F1 floor rules change to slow down Mercedes

While teams were required to move the vast majority of their 2020 car designs for use this season, changes to F1’s technical rules required a triangle-shaped area to be removed from the rear floor.

This was part of an attempt to reduce downforce levels by as much as 10% of what cars were producing in 2020, which also included a reduction in the size of the rear diffuser strakes, to reduce speeds and reduce drag. risk of tire failure.

During winter testing, where Mercedes notably struggled with rear handling, suggestions emerged that the low-rake aerodynamic concept used by the team was losing out when it came to regaining downforce lost on the lowered rear floors compared to the concept. high-rake started by Red Bull. at the beginning of the last decade.

On Friday, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff confirmed that this was “definitely” happening, and that the situation also affected the Aston Martin team after it switched from high to low rake car concept with its RP20 machine. inspired by Mercedes W11 like Racing Point. year.

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When asked about Wolff’s comments at the post-qualifying press conference after taking P2 on the grid for the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, Hamilton said: “No it’s no secret that the changes [have done], of course they have been made to bind us. “

The world champion compared the situation to 2020, where a rule change introduced just before the Italian GP meant that teams could no longer alter the engine modes of their cars and had to run with just one for both qualifying and the race. .

Hamilton said: “We had the course changes last year on our engine to do the same.

“But that’s okay, we love challenges and we don’t despise these things, we just work hard to do the best we can. And that’s what we’ll do.”

Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas was also asked about the situation at the post-qualifying press conference.

Bottas declined to comment on the merits of low rake versus high rake in regards to the impact of the 2021 backfloor changes, instead saying Red Bull has “a really solid package overall.”

He added: “Their power unit, chassis, their aerodynamics are good. They have done a good job during the winter and we have to do a better job.”

When Verstappen responded to the issue, he suggested that Red Bull’s gains during the offseason compared to Mercedes were the result of “a few factors.”

“Its [been] our philosophy now long overdue, of course, “he said.

“I don’t think you can point it out on that [where Red Bull has improved], I think there have been some factors.

“Like, we knew our weakness from last year and that doesn’t just have to do with rake.

“I think also from the engine side I think Honda has worked very hard to improve their engine in general and I think they have done a great job.”

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