Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

How some teams voted in vain against rule change which cost low-rake cars “1s per lap”

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That Formula 1’s pecking order has changed became clear during pre-season testing in Bahrain. The majority of teams running low rake angles on the cars had their worst fears confirmed during Saturday qualifying.

If these teams – Mercedes and Aston Martin – still harboured any slivers of optimism about the effect the reductions in floor dimensions and bans on slots and strakes on the outer side of the rear wheel area, they did not after the race.

High-rake cars are those operated in ‘nose-down’ attitudes – as though constantly under braking; low-rake cars are level or even the opposite. The former philosophy facilitates larger volumes of under-car air for diffuser-induced downforce but can create imbalance; low-rake cars have longer wheelbases to partially compensate for lost ‘height’ and provide stability. In performance terms, it was much of a muchness until the changes.

True, Lewis Hamilton’s ‘low-rake’ Mercedes won on Sunday. But victory in the season’s opening race came only after a superhuman effort by F1’s latest knight, and came almost by default after Max Verstappen ceded the lead after a track limits violation. Verstappen’s Red Bull was emphatically proven to be the fastest car, but lost due to questionable strategic calls, and a strong case could be made that Red Bull snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Following qualifying Hamilton, who was nearly 0.4 seconds slower than Verstappen, claimed “It’s no secret that the changes… have been done to peg us back.” He likened the situation to last year’s technical directive which prevented teams from switching engine modes between qualifying, which was widely regarded as an attempt to disrupt Mercedes’ dominance.

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021
Turn one revealed AlphaTauri’s high rake angle…
…compared to Mercedes at similarly slow turn 10

Otmar Szafnauer, team principal of Aston Martin, whose current car is a largely (self-confessed) copy of a Mercedes and shares the same hardware where permitted, also blamed regulation changes for his team’s loss of form. That the opposition adopted a ‘serves them right for blatantly copying’ attitude compounded the team’s woes…

“It looks like the low-rake runners have lost about a second lap to the high-rake runners,” Szafnauer said on Saturday. “If you just look up and down [the grid]; if you compare us to Mercedes for example, I think we’re a tenth quicker than we were last year here, but when you compare us to all the high-rake runners, they’ve gained seven, eight tenths, even a second a lap.”

On Sunday Szafnauer implied the rule change was extraordinary, claiming: “There was never a vote… there was an indicative vote at the technical under-committee, that all the technical directors had an indicative vote [at], and three teams voted against it.

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“You’ve got to remember only two teams have a low-rake concept, so even one of the high-rake teams voted against it. So nowhere near unanimity [required for a late rule change]. It wouldn’t have even passed on the eight-out-of-10 rule because three voted against.”

F1 cars, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021
Aston Martin also run a lower rear ride height than rivals
How and why, then, were the aerodynamic rule changes introduced, and were they really designed to “peg back” Mercedes?

The matter has its roots in Hamilton’s shredded rubber at Silverstone last July – he limped to victory after his left-front tyre deflated on the final lap of the British Grand Prix. His team mate’s car and Carlos Sainz Jnr’s McLaren suffered similar failures. Pirelli therefore became concerned about the integrity of their tyres, which were originally formulated in 2018 for the 2019 season, and were being pushed to their design limits after being retained for 2020 year following a majority team vote taken in July 2019.

As a result, last May a unanimous decision was taken by F1 to delay introduction of its ‘new era’ aerodynamic regulations by a year, and roll-over the prevailing rules largely as-is in order to save costs in the face of uncertainty created by the pandemic. Thus, Pirelli’s already marginal 2019 rubber would be deployed for another season.

This prompted the governing body to introduce regulations to reduce downforce – the greatest single contributor to tyre energy, circuit and ambient temperatures, all being equal – as an emergency measure. These were approved by the FIA World Motor Sport Council on safety grounds as permitted under article 2.2 of the technical regulations: “Any changes made by the FIA for safety reasons may come into effect without notice or delay.”

Analysis: F1 field closes up as Mercedes lose two seconds in four months
Until testing commenced there was little indication whether low- or high-rake cars would be affected the most, as evidenced by the split vote referenced by Szafnauer. True, an indicative vote was held in early August, but this was merely courtesy given the safety clause, and the fact that Pirelli further beefed up their tyres for 2021 proves how critical the situation was.

“The decision to introduce it was the right one, because it’s stupid if you have a better product in your pocket not to use it,” said Pirelli racing manager Mario Isola during last week’s media briefing.

The FIA had no choice but to react not only quickly but with minimal cost implications across the grid regardless of the design philosophies followed by teams – whether two or eight out of 10 of them. Either way, we should be grateful that the changes were introduced, for the upshot is the racing seems a lot closer than last year, enabling Hamilton to demonstrate his mastery last weekend, and hopefully giving us a title fight to savour.

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118 comments on “How some teams voted in vain against rule change which cost low-rake cars “1s per lap””

  1. But victory in the season’s opening race came only after a superhuman effort by F1’s latest knight

    On Sunday the Mercedes is still as fast as, or faster than, the RBR.
    Just look at Bottas’ times deducting the extra times in the pit.

    Or is Bottas a superhuman as well?

    But at least we seem to get a team fight of equals this year.

    1. Was thinking the same thing as I read that sentence!

      1. Cringe journalism from Dieter, borderline delusional.

        He might have had more of a point if Bottas wasn’t matching Verstappen and Hamilton’s race pace.

        1. Lewis and Max were managing their tires for the inevitable battle. Bottas was free to run in free air.

        2. He fell for the smoke screen of Toto… classic

    2. someone or something
      1st April 2021, 13:26

      Yeah, I thought it was a tad hyperbolic as well. It was a great effort and a thoroughly deserved victory, but my criteria for a “superhuman effort” are quite a bit stricter than that.
      As you rightly point out, both Hamilton and Bottas had very similar pace, and that pace was on par with what Verstappen could manage. Maybe a few hundredths of a second per lap in Verstappen’s favour when it mattered, but apart from his qualifying lap, there is just no evidence of a vastly superior race pace. By any means, it was close enough for Mercedes to use an aggressive strategy to convert a slight disadvantage into a coinflip situation, and that coin did land on the side Mercedes were hoping for.
      Great job by Mercedes’ strategists, great job by Lewis for not cracking (decisively, considering that he did make a mistake in the run-up to Verstappen’s successfully failed overtake), but let’s save the term “superhuman” for when something truly implausible happens.

      1. @coldfly @t1redmonkey someone or something Yeah agreed and well said.

        The thing for me about the reg change re the floor change is that I honestly did not hear one peep (and of course I could easily have missed it) all off-season, and even going to back to last season when we became aware of the floor change, that it was to upset Mercedes/low-rake cars and their dominance. To me it was always about reducing downforce so that when teams found their usual downforce from one season to the next, they wouldn’t over stress the tires this season.

