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New 2017 F1 aero package has been agreed - Symonds

New 2017 F1 aero package has been agreed - Symonds
Nov 26, 2015, 2:24 PM

Williams technical chief Pat Symonds says that the 2017 F1 aero package has now been fully defined, and is confident that it will be formally approved by the World Motor Sport Council.

Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 E23
Pat Symonds, Williams Chief Technical Officer
Ferrari SF15-T front wing detail
Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India F1 VJM08
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W06 leads team mate Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W06
Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-30 leads team mate Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-30
Alexander Rossi, Manor F1 Team
Ferrari SF15-T front wing
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-30 with flow-vis paint on the rear wing

The teams have been working with the FIA to create a package that produces faster laptimes and results in a bigger challenge for the drivers.

Symonds says that a revised version of Article 3 of the F1 technical regulations, which defines bodywork and dimensions, has been gaining approval.

The bodywork changes will come in parallel with wider tyres.

"There is a set of regulations, a draft of Article 3," said Symonds. "Largely the work of Williams putting the wording together, although the discussion has been very wide.

"That draft is going to the teams within the next week, but it's essentially everything that's been agreed just put down into one document.

"It does fully define the aerodynamic regulations. In itself it doesn't define the tyre size, but we have agreed on the tyre size, and the regulations are built around those tyre sizes.

"Because although Article 3 doesn't refer to tyre sizes, obviously various widths of wings and bodywork are linked to that.

"I believe that we have now a fully defined set of rules that relate to all the bodywork. I believe we have agreement with Pirelli as to what the tyre sizes will be.

"There are some differing opinions as to what the performance of the package will be, as in indeed there were in 2008.

"But we're in a position to go ahead. As far as I know the Strategy Group, everyone's happy, the F1 Commission, they are happy I believe. The rules need to be ratified before March, and there's time for that. We're pretty well there – we've done what we were asked to do.

"The majority of the cues are taken from the Red Bull proposal. It's ended up with a bigger diffuser, a substantial front wing, and some I think quite attractive styling.

"It's a little bit retro, but the brief from the Strategy Group was to make the cars quicker and make the styling better. I think we've done those two.

"It's not for me to say whether we've done the right thing or not, but the TRM (Technical Regulation Meeting) members have done what was asked of them."

Flexible package

Symonds says that the package is flexible and can be adjusted if there's a desire to increase speeds.

"To be honest we've got quite a wide open aerodynamic platform, it won't take much to add performance to it.

"In fact I suspect that we're adding a bit more than required, but at the moment Pirelli's estimates of increases of tyre grip are quite low, so we need to push the aero side of things."

He admitted that the thorny question of following other cars – brought into focus once more by Lewis Hamilton in Brazil – has still to be addressed.

"My belief is that the more downforce you have on a car, the harder it is to follow. And this car has more downforce.

"Therefore irrespective of any niceties that the Overtaking Working Group may have come up with, and irrespective of whether one believes them or not – and as a member of that group I know what short cuts we did against the true scientific process – the fact is if you've got more downforce, the harder it is to follow.

"I think that's simplistic, but nevertheless quite a true view."

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Series Formula 1
Author Adam Cooper