‘Tyres and DRS’ may be solution to 2017 overtaking problems

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: As teams expect overtaking to become more difficult in 2017, Ferrari technical director James Allison says the sport may rely more on tyre degradation and DRS to increase passing.


Comment of the day

BBC are gone, Channel 4 are in so it’s time to play Fantasy Formula One Coverage Team:

I suppose my ideal Channel 4 F1 line-up would be Lee McKenzie as anchor, Jason Plato as a pundit alongside Karun Chandhok in a pundit/co-commentator role and Keith Heuwen or Charlie Cox as lead commentator. Guy Martin seems to be popular with Channel 4, it would be fantastic to see him make the odd appearance perhaps presenting engineering features.
Jack (@Jackisthestig)

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Bascb, Olliekart, Bosyber, Curmudgeon and Pat Ruadh!

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On this day in F1

Michael Schumacher announced his F1 comeback on this day six years ago:

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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...

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87 comments on “‘Tyres and DRS’ may be solution to 2017 overtaking problems”

  1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    23rd December 2015, 0:09

    Happy birthday to the people mentioned above!!! Especially to long-time F1F members @Bascb and @Bosyber !!! Enjoy your day!!!!

    1. Happy Birthday to @bascb and @bosyber and to others as well. Hope you have a great day and year :)

    2. Thanks very much guys @omarr-pepper, @evered7! I hope for a good day too :-)

    3. Many thanks for the birthday shout out @keithcollantine, and thanks for the birthday wishes @omarr-pepper, @evered7, everyone else. A very happy birthday to you too @bascb, @olliekart, @curmudgeon, and Pat Ruadh.
      Have a great day!

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        23rd December 2015, 19:28

        (aka Pat Ruadh)

        Cheers @bosyber and happy birthday too and @bascb also

        What’s with all the birthdays today lol awesome

        1. Ha, happy birthday to you too @fullcoursecaution!

    4. I can only echo this. I’m mostly lurking but still reading the site and comments daily.

      1. That’s what I do too. Thanks for the the birthday notice @keithcollantine! Sixty-three now, oh my. Looking forward to a more competitive 2016. Go Seb.

    5. Indeed, happy birthday to @bascb, @olliekart, @bosyber,@curmudgeon, and Pat Ruadh!

  2. Currently the DRS destroys the overtakes.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      23rd December 2015, 6:00

      Agree we do not need more DRS to promote overtaking!

      Especially, when we have alternative solutions like reverse grid, fanboost, sprinklers, etc. :-(

      1. How about we add more DRS, reverse grid, fanboost, sprinklers and maybe a blue turtle shell . . . !

        Real life Mario Kart here we come ;)

        1. Even Mario Kart doesn’t have the toy tires we have

    2. Tyres and DRS (along with aero regs and the daft fuel regs) are what’s wrong with F1.

      The cause can not be the cure.

  3. Great! More tire dramas and DRS passes /sarcasm

    1. @bigchrome

      Isn’t this sad? I used to live and breathe F1. I read every word that was published about it, watched every practice and race. In the US that means you have to really fight to find alternate sources too.

      But now I’m getting so tired of watching follow the leader races with only artificial passes that suddenly I turn off even the races. And when I see them making the overtaking even worse with larger front wings, I’ve gotten to where I barely check in anymore.
      F1fanatic.co.uk is my favorite site and this is the first time I’ve even looked at it in over a week. Not F1F’s fault, just the idea of F1 essentially giving us the bird with their new rules and telling us they don’t care what we think.
      I’m losing interest.

      1. No One Better (@)
        23rd December 2015, 2:04


        “I want Ferrari winning races and championships or F1 is ruined.”

        Trust me, as soon as those guys in red start winning, all of the F1 complaints will magically go away. DRS, Pirelli, and the power units won’t a problem then.

        1. @daved @noonebetter

          as soon as those guys in red start winning, all of the F1 complaints will magically go away

          Not a chance. There were plenty of complaints about how dull F1 was in 2002 and 2004.

        2. @noonebetter
          Wow…really? I talk about the simple *physics* that are ruining racing because of the reliance on large, complex front wings for downforce and DRS for passes…and you decide that makes me a “Ferrari fan”?