        Literally the first I heard of this was when LH claimed it was ‘no secret’ why they did the reg change. TW started saying the same thing. Now OS has chimed in. So to me it must have been a secret, at least in terms of anything I had heard/read going back to last season. Further to that, in the pre-race coverage on Sky they did a clip of Ted Kravitz going over the new Merc car with James Allison, which was from after their car reveal and before testing began, and in which Allison literally stated the jury was still out as to whether the changes would favour high rake or low rake cars. They, or at least he, just didn’t know.

        So I do find it not only funny, but disingenuous, that only now that there has been a race weekend, or even that now that there were hints of RBR’s improvement as the weekend went along and before the race, suddenly ‘it’s no secret’ what the reg changes were meant to do. It took Max’s strong practice sessions and then his quali performance, for the ‘secret’ to come out, lol.

        I think that as much of an F1 fan as I am, there are those around here that have a much better knowledge of F1, or follow more media and delve into more aspects of it more closely than I do, and yet I can only think now of the reaction around here when Mercedes presented their car and ran down all the things they addressed. I recall getting a genuine laugh out of todfod’s remark that the only thing missing was for TW, or Allison, whichever one it was doing the rundown of the car, to do a mic drop and walk off the stage. Just by them running down all the things they’d addressed, that had to mean to some that it could only be they will have expanded their domination over the grid. I think I pointed out that just running down what they had addressed didn’t mean others would not have improved as well. My point being, if it was no secret that the reg changes were meant to harm Mercedes, well there are those around here that detail F1 more than I do, or at least detail what goes on at Mercedes more than I do, who missed the secret too. Seems like most around here have expected Mercedes to dominate again, and still after this weekend expect them to find their way and win the titles in spite of RBR’s newfound form.

        I think one of the superhuman qualities of LH and TW is to play the victim while they win.

        1. @robbie how about the party mode removal? Or DAS removal? There’s been regulation after regulation squarely aimed at stifling Merc’s innovation and you want to sit here and write an essay about how you “had no idea” and they’re being disingenuous, get outta here.

          Bottom line is that NO team knows how good a job they’ve done until the first race, if Merc are confident you people cry. If they are reserved you call them out for crying wolf. The truth is they are the best pure engineers on the grid and deserve more respect from so-called “fans” of the sport, but you all just see one guy winning and cry into your little orange T shirts, well your tantrums have had the desired effect this year and you had better pray that your prodigy can get the job done with copious FIA assistance hobbling Merc.

          1. Party mode removal affected everyone and DAS that I’m aware of did not cause Mercedes domination last year. Have we heard them complain about that? Did the other teams really complain about it last year or feel it gave them some significant advantage? I think not.

            I literally did not hear anyone saying, going back to last season, that the reg changes to reduce downforce this season were to stifle Mercedes, so yeah them saying it now that Max is more competitive seems disingenuous to me. Literally the first suggestion I heard of it was when LH said it after qualifying.

            As well, you will find that I actually do respect Mercedes, I don’t cry about LH winning, nor have tantrums, I don’t ‘pray’ that Max can get the job done, nor has there been ‘copious FIA assistance hobbling Merc.’ And they won, so it sounds like you are the one crying, not I.

          2. @RB13

            You are just cherry picking. Ferrari made a huge step back after one single regulation change, more than Mercedes was harmed by all the regulation changes combined, but you ignore that…

        2. @robbie heh yeah I noticed the difference in position from the pre-recorded pre-test car analysis and the comments made once they’d realised the impact.

          Mercedes, and particularly Hamilton are always playing the victim. My mind recalls such comments from Hamilton as “maybe it’s because I’m black”.

          I’ve no doubt that his formative years were tough, and he had to work harder to prove himself. But he still seems to believe that everyone is out to get him (a little narcissistic), even when it’s demonstrably not the case.

          Classic Mercedes though: our competition is strong, everything and all the odds are against us, but we still triumph.

          I guess to be fair, that attitude evades complacency and could very well be part of the reason for their success. Still bloody annoying though.

    3. @coldfly
      That’s a clear demonstration of how scarlessly fast Mercedes were in 2020. First the party mode ban that reduced their ability to use an aggressive downforce set up that resulted in an important amount of drag which was compensated with the mighty power. DAS has also been banned this year which gave them an advantage in qualy and race starts and restarts after the safety car. The floor changes are actually believed to have favoured high rake cars.

      Taking into consideration that Honda were pushing like hell in the last couple of years chasing performance introducing multiple upgrades per season ignoring grid penalties and ending by introducing the 2022 PU for the 2021 season. RBR were also flat out on the chassis side with Newey fully focused on the 2021 season. All this and Mercedes are still as fast as RBR in race conditions.

    4. I’m thinking the difference between Saturdays and Sundays might be more to do with the Honda engine, because it also seemed to apply to customer teams – Alpha Tauri looked quicker than McLaren in qualifying, but even before Gasly bashed into the back of Riccardo the McLarens looked faster in the race, and certainly neither Gasly nor Tsunoda looked like they were close to Norris’s pace.

      1. The McLarens were both on Soft rubber and Gasly was on Medium I believe so the pace offset at the start was likely just down to McLaren’s tyres being up to speed. That’s why they were also mauling LeClerc. After the accident it’s a pretty safe bet that Gasly wrecked the underside of his floor thus losing downforce and pace. Tsunoda has reasonable pace but it’s not realistic to expect a rookie to have amazing race pace in their first race.

        That being said, it’s pretty clear the Honda engine has taken a step this year but we don’t yet know if the Mercedes is running full tilt yet as they do have previous of starting the year with a conservative engine and then unleashing performance later on.

    5. Perez was clearly superhuman as well o drive from dead last to 5th on the grid! And on a track where overtaking is difficult.

      1. @kbdavies Just focus on the Hamilton great, Vettel bad – narrative and you’ll enjoy your stay here much more

        1. @Balue – There seems to be a problem somewhere – as I didn’t mention Hamilton or Vettel in my comment.

          Maybe you are the one who needs to focus?

          1. @kbdavies My comment was in reference to you as others questioning the use of the term superhuman here, and how it’s easier to accept that extreme praise and criticism will typically only go a certain way on this site, than question it or try to point out inconsistencies.

        2. @Balue – again, i don’t see how the agreementvor disagreement with the adjective “superhuman” as used in the article has anything to do with the narrative you are accusing others of.

          Maybe that is more about something burning within you that you had to let out? I don’t know.

          Besides, it is indeed “suprehuman” to keep a faster car with newer tyres behind you, and win race that the paddock consensus says you had no business winning.

          No matter the academic gymnastics and intellectual kung-fu engaged in by many on this issue, the Red Bull was indeed the faster car.

