Mercedes Brackley factory 2018 - wind tunnel

Sliding scale? BoP? Call F1’s new aero rule what it is: A handicap


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Before RaceFans first revealed details of Formula 1’s planned aerodynamic handicap rules two months ago, we debated internally what was the clearest way to describe a somewhat complex idea.

The new rules, referred to by some as the ‘sliding scale of ATR’ (aerodynamic testing restrictions), will impose tighter limits on aerodynamic testing depending on how high a team finishes in the championship.

For example, the team which finishes fifth in this year’s championship will be allowed to conduct 100% of a set amount of testing in the first six months of 2021. The champions will get 90%, those who finish last 112.5%.

We asked Guenther Steiner, team principal of Haas (ninth in the 2019 world championship), whether this should be thought of in the same terms as the ‘Balance of Performance’ regulations used by the likes of the World Endurance Championship. The WEC BoP imposes variable limits on cars’ weight and air volume intake (and therefore engine power) levels depending on their performance in previous races, in order to equalise the competition.

Steiner said drawing a comparison between the two was “quite disrespectful”. And, up to a point, he’s right. BoP is a much cruder and more easily exploited regulation. Teams can, and have, masked their true performance at some races in order to gain favourable BoP dispensations at later events, such as the blue riband Le Mans 24 Hours.

Wind tunnel, McLaren Technology Centre exterior, aerial view
F1’s ‘aero handicap’ will get much tougher in second year
Mercedes have won the last six Formula 1 world championships and obviously have the most to lose from the new rules, yet team principal Toto Wolff supports the new regulations.

“I am a fan of the meritocracy of Formula 1,” he explained earlier this week. “Best man and best machine wins. This is how it always was. No gimmicky stuff like in some other sports where the ‘show people’ have added components that have diluted the sport.

“I hate any kind of Balance of Performance. It becomes a political game and a political world championship and has no place in Formula 1.

“What has been introduced with the new ATR is a possibility for the lower-ranked teams to slowly creep back in terms of development scope to the leading teams. It’s tiny percentages every year so that’s not going to make a big difference from one year to the other. But it’s going to balance the field out after a few years.”

Wolff’s support from the idea may surprise some. After all, he opposed the reverse-grid qualifying race plan, which he described as a “baseball bat” approach to equalising the field as compared to the ATR’s “fine adjustment”.

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Less surprisingly Claire Williams, deputy team principal of her eponymous squad which took F1’s wooden spoon in the last two seasons, is also a fan of the new rules.

Toto Wolff, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2020
“I hate any kind of Balance of Performance” – Wolff
However, when first asked about the “aero handicap”, Williams didn’t initially realise what the question referred to. Advised later it referred to the “sliding scale of ATR” she enthusiastically described it as a “really neat solution”.

Williams is not being singled out here – plenty of others have adopted the term “sliding scale”. It is a PR-friendly euphemism which refers to the mechanism of the rules and not their purpose.

It obscures the uncomfortable detail that F1’s rules now punish competitors for their success. And in that respect, it does bear comparison with Wolff’s hated BoP.

The definition of a “handicap” is “a disadvantage imposed on a superior competitor in order to make the chances more equal”. Whether or not you support F1’s new aerodynamic rules – and our ongoing poll indicates a strong majority of RaceFans readers don’t – the more accurate term for them is not a Balance of Performance or a Sliding Scale but an aero development handicap.

And come the end of next year, should a team which benefits from the handicap beat the 2020 champions to the title by a narrow margin, I suspect many will find a few more choice ways to describe it.


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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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117 comments on “Sliding scale? BoP? Call F1’s new aero rule what it is: A handicap”

  1. F1 should try BoP

    1. This is a BoP system – only potentially much more devastating in the long term.

    2. crippling cars to reach for parity is a very bad solution.
      If F1 is the fastest and technological highest development in cats then you should never cripple a car.
      The different approach in development time is a neat and honest try to level the playing field without ruining the sport.

      1. Edwin Moscoso
        12th June 2020, 6:09

        I hear what you are saying but the problem they are solving is not how do you punish ingenuity and technology. But rather how can we allow a team that has 3 times a smaller budget to even have a chance of being competitive. In an ideal world I would very much agree, but this is a not so impactful solution to allow some fairness to the engineers and that don’t have access to the resources available to some of the higher teams. We must also consider that a big gripe that people have with F1 and racing in general is that the better car wins and people kind of want to feel that the better driver won.

    3. @rb10 how familiar are you with the way which it is implemented in the World Endurance Championship?

      In series such as the WEC, as Dieter notes, the Balance of Performance is a constant flashpoint for arguments because there are so many different performance factors that, quite often, the Balance of Performance regulations work poorly in practice.

      As Dieter notes, there have been frequent complaints of teams deliberately seeking to throw the Balance of Performance to gain an advantage for a particular race, with the Ford GT at Le Mans in 2016 was a notorious example. Even in qualifying, they deliberately underperformed so that, when the ACO introduced further measures to try and reduce their performance, they still had a 4-5s advantage over most of the field and could lap faster in race trim than they did in qualifying.

      However, equally notable is the sometimes underappreciated, but quite damaging, effects when the Balance of Performance tips too far the other way and makes a car that was originally competitive no longer competitive. A few years ago, Porsche complained pretty bitterly that they were really heavily hammered by the BoP regulations, which meant they went from being able to compete for race wins to lucky if they made it into the top six. BMW, meanwhile, cited it as a reason for quitting the GT category entirely, as their M8 was so heavily hit that it was uncompetitive.

      Even the ACO admits that the BoP system is flawed, with the biggest flaws appearing when a new car is introduced into the field. The way that the BoP system is intended to work relies very heavily on track data that doesn’t exist when a new car is introduced – so it’s extremely common for a new car to be introduced into the field and to then either be significantly faster or significantly slower for an extended period of time because the ACO doesn’t know how to balance its performance.

      The article undersells quite how difficult it is for the ACO to try and implement a Balance of Performance in reality, because the sort of tweaks that they try go far beyond just restricting the air intakes or changing the vehicle weight. You have constant changes in the amount of fuel that a team is allowed to use, or even having specified changes in boost pressure – it’s not uncommon for the ACO to issue a BoP tweak that is along the lines of “Car A is allowed to use an additional 0.2 bar of boost between 4,500rpm and 5,500rpm”, effectively intervening to change specific parts of the torque curve of a particular car.

      Furthermore, the ACO admits that taking into account the effects of driving style is a subject they have not got a grip on, and that can have a fairly significant impact. One set of simulator trials between two drivers showed how one driver might be particularly sensitive to a change in engine power if the car was mid engined, but was far less impacted if the car was front engined; the other driver, meanwhile, might have been quicker with a mid engined car if the tweaks were to the power or total weight, or might not be quite so noticeably impacted if a front engined car had its power changed, but was far more heavily impacted by the subtle change in weight distribution when a small weight penalty was added.

      The Balance of Performance regulations are often the single biggest cause of political and technical arguments in series such as the World Endurance Championship, particularly as the ACO hasn’t released the full details of the algorithms that they use to balance the performance.

