Lewis Hamilton and Christian Horner believe the ground effect regulations are finally starting to result in convergence of the F1 teams.
The intention of the rules revolution for the 2022 Formula 1 season was to create closer racing, with drivers able to follow each other more closely and be able to go wheel-to-wheel on a more regular basis.
While the changes did help considerably in that regard, the bigger pace differences between the cars from each team meant that, on the face of it, not much appeared to change, even if the on-track battling did improve.
Lewis Hamilton: The regulations are finally pulling people closer
But, in the second year of the ground effect regulations, the gaps appear to be closing as the teams get a firmer grip on understanding the aerodynamic philosophies of their cars.
While Red Bull still enjoys a pace advantage over the rest of the field, the battle behind them is a rager: Aston Martin, Ferrari, and Mercedes have all taken turns, with no clearcut answer as to whose car is best – the differences usually coming as a result of where each team is in their upgrade cycle.
At Silverstone, McLaren’s new upgrade package saw the Woking-based team elevate themselves from midfield mediocrity to front-running contention as Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri only missed out on an all-McLaren front row after a late touch of magic from Max Verstappen.
On race day, the battle continued with the McLarens looking set for a double podium until an untimely Safety Car cost Piastri position to Lewis Hamilton.
With McLaren joining in the lead battle, Hamilton said it’s obvious the regulations are finally coming good.
“Yep. Yes, 100%, and last week [in Austria],” he said when asked if McLaren now have the pace to beat Mercedes.
“But this is the first time in a long time and they deserved to have the performance they have, as I said, so we’ve got to do a better job.
“They’ve now done a better job than us and looking forward… What I would say is that this is one of the most exciting times I think we’ve seen in the sport where we’re finally starting to see the regs pull people closer.
“You’ve seen the Williams was up there with [Alex] Albon. You’ve seen the McLarens now, the Astons – so we have a lot of teams getting very, very close: small gaps within qualifying which is exactly what we need. So I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the year evolve.”
Christian Horner: We can see convergence already happening
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said the stable regulations carried over from 2022, with only mild tweaks made to the car floors over the winter in an FIA response to the porpoising issue from last year, has resulted in the field starting to converge.
“The one thing that we know from this sport, is that things will converge – you can already see it starting to happen,” he told media, including PlanetF1.com, after the British Grand Prix.
“The most important thing to have convergence is stability. And stability in regulations will bring all of the teams much, much closer together. So you can see it’s already starting to happen.
“It’s not going to be another seven years of domination, the power units are all fairly similar or pretty similar now. And the chassis have evolved much, much quicker than the engines do.
“So I think we can already see, from the start of the season to now, that things are already converging.”