Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Shanghai International Circuit, 2016

Overtaking “not as real” as it used to be – Alonso

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Fernando Alonso says overtaking moves are less “real” in current F1 because differences in tyre performance make them so straightforward.

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Should the Halo or Aeroscreen only be considered as a stepping-stone to a more satisfying solution to improved cockpit safety?

They should delay the 2017 rule change.

Use this canopy or the halo as a bolted on solution for next year while setting about rewriting the next masterplan of rules in a way which properly integrates the canopy design into the structure of the car. Ripping up the proposed rule changes not only gives them more time to reach a better aero consensus but with the canopy involved in the thinking makes for a cleaner looking car concept.

It looks safe, and that’s great, but it just looks ‘tacked on’ because it kind of is.
Calum

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On this day in F1

Mika Hakkinen was cruising to victory in the Spanish Grand Prix 15 years ago today when his clutch failed on the last lap.

That allowed Michael Schumacher through to win ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya, who made his first appearance on the podium, and Jacques Villeneuve, who put BAR on the rostrum for the first time.

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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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  • 40 comments on “Overtaking “not as real” as it used to be – Alonso”

    1. I find this whole business with Haryanto’s SMS backing incredibly depressing, manipulative and desperate.

    2. I think I’ll have to disagree with Lewis on this one, the danger has never been a big deal for me. Seeing a big crash gets the adrenaline pumping, but I find them more terrifying than enjoyable, until I see the driver walking away. The replays are cool once you know everyone is safe, but I’m not watching in the hope of seeing a crash.
      I’d also be happier knowing that the cars and barriers were the only things likely to be damaged in a crash. I can live with the fact that there are risks in motorsport, and that we’ll never eliminate them all, but that’s no reason not to try to minimise them whenever possible.

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        29th April 2016, 2:21

        I have a question for those who say danger is a part of F1’s appeal: is dashing between the barriers at 250+ kph at Monaco not dangerous enough?

        1. The thrill is not as a risk of being killed, but in case of going for the space between those cars, who’s latest on the brakes. That is what gets me shouting at the t.v.

          Well done Sir Jackie.

    3. Completely agree with Fernando.

      I believe we’ve shared similar sentiments on this site over the topic of DRS. The V10 era is often ridiculed for the lack of overtaking, which has its merits. For me, the best part about it was that a driver with a slower car could defend against a much faster car behind via his ability. When a pass was made, it was often spectacular, because the drivers actually had to find a creative way to pass, rather than just waiting for a straight. With the current model, a slower car in front doesnt even bother defending, which is rather sad. Its not about the passing alone, it about the challenge and the close competition, which is very entertaining.

      Further to this, the cars were physically harder to drive, and to quote Mark Webber, it took “balls” to push through some corners. This what I want to see. No DRS, just really quick cars, with drivers being pushed to the limit, flat out through Eau Rouge and Blanchimont!

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        29th April 2016, 2:25

        When I was rewatching 2010 races I felt the tension build as a driver began to approach another. They didn’t need to worry about conserving tires, so they took every opportunity to put their car in the other’s mirrors.

        1. And yet, despite the lack of overtakes, F1 was more popular then than it is now. Maybe there was something that attracted people to watch F1 races besides the lack of overtaking, or maybe there is something that now discourages people from watching F1 races … like the cost.

          1. I think that throughtout the 90s and 00s F1 was a part of the pop-culture. I believe it’s mostly due to the strong automobile culture at that time, which is now on the decline. People are more into high technology stuff, gadgets and so on. That’s why I actually think that switching to hybrids was a great move and that f1 should explore the idea of being modern and efficient. But in that case attracting some younger fans is critical, and F1 doesn’t seem successful in that (or not wanting to?).
            Also it would be interesting to see whether there was a boom in the TV coverage in the late 80s or the early 90s. I couldn’t find any info on that, but if it really had taken place, it attracted huge audiences of casual fans (which are always a majority comparing to hardcore fans), who just got fed up with racing in ~10 years.

