There are fresh concerns for middle and lower order F1 teams in 2023 after the FIA approved changes that could play into the hands of the three giants.
The FIA has confirmed regulation changes for 2023 that will tackle the porpoising issues that have plagued cars to varying extends this season.
The changes — which relate to the specifications of the car floor, as well as an additional sensor — are good news for Mercedes which aggresively pushed for an overhaul due to their major porpoising issues.
Alpine chief technical officer Pat Fry, meanwhile, has raised concerns that Mercedes, along with Ferrari and Red Bull, will be able to adapt to the 2023 curveball easiest with team’s 2023 development plans already at an advanced stage.
It could ultimately leave the likes of Alpine, and Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren, further behind.
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“For us it is engineering resource, we’ve clearly got a lot smaller aero department than the three above us and the one we are fighting with, they are all bigger than us,” Fry said, as per motosport.com.
“They might have 20 people parked outside the cost cap doing sailing or push bikes, but they can quite easily drag them back in to hit a problem and then send them away again.
“So when you’ve got that level of extra capacity, they’ve got a huge advantage. Delaying the rules for them is great, because they know all the small teams are not going to be able to cope.”
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GREEN LIGHT FOR MOTOR GIANTS’ TAKEOVER BID
Formula One’s governing body has approved new engine regulations for 2026 in a move that could further entice Volkswagen Group brands Porsche and Audi to join the category.
For instance, the removal of the current Motor Generator Unit Heat (MGU-H) element was reportedly a pre-requisite for the two Volkswagen Group brands’ takeover bids.
As a whole, the rules confirmed on Wednesday are intended to reduce costs for a sport hoping to attract new teams and encourage those who are fighting for championships to stay.
Porsche is said to be looking at taking a 50 per cent stake in Red Bull technology while Audi had reportedly held talks with Sauber, the company that runs the Alfa Romeo team.
“The regulations are intended to make it possible and attractive for newcomers to join the sport at a competitive level,” the FIA said.
The FIA also said the requirements for new engines, or power units (PU) aimed at greater sustainability. The new motors will increase electrical power by up to 50 per cent and use 100 per cent sustainable fuel.
“The introduction of advanced PU technology along with synthetic sustainable fuels aligns with our objective of delivering benefits for road car users and meeting our objective of net zero carbon by 2030,” FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem said.
DATE FOR 2023 AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX LOCKED IN
Elsewhere, the Australian Grand Prix has been locked in for 2023, with the event to run from March 30 to April 2.
Formula 1’s biggest names will be on the track from March 31 and it looks likely that it will include Melbourne-born driver Oscar Piastri, who is tipped to be racing for McLaren.
Of course, it is unknown at this stage whether Daniel Ricciardo will also be driving as the second Australian on the grid and if so, which team he will be with.
It comes after the F1 confirmed the Australian GP will be staying put in Melbourne until 2035, with feeder categories Formula 2 and Formula 3 to also race on the weekend.
This year’s Australian GP saw over 419,000 fans flock to Albert Park.
EX-F1 STAR’S RICCIARDO REALITY CHECK
Former F1 star Ralf Schumacher “can’t imagine” Daniel Ricciardo will get another chance in the category as a messy and expensive exit from McLaren looms.
Ricciardo is set to be axed by McLaren and replaced by fellow Australian Oscar Piastri, although the news is yet to be confirmed.
Piastri’s move comes after he made a now-infamous statement on Twitter disputing Alpine’s claim that he would drive for the French team in 2023 as Fernando Alonso’s replacement.
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While Ricciardo still has a year to run on his deal with McLaren, he’s reportedly asking for an eight-figure payout to vacate his seat early.
Should the 33-year-old move on, there’s likely to be plenty of interested parties who would like to secure his services for the future, including former employers Alpine (previously Renault).
However, Schumacher thinks this season could ultimately prove to be Ricciardo’s last if the Piastri saga comes to fruition.
“And then there is the question of Daniel Ricciardo,” Schumacher told Sky Germany.
“Personally, I can’t imagine him getting another chance in Formula 1.
“But I wouldn’t know who Alpine should take at the moment.”
There’s plenty left to play out in this wild saga.
MERCEDES BOSS THINKS ABOUT CONTROVERSY ‘EVERY DAY’
There’s no moving on from the Abu Dhabi GP for Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who thinks about the controversial race “every day”.
Last year’s world title was to be decided in the Abu Dhabi GP, as Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton duked it out for F1’s ultimate crown.
Hamilton led for the vast majority of the race, but Williams driver Nicholas Latifi crashed with a handful of laps to go and brought out a safety car.
Although it should have taken the excitement out of the race and allowed Hamilton a relatively straightforward route to victory, race director Michael Masi opted to go against regulations and allowed a number of drivers at the back to unlap themselves.
It allowed Verstappen, who pitted for fresh tyres, one lap to overtake Hamilton, which he did with ease.
The absurd finish prompted Mercedes to lodge a protest with the FIA and although Masi was sacked from his role, the result was not overturned as Verstappen was crowned world champion.
While Wolff has accepted the way things finished, it still eats away at him.
“I think about it every day,” Wolff told Motorsport.com.
“But I have my peace with Max winning the championship, because he’s a deserving champion.
“How it panned out, I think I have values around fairness, and especially sporting fairness. This is what provides my fundamental love for the sport.
“And then that was kicked with the feet on that particular day.”
Unlike last year, there’s not a lot of drama in the world championship standings this season as Verstappen looks on course to win his second consecutive title while Hamilton sits in sixth.
STRANGE INSPIRATION BEHIND SILVER ARROWS SUCCESS
In elite level sport, sometimes athletes will look to pick the brains of those who have been successful in other codes.
It’s something that Toto Wolff has utilised to great effect, as the Mercedes boss revealed he studied how Sir Alex Ferguson kept Manchester United at the top for so long.
Under Ferguson’s watch, United won a whopping 38 trophies and cemented the Scot as one of, if not the greatest manager of all time.
With Wolff at the helm, Mercedes has won eight Constructor’s Championships, a tally bettered only by the late Frank Williams.
As he looks to maintain the Silver Arrows’ dominance, Wolff revealed what he believes is the driving factor behind the crazy success.
“I studied why great teams were not able to repeat great title [runs],” Wolff told the Financial Timesand name-checked Ferguson’s United.
“No sports team in any sport has ever won eight consecutive world championship titles, and there are many reasons for that, and what is at the core is the human.
“The human gets complacent. You are not energised in the same way you were before. You are maybe not as ambitious.”
Just as well that Wolff clarified it was Ferguson’s United and not the shambles that has followed since the Scot’s retirement!