‘Party mode ban is a healthy thing’

Michelle Foster
Mercedes Red Bull Lewis Hamilton leads Verstappen

Mercedes Red Bull Hamilton leads Verstappen

Christian Horner believes Formula 1’s decision to ban ‘party modes’ can only be good, both financially and from a sporting perspective.

Last week that the teams were informed that changing engine modes will be banned as of the Belgian Grand Prix, although some reports state the ban has been pushed back to the Italian GP.

Either way it will be banned this season with the F1 race director Michael Masi adamant motorsport’s governing body is able to police the ban.

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The ban means teams will not be permitted to turn up their engines in qualifying, or turn them down ahead of a grand prix for improved reliability, just one mode for both qualifying and the race.

The clampdown is seen by some as the FIA’s attempt to curtail Mercedes’ advantage with the Brackley squad believed to be the more powerful of the qualifying ‘party modes’.

Lewis Hamilton said: “It’s not a surprise, they’re always trying to slow us down.

“But it doesn’t really change a huge amount for us so it’s not a problem.

“The guys at our team have just done such a good job with the engine.

“It’s obviously to slow us down but I don’t think it’s going to get the result that they want. But that’s totally fine if they do it.”

Horner, however, says the ban is good for the sport.

Not only will it mean engine manufacturers aren’t spending money to develop different modes, but he also hopes it will level the playing field, at least a little bit.

“It will affect all teams, the question is how much,” the Red Bull team boss told Autosport. “I think that these qualifying modes have been pushed and developed over the years.

“With exhaust blowing for example, we had to run a standard map throughout weekend. And I think this is just adopting a similar methodology to that, which I think is sensible for Formula 1.

“There’s inevitably enormous cost that’s associated with developing these different modes and actually I think it’s a healthy thing for the manufacturers and if anything, if it creates better and closer racing it’s a positive for Formula 1.”

Although Honda added a party mode last season, Mercedes’ remains the one to beat with the Brackley squad taking pole in all six 2020 qualifying sessions.

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