F1

F1 Regulations: Aerodynamic changes could produce more overtaking in 2019

The F1 Commission has voted through last-minute changes to the 2019 Formula 1 aerodynamic package to aid overtaking, despite opposition from several unnamed teams.

by Matt Ashman

(Photo credit:  REUTERS/Aly Song)

A proposal to change front wing endplates to help cars follow each other, along with a bigger rear wing flap and therefore a stronger DRS effect, has been passed. An extra package involving bargeboards was not agreed to.

The vote took place on April 30, the last day when technical regulation changes for next season can be passed without a unanimity being required.

Under F1 Commission rules a proposal can be pushed through with support from as few as four of the ten teams if everyone else – the FIA, F1, and sponsor and promotion representatives – are behind it.

Several team bosses suggested in Baku there would not be enough support to vote it through, with only Williams publicly in favour.

Although there has been no official confirmation it is believed up to six teams were still opposed to the plans.

Rumours suggest that Ferrari, Red Bull, Renault, McLaren, Toro Rosso and Haas voted no, and that Williams was joined by Mercedes, Force India and Sauber in voting yes.

The F1 Commission vote still needs to get approved by the FIA World Motor Sport Council to be put into the 2019 rules. But to be clear, the hard work has already been done. 

While this should in theory be a formality, it is unclear if Ferrari could try to use its veto over technical rule changes to block the tweaks. Ferrari would have to prove the changes would negatively influence them – for example, because they would be too costly – rather than the team just not being in favour.

The wing changes proposal was a direct response to the lack of overtaking in the Australian Grand Prix, which prompted the FIA and Liberty to consider improvements for 2019. To do this, they drew on some research already conducted for the 2021 rules package.

Skinnier front wings and a more powerful DRS may not suit tracks such as Baku, China, Russia and Mexico where the changes could produce four cars going side by side into a turn at the end of a long straight (fascinating from an entertainment perspective, but not ideal from a safety point of view). However, tracks like Australia could see more overtaking than the past few years. 

It remains to be seen how these regulations will affect the sport, but there is a consensus that something needs to be done to enhance the spectacle on certain circuits.

What do you make of the new proposals? Are you in favour or against? Let us know in the comments below.

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Matt Ashman

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