          2. Duncan Idaho (@)
            29th April 2016, 6:58

            Free to Air

          3. Maybe there was something that attracted people to watch F1 races besides the lack of overtaking, or maybe there is something that now discourages people from watching F1 races … like the cost.

            There were 5 drivers from 3 teams fighting for the WDC. Although Red Bull was the quickest, the performance advantage wasn’t that large. Season long, close racing between 2 or more teams, despite that lack of overtaking, is still a success factor for F1

        2. this is right, you felt it build up and you never knew if it was coming or where. Its far to easy now.

          I personally think they need to cut the DRS in half. The whole idea was it got you closer to have an attack, not get you past. Perhaps have it close when you are within 0.15 of the car in front, though that may be dangerous.

          We have seen some great passes recently in non DRS areas and it could be argued the DRS allowed the cars to be near each other to make that happen, which is a fair point. Which though i hate it, i would welcome it been toned down instead of got rid off. To prove this tracks that were impossible to pass at like hungary now have great races as its still hard but its now possible.

      2. Just kill DRS and keep some “boost button” without marked zones to use it. They could limit the number of times a driver can use it, it would be up to the driver to decide when and how (defend or attack) use his “extra gear”. It would be gimmicky still, but straightforward DRS passes would be gone.

        1. You mean Indycar ‘push to pass’?

    4. I’m rather hoping Alex Rossi to return to Manor after Sonoma & supporting Sean instead..

    5. Haryanto begging for money from his country is pathetic and selfish. I am sure that the government of Indonesia and its people have better things to spend a few million euros on than him getting a seat in F1. And it isn’t like they would be supporting the next Lewis Hamilton either. Haryanto will only last a few years in F1 (best case for him) and all of that time will be spent near the back of the pack.

      Instead of doing these greedy crowd-sourcing campaigns that we are starting to see more and more (Kobayashi, Caterham, now Haryanto), I would much rather see people/teams sell very small stakes in themselves to fans like Justin Wilson did. This way, if the crowd-sourcing campaign is successful the fans will actually get something in return. I would also bet that more people would contribute if they were guaranteed to get something if the campaign ended up being successful. The potential return on investment would also significantly increase the number of people likely to contribute as well.

    6. Lol. Monza is also the first thing I thought of when I saw the Buxton tweet. I genuinely thought at first he was tweeting about media zones or something.

      1. @selbbin +1 Me too! Before I looked up the text I was 100% sure the Buxton tweet was about Monza LOL

    7. Sadly we’ll never really see how good or bad racing without the artificial aids can be, because those guys at FIA won’t even try to run a race without DRS for instance.

      Even the Manors can outpace the Mercedes, as Alonso says, on fresh and softer tyres. And with DRS, no car stands a chance. But what if they at least didn’t have DRS? They’d not pit as much as they do now, because being stuck in traffic would be a bigger detirment than worn tyres. It could just balance things out… artificial measures like different tyre compounds against proper overtaking, without DRS.

      As Alonso says, they just have to wait to the right moment to overtake. Overtaking is done the intelligent way. There’s no bravery in pushing a button because you’re less than a second away from the guy in front. But if DRS wasn’t there, they’d have to try it somewhere else…

      F1 on Facebook uploaded a video archive of Montoya trying to overtake Schumacher on the outside at Imola, during the first lap if I remember correctly. Why would JPM try that today? he can well wait until the next long straight and blast past Michael. That’s what’s wrong with F1 at the moment, it’s gone the other way: it’s too easy now!. And worst of all, it’s too unexciting (specially at that long straight at China!)

      Actually, no, it’s ONE OF THE THINGS that are wrong with F1 atm…

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        29th April 2016, 2:29

        Maybe the FIA can do an “experiment” like they did with qualifying.

