Engineers face new challenges

This weekend's Australian Grand Prix will see the introduction of a raft of rule changes, which means that Formula 1 teams are having to completely rethink their strategy for the races

Engineers face new challenges

The rule changes include banning major work such as refuelling between qualifying and the race. Some technical directors believe that they will make race strategy more important than ever.

Renault's executive director of engineering, Pat Symonds, said: "The main challenge for us will be coping with the new format of the Grand Prix event, but also exploiting it as best we can. The challenge falls into two categories: firstly, we must be sure not to do anything wrong - after years of doing things one way, it would be easy not to be completely on top of the new methods. Secondly, we need to make sure to maximise our competitive advantage under the new rules."

Symonds also believes that the new rules negate strategies that teams have developed over a long period. "The choices we made in previous years are irrelevant for the new season: strategy is now much more variable, and I think we will particularly see this in the early races as people get to grips with the new format."

Willy Rampf, Sauber's technical director, believes that the new rules will make strategy even more important than before. He said: "Australia is usually a one-stop race, but now we have to reconsider the situation, as qualifying has effectively become part of the race under the new regulations. That will make strategy even more important. It's going to make the start of the season unpredictable."

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