Szafnauer has blamed the rule tweaks for the team’s loss of competitiveness since the end of last season, when as Racing Point it was a regular podium challenger and took victory in the Sakhir GP.
Racing Point followed the Mercedes low-rake concept for its 2020 car and was committed to it for 2021 due to the chassis freeze and token system, which limited changes over the winter.
The FIA introduced a package of aero changes, notably involving the floor ahead of the rear wheels, in order to trim downforce levels for this season.
Szafnauer believes that the new rules disadvantaged the low-rake runners more than the teams that follow the high-rake concept.
Mercedes bounced back from a poor test to win last weekend’s Bahrain GP, but the Brackley team has clearly lost any advantage it had over main rival Red Bull in 2020.
Aston Martin struggled for pace throughout, and could manage only a 10th place finish through Lance Stroll.
“I’m not a conspiracy theorist,” said Szafnauer. “But it was pointed out last year by the low-rake runners, that this would have a bigger effect than on the high rank runners.
“And we were correct. At the time, the regulations were being made this was pointed out.”
Szafnauer denied the suggestion that the teams had voted unanimously to support the regulation changes.
“No. Number one, there was never a vote. Number two, there was an indicative vote. So that was just at the technical under committee [working group], that all the technical directors had to have an indicative vote, and three teams voted against it.
“You’ve got to remember only two teams have a low-rake concept. So even one of the high-rake teams voted against it. So nowhere near unanimity. And it wouldn’t have even passed on the eight out of 10 rule. Because three voted against.”
Regarding the team’s current form, he added: “In race conditions we were a bit more competitive than we were over one lap.
“But compared to where we were just a few months ago here, before the regulation change I mean, we’ve got a lot of a lot of work to do.”