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Current regulations stifle creativity - Newey

ESPN Staff
October 3, 2012 « McLaren not expecting issue with wing flexibility | Perez could win on McLaren debut - Whitmarsh »
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Red Bull technical director Adrian Newey believes the current technical regulations "stifle some of the creativity" in Formula One.

F1's technical regulations saw a major overhaul in 2009, opening up several avenues for development, but since then have been restricted. In the past three seasons double diffusers, F-ducts and exhaust blown diffusers have been among the innovations the FIA has clamped down on and Newey believes that has prevented the levels of creativity seen in past decades of Formula One.

"The grid is so tight if you can find two tenths of a second in the final qualifying session, that can move you quite a few grid positions," he said. "In years gone by that just wasn't the case. Teams are building components for smaller and smaller gains. That's a reflection of the competition, which rolls back to the tightness of the regulations.

"I think it is a shame that they are so tight in a way, there's no doubt that it stifles some of the creativity. But that's the world we live in…. It would be fantastic to not have them, but with the size and resources of the teams an arms war would result which would means a tremendous leap in performance for the cars.

"The danger would also be that one team gets it more right than any of the others and disappears and wins every race for the whole season. For the viewing public you would get the diversity, but people would get bored if it is always the same team and drivers winning."

After a dominant season in 2011, Red Bull has won three races this season with Sebastian Vettel second in the championship and the team currently clinging on to a 36-point lead in the constructors' championship. Newey said his team has been working hard to stabilise the car's behaviour ever since the limitations on exhaust blowing were introduced over the winter.

"Mainly this year has been understanding the ban on the exhaust system that we enjoyed last year," he said. "Not only the exhaust position, but the mapping. We changed the car a lot over the winter; we lost a lot of performance, perhaps more than our rivals, as we had been on that system for two years.

"A lot of our effort has focused around trying to stabilise the car after we lost that exhaust effect. I think this season we have gained at least half a second, but nearer one second. The problem is that we never look back, we only look forwards. Without looking back at the figures and the handling aspects, which is difficult to put a number to, it's difficult to be precise."

Newey is not expecting any major changes to the regulations for 2013, but said the 2014 rule book is still far from finalised.

"Next year is reasonably well settled," he added. "There's still a lot of debate on 2014. The new V6 turbo charged engines come in, with a much greater emphasis on energy storage and re-use. It is a much more complicated power unit than we have at the minute. Much heavier, much bigger. Supposedly more fuel efficient. There's been a lot of debate on whether this will be a good thing for F1 or not.

"We also have to decide on the aerodynamic regulations that go with the engine in 2014 will be. For 2013 there's only a couple of areas that still need to be finalised. But unfortunately that's normal and relatively small. A further change to the exhaust regulations could have a big effect on the car, but other than that, as far as I know the details are quite minor."