      What is published, though, is a confusing mess of different sliding scales for different factors (rear wing height, weight, fuel consumption, straight line speed, weight distribution and “any other factor considered necessary”, as the ACO puts it) that fans no longer understand and are now a point of discontent amongst fans because it is so opaque. Given the frequent complaints about the opacity of decision making in F1, is it really attractive to introduce something from the WEC which is considered to be even more opaque and confusing?

      1. Not attractive at all, anon.

      2. This was written by me, not Dieter.

        1. @keithcollantine apologies and credit where credit is due – I had been reading one of Dieter’s articles before yours and mistakenly mixed the two authors.

  2. This rule should not be applied in case of significant technical rule changes. So it should not be applied in 2022. And what about developing the following season’s car? Especially with big technical changes. Do most successful teams suffer in that area, too? So, Mercedes won’t be able to develop their 2022 machine in 2021 as much as Willams or tobe Aston Martin?

    1. You are right. If F1 was to remain with stable aero Regs this might help over a few years. But with new reg every few years, all this does is give the lesser teams a few more hours to come up solutions to the new rules. What is missing is the handicapping of the brain trust. Smarter people in the bigger teams will always come up with the better solution first. No amount of extra wind tunnel time will help with the ah ha moments

      The best way to equalize the field is to follow the yachting example. At the end of every year, all teams must show off their cars to all the other competitors.

      1. F1oSaurus (@)
        5th June 2020, 16:46

        Well it’s hardly a few more hours. At some point the no 1 will get only 70% and the last placed 115% of the allowed time. That’s a bonus of 65% more development time for being the worst performer.

      2. At the end of every year, all teams must show off their cars to all the other competitors.

        I like this idea a lot. Building a great car only wins you 1 year, then it’s all in the know and level playing field again for further improvements. Teams will boost each other to greater heights.

      3. The “Brain Trust”, clearly the key to success and the major flaw in the system.
        Always interesting to see the more successful F1 teams and designers jump directly to the logical (for them) solution and technically successful approach, in spite of discussions to the contrary. Always enjoy the “ah ha” moments.

  3. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
    5th June 2020, 8:09

    A sport by definition should be a competition where all parties have an equal chance to win, but success should not be penalised. So for me this goes against what I believe F1 should be. I know not all take my view. F1 is wholly a sport. It is unfortunately also a business. This new rule is wrong and it shouldn’t be introduced. Certainly not after 2022.

    So what handicaps currently exist in F1?

    Well you could argue not having so much money is a handicap. I’d prefer rules which mitigate the advantages of spending rather than the budget cap, but at least something is being done about this.

    Another handicap is a temporary one, DRS, but its still a handicap, you can’t use it when you’re in front. We need to get rid of this.

    Part of the problem is the way aerodynamics represent such a large percentage of the lap time difference between cars. For me a better solution would be:

    Massively reduce down force. Less effective wings, perhaps open source them.
    Massively increase tyre size, 15cm wider at the rear, 10cm at the front.
    Shorten the cars by 1.5m, reducing the amount of aero surface and overall effectiveness.
    Increase fuel allowance and flow rate. Another 200 bhp would be nice.
    Have as many open source components as possible within reason.

    These cars may be slower, but they would be better to watch, more closely matched, better all round in my view. I know this would be everyone cup of tea, but it’s mine.

    No handicapping please.

    1. Equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome.
      It’s like you make Usain Bolt carry weights in his next race because he ran a world record in the last.
      The age of mediocrity: instead of raising the level of competition it gets lowered.

      1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        5th June 2020, 8:33

        Well said regards opportunity and outcome.
        Not so sure about mediocrity. Lap time maybe, but the only metric for competition is closeness.

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        5th June 2020, 10:10

        You can’t compare F1 with runners. If Bolt had 0% chance of winning any races because of the quality of his running shoes, that would be similar to F1. Bolt wins because he is the fastest – not because he has spent the most money.

      3. “It’s like you make Usain Bolt carry weights in his next race because he ran a world record in the last.”

        No, it is not.

        It’s like giving Usain Bolt less training days than his competitors. But, if Bolt is the better runner and trains more efficiently, he will still win.

        And that is how it will be in Formula 1. Giving a team like Williams more testing days will not automatically mean, that they can put them to good use. They still won’t have the money, they still won’t have the best engineers.

        People say this rule goes against the idea, that all teams should have an equal chance to win. Nonsense! Teams don’t have an equal chance to win at the outset, because Formula 1 gives teams drastically different payouts. This rule change is actually leveling out the field.

        But like DRS, Formula 1 again chooses to address the symptoms and not the causes. I would like them to fix the aerodynamic rules, so we don’t need DRS. But as long as they don’t I would like to have DRS. Likewise, I would like them to fix the financial differences, but as long as they don’t I would like them to even out the field in different ways.

      4. Equality of outcome.
        Kurt Vonnegut addresses this in his book Harrison Bergeron.
        There’s a movie by the same name from 1995 that is still posted on Youtube.
        Personally, I wouldn’t want to live in Harrison Bergerons world.

    2. Well you could argue not having so much money is a handicap.

      Indeed, and that’s built directly into the sport through the prize money structure. It makes no sense to me that F1’s prize money payouts are so unequal, given that that money can be directly spent by the teams on performance. In the EPL, the best team receives only 1.6 times what the worst team receives, while in F1, Ferrari received nearly 4 times as much as Toro Rosso last year.

      In the NFL that distribution is entirely equal—every team receives the same amount of revenue collected by the league, regardless of performance. And isn’t that the way it should be? The reward for winning is, well, being the winner. The Super Bowl champions don’t get an extra $50 million that they can then spend signing better players for the next season.

      It’s one thing for prize money to go directly to the drivers and the team staff. But why should any form of unequal payout go directly into the teams’ coffers?

      1. @markzastrow I like this idea. As you say, the front-running teams aren’t racing to win money, they’re racing for prestige and advertising purposes, and both of those are increased when the racing is closer. Mercedes don’t care whether they win any money for the WCC, they care about looking cool because they’re winning constructors’ championships in the pre-eminent motorsport category in the world. The big teams are still going to rake in advertising money anyway, so an even split of the constructor money would mainly serve to keep smaller teams solvent and (hopefully) more competitive.

      2. I think this is the correct approach. The same money for all contenders. If you are giving different money to each team, you are creating the problem. If you win the championship, or at least have much points and win races, your name is going to be famous, and you are going to have plenty of people wanting to put his name in your car at whatever price. You don’t need extra money from the TV contract. If you get that extra money, the difference in financial terms between you and the lower teams is going to be bigger and bigger. Other thing is that the big teams have to see that without the little, they are nothing. Nobody wants to see a race with only 4 or 6 cars or more cars but only from 2 or 3 teams.

