Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Ferrari against cost-cutting rules change because 2020 car is uncompetitive – Horner

2020 F1 season

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says rival Ferrari opposed a change in the rules which would save teams money because its current car is uncompetitive.

Formula 1 has already agreed to delay the introduction of new technical regulations from 2021 to 2022 due to the financial crisis. Teams will be allowed to use their 2020 chassis again next season to spare them the cost of developing new cars this year.

“The teams have been pretty decent in getting together and and really focussing on the cost drivers,” Horner told Sky. “And that’s the big teams, the medium-sized teams and the little teams.

“By freezing an awful lot of the car – probably 60% of the car is now frozen from 2020 into 2021 – it’ll basically just be some aero updates between seasons. I think it’s absolutely the right thing to do if you’re just focussed on killing the costs.

“As dear old Ron Dennis used to bang on, he said if you want to save costs in this business, don’t change anything. And he was absolutely right.”

Horner believes the delay to introducing the new technical regulations should be extended further. “I have a slight problem with introducing a complete overhaul of the car for 2022,” he said. “There’s not a single component that is carried over from 2021 into 2022.

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“We’re going to be forced to go tyre testing and build mule cars. And it just seems an unnecessary pressure on the system to put that cost into 2021.”

Christian Horner, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Ferrari “want a clean sheet of paper” – Horner
As RaceFans reported previously, F1 and the FIA were reluctant to accept a further delay to the introduction of new technical regulations which were originally planned for 2021. But Ferrari also resisted the change, according to Horner.

“I would have pushed the rules a further year back into 2023,” he said. “But if you’re team, for example, Ferrari saying, ‘yeah from a cost point of view, we get it, we agree but our car might not be that competitive, we want a clean sheet of paper’.

“And of course all the teams further down the order think that a clean sheet of paper will change the pecking order. The reality is it will change nothing, but it will impose an awful lot of cost drivers into the business next year.”

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2020 F1 season

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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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24 comments on “Ferrari against cost-cutting rules change because 2020 car is uncompetitive – Horner”

  1. Well, F1 made that change to front and rear wing to improve overtaking last year.

    Did it change the pecking order? McLaren jumped ahead of Renault, that’s it. And it hurted the smallest budgets a lot. Haas specially. Racing Point got rescued. Williams got that wake up call, the only good thing.

    1. And there’s indications it did help curb the further degrading of overtaking too Only Facts!, which I think was important given we had several races involving Merc/Ferrari/Red Bull cars going at it for multiple laps. It was never meant as a cure-all, that’s more like what 2021 was marketed as, though this was sold as a way to get some data on whether those calculations were solid (and again, indications Liberty/Brawn/Symonds gave said they were, even if this was a relative minor step).

      Was it worth it? Again, I do think quite a few races/fights for the points positions were helped by it, while none of the issues were made much worse than they already were, but I do think that’s a matter for debate.

  2. This is on the one side very much Hornerlike gamesmanship, outing Ferrari that way while he’s one of the reasonable teams, and on the other side completely right, in my opinion. Clever guy, Horner. Oh, and looks like Red Bull are relatively confident, or wanting us to believe, they didn’t miss the (now delayed) season start of 2020.

    1. @bosyber – it comes as no surprise that Bernie saw Horner as his successor, does it? :)

      1. Yep, and I think the probably would have done quite a good job, in a similar vein @phylyp – probably more openly generous with praise and acknowledging mistakes (while still making that a barbed comment) and maybe a tad less Machiavellian than Bernie, but I have to say, I do think that Liberty have been a more dependable and solid leadership, though a bit more dithering.

  3. What would be nice? ‘A clean sheet of paper’ AND a strict budget cap*…

    *that would mean it is also easy to police/enforce.. and no satellite teams.. and no voting veto

  4. title is misleading.

    1. Second paragraph might also be making a wrong turn …
      “Teams will be allowed to use their 2020 chassis again next season to spare them the cost of developing new cars this year.”
      Have not the rules been put in place to “Require” the teams to use the same cars next year as this year.?
      Hence the proposed scrutiny of McLaren and the planned change-over to Merc engines.
      Any team, not just Ferrari will be looking ahead to ways to make their current cars more competitive. It just happens that Ferrari has more to gain, or is that loose.?

