Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Horner expects F1’s midfield teams will be closer to front runners

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner expects closer competition between the Formula 1 teams this year.

What they say

[smr2020test]Horner was asked whether the gap between the midfield teams and last year’s race-winners Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull has closed up in the final year of the current technical regulations:

I think it probably has. That’s the benefit of continuous regulations, of course, when you have stability designs converge and some of those converge closer than others. But I think it’s inevitable that the grid will concertina a bit, I think that’s healthy for Formula 1.

The most important thing for us is we have we managed to converge that gap with Mercedes. That’s very much our target because they are, you know, the absolute benchmark.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

The FIA’s statement on Ferrari leaves unanswered questions, says Witan:

If the Ferrari engine was within the rules then the FIA could simply have said so. And without giving details the intellectual property, if there is such, would still be protected.

In fact the FIA should have been able to say the investigation is complete and no rule breaking has been uncovered. Still would protect intellectual property.

Why didn’t they?

The teams will want an answer to that question before this is all put to bed.

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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...

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  • 14 comments on “Horner expects F1’s midfield teams will be closer to front runners”

    1. Witan, rules are different this season, that is a factor.
      A 2nd fuel flow meter has been added but there’s more.
      At Ferrari’s launch Binotto remarked that the engine had been amongst other things, adapted to 50% reduced oil burning.
      Rules have changed and Ferrari supposedly adhered to these.
      Imagine we get to rd1 and Ferrari turns the engine up.
      Bear with me as I chalk up another theory.
      The statement might be a political win. The deal might be to protect whatever ferrari is doing to circumvent the rules at least for the foreseable future, as part of the agreement.
      My other theory is that Ferrari’s engine might have ended up extremely uncompetitive if it was to strictly follow the new regulation.
      Theories aside Dieter’s and others frontrunning theory that the fia ended up asking ferrari what are were they doing and the other popular theory of favouritism and corruption.

    2. Re COTD, basically anything would have been better than the current situation, like a statement saying that Ferrari has been circumventing the rules and probably being illegal last year, but Ferrari has disclosed their tricks to the FIA which has agreed not to investigate further on 2019 but will enforce better controls in 2020 thanks to Ferrari clarification.

      At least there is some argument for the decision and they are both moving forward. Now, it pictures the FIA to be anything but an independent entity. And even for Ferrari, I believe this would have had a positive outcome, showing they are more open than in the past, then would help the fans understand the potential step back from last year.

      Really have a hard time to get what could be the agreement between the parties and it tends to support @peartree suggestion like Ferrari are still not strictly compliant to regulation or something like it.

    3. The way this Ferrari engine issue was handled by FIA could not be worse.
      Not only it did not answered the question of legality but at the same time brought a lot of suspicion.
      An agreement behind closed doors. Better, a “settlement”. What a public relations nightmare.

      The only reason to do this is if the other options are worse. Admitting Ferrari was cheating or admitting they didn’t know how.

    4. “All travelers entering Vietnam from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran must carry out medical declarations and 14-day medical quarantine before entering the country.”

      Does this mean all Ferrari, Alpha Tauri, and Pirelli personnel and drivers have to be quarantined for 14 days before they can enter the country?

      1. If they start from Italy, the answer will be yes.
        But other starting points should be possible I guess.

        1. I guess everyone could stay in Bahrain and not go back to Italy?

    5. I don’t see the difference between the current Ferrari situation and the Red Bull flexy wing situation from a couple of years ago. The only difference being that there was video evidence of their wings moving under load. Both seeming circumventing the measurement criteria put in place by the FIA. From memory the FIA had to change the goal posts on that particularly criteria a number of times to sort the issue. They’ve done the same to Ferrari, and at the end of the day Ferrari have only penalised themselves. Now they are on the back foot trying to recoup the easy gains.

      1. Ross not sure I agree entirely, as one issue regarding Flexi wings is that by their very nature the wings do need to have some flex built into them, or else they’d shatter under load. I’m not saying RBR weren’t taking some license with flex, and they did get disqualified here and there, and they have tried several methods for flexing throughout the years. At one point it was just their plates on the endplates that were flexing at speed, but not the main wing itself. They weren’t the only ones though. At one point Mac had their front wing flexing too much front to rear so that it was laying down at speed, and then of course coming back up at lower speeds when the force of air wasn’t laying it down, but when they didn’t want that, needing max wing for the slower corners anyway. Oh, you are right though, that strictly speaking both scenarios we’re talking about exhibit “circumventing the measurement criteria.”

        But to me the fuel flow thing is much much more black and white a rule. There is no room for the proverbial ‘built in necessary flex or it will shatter’ if you know what I mean. They were either feeding in the maximum legal amount of fuel (or lower) or they were not. I would think that that would be a much more black and white aid, at all speeds, than a slightly overly flexi wing that always needs some flex anyway, and that would likely have only gained minimal advantage, and only at higher speeds at that. And considering a track like Monaco for example, flexi wings would be less effective, whereas being able to feed more fuel to the engine and thus have more hp would help at all sectors of all tracks, exiting corners and accelerating away more quickly, and hitting higher speeds at the ends of straights due to said exit speeds out of pre-straight corners, as well as the extra hp.

        1. @robbie

          But to me the fuel flow thing is much much more black and white a rule.

          Agree just just like when RB were caught a few yrs ago cheating with fuel flow on Webbers car at the Melbourne GP.

        2. I agree with most of what you’ve said, but I still don’t see a difference. Yes RBR were pushing a ‘grey’ area that had to exist but they were also looking actively to circumvent the measurement criteria. Fuel needs to exist in the ICE, if the way measure that fuel is open to circumvention of course teams are going to try and find an advantage there.

    6. Closer, maybe, but probably still not close enough to beat the top-three teams on merit. Most likely, Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull are yet again going to be considerably ahead of the rest as per the last three seasons.

      I agree with the COTD, though.

      1. @jerejj For sure, I wouldn’t think that anybody from the midfield has progressed so much that they are now up there with our usual top 3, with the rules stability we have. From what Binotto has been saying though, I do wonder if the order will now be Mercedes, RBR, and Ferrari in the WCC. RBR seems pretty solid from pre-season testing, and they’ll be starting off with presumably a pretty solid Albon who will be there for the whole season, so they should have a more solid season than last year in the WCC, no matter where Ferrari are.

        1. @robbie ”who will be there for the whole season”
          – That is unless he were to out-perform to at least the same extent as Gasly did over the first twelve race-weekends of last season. I doubt that’d happen, though, given how much more consistent he was over the remaining nine both results and pace-wise, and how much easier it was for him to get to grips with the car.

          1. @jerejj Lol true which is why I said presumably, but yeah it was his performance in those last 9 races particularly, having not started with them, that has me quite confident he’ll be there all season this year. This year he has been part of the pre-season testing so he is starting on a better footing than his post-summer-break stint that saw him thrown into the deep end. And I think/hope the RBR will be a better car too. It had come pretty good eventually last year but they did start with some question marks that needed answers in terms of the car, and it feels like that is not going on this year. It feels like they have a pretty solid grip on this car. Unlike last year, they certainly didn’t have two crashes that took away key new parts and key track time like last year, thanks to Gasly…apologies PG for the shot lol.

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