        To me, if you get rid of DRS, you have to get rid of the Pirelli tires, or at least make them a hell of a lot more durable. They suffer when following another car, so making overtaking harder by taking away DRS is only going to benefit the leader (yes I know it’s like that now, but let’s not make it worse).

      2. @fer-no65

        I’d personally get rid of the DRS zones altogether, then give drivers say 30 DRS deployments per race to use wherever they like, to attack AND to defend.

        As much as I loathe DRS, it’s necessary whilst we have these ludicrous aero packages on the car, so let’s at least make the best out of a bad situation and put some strategy into it.

        I’d also ban the use of DRS in qualifying. It’s just an excuse to put downforce on the car knowing full well you can knock it off again in the DRS zones. But if you can’t use DRS in the first place, the aero has to come off in the first instance.

        Every little helps :).

      3. @fer-no65 @mbr-9 @thef1engineer The original plan was to actually experiment more with DRS & run some circuits without DRS if it was felt it wasn’t required.

        The problem was/is that everyone started to design there overall package around having the DRS with the regulations as they were/are & teams then also argued that having to design Non-DRS wings would be an added cost so all of the ideas around experimentation were quietly dropped.

        I also gather that another issue that cropped up was that when it was initially proposed & introduced it was felt that the effectiveness of DRS could be controlled using the length of the zones when in fact it practice its been shown that there are so many additional variables that contribute to how big a gain DRS gives that its nearly impossible to tweak it in the way it was original hoped. This is why they have picked zones & zone lengths & stuck with them rather than constantly tweaking & changing them.

        One thing I was told is that the general opinion within the GPDA is that DRS makes things a lot less satisfying & that drives through the field like we saw from Lewis in China mean far less now because its much easier & straightforward than it was 4-5 years ago.

    8. Dear Fernando,
      How realistic is it that race in, race out, a great driver like you gets passed by lesser drivers in better cars?
      F1 should try to close up the field to make sure that doesn’t happen. More than tyres, that is what is important.
      And the ‘danger’ stuff is overrated, sure I love speed and breathtaking passes, but I’d take a boring race over a Bianchi like accident any day.

    9. A thing I see too often is when decisions get delayed they also delay the discussions regarding the decision. Which just moves the entire happening backwards but without increasing quality of the decisions. They don’t work with proper deadlines, that is obvious as they have still not fully decided on anything and in a month or two people will be looking at 2017.

      Decisions should be made for 2017, no ifs and buts, but implemented in 2018 so teams have the time to prepare. Nobody will really be annoyed by moving the implementation date back with a season, after all we’ve had these regulation for only 3 seasons and its tech is hardly outdated or without possible further development.

      1. “Nobody will really be annoyed by moving the implementation date back with a season”

        I have a feeling a certain mister Horner will.

    10. I’m okay with halo-less cars but if some kind of protection is to be made mandatory I’d go for Red Bull’s solution. I guess both Mercedes/Ferrari proposed halo and Red Bull’s canopy are safe so I’d pick the latter just because it’s better looking.

    11. Here is where I stand with overtaking, yes it’s much more artificial than in the past, however we live in a world where the casual fan only cares about action and the majority of the F1 fan base are casual fans which is why there are far more people watching F1 compared to WEC or MotoGP or FormulaE as they have a more hardcore racing fanbase.
      Do the casual fans care about the art of racing and overtaking, I don’t think they do at all. They only care about action and to them lots of overtaking (Real or not) is action, before everyone slams me for the whole oh but look at the viewing figures since DRS well also since DRS F1 has pretty much died on FTA which is the main reason the views are down.

      1. @bezza695 “the casual fan only cares about action and the majority of the F1 fan base are casual fans”

        The evidence actually suggests that the casual fans make up a smaller portion of the total viewership. The switch to PayTV over recent years & moving forward will also likely result in the casual fanbase dropping as only the more dedicated & longer time viewers are going to be willing to pay to watch.

