Poll: should F1 have push-to-pass?

Posted on

| Written by

Next year F1 cars will have to use KERS which will allow them to re-use energy generated under braking. The FIA intends for drivers to be able to used the stored energy to get an 80bhp power boost on-demand.

Other series like A1 Grand Prix use similar systems called ‘push to pass’ where drivers can use a limited number of power boosts per race to aid overtaking.

Is this the kind of thing F1 needs to spice up the show – or just another gimmick that solves nothing?

This poll is closed: see the results here.

I like the idea of better racing in F1 – by which I don’t simply mean more overtaking, but also allowing drivers to race closer to each other.

I don’t think push to pass systems actually create better racing. Watching A1GP and Champ Car last year – two series which feature push-to-pass systems – it was clear that not only were drivers using P2P to overtake, but the drivers in front were also using it to defend.

This stalemate meant very little extra passing actually happened at all – at least not as a result of push-to-pass.

The best kind of racing is where two closely matched cars dogfight for position, each driver trying to dupe the other into running wide or off-line. Having a simple button that gives one driver a massive power boost takes away the thrill of a genuinely excellent overtaking move.

More on overtaking in F1

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

20 comments on “Poll: should F1 have push-to-pass?”

  1. Absolutely not! Push-to-pass is very much a gimmick that solves nothing!

    Which is why I’m concerned by what I’m hearing about how this KERS technology is going to be implemented. In my view the energy stored by KERS when a driver brakes should be released automatically as soon as he hits the throttle as he exits the corner. None of this nonsense about storing it up until you need it to get by someone.

    Just my two cents.

  2. I seem to remember, or did I just dream this, that a few years ago, before the rev restrictions, some cars had a button that would temporarily take them above their normal operating range.

    I thought this worked well because using it was a trade off, more power, but at the expense of shortening engine life, potentially. Without the trade off then drivers will just use it as often as possible won’t they?

    I agree with Eric about KERS.

  3. big NOOO … I can understand when an artificial racing series like A1 employs such a feature, but things like this should be a no go territory in F1

  4. “I seem to remember, or did I just dream this, that a few years ago, before the rev restrictions, some cars had a button that would temporarily take them above their normal operating range.”

    Yes, I remember that too.

    Anyway, I think everyone’s pretty clear that what F1 needs is a big aero fix, not a push-to-pass button. The CDG-wing was the wrong idea, but try again, FIA, please.

  5. V8 Supercars have awesome racing!

  6. Obviously the best way for F1 to be more exciting is for it to be more like “The Fast And The Furious.” Maybe when they press the KERS button there can be a voice over that shouts out loud: “TUUURRRRBBBOOOO!”

    Btw, has Max thought of spikes coming out of the sides of wheels?

    Seriously, I think there are some very wise and logical options for F1 (I think this site pointed some out some time back).

    For example, why is it that GP2 cars can drive all over the place, but F1 cars need to stay on the racing line? Don’t the tyres in GP2 leave marbles on the track as well? It makes more sense to solve simple and direct issues like this now, and leave KERS to video games.

    I cringe at KERS because it reduces the need to be smarter and instead promises a free ride. Even if it doesn’t work out, it ‘wants’ to reduce the need to:

    – ******** your opponent
    – Try to get a better line out onto the straight in the hope of catching the slipstream
    – Play the pit strategy game
    – Etc.

    It bastardises racing.

  7. Except that there’s one huge difference in the KERS…

    The KERS as a limited amount of use on one lap, not on a race.
    You can use it on every lap if you want.
    This combined with the adjustable flaps may give very good strategies.

    As for the aero fix, there will be..50% downforce reduction+slicks+=reshaping of several aero devices.

    And this is not planned, this is adopted. all for 2009.

  8. Don’t really like the idea that much.It might be okay if the driver is at a disadvantage after he pushed the button (i.e less engine reliability).It just seems like a contrived excuse when we should really be seeing engine development to “spice” up the action.If there is a KERS system the engineers should be given the freedom to do what they like with it to make the car competitive.

    It would have much more interesting to see for example Mercedes Benz come up with say a 22K RPM power plant that developed an extra 70BHP over the standard version but it could only be used for the final race as it wouldn’t last.F1 has definately missed engineers not having to push all of the engines , gearboxes etc. to the limit to make the cars as powerful and competitive as possible over a race.It takes away some of the unpredictability that makes it really exciting .I was watching Monaco 96′ not so long ago when Damon Hill was leading by miles – then his engine blew up in the tunnel.Alesi then led until some gremlin with the suspension put him out and then the winner turned out to be Olivier Panis in a Ligier!

    Andrew , there was definately something like that around in the turbo era that would give extra turbo boost and power but at the expense of increased fuel consumption (no refuelling then so that was quite a problem) and decreased reliability.

  9. KERS is a solution to a problem that shouldn’t exist.

  10. KERS – what happened to F-1’s cost reduction desires?

  11. I do support having KERS on the cars… but not having it mandated, and definitely not with a “max 80hp” rule. There’s so little that the engineer’s are ‘free’ with, I think this would be a great opportunity to allow for some creative designs… as well as improve a technology that actually IS useful to the street car market.

