Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel says fuel saving may disappear from F1 races in 2017
Sebastian Vettel has raised the possibility of Formula 1 drivers not having to fuel save in 2017 as he says the sport’s new aerodynamic rules wil...
Sebastian Vettel has raised the possibility of Formula 1 drivers not having to fuel save in 2017 as he says the sport’s new aerodynamic rules will mean cars have a lower top speed but will go faster through the corners.
F1 will adopt new regulations from 2017, which will mean the cars will look more aggressive and feature wider and lower rear wings, broader front wings, barge boards and wider tyres.
This approach will increase downforce on the cars and laptimes are expected to tumble. Vettel, who was speaking at a Shell V-Power event at the Bruntingthorpe proving ground in Leicestershire, questioned whether the new rules will lead to a reduction in the fuel saving element of racing that has been seen since the V6 turbo engines were introduced at the start of 2014.
He said: “The faster the car, the better it is. I don’t think there is anything wrong with the current cars, [apart] from the fact that in the race we used to be quicker, quite a bit on laptimes, and that is where we’re missing something so obviously if we go quicker next year that is a great thing.
“From a driving point of view, next year we’ll have more grip, more downforce, but that also means more drag along the straights, and the top speed going down a bit.
“The fuel consumption might go up because you have more drag, [but] equally, you go faster through the corners so it will be interesting to see on that front how it then translates to what we need to do in the car, whether we still keep saving fuel or if we can be flat out for the whole race.”
Although Vettel pointed out that fuel consumption could go up or down next season, Shell’s innovation manager Guy Lovett explained that as the 2017 rules will also end the sport’s “token” system for power unit development, that will open up opportunities for fuel suppliers to deliver a greater scope to produce performance boosts.
In 2015, Shell introduced five new varieties of fuel for Ferrari to use, all of which was worth a laptime gain of around 0.5s. Mercedes has also credited its fuel supplier Petronas for helping to maximise the potential of its power unit, which shows the potential fuel suppliers have to make a real difference to a team’s performance.
Lovett said: “[The new rules in 2017] gives us more of an opportunity as the token system is abolished and the engine development side of things is more open [and] it’s the same on the fuel side.
“So we can be more open and the important thing is to exploit our close relationship with Ferrari and ultimately develop the best package. From a fuel perspective, that doesn’t necessarily change how it works, it just gives us more opportunity.”
Vettel’s first Maranello memory
Vettel, who is heading towards the halfway stage of his second season racing for the Scuderia, described his first memory of visiting the Ferrari factory at Maranello as a young go-kart racer.
He said: “I was 12 years old and we were go-karting in Italy and because we were in Italy we thought we would pass by Maranello. We went and saw the museum and everything was red, [and we] saw the Formula 1 cars that were on exhibition at the time.
“Then all of a sudden as we were walking around Maranello we heard something really loud – an F1 engine coming to life.
“As soon as we heard that we followed all the other people and went onto the bridge where you can see a little bit of the Fiorano track and we saw a car going around doing some tests and that is a day that I will never forget.
The four-times world champion also described Ferrari as a “legend that is alive” due to the passion emanating from the workers at the Maranello facilities.
He said: “Everybody who is a little bit into cars knows Ferrari and knows a little bit of the history of Ferrari. The special ingredient when you sit inside a Ferrari is [that it’s] just different, it’s more emotional than any other car.
“It’s a legend that is alive, full stop [and] it’s alive because the people in Maranello.”
Alonso tops opening morning of Silverstone test
Toro Rosso matched Ferrari's pace at Silverstone, says Kvyat