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Fallows dissatisfied with ‘most complicated rules in the history of Formula 1’ · RaceFans

The technical regulations Formula 1 introduced last year are too limiting and haven’t been beneficial for the championship, Aston Martin’s technical director Dan Fallows believes.

F1 overhauled its rules in 2022, forcing teams to design completely new cars, in the hope of improving the quality of racing. However Fallows says the result has been a set of rules which are much more restrictive than before and more complicated for the FIA to enforce.

“The regulations we have at the moment have been introduced with the absolute best of intentions and with a lot of very good research behind why we’ve introduced them,” Fallows told an official F1 podcast.

“But we now have a set of regulations that are by far the most complicated in the history of F1 in terms of the length of the regulations – both sporting and technical regulations – and by far the most complicated to actually police, so the FIA’s job is exponentially harder than it has been over the last few years.

“And I just don’t think that’s really been beneficial.”

The restrictiveness of the rules means teams will inevitably produce increasingly similar designs as they try to improve their performance, said Fallows.

“I think we have certainly, as I say, with the best intentions tried to introduce regulations to improve the show. But what we’ve effectively ended up with is a set of regulations that make you design the car a certain way.

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“So the reason that a lot of the cars look the same or look very, very similar is that the regulations effectively make you design a car like that. There’s an incredibly complicated set of regulations for the front wing, for example, that are essentially making you design it in a very particular shape.

F1’s latest rules don’t offer room for innovations, says Fallows

“Now we have these regulations, not only are the complicated, but they can only be regulated or only be judged by the FIA by referring to CAD as well. So part of the regulations are literally how you constructed the surfaces that go into the shape that you’ve got. Whereas in the past we had regulation boxes and as long as the car comply to those you could do what you like.”

Asked whether he felt the rules offer enough scope for innovation Fallows said: “Honestly, no, I don’t.”

Although many teams’ designs have converged in appearance since the rules were introduced, Red Bull has becoming increasingly dominant over the last nine months. Fallows’ former team have won 13 out of the last 14 grands prix, and shown they are capable of lapping over a second per lap faster than their rivals in race trim.

Fallows said the differences in design which allow Red Bull’s substantial performance advantage are generally minor and obscured from view, making them difficult for fans to appreciate.

“I can’t deny the fact that there is certainly a difference in performance. The truth is that the differences between the cars are in very, very small details, a lot of which are invisible. They’re either actually under the bodywork or they’re in areas of the car which are very, very difficult to see.

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“I’m not sure that having these very, very small details being the differentiator is really something we want to see. I would far rather, personally, see totally different cars that have wacky shapes all over them and new, innovative ideas. But I accept that maybe that’s just me.”

“I think that cars that are very visibly different and not just in the sidepod area is good for F1,” he added. “I think that’s what the fans want to see. We’ve always identified, even from the discussions we had about these regulations in the past, that it’s not just a driver formula. People want to watch a sport where the cars are a differentiator.”

Fallows’ team has emerged as the closest threat to Red Bull this season, out-scoring Mercedes and Ferrari over the opening three races. However he does not believe the two teams which were Red Bull’s closest competitors last year have fallen short with their development programmes.

“I’m not sure they’ve underperformed in that they’ve certainly made, I think, a tangible step since last year. It may be not the step they were hoping for, but I think it is a reasonable season development for them.

“The problem is that because Red Bull were clearly the team to beat and were some amount out in front, they both needed, as everybody did, really, to make a bigger step than you otherwise would do during their kind of season’s-worth of development.

“So they may be disappointed from that point of view, but I don’t think it’s fair to say they’ve underperformed. I think everybody has certainly improved, it’s just that unfortunately so have Red Bull, so that’s made their job a little bit harder.”

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