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Horner seeks deeper solution to impeding rule changes

Christian Horner, Red Bull's team principal, has urged Formula 1 to address the true causes of drivers' qualifying issues

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Christian Horner has insisted that Formula 1 should solve the issue regarding the rule changes concerning impeding.

Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Lance Stroll in parc ferme after qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Brazil. (Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

The excitement in the lead-up to the Sao Paulo Grand Prix was tinged with controversy as a new pitlane exit rule attempted to resolve the persistent issue of drivers impeding each other during qualifying.  However, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen swiftly branded the rule as “terrible”  with multiple drivers picking up grid penalties as they tried to navigate the sudden changes.

The Misplaced Fixation

Amidst the turmoil, Christian Horner, Team Principle at Red Bull Racing, voiced a strong opinion. Horner has argued that Formula 1 should stop resorting to quick-fix regulations to address problems on the surface and, instead, turn its attention to the real issues underlying drivers’ qualifying difficulties. His comments come after three-time world champion, Verstappen, became tangled in the pitlane, having to fight his way past other drivers due to the new ruling.

As reported by Autosport, Horner said:

“We’re just making it too complicated. There is a rule for driving out the garage, driving in the pitlane and driving back out of the pitlane.

“You’ve got to go basic: why are the drivers needing to do these out laps and whatever? Go to the root cause.”

Branding the new rules as a “sticky plaster,” Horner emphasised the need for a thorough investigation to understand why drivers are forced to carefully manage their out-laps, inadvertently causing traffic jams and dangerous situations.

Tracing the Source

For Horner, the heart of the matter lies in understanding why drivers are compelled to finesse their out-laps, a process aimed at preparing their tyres for peak performance during qualifying. He’s suggested that a comprehensive exploration is needed to identify the fundamental factors at play, such as tyre pressure and temperature, which may be contributing to the ongoing traffic issues.

Horner pointed out that in the world of Formula 1, where engineering prowess plays a significant role, it’s only natural for teams to seize every opportunity for a performance edge provided by tires. This underscores the increasing importance of thorough preparations. He said:

“I think you’ve got a lot of very clever engineers that are always looking to find an absolute advantage and tyres are a little bit of a black art.

“There’s a certain mystique to being able to get the tyre into the right window and the tyre is so much of the performance of the car. You can see why there’s so much effort that goes into the preparation.”

Horner’s perspective encourages a shift in focus, steering away from quick fixes toward a meticulous examination of the fundamental factors triggering the traffic congestion. With his call for a more human-centred approach to solving these issues, Horner hopes to find a lasting solution to alleviate the persisting qualifying troubles in Formula 1. The Red Bull Team Principal stressed:

“We need to go to the root cause of the problem, because it is something that didn’t exist in F1 for 50 years. So why is it an issue now?”

Headline Image: GettyImages

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