Formula One is about to get scary again

Jenson Button of Great Britain driving the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team McLaren MP4-31 Honda RA616H Hybrid turbo. Photo / Getty
Jenson Button of Great Britain driving the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team McLaren MP4-31 Honda RA616H Hybrid turbo. Photo / Getty

Fans, drivers and stakeholders alike haven't been thrilled by F1 in recent times.

Whether it's the lack of roaring from the engines, confusion over radio communication rules chopping and changing or boredom over the seemingly impossible task of toppling a dominant Mercedes outfit, there's been plenty to complain about in 2016.

There hasn't been a shortage of action on the track though. After making a clean break at the start of the season, Nico Rosberg has been hauled back by his Silver Arrows teammate Lewis Hamilton, who now leads the championship race.

Rather than being about raw pace, more and more the sport has become about conserving tyres and batteries, which makes it less likely to see drivers pushing their cars to the absolute limit.

Jenson Button has been on the professional F1 circuit for 17 years, and what he's seen in recent times hasn't always pleased him. The 2009 world champion has previously criticised F1 rule-makers for lacking common sense, but he is looking forward to 2017.

He reminisced about times earlier in his career racing at the circuit in Jerez (Spain) when the danger of the sport was still very much prevalent, and said with the changes to cars next year, that fear factor would return.

"I remember going through Turn 5 onto the back straight at Jerez and you would have one eye closed thinking, 'Is this thing going to hold?'" Button was quoted as saying by Autosport.com.

"You couldn't hit the brakes because the tyre would deform and you wouldn't be able to turn in as the steering would be so heavy.

"So it was a light dab on the brakes, turn in and then you would just be waiting for the twitch. If you got the snap oversteer, either you were off or you lost a massive amount of time.

"Now, you arrive and you slide through the corner and you drift.

"It's just a very different feeling. It doesn't scare you as much. It will (be scary) next year, it will be awesome."

Aerodynamic regulations will be altered next season to allow cars with wider bodywork and front wings, lower and wider rear wings and bigger tyres. The changes are expected to make cars heavier - in some cases by up to 20kg - but at the same time, faster.

"Next year, F1 is doing the right thing with the tyres, with the aerodynamics," Button said.

"It's a great step forward and where the sport needs to go, so it's good to see."

In June, tyre manufacturer Pirelli unveiled a prototype of its tyre for 2017 at the Monaco Grand Prix, confident the changes they made will have a huge impact on the speed of F1 cars.

They changed the width of their new tyres to 305mm at the front and 405mm at the back - wider than before.

Speaking to Autosport, Pirelli chairman Marco Tronchetti Provera said the innovation could do more to slash race times than anything done to the engine of a four-wheeler.

"People are very much involved and willing to deliver the best possible performance, and these tyres can provide an amazing result," Provera said.

"To improve by just tenths of a second you have to do a lot of things on a car and the engine.

"With these tyres we can improve by seconds, which shows you the importance of the tyres, and to all viewers.

"Next year's tyres look powerful, they give a sense of power, and after the first test in the wind tunnel they are proving the outcome can be amazing, and with lots of fun I hope."

- news.com.au

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