BARCELONA, Spain -- Sebastian Vettel says it is laughable that Formula One has pushed through a set of aerodynamic tweaks which look set to slow cars down in 2019.
Despite opposition from several teams, F1 agreed on simplified front wings and a bigger rear wing for next season in a bid to lower downforce levels and improve overtaking opportunities. The next major regulation change is not due until the 2021 season but Ross Brawn, the sport's technical chief, felt there were ways to improve the spectacle in the short-term.
However, ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix it emerged the changes might have a detrimental impact on lap times.
"We expect this rule change to be approximately half way or one third ... less performance," said Nikolas Tombazis, the FIA's head of technical matters for single-seater racing. "So we expect to lose about one-and-a-half seconds maybe."
F1 revamped its aerodynamic package ahead of the 2017 season, introducing wider cars with higher levels of downforce which have radically increased the speed of cars. This season has seen a slew of circuit lap records broken as a result - the time Lewis Hamilton set to claim pole position on Saturday was three seconds quicker than the benchmark he set 12 months ago.
Vettel is frustrated to see F1 make another change when the current cars have reached their current level of performance.
"I find it a bit comical," Vettel said. "In 2009 we went, 'Let's go less aerodynamics and better racing' and so on. I think it didn't change too much.
"Then we said, 'The cars are too slow, let's put more aerodynamics and make them wider, more spectacular'. And now we want to make them slower again. It's a bit like cruising to America and changing direction 100 times."
Championship leader Hamilton agreed, saying F1 should not be doing anything which stops them from setting new historical benchmarks.
"We want to push the boundaries and the limits," said Hamilton. "One of the exciting things this year has been that we are breaking records. It's incredible the technology we have and what we're doing with it. We should be at least as fast as we are this year but just making racing better."