New rules will produce "meaner" F1 cars - McLaren

McLaren technical director Tim Goss thinks the new Formula 1 regulations will produce cars that look "mean" and "cool".

New rules will produce "meaner" F1 cars - McLaren
Jenson Button, McLaren arrives on the grid
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-31
Tim Goss, McLaren Mercedes
Fernando Alonso, McLaren
Fernando Alonso, McLaren
Fernando Alonso, McLaren
Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-31
Fernando Alonso, McLaren F1

This year's F1 cars will feature wider tyres and significantly enhanced aerodynamics, with the aim of reducing laptimes by several seconds.

"The 2017 cars will look pretty similar to the layman, but the aero guys have been battling to correct flow-structures at different ride heights for months and months now," Goss said in an article explaining the 2017 rule changes posted on McLaren's website.

"We've had to rethink lots of different areas on the car, because they're behaving differently to how they did before."

"These 2017 cars are lower and squatter; they just look meaner.

"The lower rear-wing, big fat tyres and big diffuser look cool – they look mean."

Goss also reckons such substantial rule changes are likely to shake up the competitive order.

"We've had bigger changes in the past - the change between 1982 and '83 from ground-effect to flat floors, for example, which had a massive impact on performance - but this season's changes rank as some of the most significant we've ever had in the sport," Goss added.

"That's likely to change the competition order – because it's such a big disturbance – but then what normally happens is the best and most well-equipped teams tend to rise to the top again."

New cars will redefine corners

The new cars will also have so much extra grip that engineers will reclassify some corners as straights, according to Goss.

Most of this lap time gain will come through travelling quicker through corners, which would lead to certain cornering challenges disappearing.

"The aim was to make the cars look more aggressive; to make them faster, so that F1 was very much at the pinnacle of motorsport in terms of outright speed, and to make them more difficult to drive," Goss said.

"By that we don't mean they're more of a handful for the drivers, but that they're more physically demanding, so they get out of the car having had to work hard – like they did in years past.

"The drivers say these new cars will be more challenging to drive, and they'll have to work harder and concentrate more to get the best from them.

"One knock-on from that is that we'll no longer classify some corners as 'corners'.

"Engineers define a corner as a point on the track where the driver has to lift and essentially drive and handle the car through it.

"If he's going round a bend and his foot is flat to the floor on the accelerator, we class that as a straight.

"As the new cars will be going faster, some of 2016's 'corners' will be classified as 'straights'.

"But because they'll be going through them faster, they'll be subjected to more g-forces – and that's still tiring on the body."

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