McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa says he feels the changes being made to Formula One for the 2009 season are a step in the right direction as the sport seeks to bring down costs and improve the racing spectacle.
The Barcelona test this week saw a number of 2009-spec cars hit the track, featuring radical new aerodynamic packages and slick tyres, while the Kinetic Energy Recovery System is also set to be introduced into the sport.
de la Rosa tested with both McLaren and Force India during the three-day test in Spain – the latter thanks to the new technical partnership signed between the two teams – and he admitted that a car in 2009-spec was much different to the machinery seen on track this season.
“Obviously, the slick tyres give you a lot more grip – so although we will be running with reduced downforce, the overall grip of the car won't be that different to what we had,” he said. “But it's the balance front to rear that will change – the slick tyres have a very strong front-end going into the corners and they have very good traction coming out.
“Overall, to simplify things, I think the slick tyres will give us laptime in the low-speed corners and because of the reduced downforce we'll be slower at high speeds.”
The Spaniard added that he felt overtaking would be made easier by the changes in place for 2009 although he warned fans not to expect Formula One to be transformed.
“Yes, definitely,” he responded when asked if overtaking will be easier. “Considering this is Formula 1 – if people think the introduction of KERS and the reduction in downforce and slicks is going to transform Formula 1, then forget it. It will still be a wide car, there will still be aerodynamic effect and offline will stay dirty. It will be easier, but it won't be MotoGP. And people need to understand that.
“The changes are headed in the right direction. The difficulty comes from having so many changes and a massive reduction in testing for next year. It will make fine-tuning your car between the races very difficult. It's going to be very interesting – and there won't be enough time to test everything.”