Rumours abound ahead of new F1 season

2016-01-27 06:00

AS the 2016 Formula 1 season draws ever closer the most important parts are starting to fall into place. Several teams, including Ferrari and McLaren, have passed the crucial first steps towards what they hope will be a memorable season of racing.

Of course, it wouldn’t be F1 if a million other issues and topics weren’t simultaneously swirling around the sport. As tyres and power units dominate the talking points the biggest issue with F1 has been about how to improve the show.

Some clever people in suits came to the conclusion that re-introducing the concept of refuelling would do the trick. However, this idea has yet again been shot down.

The FIA president, Jean Todt, recently confirmed that the issue would come under discussion at a meeting in Geneva.

However, as in 2015, the possibility of bringing back refuelling was dismissed by the Strategy Group and the F1 Commission. The general feeling from the meetings was that the cost of re-introducing this aspect to the sport would be too costly. Williams technical director told Autosport that the costs of bringing it back into the sport would be “significant.”

“Freight costs for shipping equipment is £175 000 and it’s probably £200 000 - 250 000 to buy and service the kit in the first year and ongoing cost of servicing it,” he said. “There is also one dedicated salaried person for looking after it so the costs are very significant.”

It leaves the focus, at least from the outside, squarely on what the teams are preparing for 2016. The good news is that Ferrari’s car is well on course to make its debut in February after passing a mandatory FIA crash test.

The safety regulations of the FIA dictate that all critical areas of a Formula 1 car pass a standardised crash test before it is allowed to be officially entered into any official FIA race.

Reports are that the Italian team needed several attempts at passing the test because they sampled more than one nose for their 2016 challenger.

The Ferrari team’s 2016 car is already reported to be quite different from its 2015 predecessor and is rumoured to be introducing a short nose concept for the new season. The new nose isn’t so much a reproduction from what we saw on other cars in 2015 but more a mixture between the nosecone sported by Mercedes and Toro Rosso.

McLaren too has passed a mandatory crash test for the front-end of its MP4-31. The Woking-based team reportedly completed and passed a dynamic test of the front of their 2016 car.

The nosecone of the McLaren is rumoured to be similar in style to what the Red Bull Racing team ran in 2015. However, the longer nose as seen on the 2015 McLaren has not been ruled out as a viable option.

Rumours have also emerged that the team has overcome its power unit deficiency. Honda, who struggled throughout the 2015 season, is alleged to have solved the issues surrounding its energy recovery system.

Some put the rumoured gains that have been made by the Japanese manufacturer in the region in 223 horsepower.

If it is the case the Honda engine should be on par with that of Ferrari and Mercedes. However, it still doesn’t answer the question of the woeful reliability the team endured throughout their 2015 campaign.

As the first test of the season draws closer you’d have to expect that rumours of such significant gains will remain pure speculation until the team and its drivers can get out on track and prove it. If it is this case then F1 is in for one cracking season.

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