          If you bother to look at my profile, I’m a registered and very enthusiastic Lewis fan as well as Merc. Yet even with my favorite driver/team winning, it was not fun to watch this year. “Who won pole? Oh, neat….now we know who will win the race tomorrow”. Where is the challenge of that? It’s like me beating up a 5 year old and bragging about how tough I am. The rules keep anyone from catching up unless they make some miracle jump between seasons, and even then they have to hope that Merc doesn’t do the same type of jump.

          And the new 2017 specs with larger front wings and more downforce guarantee that only DRS passes will happen. To me, that’s not racing.

          @keithcollantine is totally right, Ferrari winning won’t change anything other than slightly alter *which* group of fans is most unhappy. Maybe.

    2. Do should stary doing GPs like rally stages. At least they could save us the disappointment of hoping for battles in the race. And it is almost like it anyway, whenever you need to overtake you open your drs and thats it.

      I’m nodding off already

      1. *they should start doing

        That is one of the worst auto-correct ever

        1. @johnmilk
          LOL Autocorrect strikes again!!!

  4. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    23rd December 2015, 0:39


    Seriously, we don’t need more awful tyres and DRS. Overtaking will improve when the cars get closer to each other.

  5. Worst. headline. ever. Tires and DRS?!?!? How about driver skill and cajones!

    1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
      23rd December 2015, 0:52

      @clustr1 “cajones”? that is translated as “boxes” (carton boxes). The other one has an “o” instead of “a”.

      And yes, I know you already knew it :)

      1. Haha, sorry, my emotions got the better of me and I rushed my spellcheck. But you know what I mean!

  6. Urgh.

    Super DRS, crazier tyres in addition to the more aero-dependant 2017 rules is the opposite direction that I want F1 to go in!

    Doesn’t sound appealing at all.

  7. Or they could just (and I know this must sound really crazy) take advantage of this golden opportunity to do something about the general design of the cars that creates the need for junk like DRS in the first place.

    But no… big teams would rather ensure they stay ahead through higher spending on precious aero – and make the sport even less exciting to watch – than accept a path with higher mechanical grip and less complex aero and risk being beaten by smaller teams.

    1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
      23rd December 2015, 1:53

      @neilosjames I don’t remember who, but it was one of the users on this site, who studies some aero-related engineering. The point is, he mentioned once it’s not that easy to get mechanical grip on these cars from theory into practice, for many reasons, namely technical and also safety reasons. He knows better than me, and I guess F1 engineers know about it even more than the guy I mentioned at first.
      If someone can enlighten us about the topic, please reply.

      1. @omarr-pepper, it could be one of the members who flits between here and the F1Technical forums, where they are having a similar discussion.

        Incidentally, there are some on that forum who are questioning whether the commonly assumed wisdom is necessarily correct, with some users pointing out that, in the past, there seems to have been a fairly poor correlation between increased mechanical grip and the ability of drivers to compete – in some instances, such as in 2009, shifting the balance more towards mechanical grip seemed to actually have a negative effect (with overtaking fractionally decreasing that year compared to the more aero dominated and lower mechanical grip cars of 2008).

        1. Surely @anon it was the double diffuser in 2009 that provided superior downforce as well as the extra mechanical grip that decided the pecking order and made passing harder.

    2. Exactly. The front wing is the main problem. Way too much aero. Downsize this monster and focus on mechanical grip. Slipstream overtakes, no DRS

  8. Less downforce, more grip from the tyres. The drivers are calling for it, Pirelli says they can do it, what is the objection?!

    1. Because then it would look like the rule makers are being told what to do even if they know it is right. They will then do the complete opposite knowing it to be wrong just so it looks like their own independent decision.

      Best action is to double bluff. DRS, rubbish tires and loads of aero plus less mechanical grip. Keep saying it we will get the opposite which is what we want.

      1. It’s because without such aero, F1 cars would be slower, which has already been a major complaint of drivers for a few years now. Not only that, but one of F1s major selling point is that its the fastest road series in the world.

