Formula 1’s major rules change could be delayed further to 2023 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.
Amid major concerns over the impacts the global COVID-19 crisis will have on the financial well-being of F1 and its teams, the new technical rules package has been formally delayed from next year until 2022.
In the meantime, teams will carry over their chassis and other components – likely suspension and gearboxes – and only be able to develop aerodynamic surfaces after the 2020 season ends.
However, in an in-depth interview with BBC Sport, Horner claims there is “reasonable agreement” to push the new F1 rules back further to 2023.
“We’re also talking about pushing back a further year the new regulations, because in my mind it would be totally irresponsible to have the burden of development costs in 2021,” said Horner.
“There seems to be reasonable agreement but it needs ratifying by the FIA to push back those development costs into 2022 for introduction in the ’23 season.
“The most important thing we need now is stability. Because the one thing we know is that whenever you introduce change you introduce cost, and stability right now and locking down as much of the car as possible is the most responsible way to drive those cost drivers down.”
It is unclear whether this would mean the current cars continue into 2022 as well, or if further development freedom will be allowed to introduce more fundamental changes.
The uncertainty has led to a raft of major emergency measures being revealed by the FIA to safeguard F1 amid the crisis.
Teams are also adhering to a mix of government restrictions and the FIA-mandated shutdown period, which has been brought forward from the summer and extended from two weeks to 21 days to try to help teams in difficult circumstances.
The FIA has revised its sporting regulations in anticipation of the shutdown period being extended further.
It will consult with teams to determine whether that should happen if “public health concerns or government restrictions continue beyond the shutdown period initially envisaged”.
The FIA says this is “in order to ensure equal treatment as between all competitors”, and Horner said there will be weekly discussions and “I can only see it [the shutdown] being extended”.
“I can see it being extended to the end of April, beginning of May, and then reviewed again,” said Horner. “There will be a discussion among the team principals, FIA and FOM in the next few days.
“It’s the only fair way of dealing with it. What’s right and logical at the moment is everybody abide by the same rules and the shutdown, incorporate FIA conditions to it, until the teams are in a position to go back to work.”