          It was the fastest car in testing, the fastest in all practice sessions, and fastest in the pole position shootout, the fastest by race data, and the fastest according to ALL F1 publications, magazines, websites, and team principals – bar none.

          Of course, Joe Bloggs watching a race on tv can disagree and come up with his counter reality rendition.

          1. @kbdavies Oh I see now. You were actually being ironic when people were questioning if it really was superhuman to win in an update of the most dominant car of our era (maybe of all time), easily keeping up with the opponent in the race on the same tyre, and later lucking in with the strategy, having no better pace than your average rated team mate.

            “burning within you”
            “acedemic gymnastics and intellectual kung-fu”
            “Joe Bloggs”
            “counter reality rendition”

            Lol. I just didn’t realize you were one of those. Carry on.

          2. Nailed it!!!

          3. My comment was directed at Gigantor; Nailed it!

    6. RB was the clear fastest over the Bahrain weekend

      1. Take another look at the timing charts and not just at qualifying where one driver made a mistake.

    7. While the outcome is good for us, the manner is still questionnable. There has always been rules in F1 to control the teams and try to keep them in a similar performance space (with variable success).

      Implementing a change like this one because car loads are too high for the single tire supplier mandated by the controlling body in a year with restricted car revision possible. Whatever the outcome, this is no better than performance ballast to me as this is arbitrary changing the performance of the cars, especially relative to each other.

      This should be like marshal decision, I can’t say it was good because the result seems to have brought Mercedes and RedBull very close and that’s promising racing for the rest of the year. In the same way FIA as been Ferrari assistance for years, this could have been FIA gifting a WCC to RedBull and that’s not the kind of gift we should see in F1. Yes, Mercedes dominance is a bit boring, but they should have a chance to defend themselves if rules are thrown their way to bring them back to the pack (which they succeeded to do past few years), not have development tokens.

    8. Amazing to watch the hypersensitiveness of ‘Hamilton non fans’. A whole article and those guys urge to discuss a minor phrase that doesnt make any difference to the central idea in the article.

      Hamilton´s win sunday with a slower car still hurting…

      1. With a car as fast as red bull, there’s no evidence for the contrary in the race, and if you think that just because a car is faster in qualifying it’s also faster in the race, just remember the qualifying sessions last year when hamilton got a pole by 7 tenths and then only had 2 tenths in hand per lap in the race.

      2. Read your first sentence again and now without the ’non’.
        That probably explains why you got so upset.

        I spoke about the team, and deliberately left the word ‘team’ in my closing comment.

    9. @coldfly it is a bit tricky to tell, given the differences in strategy and thus tyre life means a direct comparison may be a little misleading.

      In the opening stint, Verstappen did open an initial gap, but then the times roughly stabilised. However, against that we know that Verstappen was meant to run a longer stint before Mercedes’s early pit stops to pressure him – so, we also don’t know whether Verstappen could have pushed a bit harder and thus upped his pace if he was running a more aggressive strategy.

      With regards to the second stint, over the first six laps, Bottas was lapping at a similar pace to Verstappen – however, after that, Bottas’s times progressively worsened, whereas Verstappen was able to keep up a similar pace.

      The picture does suggest that it may be a bit more complex than “On Sunday the Mercedes is still as fast as, or faster than, the RBR.”. To me, it looks a bit more like, on heavy fuel during the first stint of a race, the two cars may be more evenly matched – however, in the latter stages of the race, where fuel loads are lower and the tyres more worn, I would suggest that Red Bull probably does have an edge.

      Without gaining track position at the end of the first stint, I would not be surprised if, over the second and third stints, we probably would have seen Verstappen progressively edge away from the two Mercedes, and in clear air I’d expect the RB16B to be quicker overall over a full race distance.

      1. anon I think that is a fair summation. We have heard on many occasions drivers saying ‘you can’t pass with these cars’ and as I have said in recent days that even goes back to LH saying it back in 2015 after he won the WDC in the US and Nico went on his win streak. It is also why Brawn stated in his post-race summation on F1’s official sight that that is why they have changed the cars starting next year.

      2. It’s not realistic to have a scenario where Red Bull would willingly leave themselves in the undercut window. That’s borderline revisionist.

  2. The point is not that they shouldn’t have taken action but they specifically chose to do it in a way that did most harm to Mercedes as lead team and Aston Martin who they seem to have a grudge against from last year.

    1. Which is the whole point of having regulation in the first place…

  3. Yes, good that the racing is closer and real talent becomes more important and more evident. No, I don’t think curbing car performance because the tyres explode is a reasonable excuse. Build (or use) better tyres. Deliberate or not, I don’t think changes that affect the high/low rake design philosophies very differently are good for Formula 1’s ecodiversity. Or fair at a basic level. Still, I expect Mercedes will resolve this ‘setback’ fairly quickly, given they’re still obviously in a very strong second.

    Does anyone know what Mercedes actually spent their tokens on? A lot of speculation before the first race but I haven’t read or heard anything since.

    1. Noone knows as Mercedes didn’t tell anybody… ofcourse we will know at the end of the season as that information will be ‘leaked’.

  4. Yes, I’m grateful to. Getting fed up with the Racing Point mixing with the big boys. And if as expected the RB is going to be as dominant as the Merc was come the next few tracks, we can all pretend a change is as good as a rest.

    1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      1st April 2021, 16:18

      Is your getting fed up comment a joke or sincere? Because more competition at the front has never hurt my feelings.

      1. For my part, I’m happy for them to mix it up at the front as soon as they come up with their own car. I’m not a fan of the Mercedes copy.

        1. And what about the other f1 teams this year who copied Mercedes rear suspension? Or how almost all the teams copied the Mercedes nose/Cape design? No problem with that? Or is only racing point/aston martin not allowed to copy?

  5. I think the link to the rake is too far fetched. Assumptions…

    1. Same here. Being force-fed with it most of the weekend by SSF1 too

  6. Let’s wait and see. It’s obvious that the rule changes didn’t help the low rake philosophy but one race is not enough for a final judgement.
    Especially as Bahrain has been one of or arguably the worst track for Mercedes since 2017 and Aston Martin are now experiencing the absence of their lead driver.

    1. Yeah, we will see. We will see how the AM drivers line up within the next few races I think. Vettel hasn’t had enough time in testing or over the winter to really know the team and car. We can judge him later on, but not yet. I think everyone is way too quick to judge just like with Albon, Gasly, etc. I know he has struggled a lot over the past few years, but people were acting like he was gonna drive like Senna with AM even though he couldn’t spend time over the winter, and had terrible testing days. He isn’t good when he isn’t completely trusting the car, so if he can really trust the car, we can see how good he really is.

