Eric Boullier has refuted the fears of several drivers that the proposed changes to the 2017 regulations will make it harder to overtake, saying measures have been taken to ensure the faster machines can be raced competitively.
Though final a signed agreement on the new regulations, which are set to make the cars substantially faster than they are now, offer more downforce and look more 'aggressive', is still pending, it is understood it is now just a formality.
However, the proposals have received with scepticism from some drivers – including Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg -, who are worried the push for more downforce and faster cars will have the effect of hampering the race spectacle if it becomes too difficult to follow and thus overtake.
However, McLaren racing director Boullier, who has been privy to the details of the new technical measures, remains confident that drivers will be more inclined to push on, making them 'happier', even if he says fans may not be able to tell.
“We are supporting these changes, first of all because we believe the cars now are slower than they were two years ago and I think it is good for F1 when drivers get into F1 that there is still a 'wow effect' of driving these cars, which we may have lost a little bit.
“I think the fans maybe won't see the difference but these guys will be happier to drive a faster car with more grip. If the driver are happier to drive the car they will obviously make a better show and then the fans will be happier and that is good for F1.
Indeed, Boullier is confident the changes won't harm the ability to overtake, adding that it could even improve it because it will be 'purer' than simply utilising DRS.
“I actually disagree with some of the comments in the media from some of my competitors that say that the change to the regulation has been drafted in such a way that the cars will generate more downforce from the tyres, so mechanically, which should not hurt the overtaking numbers and, on top of this, the aero will have less influence
“All of this is allowing the car to make more overtaking manoeuvres, which is maybe 5 per cent because today all the overtaking manoeuvres are driven by the DRS and tyre degradations so I think we are supporting this.”