Mclaren team principal Andreas Seidl wants the FIA to clarify on the impact of the upcoming regulation changes on engine suppliers. The German pointed out that the top 3 teams could undercut the 2021 F1 regulations and its restrictions through its customer teams.
Potential problems in the 2021 F1 regulations
2021 is a big year for F1. There’s plenty of promise and hope for equality between all the teams with the changing regulations. However, teams could bypass a few of the restrictions thanks to their relationship with teams that purchase engines.
Consider the example of the upcoming restrictions on wind tunnel testing. According to the 2021 regulations, restrictions will be imposed on the number of tests that teams can conduct in the wind tunnel. However, a big team like Mercedes could easily strong-arm a customer team like Williams into providing crucial analytics.
Additionally, a full-blown barter system could break out. The big guys offering customer teams upgrades or improvements in exchange for crucial data that benefits the parent teams. Nevertheless, the FIA needs to put its foot down and prevent ‘proxy testing’ among the teams.
Currently, all the top teams supply engines to midfield teams. Mercedes has Williams and Racing Point; Ferrari has Alfa Romeo and Haas and Red Bull has AlphaTauri (as a sister team).
Seidl cited Racing Point as an example. For the unaware, Racing Point’s 2020 car – the RP20 bears a strong resemblance to the 2019 championship-winning car. Some fans have called it the pink Mercedes or W10. This may be legal but detrimental to the healthy functioning of the sport.
Seidl calls for strict action
“It’s more important for us to look at what’s happening for 21 regulations and beyond,”
“I think there it’s even more clear or restricted what is allowed in terms of a working relationship between two teams,” said Seidl.
“It would help, let’s say an A-team, having a co-operation to go around the regulations to increase their resources beyond the idea of the budget cap and that is the biggest worry for us to be honest.”
Seidl called for the FIA to monitor the situation closely and prevent top teams from exploiting loopholes. Ironically, Mclaren is switching to Mercedes power in 2021.
“The FIA needs to make sure they are on top of this game, that the co-operation between two teams is first of all always within the regulations,”
The FIA has confirmed that it would be closing down loopholes quickly if found. However, will words translate into action?