    A ‘push-to-pass’ definitely doesn’t sit right with me for one reason – it implies that the engine is artificially restricted otherwise. While we all know the engine is restricted… it’s only the means which is restricted, not the end result. Perhaps I would feel differently if the restriction was to “remove the 19k rpm limit for x number of seconds total per race”, but certainly not if it’s “max 800hp except for x seconds where 900hp is allowed”…. but unfortunately my faith in the FIA tells me it will be implemented in a worse way than either of these.

    F1 is the pinnacle of motor sport because it is the best of the best of everything. The day IRL cars lap the same track quicker than an F1 car, is the day I switch my allegiance. The more they limit the engineers, the quicker this will happen.

  12. KERS is fine as long as it is used to increase the efficiency of the engine. It’s when you give the driver a button to utilise the energy saved that competition gives way to entertainment. If entertainment is that important, why don’t they draw lots for which cars they’ll drive in each GP? That should shake up the order a bit and give us a tremendous show.

    Of course, it won’t be F1, any more than it would be with a push-to-pass button.

  13. Anything that leads to more overtaking gets my vote!

  14. It looks like a fair few people agree with Manatcna. I wonder if the people who are voting against it are more unhappy with the idea of ‘push-to-pass’ or the idea of KERS? Would you be happy to have ‘push-to-pass’ without KERS?

  15. Push to pass has no place in motor racing let alone F1. There is no skill whatever involved and I find it strange in the extreme that TC and braking control is banned but push to pass is allowed. Just incredibly stupid.

    The only way to create overtaking is to reduce the aero grip and increase the mechanical grip. This is not rocket science. The reason FFord and touring cars consistently produce close racing is because they don’t have unnecessary aero devices.

    I think if Max is serious about making the sport green he should not simply allow KERS. He should allow heat recovery from brakes and radiators. It must be possible for the air that flows over the car at 200mph to be used to generate power. Open up the rules to any energy recovery device.

    Of course McLaren had energy recovery 5 years ago but it was banned for no obvious reason. If it had been allowed everyone would have advanced energy recovery devices now. I wonder if it would have been banned if it had appeared on a red car?

  16. personally – F1 should be about designing and engineering inovation – that is if ferrari have amoveable floor fair enough – but it should be available to all – if they have it patent it and others can pay to use it – kers – no – better brakes more grunt – saving power to use later – well get them in a giant hamster wheel and you could get enough energy to light the track at night – solves max@s concience(really think that’s a pr excercise) – and little big man’s eddict that all future F1 races from the other side of the world should have lighting – there two for the price of one – the whole thing is a big sop and has nothing to do with competitive racing or innovation -I was looking forward to this year but I am rapidly feeling just a little bit sick at more stupid regulations – perhaps the teams and drivers may change that when racing begins soon

  17. What happens when the car behind and the one in front press the button at the same time? But honestly, do we really want to see cars going past each other with relative ease?

  18. “What happens when the car behind and the one in front press the button at the same time?”

    As has been seen in A1GP and Champcar plenty of times, not very much at all. Push-to-pass becomes just as defensive a move as it does offensive.

    KERS is not a bad thing, in my view, but it is bad if you want to sell the cost-cutting basis. With F1 trying to be low cost yet high “green”, it’s gotten itself in a bit of a spin when at the moment they seem to be mutually exclusive. Forgetting that, I’m quite a big fan of providing teams and drivers with as many options as possible. So if the energy from KERS could either be saved up over a period of, say, 5-10 laps and released in a long powerful burst, or multiple short powerful bursts, or an even longer but weaker burst or literally used up corner-to-corner as it’s generated(etc.) I would be happy. If all the KERS systems are designed to do the same thing in the same way that is less interesting. It’s a bit like the turbo analogy mentioned before.

    Push-to-pass is in itself (the A1/CCWS model) is just to generate more overtaking in a not-neccessarily “pure” way. But the KERS aspect could be engineered to try and get cars round race distances faster, and if that results in them overtaking more people then that would be a bonus. But it’s not clear to me that the FIA are going to give the teams the absolute freedom to maximise the technology. Why 80bhp, for example? Why not just remove the limit and say what you can generate you can use? why all have a different system to achieve the same thing? It’s like the engines. Max can get away with homologating them because they are all relatively equal. They may all as well be running a “spec” engine that has a differen manufacturers badge on it for all the difference it makes. I suspect KERS will be the same, unfortunately.

    F1 has lost sight of what it needs to be doing. The 4-way balance of keeping the major manufacturers interested with technology, yet keeping costs down, whilst maintaining the “spectacle/show” for the fans, at the same time as being seen to go “green”, are too disparate for them all to work. F1 needs to sit down and focus on just a couple of those things, I think. Sorry, that turned out to be a rant on the state of the sport as opposed to push-to-pass discussion :-D

  19. I think it can be good yeah… cause i was gutted when i went to spa, and those rev limited engines made it so hard to pass… so some boost might be good for such times… But again, it could do nothing :)

  20. I don’t think P2P helps at all in the A1GP. Those cars are the most fun to watch when they’re being driven absolutely flat out, they slide around nicely and can be very entertaining — qualifying in Durban looked great but some idiot (me) managed to delete the race from the DVD recorder grrrr!.

    I haven’t been able to watch Champcar for the last couple of years but I don’t remember it helping the action much back in ’04 when I last saw it.

Comments are closed.