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Red Bull clash makes the case for downforce rethink - Brawn

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen
©WRI

Formula 1's technical director Ross Brawn says the clash between Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen in Baku offers a compelling example of why downforce changes must be carefully considered.

F1 confirmed on Tuesday a series of changes to the 2019 technical rules destined to improve overtaking and promote better racing.

But using Sunday's blunder between the Red Bull drivers as a case study, Brawn underlined the need for a cautious approach to regulation changes linked to the subject of downforce in order to improve closer racing.

"One of the key episodes of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was the collision between team mates Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen," Brawn said on F1's official website.

"I don't want to comment on who might be held responsible or how a team should manage these issues during a race, but I do think the Steward's decision to reprimand both drivers was the right course of action.

"But I would like to highlight a technical point. Once Daniel had settled for his line, and Max had changed direction blocking that line, the Australian became a passenger.

"The downforce loss experienced by Ricciardo in the wake of Verstappen's car would have made it unstoppable.

"We often think of downforce applying in cornering, but the impact the extra grip has in braking is huge. Take away that grip in braking and what happened on Sunday was inevitable."

Brawn insisted the tweaks announced yesterday to help enhance overtaking are not the result of a knee-jerk reaction, but are decisions supported by comprehensive research.

"Whilst this was a very severe example, it did highlight once more the need of finding a way to develop the rules to make the cars more raceable in these conditions," added F1's technical director.

"The decision of the Strategy Group and the F1 Commission taken yesterday, sanctioned by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, to approve a number of aerodynamic modifications, aimed at promoting closer racing and more overtaking for the 2019 season is definitely an important step.

"It's also important to note that the decision has been taken after an intense period of research into the FIA's proposals, which were made with the support of Formula 1 and, conducted by a majority of the teams."

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