Szafnauer backs off on anger toward FIA

Jerry Andre/Motorsport Images

Szafnauer backs off on anger toward FIA

Formula 1

Szafnauer backs off on anger toward FIA

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Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer has dampened his criticism of the FIA, saying it appears the process for rule changes last year was correct.

Szafnauer had been angry that Aston Martin and Mercedes both appeared to suffer more as a result of the aerodynamic changes that were introduced on safety grounds to slow Formula 1 cars this year, feeling that the low-rake philosophy they follow was deliberately targeted. The team principal even went as far as to threaten legal action if it was determined the process had been unfairly manipulated, but now says discussions suggest there was no wrongdoing on that front.

“We’ve had a couple of meetings with the FIA and I think at this point, we’re pretty satisfied that all the correct steps were followed,” Szafnauer said. “We’re still in discussions — we’re just trying to discover what all the steps were to make sure that it was done properly and equitably. So that’s the reason for the discussion.

“We just have to have a good understanding of the process and be happy that the process is equitable, really.”

Szafnauer admits there are signs Aston Martin has a more competitive car in race trim than feared earlier in the year, although the changeable conditions at Imola clouded the picture somewhat.

“It seems like we’ve got to look really hard at one-lap pace,” he said. “It looks like race pace was a little bit better, although we had drying conditions, wet conditions and people on different tires, so it’s hard to know.

“But I think Lance (Stroll) did a brilliant job to come home seventh (before a penalty) from where he started in a tough race. Unfortunately Seb (Vettel) had the gearbox issue and also the penalty, so it didn’t really help. But we’ll look through all the data and we’ll work hard to pull it back.”

Aston Martin finished fourth in the constructors’ championship last season but is currently sixth with five points from two races, already 36 adrift of McLaren in third.

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