Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says the changes to the 2019 Formula 1 technical regulations will force the team to alter its development plans as it will need to bring its focus for next year earlier than scheduled.
Last month the FIA World Motor Sport Council approved a series of regulation tweaks including a simplified front wing and front brake ducts along with a wider and deeper rear wing. While finer details on the rule alterations are yet to be formally clarified by the FIA, Steiner is wary of understanding the areas of opportunity Haas can expose.
Having initially seen the stable regulations as a chance for Haas to produce an evolution on its 2018 F1 car, VF-18, Steiner feels the rule changes will be a priority for next season which will bring forward its development focus.
“We’ve had to do a lot of studies with the new regulations. It’s just the details getting sorted out at the moment,” Steiner said. “For sure, it will trigger that we switch over to the 2019 car a little bit earlier than we envisioned at the beginning of the year, but so will everyone else. It’s not a big change. For the aerodynamic engineers, it’s a good challenge.
“The exact date when we switch over, we don’t know yet. The jury’s still out on how big the change is.”
The 2019 F1 rule changes will be introduced with the goal of allowing cars to follow each other closer in races and therefore encourage more overtaking opportunities. This led to concerns the cars will be slower due to less advanced aerodynamics but Steiner has dismissed these fears.
“There was speculation the cars would be a lot slower, but I don’t believe that one,” he said. “There are a lot of intelligent engineers working on it, and we will find a way around it to make the new regulations work as well as the old ones, and have a very similar speed to what we have this year.”