  4. F1oSaurus (@)
    5th June 2020, 8:28


    Money is not a handicap. The other teams could potentially go out and receive the same funding.
    DRS is not a handicap. It’s not even a benefit. It’s a device to diminish the actual handicap of loss of downforce behind another car. To give the lead car DRS (which would then indeed be an advantage) on top of the advantage it already has is just ludicrous.

    Sure you could turn F1 cars into carts, but that’s also not really a solution for the downforce issue.

    1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
      5th June 2020, 8:44

      Well I suppose it depends on your viewpoint. If you think F1 is in a good place now, leave it as it is.
      Money supply is finite. Only so many businesses and individual want to sponsor F1 teams. I’m glad you think other teams potentially could go out and get the same funding as Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull. Why don’t you let them know? I guessed they missed that one.

      As for DRS we could argue all day, but its artificial and in the right circumstances it wouldn’t be needed. No team has the right to a clean airflow so its loss isn’t a handicap.

      Readjusting the aero versus mechanical grip balance is part of the solution for sure.

      1. @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk I don’t agree that F1 is in a good place now, with Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull being so far ahead of everyone, it’s like having LMP1 and LMP2 in the same race. And of course, they’ve done a good job, but the main reason they are able to be so far ahead year-after-year and hire all the best engineers is down to their budgets. It’s no coincidence that the top five teams in F1 in 2019 consisted of the teams with the five biggest budgets in F1. A more equal distribution of money is a good start, but manufacturer teams still have huge budgets regardless and will continue to invest colossal amounts of money into their F1 programme. Some teams don’t have revenues from their parent company to fall back upon.

        1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
          5th June 2020, 10:48

          That’s what I said. I agree F1 is in a bad place right now, but money is only part of the problem. There are lots of ways the technical and sporting rules could be changed to make it easier to be competitive on less money. See my earlier post. That’s where the FIA should start. This handicap and the budget cap are attempts to treat the symptoms rather than attack root cause.

    2. @f1osaurus Lack of money is certainly a handicap. There are a bunch of teams that can’t get enough money together to even meet the proposed spending cap, and a smaller budget is going to mean that the team can’t employ the best engineers (who will sensibly want to work at a team with a larger budget, that is more likely to win and that pays better). It’s exacerbated by the fact that lower-placed teams get a smaller share of the prize money, and are less able to attract sponsors because they don’t get as much air-time.

      1. F1oSaurus (@)
        5th June 2020, 16:10

        @hiperr It’s not a handicap. It’s something that teams should work on. It’s a metric of how well they perform in gettign sponsorship.

        A handicap is something forced upon them.

        1. @f1osaurus (cc @hiperr) The lack of money is effectively forced upon the teams through the prize money structure. If every team’s budget were purely a function of how well they raised sponsorship, that would be one thing. But the big three can cover the entire budget cap purely through their prize money from the previous season. They don’t have to raise a single cent in sponsorship to hit the cap, while most of the midfield is staring at a $70+ million shortfall. How is that a fair competition?

          As @hiperr says, winners will naturally attract more sponsorship and investment. That is something I accept as part of the nature of business, and F1. But there’s no reason for the sport’s own rules to amplify that inequality. Just give every team an equal amount of money.

          I would much, much prefer that over this aero development handicap system. But given that commercial realities seem to preclude it, I am grudgingly willing to accept (or at least not complain about) the aero handicap as something to offset the prize money structure, which I see as an inverse handicap.

          1. F1oSaurus (@)
            5th June 2020, 18:32


            The lack of money is effectively forced upon the teams through the prize money structure

            No it is not. Williams spends 125 million per season. The top three spend about half a billion. The bonuses are only a minute part of that budget inequality. Because of that it’s only important for the status quo between the big teams anyway.

            Other than that, it only makes sense that the winner gets more money. With the budget cap in place it doesn’t matter anymore anyway.

          2. @f1osarus

            The bonuses are only a minute part of that budget inequality.

            Minute? Not sure how you reach that conclusion when the gap in prize money from the front of the grid to the back is larger than the budget cap itself.

            Other than that, it only makes sense that the winner gets more money.

            Sorry, but it does not to me. The winning is the prize. Sure, a winner’s purse paid directly to the staff is one thing. The drivers world champion and the mechanics can buy themselves a new flat, a new car, whatever. They can enjoy the fame and accolades—which themselves bring in more money. But for the winning team to be spotted a $150 million head start by the governing body itself over the back of the grid for next season makes no sense to me. You can hardly call such a competition fair.

          3. F1oSaurus (@)
            7th June 2020, 20:33

            @markzastrow Ferrari bonusses are about 110 million. Budget Gap = 500 – 125 = 375. So yeah 375 is a lot more than 110.

            More importantly the budget gap does not exist because of the bonuses. It more or less compensates the top teams for spending so much more money on the show than the back markers.

            Prize money distribution is fine and will remain pretty much the same.

          4. @f1osaurus I’ve done the math this way, with actual numbers from Dieter’s reporting:

            Ferrari prize money: 205 million
            Toro Rosso prize money: 52 million
            205 – 52 = 153 million
            Budget gap: 425 (Mercedes) – 150 (Haas/Williams) = 275 million

            In other words, the prize money gap accounts for well over half the gap from front to back.

            153 million is also larger than the 2021 budget cap itself, and roughly equal to the size of the entire budget of half the teams on the grid.

            Even granting your numbers, I’d say they disprove your own thesis—110 million is 30 percent of the entire gap from front to back.

            I’ll repeat mine, which is that lack of money is is a definite handicap forced upon them by the prize money structure. If you asked any team boss if reducing their budget by $153 million (or even $110 million) would prove to be a handicap to them, I suspect they’d say yes.

          5. F1oSaurus (@)
            8th June 2020, 7:21

            @markzastrow Again. I’m talking about bonuses. The prize money will not change and it shouldn’t.

            So 375 is a lot more than 110.

          6. F1oSaurus (@)
            8th June 2020, 7:22

            To make clear why prize money doesn’t matter … every team can get it.

          7. @f1osaurus Haha okay that’s very clear, but I couldn’t disagree more. There’s no benefit to the sport for teams to receive such unequal amounts of prize money, whether based on performance or on bonuses.

          8. F1oSaurus (@)
            8th June 2020, 15:30

            @markzastrow Well I couldn’t disagree more. Winners should be rewarded. That’s what sport is about.

            I don’t like teams just competing just for the base payout. If you pay every team the same amount then where is the incentive to perform?

          9. @f1osaurus The incentive is to be the winner! That’s reward enough for the Olympics, for the NFL, for every league in the world that does an equal revenue share.

            Actually, I’m all for rewarding winners as well, in the form of a purse paid directly to the staff themselves. They can enjoy the spoils of victory—I think that’s great. What I don’t like is the teams being given funds that can then be spent directly on improving performance. If I recall correctly, one of Liberty’s proposals for reforming the prize money structure was stipulating that Ferrari’s bonus be written directly to profit, which I think is a step in the right direction.

          10. F1oSaurus (@)
            8th June 2020, 21:57

            @markzastrow Lol, the Olympics. That’s an amateur sporting event yes. And then you should see how much money the winner gets. Some directly from their countries, but also through sponsoring.

