Former Jordan, Stewart and Jaguar technical director Gary Anderson fears the change to narrower front tires in Formula 1 this season could make passing for position more difficult.
Although Anderson, who is also a technical correspondent for AUTOSPORT magazine, reckons the full effect of the change will only be seen when testing starts, he suspects that the greater reliance on aerodynamic grip will hamper passing attempts.
"I think the aerodynamic grip will overcome the mechanical grip loss by a reasonable amount," Anderson said. "The full contact patches added up are what gives the car the grip level on the track, but the aerodynamics of the car are going to improve quite dramatically. And I think that's wrong, because all the way along the FIA has been trying to reduce the downforce of the car to improve the overtaking, and from the simple rule of just changing the front tire, suddenly you've increased the downforce levels and made overtaking worse again.
"So, it's going to be very difficult to know. But it's going to be about the cars and the drivers that know how to look after their tires, because you're going to have to do much longer stints on the tires now."
Anderson says the significance of removing mid-race refuellng and bringing in the new shape tire should not be underestimated.
"It's going to be interesting for sure," he said. "It's a pretty big rule change – it will change everything that the teams have learned over the last 15 years.
"Race strategy was such an important factor in potentially winning a race. And it's not only refueling. The front tire is a narrower tire, which will lead to better aerodynamics because there is more air that can get through between the front wheel and the monocoque. So the aerodynamic changes to the car will increase the downforce. The performance of the car next year should be better by a reasonable amount, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them half a second quicker, something like that."
He suggested the handling differences caused by the alterations will make F1 cars feel like a "new formula" when in race trim.
"Going into the race, qualifying with low fuel and racing with a tank filled with something like 220 liters of fuel, there are going to be a few people out there who are surprised as to what that's like," said Anderson. "And during the race, looking after the tires and driving the car so that the fuel consumption is as good as possible can make a big difference. So I think it's a whole new formula in terms of how you tackle the race and qualifying."