Smedley expecting some grid re-ordering in 2017

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Williams' current head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley says that he doesn't believe that the new 2017 tyre and downforce specifications will make a huge impact at the top of the constructors championship this season.

“I hope it’s going to shake things up a bit but I don’t think we’ll have a complete change in pecking order," Smedley told Autosport this week.

"In Formula One, no-one ever won a world championship without a substantial budget. Money does count, at least in this era of Formula One."

But Smedley did say that the balance between the top, midfield and backmarker groups could get reshuffled - although it was by no means certain that it would produce the sort of change at the front of the grid that many feel the sport needs.

"It’s really important you get more people up in that top group [so that] we’re starting the weekend with it not being entirely clear who is going to win the race. That is what turns the fans off," he said.

“If you go into it thinking four or five drivers can win here, that’s really exciting and I hope that’s what the new regulations do for us."

Smedley added that he hoped there would be a change in the balance of power between teams as the season goes on.

“I don’t expect the fastest car in Australia to be the fastest car in Abu Dhabi," he said. "If that happens, the rules have ultimately been successful."

Smedley himself is tipped for a change in his position at Williams this year, and may take up more of a broader development role at the factory instead of always being trackside, having expressed a desire to take more of a background role in 2017.

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