FASTER FOR 2017...BUT WHY?
six team representatives, plus Ecclestone
and FIA president Jean Todt – was tasked
with determining the “how?”
McLaren, Red Bull Racing and Williams
each volunteered to research potential
solutions and initially it was the most
extreme proposal, by Red Bull, that found
favor among the group. This featured
ground-effect venturi tunnels within the
floor, and simulation suggested it would
post lap times around seven seconds faster
than current cars. But then Pirelli pointed
out that the loads generated by such cars
would require a totally different concept of
tire – that’s if it wasn’t simply to impose
ever-higher minimum pressures that would
negate much of the extra performance
derived from the new aero package.
What was settled upon was a less extreme
McLaren proposal. The cars, wings and tires
would still be wider, but the floor essentially
remained as now, albeit with some extra
downforce-producing capacity from a
slightly greater surface area (1600mm/
63in wide, up from 1400mm/55.1in) and
a bigger diffuser (which, as well as being
wider and higher, starts ahead of the
rear-wheel axle line, rather than on it).
The downforce increase from the
Williams proposal would have been smaller,
although its spec would have encouraged
teams to direct more of the airflow inboard
of the front wheels and to the underbody.
Drag would have been much reduced, but
the total proportion of drag produced by
the front wheels would have been much
Pirelli’s role in 2017 will be crucial. Increased downforce will put
extra load on its tires, so can the Italian company balance that
against a desire for more sustained performance from its rubber?
The sweep back on
the inlets and the
removal of cluttering
elements makes for
a more elegant
But you might argue
that’s canceled out
by the return of
large barge boards.
Overall track is
increased by 8in.