The upcoming 2017 Formula One Championship season will see a raft of new changes and as such the teams will be busy all off season building and perfecting the best challenger possible.
From wider tyres to suspension changes, Toro Rosso Technical Director James Key has discussed the intensity of the work going on at their Faenza based factory where they have been working mainly in a virtual world with nothing to compare it to
“it's a massive change,” Key said on the team's official website. “Honestly, from a bodywork and suspension and tyre point of view, this is the biggest one that I've personally experienced in almost 19 years in F1. From a chassis point of view, it's the biggest change of the past two decades, even bigger than 2009 and certainly bigger than 2014. These are exciting times! Basically, there are two processes going on.”
“Firstly, you've got the enormous amount of research you have to do to try and understand what makes a car with these new regulations tick, without any experience of them in reality, because for a long time, we can only operate in the virtual world. That process comes to an end in January.”
“Secondly you hit the track for winter testing, after which you go and do a season with all this work that for a long time existed in your virtual world. We tentatively started the 2017 project in September 2015, so it's been 14 months so far. Back then, the chassis regulations hadn't been finalised but we thought that with any change of this nature, the sooner you start, the better.”
Engineers don't get together and discuss any regulation changes due to the competitiveness of the sport, making the challenge even greater….
“To be given a new challenge with lots of unknowns but knowing that you're up against your peers in every other team to make what you can of it, is a great challenge. It's something that everyone relishes really, in every team. It's been really interesting because there are lots of creative minds out there and everyone's sitting down and thinking, "Well, what do we need to do with this? What combinations of this, that and the other are there that make these cars perform? Where are your targets?"”
“You've got no reference points from anywhere than your own internal targets. You can get that horribly wrong or you can be on the money. We won't know really until qualifying in Melbourne ultimately. But you've got to go through that whole process of working out exactly what it is that you need to be doing with the '17 car to be competitive. I don't know whether we've done enough and I guess no other team does either, but it's an exciting time, just setting out what you think is right, let alone going into the detail, and then making all sorts of discoveries along the way.”