The 2017 tyre regulations are likely to level the playing field between the drivers, according to Pat Symonds.

Pirelli has been asked to provide tyres which drivers can push on for a race distance, with the dimensions increasing to provide more grip in an attempt to deliver faster lap times. Testing on the 2017 tyres will begin next month with Ferrari carrying out two days of wet tyre testing at Fiorano before Red Bull tests slick tyres at Mugello.

While Symonds doesn’t expect the change in aerodynamic regulations to impact on drivers too much, he says the change in tyre philosophy could reduce a differential between them.

“I think from the chassis and aerodynamics side – and the power unit – it will not be a problem for the drivers,” the Williams chief technical officer told the official Formula One website. “Yes, there is more downforce – actually a lot more downforce – but that is not difficult to handle. The drivers love that!

“Yes, we have seen in the past that some aerodynamic changes did not go down well with certain driving styles, but I don’t expect that in 2017.

“What will really be a big change are the tyres. Pirelli has been asked to bring tyres that allow the drivers to push through the race. Now if they manage to do that it will be very different for the drivers.

“Right now the major skill that a driver has to have is to look after his tyres. If he oversteps the tyres ‘bite’ back. Pirelli has been asked to remove that characteristic. If they succeed then I think we will see a certain equalisation among the drivers.”

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