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How the teams propose to cut speeds and improve safety in Formula One... 13 Jul 2004

Geoff Willis (GBR) BAR Chief Designer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, 8 May 2004

The Formula One teams have provided the FIA with an initial list of proposals on ways to cut speeds and improve safety in the sport, as requested by the governing body at the recent World Motorsport Council meeting.

The team technical chiefs met in the week prior to the British Grand Prix, to formulate their suggestions, which, if accepted by the FIA, could help form the basis for key regulation changes for 2005 and beyond.

“The Technical Working Group (TWG) looking at specifically the chassis regulations and the aerodynamic regulations have come up with, unanimously, a set of proposals that we believe will slow the cars down by 1.5s/1.75s per lap, maybe a little bit less if there is some improvement over the winter,” reported BAR Technical Director Geoff Willis.

The proposals would see changes to the cars’ diffuser geometry, in terms of its height and the trim in front of the rear wheels. This should reduce overall downforce by 20% to 25%, with the added benefit that, with less downforce, it should improve the possibility of overtaking.

The FIA also wants to limit the influence of tyres on car performance and this was another topic discussed by the TWG. “The tyre proposals, even though not fully agreed yet, are clearly able to slow the cars down by 1.5s to 2s so I believe that we have done what is required and we can move on quite quickly,” added Willis.

The teams must now wait on the FIA’s response to their suggestions, but all are keen to establish the basis of the regulation changes as soon as possible so that they can proceed with designing their machines for next season.

“We’ll have to wait until next Friday to see what the FIA put back to the TWG,” confirmed Williams’ Sam Michael. “Because basically the TWG meeting was an information gathering exercise which I think will formulate probably 95 per cent of whatever the FIA’s proposal is and the process is they put that back to the TWG for approval.

"And the easiest thing is, as the other guys have said, is for us to accept that and get on with it straight away because it means that essentially from next Friday we can get on with designing our 2005 cars.”

Willis added: “What is most critical is that we can just get a set of regulations from which we can carry on designing the cars and that it is fixed in the next few weeks because none of the teams can afford this to be left undone any longer and I believe that we’ve done what’s required.”