2017 changes ‘won’t hurt overtaking’ – Boullier

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: McLaren racing director Eric Boullier says the planned increase in downforce next year won’t reduce overtaking.

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67 comments on “2017 changes ‘won’t hurt overtaking’ – Boullier”

  1. Downforce from the tyres?! I’m not an aerodynamicist but I thought tyres disrupted downforce not created it

    1. @3dom I feel the language barrier has meant Eric said ‘downforce’ when he meant ‘grip’.

      Mechanical Downforce would be a floating robot hand that pushed the car into the road or something…

      1. That’s the unknown really. The wider tyres should help greatly but no one has confidence in the tyre supplier to provide the step up in mechanical grip required to allow closer racing. Here’s hoping they surpass expectations

        1. Tyres should be fine as they are allowed to test. Impossible to produce good tyres that have to degrade not to little or too much across 20 tracks without being able to test them.

        2. @3dom Personally I have confidence that Pirelli can make any tire needed. My lack of confidence is directed towards F1 and what they will mandate for Pirelli. My hope is that F1 will have no choice but to allow Pirelli to produce tires the drivers will like more, simply because if they want up to 30% more downforce (which I think remains to be seen anyway) then surely the Pirellis will have to be much different than they are now, and I don’t just mean in size. It sounds like Pirelli will not be able to produce tires that behave as they have been this year and in recent years, without needing very high pressures to handle the downforce, which will hurt lap times and tire performance. So I am hopeful the tires will have to be ones that degrade differently and allow drivers to actually push them and race with them and follow cars with them.

          1. I hope so @robbie
            with the stick they’ve been getting, and the unknowns of the new regulations allowing a little leeway as far as the mandate for what characteristics the F1 tyre should have, this is a real
            opportunity for Pirelli to produce a great performance tyre and hopefully gain some positive press, the drivers would certainly praise them if they can push again, and it may well change some people’s perceptions of Pirelli

        3. by virtue of having more surface area/contact with the road, the static friction levels will raise. Your question as to whether or not Pirelli can deliver a tire that can handle the increased ‘loading’ is still pretty valid though.

          But I would just like to add, the bigger tires will help Mercedes the most. That is the most ironic thing about this whole affair. It’s like people are being programmed to advocate for rule changes that will help Mercedes the most. It’s pretty ridiculous, and all too funny at the same time.

          1. Why would the bigger tyres help Mercedes the most @xsaviour ?

          2. @Dom,

            Mercedes win because they have the most powerful/fuel efficient motors+
            If you want to save on gas, you buy skinnier tires, if you want to put more power to the ground, you buy bigger tires. Mercedes will enjoy an even larger increase in performance next year because the ‘extra drag’ with respect to the tires/drive train/etc will fall right in to the greatest strength Mercedes has, fuel economy and power to the rear wheels.

            RBR might get a small boost, but to be frank, I don’t think Ferrari would have let this stuff pass the smell test with out working the math. All these rules do is confuse people and promise false hopes. Real hope comes from real opportunities, which occur when real diversity is a reality. WEC has real diversity, and look, the racing might actually be a lot better than F1, where we already know who is going to win almost every race this year.

      2. Ecclestone’s latest idea.

    2. You beat me to it, anyhow bad job at trying to sell their own interests.

  2. “The regulation has been drafted in a way so that the car will generate more downforce from the tyres”

    Wait, what? That doesn’t even make sense.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      9th May 2016, 5:04

      “The regulation has been drafted in a way so that the car will generate more downforce from the tyres, so mechanically
      Might still be wrong use of words, but it is clear what he means (grip).

      1. mechanical down force is the weight of the car. So I guess that means the tires will be heavier.

        It’s just a shame the guys running the teams can’t word things right or demonstrate a fundamental knowledge about the sport and instead seem more inclined to repeat what the commentators keep throwing out there, like it’s gospel truth or something.

  3. I love how beefy the tyres look on Gilles Villeneuve’s car. That’s one thing I’m really looking forward to in future, wider tyres.

  4. Regarding exit times, when was the last time we had a fuel fire ?
    I know we still get engine fires, but I’m struggling to remember the last big fire that ignited the fuel tank.