  9. The only problem that DRS solves is: how to put a big sticky plaster over the stupid technical regulations, while not doing anything about those regulations.

    Really what the hell is going through the minds of these people? There a many many solutions to the over taking problem, but they prefer fakery with DRS. No vaguely serious fan buys it. So why doggedly stick to poor regs?

  10. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    23rd December 2015, 1:48

    What makes people hate DRS is its predictability, and the way it leaves the driver ahead almost defenseless. DRS might not be dropped in a short future, so, why not fixing the way it is used?
    If I could make my voice heard by BE or whoever makes the rules, I would say; Let’s not establish DRS zones. Every driver, chasing or being chased, should be able to use it for a fixed amount of time, which could be a fixed time per lap (as KERS was), or even better, a fixed time per race. Drivers with more daring style would use it side by side until we see who breaks first, or who ends up outside and losing time, or maybe even the race.
    So if aerodynamics have made F1 racing impossible without DRS, at least let drivers use it as wisely or as insanely as they can.

    1. Agree on this, DRS should totally be a time use per lap, as long as they are within that 1 second gap! Also this would have the extra risk factor with a light rear end into tight corners etc, and take away all the run offs . . . eh maybe less that, otherwise we may end up with races ending with say 5 drivers.

    2. +1. Very good idea you are absolutely right. There would be more tactical possibilities and increase drivers skills.
      OmarRoncal – Go Seb!!! (@omarr-pepper)

    3. Yeah… When within 1 second of car infront, give drs across entite lap. At drivers convenience.

  11. Right on OmarRoncal, lets just let DRS be unlimited, any driver can use it anytime they want; and make the rules simple, no time limit. not DRS zones, nothing. Give the drivers a chance to really screw up. Talk about big cojones, lets see who has the biggest!!!

  12. Really disappointed that the BBC didn’t think to look after its staff in this handover. Surely they could’ve put some thing in the contract to ensure they don’t all end up jobless. I imagine a lot of the team will head over to Channel 4. Hopefully they get McKenzie and Eddie there, and COTD’s idea of having Charlie Cox is brilliant!!!

    1. @strontium We don’t know what is happening. The entire staff could have been handed over with the contract, the BBC could still be working with Channel 4 on production or they may all have been offered equivalent paying jobs within the corporation.

  13. 2017 is shaping up to be the best Formula One season since Bernie won the championship in a car made of gold. What season was that?

    While we are at it, can’t be have fan cars? That would probably provide enough downforce for the drivers to faint, therefore increasing the amount of overtakes.

  14. Why all this faffing about rules in 2017?

    when all you need to do is:
    – Go back to the 2005 aero model
    – Stay with the current V6, but remove the fuel flow regulation (would love to go back to V10, but must be realistic)
    – Slight increase in fuel capacity (say 110 to 120 Kgs)
    – Since the FOM love Pirelli so much, ask them to make Michelins
    – Remove mandatory pitstops
    – create a trade off in season testing and simulator work to maintain costs
    – and for God’s sake, BAN DRS!

    Tell me that this wouldnt work.

    Th biggest misconception that people have is that there must be passing to have good racing. Thats not true. We’ve seen great races in the past where slower cars in front have held up much faster cars by brilliant defensive driving…with DRS, its no contest.

    1. Not sure that first one to third one are a great idea. Teh engines will get close to 1000 bhp anyway with development and at the same time they will get more efficient. We saw a lot less coasting this year compared to last year (apart from the McLarens who were 2 years back in development) already.

      but I really agree with the rest. Get rid of DRS, or if it really really has to be in there, turn it into something the driver has a limited amount / time of per race/weekend so that they can use it depending on their needs and not in designated parts when running behind any other car.

      1. turn it into something the driver has a limited amount / time of per race/weekend so that they can use it depending on their needs and not in designated parts when running behind any other car.

        I agree. I am probably in the minority of people who actually don’t mind the tool itself, just the use of it is where the major problem lies. The thing is at no point do the FIA seem to have even contemplated a different use of it. I very much doubt they ever will, especially after hearing this news.

