The impact of the change in regulations both on the machine and in the organization for the 2018 F1, “cannot be measured in such a short time. This is only the second Grand Prix since the paradigm shift,” Andreas Nikolaus “Niki” Lauda. To know what the real impact is, one has to wait at least for six races, he told the Gulf Auto Zone (GAZ). The rules revolution of 2017 saw F1 cars become wider and faster. In 2018 the T-wings and shark fins have been eliminated — a change that could result in the rear of this season’s new cars looking more like that tested by Sauber in Austin back in October of last year. The engine cover, according to foreign media, still features a fin of sorts, but nothing like the huge swathes of carbon fiber we saw in 2017.
The one major change announced is the introduction of the ‘halo’. It is the cockpit protection device designed to further improve driver safety in the event of an accident, and in particular to deflect debris away from the head.
GAZ finds the halo, though seen as a new addition is not so. Last season Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton had an issue with the halo on his car and that had become the media chatter a while.
The halo is mandatory. Teams have some scope for modification, but mandatory the core design is dictated by the rules.
The overall minimum weight of cars has gone up by 6kg to 734kg to compensate for the introduction of the halo, but it’s estimated that the actual impact of the device plus the mountings could be as much as 14kg, which will leave teams with less room to play with when it comes to performance ballast – and also put heavier drivers at a potential disadvantage…according to media grapevine.
The new F1 Management, in an effort to make F1 power units even more reliable – and thus reduce costs, has said that in 2018 each driver must make do with just three engines for the 21-race campaign. That compares with four engines last year (when, incidentally, the calendar featured one less Grand Prix). However, when it comes to some components – such as the Control Electronics (or CPU), Energy Store (or Battery) and MGU-K – the teams will have just two at their disposal.
One less engine per season will also mean one less chance per season for teams to introduce significant power unit upgrades. This also implies that those who best manage their development programme over the course of the year could stand to reap even bigger rewards…
This and other rules, would take time to show impact, said Lauda.