Christian Horner feels Toto Wolff’s rule change was ‘not needed’

Horner opens up on Red Bull's 'barren spell' amid Mercedes dominance

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Christian Horner has branded rule changes demanded by Toto Wolff as “strange” and “not needed”. The Red Bull boss’ prediction that teams would be able to solve their porpoising problems themselves has been proved correct.

Mercedes chief Wolff was adamant changes had to be made after Lewis Hamilton struggled with severe back pain after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The FIA mandated teams would need to raise the floor edges by at least 15mm for 2023.

The governing body has also made it clear that constructors need to raise the diffuser throat height and have the car’s edges stiffened. Horner said: “It’s a little bit strange, because obviously there was a big push to get all of this changed, and the changes came through around Spa last year.

“But by the end of the year, there was very little porpoising. My argument at the time was will it not just get sorted out, which it did.

“So we’ve gone through quite a lot of expense, for all the teams in a big regulation change that probably wasn’t needed.” Last season, Horner argued it was “unfair” for the FIA to change the rules as it would “penalise” teams who had done a good job.

He even suggested Mercedes had asked their drivers to play up as it was “part of the game”. Asked how he would deal with his drivers if Red Bull had their own porpoising issues, Horner explained he would “tell them to b**** as much as they could over the radio.”

However, Wolff reportedly argued with team bosses Horner and Mattia Binotto over the need for rules changes at the Canadian Grand Prix. The Mercedes boss apparently “lost his s***” with Horner who in turn told the Silver Arrows to get their “house in order”.

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The FIA introduced a technical directive to monitor forces on cars from the Belgian Grand Prix. The ride height changes were then introduced for 2023 after discussions throughout the season.

Despite Horner’s claims, Hamilton did report that Mercedes’ porpoising issues were a problem in Abu Dhabi. The seven-time champion claimed “bouncing is back with a vengeance” after retiring from the final race of 2022.

FIA’s Nikolas Tombazis stressed he believed the FIA had made the right decision on the new rule changes despite the opposition from Red Bull. He explained: “I’ve got no doubt we did the right thing. We tried to find a pragmatic, short-term solution and a medium-term solution.

“It won’t necessarily dissipate [porpoising] completely, but it will be a step less.”

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