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Williams’ Patrick Head conflicted over ‘regressive’ new rules

December 11, 2019

Williams co-founder and current consultant engineer Sir Patrick Head admits that he has mixed feelings about the new regulations set to be introduced in 2021 designed to close the gap between the front and the back of the field, and allow closer racing between cars fighting for position, saying they are ‘regressive’.

It has long been established that under the current aero specs, this generation of Formula 1 car spoils the air so much as it passes through it that it severely impacts any car behind it to such an extent that unless there is a sizeable difference in laptime, it is prohibitively difficult for the following car to follow, let alone attempt a pass.

The new rules for 2021 are set to address this with cars mandated to leave a much smaller aero ‘footprint’ in their wake, however, whilst this has excited fans of the sport, keen to see a greater spectacle, not everyone is 100% behind the plans.

Sir Patrick Head, returning to Formula 1 after a hiatus of seven years in an effort to steer the Williams team back to winning ways, says that while he thinks the new regulations might well close the, currently sizeable, gap between teams, from an engineer’s point of view the rules are a step backwards.

I think from some point of view, the engineering side, it’s regressive really, unfortunately” he said at the recent Autosport Awards.

“I wouldn’t say it’s unfair to say it’s been dumbed down, because definitely the cleverer engineers will find ways and means of making a difference, but there are certainly not quite the freedoms that were when I was more involved.”

However, his overall assessment of the change in emphasis would, in theory, be good for the sport.

“We need to have more teams racing together [and] I think the people involved have done a good job.”


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