    1. Mike (@grippgoat)
      9th May 2016, 1:15

      I have the same question.

      1. @beneboy @grippgoat

        It depends how serious a fire we’re talking about. Raikkonen had a brief one when he parked up in the pits at Melbourne this year. One of the more significant ones of recent years was Nick Heidfeld’s at the Hungaroring in 2011.

        One of the biggest ones I remember from when I first started watching F1 was Aguri Suzuki’s during the 1991 Canadian Grand Prix.

        Turning to the more recent past but in another championship, this fire involving Simona de Silvestro in IndyCar is a frightening reminder that if we’re going to accept slower cockpit exit times in the name of improved driver head protection, the marshalling has got to be absolutely top quality:


    2. Last year? Apparently Hamilton’s car caught fire during Qualifying for the Hungarian GP in 2014, but I thought there was a more recent one.

    3. The last fire I can remember was coincidentally in the last race (so far) for refuelling, Brazil 2009, when Kovalainen’s McLaren ripped off the fuel rig and the spilled fuel ignited when Raikkonen’s Ferrari passed over it.

    4. @beneboy, with the shift to kevlar lined self sealing fuel tanks, I can’t think of a major incident in the modern era of the sport where the fuel tank itself has split and allowed the fuel inside to ignite. There have, however, been a few smaller fires caused by oil leaks, such as in the clip that Stephen has linked to or when Heidfeld’s car also caught fire during the 2011 Hungarian GP.

    5. Kvyat and Bianchi in Germany, Webber in Korea, plus the other two (Hamilton and Heidfeld) already mentioned, there’s been a handful of those situations recently, it’s just that because drivers go out so quickly is pretty non eventful but for sure it happens.

    6. Aside from each refuelling related fuel fires, I think the last one was back in 1982. It was Ricardo Paletti who crashed into the back of Didier Pironi at the start of the Canadian GP… I think the fires after this were purely pit lane fuelling related fires and due to ruptured fuel tanks…

      1. Most recent was the fire inside SV’s cockpit after DK hit him twice in Russia…oh wait…that was smoke coming out of SV’s ears.

    7. Regarding exit times, I do hear what Whiting is saying about a few seconds more perhaps being worth it, but I cannot agree with his ‘access’ comment.

      My concern remains not with just fire, but what do they do when the car is upside down and they feel they need to stabilize a blokes head due to concerns over a spinal injury that could absolutely be made worse (death or complete paralysis) if they move the driver before stabilization.

      Unlike what Whiting is saying I can’t see how access would be equal between the halo and the aero screen. The RBR aero screen in the iteration we have seen, would to me provide little access to the driver, and would force them to have to move the car or flip it over to get at the driver, which could be very dangerous if there is a spinal concern. At least the halo would allow some access in that scenario. All well and good to talk about access and exit times in the best case scenarios, but what about the worst ones which is what they need to be looking at, and is why they already know complete fighter jet style canopies won’t do.

    8. we have refuling back next year?

    9. is not only the fuels, also the oils are too flammable , remember the Red Bull of Mark Webber (i don’t remember the race) when someone crashed in to his right sidepod and all the car burn out.!

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        9th May 2016, 20:31

        Korea 2013, I believe

  5. Mike (@grippgoat)
    9th May 2016, 1:17

    Thinking about it, there was the Williams garage fire. There was the big Benetton one in the 90s, but that was a fuel rig issue.

    1. The Williams garage fire was caused by the KERS batteries if my memory serves.

      1. Furthermore, there was no one un the cars at the time, making this point irrelevent to the halo / aeroscreen debate. @grippgoat

    2. Tommy Scragend
      9th May 2016, 8:18

      The issue being that Benetton had removed the filter so that they could get the fuel in quicker…

  6. Urvaksh (@thedoctor03)
    9th May 2016, 4:03

    I don’t really agree with the statement that fans “bemoan the lower and muffled sound of the [V6] engines”. I remember taking my Girlfriend (now Wife) to the 2013 Singapore GP and praising the roar of the V8s while thrusting the ear plugs in my ear. We then attended the 2014 and 2015 races and I actually found myself saying “ha, this is actually better, we now hear the exact same sound but without the earplugs”. I found it much more exciting to explain to her the new technology behind the V6s while actually being able to have a conversation with her after the cars had gone round. Oh and there is also the save the environment thingy, which is always a good thing.