            Yeah all NFL teams have the same budget

            And how much is the bonus per player of the team that wins the Super Bowl?

            There is always something where they monetize their advantage.

          11. @f1osaurus Lol did you read my previous comment? Of course people will monetize it—that’s literally what I said I support. What I don’t support is baking that disadvantage into the rules and revenue sharing agreements of the sport itself.

          12. @f1osaurus

            If you pay every team the same amount then where is the incentive to perform?

            I think you just answered your own question:

            then you should see how much money the winner gets. Some directly from their countries, but also through sponsoring.

            And how much is the bonus per player of the team that wins the Super Bowl?

            There is always something where they monetize their advantage.

            The bonus is $124,000, paid directly to the players under their collective bargaining agreement with the league. Which illustrates my point: unlike in F1, that does not go towards the team’s budget that they can spend on gaining an edge.

        2. The sponsorship value of any given team is dependent on the amount of exposure that the team is able to provide for the sponsor, correct? If a team is running near the back of the race, the coverage (provided by the F1 world feed) will show less of that car, therefore provide less coverage of the sponsor, and in turn reducing the value of any potential sponsorship that the team might garner. They’re handicapped by the broadcaster, because the value proposition that they offer to sponsors holds less worth than the value proposition of the front-running teams.

          1. F1oSaurus (@)
            7th June 2020, 20:36

            @hiperr Every team could potentially get a big budget. It just needs to persuade the right people to fund them.

            Williams did it at some point. Mclaren did it at some point. Renault did it at some point etc etc etc.

            In fact Williams started this whole budget race when they started accumulating championships with their Saudi money.

            They are not handicapped by the broadcaster. If they perform well they get more money from the prizes too. It’s simply an investment. And yes they then need to perform to benefit from that investment, but that’s no different in any business.

          2. @f1osaurus But to perform well they need the money in the first place, and it’s much easier to get that money if they are at the front of the pack. Generally speaking sport is too highly regulated, and the big teams have lawyers that are too good to allow real technical innovations from smaller teams in anything but the rarest of cases. At the moment it’s a self-perpetuating cycle, with the front-runners established and the back of the field either relegated to mediocrity and potential insolvency, or reliance on either a big-fish investor or a hail-mary technical approach to try and make it to the front of the field (which most times won’t work, and will leave the team with an under-performing car).

            In a lot of ways it’s similar to that other British sporting colossus, the Premier League. The big teams are settled at the head of the pack, and lower-placed teams either hope to land a big investor (Middle-Eastern money is always popular there too), or over-borrow in the slim hope of moving their way up the ladder. It results in a boom-and-bust cycle for the lower teams, constantly sees them going bankrupt, and nothing much changes at the top of the table from year to year. And the prize-money is even less equitable in F1 than it is in the EPL.

          3. F1oSaurus (@)
            8th June 2020, 15:34

            @hiperr “But to perform well they need the money in the first place”

            Yes and it’s part of their performance to acquire this money.

            With the budget cap it should be much less of an issue really anymore anyway.

            The notion that every team should be just as competitive as the top teams makes no sense anyway. There will always be teams that do not have the true aspiration to be champions. Every race class has top teams and teams that just participate with no hope of winning. Even with kids this is already the case. Why would this be something that has no place on the highest level. We should have some communist system where all teams are equal and then nobody does anything anymore since why would you.

          4. @f1osaurus I hope that the budget cap does reduce the disparity between teams, but in response to your suggestion that fundraising is a measure of team performance, I would counter that I don’t watch F1 to see which team raised the most money from their sponsors. I’m far more interested in what the engineers can do within the constraints defined by the rules, and would be happier if every team had the same funding, allowing us to see what the engineers could create within that budget.

          5. F1oSaurus (@)
            9th June 2020, 7:38

            @hiperr Good for you. They need to get this 500 million somewhere though. Even the backmarkers need to find 125 million.

          6. @f1osaurus As @markzastrow posted in a comment above, if equalisation measures like aero testing restrictions are to be avoided, a more equitable split of revenue for each team would be a good alternative approach. It works well in other sporting competitions (the ones that come to mind are the NFL in the USA and the AFL in Australia, which both have powerful clubs, but which also exhibit reasonably even competition), and a more even split would mean that the back-marker teams wouldn’t have to spend all of their time scraping together funding, and could focus on vehicle development with a good idea of the budget they have available for the task.

            If every team got $100M at the start of the year irrespective of their finishing position, there would be far less need for technical approaches to equalise the performance of different teams. There might need to be some kind of performance criteria instituted to ensure that teams weren’t just showing up with a GP2 car and pocketing the excess funds that they saved from avoiding any development, but that shouldn’t be too hard (something like a reduction in payments should a team regularly fall foul of the 107% rule should be fine for that).

  5. I think the use of handicap is fine. And it’s a good way of doing it without actually impacting the show in a way that’s hard to understand for casual viewers. Like if it was ballast weight being added, or reverse grids, or other such more prominent measures, Crofty would be explaining it to us every damn weekend just to make it clear for the lesser informed.

    Rather, this way there’s a measure for trying to make the grid more equal over time, without anyone really needed to be told this is happening. They’ll just see the racey cars do their racey thing as normal.

    1. @aiii Yes. This.

      Importantly, the handicap is highly unlikely to affect the top teams in any negative way, but provides those running at the back of the grid an opportunity to get closer. But we all know aero development is expensive and slow. That extra 10% (or whatever) isn’t suddenly going to propel Williams to the front of the grid. But over time they should slowly get closer as they figure their car out.

      And best of all, fans wouldn’t notice it. Only the hardcore fans might—but the majority would never know. And we don’t have to hear about it during commentary every race.

  6. I have always been fascinated with the NFL draft system, the team with the worst record gets to pick the best prospects yet time after time their is a pattern of the same teams picking high, performing worse even after a cycle of three to four years of top ten picks and the teams with better management and structure with lower picks doing well. Even with an upper hand in development a team that isn’t primed to use its advantage will just continue with its trend. I like this sliding scale method and hope it accomplishes narrowing down the gap to a point that top teams account for the other teams during a race not the comfort they have where Mercedes pits after fifteen laps and it’s already a pit stop ahead of p3

  7. ColdFly (@)
    5th June 2020, 9:11

    Even the sport widely known for handicaps doesn’t use them in professional competitions!

    1. Horse-racing?

        1. F1oSaurus (@)
          5th June 2020, 16:12

          @nickwyatt At a professional level?

          1. @f1osaurus As Coldfly wrote in the first post “… doesn’t use them in professional competitions” so I guess that means exactly what it says; not in professional competitions.

      1. F1oSaurus (@)
        5th June 2020, 16:48

        @hiperr Isn’t that more like the ballast “handicap” F1 cars get to compensate for lighter drivers?

