Apparently the big teams were spending tens of thousands of dollars on air guns.
They wanted guns that worked faster, that were lighter, more accurate etc etc
And this is great for the smaller teams.
An open or free rule book is how the smaller teams can compete with the big teams.
By giving the big teams more areas to waste money the less money they have to target towards the things that actually make a difference.
A tight rule book and “an even playing field” is the dream of all big teams
By narrowing the things they can spend money on the bigger the gap there will be between the big teams and the small teams
Just because there is less for the big teams to spend money on does not mean their budgets are smaller.
The budget of a big team is the same with the tight rule-book as it is with the free rule-book
You could even argue than a tight rule-book makes the budgets bigger because they are getting a bigger return on investment.
If there is only one thing a team can spend money on eg rear wing design, then the team with the most money wins. Simple
But, if you have a hundred different things a team can spend money on eg wheel bearing, air guns, seats, front bumper aero, dampers, springs, bump stops, ball joints, drive gears etc etc the more bases the big teams have to cover.
The smaller teams on the other will be forced to buy cheap, off the shelf products for all the stuff that makes very little difference eg air guns.
If you want to “level the playing field” you have to give the big teams more things to spend money on.
F1 attracts the millions because the rule-book is so tight
There is no way Mercedes is going to come into F1 if they cant get a return on investment
How can they improve their chances of getting a good return on investment?
Narrowing the rule book.
With a wide rule book, creativity comes into the equation. Clever designers and engineers can make a difference.
With a narrow rule book, the money makes the difference.
Any racing championship where you see the big car manufacturers coming in and spending tens of millions to run 2 cars you know the rule-book must be tight.
The car manufacturer would not risk that much money if they we weren’t sure they would be competitive.
Any rules that reduces variety simply ends up benefiting the big teams. It eliminates some uncertainty and attracts bigger budgets
And this is why a spec air gun is bad for NASCAR and bad for the small teams
It simply frees up money for the big teams to spend more money on damper development and aero.
Image Source https://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/a8072/behold-the-thunder-gun-nascars-new-secret-weapon-12403645/
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