Light at the end of the tunnel

Formula One’s governing body continue to limit team’s usage of wind tunnel time, in an attempt to further cut costs. Williams Pat Symonds expects the restrictions to have another benefit to the sport.

We are nearly halfway through the 2016 season and the big question for the majority of the tams will be; whether they switch resources to next year’s car. Back in 2009 the newly formed Brawn GP team surprised everyone by getting a jump on the new regulations, and eventually seizing both championships. Symonds however expects the advantages for those switching focus to next first… will not reap the same rewards.

“What you’ve got to remember is what’s changed in the last few years in the aerodynamics is that every single team can now only do 65 runs a week in the wind tunnel,” said Symonds.

“Now, if you go back to the last big change in 2009, they could run as much time as they wanted in the wind tunnel. Some teams used two wind tunnels – like Toyota: two wind tunnels, 24/7. That’s quite something and that’s quite a differentiator.

“When we’ve moved on to 2014, we could at that time do 80 runs a week in the wind tunnel. Now we can only do 65 runs – so there’s an awful lot of equalisation going on.

“Yeah, you’ve still got to choose your 65 runs well, you’ve got to do the right things, but I think it doesn’t quite allow the sort of runaway development that we’d had seven years ago.”

Symonds remains on the fence when asked whether the new regulations, and the visually different car designs will ultimately improve the show.

“I like it, I like what the cars are going to look like and all that sort of stuff,” he said. “I think technically it’s going to be quite interesting. I like change.

“Whether it’s what the sport needs or not – I don’t think it’s going to do much for the racing.”

Williams will be hoping that they can repeat their own jump in performance reminiscent of 2014, when they finished a credible 3rd in the constructors championship.

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