  7. Bottas was also equally as fast as Hamilton on race trim. James Allison clearly said that without the 10 second pit stop, Bottas would have been pressuring Red Bull to give up 2nd place, and possibly a 1-2 for Mercedes at the most extreme circumstance. It’s clear that the regulations benefit more the high rake design philosophy, but Mercedes were matching Red Bull on race pace. Verstappen may have had a 4 tenths advantage in qualifying, but it means nothing on most situations due to the race being a different event. It is also a 23 race season, and I think the championships will be decided based on who makes the less mistakes.

    Based on drive to survive, Abiteboul was really mad at Racing Point last year…. I think it was shown in episode 3 or 4 I think?

    1. F1oSaurus (@)
      1st April 2021, 16:45

      @krichelle Verstappen was poorly managing his tyres and/or they made him run stints that were too long. Still overall he had the fastest strategy, he simply lacked the track position to actually show that as he was held up by a slower Hamilton.

      With one more set of hard tyres he might have performed better. Using the hards in the second stint would also have made much more sense.

      The car was faster, but the strategy and driver didn’t extract the maximum out of their potential. And even then they were still faster.

      Plus Verstappen was under the impression that he could pull a 5 or 10 second gap on Hamilton still in the few laps at the end. So he was also convinced he could go even a lot faster than Mercedes was going still.

      1. @f1osaurus What won him the race was Hamilton’s mega 28-lap stint at the end of the race. He managed those tires without losing too much performance. At the end of the race his pace was still alright; Verstappen wasn’t going to pull a 5-second gap (and even if he’d managed to do so, he would have been given a 10-second penalty). Verstappen was at a small strategic disadvantage at the beginning of the race, with only one set of hards available to him. He looked faster on the mediums, so I don’t think it affected him much. Still, this race could have gone either way. Mercedes took a gamble and it paid off, but it could just as easily have backfired.

        1. F1oSaurus (@)
          2nd April 2021, 6:58

          @f1infigures You are saying the exact same thing, but from the other perspective.

          In reality, Verstappen lost this race so it makes more sense to say that Verstappen should have had 2 hard sets or he should have done his longest stints on hard and not medium.

          Mercedes didn’t even take a gamble really either. They had P2 and if their “gamble” failed then it would still be P2.

          Also, 28 laps on hards is a normal stint. Nothing “mega” about it.

          1. You pick arguments with even people who agree with you.
            I think you should see a psychiatrist.

            Also why do you act like an expert when you’ve only been following F1 since 2014? The arrogance really is something to behold.

          2. @f1osaurus Thank you for your comment. Having analyzed the race myself, these are my replies:

            Mercedes didn’t even take a gamble really either. They had P2 and if their “gamble” failed then it would still be P2.

            While this seems legit, I don’t think it’s necessarily true in this case. While track position is important, drivers can buy themselves track position by pitting early, but if the price is too high, they will lose it later in the race. Red Bull sold the lead at a reasonably high price, which gave them reasonable chances of regaining the lead later on. Had Red Bull pre-empted the Mercedes undercut, they had to buy track position at this reasonably high price, so they could lose it at the end of the race. So it would either have been Verstappen attacking Hamilton or Hamilton attacking Verstappen at the end of the race. Red Bull preferred the first situation, so they allowed the Hamilton undercut, but it was a tough decision to make, very early in the race. The leader naturally want to copy the strategy of the car behind, which is impossible as he passes the pit-lane first. The second car can (and will) always deviate, which pretty much negates its track-position disadvantage. A good example of this is the 2018 Italian Grand Prix, where Mercedes tricked Ferrari into pitting Räikkönen early, which proved disadvantageous.
            Long story short: practice has shown that even the guy in second place has a decent chance of winning the race (as long as he can keep up with the leader and tire wear is sufficiently high, which was the case), so Mercedes did take a gamble, as they had something to lose.

            In reality, Verstappen lost this race so it makes more sense to say that Verstappen should have had 2 hard sets or he should have done his longest stints on hard and not medium.

            Not having a second set of hards was probably a mistake, although Verstappen’s second stint on the mediums was pretty good. Not all cars preferred the hard tires (Williams didn’t even run the hard tire in the race).

            Also, 28 laps on hards is a normal stint. Nothing “mega” about it.

            Only Stroll did a similarly-long stint on hards (Vettel did an even longer stint, but he was on a 1-stop strategy; I don’t think that strategy was the correct one). Considering he’d done only 15 laps on his previous set of hard tires, this was a very long stint. Still, his pace was quite alright at the end of the race, which helped him to hold Verstappen at bay. It seems he’d nursed the tires initially (which is quite uncommon at Bahrain, normally the tires degrade linearly), so he could speed up once Verstappen pitted. His pace and tire management were impressive.

            All in all, this was a race between very evenly-matched drivers/cars and two teams optimizing their strategies, which gave us this thrilling battle.

          3. F1oSaurus (@)
            3rd April 2021, 7:46

            @f1infigures That whole story still does not negate the fact that Hamilton would have gotten P2 no matter what. Well perhaps Bottas could have gotten ahead, but Mercedes wouldn’t do that in a sense of fairness

            So it wasn’t a gamble. It was their only shot at P1 while having the slower car.

            Don’t agree about the second stint either. Maybe he was doing decent times, but he was slow. He should have been faster than the Mercedes who we on a supposedly slower compound, but he wasn’t.

            He would have lost even P2 if Bottas hadn’t lost all that time in the pit.

            There were plenty cars doing 24 to 31 lap stints on the hards. 28 is not “mega”.

            Verstappen lost the position in the undercut and then completely killed his race with the poor second stint. Sure that was caused by not bringing or leaving enough hards, but that is how it played out.

          4. @f1osaurus You’re contradicting yourself. First you say Red Bull made a mistake by not having two sets of hard tires for the race, which forced them to do two stints on the medium tire, then you somehow argue Verstappen’s second stint was poor because he was on the ‘fast’ medium tire, whereas the Mercedes were on the ‘slow’ hard tire. Those statements cannot be true simultaneously.

            The hard tire seemed slightly faster than the medium tire on average, though there wasn’t much in it and it may not even have been true for every car. Who was faster during the race therefore depended solely on tire degradation. Verstappen was faster than Hamilton when his tires were fresher, Hamilton was faster than Verstappen when his tires were fresher. It was really very straightforward.

            That whole story still does not negate the fact that Hamilton would have gotten P2 no matter what. Well perhaps Bottas could have gotten ahead, but Mercedes wouldn’t do that in a sense of fairness

            So it wasn’t a gamble. It was their only shot at P1 while having the slower car.

            Like I said, Hamilton’s expected finishing position was somewhere around 1.5 beforehand, given he was about as fast as Verstappen and the strategic options available to him to give him either track position or a performance advantage at the end of the race. Therefore, a second place could still be considered a loss. However, given that Verstappen stayed out, Mercedes had to make a move in order to try to win the race. So, in that sense, it wasn’t a gamble.

