Force India’s technical director Andy Green and the Silverstone-based team’s former German driver Nico Hülkenberg revealed what an impact the 2017 technical revamp can have on racing. Both promised that the new generation’s cars will be frighteningly quick.
F1 partly returns to its pre-2009 state in aerodynamic sense. That year brought a new set of aerodynamic rules which curtailed the aero devices around the car. Consequently the downforce levels dropped by an easily measurable amount.
Teams were therefore forced to use ‘big’, steep wings to retain the aerodynamic balance of the car. Teams used to use high-downforce wings even on circuits with long straight. Mercedes often used its Spa-specification rear wing in Monza.
With the introduction of the new aerodynamic regulation for 2017, downforce levels are expected to fly up by a significant amount. Engineers will have plenty of downforce on their hands to play with which will explode in the war for the wing which suits the demands of the given track the best.
Force India’s technical chief reckons his team will use 10 different front and rear wings during the course of the season.
“We can generate more downforce. That will give various classes. The layout of the track will define the wing specification“ he is quoted as saying by 'auto motor und sport'.
Green thinks the wings will be divided into four big groups.
“With the highest downforce, we will only run in Monte Carlo, Budapest, Barcelona and Singapore.”
Melbourne, Sochi, Silverstone, Shanghai and Bahrain will fall under the class of medium-to-high. The medium-to-low wings will be used on tracks such as Spa or Baku.
Green conceded his team of engineers has not managed to find a wing for Monza yet. The cars generate so much downforce that they have to figure out how they can cut the level of downforce down because they have to reach high top-speed on the never-ending straights of the track located near Milan.
The drag will increase by around 10 aerodynamic points which will mean the top speed will fall from 360 kph to 340 kph. Despite to that loss, times are expected to tumble because the increased downforce levels will provide incredible traction and cornering speed.
The team’s former driver Nico Hülkenberg expects that the increased downforce level will make some corners frighteningly quick.
“Turn 3 and 9 (in Barcelona) will be absolutely flat-out. Only Red Bull or Mercedes could reach that before.”
What the new era of F1 can promise, Hülkenberg summarized in one sentence: “The new cars feel brutal quick.”