Mercedes may be dominant at the moment, but Mercedes GP Technical Executive Director Paddy Lowe expects the balance of power to change as teams and engine manufacturers pursue development over the course of the season.
“I think we’re going to see far steeper gradients in terms of performance development through this season than we’ve seen in the past few years,” said Lowe. “Because there’s so much new on the cars, particularly around the power unit, a great deal more optimization that can be done on that. I see performance development being far more rapid this season. It already has been that.
“We’ve seen some great steps made by all the teams since we were last here testing. I think that will continue through the season, and I think there’s potential for a lot more excitement as we develop during the year.”
Lowe said he’s enjoying the new rules: “I think it’s very exciting. Some things have caused discussion. Always when things are different there are some people that appreciate them in different ways. I just find it exciting. I love the technology. One of the great things about Formula One as a sport is that it’s not just about the athlete – the driver – it’s also about the car and the technology and that. Our fans like that richness in the sport.
“So I hope they also appreciate what’s been done on the cars and it’s sort of relevance to the future in the automotive industry generally. It’s very exciting. What we’ve seen in the past two races is that it, for me, hasn’t affected the racing and the demands made on the driver. That to me seems very normal.”
He said it was good to see power units playing a role once more.
“I think that already the evidence is that we are seeing differences in engine and aerodynamics and the rest of the chassis playing out. I think the nice thing about this season is that we have added the new element of competition among the power units. Because the differences between power units in the last few years has been very, very marginal. So I think it’s good to see Formula One providing a more rounded competition in terms of the car as a whole – including the power unit.”