Adapting to change is part and parcel of being a successful team in Formula One.
For 2019, the FIA will introduce simplified front and rear wing regulations aimed to minimise the difficulty of slipstreaming and in turn facilitate easier overtaking.
It’s hoped the new rules can create more thrilling on-track action, even though next season will only see a scaled-back version of what’s to come two years later.
As expected, there’s a sense of hesitancy among the team engineers who will be tasked with devising revamped aerodynamic technology over the winter.
The adaptations are also sure to bring about some ingenious approaches to working within unfamiliar parameters, though.
WILLIAMS’ ROB SMEDLEY REACTS
“It will be very, very interesting, at the start of the season, to see the different concepts that come out,” said Williams Head of Vehicle Performance Rob Smedley, per AutoSport.
“Then you’ll probably find that there’ll be a really quick convergence, as usual, as we take the best concepts and blend that into the normal lookalike Formula 1 car.”
However, Smedley also fears the scramble to recover aerodynamic performance will nullify any gains in the long run.
“You have to accept that cars are difficult to follow – especially with this generation of cars and the amount of downforce that they generate.
“It will be a little bit better, it will go in the right direction, but we’ll all iterate to solutions to get us back to where we are in about six months.”
FERRARI WEIGHS IN
Given the regulations will be further tweaked in 2021, senior Ferrari engineer Jock Clear said teams will need time to experiment before determining best practice.
“Of course ten teams will come up with ten solutions, some of which we won’t even have thought about and then that may well move the goalposts slightly,” he said.
“Close racing doesn’t necessarily mean everybody can overtake easily, but it does mean that cars can follow and pressure each other.”
Nick Chester – chassis technical director at Renault – believes while this is an example of the sport’s governing body trying to target “the right thing”, only minor improvements will be evident at first.
“In one year you couldn’t do all of the changes that are planned for 2021,” he said.
“I think it’ll make a small difference. It’ll go in the right direction, so the following will be a little bit improved.
“But we’re probably going to have to wait until 2021 to see what the full package can deliver.”
It’s difficult to fault the FIA for attempting to inject more excitement into racing, but it seems any fans predicting groundbreaking benefits next season will need to be more patient.
What do you make of the wing changes coming in 2019? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.