Renault F1 sporting director Alan Permane believes the FIA’s stringent actions against newer innovations is detrimental to the sport. F1 managing director Ross Brawn had earlier proclaimed that the FIA would be acting a lot quicker on teams exploiting loopholes from 2021. At a time when innovation could make or break a championship-winning car, F1 is staring a bleak future.
Renault F1 sporting director on FIA restrictions
Permane’s assessment comes fresh off the heels of Mercedes’ unique steering wheel innovation. The German team has developed an ingenious method to reduce drag and manage tyres with the steering column. The mechanism is called DAS and involves a pull-push operating method, which changes the front wheel configuration from toe-in to toe-out.
Sadly, the FIA has put its foot down and outlawed the mechanism from 2021. After years of R&D, Mercedes can use DAS for a measly one-year time frame.
One of the few things I dislike about F1 is the periodic throttling of innovations. Once every few years, teams come up with an ingenious idea or mechanism that gives them an advantage. Sadly, the FIA swiftly strikes down on revolutionary changes and deems them illegal.
ICYMI: @MercedesAMGF1 got everyone talking on Day 2 🗣
Here's why 👀 pic.twitter.com/bD7h3zDSnT
— Formula 1 (@F1) February 20, 2020
In F1, there can only be one winner. Sometimes, this is driver dependent, but the majority of the time it is car-dependent. For one team to beat the other, they will always require innovations or clever ideas which provide an advantage. That has been a part of F1 since time immemorial.
Renault’s Alan Permane echoed these words.
“F1 is about innovation, it’s about people differentiating and finding that edge over their competitors,”
“So while we are jealous or frustrated or whatever, Mercedes have clearly found something they think is a benefit and I think that’s one of the wonderful things about F1.
“I don’t know in 2021 if projects like that would ever get off the ground if you go to F1 and say ‘I’ve got this and it’s going to be worth two-tenths of a lap’, they are going to shut it down in two races and you may not see that kind of thing.”
Permane also asserted the importance of not over scrutinizing and neutralizing teams’ freedom to innovate.
Eventually, teams will find new ways to bypass restrictions. The ‘how’ remains a fascinating question, yet to be answered.