            He would have lost even P2 if Bottas hadn’t lost all that time in the pit.

            Of course not. Red Bull would then have covered Bottas by bringing in Verstappen on the next lap, which would have reduced Verstappen’s ability to attack Hamilton later in the race. So Bottas’ poor stop increased Verstappen’s chance of winning the race, but he wasn’t going to lose his second place.

            There were plenty cars doing 24 to 31 lap stints on the hards. 28 is not “mega”.

            In the midfield it’s even more important to maintain track position, as it’s so competitive. As a result, drivers are forced into clearly sub-optimal strategies (having to start on the soft tire didn’t help either), but as most drivers are on the same strategy, everyone is equally slow, so they can at least maintain their positions. Still, Stroll, who did a similar 28-lap stint on hards at the end of the race, lost 3 places between his final stop and the checkered flag. Vettel even lost 4 places. So, while possible, such a long stint wasn’t ideal.

          5. F1oSaurus (@)
            4th April 2021, 7:28

            @f1infigures No I’m not contradicting myself. It’s just two ways they could have prevented the issue.
            – Harder compound would have been better for a longer stint
            – Medium would be faster, but then for a shorter stint.

            Instead they do the longest stint on medium.

            If Verstappen had done it right he could have been 10 seconds ahead of Hamilton at the end of the race. He was easily 2 tenths faster. That middle stint cost them a ton and then getting stuck behind Hamilton at the end cost some too.

            The fact that Bottas would have been ahead of Verstappen after his stop is indicative of ho much time he lost in that middle stint. How hard is it to get that having your longest stint on mediums and losing 8 seconds because of it is a race losing choice?

            28 laps is not a mega stint. It’s in the average of the range of about 24 to 31.

          6. @f1osaurus Red Bull switching to the hard tires at the first stop may have been a good idea, but apart from the advantage of not needing to stop again, I don’t think it would have made a huge difference. Let me explain why.

            I think a lot of people are been misled by those silly graphics showing tire performance (“soft tire: fastest, but least durable”, combined with some performance deltas). While these graphics may be true for qualifying, when tire degradation is not really a thing, they don’t apply at all for the race. The harder the tire, the harder it can be pushed in the race.

            Which tire is better in the race depends on how much performance needs to be sacrificed in order to reduce tire wear. As usual, the soft tire performed worst in this aspect, as drivers had to go really slow to make it last, while in the long run, the medium and hard tire performed similarly; they had similar degradation and initial speed, so they were pretty much interchangeable on race day. For example, Räikkönen did a 27-lap stint on mediums as well. Therefore, Verstappen’s long second stint didn’t cost him that much. In fact, he only lost about 7 seconds or so to Hamilton who was on much fresher tires, which was actually not that much at all. Given that Hamilton’s tires were over ten laps fresher and tire degradation was about 0.1 second per lap, he should have lost about a second a lap, or 11 seconds in 11 laps. Hamilton, however, had been nursing his tires, so he could speed up once Verstappen pitted. At the end of the race, Verstappen should have been a second per lap faster thanks to his fresher tires, but as Hamilton had sped up, his advantage was smaller and he even struggled to get within DRS range. So Hamilton used his tire-management skills to keep Verstappen at bay.

            If Verstappen had done it right he could have been 10 seconds ahead of Hamilton at the end of the race. He was easily 2 tenths faster.

            As shown above, these claims are not at all backed up by the lap-time data.

            The fact that Bottas would have been ahead of Verstappen after his stop is indicative of ho much time he lost in that middle stint.

            Verstappen was pulling away from Bottas before Bottas’ second stop. Had Bottas’ stop been good, Red Bull would have pitted Verstappen on the next lap, but this would have reduced his tire advantage over Hamilton and therefore he would even less likely have passed Hamilton.

          7. F1oSaurus (@)
            4th April 2021, 15:43

            The point is that Verstappen was losing a second a lap before his second pitstop.

            How hard is it to get that having your longest stint on mediums and losing 8 seconds (very low estimate!) because of it is a race losing choice?

            That middle stint cost them a ton and then getting stuck behind Hamilton at the end cost some too.

          8. @f1osaurus It is perfectly natural to lose time on worn tires compared to someone on fresh tires, it’s part of the game. Verstappen regained this lost time (and a bit more) on fresh later in the race. Had he pitted sooner, he would still have been behind Hamilton and he would have been even more stuck behind him, as he then wouldn’t have a significant enough tire advantage to pass him. Pitting as late as possible was the right thing to do for Red Bull.

          9. F1oSaurus (@)
            6th April 2021, 9:16


            It is perfectly natural to lose time on worn tires compared to someone on fresh tires,

            Ah, you’re finally starting to grasp some of it. Now just go one step further, is this effect worse on medium tyres or on hards? So then which compound would you do the longest stint on to lose the least amount of time on worn tyres?

            If you grasp that then you grasp the point you seem intent o missing.

            But sure, keep pretending it was the “mega” stint that was the main factor.

          10. @f1osaurus Please read my earlier comments, so I don’t have to repeat myself all the time. You might actually learn something.

            is this effect worse on medium tyres or on hards?

            For the umpteenth time: it’s about the same.

            So then which compound would you do the longest stint on to lose the least amount of time on worn tyres?

            Doesn’t matter as long as it isn’t the soft tire.

          11. F1oSaurus (@)
            7th April 2021, 6:49

            @f1infigures If you repeat nonsense then it’s still nonsense.

            Fact remains, Verstappen DID lose a lot of time during that middle stint.

            Also fact, hard tyres were shown to be better for longer stints.

            Also fact, Bottas showed that the mediums are great for setting a fast lap. ie great for overtaking after you just did a middle stint on hard tyres and didn’t lose that much time.

            Anyway, you just keep looking at the numbers without actually understanding them man.

          12. @f1osaurus Fact remains, Hamilton did lose a lot of time during that final stint. It almost cost him the race.

            The fuel-corrected lap times per stint developed roughly as follows:
            1st stint (mediums, 13 laps): 1:33.0 initially, 1:33.5 at the end
            2nd stint (hards, 15 laps): 1:31.5 initially, 1:34.0 at the end (high initial speed, high degradation)
            3rd stint (hards, 28 laps): 1:33.0 initially, 1:35.0 at the end while fighting Verstappen (low initial speed, low degradation)

            1st stint (mediums, 17 laps): 1:33.0 initially, 1:34.5 at the end
            2nd stint (mediums, 22 laps): 1:32.0 initially, 1:34.5 at the end
            3rd stint (hards, 17 laps): 1:32.0 initially, 1:35 at the end while fighting Hamilton.