        1. @f1osaurus It might be in some cases – in racing here in Australia the total handicap weight includes the weight of the jockey and tack. But it’s not just to equalise the weight carried by all of the horses across the field – there are different systems, including weight-for-age (weight just varies depending on the horse’s age, its sex, the race distance and the month of the year) or more complicated systems that account for all of these and also take into account recent form (where a horse has placed recently, also accounting for strength of opposition, and in the case of a winning performance, the authority and merit of the win, the weight carried, and winning margin and time) the amount of recent running a horse has had (lightly-raced horses may attract larger handicaps), and the experience of the jockey (an adjustment made at the discretion of the handicapper).

  8. There are two key points here that make me a fan of this.

    The first is that this handicap (and it IS a handicap) happens away from the race weekend. Once all the cars arrive at the track they are under the same regulations and have the same parity in terms of opportunity. There is nothing artificial happening at the track.

    The second is that the competition away from the track is already grossly un-equal in so many ways that a balancing of this through a handicap is actually making the competition more meritorious in some ways, rather than less.

    If all the teams had the same budget, facilities and head count then I would strongly oppose this. But they don’t (and they should) so I do !

    I dream of the day when success in F1 is simply down to a pure design, technical and sporting challenge and is stripped away from the influence of big budgets, big business and big politics (or egos). Until that day, it needs a few other nudges in the right direction.

    1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
      5th June 2020, 9:51

      Fair comment. Very pragmatic. I’d go along with this despite my opposition to handicapping, provided a clear course to your (our) dream scenario was planned and acted upon.

    2. People speak out against handicaps or BoPs yet the main handicap system is ignored….money. Money is the original handicap system and the reason for F1’s current state. The more money you have, the better car you can design. Simple as that.

      This puts smaller teams with limited budget at a distinct disadvantage. Even with the proposed budget caps, not all teams will have the money to reach that budget cap.

      You can romantacise how every team has a chance to beat the big teams when in reality of that happening is less that 5%.

      I fully report budget caps and ATR if that means closer racing and giving 5 or 6 teams of battling not only for race victories but also championships instead on 2 or 3.

    3. I agree with this. Three teams don’t just get paid a vast amount that other teams aren’t entitled too, the money given to them comes from the pool of money used to pay the rest of the teams. So the front running teams get a “benefit-cap” compared to everyone else. They got paid exceptionally well for winning, far more than any of the other teams were entitled to or got, and spent that money on making their cars faster, which meant they kept on winning. The statistics tell the story: those with the “benefit-cap” have won every single race from 2014 through to the end of the 2019 season. The benefit-cap makes F1 a non-credible racing series. Ignoring the effect of the budget cap, I suspect the aerodynamic handicap placed on the most successful three looks will be far more muted than the financial benefit-cap they get. While the budget cap will change this, I don’t see the variable restrictions on design time as beating the benefit-cap the most successful three get.
      The new rules simply restrict the ability of teams with faster cars from making them even faster. It doesn’t slow their cars down, which is what a handicap normally does. The most successful cars are built to exactly the same rules as the least successful.
      While the teams with the slower cars do get extra design time, that doesn’t necessarily mean their cars will become faster by the same proportion of extra design time given to them because their understanding of aerodynamics is probably inferior to that of the teams with the faster cars.

  9. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
    5th June 2020, 9:47

    I think the inferred sport was golf. I don’t count Horse racing as a sport. Sometimes its useful to think of sport that might be considered for the Olympics.

    Kart racing could be, Horse racing without handicapping even. Golf is.

    1. F1oSaurus (@)
      5th June 2020, 16:49

      @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk Golf does not use handicaps in professional events.

      1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        5th June 2020, 19:30

        Correct. Well spotted, but I didn’t say it does. See coldflys comment at 9.11.

        1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
          5th June 2020, 19:32

          Golf is … an Olympic sport. Reread the post.

  10. I think this aero handicap is 10 times worse from a purity perspective than a reverse grid qualifying race would be, and the latter would at least offer a lot of spectacle. It’s incomprehensible to me that they went this route. Wolff’s strange position makes me wonder if he’s defending Mercedes’ interest on the short term and Aston Martin’s interest on the longer term.

    1. @krommenaas It’s not an aerodynamic cap, it’s an aerodynamic testing cap. There is a huge difference between the two. Every single team will not be penalised for their car concepts or what they can come up with, it’s just that the more successful teams will be able to test their ideas a bit less than those lower down the table. But a team that can work efficiently can get more out of their time than a team that has more time available for windtunnel testing.

      1. I was using the term used in the article, but you’re right, it could be confused for a physical handicap, so “aero testing handicap” is a better description.

    2. F1oSaurus (@)
      5th June 2020, 16:54

      @krommenaas I agree that this handicap is a wrong idea, but it’s not that dramatic either though.

      Suppose Mercedes is champ again and Red Bull 2nd. Then Mercedes gets 90% development time and Red Bull 92.5%. It unfairly narrows the gap between these teams, but it’s not by that much. Although I have no clue how much time that would cost/gain on track.

      It gets worse if they go for the 5% scale though. Then Mercedes would get 70% and Red Bull 75%

      Especially since the budget cap will be in place too then it will probably really start to cost the top teams. Which also indicates hwo wrong this is. The playing field is already much more level with the budget caps. So why slap something fake like a handicap on top of that before even giving the budget cap a chance to prove itself.

      1. Imagine a team like McLaren that had a few bad seasons but then gets a new technical lead. These rules + a budget cap will give them a HUGE advantage. In fact the most talented aero people will be encouraged to jump from team to team, chasing the advantage.

        1. F1oSaurus (@)
          5th June 2020, 18:39

          @krommenaas The handicap is not compounded. But yes they could finish 7th in 2022 and get the 100% allowed time vs 70% for the champ. Still, the 6th place gets 95%, then 5th place 90%. It’s not like McLaren are then the only ones with an advantage. Besides, coming in 7th means that they were completely trashed. You don’t fix that in one year anyway. More likely they will be fighting for say third in the first season.

          I feel this handicap system is a very unethical way of “bringing the field closer”, but I also don’t think it will completely swap the order around from season to season.

  11. meh, not a fan. little percentage or big, the concept is wrong, and I still fail to see what problem is it supposed to solve. the reason “the same teams always wins” is the exact definition of every sport. you get the same in tennis, football, skiing and whatnot.

  12. Magnus Rubensson (@)
    5th June 2020, 10:36

    Let’s introduce similar rules in football and prevent guys like Cristiano Ronaldo from training.
    F1: a show, not a sport.

    1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
      5th June 2020, 10:50

      If the sport is good it will automatically be a good show. They are not mutually exclusive.

    2. F1oSaurus (@)
      5th June 2020, 16:56

      @magnusrubensson Nonsense, F1 is a sport. These guys are extremely well trained athletes. It’s not like the olden days when they were smoking playboys who would barely train at all and just race now and then.

      1. Magnus Rubensson (@)
        5th June 2020, 17:21

        We just have different ways of defining the term “sport”. No problem in that, of course.

