Matt Neal expects less tyre blow outs in 2017, following the introduction of the new, stronger tyres for the season.
The Honda driver was one of the two drivers to test the new tyres that will be introduced for 2017. He explained how the bigger tyres were necessary as the weight of the cars made the tyres marginal at some circuits, causing the blow outs that ruined many drivers races in 2016.
“The reason for it is because they keep on adding more weight and more weight and more weight, and suddenly the tyre which was bullet proof that Dunlop provided for us has become marginal at some circuits,” Neal explained. “We were having a few blow outs last year. So they’ve gone to a bigger, stronger tyre which gives more grip.”
Teammate Gordon Shedden isn’t expecting to gain any advantage from the added grip.
“The new tyre is obviously going to deliver a little more grip, but because everyone has them, if there’s an improvement, everyone has the same improvement.”
The bigger tyres won’t be the only difference in 2017. Last season, every driver had to choose one race a weekend to run the soft tyre, but organisers have changed this rule for 2017.
“Normally, the option tyre is the soft tyre,” Shedden explained. “Now, for five of the ten events, the option tyre will be the hard tyre so, rather than having improved performance, you might have a degradation performance.”
Unlike his teammate, Neal does think the new rules can be used to a team’s advantage, but it depends on how quick a team gets used to the new rules.
“You can’t test at all the circuits we’re going to go to, so it is going to be which teams and drivers can get around it faster.”
Feature image credit: Dunlop