Why Mosley was right about regulations

Truth be told, I have my reservations about the 2014 regulation changes. The first sign of my reservation got started at this year’s test in Jerez when video from YouTube allowed us, the fans, a auditory insight into what the cars would sound like. No screaming down the straights I’m afraid—more like a chainsaw whirring down the straight. As if they took a brake duct cooling leaf blower engine and stuck it in the back of a chassis.

As Renault Sport F1 powered teams struggled to complete a significant amount of performance-defining laps, I wondered if the ERS and engine combination had reached a point where system controls and software along with power storage and deployment had gone a bridge too far.

Concerns or not, the changes are here to stay so we’d better get used to the idea for the foreseeable future. Often times, regulation changes can be brief opportunities for teams to gain ground on the front runners such as Brawn GP in 2009 but Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost doesn’t believe we’ll see that type of dual-diffuser fueled upset in 2014.

Formula 1 has always been about changing technical innovations as the series rapidly sped through time. A raft of regulation changes has been both appealing and loathed depending on which side of the coin you preferred. What was always present was the way in which the regulations were written by former FIA president Max Mosley (or, how he suggested the wording of the regulations should be).

You see, Max would always frame the regulation wording loosely around a principle and if someone designed around the regulation, he would come back to the underlying principle to render a judgment. however, that leeway proved to be hidden innovation blocks that the teams could push and deliver on.

It’s an element or regulatory style that we would often comment about because incidents such as the 2009 dual-diffuser seemed like something that could have been easily written in black and white and avoided altogether but you see, where’s the fun in that?

If you want definitive detail and regulations in black and white, that may play well with certain dimensional regulations and perhaps other series. In Formula 1, the innovation block is always a consideration when crafting regulations and 2014, while not as craftily worded as a Max Mosley opus, seems to have some of that nuance still left but is it enough?

If Tost feels there will be no opportunity for key innovation points such as 2009, has the FIA become too black and white? Regulations, as we’ve discussed previously, are necessary and while it may seem obvious to make finite, detailed regulations, we can show that the tighter we define Formula 1, the less of its DNA remains.

So let’s give 2014 a chance to expose its underlying principle and if, after a season, we deem the move to be lacking, perhaps recalculations can be made. I say that with some trepidation as I already miss the V8 sound and mid-corner speed and the season hasn’t even started yet. Let us hope Ferrari’s James Allison is right as he told AUTOSPORT:

“When we go to the first race everyone is going to be much faster,” he said.

“And by the end of the year we might not be that far off, a couple of seconds.”

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