        The selling of the commercial rights in 1998 is the defining point for me. From that point onwards, F1 has been controlled by corporate interests, much like the Red Bull events.
        Despite the olden images of the smoking playboys, I would argue that F1 was more relevant 50 years ago than it is now. Today, F1 is more about politics than racing. It’s blatantly “in-ones-face” obvious.
        The future obviously lies with Formula E and spec racing.
        Norway has indicated they will ban the sale of fossil fuel cars as early as 2025. F1 in this form will be increasingly irrelevant.

        Since I belong to the olden days myself, I take the liberty (ha ha) of using Hemingway’s olden definition of “true sports”:

        1. @magnusrubensson if anything, your frequent references to that supposed Hemingway quote is perhaps indicative of an over-romanticisation of the past.

          For the record, Hemingway had nothing to do with that supposed quote – in fact, if he were still alive, Hemingway would probably be rather confused by people attributing that quote to him as, during his lifetime, he showed relatively little interest in motorsport.

          1. Magnus Rubensson (@)
            6th June 2020, 10:34

            The quote is attributed to Hemingway. But it carries its own weight. The words stand fine on their own even without him.

          2. @magnusrubensson no, the quote was not originally attributed to Hemingway – he’d been dead for over 20 years before the first attempts were wrongly made to attribute the quote to him, mainly because of a tendency for people to ascribe a particular quote to somebody famous. The more probably candidate for that quote is usually said to be the writer Ken Purdy, who put the quote into the mouth of one of his fictional characters.

            As for the notion that you are posting, it smacks more of a pretentious way of trying to project an image of a supposedly pure and untainted golden age that didn’t really exist at the time, complete with the tendency towards monocausality that wants to project everything supposedly wrong about the sport as coming from a single event or decision, when in reality such efforts are almost always a vast oversimplification of a far larger number of smaller events that occurred over an extended period of time.

        2. @magnusrubensson, As another oldfart I agree with you, particularly in regard to the root cause of the problem being Bernie Ecclestone’s greed and cunning. Imagine if management (from the beginning) took only a share of profit equal to the team average, a very handsome reward considering the manager would not have to design, build and run 2 cars, pay drivers etc. under such a scenario all the teams could receive +-50% more income without the current inequities which were nothing more than a financial inducement to get the core teams to accept Bernie’s terms when renegotiating the (so called) Concord.

          1. Magnus Rubensson (@)
            6th June 2020, 10:26

            Thank you – you grasp the gist of my posts. I agree with your points re. revenue distribution and the Concord agreement. Unfortunately, this is no longer possible.

            Ecclestone is a very clever businessman. There’s nothing wrong in that. He was clever enough to be able to circumvent (in effect “buy”) the control of F1 from the FIA. The real error lies with the FIA for selling out the “rights” that were not theirs to sell.
            The FIA could have said “No” to selling off the commercial rights. But they did not.

            Having gained control, Ecclestone could then build a private monopoly – a monopoly which has now been sold on to Liberty Media. Note the word “Media” in the company name.

            A private monopoly can set any rules it wants. It can also put pressure on (and remove lots of freedoms from) the circuits. It can change and morph its product any way it sees fit.
            The result: F1 is now a media product – a corporation’s ownership stake. But it is no longer a true sport.

        3. F1oSaurus (@)
          7th June 2020, 20:42

          @magnusrubensson Yeah I define sport as “sport”. Not by who “controls” it or if there are events related to it

          Sorry, but you make no sense at all.

          Besides, you clearly have no clue about politics in F1 if you feel there is more of that now.

          We all get the “gist” of you posts in the sense that you are dreaming with rose glasses of overly romanticized and inaccurate memories of the good ole days. While we are talking about proper terms and see “good ole days” for what they were. Full of the most disgusting politics that no one would get away with any more, almost constant cheating and crappy cars driven by poorly trained athletes.

          1. Magnus Rubensson (@)
            8th June 2020, 7:56

            You are entitled to your opinion. Define it any way you want…
            We live in a free country … don’t we?
            Have a nice day.

  13. Marvin_The_Martian
    5th June 2020, 10:43

    I fundamentally disagree with any BoP or handicap system that restricts or punishes the most successful by limiting their performance artificially. Let them develop within the regulations 100%.
    However, relaxing restrictions for the less successful is a better way of evening the odds on performance. Allow 5 litres of extra fuel for Williams, permit them more testing time on track, 100 miles or whatever, give them more aerodynamic surfaces to use, more tyres at race weekends, more FP1, 2 and 3 time.
    The fundamentals of money means that Mercedes et al have many times more guys to crunch the numbers than the smaller teams so give the smaller teams more track time to compensate.
    Don’t give the successful less, give the limited more.

  14. Let’s not overreact. Yes it’s a handicap, but a very small one. It’s not like F1 hasn’t dabbled with handicaps before.. who remembers smaller teams being allowed to run an extra car in Friday free practice between 2003 and 2006?

    This is a very modest change with a sliding scale. If it brings the field a little closer together then I’m all for it.

  15. Sometimes we get caught up in the idea of a “fake” equality. In 2014 when the new PUs came in, every engine manufacturer had the same time to develop and the same freedom of budget, yet we ended up with Mercedes being miles ahead of the rest. Then the FIA introduced the ‘token’ system, a system that was equal to all of the engine manufacturers, i mean Renault could spend as many tokens as Mercedes could, but the latter was so much ahead that could take many many years for the former to catch up. It was equal to all of them, but at the same time it locked Mercedes’s initial advantage for many years.

    The same applies to budget and aero development. We think that every team has the same opportunities to start from scratch every year and develop the best car if they can design it, yet it doesn’t happen as we think. If a medium-budget team designs one year a bad car, then they’ll be probably stuck in the back all of that year, they’ll have less and less sponsors due to their limited TV-exposure and the fact that sponsoring the last team is not the same as sponsoring a top team in terms of status for a sponsor, fewer sponsors would be willing to fund the team. Fewer sponsors means less budget for next year when they’ll going to design a new (but probably evolved from the old) car and probably less testing as these teams usually can’t make it on time or money-wise to all the pre-season testing.

    This creates a vicious cycle of failure. Of course a team can leave this cycle, Sauber was second-to-last in 2016 and they managed to crawl back in the midfield. Others however haven’t, HRT, Caterham, Manor and possibly Williams in the near future disappeared after spending years being last. “Equality” says let them die as did many teams in the past, they had the same opportunites as the rest of them and they failed. But if this goes on, we’re going to end up with half the teams he now have at some point.

    This sliding scale of ATR doesn’t guarantee success, it just helps a team that got it wrong with their design one or two years and that doesn’t have unlimited budget, to get a small, almost insignificant boost in develoment and end this downward spiral. Williams aren’t going to suddenly catch Ferrari if they have only 2.5-10% more aero development when the latter has 4-times bigger budget. It just might help them not disappear. Racing Point maybe aren’t going to beat Mercedes but given they are one of the best (if not the best) bang-for-buck teams, they might actually get much closer to the top-3.

    1. small, almost insignificant boost
      Williams aren’t going to suddenly catch Ferrari if they have only 2.5-10% more aero development when the latter has 4-times bigger budget.