            The pace in the first stint was low, probably because those tires had already done a hot lap in qualifying. Hamilton then went for an aggressive undercut and showed some blistering pace on fresh hard tires in his second stint, which reduced the lifespan of the tires, so he had to come in early for his last stop. In his final stint he is relatively slow initially (1:33.0) to protect the tires. He also manages to speed up once Verstappen pits (his fuel-corrected lap times suddenly improve from high-1:33s to low 1:33s). At the end of the race his pace drops to high-1:34s, but then he is battling Verstappen.

            Verstappen’s race was a bit more straightforward. It seems he pitted once his fuel-corrected lap times were above 1:34.5, which means his strategy was close to optimal, even though his second stint was extended to give him as much of a tire advantage as possible over Hamilton in the final stint.

            Bottas proved nothing, other than that the soft tires were useless in the race, but we’d already established that. Fuel-corrected his 1:32.0 on the final lap was slower than Hamilton’s 15th lap, his first flying lap on hard tires.

          13. F1oSaurus (@)
            7th April 2021, 16:49

            @f1infigures That’s it man. Look at the numbers. Leave the interpreting of these numbers to others more suited.

          14. @f1osaurus After all of your points have been debunked I think that’s a bit of a strange comment.

          15. F1oSaurus (@)
            8th April 2021, 7:28

            @f1infigures Well the problem is that you think they have been debunked when they clearly have not.

            You look at numbers. You just look at the data and from that conclude that it went the way it did. You lack the capacity to see that it could have been done better.

            Verstappen lost the race with that middle stint. He lost too much time and then had to take too much out of the next set of tyres to get back. So he had only one desperate overtake attempt left. Which he then bottled.

            You even claim that Bottas even going almost 3 second a lap faster on mediums show that they would not have helped Verstappen use those tyres better to overtake Hamilton, because somehow he was slower. Seriously, you have no clue about strategy. Just look at the numbers and leave it at that. Stop wasting my time with your nonsensical interpretations.

          16. @f1osaurus You’re obsessed with Verstappen’s second stint and the color of the sidewall of his tires, which is not the whole picture. Verstappen was always going to drop behind Hamilton. It doesn’t really matter if he would be three seconds behind, or ten, as long as he had the tire advantage to eventually catch Hamilton. At the end of the race Verstappen was 0.5 to one second per lap faster than Hamilton and still he found it difficult to pass. And you think he would have been more likely to pass Hamilton with a smaller tire advantage? I don’t think so.

            Seriously, you have no clue about strategy.

            You obviously don’t know me.

            Stop wasting my time with your nonsensical interpretations.

            Well, you’re the one that’s replying all the time. Neutralino’s reply was spot on I’m afraid. You’re extremely unlikable.

          17. F1oSaurus (@)
            8th April 2021, 18:59

            @f1infigures Yes Verstappen lost the position in the first stint and he lost too much time in the second to have a chance to come back.

            That’s the end of it really.

            While you pretend instead it’s all some magical mega stint from Hamilton. When in fact he had a pretty normal last stint.

            I’ll stick with my rational view of the race while you keep trying to find excuses to pretend you have a point somewhere.

            I’m actually very likeable, but I’m also allergic to dumb people wasting my time.

          18. F1oSaurus (@)
            8th April 2021, 19:01

            Oh yes and indeed that small lap time delta, that would have been a lot bigger if Verstappen was on a short stint on mediums at the end. Softer tyres work better on a rubbered in track and the tyres were plenty fast if used for a somewhat smaller stint. Seeing how Bottas was almost 3 seconds a lap faster.

          19. @f1osaurus Well, this was a bit of a weird discussion, don’t you think? I agreed (and still agree) with your first statement (“Still overall [Verstappen] had the fastest strategy, he simply lacked the track position to actually show that as he was held up by a slower Hamilton”), but then you turned it around and claimed his strategy was actually poor and cost him the race. You got me there. Anyway, it must have been fun for the people that stumbled upon this chain of comments.

          20. F1oSaurus (@)
            9th April 2021, 11:44

            @f1infigures Yes because clearly it was not just losing track position. He never got a proper chance for an attack. Due to the strategy. Everybody knows the softer tyres work best in the last stint and work best to overtake.

            As Verstappen has shown in Hungary 2019 and Styria 2020, when the leading driver panics and ruins his tyres trying to maintain a gap he loses the position anyway. Or as Hamilton showed in for instance Bahrain 2021 and Monaco 2019 even with a slower car you can stay ahead if you just keep a cool head and let the people behind you ruin their tyres.

          21. @f1osaurus Verstappen lost track position at the first stops and he couldn’t regain it because Mercedes pitted Hamilton early the second time as well. The only thing he could do was to pit much later and give himself a decent tire advantage, an opportunity presented by Bottas’ slow second stop. In the end he did get a proper chance to attack.

            Hungary 2019 is an interesting case I think. Verstappen and Hamilton were miles ahead of the rest, so Mercedes could pit Hamilton again (not a gamble of course, though he may have won the race anyway). Verstappen could only stay out and hope for the best, but at the end of the race his tires went (the hard tire degraded more than expected during the race, Leclerc, Pérez and Kvyat suffered a similar fate), so he had no defense against Hamilton. Verstappen had even been nursing his hard tires for quite some time, which almost cost him his place to Hamilton right after the first round of stops. In hindsight he probably should have nursed his first set of tires more.
            In Styria 2020 Verstappen had some front-wing damage which saw him drop behind Bottas.
            In Monaco 2019 Hamilton’s tires were completely gone; he even had to use the throttle to steer the car, but as it was Monaco, overtaking is impossible, so he got away with it.

          22. F1oSaurus (@)
            10th April 2021, 8:10

            @f1infigures With a proper and properly executed strategy, Verstappen could have won that race.

  8. So my question is this: if FIA and/or F1 knew Pirelli was going to beef up / change the tyre compounds for 2021, why then did they introduce those measures to cut down the downforce on safety grounds?

    1. DonSalsa My understanding is that upon testing the beefed up tires, the teams found them to be far worse performers than they already had, and so rejected them, and decided it was better to stick with the terrible tires they had but that they at least had a knowledge of, than to start fresh re-learing even worse tires in spite of them being able to handle more loads.

      1. @robbie the original prototypes that Pirelli produced back in 2019 and which were tested ahead of the 2020 season were the ones that were rejected when the vote took place in December 2019, with the 2019 spec tyres then used in 2020. However, although DonSalsa is wrong about the compounds being changed, as the tyre compounds are the same as those used in 2019 and 2020, you are also incorrect in saying that they just stuck with the same tyres as the previous year.

