Gary Anderson evaluates Formula 1's proposed 2017 rules

Senior figures in Formula 1 have made much of the efforts to revolutionise the regulations for 2017, making the cars faster and improving the quality of the racing

Gary Anderson evaluates Formula 1's proposed 2017 rules

Senior figures in Formula 1 have made much of the efforts to revolutionise the regulations for 2017, making the cars faster and improving the quality of the racing.

The ideas have yet to be formalised, with a return to ground-effect aerodynamics being pushed for by some teams, while wider cars and bigger tyres are also on the agenda.

But will the changes being discussed really work? In answer to a question submitted for his regular "Ask Gary Anderson" column, our F1 technical consultant tackles the ideas being discussed.

Ask Gary Anderson: Why do you hate McLaren?

Do you think the 2017 regulations will allow much radical change for good racing such as simpler aero, no DRS, more mechanical grip?
Calum Edward, via Twitter

Calum, any regulation change first of all needs to identify the problems and then address them. I'm not totally sure anyone has actually done this.

What I would like to see more than anything else is closer on-circuit competition between more than two cars. We want a bunch of five or six cars at least heading into the last few laps still not really knowing who is actually going to win.

To achieve that is never going to be easy and I don't think that what I have heard of the changes for 2017 will make it happen. Here's why:

1 Faster laptimes by around five or six seconds

Other than Monaco and Hungary, the cars are currently travelling at a top speed of 310-330km/h. If that is increased with extra power or reduced drag to 340-360km/h, it will reduce laptime by roughly a second.

This is because it will only happen on the long straights, which there are not too many of. Yes, the acceleration onto the straight will be a bit better but still the laptime reward will be small.

This still leaves five seconds to find from either downforce or extra tyre grip, and let's assume the latter could improve laptimes by two seconds.

So increased aerodynamic performance (downforce) will need to account for something like three seconds. That, as a load, will be around 300kg or an increase of around 25 per cent on what we currently have today.

To achieve this will be easy but for a few seasons it will actually separate the teams' performance even further.

As we currently see, cars lose a lot of downforce when they are following another car. If the downforce is increased by this much, they will just lose more.

So I struggle to understand how this change will bring better racing.

2 Wider cars

To help with the increased corner speed and reduce the blockage at the rear of the cars to help produce more downforce, it has been suggested that the car's overall width is increased. Yes, I do think that will actually make the cars look a bit more racey.

But if the cars are increased to two metres overall width, which is what they used to be in the old days, that means each car will be 20cm wider. Two cars side-by-side will be 40cm wider, which doesn't sound much but in effect it will be making the tracks narrower so less room for any overtaking manoeuvres.

3 Wider tyres

This is a simple and good idea with no disadvantages. Tyre grip comes out of the back of a [Pirelli] truck, so it is potentially the same to all the teams, big or small.

This will improve racing and it will reduce the ultimate influence that aerodynamics have on overall performance, whatever increase they decide on, should they double it.

Got a question for Gary Anderson? Send it to askgary@autosport.com, use #askgaryF1 on Twitter or look out for our posts on Facebook giving you the chance to have your question answered

shares
comments
What's behind Ecclestone's comments?

Previous article

What's behind Ecclestone's comments?

Next article

F1 engine market is in a good place, reckons McLaren's Button

F1 engine market is in a good place, reckons McLaren's Button
Load comments
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021