Teams continue to wrestle with 2017 rules revamp
Faster, wider cars with wider tyres have been agreed, but detailed changes have led to dispute
Teams are still trying to decide on the detailed concept for the new rules to produce F1 cars in 2017.
The basic concept remains the same, and should create cars that are ve seconds a lap faster due to being made wider, with wider tyres. They will also be less sensitive to turbulence in the wake of another car, so will be easier to race with.
But the sport’s leading engineers are wrestling with the detail, and time is running out to nalise the rules before the end of this season. After that point, any decisions will be much harder because the unanimous agreement of all the teams will be required.
Pirelli have responded to a call for wider rear tyres from the Strategy Group of leading teams, Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA. This has led to the idea of putting the current 15-inch wide rear tyres on the front, and producing even wider rears. This would prompt another look at the car’s design concept.
Complicating the process is the as-yet-undecided tyre tender process – Bernie Ecclestone has not nalised his decision on whether to appoint Pirelli or Michelin as F1’s tyre supplier from 2017 onwards.
Points now agreed include widening the track to two metres, widening the front wing, reducing minimum weight and lowering the car by 10mm by removing the underoor plank. This will boost the proportion of total downforce of the car provided by the underbody.
There are concerns in some quarters as to whether the major changes are necessary. One leading engineer points to the grands prix in Britain and Hungary this year as evidence that all that is required to produce an entertaining race is a rst-corner mix-up.
There is also the issue that any major rule change tends to spread the eld as the bigger teams can apply more resources to solving new problems created. It is even possible that the changes could be abandoned altogether.