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The FIA is set to outlaw aerodynamic technology used by Mercedes and Aston Martin next season.
Going into 2022, the overhaul of technical regulations aimed to allow cars to race each other more closely and follow easily.
Pirelli data suggests that this was achieved, with the tyre giant confirming that overtakes increased by 30% compared to previous seasons.
However, designs created by Mercedes and Aston Martin put that success at risk.
How the FIA is clamping down
The specific concepts used by the two teams were outlined under the 2023 technical regulations. For Aston Martin, they will no longer be permitted to use the rear wing they introduced in Hungary.
On Mercedes’ side, their front wing endplate will not be considered legal from next season.
This is not to say that these teams broke the rules in 2022. In fact, the FIA initially deemed these concepts to be entirely legal.
However, they served to make the cars more difficult to follow and overtake, and are therefore not in the spirit of the current regulations.
As reported by Crash.net, the FIA’s head of single-seaters Nikolas Tombazis commented on the changes.
“Obviously this year they were both legal,” he explained. “The regulations have changed on both the front and the rear in different ways to stop those solutions.
“That article [3.2] wasn’t intended that: ‘Okay, if you’re smart and you have a solution, we’re going to take it off the car immediately.’
“It just gave an explanation about sometimes why we have to intervene with the regulations.”
Article 3.2 focuses on the role aerodynamics play in enabling “cars to race closely”. It also outlines how teams must supply the FIA with relevant data to ensure this goal is successful.
Tombazis continued to emphasise:
“We’ve still done it via governance. We don’t have the right to just say: ‘We don’t like this, let’s ban it.’”
Could there be any further rule changes in 2023?
The field may not have closed up as much as many were expecting this season. Red Bull ramped away with both titles, and the top three teams were fairly consistent.
Nevertheless, there were 785 overtakes this season, compared to 599 in 2021 (according to Pirelli’s statistics).
Focusing on this achievement, the FIA seems pleased with what the new regulations have accomplished.
F1’s chief technical officer Pat Symonds said that there is nothing he wants to change in the rules, stating that “we need to let them develop”.
He referred to Aston Martin’s rear wing as “unusual”, before summarising some tweaks to the regulations.
There will be changes to rules around the floor area. This is intended to combat porpoising, an issue which dominated headlines in the early part of the season.
Whilst Symonds confirmed that “it would be wrong to do a lot of changes”, he did explain that they hope to “reduce the amount of bouncing”.
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