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Aston Martin deliver thinly veiled jibe over ‘unfair’ rule changes

Aston Martin deliver thinly veiled jibe over ‘unfair’ rule changes

F1 News

Aston Martin deliver thinly veiled jibe over ‘unfair’ rule changes

Aston Martin deliver thinly veiled jibe over ‘unfair’ rule changes
Ian Parkes & Will Gray

Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer has handed out thinly veiled criticism of the winter rule changes that have sent his team tumbling down the Formula 1 pecking order.

New aerodynamic regulations appear to have favoured teams that run cars at higher rake angles, rather than the lower-rake approach of Aston Martin and Mercedes.

The primary change has centred around the floor in front of the rear wheels where downforce has been stripped away for apparent safety reasons to protect Pirelli's tyres.

Asked whether it was an ‘unfortunate circumstance’ that Aston Martin has been so badly affected, Szafnauer said: “I'm not a conspiracy theorist but it was pointed out last year by the low-rake runners that this would have a bigger effect than the high-rake runners. We were correct.

"At the time the regulations were being made this was pointed out.”

Szafnauer added there was “never a vote” over the regulation change, explaining: “There was an indicative vote, so that was just at the technical under-committee, that all the technical directors had an indicative vote, and three teams voted against it.

"You've got to remember that only two teams have a low-rake concept, so even one of the high-rake teams voted against it, so nowhere near on unanimity. It wouldn't have even passed on the eight-out-of-10 rule."

It was not clear exactly how the changes would affect all the cars until pre-season testing, at which point it became apparent Mercedes and Aston Martin had taken a step back.

The level of the issue, however, only became clear to Szafnauer once competitive running resumed in Bahrain when the team that won the Sakhir Grand Prix around the Outer Circuit were so woefully off the pace around the International Circuit.

Lance Stroll managed to score a single point but was almost a minute and a half behind the leaders. Szafnauer added: “I think the rude awakening happened in qualifying.

“We realised after analysing the data that low-rake cars were hampered significantly more by the regulation change.

"In race conditions, we were a bit more competitive than we were over one lap but compared to where we were before the regulation change, we've got a lot of work to do."

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