Horner not a fan of new aero handicap plan

Jamie Woodhouse
Christian Horner not a fan of aero handicap system.

Christian Horner not a fan of aero handicap system.

Red Bull principal Christian Horner says the new handicap system on R&D could have a “significant” impact, and he isn’t thrilled with it.

There will be a major reduction to the amount of aerodynamic work which teams could do this year or in 2021.

The new system on research and development which teams voted through means that the most successful teams are the ones which it will restrict.

There will be a limit on wind-tunnel time and computing data, and then a sliding scale of R&D allowance depending on where the teams finished in the standings in the previous championship.

Since next year teams will have to develop their cars for the new 2022 rules, the team that finishes first in 2020 will be allowed 90% of that quota. A sliding scale increasing by 2.5% for each position means the team finishing last will get an 115% allowance.

Speaking to The Race, Horner made it clear that he is “not a big fan of handicap racing”, but Red Bull are looking at the “bigger picture” for the future of Formula 1.

“We have a budget cap and now we also have this sliding scale on the ATR,” he added.

“Thankfully, while we weren’t able to get rid of it in its entirety, it has been adjusted so that it’s a linear line between first and 10th, rather than isolating the first three, and more time being available from fourth onwards.

“It is what it is, we’ll see how it works, what effect that has.

“It could be quite significant in a year of new regulations that are totally removed from what we currently have.”

Horner believes it is “somewhat ironic you are basically encouraging little teams to spend more money by having more testing available to them”.

“It’s slightly perverse in that respect, but it does give more development time the further back down the order you are, which as we know in F1 has a significant impact,” he said.

“The budget levels, where they’re at now, there’s probably six teams that were operating beyond the [planned cap].

“That means that they should be able to maximise their activity within the cap and development.

“It will be interesting to see how it works.”

But Horner doesn’t expect everything to come down to money, because even though these rules will certainly leave their mark, the “cream will always rise to the top”.

“Even in fixed formulas, I remember Red Bull [Arden] running a Formula 3000 team for several years where we had every component fixed but we still managed to win a championship three years in succession,” he explained.

“Because it’s about the people, the drivers, your application, how you apply to those regulations.”

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