F1's 2017 regulation changes tougher than '09, says Williams chief

Williams technical chief Pat Symonds believes the challenge posed by the revamped 2017 regulations is more difficult than Formula 1 teams encountered in 2009

F1's 2017 regulation changes tougher than '09, says Williams chief

Outfits will have to develop their solutions for 2017 with heavily restricted windtunnel hours and staff numbers, compared to the last round of sweeping aerodynamic changes six years ago.

That, Symonds feels, will test how resources are balanced between 2016 and '17 challengers.

"It's going to leave a lot of people in my position with a lot of difficult decisions to make next year because life is different to 2009, which is when we last had a big change of rules," Symonds told Autosport.

"Back then you could say, 'I'm going to employ another 30 aerodynamicists, I'm going to run the tunnel a bit harder, I'm going to do this that and the other'.

"You can't do that now. You have your 70 runs-a-week and that is it.

"So people like me have to make some hard decisions as to how much you develop next year's car and how much you concentrate on 2017."

Brawn GP was the commanding pacesetter in 2009, largely because it elected to - while competing as Honda - write off '08 and reallocate resources.

However, Symonds does not expect a similar situation in 2017, unless a team stumbles across a concept like Brawn's double diffuser.

"I don't think it is going to allow anyone to suddenly break away and do a much better job than anyone else because they have done more work," he said.

"They might do a better job because they have seen something, like the double diffuser in 2009 or whatever.

"For Williams, I do agree that it is an opportunity.

"I'd like to think maybe by 2017, maybe the budget keeps coming up and maybe we'll have a new set of rules and maybe that can be our next steps forward."

When they start running, the 2017 cars are set to look more aesthetically pleasing, Symonds suggests.

"It's ended up with a bigger diffuser, a big diffuser actually," he said.

"There is a substantial front wing and some, I think, attractive styling. It's a little bit retro.

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

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