Newey expects mixed-up start to 2017
3 January 2017 – Red Bull design guru Adrian Newey says that he expects a mixed-up grid at the start of the 2017 season, as a result of the technical regulation overhaul, but has also questioned Formula 1's future direction.
Formula 1 lap times are set to be significantly quicker during the upcoming season, through overhauled aerodynamics and much wider tyres, which supplier Pirelli has been testing extensively.
With the greater emphasis on aero performance, Red Bull has been tipped to move to the fore, but Newey emphasised that nothing can be guaranteed when such major changes are introduced.
"It will almost certainly mean that the grid will be a bit more spread out to start with," Newey, still Chief Technical Officer at Red Bull, told Sky Sports, as he predicted the impact of the regulation reset.
"Whenever there is a regulation change, some teams read the regulations better than others.
"Typically the big teams, who have the bigger resource, read them better, but when we had the last big change in 2009 that wasn't the case, it was Brawn and ourselves who read them correctly.
"The grandees, then Ferrari and McLaren, struggled a bit [to read the changes].
"You have lots of ideas which you have to channel down to a direction and a philosophy. Although we are one of the bigger teams we don't have the resources to look at all avenues simultaneously.
"It's 'this is the avenue we believe is the correct one' and we hope we are right, [but] there is always the chance that there is an avenue or direction which someone else has taken which is superior."
Newey, however, is unconvinced by Formula 1's path with hybrid technology.
"Is Formula 1 a technical showcase for motor manufacturers, of their engine prowess for instance, or is it a spectacle that involves man and machine?" he went on to comment.
"It would be entirely possible to come up with a set of regulations that would reward creativity more than simply the number of people... a budget cap is very difficult to implement but you could come up with resource restrictions, certainly on the chassis side most of which aerodynamic driven.
"You could restrict research resources much more heavily, perhaps scrap wind tunnels, be much more restricted on the CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) runs, and if you restrict the resources there wouldn't be [any] point having so many engineers because they couldn't feed it through the funnel.
"On the engine side, my personal opinion is that all this blurb which a few manufacturers would like to put out, that it improves their road car product... if that is the case then those manufacturers in the future, five years at the most, should be demonstrably ahead in the automotive sector of their rivals.
"l suspect that will not be the case, which tends to say it is marketing blurb."