        When Dieter refers to “beefing up the tyres” in the article, he is referring to the fact that Pirelli have confirmed that the construction of the tyre carcass is different this year. The exact way that they have “increased the integrity” of the tyre hasn’t been explicitly confirmed, but the indication is that, as part of the measures, Pirelli have thickened the tyre carcass to increase the strength – that thickening of the carcass is believed to be why the minimum weight has been raised this year (i.e. to compensate for the tyres themselves becoming heavier due to the thicker carcass).

        Basically, DonSalsa is not quite right as the materials used to construct the tyres are the same as in 2020, but you are incorrect to say that they are just the 2020/2019 spec tyres as the way that Pirelli has built up those layers of material to create the 2021 spec tyres has changed.

    2. They introduced those measures because without them the teams would have found even more downforce through offseason development. As it was they have already clawed back downforce levels to where they were last year. So that, along with beefed up tyre compounds should prevent the blow outs we saw last year.

  9. Dear Otmar,

    Copying last year’s Mercedes, then complaining that current floor changes is harming you is ridiculous.
    Will you turn the 2022 Racing Point into an RB16B copy ?

    1. I have an opinion
      2nd April 2021, 1:02

      Aston Martin can only copy cars that Toto has the plans of. Oops, I mean, that AM can take nice photographs of.

    2. The 2022 rules are so different he can use nothing for the 2022 car. (engine, gearbox excluded)

    3. I must say that Otmar might not be the real deal unfortunately. The one thing missing in F1 is good leadership. So far only Toto seems to be able to combine passion with good leadership. On the far end we had Abiteboul and the other end Toto. But far more are leaning towards the unrational emotional unprofessional side of Abiteboul than towards Toto’s side. Some maybe entertaining, sure but as owner or manufacturer I would not allow this kind of childish testosterone behavior. I think we should all be just as critical on how team bosses perform as we are critical on the drivers. The (luckily over dramatised) Netflix series makes my hair stand up when I hear some team bosses and to me it is clear there is massive improvement to be gained here

    4. Sigh. So what? Redbull have copied the Mercedes rear suspension and the Mercedes front nose/Cape design. In fact every team in f1 has copied the Mercedes front nose/Cape design. But yet only racing point get any criticism.

      1. Aerodynamist
        3rd April 2021, 10:17

        Yeah because they copied the car wholesale, no one else did that. Don’t you understand the difference between copying one aerodynamic element versus the whole car?

  10. How difficult is it to change a cars rake from low to high? Is this the sort of problem that will persist all season or is there a fix that will take a couple of races.

    1. The rake angle doesn’t seem to be something these cars adjust easily. I am no expert, but the rake angle will change the airflow under the car significantly and would require some redesign because of the different airflow. I believe I read something about Mercedes increasing their rake angle over the winter a little bit, but it doesn’t look like it had quite the effect they were hoping for. So I doubt that it is a quick change which is why AM and Merc are slower than the others. My guess is that Merc and AM won’t waste time changing this and will just prepare for next year instead. It isn’t a couple of races problem from what I know.

    2. It’s not as simple as that.. every aerodynamic part of the car is designed to work with a certain rake, so if you change the rake, you need to change the design all aerodynamics as well. Low rake cars are also longer.

      1. They also implemented the token system so Merc and Aston can’t make changes even if they wanted to.

      2. Your comment wasn’t there when I started typing :-)

        1. Your reply is better. :D

    3. Difficult.
      Rework of the rear suspension geometry, roll centres, wheel rates, which means new pickup points for the upper and lower wishbones.

      Then more likely than not an aero overhaul from the engine cover backwards I’d have thought.

      I really don’t have any idea how the token system works, but I have a gut feeling that this alone would stop everything that’s required for it to happen.

  11. Waiting for Mercedes to install RAS, rake adjustment system. Pull back on steering wheel and the rake lowers. Push forward and the rake increases.

    1. Fine, except thats adjustable aeroand would be banned immediately.

      1. No, as we’ve seen, as long as it’s mechanically connected to the steering wheel it’s considered steering and therefore legal.

        1. F1oSaurus (@)
          3rd April 2021, 7:47

          @balue Are you really that obtuse or is that comment supposed to be funny?

          1. @f1osaurus As you surely must know, expressly adjusting the toe angle was considered steering even if it obviously isn’t, just because it was done using the steering wheel mechanics.

            It was not even considered a moveable aerodynamic device, despite it angling the tyres better to the air. There is much talk the FIA are trying to hinder Mercedes, but this was obvious assistance. If it wasn’t for the backlash, I bet it wouldn’t have been banned at all.

          2. F1oSaurus (@)
            4th April 2021, 7:40

            @balue Ah so you want to go for obtuse?

            As surely you must know, all changing the toe really does is steering the wheel. So yeah a steering wheel steering a wheel is what it is allowed to do. It was novel that it was not steering both wheels in the same direction, but steering the front wheels is what it did.

            It wasn’t even aimed at changing the aero at all. It was for having (if desired) less road friction on the straight while still having good steering in the corners.

            Changing the rake of the car is not steering a wheel, it’s 100% aero change.

          3. @f1osaurus Seems you don’t know what steering is:

            to control the direction of a vehicle

            So expressly changing the toe without changing the direction of the vehicle is not steering. Simple.

            And whether something is deemed legal or not, has obviously nothing to do with what it was ‘aimed’ at doing. I don’t know why you would even try this.

            As for the rake comment, it was obviously ironic, but seems you missed that too..

          4. F1oSaurus (@)
            6th April 2021, 9:13

            @balue Awwww how cute. You try to act like you are clever. Nice try. You obviously failed though.

            A steering wheel changes the direction of the wheels. That’s what it does. Also with DAS.

            Swing … and a miss

            As for the rake comment, it was obviously ironic

            Also, nice try. Too late now though. Especially since you first reply confirmed that it was you being obtuse. As does this reply where you pretend that DAS does more than steer the wheels.

            Another miss … by a mile!

  12. Diana De la Garza
    1st April 2021, 17:44

    yeah yeah…play the victim now…poor Mercedes and Louis…c’mon!

  13. If I understand correctly, Mercedes had created sort of a ground effect car using vortices as skirts, which was lost with the narrower rear floor now.

    Now the high rake cars’ venturi-effect, or whatever it’s called, is more effective again.

    1. Maybe that’s why the low-rake cars are more sensitive in traffic and wind, as it more easily disrupts the effect and therefore has a larger impact on performance

  14. Suffering Williams Fan
    1st April 2021, 18:34

    It’s interesting to me to watch this unfold. Pre-season my recollection was actually that many commentators thought these changes would hurt the *high* rake cars more. I think Scarbs was the noticeable exception here, where, if I recall correctly, he didn’t think it was so clear cut, but thought that any difference between the concepts brought about by the changes would be fairly marginal, whatever direction it fell in.

