Formula 1 needs to acknowledge the changes to the technical regulations in 2019 have been designed to promote close racing and not to make overtaking easy, according to Ferrari’s Jock Clear.
The FIA and F1 researched how to make regulation changes that would make it easier for cars to follow each other after complaints that drivers lose significant amounts of performance when behind another car. Among other tweaks, 2019 will see a simplified front wing and changes to the rear wing in an attempt to address the issue, and Ferrari senior performance engineer Clear points out the end result should not be a dramatic change in terms of overtaking.
“On the face of it, it is going in the right direction,” Clear said. “I think we’re all a little bit tentative about exactly what it’s going to look like and that is the fact of the matter. We’re going to have to wait until next year to actually see what the implications are — because of course ten teams will come up with ten solutions, some of which we won’t even have thought about and then that may well move the goalposts slightly.
“I think we are attacking the right areas. We are looking at the fact that close racing doesn’t necessarily mean everybody can overtake easily — but it does mean that cars can follow each other and they can pressure each other — and I think that’s the thing we’re targeting. Just allowing cars to maybe be close battling in the future.”
Renault’s chassis technical director Nick Chester believes the bigger changes that are scheduled to be introduced in 2021 will have a more significant impact, but says 2019’s regulations are a good way of learning more about those plans.
“It is quite a big change for 2019,” Chester said. “Big change to the front wing with wider span, different barge boards, different front drums, and I think the concept that the FIA have put forward to try and improve the wake to the following car is the right thing.
“Obviously in one year you couldn’t do all of the changes that are planned eventually for 2021. From what we’ve seen so far I think it’ll make a small difference. It’ll go in the right direction, so the following will be a little bit improved — but we’re probably going to have to wait until 2021 to see what the full package can deliver.”