The first race of the 2007 season will give a strong indication about who will emerge as world champion.
That is the claim of Williams’ new race driver Alex Wurz, who said the end of the tyre war means that the pace of development will be slower next year.
“After the first race, the hierarchy won’t change too much,” the Austrian, an experienced test driver and veteran of 53 grands prix, told the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.
32-year-old Wurz added: “Large development jumps are only possible with advances through the tyres.
“Without Bridgestone’s advantage in the second half of this year for example, Ferrari would not have caught up to Renault.”
Toyota’s Ralf Schumacher said the ‘control tyre’ situation will reward even more a well-balanced chassis. After enjoying a positive first test with the rubber at Barcelona, the German was shocked when a similar car setup failed to suit similar tyres at Jerez last week.
He said: “On a long run, the rears lose grip first.
“A car that handles really well will be more of an advantage next year than before. Whoever can handle their tyres best will be far in front,” Ralf added.