    2. – Go back to the 2005 aero model

      Why 2005?
      In 2005 they raised the front wings which made following another car harder that year than it had been the year before because it was right in the line of fire for the turbulent air coming off the rear wing.
      You also had the additional winglets, flaps etc.. which were all adding to the problem as even the smaller flaps were creating turbulent air.

  15. Worth the news: Nissan scraps its LMP1 concept


    and lastly this final video from BBC ends the golden era! Thank you BBC


    1. That’s very disappointing news from Nissan, @neelv27. It was a very strange concept for a car, though. Front wheel drive and non-hybrid.

      1. I agree @nickwyatt. It’s disappointing and it doesn’t show the company in good light. It’s one of the high profile failures in modern day history of racing.

        For me, Darren Cox’s departure meant it was inevitable. They threw so much money behind it and after all the hype during Superbowl they raced once and that too matching the pace of LMP2s at Le Mans.

      2. @nickwyatt Well, it wasn’t a non-hybrid. They just couldn’t get the mechanical flywheel system working.

  16. Stuck on stupid, ignoring all the expert advice from credible, experienced people who are in the know and then planning to do the exact opposite of what needs to be done. It seems entirely plausible that they could get some of the minor issues wrong while getting the major solutions correct. That would be expected. But, no! They are determined to get everything completely wrong.

    Why are they doing this? I am flummoxed here. There must be a reason. What can it be be? Does anybody know?

    1. @bullmello, because people constantly complained about the cars being too slow in the corners and demanded a bigger step up in performance – increasing the prevalence of aerodynamic devices is a quick way to significantly increase the performance of the cars.

      1. I think most mainstream viewers only mind passes. Wether DRS or not.

        In the Netherlands F1 is getting increasingly populair due to Max Verstappen, but people only seem to be talking about his passes – which obviously only is a small part of F1.

  17. I started watching 10-20 years old races last post-season, now I’m continuing the tradition. At first I was almost expecting the DRS to open. :) Then I got used to it in about 30 seconds and every overtake has a value. It’s very sad that there are people – who watch the races – who think DRS is a solution and it adds to the “show”.

    1. Noboy thinks it’s a solution, it’s widely acknowledged to be a band-aid for the problem of how to deal with aerodynamics.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        23rd December 2015, 12:49

        @optimaximal – Those deciding F1’s future seem to think it’s a solution! They’re the only people on the planet who do, mind….

  18. It is a while since I have agreed with something Eddie Jordan has said but this time he is spot on. They had better be doing their absolute utmost now to secure new employment for those staff, either within the BBC somewhere or with C4’s new F1 team.

  19. I may be completely wrong, but won’t reducing downforce also in turn reduce drag, and thus the “slipstream” effect would also be reduced, which would, once again, decrease overtaking. So if this is true, we’ll be back to square one.

    1. No.

      If you look at Indycar for example on the ovals they run with tiny wings that don’t produce that much downforce aiming to produce as little drag as possible & the slipstream is just as effective (If not more effective) than it is on the road circuits where they run high downforce.

      You could take the wings off the car completely so that there producing zero aero-downforce & they would still punch a big hole in the air which would still be good for producing a really good slipstream, Go look at the Pre-wing F1 races at Monza for instance.

  20. More DRS and Jason Plato. This has to be the worst F1F roundup I can remember.

  21. So James Alison guy… what ever he says is probably right on the money.

    Now we can do our armchair theorizing… but at the end of the day making car fast and follow another car well are two entirely different things.

    So only thing one can hope for is better more natural DRS, science the heck out of it… and finaly Tires, 4 round tihngs that stick the car to the road…

    But reading all this, I have an idea… armchair diea that is… cap the downforce to a surten number at 300 kph. That would do a lot to equalize the teams. So without worrying about achieving maximum downforce, they could worry about making their car overtake easier and have more straight line speed… more efficient package.

    In any case F1 seems to be the victim of its own success. It is no longer about driver or mechanic, or adjusting wing flap… right now its about optimization, dialing the car in. And overtaking is a suboptimal process from optimization point of view. I fear once teams learn something they wont unlearn it just for the sake of show… not as long as points are paid on finishing position, not most remarkable overtake.

