F1 team bosses are wary next season could produce a series of unexciting races after an uneventful grand prix at the Circuit of the Americas.
While the track has been largely praised as one of the best new additions to the calendar in recent years, Sunday’s grand prix was a largely processional affair. While Sebastian Vettel dominated proceedings the drivers behind him spent much of the race preserving their tires in order to avoid making more than a single pit stop.
Next year’s change in engine regulations will make fuel saving a greater concern. And the sport’s tire supplier Pirelli intends to err on the side of producing more conservative rubber as they are unsure how much stress the new turbo power units will put on the rear tires.
“It is a point of concern or discussion in the next couple of weeks, because we cannot have a situation where in order to be very conservative we will have races where there is not any thrill,” Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali told Autosport.
Pirelli is anxious for more testing in order to ensure their 2014 tires are appropriate for the radically overhauled cars.
“I am sure with Pirelli we will find the right solution because it is not a problem of giving more favors to one team or to another – it is important for the sport and the show,” Domenicali added.
“We will have a different car that will produce different torque, above all on the rear, so I think this is a point that needs to be heavily discussed in the next few weeks.”
Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.
Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.
Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.
“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.
“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”
Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.
“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.
“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”