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Pat Symonds not expecting radical differences in 'very immature' 2017 designs

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Outgoing Williams technical chief Pat Symonds doubts there will be a huge amount of difference in the 2017 car designs, which he believes are "very immature" given the lack of development time.

Formula One agreed on sweeping rule changes for next season early this year, agreeing on wider, more aggressive-looking cars aimed at reducing lap times and more of a challenge to drive. The late decision limited the amount of time teams had limited time to develop and to conduct tests in wind tunnels.

Symonds, set to step down from Williams at the end of the calendar year, thinks most of the cars will look similar.

When asked if he expects radical differences between teams next year, which is usually the hallmark of the first season of any regulation change, he replied: "I don't. The rules are quite prescriptive. There is an area on the engine cover where we might see a few variations and things.

"There is a bit more of an open area, and a bit more of an open area there but you don't really notice it to be honest. Once again, if you painted them all black you would struggle to notice."

The last two big regulation changes have seen one team dominate (Brawn in 2009, Mercedes in 2014), but Symonds says there has not been the same preparation time for a repeat in 2017 because wind tunnel work is restricted under the current rules.

"I think that the biggest change is that there has been less true development time on it - both time and wind tunnel runs. If you go back to 2009, a huge change, but we were talking about it for ages and there were drafts of the rules being pushed around and we were running wind tunnels 24/7, Toyota were running two wind tunnels 24/7. Plenty of time to investigate it.

"The next reasonably large change we had was for 2014, where we had a number of aerodynamic changes plus a lot of new cooling stuff to do and things like that. By that time, we still had a fair amount of time to do it, but we were running at 80 runs a week at that stage.

"This time we got our wind tunnel tyres in late February, so that is when we really started wind tunnel testing. Of course we were doing CFD before that and to be honest, we were doing a little bit of tunnel testing using rear tyres on the front and trying to get some idea of what the basic flow regime was."