STR (now AT) to have their backs and negate Brawn’s ‘all teams’ concept. In the case of RBR, I’m sure Brawn has figured out that also includes STR and they would be considered ‘one team’ or ‘under one umbrella’ if it came to him having to make a judgement on a loophole found by RBR that was key enough to be brought to the rest of the teams for adjudication.

      So no, nice try, but everything is heading towards a better balanced F1 in terms of money distribution, capping the bigger teams spending, and making the cars able to race closely. Do you really think an RBR, just because they have a junior team, would even try to get away with, let alone actually being allowed to get away with, as Brawn put it “a corruption of the principle” of what they are collectively all trying to achieve?

  5. Agree 100% with COTD.

    The phrase ‘gained no lasting advantage’ in response to going off track is absolute nonsense when you really think about it.

    Takes away all sense of risk when pushing the limits.

  6. Ross. Pot… kettle?

    Seriously, let’s just prevent any innovation at all. I can sort of understand where he’s coming from but if a designer is smart enough to develop a really fast car and others miss it, why should they lose the benefit for that year.

    1. @dbradock – I agree with your second para, I think we should allow the smart designers the benefit of a loophole for a season, unless there is a clear exception (e.g. a safety issue).

      In Brawn’s defence, he firstly points out the inherent hypocrisy:

      “What we don’t want – and I say this with some hypocrisy [Brawn’s blown diffuser played a big part in helping the team win both world championships in 2009] – is that we don’t want a championship being won because of the loophole.

      And secondly, IIRC from my recollection of his book, in 2008 he did try to cautiously warn the FIA about the blown diffuser loophole, without tipping off the other teams and giving then a heads (and leg)-up. When it wasn’t heeded, he went ahead with using it on the 2009 Honda/Brawn.

      1. @phylyp I agree and your point about him cautiously enquiring is a good one.

        With budget caps in place I don’t see any team trying to use a loophole without checking it’s legality first because they won’t be able to write it off so easily and try a new route anywhere near as easily.

        What would be interesting is how they’d react if Williams or Haas found a loophole and turned up with an absolute rocket in 2021

        1. @dbradock – very nice point about the budget cap, that’ll be an added variable at play.

  7. Cristiano Ferreira
    8th February 2020, 1:54

    If he wants so badly to close loopholes, its better to turn F1 in a spec series already.

    Brawn doesnt seem to be the right person for his job. So far i disagree with most of the things he says since he got his position.

    1. His hands are pretty much tied by f1s commercial interests. Brawn is coming short

    2. True enough.

      Finding “loopholes in the rules” is equivalent to “finding a way to build a faster car within the rules”. There is no such thing as the “spirit of the rules”. Finding a “loophole” is just doing a better job than the other teams, and this shouldn’t be penalised.

      Brawn’s diffuser is a perfect example of that, and his team deserved the success they gained for coming up with a novel, high performance solution. However, had this been put to an “all but them” vote, it’d probably have been banned. Or wouldn’t be banned because it was illegal, but because other teams hadn’t thought of it.

      All this would do is stifle innovation, particularly by smaller teams.

      1. I think it is ridiculous to suggest F1 might as well be spec then. It’s as if, to some, loopholes, or their existence, or one’s ability to exploit them, have been the cornerstone of F1 and are it’s very DNA and are crucial, and therefore must be…what? Encouraged? Or…they shouldn’t scrutinize their own new rules too closely so that there is more room for interpretation for the teams, so they can play? At what cost to the teams, and harm to the lesser teams? And therefore to the racing?

        Sure loopholes have been a big part of the game and have been found and exploited in the past, and dealt with in varying degrees, some allowed to stay for a time while other teams adapt, but often cut off immediately before ideas for their exploitation ever met the track. But I am sure fine with them trying to ward off as many to begin with, as long as it means we don’t have one team running away with everything for stretches of time as has been the case frequently throughout the history of the BE era. And we have something closer to what I would term ‘hard core’ driver vs driver action under circumstances more challenging for them than they have been in years. And that to me is the spirit of what Brawn is trying to accomplish, hopefully and presumably (so far) along with the teams cooperation and blessing.

        To say there is no such thing as the spirit of the rules is folly, imho. The teams have signed on to the wholly new F1 for 2021 and onwards. They have already admitted the changes that have been necessary for a sustainable future. I think they may surely look for loopholes, but I really don’t see some nefarious behaviour from any one team to try to really put one over on Brawn, from some slight technicality, that won’t be swiftly dealt with in an appropriate manner even if it did occur. For the majority of the time teams are going to take their ideas to F1 first, as they have often done in the past, before just sneaking it onto the car and seeing how long they can get away with it. If they know that trying that might more easily now mean immediately removal of the concept, and now they’re going backwards on a retrofit, they’ll think twice.

