Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe has branded the aerodynamic overhaul for 2019 as Formula 1’s most significant rule change since 2009.

Next season front wings will be 200mm wider and 25mm deeper and feature fewer complicated elements as F1 bids to improve the on-track spectacle and increase overtaking opportunities.

Williams, Force India and Red Bull were among the teams to provide a first on-track glimpse of the new designs by running experimental versions of the devices during the post-Hungarian Grand Prix test at the Hungaroring ahead of their introduction next year.

“It’s not quite as significant as 2009 but it’s in that bracket, whereas I think 2014 and 2017 were much less significant,” Lowe said.

"I'm sure a lot of stuff will have to be re-optimised. We haven't got that far with it, we're starting from the front at the moment and working our way back!”

Lowe sees the regulation changes as an opportunity for Williams to make up some ground on its competitors as it looks to haul itself off the foot of F1’s current pecking order, after the team took the wrong direction with the concept of its troublesome FWF1.

"It is quite a big change, so change is always an opportunity to do well,” he explained. “We're very conscious of that and working very hard to be the right side of that opportunity and make some ground. It could be a disruption."

But Lowe fears “the same mistake” of aesthetically making the new front wings wider – like with the 2009 regulation shake-up - could occur again.

When asked how difficult it is to judge what a realistic objective for development of the new front wings should be, Lowe replied: "It's a very good question and one that's often brought up.

"Something that teams have said in the past is we'll get back to where we were, but that feels completely arbitrary in itself.

"You try to pick a sensible level based on where you start. How accurate is that, and what difference does it make anyway, are two questions I don't really have answers for."

After testing the device on the opening day of the final in-season test of 2018 in Hungary, Williams young driver Oliver Rowland said he believes the tweaks could force drivers to change their approach. 

 

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