McLaren boss Andrea Stella believes Formula 1 teams, except Red Bull, were fooled by the perceived restrictive nature of the ground effect regulations – with this being key behind their dominance. Since the ground effect regulations were brought in for the 2022 season, Red Bull have won 20 of the 25 races, with their 2023 challenger taking three wins from the opening trio of races, enjoying a sizeable performance advantage over the rest of the field. The rules package was thought to be perspective on teams, with the ambition of closing the field up to create more exciting racing and overtaking. While this has worked to an extent in the midfield, Red Bull have pulled away at the front, with reliability concerns the only thing that can seemingly stop them from making back-to-back championship doubles this season. And McLaren’s Stella feels that teams initially missed the potential for development around the floor area – which is crucial when it comes to sealing the car to the track for the ground effects to work correctly. Stella explains area teams missed “I have to admit, and it think most teams would admit, that before the new generation of cars, we thought the regulations were quite restrictive,” Stella told media, including RacingNews365. “But interestingly, as soon as you start the journey, you realise there is a lot of performance [available], especially on the floor. “Ground effects can be exploited from a technical point of view beyond what I think anybody in Formula 1 would have anticipated. “If you see the sophistication of the geometries, you’ll see on some cars, especially the parts facing the ground, so not necessarily visible, the complexity of the [air] flow field and the vertical structures that you want to generate under the car, I think went beyond what the regulations would have expected. “From a technical point of view, it is fascinating, but from a spectacle point of view, it means that whoever does a better job, like Red Bull are doing at the moment, gain a consistent, competitive advantage beyond what could have been anticipated.”

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