    1. lockup (@)
      9th May 2016, 8:25

      Yep @thedoctor03, exactly. It does my head in hearing people complaining that now they don’t need earplugs!!

      1. Lol earplugs still didn’t prevent my right ear from crackling in Montreal when they still had the screamers behind the drivers.

    2. You get to discuss engines with your wife and you are still married. Wow.

  7. Villeneuve’s Ferrari there has a screen. Go figure.

    1. True but his head is still fully above it though. It even has a lip to it, but then there is no airbox above his head that needs full air coming into it. It’s main function was probably to prevent his head being buffeted around by the oncoming force of air, both clean and dirty.

    2. Don’t tell Hamilton

  8. “So, the guy at the back will take care of the braking?”

    Hehe, nice one @Coldflyf1

  9. I am interested to start a discussion around the 2nd Ferrari driver next year. Anyone else think Ferrari are now a little stuffed? Their options seem to be Ricciardo, Verstappen, (Both contracted for next year). Bottas and Kimi. Ricciardo might be bought out of contract, but RB have as much chance (or more) of being the team to challenge Merc next year. He would only leave if Verstappen forced his hand in the coming races. Verstappen is now well contracted.

    So that leaves Bottas and Kimi. Outside that, the only other credible driver is Grosjean. Maybe Perez, Hulkenburg and Sainz, but not likely. What about young guns? Ummm… They haven’t bothered investing in those, so there are none.

    I am not sure of Bottas’s contract terms, but it does seem he can be bought. Kimi is done. Sorry to Kimi lovers and I do like him, but he is done. If Kvyat was dropped mid season, Kimi should have been dropped mid season a while ago. My bet is Grosjean gets the seat as he is in better form than Bottas and will come cheaper. He is also in the Ferrari B team. Slim pickings for Ferrari though right now.

    Maybe Ferraris best driver acquisition right now would be Helmet Marko? He might be disliked, but all the best new talent is on his books. Right now, Ferrari have a 4 time world champion (who was humbled by Ricciardo) and nothing much else.

    1. You’re right regarding Ferrari’s options. They are pretty limited. Personally, I would not like to see the extremely uninspiring Bottas in that second seat. He would make a solid #2 driver there, probably more so than Kimi on current form, but he hasn’t able to beat a driver that Ferrari dumped so acrimoniously for his lacklustre performances.

      I think Grosjean is great choice, especially considering he’s in the Ferrari B team, they should have good data on his abilities.
      I’d love to see Hulkenberg given a shot, but it seems unlikely after his inconsistent form since the last few races of last year.
      Perez dropped the ball the last time a top team hired him, and he will always be a bit of a risk.
      As you mentioned Ricciardo and Verstappen are contracted to stay put, and there’s a good chance Red Bull could be back ahead of Ferrari by 2017
      There are a few outside bets like Sainz, Magnussen and Kvyat, but all of them are way too inexperienced to be Ferrari drivers, and are yet to prove themselves.

      If I had to guess, I’d say Grosjean. If not, then Bottas

      1. Ferrari may not care about the experience of Kimi’s replacement, whenever that day comes, if they consider SV their one rooster.

    2. Bottas seemed to have been passed up by Ferrari last year when Raikkonen was in bad form and his seat was being discussed. With Massa currently having a slight edge on Bottas this year, there is no reason to replace Raikkonen with him. And to be fair Raikkonen has done a decent job so far this year. This is probably his strongest year since he returned to Ferrari.

      I think it is becoming likely that they will retain Raikkonen again on current form. He also seems to work well with Vettel.

      Grosjean is the only realistic and worthy replacement for Raikkonen as I see it. I can’t see Ricciardo and Verstappen going anywhere.

