“The fastest in Aus­tralia won’t last”

Motor Sport News - - Headline News - By Rob Lad­brook

Team bosses are split on whether this year’s new rules pack­age has the abil­ity to shake up the For­mula 1 form­book or not.

This sea­son will fea­ture some of the big­gest tech­ni­cal changes to chas­sis for a decade, with cars al­lowed to be wider, more pow­er­ful and with sig­nif­i­cantly greater aero­dy­nam­ics. Pirelli will also sup­ply wider tyres. The com­bi­na­tion is ex­pected to make cars a hand­ful of sec­onds per lap faster than the first gen­er­a­tion of V6 hy­brids.

Some top team bosses ex­pect the changes to make sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in the grid peck­ing or­der this year, but some are yet to be con­vinced.

Wil­liams’ for­mer tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Pa­trick Head told the Guardian last week that he wasn’t ex­pect­ing much to change.

“If any­body was think­ing of these rules with the aim of clos­ing the field up then they’ve got rocks in their head,” he said. “Any time you make sig­nif­i­cant changes the ad­van­tage will al­ways go to the big­ger teams – be­cause they have more re­sources, they have more ca­pa­bil­ity to par­al­lel de­velop their ex­ist­ing car and work on the de­sign of their new car. When you have 750 em­ploy­ees or more against, say, Force In­dia’s 300 [em­ploy­ees], of course the big­ger teams can do more. Any idea it will close the field up is non­sense.”

How­ever, Wil­liams’ cur­rent per­for­mance chief, Rob Smed­ley, be­lieves the new rules al­low a greater scope for swings in per­for­mance within the sea­son.

“We’ve de­vel­oped our car, and done a rea­son­able amount of devel­op­ment in the wind­tun­nel,” he said. “Over and above that, the key thing for 2017 is that we’ve got a good base upon which to de­velop go­ing for­ward.

“I don’t ex­pect the fastest car in Aus­tralia to be the fastest in Abu Dhabi. If that hap­pens, the rules have ul­ti­mately been suc­cess­ful.

“I think the new rules will shake things up a bit, but we won’t have a com­plete change in the peck­ing or­der. In F1, no one ever won a world cham­pi­onship with­out a sub­stan­tial bud­get. Money does count, at least in this era of F1.

“But that is not to say the in­tra-groups – the front, mid­field and back – are not go­ing to get shaken up a bit.”

For­mer FIA pres­i­dent Max Mosley has ques­tioned the rule changes. He told ITV: “My per­sonal view is that they’ve [F1 bosses] gone in the wrong di­rec­tion. I would have gone for less aero and per­haps more me­chan­i­cal grip.

“De­lib­er­ately set­ting out to make the cars quicker is ques­tion­able be­cause all of the rules for the last 40 or 50 years that have been brought in by the FIA have been to make the cars slower – ei­ther slower and safer, be­cause speed equals dan­ger ob­vi­ously.”

Pho­tos: LAT

New cars will run much wider tyres and body­work

Smed­ley: devel­op­ment opens

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