By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) – Formula One’s aerodynamic rule changes for 2019 are a step in the right direction and fans should see better racing as a result, managing director Ross Brawn said on Tuesday.
He was speaking after the sport’s governing body announced modifications for next season to cars’ front and rear wings and front brake ducts.
The changes should make it easier for drivers to follow each other, and come after criticism of the lack of overtaking in some races.
“We’ve had some fantastic races this year but actually if you look at them in detail, they’ve often been created by unusual circumstances — safety cars or other factors,” Brawn told Reuters.
“What we want to do is create racing which can stand alone without the need for a safety car or some other event. And I think this moves it in the right direction.
“What I’m really encouraged by is that Formula One came together and recognized it was necessary,” he added, speaking after a lunch at London’s Royal Automobile Club to award the Segrave Trophy to 2017 Dakar winner Sam Sunderland.
Brawn said a collision between Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix showed how hard it was to follow a car and make a move.
Ricciardo ran into the back of Verstappen, with both retiring.
“I think we had a demonstration in a very extreme sense with Ricciardo and Verstappen that the moment Verstappen moved in front of Ricciardo, Ricciardo lost all the downforce and couldn’t stop,” he explained.
“There was no way he was going to stop that car once Verstappen took his air away from him.”
The changes will see a front wing with a larger span, winglets removed from front brake ducts and a wider and deeper rear wing.
Approved and ratified on the last day before unanimous agreement was required, the measures followed research carried out by most teams and backed by commercial rights holders Liberty Media.
Brawn confirmed there had been some dissenters, however.
“I guess it’s a healthy situation that you have debate about these things,” he said. “There were some teams that felt we should have waited until 2021 and done the complete package.
“But certainly enough of the teams felt it was going in the right direction.”
Formula One’s current agreements expire after 2020, and the sport needs to decide what kind of engine and rules should be introduced after that.
Liberty wants a more level playing field, reduced costs and more equal distribution of the revenues.
Only three of the 10 teams — Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull — have won races in the V6 turbo hybrid era that started in 2014 and Mercedes have won every championship.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Amlan Chakraborty and Toby Davis)