      1. I agree. I think they will stick with Raikkonen and I can see why to a point. It’s a safe bet. However, RB would have dumped Raikkonen a while ago. So would have I. Harsh yes. Deserved, also yes. Have a freaking crack Ferrari. Stop playing safe. There are 2 drivers in a team not one. Put some pressure on Vettel and see if he is still good. RB did that and he came up short. Why not what Vandorne in there to see what happens. It cot’s you nothing and it may deliver in spades. Even if it just means Vettel rises to the challenge. Right now Vettel knows he has Raikkonen beat. He doesn’t even need to try.

        RB look like they are going the challenge Ferrari this year. Especially in a few races when their engine gets upgraded. If Ricciardo and Verstappen beat Vettel, we will all say it is because their car is better. For me, I will question that. Maybe the drivers are better. Vettel needs some competition right now and Raikkonen isn’t offering it. He didn’t offer it to Alonso either.

        I say it again. Have a crack Ferrari! Try and win for a change. Melbourne is the marker for me. A race for them to lose and they lost it. Williams are the same. Give them a chance to win and they will lose it. RB won’t do that and neither will their drivers.

    3. I think Grosjean too @mickharrold

    4. Jimmy Price
      9th May 2016, 17:18

      Ross Brawn is coming back to Ferrari and bringing Lewis with him in 2017.

      This is the cause of Lewis’ problems just like Sebs problems at RB in 2014.

      The teams have to support the driver that is staying the next year.

      1. That’s some punt. No driver in their right mind would leave Mercedes for Ferrari, especially before seeing the 2017 pecking order.

        Not a fan of the excuse that Red Bull didn’t support their 4 time WDC in 2014. Vettel got beat fair and square. People need to stop looking for excuses for Dan just simply owning him.

  10. They could go after Rosberg.

      1. Isn’t he all locked up? And why would he (or anyone) move from a championship winning team to someone else. Rosberg is the epitome of that kind of choice. Right now he is well in front in the championship. Some will say it is luck, but if he was driving for anyone other than Merc, luck would still probably mean he was 3rd in the championship at best. Rosberg is going nowhere. Every other driver on the grid would take that second Merc spot for no money if it was offered up. Alonso might pay for that spot right now. Rosberg won’t give it up for all the money in the world.

        1. Rosberg doesn’t have a contract for 2017 at this point @mickharrold.

          At the end of this year he might be a 1x wdc, and a spell at Ferrari could tick a few boxes – he gets to drive for Ferrari, he might fancy his chances against Vettel, and he doesn’t risk having the shine of his 2016 triumph rubbed off by losing to Lewis in the same car again. Plus loads of money of course. Or as @todfod says if he loses this year Mercedes is a bust for him anyway.

          And it’s not a certainty yet that Merc want him. What’s that delay about? Meanwhile for Ferrari he’s probably the best available – as you say they’re not spoilt for choice this year.

          1. @lockup Or…there is no ‘delay’ and everything is on schedule. Wolff has already implied his re-signing is a formality, so there is no hurry, which is a far cry from your suggestion that they may not even want him. Delay is just a word you are using to create a story where there isn’t one. None of us knows their schedule for this but you’ve decided it’s already delayed. Ask yourself how often driver contracts are done this early in the season. How early did LH re-sign with them last year? It was also a formality but as LH pointed out there are still all the i’s to dot and t’s to cross.

          2. Well they were talking about Lewis’ 2016 contract in 2014 @robbie. Then Lewis was playing hardball over issues like the dangerous sports clause. With Nico Toto said flatly he wouldn’t even talk until this summer. Why? If Toto was ready he’d sign, wouldn’t he? By definition there’s a reason he hasn’t, it’s just that we don’t know what it is.

            Probably he will, but meantime why wouldn’t Rosberg be on Ferrari’s radar? He’s too something? Not enough something? The smoking team is too scrupulous? What do you think?

    1. If Rosberg loses to Hamilton this year, I’m pretty sure he’d want to leave anyways, as he’d have figured it out that there’s no way he’s winning a title with Hamilton as his team mate.

      1. Leave Merc, or leave F1? Where would he go if he left Merc? If Rosberg loses this year, it is time to retire. He has had the dream start and if he is a match for Hamilton, he will win it. If he loses, then it is all over. The only reason to stay around if he loses the title this year is because reliability makes him lose the title.

