Chester: Biggest challenge I can remember

Date published: January 9 2017

Renault’s chassis technical director Nick Chester has billed this year’s overhaul of the regulations as the “biggest challenge” that he can remember in Formula 1.

This season Formula 1 will introduce faster and more aggressive looking cars with wider tyres, all aimed at reducing speeds by up to five seconds per lap.

“I think it is the biggest challenge I remember,” Chester said in an interview with F1i.com.

“It is bigger than getting rid of the exhaust blowing or modifying only the span of the front wing [in 2009].

“Here, it is a massive change on the span of the front wing, on the diffuser, on the track of the car obviously, on the wider wheels, on the wake from the wheels, etc. And a lot of the legality boxes that can change as well.”

He added: “We will have a heavier car, with more downforce: that is why there is so much design work with this new set of regulations. You have got a brand new aero package, so new bodywork, but also all your loadings are changing. That is why it is such a big challenge.

“There is really no part of the car that you will carryover from this year to next year.

“Even for the brakes: there is a change on disc figures anyway, as we will be allowed to go up to 32 millimetres in thickness (against 28mm previously). Maybe not all teams will decide to go thicker, I think they don’t need to, but it is available.”

As for the goal of finding five seconds per lap, Chester reckons most of that will be found through the corners as the increase in downforce could slow the cars down on the straights.

“Cars will be faster in the corners,” he explained. “On the straights, they could be a little bit slower, because of the extra drag. I am sure all teams have looked at how much downforce and drag they want to target, and you can effectively move up and down an efficiency curve and you have to pick up a point to develop around.

“Different teams may be developing slightly different points, but I think for most teams it will be a little bit slower on the straight because of the drag created by the bigger tyres and the wider track of the car.”

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