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.”

Here’s who were picking to win the Indy 500 — who are YOU picking?

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Several members of the NBC Sports motorsports staff have made their predictions on who will win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Of the six voters, two are going with 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, while two others are going with Helio Castroneves to win a fourth 500, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Here’s our picks. Who are YOU picking?

Leigh Diffey: Helio Castroneves — He drives the place better than anyone else. For me (for what its worth) he deserves a fourth 500 ring for the frustration he went through never getting the IndyCar title!

Townsend Bell: Josef Newgarden

Nate Ryan: Simon Pagenaud — All of his 2018 misfortune on the track has disappeared in May, and it culminates in the biggest victory of his career.

Jerry Bonkowski: Helio Castroneves – There’s no pressure as he pursues his fourth Indy 500 win. All Helio has to do, as late NFL owner Al Davis would say, is “Just win, baby!” (But if Helio falls short, watch for Marco Andretti)

Kyle Lavigne: Josef Newgarden — I think he has everything he needs to get it done this year.

Dan Beaver: Robert Wickens – Has driven like anything except a rookie and his second-place finish at Phoenix proves he’s just as good on an oval as the road courses.

Follow: Jerry Bonkowski