        As you said, he will probably want to leave if he loses this year. Having said that, I doubt he will leave even if he does lose fair and square. It’s not like he can go somewhere else and transfer his skills to be a school teacher or a business owner.

        1. I think if Nico loses this year he will be back to try again next year, in a different 2017 Mercedes, and then we’ll see what happens next year. Wolff has implied Nico’s re-signing is just a formality at this point, so whatever happens this year we will see the NR and LH rivalry continue, only in different cars that may or may not still be dominant, or as dominant. To me, right now and likely for the rest of the season, there is no reason to want to be anywhere but Mercedes, in spite of some people claiming the 2017 format will favour RBR.

      2. Lol, why leave Mercedes after 3 lost titles in a row? He has a briliant chance every year to win a title with Mercedes all he has to do is beat Lewis…

        If he goes to Ferrari he has to beat Vettel, get an equal driver contract and beat two Mercedes drivers in currently superior machinery.

        Only reason to leave Mercedes is if he would want to retire. Being second to Lewis still makes you infront of everyone else. And what if Lewis has a poor season?

      3. @todfod Or…if NR doesn’t win the title this year he will know that his best chance next year will be to be in the best car again, so he will try again next year at Merc.

        1. @robbie

          Hard to predict what he’s going to do if he doesn’t win the title this year. Either …

          1) He’ll realise there is no way he can beat Lewis Hamilton, therefore no chance of winning a title at Merc. Then he rather take a risk of joining another team that might have a slim chance of making a better car than Merc for 2017, and take his chances against beating his new teammate.

          2) Stay another year at Mercedes and try beating Lewis in his fifth attempt. Maybe he will adapt to the 2017 cars better than Lewis, and with some luck on his side, he can stand a chance.

          Honestly, I think if he’s lost the title this year, he would get in to Mark Webber in 2013 mode, where he’s just switched off from WDC hopes. I believe Rosberg will leave instead of risking it with another confidence beating.

  11. NASCAR listened to its drivers and cut downforce, but has the sport actually benefitted? is it actually any better than before? (i don’t know, i don’t watch it)

    1. The drivers seem to think so (as per the article).

      1. Jimmy Price
        10th May 2016, 4:15

        NASCAR is essentially a spec series. F1 for the time being is not.

        Equalizing aero was done long ago in nascar and now the DF cut was again done to what is essentially a spec car. Everyone benefits equally and they style of racing on high banked ovals means cutting downforce has less of an impact. Watching nascar at the 2 road course events they participate in every year is quite painful and a bit of a joke.

        When you have a development formula, development should be the key to performance convergence. As long as F1 remains strongly in the development circle we should use that strategy for teams to overcome obstacles such as performance loss for the following car.

        We already know that simulations using a modern skirted floor and high efficiency floor on contemporary chassis have shown the following car retains a neutral balance and over all doesn’t over stress the front tires. With no major under steer and tires staying in the performance window a higher downforce car would be more enjoyable for the drivers and allow closer racing.

  12. “The regulation has been drafted in a way so that the car will generate more downforce from the tyres”

    I hope language misshaps do not lead to more Downforce from tires… In any case tires tend to generate lift.

    That being said, regulations on paper are good… Less important front wing, more important mid part of the car and rear and bigger better tires.

    Lap time will be faster, downforce generated in a better way, more creativity atleast first year, and stable engine regulations.

    Looks good doesn’t it? All renders i find look like I would draw when asked at age 10 to drawa formula car, wide, phat tires, good stance… Now just remove DRS.

    I watched Gilles Villneuve keep 4 faster cars behind to win a race in 1981. Great defensive win. In 2016 they would just DRS infront of him and rob us of epic drive…

    Imagine the fight we would have in 2016 without DRS. Ferrari get the jump start on Mercedes, now Lewis is stuck behind slower Vettel… M.m.m.

    Fix it please.

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      9th May 2016, 20:34

      It worked in Spain last year for a while, but that was down to the track being awful for overtaking as usual.

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