Ross Brawn says F1 is heading for a rule change where if they find any blatant loophole advantage in rules will be scrapped at the same time.
In the past, rulebook interpretation has played a rather large part in several years across the history of F1, like 2009 with Brawn’s double-diffuser, or in the ’70s with Alfa Romeo’s ingenious fan car idea – the latter was taken out after few races.
However, from 2021 forward, rules are being put in place which will allow F1 and the FIA to more swiftly to ban these loopholes, while in past years they would have had to wait until the end of the season to get together and move away from the rule.
And, explaining these new rules, F1 managing director Brawn said that the revisions were made in an effort to protect against loopholes which can be used to win title. But even then, it can be only exercised if one team is found using the loophole.
“The governance in the past has been the F1 teams have to all agree to make a change,” said Brawn to F1.com. “We’re pushing through governance where we can make changes much more on short notice than at the present time. If you exploit a loophole in the future, you can be shut down at the next race, which you could never do now.
“So the Brawn diffuser – as it happens, there were three teams that had it, so it would have carried on – but if one team stands out there with a solution that has never been conceived, and has never been imagined, and destroys the whole principle of what is trying to be done, the governance would allow, with sufficient support from the other F1 teams, to stop it.
“This is a whole different philosophy. Then what happens is someone who has a loophole thinks, ‘Do I want to use it or do I want to tell the FIA about it as it wasn’t intended?’. You’ve found a loophole in the regulations and you turn up at the first race and the FIA say, ‘Sorry chap, that wasn’t intended, we’re going to hold a meeting now and if everyone agrees, apart from you, we’ll stop it’.
“A great idea is the exploitation of the regulations within what was intended. If someone comes up with something that was a play on the words, or some interpretation that was never intended, it completely corrupts the principle.
“What is the choice? Either live with it for a year, and have something which is not a great competition, or we change it, put it right and get the competition back to where it is. Would you take that risk of going into the F1 championship with an interpretation that was risky if you knew it could be stopped?
“Therefore, the evolution and the way those things will develop will be different. The philosophy would be different. What we don’t want – and I say this with some hypocrisy – is that we don’t want a F1 championship being won because of the loophole. We want people with an understood set of regulations that will be the best at what they do.
“I think they have to rely on us and the FIA, that we’re not going to penalise someone who has a great idea. That is subjective. But is a great idea the fact that someone put a comma in the wrong place in the regulations which means a lawyer can interpret it in a diverse way? I don’t think it is.”
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