      1. @rekibsn that part, it got me doubting myself.

        1. You should never, ever, well almost never, well sometimes, doubt yourself.

  5. “Sky is blue, water is wet,” – Christian Horner.

  6. Why not freeze the entire chassis and aero development and allow only some PU updates between seasons. That would be even more efficient killing costs wise :)

    1. @tifoso1989 Problem with that is that if you go that route you may as well hand out the championship trophies & prize money after race 1 because your locking in the competitive order pre-season & giving nobody any room to move forward or drop backwards.

      One of the more exciting parts of an F1 season is watching the development race, Especially when you have a team like Red Bull who may start off slow but develop into a race winning contender by the end as they have a few times in recent years.

      1. Spot on Roger, if you lock it down to that level it becomes pointless. In the 1950’s at the start of the season the only change to be made was to even up the power outputs of the different engines but in these times there is only 1 type of engine. I would say the best thing to do would be scrap this season entirely. Then run 2021 with this years car and allow development along normal lines for that season before the regs change in 2022

      2. @roger-ayles that was a major criticism of the homologation system that the WEC ran for the LMP1 class for most of the 2010s, where all the teams had to homologate two chassis configurations (one low downforce and one high downforce) for the season – a system which has parallels with the (admittedly tongue in cheek) suggestion of Tifoso1989.

        The idea was meant to save on costs, but it had the effect that it fixed the competitive order from the start of the season. It meant there were some seasons where teams would give up after the first race, because they knew they weren’t going to be competitive and never could be – Toyota, for example, openly wrote off the 2015 season and didn’t bother trying to develop their car on the grounds that the few areas they could develop the car wouldn’t allow them to catch up to Audi or Porsche, so it wasn’t worth even trying to catch up.

    2. @roger-ayles

      Problem with that is that if you go that route you may as well hand out the championship trophies & prize money after race 1 because your locking in the competitive order pre-season & giving nobody any room to move forward or drop backwards.

      That’s exactly the point though ! Horner is just pushing for his own agenda while bringing the cost reduction argument.
      Going this route, the championship might well be decided before it even starts because RBR will probably out-develop the rest of the teams in the chassis/aero departments.

  7. And of course all the teams further down the order think that a clean sheet of paper will change the pecking order.

    So further down the order than Ferrari? So everyone except Mercedes? Given that Redbull hasn’t finished ahead of Ferrari in the last 3 season, perhaps Horner is projecting?

  8. I really hope the FIA sticks it to Ferrari for once. They are not going to leave F1, it’s an empty threat and I think F1 would survive without them. Ever since F1’s inception Ferrari has plenty of resources to produce a competitive car and in the last 20 years they haven’t finished lower than 4th in the constructors. To give them a special budget is essentially pricing other teams out of the sport. Let Ferrari mingle with the midfield for a few years, that’s how you get organizational shake up which is what they really need.

    1. @thejaredhuang The FIA cant “just stick it” to Ferrari because Ferrari will just use the Uno Reverse card on them (their veto)

      1. Do they still have the veto? I forgot if it got taken away or not in the new concorde agreement.

  9. Or in other words:

    Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is strongly in favor of a change in the rules which would save teams money because their current car is competitive.

    1. Damn, that’s a shame then no 2020 season if red bull is competitive (with mercedes)!

      1. @esploratore Well last year they also thought they would be competitive and that turned out to be a bust. So you never know. Red Bull has been thinking they have the competitive car for the last 3 or 4 seasons already. At the start at least.

        Still they were reasonably competitive last year and so was Ferrari. The drivers on both teams make way to many mistakes though.

    2. @f1osaurus there is also the question of whether Horner might be wondering if there are ways that some of the costs of competing could be outsourced from Red Bull into parts of Honda’s organisation that fall outside of the jurisdiction of the budget cap (such as Honda drawing on knowledge from their aviation division to assist with development of their turbochargers).

      If that were the case, then it’s potentially in Red Bull’s favour to squeeze the cap lower because it hurts their rivals – who develop their own engines in house – more than it might hurt them.

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