FIA relying on teams to police 2021 rules

The FIA hope that teams will give them a helping hand in policing the 2021 regulations by reporting any potential loopholes.

F1 will bring in major changes to the regulations from 2021, covering everything from car design to revenue distribution, and with this comes the opportunity for teams to find loopholes and boost their performance.

In an effort to avoid this the FIA created something of a rule-breaking group during discussions over the regulations to sniff out areas which teams could exploit.

And while confident that most of these loopholes have been figured out, the FIA still expect a few more to be found and hope that teams will help them to police the rules for the good of the sport.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, FIA head of single seater technical matters Nikolas Tombazis said: “We did identify two or three areas that were not well written or well controlled and we wrote better rules in the last few months.

“Out of the teams a fair percentage, I wouldn’t say all, will take the responsible view and if they see there is an inconsistency in the rules they will be interested to report it to us and to help us find a solution.

“I don’t know what that could turn out to be, and hopefully we’ve covered most of the ground. I’m not expecting teams to do it out of a charitable cause.

“The reason teams, depending on their attitude or whether they are risk-prone or not, will do that is because they have found some loophole, they know it is against the intention of the rule, and we have up until a certain point in time to adjust the rules and make corrections.

“They don’t want to necessarily spend three months on something and have the carpet pulled under their feet and lose three months.

“So sometimes some teams discover [something] and before they start spending resource there they want to be sure that it won’t be somehow banned or whatever.”

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Honda call for ‘fair’ F1 engine fight

Following the recent rumblings around the legality of Ferrari’s PU, Honda say a “fair” engine battle is all they ask for.

Red Bull wrote to the FIA in Austin in regards to three potential fuel-flow scenarios which they thought Ferrari could be using as an explanation for their drastic performance gains since the summer break.

The FIA dismissed all three as illegal under the current regulations, and with Ferrari still maintaining that their power unit complies with the regulations, even though they suffered an alarming loss of performance during the United States GP, Red Bull’s engine supplier Honda say all they ask for is a “fair” engine battle.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, Honda’s Formula 1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe said: “There are some ways to improve performance of the engine, and the chassis, using grey areas or techniques, fuel, oil burning – something like that.

“We are very keen to have a fair race under the FIA Formula 1 regulations, respecting the regulations. That’s our desire. To have that clean, fair race, we need FIA policing.

“Maybe some teams, or some people, are thinking of something to improve performance, and we clarify whether it’s OK and they say ‘no’, then we don’t do it.

“Someone doing something like that, when they clearly said no, maybe they stop using that. Then we will have a clean race.”

Tanabe was critical of how the FIA regulations are worded, believing it leaves teams needing to ask for clarification on certain areas, although he doesn’t see teams asking for clarity as a bad thing.

“Yes, if someone thinks something is unclear maybe it’s good to ask the FIA ‘yes or no?’,” he said.

“Get clarification, to go ahead of not. It helped our direction. There is a lot of wording in the regulations and specific items are described. It means it’s almost impossible to clarify everything.

“It’s good to clarify everything.”

Honda this season are supplying both Red Bull and Toro Rosso for the first time, having supplied only Red Bull’s junior team in 2018.

Tanabe said the main difference between both teams is their views on the regulations, saying Red Bull are far more strict on making sure everything is legal.

“Red Bull is very much about legality,” he explained.

“They have a lot of experienced people there, like [chief engineer] Paul Monaghan. He keeps watching the legality and tries to make everything legal.

“It’s slightly different from Toro Rosso. It’s more strict on the Red Bull side.”

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Vettel: Ferrari orders not like Multi 21 controversy

Sebastian Vettel has shaken off the suggestion that dealing with Ferrari’s team orders is similar to the Red Bull Multi 21 incident.

Back at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix Vettel ignored instructions from Red Bull to stay behind then team-mate Mark Webber, instead attacking the Aussie and passing him for the lead.

Skip forward to 2019 and team order controversies are back in Vettel’s life, with Ferrari using them to control the action between he and team-mate Charles Leclerc, often to negative effect.

The biggest talking point came in Russia when Vettel used the tow from Leclerc to take the lead at the start, but then ignored the pre-race plan to let Leclerc back into P1.

The Scuderia would leave Vettel out longer than Leclerc to use the undercut to swap their drivers around, before an MGU-K failure for Vettel shortly after his stop capped off a strategic meltdown for Ferrari.

But, Vettel was clear that his experiences at Ferrari this season are nothing like his Red Bull days alongside Webber.

“Inside the car it’s sometimes difficult to know everything, because you cannot see everything,” he told Motorsport.com.

“So it depends really the situation. And I don’t think you can stereotype, say ‘he was right, he was wrong’.

“Obviously if you look back with Mark it was a different situation, because we were working as a team together for many years, I don’t think we worked really well together!

“And then the day came where I was asked to do something, and I never got any favour before, so why should I give a favour now?

“So, it was a bit of different situation, but in the end you look after yourself. You have to also stand up for yourself and [for] what you believe is right.

“Whether then afterwards you were still right or wrong, it is a different story.”

But, Vettel doesn’t think that being a selfish driver in F1 pays off like it once did.

“It is a difficult one, especially nowadays,” said the four-time World Champion. “If you compare to the 70s, 80s, early 90s, then it was still like the driver was the main figure.

“You needed a team around you, but I think nowadays you carry much more responsibility for the people around you, the people behind you, supporting you, supporting the team.

“And especially with Ferrari. It is fair to say, that the team is bigger than anything else. Bigger than the driver.”

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