– or was it a slot? – in 2009’s regs, but the
chances of someone finding a similar
silver bullet out there is probably slim.
Meanwhile, Pirelli, F1’s whipping boy of
recent times, is predicting fewer strategic
stops due to more durable covers that
are wider – the fronts by 60mm/2.5in
(305mm/12in) and rears by 80mm/3in
(405mm/16in) – but only fractionally larger
in diameter and still mounted on 13in. rims.
DRS will have a more powerful effect on
cars hauling more drag…
“I don’t see why you’d want faster cars,”
says Wright. “Watching on television, you
won’t be able to tell. A bigger engineering
challenge would’ve been to reduce
downforce. That’s always been my instinct
for generating more interesting racing.
And the simple way of achieving it is to
limit the front wing. Do that, and designers
would have to limit everything else.
“I’m looking forward to the season with
great anticipation because I’m eager to
see the end result. But I fear that after a
few races one may think, ‘Ooh, when’s
Moto GP on?’ And one person giving that a
great deal of thought will be Ross Brawn.”
He of the silver bullet and Silver Arrows
has expressed concern about the racing in
2017. Since his employment in January as
Liberty Media’s MD, Motorsports, however,
this wise owl has been very politic. Even he
– the man who for many represents F1’s
last chance – can only wait and see if the
new owner, who had no say in the changes,
has been blessed or burdened. If the latter,
he can’t – and probably won’t – wait too long.
Wright: “I’ve heard a lot of people say
that we are watching the demise of F1.
I hope to hell that we’re not. But maybe
the era for cars with lots of noise [to be
augmented in 2018], lots of spectacle
and lots of power is almost over.
“F1 must decide if it wants to do
something relevant to road cars.
Nowadays they’re flat-out trying to solve
electrification and make it profitable. What
F1 can do toward that, I don’t know.”
Can it be made future-proof, or might
Formula E be F1’s silent assassin? For
better or worse, F1 is rushing to find out.
In any Formula 1
every team is
loopholes to exploit.
For 2017, several
chanced upon a
T-tail aerofoil on the
“shark fin” (LEFT,
Mercedes was the
first to run a double-deck version of it...
Tasked with steering
the on-track side of
Formula 1, Brawn
is wary of the
the 2017 rule
crossed, it is going
to work out,” he
says. “But if this
was a principle to
winning, you could
argue the exact
anything, it gave it
“I don’t see why you’d want
faster cars. Watching on
television, you won’t be
able to tell”
Drivers will be able to push harder for
longer – hopefully in search of that elusive
gap – on compounds with improved
resistance to overheating as well as wear.
However, wake, which is unlikely to have
been reduced, will continue to compromise
a front wing that is larger and yet more
complicated. The total airflow gap between
its tips and the car’s extremity is 50mm/
2in wider than in 2016 and, with no new
restrictions in place, convoluted stacked
elements will continue to be the “norm.”
So where might any shakeup stem from?
Well, not all tracks will be maximum-downforce, which has been the case, bar
Monza, Montreal and sometimes Spa,
since 2009, while an altered chassis/tire
dynamic might highlight a different skill
set. Some say the increases in bargeboard
size, floor area and diffuser capacity will
reduce the front wing’s primacy and malign
influence on passing. Others suggest that
(ABOVE) 2017 changes extend to wider, more
durable Pirelli tires and the additional mechanical
grip associated with them; all-electric
Formula E – F1’s elephant in the room?