Formula 1

Horner: Expecting ’19 changes to improve racing naive and expensive

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Red Bull boss Christian Horner thinks Formula 1 owner Liberty Media would accept that rushing through aerodynamic rule changes for 2019 was a “mistake” if they do not improve overtaking.

F1 teams have spent the winter working to a raft of regulation changes that have been introduced for 2019 to try to boost overtaking.

As well as front and rear wings being made wider and simpler, new restrictions to the bargeboard areas and brake ducts have been implemented.

Speaking at a media event on Tuesday at Red Bull’s London offices ahead of the 2019 season, Horner was sceptical about the rules making racing any better.

Asked by Autosport how different racing will be as a result of the changes, Horner said: “I don’t think it will change at all.

“From what we see, the characteristics of the car are slightly different in different areas of the track, but in terms of following each other closely, I don’t think it is going to make any difference whatsoever.

“What I think will happen in the early part of the year is that some people will have got it right, and some people won’t.

“Then, the development and evolution you have will probably be on quite a steep graph over the first three or four months of the year.”

The 2019 changes changes were pushed through in response to a lack of overtaking at last year’s Australian Grand Prix, despite scepticism from some teams about the need for such a dramatic overhaul.

Asked how concerning it would be if the rules failed, Horner said: “I think they would even accept that it was probably a mistake to rush through this front wing change for this year.

“They have cherry picked something in isolation off a future concept for 2021, and rushed it through onto the current car.

“Like with all these things, there is no silver bullet. It has to be everything working in harmony with everything else.

“Just taking a front wing and saying that will make racing better, it is quite a naive and ultimately expensive approach. And of course the burden of that expense is on the teams.”

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko said the team had spent an extra €15million developing parts to the new aero rules.

Horner does not expect more overtaking to occur at the Melbourne season-opener, but thinks that remains down to the circuit’s tight layout.

“I think the race in Australia will be exactly the same,” he said. “The problem isn’t the car so much in Australia, it is the circuit.

“You don’t have any big stop braking zones into a slow corner in Australia, so unless you have a significant speed differential between the cars, overtaking there is damn nigh impossible.

“That has been the same for years. It is not unique to this set of car regulations. It is a great place to go to, a great venue, but as a circuit it has its limitations in providing good racing.”

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