Formula 1’s sweeping 2014 rule changes will generate more unpredictable races because teams will all struggle to perfect their new machines, according to McLaren sporting director Sam Michael.
Michael says the scale and scope of the new regulations are too great for teams to be able judge flawlessly, meaning the new cars will have to be designed with far more compromises. As a result, Michael feels there will be far more random results as reliability and performance concerns affect the traditional shape of the F1 field.
“When you have such a big change you will build in more margin than you would have previously,” Michael declared. “Let’s say we hadn’t made changes, what you’d be doing is taking an extremely well-known product and chipping away at marginal gains: a bit of weight here, a bit of friction there, some packaging. That has all gone out the window in 2014.
“You’ll be in one of two positions: you’ll push it too hard and be unreliable, or you’ll be too heavy and want to take weight out. The approach is one of risk versus reward, and both those things will take time.
“It is pretty unlikely you will get it bang on; you just won’t in all areas of the car. Do I think it will mix things up? Probably. I’m sure there will be results that wouldn’t occur now.”
Michael said he also expected unreliability to increase, adding: “When you get a big rule change, the engineering structures are not fast enough to respond. It’s something you have to cope with as well as performance you have to get back reliability as soon as possible.
“There is no secret; getting reliable takes time and an ongoing dissection of what we have. Ultimately, you are not going to have the same reliability you have on the current cars.”