Daniel Ricciardo is one of a number of key figures who is anxious about how the new F1 regulations will impact the ability for drivers to overtake one another on track.
The Red Bull driver is certain both his team and Mercedes will remain at the forefront of the grid in 2017 – ruling out a Ferrari charge – but hopes for the Milton Keynes squad to have the upper hand after recent domination by its German rivals.
However, Ricciardo has expressed concerns about how tricky overtaking may become this season with the wider and longer F1 cars while speculation from some corners have suggested following cars will also be difficult due to 'dirty' air thrown up by the new aerodynamic packages for 2017.
“I think there will be changes, but how it alters the pecking order we'll have to wait and see,” Ricciardo said. “I still believe that Mercedes and Red Bull will be at the pointy end – hopefully in reverse order to last year.
“The cars are going to be quicker, the tyres wider, so maybe on some narrow circuits it could be a bit trickier, especially with a wider car; that might make the available room for opportunity slightly less. The cornering speeds will be quicker.”
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With the opening pre-season test less than two weeks away the Australian driver, who has split his winter between recuperating in Perth and training in Los Angeles, isn't concerned about the new physical stresses the new cars will place on drivers and relishing the challenge ahead.
“We're not training to lose weight, we're training to put on a little bit of muscle and gain some strength, because if the cars are cornering a lot faster,” he said. “The G forces and the toll that takes on the body will be higher, so the most important thing is the strength to be able to withstand that.”
Get ready for the new season: 2017 F1 team and car launch dates
Red Bull is set to launch its 2017 challenger, the RB13, at the Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday 26th February – the day before the opening pre-season test which runs between the 27th February-2nd March.
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