Whereas Aston Martin beforehand appeared to rein in on its menace of attainable authorized motion over the 2021 aero guidelines, Otmar Szafnauer admits the matter is much from settled.
At the beginning of the Emilia Romagna weekend, because it turned clear that Aston Martin – and good mates Mercedes – have been most affected by the aerodynamic rule adjustments – launched ostensibly within the identify of security – crew boss, Otmar Szafnauer warned of attainable authorized motion.
In Bahrain, Lewis Hamilton had recommended that the brand new guidelines have been an try to handicap Mercedes.
“It is no secret… they have been finished to peg us again,” stated the Briton within the moments after lacking out on pole place to Max Verstappen. “We had the adjustments after all final yr to our engine to do the identical factor,” he added, a reference to the rule forbidding adjustments to engine mode adjustments between qualifying and the race launched late final season. “However that is OK, we love a problem and we do not look down on this stuff, we simply work exhausting to be the very best we are able to. And that is what we’ll do.”
Beforehand, Toto Wolff had echoed related ideas, the Austrian claiming that adjustments to the ground, diffuser and brake ducts meant that these groups working low rake have been shedding as a lot as a second a lap to these with excessive rake.
“I believe we have in all probability suffered extra with the change of laws than the vehicles with the upper rake,” stated the Austrian, who confirmed that Aston Martin, which additionally utilises a better rake, was equally struggling, a truth confirmed by Otmar Szafnauer.
“Once we final raced right here, simply 4 months in the past, we have been heading for a podium on advantage,” stated the Aston Martin boss. “We won’t be anyplace close to that sort of efficiency right here now and the direct explanation for that efficiency drop-off is the brand new for 2021 aero laws. It seems just like the high-rake aero philosophy vehicles have gained round a second per lap.”
Szafnauer subsequently referred to as for the aero guidelines to be revised, admitting that authorized motion can’t be dominated out. He additionally argued that the traces seem to have change into blurred by way of the FIA and the game’s Industrial Rights Holder, stating that Method One Administration shouldn’t be concerned in rule making, albeit for ‘security functions’.
“I believe the fitting factor to do is to have the discussions with the FIA and discover out precisely what occurred and why,” he informed Sky Sports activities. “We as a crew must work exhausting to attempt to claw again every thing we are able to,” he continued, “however on the similar time we needs to be having the discussions with the FIA to see if something will be finished to make it a bit extra equitable.”
Referring to F1’s affect on the choice to alter the principles, he stated: “The regulation change that was made for security causes, that sort of governance rests solely with the FIA. When pushed tougher on what affect F1 bosses might need had on the adjustments, he stated: “Like I stated, I believe that kind of regulation change rests solely with the FIA. They’re the consultants.”
Requested, ought to it get no satisfaction from the FIA, whether or not Aston Martin would think about authorized motion, he replied: “I believe we get to that time after the discussions. It is exhausting to foretell. I believe the fitting factor to do is to see what will be finished.”
Having met with the FIA over the Emilia Romagna weekend nonetheless, his angle appeared to have softened.
“We have had a few conferences with the FIA, and I believe we’re – at this level – fairly glad that each one the proper steps have been adopted,” he stated. “We’re nonetheless in dialogue… we’re simply making an attempt to find what all of the steps have been, you realize, to ensure that it was finished correctly and equitably. In order that’s the explanation for the dialogue.”
Requested for additional perception, he replied: “We’re nonetheless discussing with the FIA. I am going to be capable to reply that query in all probability in three, 4 days’ time.”
Over the Barcelona weekend nonetheless, when requested the place issues stand with the FIA and whether or not there was any hope of a change to deal with the implications of the rule change, he stated: “We had good discussions with the FIA to grasp the method and the way we obtained to the place we obtained to. The discussions have nearly come to an finish. I believe we made good course of to have a greater understanding of what transpired.”
When it was recommended that it’s unlikely that the principles will revert to what they have been earlier than, and, subsequently what did he hope is likely to be the result, Szafnauer replied: “Nicely, for us, what now we have to do now could be, now we have to work exhausting to make up the deficit that was launched over the winter.
“We now have a brand new package deal right here on each vehicles that was launched in Portimao – however Portimao, the character of the circuit is a whole lot of low-speed corners, so we’ll be capable to consider what we have finished right here and now we have to work exhausting to deliver even additional upgrades afterward within the yr to get us again to the efficiency ranges that we had final yr.”
At this level, AlphaTauri’s, Franz Tost interjected: “Everyone knows the method when a brand new regulation is coming in and this new flooring regulation was fastened final yr and was agreed by all of the groups.
“It was sanctioned by the Method 1 Fee and the World Motor Sport Council,” he continued, “and subsequently I do not see any probability that this regulation will be within the brief time period modified. Then it’s as much as the groups to interpret the laws the very best approach and get probably the most out of it.”
“I believe there may be not rather a lot so as to add,” agreed Guenther Steiner. “The laws they have been modified, it was voted. I do not know the element of what was requested for and it would not make a whole lot of distinction to us anyway.
“Only for the file, it wasn’t voted,” argued Szafnauer, “it was finished on security grounds and it was unilateral.”
“No, it was fastened,” insisted Tost. “The Technical Working Group later…
“Three groups voted in opposition to the Technical Working Group,” snapped Szafnauer, “however the Technical Working Group was an indicative vote. The Technical Working Group would not have a proper to vote anyway. It was simply a sign, however then it was finished on security grounds anyway. That is only for the file.”
Requested to make clear what he’d stated in regards to the objection from the three groups within the indicative vote and what the Technical Working Group did and whether or not Aston Martin objected to the rule adjustments, Szafnauer stated: “Sure, we did.
“We objected on the premise that they have been extra beneficial to excessive rake vehicles truly and we objected to that after which proposed different laws that will be extra equal. The vote within the Technical Advisory Committee is simply indicative and it was seven to a few on the time.”
Allowing for that Aston Martin hasn’t had a excessive rake automobile with which to check how the rule adjustments have truly impacted it this season, Szafnauer was requested how the crew is so sure that that is the case.
“We developed a excessive rake automobile for a lot of, a few years,” he replied, “for the reason that excessive rake idea began with the blown flooring, and we have been one of many solely ones, truly the one one, to alter from a excessive rake philosophy to a low rake.
“So we have got the flexibility internally, by each CFD and doing tunnel runs, in addition to having the expertise of each, to take a look on the adjustments and to have the ability to decide whether it is extra detrimental to 1 philosophy than the opposite.
“Which is strictly what we introduced up in August of final yr and we have been, I believe, confirmed appropriate.
“As for statistically not displaying that, should you simply take a look at the final race, with out the pit stops for Mercedes, for instance, I believe Lewis was 34 seconds forward of Max eventually yr’s Portimao and had they not had the pit stops on the finish to attempt to get the quickest lap. I believe this yr it was 4 seconds in it.
“So that they misplaced 30 seconds in a single race to a Pink Bull. And we too. If you happen to take a look at our instances, the place we completed, we too have been about 30 seconds behind from the place we have been final yr. Simply take a look at the primary three races. Have a look at each qualifying in addition to race outcomes.”