Oliver Rowland believes the new-for-2019 front wings could force Formula 1 drivers to rethink their approach to driving. 

F1 is set to introduce aerodynamic regulation tweaks next season in a bid to reduce the amount of dirty air being produced from the rear of the car ahead, allowing drivers to follow their competitors more closely and increase the opportunity for overtaking. 

Force India and Williams were among the teams to test experimental versions of the new front wing designs as they made their on-track debuts during the second and final in-season test of 2018 at the Hungaroring. Williams young driver Rowland tried out the 2019-spec wing as he drove on the opening day of running for the Grove-based outfit. 

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When asked if he expected any impact on driving styles, Rowland replied: “I think maybe it could do yeah. People will maybe have to change their approach a little bit on the rest of the car, so it will be whoever catches up with that side first.”

Rowland completed a handful of outlaps before returning to the pitlane to switch onto Williams’ current-spec 2018 front wing. While he did not run in anger with the new front wing attached to the FW41, the Briton noted few differences despite the front wings being 200mm wider and 25mm deeper compared to its predecessor. 

“You don’t feel so much difference,” he explained. “Maybe a slight difference in balance but that’s it. I think that will depend from car to car in what they will get in terms of the flow. 

“It looks a bit different and it was quite colourful at one point but when you’ve got the sensors and stuff on the car you can’t really take it to its limit. The team needs to see for next year what’s doing what. It was interesting for them.”

The 2017 Formula 2 runner-up, who also tested Williams’ 2018 challenger in the post-Spanish Grand Prix test at Barcelona in May, said the British squad still has work to do in improving its current car – following a difficult first half of the season. 

“From the Williams side its not been the complete package for the whole of the season and I think that’s where they need to work on for next season and they know that. Even the original [front wing] one isn’t perfect.” 

 

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