Formula 1

Ferrari: “Nothing to complain about” with 2021 aero F1 changes

Ferrari Formula 1 boss Mattia Binotto says there’s “nothing to complain about” regarding the late changes to the 2021 aero rules that the FIA plans to impose on safety grounds.

Teams were told in a letter issued during the build-up to the Spanish Grand Prix that there will be further cuts to downforce levels for 2021 in an attempt to reduce loadings to help Pirelli to run the same tyre specifications for a third consecutive season.

The move is a direct result of the tyres issues witnessed at Silverstone, amid concerns that Pirelli’s default response of raising pressures creates compromises such as overheating.

Changes to the 2021 floor regulations, which teams say will have a significant impact on the airflow over their cars, were already agreed earlier this year.

No details have been agreed regarding the latest adjustments to the rules and it could be weeks before details are confirmed – which will be much later in the design process than teams usually anticipate and plan for with any new rules.

However, Binotto said that teams have to accept the safety justification for the unusual timing.

“First, we simply need to remember that for 2021 the set of aero regulations have already been modified under the World Council for a reduction on aero performance because of the concern for the tyres,” he said when asked by Autosport.

“Initially we should have had new 18-inch tyres in 2021 which has now been postponed to 2022, so the tyres we have had in the past have been kept identical for 2021 as well. No doubt that by increasing the aero performance the severity of the usage of the tyres will be higher.

“I think that Silverstone, in that respect, has been a good example. I think there is nothing wrong in what happened to the tyres themselves, but in the end it was the simple consequence of cars being faster and faster throughout the lap, [and] through the circuit.

“So I understand that Pirelli is now concerned about that, I understand the FIA is concerned for safety matters and I think it is simply a belief that the changes already approved for 2021 will not be sufficient.

“In that case, we will do further changes on the aero for safety reasons, there is nothing we can somehow complain about.

“I think what the changes will be, we are not aware of at the moment. Certainly it will impact all the cars [and] our R&D. But I’m pretty aware as well that it’s necessary for the safety, and safety always comes first.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff agreed that the teams have to be united as the changes have a safety focus.

“We need to all be together in this,” he said. “And the cars, like Mattia said, have become faster than everybody expected, and in that respect we can’t expect Pirelli to catch up with new tyres and so, like Mattia said, absolutely we need to work together.”

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