  15. Wouldn’t be so bad if they hadn’t implemented a token system so teams can’t actually develop their way out of the problem? lol

    1. Bit like you couldn’t drastically change your engine 2014-2016 due to tokens ring fencing Merc advantage. In season no engine changes allowed then restricted by tokens between seasons so ring fencing Merc advantage. Wish they brought the floor changes in after Silverstone last year. Merc have had enough ring fenced advantages.

  16. I’ve never been a fan of regulation changes made simply to pull back a team that has done a better job than the rest.

    Fine Mercedes winning all the championships may be dull to some but for me it’s exactly what the sport has always been about. It’s supposed to be about doing the best job & if somebody does a significantly better job & dominates be it for 1 year or several then it should be left upto the other teams to improve & catch up rather than finding ways to slow the best team down.

    Mercedes have done an amazing job & deserve the success they had since 2014. If Ferrari, Red Bull & others couldn’t catch/beat them in that time then they don’t deserve to have success handed to them by rule changes to pull Mercedes back & if that is indeed the case then should Verstappen/Red Bull win the championships this year an Asterix should be placed next to them in the record books due to them been titles handed to them by dubious rule changes rather than earned on merit.

    1. @roger-ayles So then I assume you have an asterisk beside Mercs Championships for having not been able to win until the rules were changed to stop RBR after their four year run. Difference being this change for this season has been far and away relatively minor compared to what happened to RBR, and let’s note Merc is still highly competitive and are the only ones claiming the rule change was meant to stop low rake cars, when we all know it was about reducing downforce because of the tires.

      Mercedes should call themselves lucky this change was as minor as it was, and that for next year they will still go into that with the best pu or at least every bit as good as any other, and that otherwise they are an in-house factory team with every bit the chance of nailing the new gen as any other team, unlike ahead of 2014 for RBR.

      1. Yes, I will never agree with this argument that if a team does a better job than the others there shouldn’t be a regulation change to stop the dominance, it happened in the past, including in the schumacher era, and this mercedes dominance lasted double the ferrari one, so it’s been long overdue.

    2. I mean, as much as Merc -or I guess just Hamilton- and Otmar and Aston Martin want to pretend these rules were made to hurt them specifically. Ultimately these rules were simply made because of Corona, cost reductions, and needing a way to slow the cars down because the Pirelli rubber couldn’t keep up. If the changes happen to affect the only two cars still running such a low rake set-up, and one of those cars is the 7-year-dominant Mercedes, then I’d say that’s the happiest coincidence we could have had.

      But ultimately I think that negates the work the other team have done to be in this fight. The effort by Red Bull and Honda, Ferrari, McLaren switching engine and coming up with the diffuser they’re running, it all helped them get ahead. Meanwhile Merc is still a race winning car, and Aston Martin just dropped down the order a bit now that they aren’t running a 1:1 Merc copy anymore. Is it really then the rules that needed to be “blamed” for this convergerence? Or is it just time and effort from the competition that makes the difference? Who’s to say, but in the end, the viewing audience comes out the winner.

    3. It is always the same story. Yes, it is unfair that someone who has done a better job is handicapped by the new rules. If it weren’t because, in order to do that “good job”, it was first necessary to design rules that were against the previous dominator and in favor of the new one. Politics. As always. Probably the whole balance of power will shift when Toto retires or when someone from other team appears strong enough to continue pushing the FIA ​​to take anti-mercedes changes. A serious problem here is that there are 4 teams that depend on Mercedes. Annoy Mercedes and you are left with half the grid without an engine.

    4. There has been many times over the years where rule changes have been introduced to stop or hinder one team being dominant. It’s nothing new.

      Having one team dominate is bad for the sport. That should be obvious.

  17. Nonsence, Mercedes still are great, they just have a handling imbalance, they will dig deep and fix it.

    Their car is fast despite the issue, however not bluntly fastest like previous years.

    This change then is good.

    Meanwhile Aston Martin are still off Mercedes pace.. Saddly for them, this is nolonger top of midfield.

  18. I’ve just watched a video with James Allison saying they had no idea if it would affect the high rake or low rake cars more. So what are they on about, how about designing your own car Otmar.

    1. @john-h Exactly. Perhaps it was the video with Ted Kravitz that I reference in a response above? So not just what is Otmar on about, but what is LH and TW on about with their ‘it’s no secret’ remarks, only after Max had outqualified them.

    2. This. I heard no talk about this until after Bahrain testing. If they knew about this I suspect somebody would have said something. There was even talk that high rake cars might be the ones to suffer!

      Otmar is such a character that I take everything he says with a grain of salt.

      1. PMP I for one, having heard nothing about low rake vs high rake with the floor change until this past weekend, had actually worried for RBR given that they weren’t planted in the back last year, and I thought they would be very challenged in dealing with less downforce at the rear. Of course I also hoped that even if that hurt RBR they would still work from front to back to find better balance, and we had also heard all along that the teams would claw back downforce immediately in spite of the floor area change.

        1. The first time I heard about it was an analysis article after Bahrain testing.. or maybe it was just before. The content was that contrary to what is believed, low rake cars might be the ones that suffer. Before that I had heard nothing at all that the change might mean different things to cars with different design philosophies.

          And now it has been common knowledge all the time.

          I watched an interview where Otmar defended their pink mercedes and in that he was denying the obvious with shaky argumentation. There’s a difference between not admiting and outright denying and he was doing the latter.

          LH saying this makes me wonder.. is he a guy that would blatantly lie? I’m suspicious now.

          1. @PMP

            Lewis doesn’t seem like a liar, but he has a history of being misinformed.

    3. That video was filmed before testing. Mercedes hadn’t even ran their car. They wouldn’t know how it had effected any high rake team at the time of filming

      1. F1oSaurus (@)
        3rd April 2021, 7:51

        I guess it negates the claim that the change was intended to slow Mercedes down.

  19. In some ways I get where Merc is coming from but at a certain point if you are a team who has maximized your car to exploit the current rules as much as possible, then any sort of rule change implemented which affects any area that you’ve done a better job than all your rivals will seem like it’s been done to disadvantage that team even if it’s done for other reasons. It’s merely because that team has been so good at exploiting the current rules to the maximum that they are the most affected.

  20. Going to be interesting over the next few weeks.

    Everyone keeps saying teams will develop their cars to counter current imbalances and recover lost ground but are we forgetting that there’s a budget cap this year?

    Teams like Mercedes can no longer just throw $$ at a problem and fix it so any problem they have, they’ll have to very carefully weigh up whether they can persist with it and still run a great chance of winning, or whether to spend money and fix it (with no absolute guarantees) at the expense of their 2022 chassis.

    I am so looking forward to seeing how all this pans out this year and to see how long it will be before the first team starts whinging about being hampered by the budget constraints.

    1. It isnt just the budget cap. Mercedes get less wind tunnel & cfd time.

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