F1 technical chiefs uneasy over proposed ‘revolution’ in 2017


MONTMELO – A number of technical chiefs working in Formula 1 have expressed their unease over a proposed overhaul of the regulations for the 2017 season, believing that the sport should instead focus on the positive aspects of its current formula.

In 2014, the technical regulations underwent seismic changes in a bid to take the sport into a hybrid era, focusing on new V6 turbo ‘power units’ that replaced V8 engines.

The move did not please all within the sport, though. The new engines were far quieter than their predecessors, leading to criticism from ex-Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo and even F1 Group CEO Bernie Ecclestone.

Over the winter, a number of ideas were proposed to revolutionize the sport including new-look cars and louder engines, but the teams agreed that they could only be implemented in 2017 at the earliest.

Speaking in yesterday’s FIA press conference, a number of technical chiefs expressed their concern over knee-jerk changes, and instead preferred to focus on refining the product that the sport currently has.

“There’s a lot talked at the moment about the rule changes for 2017, but I think people forget at the moment the racing’s actually quite good,” Lotus technical director Nick Chester said.

“There are some very good battles up and down the whole grid and as the cars’ performance is improving a lot – I think we’re seeing two seconds improvement from last year – do we really need a huge change of regulation?

“A huge change of regulation is going to open up the grid again. There’ll be bigger differences between teams and obviously it’s going to add a lot of cost.

“So I think we shouldn’t forget that [the] show’s actually not bad at the moment.”

Sauber’s Giampaolo Dall’ara supported Chester’s thoughts, saying: “I wouldn’t add much to what he has been saying.”

Despite being the focus of much of the criticism, the technology behind the power units has been a great success as the cars are now lapping quicker than the V8-powered models whilst using considerably less fuel.

“I think it would be foolish to mess around with the immense amount of good work that has been done on the power units,” McLaren’s Jonathan Neale said.

“Maybe some minor adjustments but it’s a much more efficient package, it’s got some great technology, it’s still maturing in the sport and the price can come down it it’s left to mature because we’re just not putting in the same R&D costs.”

However, Neale does think that some minor changes can be made to help improve the sport, such as making the step up from junior formulas to F1 more noticeable.

“We’ve spoken about a step change in aerodynamics, to make sure that these cars are difficult to drive and maintain that performance gap to other junior series, and F1 remains an out-and-out race.

“We can still have the efficiency, we can still have many other attributes of the sport, but I think it should just be a flat-out race.”

Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points


Three riders remain locked in a tight battle with 17 points separating the leader Cooper Webb from third-place Chase Sexton and these are only a few Supercross numbers to consider entering Seattle.

Seattle Supercross numbers
Chase Sexton made a statement in Detroit with his second win of 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

For the fifth time in 10 rounds. Sexton, Webb, and Eli Tomac shared the podium in Detroit. Between them, the trio has taken 23 podiums, leaving only seven for the remainder of the field. Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia have two each with Aaron Plessinger scoring the other.

Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.

Tomac has won two of the last three Seattle races and those two wins in this stadium are topped only by James Stewart. Fittingly, if Tomac gets a third win this week, he will tie Stewart for second on the all-time wins’ list. Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael for third with 48 wins at Oakland and took sole possession of that spot with his Daytona win.

Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.

The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.

In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.

Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.

Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.

Last Five Seattle Winners

2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto

2022: Hunter Lawrence
2019: Dylan Ferrandis
2018: Aaron Plessinger
2017: Aaron Plessinger
2014: Cole Seely

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

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