    On other news? BBC pulling out… well there is nothing suprising in light of that. Since races are decided well in advance of cars first touching pavement.

    1. @jureo, since when has F1 not been a process of optimisation and dialling the car in? Isn’t optimisation of performance meant to be the entire point?

      As for your suggestion for having a fixed downforce number – how would you enforce such a system, and under what conditions? We saw how the teams were running aero packages closer to Monaco spec in Mexico, but even then most drivers described the cars as behaving more like a Monza spec package due to the reduction in air density – how would your system take into account circuit specific variations?

      1. Simple load sensor on all 4 wheels would be sufficient to police it.

        And then free the rules up. Kind of like fuel flow limit.. You have 100kg/h max fuel flow… Transfered to aero… Like max 20000N of downforce at 300kph go play.

        1. @Jureo – Congrats, if they did that you would have managed to have just increased the importance of engine performance in an already engine performance dominated era of F1. And ‘Natural’ DRS? There’s no such thing, it is and always was a silly gimmick.

        2. @jureo, so how would your proposed system then deal with transient fluctuations in the load through the suspension members due to variations in the track surface? I presume that you’d want to have some system of filtering out transient spikes due to the effects of the track surface?

          And under what environmental conditions would you make your baseline measurements? After all, the aerodynamic lift force produced by a body is directly related to the density of the medium through which it passes – would you make corrections to account for variations in atmospheric conditions between the practise sessions (when the teams would set the cars up) and the race?

          As one consideration, a venue like Abu Dhabi sees fairly sizeable fluctuations in air temperature over the course of the race – in theory, as the race progressed and the reduction in air temperature caused an increase in the air density, the cars should be producing slightly more downforce (a 5ºC drop in air temperature – and fluctuations larger than that have been recorded there – would result in roughly a 2% increase in air density, which would potentially translate through to a similar increase in downforce levels over the course of the race). How would your proposal account for a variation like that?

  22. Have to agree with Manish Pandey on the Schumacher issue. Their family has suffered a tragedy, and they have no obligation to provide the media with column inches. They should be left in peace to deal with the situation as they see fit. I’m sure if/when Michael recovers he will let the public know he’s OK, in the meantime there’s no reason to speculate.

  23. Will just echo everyone else, including my own verbiage time and time again…DRS is no solution to passing. It is a gimmick that degrades the integrity of F1 and I am getting pushed closer and closer to the point of finally packing it in since watching going back to 1978. If F1 can acknowledge it needs to change, with sweeping new regs for 2017, and still manage to make it worse, then what are we doing here? What’s the point?

    As to LH never disobeying Merc? I guess he’s already forgotten cranking his settings in spite of being warned they’d only just allow Nico to do the same, then going ahead anyway to the point where indeed Nico was given permission, and only after then did LH obey and back it down, in the very last race no less. Who does he think he is kidding? He has only shown his own sense of entitlement since explaining how he gave up after winning the WDC this year, and still expected extraordinary measures of assistance from the team so he personally could notch up more wins and screw Nico.

    1. Well said, sir.

  24. On another note….

    I don’t think Honda’s problems will be solved by a new turbo energy recovery unit. Would that not have been addressed this season with some spent tokens?

    I believe Honda is using a funky 720* V6 with the benefit of a lighter weight crankshaft and they might be suffering from a balance/vibration problem. This might explain the weird flatulence of the low rev exhaust note.

    Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere.

    1. This sounds very interesting, where can one find more info on that?

      1. @jureo Everything I know about V6 engines comes from siting in the back of a moving Pontiac Fiero trying to get the spark plug wires in the right spot to make it run smooth……..and reading “V6” on Wikipedia.

    2. I don’t think Honda’s problems will be solved by a new turbo energy recovery unit. Would that not have been addressed this season with some spent tokens?

      Its quite an integral part of the overall engine design so not something that could be fitted onto the existing engine/hybrid package.