        Just bring good solid ideas to Brawn and they’ll be allowed and your advantage will last until others figure out you’ve done something and what, and catch up and adapt, and F1 will be advanced for it. Bring some petty idea off some nit-picky legality that Brawn didn’t find, that takes F1 away from closer teams and cars racing more closely, and it won’t last more than a race if that. For that is not what all the teams signed up for anyway.

        Smaller teams will be better served if money teams, who have a much better chance of doing so, can’t exploit certain loopholes, at least not for seasons at a time. And I do not buy into the concept that RBR, as example of a two team entity, would get away with, or even think they could get away with, any exploitation they can come up with just because STR would never vote against them, thus squelching Brawn’s “All teams” requirement.

  8. I don’t like the idea of them shutting down creative thinking & innovative ideas because to me that is a big part of what F1 is & a big part of it’s appeal which is why i’ve always preferred it to other series.

    Things like the F-duct, Double diffusers, The clever aero bits & the clever use of technology which some may see as exploiting a loophole are to me a big part of what F1 is & why I love F1. You take that stuff away & what you end up with simply is no longer F1 & therefore no longer has the same appeal.

    Brawn says they don’t want a team to win due to a loop hole, But why not? If a clever engineer looks at the rules & finds something along the lines of a double diffuser i don’t see that as a bad thing that needs to be quickly squashed, I see is as somebody doing what there supposed to do, Something which has been part of F1 & the sport in general since day 1. That been to find and exploit any advantage, To push the boundaries as far as you can in order to win.

    I was optimistic about 2021 initially but i’ve actually become less so over the past year as I just don’t like the idea of a lot of what they seem to want to do. It just seems to be going in a direction that’s the opposite way to what i’d like to see & this is the 1st time in the 31 years i’ve been an F1 fan i’ve felt this way.

    1. @stefmeister As per my remark just above these ones, it is not creative thinking and innovative ideas that are being ‘shut down.’ It is merely silly loopholes that would potentially find one team dominating for a season just because they found a comma in the wrong place. At a time when they (Brawn, with the teams’ very blessing) are trying to take F1 away from one team running away with everything so much. When F1 wants to see the lesser teams at least have some glimmer of hope they may progress enough to actually podium within a reasonable number of years. Especially upon entry for any potential new teams. Which they want to invite, not scare away because they will never dominate the loophole finding game against those already engrained in the system.

      Room for innovation is there, and it shouldn’t need for intentional sloppiness of the regs, leaving chasms of room for loopholes, for F1 to have a DNA. There’s the DNA of innovation and creativity, and then there is the legal wrangling over wording and interpretation of the regs that leads to exploitation that leads to some of the ideas and innovation that goes on. The bulk of innovation is within the full parameters of the rules, and I would expect that all along F1 has tried to squelch the very thing you enjoy so much about F1…the loopholes…before they’re found.

      So it seems a bit strange to me that you depend on what I can only assume is an engineered degree of flexibility in the rules beyond the innovation that is made room for, and that somehow if Brawn’s regs are quite ironclad as he has said they have tried, and continue to try, to break their own new rules, in order to test them, you’ll be less enamoured with F1.

      For me, a new innovation for F1 that hasn’t happened in decades, will theoretically be more teams in with a shout, and more drivers as well. Not more of one team loopholing their way to singular advantage that squelches the more teams/more drivers in with a shout concept.

      1. @robbie I know what there aiming for & I still don’t like it.

        I have never had a problem with a team or driver dominating & I’ve never had an issue with that coming from finding a loophole due to things such as a comma in the wrong place. That is to me just part of the sport & a part of it’s appeal.

        I guess I just still view F1 & the sport in general more in the way it used to be. I don’t mind teams or drivers running away with things, I don’t mind there been a big performance difference between teams & I have no issue with cars towards the back been nowhere near the pace with no chance of doing much because all of this stuff has been stuff that’s been a part of things since the day I started watching in ’89.

        1. @stefmeister Fair comment. And after all, I too have hung in there since ‘78 the way it’s been. Loving it. I just can’t equate what Brawn is doing to some degradation of F1. I don’t envision less reason to continue my fanship come 2021. Just moreso. Living the new chapter and whatever it may bring. It was time for these changes.

  9. Well, good luck to him for trying to get rid of that house by asking a sum that great for it.

    I agree with the COTD, although that’s more or less precisely what I’ve pointed out as well in principle, which is that a penalty for going off-track should only come as long as a driver has gained a lasting advantage from it, not just for the sake of it. Something that not only applies to real life-racing but virtual as well. In the official CM-F1 games, the invalidated lap time-message appears on the top of the screen more or less whenever I leave the track even if there’s zero advantage to gain due to the speed at that point, gravel, grass, or something else. Furthermore, annoyingly often even the smallest of curb-touching leads to the appearance of that message, and occasionally the following lap gets invalidated as well just for being in the third-sector even if more than two or three corners away from the control-line.

