Symonds says 2019 aero changes were wrong, offers hope of 2021 shakeup

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Formula 1's decision to introduce aero changes in 2019 was wrong in hindsight, chief technical officer Pat Symonds admits.

Last year, a simpler front wing, less complicated bargeboards and bigger rear wings were introduced to try and increase overtaking in a first step towards the bigger overhaul coming in 2021.

However, the reaction to how effective those alterations were was mixed and now Symonds reveals the work done to come up with the changes may not have been as thorough as suggested.

“In shaping these 2021 regs, probably not as much as I would have hoped for,” he said at the Autosport International show in the UK.

“They were done in a bit of a hurry and, you know, with the benefit of hindsight, I wouldn’t have done them.

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“In terms of what they did to the wake of the car, relative to what we’ve done for 2021, it is minuscule. And, in fact, we had never run exactly the sort of configuration that the rules came up with.

“We’d done a lot of research by that time [the 2019 rules came out] in mid-18 and we were starting to understand critical areas, but we hadn’t run the configuration we had to actually get some rules out for.

“So I think we could have done that whole exercise a bit better, but I don’t regard that in any way as a precedent for what we’ve done into 2021.”

Turning attention to next season, there is a fear that the lack of a budget cap this year could enable the top teams to simply spend their way into an early advantage under the new regulations.

However, just as Ferrari and McLaren struggled in early 2009, the former Williams and Renault chief thinks a big fight for this year's championship could actually hamper their 2021 projects.

“If there is domination at the front, then that dominant team, whoever it may be, can probably afford to switch a little bit earlier,” he accepted.

“But I think there’s not going to be domination in front. I think there’s going to be a good fight to the front and that, I hope, will stop the teams from sitting back and just getting on with the ’21 cars.

"Whereas some of the teams towards the back may be able to have a little bit more effort on the ’21 car. So we should see a good season this season.

“And even though change generally will initially separate the cars before they start coming together again, I hope that in 2021 we’re going to see good racing as well.”

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