      It’s up to a 64% variance between teams, @black.
      The budget cap next year solves the budget variance, unless you refer to the 4x larger marketing budget.

      1. @coldfly

        The champions will get 90%, those who finish last 112.5%.

        That’s 22.5%, where does this 64% come from?… maybe i didn’t misunderstood something.
        As for the budget cap, lets wait and see how it plays out and whether there are loopholes that the big teams are going to get an advantage from. Nevertheless the point about less sponsors and TV revenue still stands, even with a budget cap of 135million, some small teams don’t even reach that threshold and they’ll contiune to struggle.

        In the end i think it’s good for the sport in general because it gives just a small boost to the bad-performing teams that we don’t want to disappear form the grid. Even if we grant Williams 50% more aero development, they still need to use their brains properly to come up with something, it’s not a magic wand that will give them 2sec advantage automaticaly.

        1. maybe i misunderstood something*
          damn it no edit button :P

          1. At leaset you did not ‘misunderestime’ me ;)

            where does this 64% come from?

            It’s 64% from the 2nd year (see this article); 115%/70%, @black.

          2. @coldfly Thanks, i didn’t remember that.
            Well 64% seems big, even i who support this idea in general think is big, bigger than i think is necessary.
            But it’s 64% between Mercedes and Williams for example, and the 64% comes mainly because Mercedes’s aero development time will be reduced, Williams’s stays the about same. If we compare Williams who finished 10th and Haas who finished 9th, the difference is 5% which is not massive and if Williams for example uses that extra 5% and beats Haas in 2022, then Haas would be entitled to use this extra 5% and improve in the future and so on. Kinda like the draft system works in NBA.

            Even if this doesn’t work and is dropped in the future, what’s the worst that can happen…Williams, Haas and Alfa Romeo would dominate the field because they’ll have 50-60% more time than Mercedes…? Even if we give them the blueprint of the ‘new’ Mercedes and let them spend 3x times more time in development with it, i doubt they will win over the original. It’s a low risk-big gain change in my opinion.

        2. Jockey Ewing
          5th June 2020, 12:08

          90% vs 112.5% is for the first year they apply this rule.
          Then they plan to widen the gap to 64% later.
          Imo at first year that won’t be enough to catch up on Mercedes, but the 64% seems to be a lot.
          But probably AI and deep learning can bring great changes in design. (Because of 1: the capability of non conventional “thoughts”, what is already a huge thing in poker, I had a proven highstakes player friend, who told years before that online NL1000 had been already beaten by bots by that time. Or in much deeper games like go… the almost unbeatable go world champion was beaten to something like 4:1 by an AI a few years before. Go is more complex than chess. And because of 2: they may simulate wind tunnels to test those non conventional ideas, and maybe less wind tunnel hours needed later. Teams maybe already looking for people who can do this.)

          1. @Jockey Ewing
            First like i said above i doubt that 64%, which looks big even for me, would change the sport entirely and the staus quo. It would close up the midfield and maybe help the midfield teams challenge for the odd podium or win.

            And second, like all the regs the FIA announces, it can change depending on its effects. That 64% is just the first draft, it could be reduced or increased accordingly if the results are not what they expected. The budget cap initially was to be set around 200mil, then dropped to 175mil and after the Covid-19 effect dropped again to 145-135mil. The 2021 regs initially had more changes that the teams opposed, FIA changed some aspects of them and later moved them to 2022. As a rule change i think is good and given how it affects the teams, FIA could ajust it easily.

  16. I like it. Anything that closes the racing up is welcome and remember: just because you get closer doesn’t mean you get an advantage. Crucially you still have to race, get strategy right, and the driver has to make bold overtakes and make them stick. Current F1 gives relatively few opportunities for that last bit, the exciting bit, the bit that most casual viewers watch for (sorry die-hards but no one is too excited watching even the admittedly superior machinery just stroll off into the distance unchallenged).

    We’re here for fun and sport ultimately between the drivers, and this helps even that out so we get to see the drivers compete!

  17. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    5th June 2020, 11:55

    You could argue it’s a handicap sure, but the other way of ‘handicapping’ would be a stringent budget cap that allowed the back of the grid the same financial parity with the front – that would certainly balance performance out a little better but the ‘big teams’ didn’t want that. So have this instead. A meritocracy operates on the concept that the best man in the best machine wins (thanks Toto) but F1 isn’t a meritocracy. Not when some teams have the financial clout to waste thousands on research and the best technology available while others are barely making it to the grid.

    Simply put if you don’t like the sliding scale ‘handicap’ then complain about teams getting millions just for turning up. Complain about a small number of teams creaming enormous profits and congratulating themselves while others are on the verge of collapse. If there was SOME equality of finance and technology then we wouldn’t even need ‘gimmicks’ to do it for us. But here we are.

    1. F1oSaurus (@)
      5th June 2020, 16:58

      @rocketpanda They have the budget cap. And its lowered too and will be lowered even more in the coming years.

      It’s not “instead” it’s slapped “on top off”. Before even giving the budget cap a chance.

  18. I am all for equitable distribution of funds among all F1 teams and I believe it will eventually go a long way in improving competition. But things like DRS, aero restrictions for some, or reverse grids are just short sighted band-aid solutions that can only lead to even more success ballast ideas.

  19. The problem with a lot of these ideas is that they don’t ‘fix’ the problem. There just a sticking plaster hiding it from view & the more reliant F1 becomes on these things means they will be harder to take off & you instead just end up adding more.

    DRS is a prime example of this. It doesn’t fix anything, It just hides the issue behind a gimmick that was only supposed to be around a few years & was also supposed to be removed when the 2021/22 rule changes were introduced. Yet it’s been around nearly a decade, Has never looked like been removed & will still be on the cars beyond 2022 because F1 has become reliant on it to create ‘stats’ & ‘fake’ excitement.

    The reverse grid qualifying race idea is another example. It again doesn’t ‘fix’ any of the issues, It just hides them by penalizing the fastest cars/drivers in a way to create artificial excitement & an even more artificially mixed up grid. The performance differences between teams, The inequality of funding distribution or difficulty cars have following/overtaking isn’t solved…. There just hidden behind the gimmick.

    1. @stefmeister — Some of the items you’ve mentioned, I agree, have not done a lot to fix issues. However, part of the problem is that they are rules applied to the entire field, which is already very unequal. So DRS is not going to help a Williams pass a Mercedes or Red Bull unless the latter are missing a wheel.

      This is different because it is not applied equally across the field, it is applied in an attempt to allow the back of the field to catch up some. At best, it will be over time, and it won’t be immediate. But I, personally, am more willing to give these rules some time to see how they play out than I am things like DRS, or 2019 aero changes, etc., which either do not help or will be easily designed around, respectively.

      Who knows, maybe this and the budget cap won’t help either, but I think they are better attempts than have been tried in quite some time.

