APRIL 6, 2022

Too soon for F1 to scrap DRS says FIA's Tombazis

Nikolas Tombazis admits that Formula 1 is not ready to dump the controversial 'DRS' system despite the apparent success of the new aerodynamic rules.

Kevin Magnussen, Bahrain GP 2022
© Haas F1 Team / LAT

Nikolas Tombazis admits that Formula 1 is not ready to dump the controversial 'DRS' system despite the apparent success of the new aerodynamic rules.

The FIA's technical boss says he was pleasantly surprised with the spectacle of the opening two races of the revolutionary new 'ground effect' era.

"I wouldn't have been surprised if there was only one car that was capable of dominating," Tombazis told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport. "So we got off to a better start than that.

"I also expect others to be in the fight at the top in the coming months."

However, he's not totally convinced that the new Max Verstappen versus Charles Leclerc battle will ultimately be as close and intense as was the 2021 duel.

"For a situation like last year, where at the last race we had two drivers on equal points, that takes luck. And that's not the purpose of the rules," said Tombazis.

And while some are wondering if the ground effect cars can now cope with spectacular racing without the drag reduction rear wing system, Tombazis says F1 is not ready.

"It would be good to eliminate it," he admitted. "But with cars that produce so much load and with a wake effect that although reduced is still there, it cannot be done.

"However, the DRS areas can be shortened. We don't want overtaking to be easy."

Tombazis was also asked about Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto's concerns about his rivals potentially finding their way around the strict $140 million budget cap.

"Our very first goal is to keep the championship clean," he said.

"Today's regulations require a lot more resources to check that. In the past we could weigh the cars and check the track and displacement - not we have to inspect what the companies are doing at home.

"But we have a capable team led by Federico Lodi. Mattia can rest assured - we are doing everything to keep the situation under control."

He even dismissed Mercedes boss Toto Wolff's claim that teams should not have to include huge repair costs in their budget cap for crashes like Mick Schumacher's in Jeddah.

"No," said Tombazis. "If I have an accident and destroy my car, I have to spend less on my vacation. And it has always been like that.

"There are many exemptions to the budget cap - so many that they will need to be reviewed," he revealed. "But they do not cover accidents like Mick's."

Finally, Tombazis says F1 will press ahead with its engine development 'freeze', even admit reports that Mercedes is down on power.

"First of all, none of the four engines are in trouble at the moment," he said. "The performance is similar.

"And when we discussed the freezing, we established that if one got into trouble, everyone would have discussed in good faith how to fix the problem. There is no interest in condemning someone to stay behind for four years.

"Sure, it's not ideal to freeze the engines for a long time," Tombazis admitted, "but we had to do it because it would have been unsustainable for the manufacturers to develop these engines and the ones that will be introduced in 2026.

"Will there be a cap for the engines as well? Yes," he concluded.