Symonds: Rushed 2019 aero changes were a mistake

Mark Scott
Charles Leclerc gets two time penalties at Suzuka; Ferrari fined.

Charles Leclerc gets two time penalties at Suzuka; Ferrari fined.

Formula 1’s chief technical officer Pat Symonds has conceded that the aerodynamic changes made for the 2019 were probably a mistake to implement.

Formula 1 introduced front wing changes in the hope that more overtaking opportunities would arise with drivers being able to run more effectively in the dirty air created by the car ahead.

However, those changes, introduced with the complete technical overhaul in 2021 in mind, have not had the desired effect that Formula 1 chiefs were looking for last season.

“In shaping these 2021 regs, probably not as much as I would have hoped for,” Symonds said at the Autosport International show.

“They were done in a bit of a hurry. And, you know, with the benefit of hindsight, I wouldn’t have done them.

“In terms of what they did to the wake of the car, relative to what we’ve done for 2021, it is minuscule. And, in fact, we had never run exactly the sort of configuration that the rules came up with.

“We’d done a lot of research by that time [the 2019 rules came out] in mid-18 and we were starting to understand critical areas, but we hadn’t run the configuration we had to actually get some rules out for.

“So I think we could have done that whole exercise a bit better. But I don’t regard that in any way as a precedent for what we’ve done into 2021.”

Symonds is hopeful that Formula 1 2020 will provide a tight battle between the leading top three teams, which will prevent them from being able to completely switch focus to the 2021 season.

That could give some of teams fighting toward the bottom of the World Championship a head-start on using most of their resources on the major technical changes to come next year.

“If there is domination at the front, then that dominant team, whoever it may be, can probably afford to switch a little bit earlier,” he added.

“But I think there’s not going to be domination in front. I think there’s going to be a good fight to the front.

“And that I hope will stop the teams from sitting back and just getting on with the ’21 cars.

Whereas some of the teams towards the back may be able to have a little bit more effort on the ’21 car. So we should see a good season this season.

“And even though change generally will initially separate the cars before they start coming together again, I hope that in 2021 we’re going to see good racing as well.”

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