Scuderia Toro Rosso technical chief James Key believes that the changes to the regulations for the 2017 Formula 1 season are the biggest that the sport has seen in 20 years.
As part of a bid to make F1 cars look more radical and gain multiple seconds per lap, the technical regulations have been overhauled for 2017, with a particular focus on tires and bodywork.
Key discussed the challenge facing each team heading into 2017, believing the changes to be greater than any he has experienced through his F1 career.
“It’s a massive change. Honestly, from a bodywork and suspension and tire point of view, this is the biggest one that I’ve personally experienced in almost 19 years in F1,” Key said.
“From a chassis point of view, it’s the biggest change of the past two decades, even bigger than 2009 and certainly bigger than 2014. These are exciting times!
“Basically, there are two processes going on. Firstly, you’ve got the enormous amount of research you have to do to try and understand what makes a car with these new regulations tick, without any experience of them in reality, because for a long time, we can only operate in the virtual world. That process comes to an end in January.
“Secondly you hit the track for winter testing, after which you go and do a season with all this work that for a long time existed in your virtual world.
“We tentatively started the 2017 project in September 2015, so it’s been 14 months so far. Back then, the chassis regulations hadn’t been finalized but we thought that with any change of this nature, the sooner you start, the better.”