Aston Martin F1 team boss wants aero rule revision

Formula One F1 - Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy - April 16, 2021 Aston Martin team principal and chief executive officer Otmar Szafnauer during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) - Aggrieved Aston Martin boss Otmar Szafnauer wants to talk to Formula One's governing body about changing the aerodynamic rules with the season barely started.

The Mercedes-powered team argue that subtle regulation tweaks introduced this year have targeted low-rake cars, like Aston Martin and champions Mercedes, while favouring high-rake rivals like Red Bull.

High-rake cars ride higher at the rear while those like Mercedes are flatter to the ground, affecting the airflow underneath.

"I think the right thing to do is to have the discussions with the FIA and find out exactly what happened and why," Szafnauer told Sky Sports television.

"We as a team have to work hard to try to claw back everything we can but at the same time we should be having the discussions with the FIA to see if anything can be done to make it a bit more equitable."

Asked whether Aston Martin might ultimately consider legal action, Szafnauer added: "I think we get to that point after the discussion. It’s hard to predict. I think the right thing to do is see what can be done."

Aston Martin, competing as Racing Point, finished fourth overall in 2020 and started the year with high hopes of challenging for third.

Instead, they scored one point with Canadian Lance Stroll in last month's Bahrain opener while four times world champion Sebastian Vettel ended up 15th.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner, whose team dominated in Bahrain only for Max Verstappen to finish second behind Mercedes' seven times champion Lewis Hamilton, said he was "slightly surprised" by the complaint.

"There is a process for regulations to be introduced and they were voted through unanimously..." he said.

"It seems a little naive to think that suddenly the rules are just going to get changed after the sample of a single race after the process has been fully followed. I'm struggling to get my head around that."

The likelihood of any mid-season rule change can be effectively ruled out, with such an extraordinary measure permitted only on safety grounds and affecting all teams equally.

Horner, whose team were dominant from 2010-13 before the V6 turbo hybrid engine was introduced, said it was the 'nature of the game' for rule changes to shift the balance of power by outlawing some developments and favouring others.

"It's part of Formula One and the regulations evolve and change and you have to swing with those punches," he said. "That is Formula One."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ken Ferris)

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