    2. F1oSaurus (@)
      5th June 2020, 17:01

      @stefmeister DRS at least compensates fairly for a disadvantage the following car has on track. There is nothing unfair about it. Handicapping a team at aero development for performing better simply goes against everything competition stands for. Or should stand for.

      1. @f1osaurus

        There is nothing unfair about it.

        I do think in instances where DRS is too powerful/effective & the following driver simply pushes the button & drives by unopposed half way down the straight with the lead car unable to do anything to defend is unfair.

        I will always maintain that while the tubulant air/difficulty following issue is a problem that needs improving (I don’t think they will ever remove the problem entirely), DRS was never & will never be the best/fairest solution. I still think something like a P2P is a far better/fairer option that should also be far easier to fine tune to ensure it works only as an assist rather than a passing device as DRS often can.

        I completely agree about the aero handicap system though.

        1. F1oSaurus (@)
          5th June 2020, 18:25


          I do think in instances where DRS is too powerful/effective & the following driver simply pushes the button & drives by unopposed half way down the straight with the lead car unable to do anything to defend is unfair.

          That is not the fault of DRS though.

          These drive-by’s only happen when cars are already 2 seconds or (more) a lap faster than the one they are overtaking.

          If it was just a matter of pressing a button then you would have been past Vettel at Canada or past Leclerc at Monza with no problem. It clearly isn’t. Not on any track.

          In the olden days we had slipstreaming battles. Where the slipstream actually was an advantage. Cars would keep overtaking each other lap after lap. If DRS were an advantage we would see that in F1 now too. We don’t. Not even close.

          DRS is a small compensation for the disadvantage. To make it possible to even think about overtaking a car that’s 1.5 seconds slower.

  20. I don’t like it as it’s a handicap no matter how you look at it and there is no guarantee that it will change anything and as many have posted it may not result in a change at all. When it comes to the disparity in performance I believe the most important factor is knowledge or a lack of it, and I think a better solution would be to allow under performing teams to purchase a one to three year old car from a front runner once every ‘X’ years. Hopefully they can then reverse engineer the car and develop the knowledge and understanding that they lack. Granted the top teams may not be willing to sell even a three year old car so another way may need to be found to transfer knowledge, but I believe that is the way forward.

  21. Yawn

    Not really an advantage, since Mercedes still possess enough computing power to do twice as much with half the time.
    But I suppose ignoring that and about 27 other details makes it a BoP, yes.

    1. Dale, Mercedes does not have “enough computing power to do twice as much with half the time” because of the explicit limits in the regulations on the computing power of the computers that the teams can use to run their CFD models.

  22. I’m not sure how it works for football in Europe, but is allowing the worst placed teams in the NFL, NBA and the NHL the highest spots in the following year’s draft to create parity a smite against all that is good about sport? I don’t think so, and you couldn’t imagine the aforementioned sports allowing the best teams to pick the best players in the draft every year. Yet that is what F1 does every year when the best place teams receive the most money to continue to out develop and ultimately outpace their “rivals”. I’m not saying I’m a big fan of this new solution, I would have preferred lower placed teams having increased access to actual track and testing time, but I will take what I can get.

  23. Let’s compare this system to the NFL Draft: the worst teams from the previous years choose the best college players first. It levels the field a little, but doesn’t change too much, unless they find a Verstappen. In fact, the draft is effectively a system in which Willams can hire the next Verstappen for a predefined salary before Mercedes, Ferrari of Red Bull can even make an offer.

    Compared to that, the aero restrictions are minimal and welcome

  24. Mark in Florida
    6th June 2020, 0:37

    Why couldn’t you just give the slower teams more fuel and rpms to make more power? That would be more easily regulated. Regulating aero would just allow the big team’s to pick it up somewhere else by tweaking other area’s. This idea is better than doing nothing. The gap between the teams is just to big right now. You need the budget of NASA to compete against the level of the big three. The lower budget is good for finances but to me it handicaps the smaller teams from catching up in a way. We will see. I can’t wait for the season to start. It’s been a terrible year for racing. I’m so bored right now I could watch golf carts to at it.

  25. The rationale seems to be that because it’s a less bad “sticking plaster” idea than others and happens away from the public eye, then it should be acceptable. That doesn’t really pass the smell test.

    The focus should be on the longer-term solutions they’ve chosen. Making the prize money and governance structure fairer, refining the rules and enforcement of the budget cap and incentivising use of cleaner aero.

    Working on the big stuff that will make a difference over time, even if those solutions can never be perfect, is better than adding short-term plasters everywhere in the hope that they’ll hit upon a combination that might give the appearance of equality.

    Positive discrimination for the dis-advantaged might be well meaning, but more often that not it hurts those it’s designed to help in the long run, because it puts off the real work that needs to be done on the underlying issues.

  26. Call it what you want, that’s irrelevant – it was still necessary.

  27. I just rewatched the 2007 and 2008 seasons. For my money Brawn can do whatever he likes to get back to racing as energised as that.

  28. Let’s just call it wat it is, extra testing for the lower ranked teams. Instead of track testing it is wind tunnel testing.

    I’m fine with it. It doesn’t interfere with the purity of the car on race day.

  29. Gavin Campbell
    7th June 2020, 10:27

    This isn’t BoP – and I do think its been explained poorly by F1 in general.

    The teams are already artifically restricted on development with Wind Tunnel/Testing etc. The problem with this is whoever gets out in front early on in a rules cycle usually stays there. There is no method for teams to put in more work to catch up as they are all operating at the limit (at least at the front).

    This isnt handicapping sucsess, it is allowing teams the oppurtunity to catch up. BoP/weight/boost reductions etc are awful where the organisers purposly reduce the performace of a car to help others. This is very different where they allow more testing time but do not restrict or affect the performace of others.

    They do this in Moto GP and it works like a dream

  30. I disagree with the notion that this handicap system (because, yes, it IS a system with a handicap to make it harder for those who are at the top and easier for those at the back) would “punish” the winner though @keithcollantine.

    Why? Because it really does not take anything away from them. It just puts more limits on them how much “raw force” they can throw at aerodevelopment. But since their car will be at the forefront already, that car also needs less to improve. And off course, as Mercedes has shown over recent years, a well run team is already best able to choose what to put their time in as part of their development proces and succeed in bringing new bits that DO have a positive effect on their car.

    Compare Ferrari putting in a lot of effort only to ditch their update after several races because it actually made the car worse. Or Haas struggling all year to understand what is needed. Or a Williams who found their car was dead in the water from the start.
    Each one of them could have been able to use more development vs. Mercedes. But still failed to make their car go faster from that effort.

  31. andrew hewitt
    8th June 2020, 17:47

    im not being funny but formula 1 has been eating itself for years with the result that the teams with deep deep pockets are now smashing everyone else . bit of a handicap right there .. i for one would like to see the best drivers actually beating more than one or two drivers every time theres a race .. tough if the big teams cant get in the wind tunnel as much , they will still attract the smartest minds and they say they like a challenge , so the rules can give them one . im looking forward to maybe seeing who the best driver really is .. fingers crossed.

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