By Alan Baldwin
MEXICOCITY (Reuters) – Leading teams wanted Formula One to delay a major revamp of the rules by a year until 2022 after introducing a cost cap in 2021 but see little chance of that happening now, bosses said on Friday.
Red Bull principal Christian Horner told reporters at the Mexican Grand Prix that “a bit of an opportunity” had been missed.
He described the proposed 2021 technical regulations, the result of years of debate among teams and technical experts, as still “immature” and said they left a lot of questions to be answered.
A delay was discussed at a meeting of the sport’s various stakeholders in Paris last week.
“I don’t think these regulations are going to be stopped. It’s been made very clear that this is moving forward,” said Toot Wolff, principal of world champions Mercedes.
“There will be tweaks and changes in detail and interpretations but broadly I think this is moving forward.”
The 2021 sporting and technical regulations are due to be published next week.
“I think with hindsight we would have been better bringing the cap in first for 2021 and then taking more time to develop these regulations and evolve them and bring them in for 2022, so that any development the big teams undertake would be under the umbrella of the cap,” said Horner.
Wolff said there had been an argument to bring the cost cap forward to next year and implement the technical and sporting regulations in 2021, but that was not an option.
“The single most important factor is the auditing and policing process and none of that is in place for 2020,” he said.
“And obviously if you can’t police it in the right way, it makes no sense to implement the rule.”
Wolff said pushing the introduction of the rule changes back a year was more logical but the idea “didn’t gain the traction and didn’t trigger enough appetite with the ones that decide.”
Formula One’s commercial rights holders Liberty Media and the governing FIA are keen to level the playing field and reduce costs to make the racing more competitive.
Some teams, such as McLaren, are keen to stick to the proposed timetable.
“We like what is on the table now, what we have seen last week also, in terms of what’s coming in on the technical side, the sporting side and on the financial side,” said team boss Andreas Seidl.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Cynthia Osterman)