Giving teams a set amount of homologated parts to use at a grand prix has been tipped as a “sensible solution” to Formula 1’s proposed major 2021 schedule change.
F1 rulemakers have proposed shifting Friday practice to later in the day and applying parc ferme conditions before those two sessions even begin.
Under the current rules this would force teams to commit to major set-up choices before running on track, in the hope of reducing costs and increasing unpredictability as well as the primary aim of the schedule change to reduce the number of days team personnel have to spend at the track.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes the way to make it work is to avoid parc ferme being as strict as it is now.
“When parc ferme was originally introduced it was going to be dangerous, and was certainly frowned upon,” Horner told Autosport.
“We need to give these things a try and see if it works and see if it does have an impact on the costs.
“What you want to avoid is the potential unintended consequences of introducing a regulation like that.
“So, maybe rather than being a totally strict parc ferme, you should still have the ability to alter springs and wing levels, but the parts should maybe be homologated so you have a set amount of parts instead of something totally binary.
“If you have an amount of homologated parts that you were able to utilise that would seem a sensible solution.”
Under the current parc ferme rules, suspension set-up changes and aerodynamic tweaks are forbidden beyond front-wing levels.
In theory, reducing the opportunities to test and use new parts over a grand prix weekend would deter teams from spending money on such developments.
One side-effect would likely be that teams shift their focus to greater simulation work and dyno-testing, which would raise costs on that side.
However, Horner believes that changing parc ferme rules in conjunction with a cost cap – believed to be targeted at $175m – would reward intelligence as much as resource.
“The smarter teams will always find an advantage,” he said.
“You see it in Formula 2.
“There are teams that, with an identical car, some cars are better than others.
“That’s down to the people that are involved at the end of the day and how they commit their resource.
“F1 is a much more extreme version of that.”