Tombazis: FIA had to 'intervene' with 2019 aero changes

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FIA technical chief for single-seater racing Nikolas Tombazis insists the governing body had to "intervene" with the 2019 aero changes to prevent overtaking becoming even harder.

After a dull season opener in Australia, voices of discontent grew over the lack of on-track action and resulted in the fast-tracking of research currently being conducted for 2021 with several solutions narrowly agreed aimed at improving the racing next year.

As a result, front and rear wings are to be widened and simplified with the DRS made more powerful and bargeboards are to be moved to try and reduce the sensitivity to dirty air.

Several have criticised the move as a "step backwards", however, Tombazis offered a stout defence.

"There is a general trend for teams to develop more downforce, which would exacerbate the problem," he said in the FIA's Auto magazine.

"If we had not intervened, we feel that 2019 would be worse than 2018, and 2020 would be worse than 2019.

"We now believe that 2019 will be better than 2018 but no one is expecting F1 cars to be fighting like touring cars," he conceded.

The former Ferrari man then offered some figures outlining the current challenge drivers face in trying to keep up with the car in front.

"We consider the critical position to be around 15 to 20 metres between the cars," he said. "That's the distance we'd expect to see between cars running half a second apart approaching a medium-speed corner.

"With the current generation, the following car loses about 30 per cent of its downforce in this scenario, we hope to reduce that by 10 per cent."

Despite the scepticism one high profile name is backing the FIA's push, Williams technical officer Paddy Lowe.

"I was not a fan of the 2017 regulations, I thought [they] were a backwards step for overtaking," he said.

"The FIA and FOM were correct to act at this point and do something different for 2019 and 2020. Not doing anything now would mean we'd have several years of a worsening situation, as the teams develop more downforce.

"I've got quite a high confidence in the technical aspects of what's been done, that it will take us back in the right direction."