F1 rule changes – The feud between three team bosses over 2023 update

Christian Horner on Red Bull's success and hints at next step

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Toto Wolff, Christian Horner and ex-Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto were all involved in a tense feud over one of F1’s major rule changes. The three team bosses had a “heated exchange” at the Canadian Grand Prix after the FIA issued a technical directive to combat porpoising issues.

New rule changes launched a metric to measure oscillations to ensure cars were not being run too close to the floor. This was eventually brought in from the Belgian Grand Prix but the directive also promised a technical meeting to define more long-term solutions to the issue.

The FIA have since adopted a string of new rule changes for 2023 in a bid to improve safety. Ride heights will be raised by 15mm for this season while more stringent lateral floor deflection tests and sensors will also be introduced.

The car’s underfloor diffuser throat will also need to be raised from the start of the new season.

Red Bull boss Horner pushed back against the FIA’s technical directive, hinting it would be unfair to change the rules because Mercedes had got their design wrong. Tensions then boiled over in a team principal meeting in Montreal, with the cash expected to feature in the latest series of F1’s Drive to Survive.

F1 reporter Adam Cooper tweeted: “Hearing more and more about an angry exchange between Toto Wolff and Mattia Binotto re the porpoising technical directive at yesterday’s meeting. Christian Horner joined in too… and all of this in front of Netflix cameras!” According to a witness, the debate was on a “different scale” from previous spats.

Another source reported Wolff “lost his s***” at his two rivals’ claims that the change was for performance gains. Wolff was for the updates after Lewis Hamilton complained of severe back pain at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

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However, Horner quickly suggested that Hamilton was “b****ing” about the pain being worse to push for changes. The Red Bull team principal also believes mechanics could have fixed the bouncing issues without the involvement of the FIA.

He added: “I think there’s an awful lot of lobbying to change regulations significantly for next year so a certain team can run its car lower and benefit from that concept, which is a very late point in the year to be doing this.

“We’ve got some of the most talented engineers in the world in this sport, and I can almost guarantee you that, if we came back next year, there will probably be no cars with issues.”

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