F1 Is About to Get So Much Slower

F1 Is About to Get So Much Slower

January 16, 2019 Off By Frank Medina

What would you rather have: fast cars or more overtaking? The Powers That Be in Formula One opted to implement some front and rear wing changes in 2019 with the hopes that everyone could have their cake and eat it, too. But as teams hit air tunnels and simulators with their new cars, things start to look pretty grim. Like, horrible balance and gaining seconds a lap grim.

The regulations for 2019 dictate simplified front and rear wings with the hope that it’ll get rid of all that sensitivity that was kicked up in turbulent air. Theoretically, that should make it way easier for cars to get closer to each other, which should then lead to more overtaking. And, I mean, it could. There’s still no definitive answer on the overtaking question. But some folks are really displeased with the data they’ve been gathering before they hit the track.

Racing Point (formerly Force India) is the first team to come forward with their disdain for the new regulations, according to Motorsport.com. While they don’t have, say, Mercedes or Red Bull levels of clout, it’s always a bad sign when any team has problems with the way their car is designed—especially the teams that are more likely to be running in dirty air and not at the front of the pack.

What’s going on? Well, I’ll let the team’s technical director Andy Green sum it up, because he does a pretty damn good job conveying the frustration everyone at Racing Point is feeling:

It’s been a big hit. When we first put it in the tunnel a few months ago, we’re talking a few seconds of laptime, and a poorly balanced car as well.

It was the worst possible outcome. Hopefully, it has some positives with respect to closer racing.

Those are not comforting words. It’s especially not comforting when you realize that Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing’s team boss, slammed the regulations as being based on “immature research” way back when the vote was initially cast.

Basically, it sounds like it’s going to be tougher for the teams with smaller budgets. The entire grid is undergoing an aerodynamic makeover that’s resulting in lower downforce, and it’s going to be an uphill battle at the start of the season as everyone smooths out the bumps. But it’s going to be difficult for the folks who don’t have a spare million to throw at a potential change that may or may not work.

It’s going to be an interesting developmental battle to watch play out. Maybe the on-track action will be so damn good that we’ll forget all about the fact that the cars are lapping slower than they have in years. Maybe the technical battle will find a whole new team leading the championship charge. Or maybe it’ll all be one big disaster—but we’re going to have to wait until March to find out for sure.