    1. a penalty for going off-track should only come as long as a driver has gained a lasting advantage from it, not just for the sake of it

      @jerejj that’s very different to what I’ve said there. IMHO the penalty should be issued unless they get an obvious disadvantage from it. The limits are well defined, the drivers the best in the world.

      In football, if a player is dribbling along the touch line with noone else near him and the ball dips into touch slightly, the referees don’t say “well, he didn’t really gain an advantage”, it’s left the field and the opposition gets a throw in. End of, no discussion.

      So should it be in F1: the car has left the track and is no longer participating in the race. Unless he was forced off, he has left the track of his own accord. Mistake or deliberate, gaining an advantage or not, he deserves a penalty.

      1. @drmouse Are you talking strictly all 4 wheels on the other side of a certain line? What are ‘the limits’ to you? Can they put two wheels over a line? Or do you think it should be like tennis with a laser eye and a black and white rule? To me there is a huge difference in this discussion if you mean all 4 wheels over a line, as opposed to being allowed two wheels over.

        1. @robbie

          It doesn’t really matter to me how “off the track” is defined, as long as it is defined and enforced. The current definition is all 4 wheels over the line, which is nice and clear and I’m perfectly happy with.

          1. @drmouse Fair comment. Just wondered because to me it makes a huge difference to the racing if they were to, for example, decide any tire touching any line is penalty worthy, as some posters seem to think would be prudent…like a tennis laser eye. I don’t subscribe to that personally, but I don’t mind your model if it regards all 4 wheels over a designated line, as in, truly off the track. For me the infinite numbers of times the 20 cars put two wheels over the first line at every venue, should be left alone unpenalized.

  10. I agree with the sentiment some expressed in the comments, this would be an artificial restriction of innovation. I think the rules should be clear when it comes to legal and obviously illegal solutions. It’s quite ridiculous that the so-called “leading figures” of the current F1 don’t see the reason of gaining a competitive advantage in overly complicated electronic systems and PUs and would rather punish innovative teams and let the tech giants do their business.

  11. It seems the screws are tightening on innovation in F1. The entire point of Motor Racing was to improve the product, introduce and test new tech under the harshest of environments. The changes in 2021 are possibly good for the sport…we’ll see. But I’m concerned about the changes in 2022,2023 and beyond that will be introduced under the guise of reducing costs.

  12. The COTD is 100% right, I’ve said it many others have said it. These are the best drivers in the world (purportedly). The tracks are very well defined if they can’t keep the car where it’s meant be and remain competitive while competing fairly…

  13. LOL
    They are even dumber than I feared.

    How can they hope to do this?
    Force team to redesign the car in one week’s time? Free of charge?

    1. And this proves they don’t give a puck about the sport or technology.

      They care only about “the show” and wish to make all F1 the same (stock).

    2. Your point of free of charge may be the most poignant. When the budget cap takes effect, I think trying to close a loophole mid-season as Brawn suggests will only result in lawyers making a lot of money. And the teams will ultimately win in any court as vagary in rules ends up being the responsibility of the one who wrote the rules not the one who ran afoul of them.

      1. Maybe if there were fewer rules, it would solve the problem.? Sure would be fun.

    3. @dallien Perhaps re-read the article. Why would a team be forced to redesign a car in one week? Any team would be foolish to actually change their car so much off a loophole such that if it gets shut down they would have to redesign the whole car. Once you read the article you will see that what a team would do if they felt they were on to something so big, is run it by Brawn and the FIA first. That way they don’t waste any more money or time than they’ve spent just getting it on a drawing board. Teams have been doing this for years…not assuming that they’ve found something and will get away with implementing it. Sure some of that happens and has happened, but Brawn has advised the teams that the exploitation of loopholes can be shut down immediately if they corrupt the principles of what they are all collectively trying to achieve in the new chapter. So the teams already know what Brawn expects, and as I say it is not like they are not accustomed to taking ideas to F1 first before wasting any more time and money on implementing something that might be deemed illegal, as much as they thought they were onto something.

  14. Loophole or clever reading of the rules. I kind of prefer the clever reading of the rules over changing rules to make sure nobody does things differently. I’d like to see innovation like the f-duct, mclaren’s double brake pedals or double diffusers and if someone manages to pull it off with these strict rules then it’s great for the sport imho. Although f-duct should have been left un-invented as it lead to drs. Oh well…

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