Charlie Whiting, the Formula One race director, has insisted the major regulation changes set to be introduced in 2017 will not lead to less overtaking, despite several paddock figures having aired their concerns.
In February, the FIA released specific details regarding the rule changes planned for next season, which, through tweaks to chassis design and tyres, are expected to make F1 cars quicker by several seconds per lap and produce more exciting racing.
However, three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has frequently criticised the proposals, telling Sky Sports’ Mike Wise that the plan to increase downforce levels is “the worst idea,” claiming the architects of the new rules package “don’t really know what they’re trying to solve.”
Meanwhile, Adrian Newey—who has produced championship-winning cars for the likes of Williams, McLaren and Red Bull—told the National‘s Ahmed Rizvi that the 2017-specification cars are “actually not that different to what we have now.”
Despite those fears, Whiting is confident that the rules changes will succeed and explained the process that led to the FIA deciding on the 2017 regulations. Per Autosport‘s Lawrence Barretto, he said:
We have had countless meetings with technical directors of every team and we have had a range of proposals [ranging] from what appears to be a huge amount of downforce to a very low level of downforce.
But it’s all based on the premise that we have a significant increase in mechanical grip so what we have ended up with is somewhere in the middle.
It’s incorrect to say the anticipated laptime improvement will all come from downforce because it simply shouldn’t.
The idea is half will come from mechanical grip and the other half from aerodynamic downforce.
One of the things we have been talking all along is the fact we shouldn’t make it more difficult to follow another car.
We’ve done the best we can, I believe, given we have to take everyone’s views into account.
Per the same source, FIA president Jean Todt confirmed the 2017 regulations will be finalised by the end of April, revealing that a majority vote—rather than a unanimous agreement—is required.
Meanwhile, Pirelli’s Paul Hembery has stressed that the Italian manufacturer must have its 2017 testing plans finalised by the end of April, telling Motorsport.com’s Roberto Chinchero how the company is reluctant “to put [its] name at risk for the sake of not having the tests nor information necessary to do a good job.”