London - Formula One has approved aerodynamic rule changes for 2019 aimed at promoting closer racing by making it easier for cars to overtake, the sport's governing body said on Tuesday.
The measures include a simplified front wing with a larger span, front brake ducts without winglets and a wider and deeper rear wing.
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said its Formula One commission, Strategy Group and World Motor Sport Council had approved the changes.
The changes should reduce turbulence for cars that are following each other, and come after criticism of the lack of overtaking in some races.
The FIA said the vote, on the last day before unanimous agreement is required for any 2019 regulation changes, followed research carried out by a majority of the teams and backed by commercial rights holders Liberty Media.
"These studies indicated the strong likelihood of a positive impact on racing and overtaking within F1 and as such have now been ratified for implementation in 2019," the statement added.
"The approved changes are separate to the ongoing work being undertaken in regard to defining Formula One's regulations for 2021 and beyond."
Motorsport.com suggested several teams, including Ferrari and Red Bull, had been opposed to the proposals but were outvoted.
Step in the right direction
Managing director Ross Brawn said the 2019 rule changes were a step in the right direction and fans should see better racing as a result.
"We've had some fantastic races this year but actually if you look at them in detail, they’ve often been created by unusual circumstances - safety cars or other factors," Brawn told Reuters.
"What we want to do is create racing which can stand alone without the need for a safety car or some other event. And I think this moves it in the right direction.
"What I’m really encouraged by is that Formula One came together and recognised it was necessary," he added.
Brawn said a collision between Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen in Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix showed how hard it was to follow a car and make a move.
Ricciardo ran into the back of Verstappen, with both retiring.
"I think we had a demonstration in a very extreme sense with Ricciardo and Verstappen that the moment Verstappen moved in front of Ricciardo, Ricciardo lost all the downforce and couldn’t stop," he explained.
"There was no way he was going to stop that car once Verstappen took his air away from him."
Approved and ratified on the last day before unanimous agreement was required, the measures followed research carried out by most teams and backed by commercial rights holders Liberty Media.
Brawn confirmed there had been some dissenters, however.
"I guess it’s a healthy situation that you have debate about these things," he said. "There were some teams that felt we should have waited until 2021 and done the complete package.
"But certainly enough of the teams felt it was going in the right direction."
Formula One's current agreements expire after 2020, and the sport needs to decide what kind of engine and rules should be introduced after that.
Liberty wants a more level playing field, reduced costs and more equal distribution of the revenues.
Only three of the 10 teams - Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull - have won races in the V6 turbo hybrid era that started in 2014 and Mercedes have won every championship.Reuters