Sport F1 bosses evaluating change to grid formation process, says Symonds

19:10  12 january  2018
19:10  12 january  2018 Source:   Autosport

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F1 evaluating grid formation change © LAT Images F1 evaluating grid formation change

Formula 1 bosses are evaluating making changes to the way the grid lines up for a grand prix in the future, according to Pat Symonds.

Former Williams chief technical officer Symonds joined the team of specialists working under new F1 sporting boss Ross Brawn last year who have been asked to help define F1's future direction.

Speaking at MIA's Entertainment & Energy-Efficient Motorsport Conference, Symonds said F1 is testing out potential regulation changes in the virtual world using eSports to assess their effectiveness.

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"We're keen to use virtual environments to test some of these regulations," said Symonds. "What we can do then is look at statistics.

"It gives you a chance to do things you can't otherwise simulate in an easy manner.

"I'll give you an example of something we've been thinking about this year.

"For a number of years, the starting grid for F1 has been a staggered formation.

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"We know one of our problems is that we put the fastest car on the grid and not only do we do that but we separate them.

"It used to not be like that, there was a time when cars started two abreast, there was a time when - we've got a photo in our boardroom in London where I think it's Monza - there are four cars on the front row.

"What would happen if we did that again? It's not the sort of thing you can simulate easily.

"We can go to our esports group and we can say 'look guys, let's change the grid, let's do 20 races'.

"They don't have to be 300km races. We're only interested in the first three laps. Then we see what happens.

"Are we going to get a much more exciting first lap or are we going to get a huge collision on corner one?

"By doing this, and looking at it statistically, we can start to understand these things. It gives us our evidence-based form of decision-making, a mantra I preach quite regularly."

Mansell: Williams 2018 line-up not a drawback

  Mansell: Williams 2018 line-up not a drawback Ex-Formula 1 driver Nigel Mansell says Williams’ driver line-up for the 2018 season will not be a drawback for the team, despite its driver’s lack of experience. The Grove-based outfit confirmed rookie Sergey Sirotkin as its second driver on Tuesday alongside Lance Stroll, who has one-year of racing in F1 under his belt. The team has the youngest pairing on the grid, with just a combined age of 41, but Mansell believes this isn’t an issue in the modern era with the cars not as challenging to drive for the outset. “In years gone by, without the computer aids, I’d be concerned by two young drivers in the team,” the 1992 world champion told “That is not so much the case now with so many support engineers and so much information. “A Formula 1 car, until it is handed over to the driver at a certain speed, drives itself now. So they will get a lot of support. “I hope if the car is good and that there’ll be some races where they can shine. I hope they don’t fall down the grid.” Williams also appointed Robert Kubica as its reserve driver, the Pole will conduct simulator work and on-track duties in his new guise. Mansell, speaking from experience, believes Sirotkin and Stroll can learn a lot from Kubica. “It depends how much experience a driver has got of winning and competing at a high level,” Mansell added. “Competing at a high level is one thing, winning at a high level is another thing. I find it interesting having been team-mates with world champions and working with all of them closely, you tend to learn an awful lot real quick. “You have more insight. It always interests me to get someone else’s perspective.

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F1 evaluating grid formation change © LAT Images F1 evaluating grid formation change

Symonds cited the furore of early 2016, when the qualifying format was changed only to be changed back almost immediately following criticism from fans and those in the paddock, as a reason to simulate the proposed changes.

"Some might remember that a couple of years ago, someone who is no longer involved in F1 decided it would be a good idea to change the qualifying procedure and at a whim that was done," he said.

"There was no simulation of it whatsoever.

"A few people with an IQ that ran into double figures did look at it and decided it was going to be a disaster and sure enough it was a disaster but nevertheless it went ahead and sure enough it was a disaster.

"How do things like that happen? We can't let happen again."

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