Pat Symonds: New F1 tire rules to have minimal impact

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BIRMINGHAM – Williams chief technical officer Pat Symonds believes that the new tire regulations for Formula 1 in 2016 will have a minimal impact and are too complicated to understand.

F1 tire supplier Pirelli confirmed in December that it would be changing the regulations for 2016 by bringing an additional compound to each race and allowing teams a choice of three across the course of a weekend.

Teams must use the softest available compound in Q3, and are required to use one of the other two compounds in the race on Sunday, but are bound by other rules regarding tire saving and usage.

Speaking at Autosport International in Birmingham, England on Friday, Symonds expressed his belief that the decision-making process had been overcomplicated and limited what initially appeared to be a good idea.

“This was actually a pretty good idea when it started because the original idea was to give the teams an awful lot of freedom as to how they chose their tires,” Symonds said.

“I think that it was a good idea. I think it would have led to a little bit of chaos which is what we need to see. We would have seen teams who took a bit of a punt, maybe the midfielders particularly who think it’s all or nothing. They would go for it, choose the softer compound.

“Unfortunately these things always get discussed in a committee, and a committee is an excellent way of really neutering a good idea. That is of course what has happened.”

Symonds believes that there will be minimal changes as a result of the new regulations as most teams will manage to find an optimum strategy that will be the same as their rivals.

“I think it will be minimal,” Symonds said. “I won’t say it won’t change things, and I don’t think that it’s a bad thing other than the fact it’s immensely complicated to understand.

“But it will leave to a few changes and certainly we’ve done our own strategies for the first few races. You can see some quite different strategies that have an outcome that is quite similar.

“But they have a very different performance profile through the race, and that’s actually something I’ve always argued for. If we get a different performance profile through the race, we’ll get changes of position.

“The final outcome might be similar, but we’ll see some changes. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, but Formula 1 teams have an awful lot of people working on this and they’re pretty clever people. If there is an ultimate answer, they tend to converge on it pretty quickly.”