Christian Horner, Baku City Circuit, 2019

Top F1 teams behind push to delay 2021 rules sign-off

2021 F1 season

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Formula 1’s biggest teams are pushing to delay agreement on the sport’s new rules package for 2021.

The FIA International Sporting Code requires the new technical and sporting rules package to be agreed by the end of next month. However several top teams are eager to see this delayed until October.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner confirmed he wanted the deadline to be pushed back even further. He said a compromise is being reached as F1’s smaller teams felt a December sign-off left them with too little time to develop their cars.

“It was my suggestion to move it from June,” said Horner in response to a question from RaceFans.

“I think if you look at it probably the best time would be to put it to December but then the little teams would argue that they can’t react to that because the earlier they are the bigger teams have more resource to split their resource [between 2020 and 2021] and effectively put more resource on it sooner than the little teams. So October is effectively a compromise between end of year and June so we’re OK with that.”

The unanimous agreement of all 10 teams is needed to delay the sign-off of the new rules. Horner believes this is realistic.

“Amongst the teams there’s been unanimity,” he said. “I think the only one that questioned it was Renault but I think they got there in the end so I didn’t see anybody that wasn’t in agreement with it.”

Chase Carey, Baku City Circuit, 2019
What Liberty told teams about its plans for F1 2021
Teams discussed the plan in a meeting with FOM CEO Chase Carey, motorsport director Ross Brawn and FIA director of single-seater matters Nikolas Tombazis in Azerbaijan. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff indicated he will also support postponing the new rules package.

“Personally I’m in two minds,” he said when asked by RaceFans. “I probably would want to support Ross and Chase and Nikolas.

“The trick is to come out with good regulations you need enough time. And also you need to describe very precisely what’s being pushed out. It needs the unanimous decision of all teams. We are not going to be the ones to make that fail.”

Ferrari is also expected to support the plan. A senior source at the team told RaceFans: “We are not against postponement in principle, but it depends on the detail.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “Top F1 teams behind push to delay 2021 rules sign-off”

  1. As long as everyone is on the same page and they think this is best, then so be it, no worries. Better that they get this right as much as possible.

    1. ColdFly (@)
      7th May 2019, 12:36

      As long as it doesn’t become one of those Brexit-type deadlines, @robbie.
      Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and move on.

      PS What’s happening with Brexit?

      1. @coldfly I think @robbie is from Canada.

        1. Lol yes I am Canadian but am passively educated on Brexit, and I would suggest it doesn’t sound at all like there are two factions heavily divided going on in F1. They all seem fairly on board from the sounds of it. In Canada we are not unfamiliar, as for decades now the issue of Quebec separating from Canada and becoming it’s own country has been floated on and off, although in most recent years feels like it is finally off for good. That said there is unquestionably still a faction of hard core seperarists in Quebec.

          But I digress. As I say I sense no hard core faction in F1 against what Liberty are wanting to do for the new chapter post-BE.

          1. Should be ‘separatists’…not separarists

      2. This isn’t like Brexit because it’s aimed at making the sport better. If it was like Brexit, the fans would have voted to ban wheels… One side would be suggesting flying cars within 2 years. The other side would be suggesting against the fans’ decision and keeping 4-wheeled cars. Ross Brawn would be in the middle suggesting we flood the tracks and use boats as a compromise that makes no-one happy.

    2. Hm, Robbie. So far we know Horner wants this. And it seems the other two teams who have the resources to do a late start are not opposed to it.

      But we really didn’t get to hear any of the smaller teams about this, apart from Horner claiming they have agreed on this compromise.

      In the end it is not optimal, but I agree that as long as everyone can live with the compromise (and therefore agrees now on postponing the time limit before an unanimous agreement would be needed), taking the time to iron out the details is probably for the best.

  2. Toto Wolff’s comment about needing to precisely describe what’s being pushed out gives me hope that the teams have learned from past lessons and won’t proceed on high level statements about what is being proposed.

  3. This sounds like a sensible approach. It’d be good to hear from the other 7 TPs (the “little teams” in Horner’s words) as to their views as well.

  4. How would pushing back the sign-off date of the next significant technical reg changes make things any fairer to all the teams. I’d argue that the shorter lead-time would actually have quite the opposite effect, putting the smaller teams into an even more significant disadvantage compared to how it would be with the end of June deadline.

    1. How would pushing back the sign-off date of the next significant technical reg changes make things any fairer to all the teams.

      @jerejj – I think it would reduce the amount of parallel programmes that the rich teams can afford to run. The rich teams can kick off 2021 development the day after the regs are frozen, so this would give them lesser of a head start.

      1. On the other hand rich teams can afford to run several development programs in parallel in preparation for different rulesets whereas smaller teams can not really run any programs which gives them anything they have to throw away. Also I think it is not really clear what is missing or undecided. As we are talking about technical and sporting regulations I’d be willing to speculate that the technical stuff has been mostly agreed upon whereas the sporting side is more up in the air. Also now that all big 3 are effectively also engine manufacturers or backed by engine manufacturer I’m sure that also adds another big political aspect to this. Merc and ferrari wants to keep the engine rules as is whereas renault and honda could want less oil burning or closing some other loopholes. Opening the rules is something renault for sure is against whereas tightening the rules is against honda/red bull’s wishes as it makes it more difficult for them to catch up.

  5. I think this headline is misleading… The rules aren’t ready full stop, as alluded to in the article linked in the caption. It’s not as if the big teams are pushing to delay them, they are being delayed no matter what because they’re just not ready. The only question is how long they will be delayed, and regardless of who wants them to be ready by October or December, if they’re still not ready in October they’ll have to be delayed again.

    As Wolff says they want to support Liberty and the F1 management and they’re not going to vote against it even though he’s in two minds about it. It’s obviously not the ideal situation for anyone. Just seems misleading to blame this on the top teams at all as opposed to those writing up the regulations that are unable to decide on them.

    1. @skipgamer Hmm not sure about that. How do you know the rules aren’t ready? It would seem to me they were ready to solidify them for the end of June. Not sure why you’re so sure they’d only be delayed again in October either.

      As to apportioning blame, I don’t think that is appropriate as it seems to me to be quite a collective effort amongst all players who seem to all be on the same page for the majority of the issues. I don’t see anybody blaming anybody else for anything, but I do see ongoing discussions being had and compromises and agreements being reached for the common good. Of course nobody will ever be completely happy in the end but it would seem they are shooting for the majority which is a far cry from the BE days.

  6. I’m not sure where you get the feeling that the regulations are anywhere near ready. Just about every team principal that has commented on the proposal has said the technical regulations feel close to done, but the sporting regulations need a lot more work and Liberty are still just presenting broad ideas.

    The reason the teams aren’t blaming Liberty for being so slow about finalising the regulations I feel is because they need to handle PR. If the F1 teams start hitting out against Liberty like they did to Bernie (as they rightfully could do) then it poses huge problems for the future of F1. It’s essentially not an option.

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