      2. So we should support the gimmicks that water down the sport for the casual fans?

        I was once a casual fan, I believe it was the detail and intelligence of the sport that made me fall in love with it. I’d rather F1 be a little overwhelming to newcomers than for someone to easily be entertained for the 5 seconds of their life they put their phones down.

      1. It certainly is an interesting read / worthwhile looking to the video to see how Mallya sees (or at least presents) things from his position. But it certainly is not an aggressive / inquiring interview, rather FT is offering him a platform to present his side of the argument.

    12. I don’t watch F1 because I want to see a driver in danger. I do want to see risk and for it to be a challenge to them, but I don’t find the idea of a stray spring potentially killing a driver entertaining.

      Putting a halo or aero screen on the car doesn’t get rid of the risk I want to see. Watching a qualifying lap round Monaco where they hurtle past barriers at over a hundred miles an hour by inches or watching them catch a car going sideways through Eau Rouge is what I want to see.

      And that’s what Hamilton needs to consider. A risk that a driver takes through action is the entertaining part just like with any daring feat like juggling fire or swalling a sword. Be it a daring overtake, brushing the wall, late braking etc… it’s the driver actively taking the risk that makes us want to watch. Just seeing the driver exposed to risks they can do nothing about isn’t part of the entertainment, any one who gets a kick from that is just morbid. And that’s the key here, the difference between active and passive risks.

      1. well written @philipgb. We might even see some drivers risk a tad more on track because they feel safe in the car!

        1. @bascb

          Certainly happens on the public roads.

          1. indeed it does!

      2. @philipgb Ahem NASCAR *cough*

    13. As reigning world champion Hamilton needs to encourage advances in safety rather than trying to act like a hero, I’m sure jules bianchi would be happy to hear that lewis hamilton believes f1 needs danger, his attitude would be different if he was involved in a serious accident of his own. As an ambassador for the sport his comments are very disappointing, Sebastian Vettel sets a much greater example.

      1. That is why Lewis is a Celebrity and Seb just a sportsman.

    14. I am starting to like this Alonso guy.

      Exactly. Racing tires that arent, fake overtakes and DRS pases.

      Honestly the only thing F1 has going for it is drivers and fastest race car over 300km distance.But everything else other series do better.

      F1 used to be about battle, man taming a machine and then taking on other men.

      Offcorse like alonso says, we can always watch Imola 2005, 2006, observe racing when men were men and f1 cars were hustling at untold speeds. Turning in with aggression, go from 0 to 5g on a dime. And at the end men would come out of cockpit worn in need of a drink.

      Now we have boys, with super model body types, climbing out and complaining how cars were to easy to drive.

    15. First of all, it’s hard to listen to anything Hamilton says anymore.

      Secondly, people keep on using this word “danger”, when I think the word they are looking for is “pure”. When I was first introduced to F1 16 years ago I was a little put off by it, I liked cars but found them unrelatable chiefly because in my mind “it was hardly even a car.” Then ironically that is what drew me in, it was -hardly- a car. An F1 car had just the minimum amount of parts to qualify itself as a car, it was a car in its barest and arguably fastest representation requiring and most skilled drivers in the world to control them. I’ve never missed a race.

      I have no interest in crashes or people being in unnecessary danger (if you can possibly qualify or define that). But I do see single seater, open cockpit, open wheeled cars as the most pure form of car racing and believe every step should be taken to make that configuration as safe as possible. But I personally would not like to see the cockpit enclosed.

    16. I realized I don’t think there was a single bleeding heart comment about the poor poor situation of the Shia in Bahrain and how we should ban and not watch the race, boo hoo boo hoo etc etc this year on F1F. Everything is hunky dory there now? And never a peep about the slave labor of China that makes your IPHONE or surpresses free speech or your beloved free press. No outrage over Putin and his bombing of thousands of innocent Syrians. Doesn’t matter anymore? Got enough to worry about in your own home? Apathy? The show goes on?

      If you are gonna have convictions, stand by em man.

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