The simplification of the front wing, designed to encourage overtaking, penalises Red Bull and Ferrari.
The front wing is one of the most critical Aerodynamic devices on the cars, not only producing front downforce but also determining the quality of flow to the rear of the car, notably by attempting to minimise the disturbance created by the front tyre.
The first 2019 Aero change is a proposal to make the wing wider and simpler, in an attempt to negate the outwash disturbance claimed to inhibit close racing.
Red Bull’s Adrian Newey has certainly not been one of the supporters of the new aerodynamic rules. According to Red Bull, the simplification of the front wing will not be limited to reducing the effects of excessive wake, the main issue faced with a car following closely behind.
The more worrying aspect of the new front wing rule change is the probable impact on how the grid shapes up during the coming season, with non-Mercedes cars struggling with costly in-season development changes.
The reason for this possibility is the knock on effect of decreasing the front load of the new front wing. Cars that traditionally run a high rake – meaning that they run the height of the rear suspension much higher than the front – will struggle to balance out the front wing using data they already possess from 2017 / 18.
In an effort to increase overall downforce, Red Bull and to a degree in recent times, Ferrari, have run much more aggressive rake angles than Mercedes, whose modus operandi has always been to keep the entire floor flat to the ground, with very little rake maximising the effect of their longer wheelbase concept.
Couple this with the required increase in fuel tank size, forcing Red Bull and Ferrari to produce a longer wheelbase than previous years, means that these two teams and some others like Racing Point, will need to radically alter their car concepts, whereas Mercedes can very easily adapt theirs to fit the new requirements.
TJ13 anticipates that the initial cars seen in winter tests for these non-Mercedes cars will be somewhat undeveloped and different to those racing mid-point of the season, more so than Mercedes.
The ‘have nots’, those with less resources, have been given a big disadvantage in 2019 due to this simple rule change.