Haas team principal Guenther Steiner and Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto have both indicated that upgrades under the new technical regulations are having less of an effect than they did before.
The new ground effect aerodynamics introduced this season necessitated an entirely new concept and approach from the teams as they tried to figure out the best way to design the chassis and the floor, given that the downforce is now generated by the underside of the car.
There have been many quirky attempts to save on weight and gain performance, some of which will be banned as of the Belgian Grand Prix, but the measures being prohibited are a sign that teams are having to upgrade in many different facets.
Countering “porpoising” and bouncing has been vital before teams can even think about improving the pace of the car, and knowing which parts of the car to upgrade and how has also been part of the learning process with the new cars.
Any packages that the teams do introduce have to be smaller too because of the $145 million budget cap, raised from $140 million after concerns were raised about inflation.
“I think it is a bit harder than it was in the old days, because the upgrades people brought have not been as big as they were years ago,” said Steiner.
“It’s much more difficult to find performance with these technical regulations than it was before so we have also to say these technical regulations are pretty good.”
Binotto added that the “rules are too restrictive,” so teams are generally “trapped” in the original concept they designed at the start of the year.
Aston Martin were at the centre of controversy when they arrived at the Spanish Grand Prix with sidepods that looked very similar to those of Red Bull.
However, the FIA corroborated the British side’s insistence that they had started designing the new parts last year, so no wrongdoing was found.
However, not much more has been made of that particular saga, because Aston Martin’s results have not really improved since they installed the upgrades.
While Red Bull’s concept is easy to copy superficially, there is plenty more going on inside the car that other teams cannot see.
“None of the Red Bull copies have really worked,” a source told Auto Motor und Sport.
“Because no one knows exactly what Red Bull is doing under the car to keep the flow stable, it doesn’t help to simply copy the shape of the sidepods.”
The teams head to the Circuit Paul Ricard for the French Grand Prix this weekend in the penultimate race before the summer break.