Adrian Newey describes the new regulations that are being introduced to the 2017 Formula 1 season as a “mixed bag”.
With a revision of aerodynamics and much wider Pirelli tyres, the 2017 cars are set to be four to five seconds per lap faster than 2016, as changes are implemented to the technical regulations, and the Red Bull Racing chief technical officer believes the changes implemented will make the cars more physical to drive.
“I think it’s a mixed bag in some ways, mixed feelings, the extra downforce is a big chunk,” Newey said at the Autosport International Show. “That means that quick corners such as Copse at Silverstone will now be flat, even in the race, so fast corners are now, some of them, simply bends on the straight rather than fast corners.
“Cars will therefore be more physical to drive, I think it’s a good thing, principally the neck muscles, drivers are all doing a lot of training over the winter to have bigger necks.”
Newey admits regulations though will add some concern to overtaking, especially with braking distances likely to be shortened as a result, and he feels the Drag Reduction System is not the solution to that problem.
“What that does to overtaking is a little bit of a concern, it means the braking distances will be very short,” added Newey. “Yes, of course you can sort it out with DRS but to me DRS is a solution of getting cars to overtake each other, but a DRS overtake is not a memorable event.
“Overtakes that we remember are the really ballsy ones, Mark Webber taking Fernando [Alonso] into Eau Rouge [at Spa-Francorchamps in 2011]. It was a very brave and well executed move, but straight away it was reversed on the following straight by Fernando then having the DRS.”
Newey understands that Formula 1 cars need to be quick, as television has the effect of making them appear slower than they are.
“There’s the whole debate of ‘should cars have lots of downforce, possibly at the detriment of racing’ or ‘should we take all the wings off and go back to where they used to be’,” he said.
“If you take too much downforce off, they will look slow. If you watch a touring car going around on its own it’s not very exciting to watch. So the cars need to be quick because television has the effect of slowing everything down.”