Dennis doubts new rules

As well as suggesting that F1 rule changes are used as a way of dividing the teams, McLaren boss Ron Dennis has questioned whether the projected 2005 F1 rule changes are a) necessary, and b) conducive to better racing or reduced cost

Dennis doubts new rules

Dennis said at Spa: "The real question is: have we lost sight of what we started to try and do? One aim was to improve the show, one was to reduce cost and, if necessary, reduce the speed of the cars.

"On the last point, not everybody in Formula 1 - and I know of no driver - thinks that the cars are too quick. There are several team principals and others members of the F1 fraternity who do not think the cars are too quick, and I happen to be one."

The need to slow cars on safety grounds, of course, is the method by which the governing body can impose new rules immediately, side-stepping the usual lead time needed for technical change.

"Let's just assume that all those people who think that the cars aren't too quick are wrong," Dennis went on, "then the question becomes: what steps are taken to facilitate the cars being slowed? Certainly, the package of aerodynamic changes alone significantly reduces the speed of the cars."

Dennis then argued that the F1 grooved tyre regulations provide the least expensive way to slow cars, via either a wider groove or more of them. He believes that a combination of aerodynamic changes and more grooves is all that is needed to achieve the speed reduction that the FIA says is necessary.

"If anyone can explain how the changes proposed are going to improve the show or reduce the cost, I'd be very pleased to hear from them," he said.

He added that the changes will result in the gap between the front and back of the grid widening.

"If you have rule stability everybody gets into the laws of diminishing return, start spending money and not moving forward, everyone catches up and you end up with grid positions being closer.

"And when drivers are pressurised by other drivers going into a corner they make mistakes, and that's where the overtaking opportunity occurs. Even Michael Schumacher makes mistakes when he's pushed. We don't need Formula 3000, we need close F1 and lots of rule changes have exactly the opposite effect."

Williams technical director Sam Michael agreed that in terms of the projected 30 per cent loss of downforce next year, the big teams, with greater resources, will claw it back faster. As far as the engine and tyre changes go, however, Michael envisages that current disparities will remain similar.

Dennis, however, suggested darker reasons behind those changes, hinting that they would favour Ferrari (Click HERE for separate story).

As for potential positives to improve the show, Michael suggested that the need to run a single set of tyres over a race distance could lead to improved overtaking opportunities. As well as varying performance caused by drivers who run hard early on versus those who conserve tyres, Michael thinks that there could be more overtaking after pit stops.

"At the moment," he said, "when you have a driver coming out of the pits with a heavy fuel load, he also has one or two laps of very strong grip from new tyres, which enables him to keep people behind him, but coming out with heavy fuel on used tyres will make that more difficult."

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