Ferrari’s Allison: ‘Slow’ F14T cars will be much faster by season opener in Australia

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After numerous preseason reports have Formula 1 drivers quite concerned that their new F14T cars are too slow due to new rules and also  based upon preseason testing, Ferrari technical director James Allison has adopted a wait-and-see attitude.

In other words, Allison is telling drivers and F1 fans that wait and you’ll then see the cars get significantly faster just in time for the start of the new season next month in Australia.

The key, Allison says in a story on AutoSport.com, is teams figuring out how to maximize downforce on their sleek new racers. Once they do that, speeds could jump quite a bit – and a number of teams are well on their way to solving the downforce puzzle.

“Just look at the size of the rear wings – they are more or less Canada-type rear wings,” said Allison. “That is roughly where the downforce of the [2014] car is. There is also not the blowing of the floor either.

“But new rules offer new opportunities, so the rate of finding downforce is quite steep. You never know when it is going to slacken off, but it is showing no signs of that at the moment.”

Because of the changes F1 officials have implemented this season, teams have focused more so on performance and reliability at the outset. But now that most have solved that dilemma, mastering downforce is where speed will greatly pick up.

Driver Jenson Button agrees with Allison.

“When we go to the first race everyone is going to be much faster,” he said. “And by the end of the year we might not be that far off (from all-time top F1 speed marks), a couple of seconds.”

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.