Aston Martin, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

F1 rejected “more equal” ways to cut car speed in 2021, Aston Martin claim

2021 Spanish Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Formula 1 rejected proposals to reduce the speed of cars this year which would have affected the teams more equally than the method which was chosen, Aston Martin has claimed.

The team believes it has suffered more than most of its rivals as a result of new aerodynamic regulations which were introduced for the 2021 F1 season. The changes were brought in to slow the cars in order to prevent a repeat of the tyre blow-outs seen at some races last year, notably the British Grand Prix.

The team’s CEO Otmar Szafnauer believes the changes to the rear of the cars which were mandated for this season have disadvantaged teams such as his and Mercedes who run lower rake angles than their rivals.

Szafnauer said his team lobbied for different regulations changes last year which he believes would have had a similar effect on all 10 competitors.

“We objected on the basis that [the rules] were more favourable to high-rake cars,” the explained. “We objected to that and then proposed other regulations which would be more equal.”

Aston Martin say rules changes hit them harder than rivals
Teams had to make changes to their rear floors, diffusers and brake ducts to comply with the new rules. Aston Martin proposed more limited changes and an alteration to rear wings was also considered but rejected, said Szafnauer.

“We proposed to not have the second changes made. The changes came in succession and we thought the first change that was applied was enough to slow the cars. So we suggested to just keep it there.

“But there are other solutions that were proposed, and not by us. Early on reducing the rear wing size [was proposed]. That would have affected everybody equally, but that wasn’t chosen.”

Aston Martin, which competed as Racing Point last year, previously ran a high rake angle on their car but changed at the beginning of 2020. The performance of the 2021 cars over the opening three races of the season makes it clear the low-rake designs have been disadvantaged more than others, Szafnauer believes.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“We developed a high-rake car for many, many years – since the high-rake concept started with the blown floor. And we were the only ones to change from a high-rake concept to a low-rake.

Analysis: F1 field closes up as Mercedes lose two seconds in four months
“So we’ve got the ability internally through both CFD and doing tunnel runs, as well as the experience of both, to have a look at the changes and be able to determine if it is more detrimental to one philosophy than the other. Which is exactly what we did and exactly what we brought up in August of last year and we, I think, were proven correct.”

Lewis Hamilton’s narrower winning margin at last weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix shows how Mercedes’ advantage has been reduced by the new regulations, said Szafnauer.

“If you just look at the last race, without the pit stops for Mercedes, for example, I think Lewis was 34 seconds ahead of Max at last year’s Portimao, and had they not had the pit stops at the end to try to get the fastest lap I think this year there was four seconds in it. So they lost 30 seconds in one race to a Red Bull.

“And we too, if you look at our times where we finished, we too were about 30 seconds behind where we were last year. Look at the first three races, look at both qualifying as well as race results.”

Szafnauer has previously said Aston Martin would push for further rules changes this year, but later announced he was “satisfied” with how the regulations changed was handled.

“We had good discussions with the FIA to understand the process and how we got to where we got to,” he said today. “The discussions have almost come to an end. I think we made good progress to have an understanding of what transpired.

Advert | Become a Supporter & go ad-free

2021 Spanish Grand Prix

Browse all 2021 Spanish Grand Prix articles

Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

26 comments on “F1 rejected “more equal” ways to cut car speed in 2021, Aston Martin claim”

  1. Mercedes won 2 out 3 races and had pole 2 out of 3 races. Doesn’t look like they are very disadvantaged.

    Besides take it on the chin, you got away with blatantly copying someone else’s car, and this time around the political games didn’t go in your favor. Focus on the car rather than on moaning…

    Reply moderated
  2. The initial 5% cut should’ve indeed been enough.

  3. Sounds plausible that 30 sec loss for mercedes teams.

  4. These guys are rapidly becoming my least favourite team. Just shut up and get on with it.

    1. Exactly my thoughts!

    2. Yes, they only started complaining once they realised they got the news regs wrong.

      1. @sprintcarfan If you had actually bothered to read the article, they already warned upfront that low rake cars would be hit much harder by the reg changes that were pushed through. All they can do now is sing “I told you so so … I told you so so” with a little dance, but they do have a point.

        1. Show me an article where they complained that the low rake cars were being treated unfairly, prior to their 2021 cars running on track. I’ve not found one.

          1. In the dimension F1saurus lives everyone knew beforehand
            But in fact RP copied a car and does not wanted to live with the disadvantages they did not even knew could exist. Copying a winning car will result in winning they thought.

          2. @sprintcarfan
            +1 exactly, they are feigning foresight that the regulations would hurt them when they had no such thing. This is purely hindsight.

    3. They are being asked about it

    4. +1

      Reply moderated
  5. Come on AM, Lawrence and Otmar!!! Merc lost just as much from these changes as you and have recovered it within 4 weekends to be probably the fastest team now! And they’re working under the same budget cap as you. Stop moaning and build a better car!

    1. Sure but it’s considerably easier to develop a car that you designed yourself.

      1. Also a valid point. Although this year’s AM is significantly less of a copy of the W11 than the RP20 was of the W10, although there is still obvious inspiration

    2. @randommallard Mercedes didn’t recover either. Verstappen is simply having one of his “I cannot find a setup that works” episodes.

      Mercedes was well slower than Red Bull in the first few races while they were claimed to be a second per lap faster at the start of last season. That’s quite a leap backwards

      1. Mercedes didn’t recover either.

        Give me the brand you smoke.. it must be great.
        I guess the influence of toto is to big for your mind.
        You are probably the only one (or at least one of them) that believes his fairytales ;)

    3. Coventry Climax
      8th May 2021, 0:09

      Or buy the new Merc’s blueprints, I’m sure you can strike a secret deal with mr. Wolff. ;-)

  6. Do they miss the media attention they received all through last year or what?

  7. Can’t believe this copycat is still whining about this. I go back to the coverage of Ted Kravitz and James Allison walking around the new Mercedes after it’s reveal and before pre-season testing, and Ted asked him directly if the floor changes would affect high or low rake cars more, and James said he did not know and that would remain to be seen. That right there tells me there was no conspiracy such as OS is suggesting, against low rake cars.

    As well, I’d suggest that what OS is saying was rejected with the rear wing change, was rejected because F1 knew that change wouldn’t be enough and that teams would use further floor and diffuser work to more than make up for a rear wing change, and therefore add too much downforce this year over last, and thus stress the tires too much.

    Perhaps the lesson here for OS is to design their own car and not take the lazy way out.

  8. Otmar is definitely becoming one of the least likeable people on the paddock, from his whiny voice to him always blaming everyone and everything apart from his own team performance. He’s supremely unlikeable.

  9. You know what… F1 is not just a sport but also entertainment, so I have no problem if the rule changes are designed to level the playing field. Good teams find a way to deal with it, as Mercedes have so far. They should stop whining and get on with it..

  10. seems somebody doesn’t understand its ‘own’ car concept, therefore remains unable to develop it…

  11. Definitely “Lawrence-Star” development from Aston Martin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.
If the person you're replying to is a registered user you can notify them of your reply using '@username'.