Formula 1 design genius Adrian Newey knows a thing or two about rule changes, and he thinks the 2017 regulations will mix up but also spread out the field.
There are a whole host of new F1 rules coming into play for the 2017 season, which should divert emphasis away from the power units (as has been the case with the current formula).
The chassis and aero will become more prominent with major changes to these areas, especially regarding downforce and wings.
Red Bull designer Newey has achieved great success in his F1 career so far and knows what can happen when new rules come into play.
He’s predicting the regulation changes will shake up the grid, possibly with a new front-running team, but it could also spread out the field too.
Here’s what Newey told Sky Sports:
“It will almost certainly mean the grid will be a bit more spread out to start with. Whenever there is a regulation change, some teams read the regulations better than others.
“Typically the big teams, who have the bigger resource, read them better, but when we had the last big regulation change in 2009 that wasn’t the case, it was Brawn and ourselves who read them correctly, and the grandees, then Ferrari and McLaren, who struggled a bit.
“Whenever you have regulation change, you have lots of ideas which you have to channel down to a direction and a philosophy for the car. Although we are one of the bigger teams we don’t have the resources to look at them all avenues simultaneously.
“It’s [a case of] ‘this is the avenue we believe is the correct one’ and we hope we are right. There is always the chance that there is an avenue or direction which someone else has taken which is superior.”
So, we could well see another team leap-frog Mercedes and take over at the front. Who knows. It’s certainly an interesting prospect anyway.
Even though F1 is taking the focus off the engines slightly with the new aero rules, Newey remains concerned about the future of the power units and going down the hybrid technology route.
He feels it shouldn’t be a “battle of resources” like it currently is and he doesn’t believe the claims that the hybrid power units are aiding the road car industry.