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Patrick Head: Idea that new F1 regulations will close up field ‘nonsense’

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Former Williams technical chief Patrick Head says that the suggestion Formula 1’s new regulations for the 2017 season will cause the field to close up is “nonsense”.

Head, 71, was instrumental in Williams’ success in F1 and oversaw the design of its cars for over 25 years before ultimately leaving the team at the end of 2012.

F1’s technical rulebook has been overhauled for 2017 in a bid to create more exciting racing on-track and make the cars faster by increasing downforce and tire size.

A change in the technical regulations ordinarily results in some kind of change to the pecking order, with many hoping that 2017 will see Mercedes’ dominance of the sport come to an end.

However, Head is skeptical that this will be the case, instead believing that it could cause the bigger teams in F1 to pull further away from the smaller privateer operations.

“If anybody was thinking of these rules with the aim of closing the field up then they’ve got rocks in their head,” Head told The Guardian.

“Any time you make significant changes the advantage will always go to the bigger teams, because they have more resources, they have more capability to parallel develop their existing car and work on design of their new car.

“When you have 750 employees or more against, say, Force India’s 300, of course the bigger teams can do more.

“Any idea it will close the field up is nonsense. I don’t think anyone ever said that was the target, I think the target was to make it more attractive to create a bit more excitement.”

Head feels that F1 is moving in the wrong direction if it wants to increase overtaking and on-track action by increasing downforce.

“If they wanted a formula that allowed for more overtaking without using artificial aids like DRS then they needed to go for a formula that reduced downforce levels,” Head said.

“But they have gone in the opposite direction.”

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.