      1. Yup, what GT racer says, they didn’t have enough tokens to replace what was ‘built into the 2015 engine concept’. Again, stupid rules of F1, basically as an engine manufacturer, take a guess and if you get it wrong you are pretty much stuck with a dud engine for a year until you can homologate a new design a the beginning of the next season. As Newey said, their ICU is quite strong, so there is real potential that with a fully functional and effective recovery unit they may be MUCH more competitive in 2016.

  25. making sure the tyres are not too uniform in their behaviour through the race,

    Ha ha! Maybe someone is trying to irritate me. Merry Christmas to everyone, and my thanks to so many people for their excellent comments and thoughts. You have all made F1 so much more interesting.
    Regarding the comment, this is someone’s idea of how the premier open wheel racing series should be run. A team has to pay a lot of money for these specially made tyres, and you’d expect them to be made to a high standard and are of high quality, so that any 4 tyres taken at random during the entire season would all perform exactly the same, but no, someone wants cheap tyres of low standard and quality, so that tyres fail for no apparent reason, and when they do it will more than likely be in a situation where the tyres get hot, like under braking, going around a corner, or accelerating. These cars all travel in excess of 300 km/h. A tyre failure at that speed is extremely dangerous, there are bits of tyre flying through the air that could easily injure or kill a following driver.
    I hope this is the last we see of this idea.

    1. Here here… But without artificial measures we woukd have Mercedes 1_2, Ferrari 3_4, Wiliams or RBR 5-6, depending on number of low speed turns.

      Without random events top drivers are to good to be a major performance diferentiator.

      For best overtaking whe need cars that are capable of equal laptime, but derive it in a diferent way… Some more on straights and some more on corners…

      1. So have a random event that doesn’t risk people’s lives, like giving Charlie Whiting two dice and if he rolls two “sixes” then the start grid is reversed. The problem with any approach like that is someone who didn’t deserve poll gets it and someone who did deserve poll didn’t.
        F1 is the premier open wheel racing series, and like it or not, merit is a fundamental part of this racing series. You get a place on the starting grid according to merit, after the race you get points according to merit, and at the end of the season the team and driver with the most points gets a trophy.

  26. We don’t need more aero and more DRS gimmicks.
    Principles F1 should follow: 1. safety 2. close racing 3. world’s fastest cars 4. efficiency 5. optimizing 1-4 points and as a result -> 6. more fans and more profits.
    The most fans want to see close racing among best drivers in the fastest cars. How can we solve it? This is, decision makers and engineers should work for. I think it isn’t impossible.
    Some possibilities we have to consider:
    1. Less differences between cars in total. Some teams are better in PU and others in aero but we need less differences in total. I think we should introduce +weight/point system (for example +20dkg/point or ~0,5 pound/point) because it is cheap, fast, effective and against development control. Smaller teams get the same PU as manufacturers. Decrease money/revenue allocation differences.
    2. Less dirty air in corners but fast cars: more mechanical, less or same aero
    a, simpler front wing b, more effective diffuser c, better tyres d, more powerful and effective PUs (natural development) without token system e, slight changes in regulation year by year (differences will naturally decrease) and more freedom in development until regulations allow f, DRS (open DRS time/race and drivers manage it) g, refuelling? (Cars can be faster and drivers could push harder during races but there would be less safety and more ’overtaking in the box’) h, narrow cars i, drivers manage ERS instead of a program j, less radio data from engineers to drivers during races k, and what else…?

  27. Please please for the love of God, get rid of DRS for 2017

  28. I agree with James Allison. Wide tires with the “cliff” and tuning the DRS would do the job of balancing the turbulent air with passing ability. I honestly didn’t mind DRS when drivers had full control in qualifying and the zone was spaced correctly. But when qually was muffled and the second zone was added and the tire lost its sharp degradation the show has suffered

  29. All I want from channel 4 is Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard. Oh and some decent coverage of actual overtaking.

  30. a lack of overtaking has nothing to do with aero. The LMP1 cars in WEC do much better in the aero department and have no problems overtaking. The problems have to do with people who believe changing rules makes for better competition. That is the real cause, the real problem. When you force people to behave the same way, and some people are always better in that respect, did you think you would see real competition or variety?

    1. If you don’t understand what I am saying, try going with out a TV for a decade. It works, trust me.

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