Fans can expect record-breaking speeds and lap times when the new regulations for Formula One will come into effect in 2017, according to Ferrari F1 Technical Director James Allison.
Asked at the annual FIA Sport Conference, that was held on June 21 to 23 in Turin, Italy, on what he expects to come from the 2017 changes—and whether he would prioritize outright speed or racing on track—Allison said: “The historic best lap time were set a while back, but we’re starting to approach those now. I’m looking forward to next year, because next year we’re going to start smashing those records.
“Some people think that lap times aren’t so important, that the closeness of the racing is the only thing that matter. I think both matter. We would like every race to be a proper fist fight and it’s getting more and more that way. There is some very good racing happening in the field this year and it’s only going to improve,” he added.
Besides the improved engines, the F1 cars next year will be longer, lower and wider, assuring faster racing with proper aerodynamic systems.
With F1 criticized for allowing teams with more money to spend almost unabated on engine development, next year’s rules will require the power unit price for customer teams to be reduced by €1 million ($1.1 million) per season compared to 2016. From 2018, the annual supply price will be reduced by a further €3million ($3.3 million).
There will also be a progressive reduction of the number of power unit elements per driver per season.
Allison believes the impending changes will also produce better racing, and will help ensure races become a “proper fist fight” on a routine basis.
He said the successes of the current era, particularly the astonishing efficiencies of modern power units, should be duly celebrated—but admitted the new rules represent an exhilarating opportunity for teams to transform their performance relative to their rivals.
“They are exotic and remarkable beasts indeed,” Allison said of the modern power units. “The only other things on the planet that approach the sort of thermal efficiency we are seeing with our Formula One power units are either very academic things in universities, which are nowhere near being usable as devices or they are enormous ships, diesels that go at about 90 rpm [revolutions per minute]and that have one operating condition they work at day after day.”
“We can do it with a little flexible racing engine that a driver can use around a track and control exquisitely through corners and yet it can deliver this sort of fuel consumption that nothing else is capable of,” he added.