Mooted weight limit increase too late for Webber

Mark Webber might well be musing “a little too late” as he learns that his Red Bull technical genius Adrian Newey is supporting a renewed push to increase the weight limit of next year's formula one cars so that heavier drivers are not penalised.

The matter is up for discussion at next week's F1 Strategy Group meeting when the debate will be about bringing forward a 10 kilogram rise in the weight limit to 700kg, which has been agreed for 2015. Unanimous support is required from all teams. But one – Mercedes – is against the move.

Throughout his just-ended F1 career, the tall Webber battled to sweat away the grams in order to only partly satisfy designers and engineers, who demanded that their featherweight drivers be located low in the car.

Other tall timbers in F1 including Nico Hulkenberg and Jenson Button favour a hike in a race car's minimum weight while Webber's replacement at Red Bull, Perth's already trim Daniel Ricciardo, has been told by the team to lose at least two kilos before the new season.

F1 teams – many still well short of the massive budgets needed to power a two-car team through a 19-race season – are working hard on new cars meeting revolutionary 2014 technical regulations, which include new 1.6-litre turbo-charged engines and expanded energy recovery systems.

Some are yet to lock in drivers although Lotus has opted for the heavy wallet of Pastor Maldonado ahead of the more talented but taller and heavier Hulkenberg, who has returned to Force India on a multi-year deal. This was an option deemed easier than reducing his height by 15 centimetres. Unlike this year at Sauber, there is also an improved chance that he will get paid.

So the only team to consistently keep rampant Red Bull honest in 2013 couldn't afford to sign the best available driver for 2014 due to its parlous funding situation.

Former grand prix racer, Martin Brundle, now a commentator with Sky Sports F1, has candidly predicted chaos in the early part of the 2014 F1 season.

“I'm expecting total calamity in the early stages of 2014 and it remains to be seen if that's entertaining or confusing, but I have no doubt that these brilliant engineers and designers will master the issues sooner than later,” Brundle wrote in a column for Sky Sports F1.

“I agree with Jenson Button, big changes can only hurt Red Bull given they have such an advantage, but no doubt the usual suspects with the biggest resource will get there first. I'm hoping that we won't have a three-tier Ferrari-Renault-Mercedes championship, in whichever order, for both power and efficiency, but it's possible."

Teams have a massive amount of work to finish on the 2014 cars. Brundle didn't dance around the budget crisis impacting on a lot of teams in the sport.

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