Abiteboul doubts 2019 rules will shake up competitive order

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In the round-up: Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul says the rules changes for the 2019 F1 season are not drastic enough to cause a 2009-style upending of the competitive order.

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What they say

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said yesterday he considers every F1 team a potential threat due to the possibilities offered by the new rules, but Abiteboul gave a different view when asked if the regulations changes were likely to shake up the competitive order:

I’d like to say so, I’d like to say yes. But in reality… you want to create the expectation for the new championship but we don’t think that it’s a change of regulations that’s big enough to really shift completely the order.

I think you need to be a bit more radical [with] the change first, and secondly to leave more space for innovation. If you really want to create something, look at last time it was something strange happening it was Brawn, really, because there was a big change of regulation and room for innovation. Here you could argue that first it’s a small change of regulation.

But that doesn’t go from what we could see – maybe we missed something – into rewarding innovation. Because if you look at the regulation on the front wings there is no real room for innovation. So I think that’s a mix of both that needs to happen: Big change plus innovation if you really want something unexpected to happen.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

A development detail on the new Mercedes W10 has caught @Mach1’s eye:

I am curious about the side-pods. They seem to me much more similar to the 2017 arrangement that most teams have moved away from.

Whether it means they are more aero efficient for Mercedes philosophy or whether they need to have larger openings (they seem larger) due to the new power unit requirements… only time will tell.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 16 comments on “Abiteboul doubts 2019 rules will shake up competitive order”

    1. Abiteboul is right, if we leave the rules unchanged the cars become more similar (as what works becomes apparent) closing up the pack, small changes to the rules let the wealthier teams maintain the status quo, but opening up the rules can be a game changer.

      1. PS: There is no such thing as a free launch!

        1. That’s very good.

    2. Really a crucial year for the Strolls. Under VJM, the team kept on pushing despite uncertainties for many years. Wonder how many years the team will stay as Racing point if Lance doesn’t perform as per expectations.

      1. Or…Lawrence retires and Lance has the chance to be the first owner/driver since Jack Brabham.

        1. I always hoping they use family name to ensure long term commitment. Strulovitch F1 Racing.

        2. Oh – My – God…! You put the two names in the same sentence… :-(

    3. What’s misterious about JCB moving to Racing Point? aren’t they one of Lance Stroll’s personal sponsors? makes sense they’d move with him, like PDVSA moved from Williams to Lotus, or Claro moved alongside with Perez.

      Also, Joe Saward is more grumpy than ever these days…

      1. “…much more…” lol

    4. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
      14th February 2019, 8:42

      I fear Abiteboul might be right.

      Also, regarding Mercedes’ sidepods; they’ve always been quite wide the last few years. (https://cdn-2.motorsport.com/images/mgl/6xPxv4M6/s8/f1-mercedes-amg-f1-w08-hybrid-launch-2017-lewis-hamilton-mercedes-amg-f1-w08-hybrid.jpg W08 for comparison) These seem to be the slimmest yet…

      1. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
        14th February 2019, 10:56

        What a terrible angle to demonstrate the shape of the sidepods.

        They were wide and thin last year and have reverted to a larger and more vertical this year as per COTD more like 2017.

    5. I thoroughly agree with Abiteboul. These recent changes indeed aren’t significant enough to properly affect the pecking order, so I expect the status quo, at least, concerning the top-3 teams, to remain the same as the last two seasons.

    6. Other than TW, who as we know tends to try to make other teams sound like a real threat to their domination, imho out of diplomacy and out of not looking to gloat, I don’t know why anyone would think this year’s reg changes would change the order of things. This was a relatively small change meant to try to promote closer racing. And at that, TW himself said they have found other ways to outwash since they can’t do it with the front wing. I guess that means they were innovative in adapting to a small change that was never meant to knock Mercedes off the mantle to begin with. It is going to take the big changes for 2021 to potentially do that, and also to really and truly promote closer racing.

    7. I don’t see why people think a few rule changes would magically affect the pecking order. The top teams have the best personnel designing, building and racing their cars so why would 1 or 500 changes to the rules affect their positions at the top? The quality of the staff at the top teams is the reason why they are in the position they’re in and whether they’re spending 300 million or 150 million to build and race their cars, they will produce the better results.

      1. Quality and quantity of staff. And the quantity of designs they can test concurrently is linked to this and the funds available. And of course, this is all costing money.

        You’d like to think the best staff with the best funding would create the best results, but cost-adjusted last year’s WCC was Force India by quite some margin, no?

        These changes put huge pressure on the big teams to not drop the ball. @velocityboy

    8. “Szafnauer . . . explained: “. . . we didn’t lose a single person through the administration process so all those people that helped us finish fourth in the past are still with us. . . .”

      Are you sure…? Nobody went missing…? Have you not noticed one very senior guy has been missing from your lineup since last summer…? On the other hand nobody else in the media seems to have noticed either…
      Weird… or what…?

    Comments are closed.