Ogami, what do you think of that article where Honda said the 2009 regs produce 75% of todays downforce instead of the 50% target, coupled with the return of slicks? Will the grip actually INCREASE with the 30% increase of tyre surface?
The first point on the downforce loss. Since April last year, when the OWG started the tests for 2009 regs it was clear for everbody (both OWG and FIA) that the planned loss would not be here. Nobody believed 50% of downforce would be cut.
The cleverness in the OWG works are that they took the problem at the root by diminishing turbulence, thus, taking into account that teams would claw back downforce they hope that their changes will still lead to overtaking friendly.
One very obscure fact and the reason why rules are still not fixed is that one task of the OWG was to prevent the teams to claw back the downforce over the years..
Time will tell.
Max mosley on his side was not naive neither, and that why he warned that if cornering speed "do rocket up..then slicks will be banned".
As for the 25%...let's wait that the full 2009 car (i mean the real 2009) car comes up.
We also have to ponder the 25%...25% of what? of an honda downforce level?? at which speed?? which set up?
All i know is that nobody really believe cars will be slower.
The second point are the tyres.
The slicks offer more surface yet, but as it has been said the grip increase is not linear with surface, however one has to understand that the slicks do not offer only larger surface but a better structure as well which translate into a very good Coef of friction.
Very large improvement can be seen. I have talked with a michelin competition engineer and for him improving from 2.1 (the max Friction coef recorded for a michelin F1 grooved tyre) to a nearly 2.6 for the slicks is totally possible.
There's a limit however, it is the nimbleness of cars, as you increase the surface and make the tyre softer and softer the car starts to react slower.
So until Friction coefficient is increased solely by structure there'll be a limit and downforce will be necessary.
That said to me, next year tyre grip improvement will be on the variation. During michelin F1 era, typical value of friction coefficient ranged from 1.4 to 2.1 during a race (the 1.4 being the one with the highest downforce created).
Next year with less downforce, the tyres will be less loaded so some corners could be taken faster because the overall grip (tyre grip*(weight+downforce)) may be higher.
Now if the downforce is not cut enough....That's why we need to wait and see what happens.
Remember in testing the cars with 2008 downforce and slicks were only 1 second faster than the 2009 trimmed cars with slicks (themselves being around 1 second faster than grooved+2008 downforce).
The reason is that too much downforce decreases the tyre grip very much.
As for drag, someone has asked, I think the total drag will be lower than this year so yes top speeds will be higher.