Newey joins chorus of concern over passing in 2017

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In the round-up: Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey is the latest prominent figure to admit the regulations changes his team pushed for could harm the quality of racing in 2017.

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Keith Collantine
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43 comments on “Newey joins chorus of concern over passing in 2017”

  1. Pretty much everyone I consider an authority on F1 is warning that these new regulations may come at the cost of close racing and over taking.

    I hope they’re wrong, but Newey is usually right.

    1. When the king of aerodynamics is concerned about the racing BECAUSE of the aerodynamics – you know something is wrong.
      I mean shouldn’t RBR have a leg up then?
      Going to be a strange year.

    2. I thought it was a given since the moment they were introduced. The only way it’s intended to close the gaps a bit is that it gives the other teams an opportunity for development besides the engine and that hopefully by the time the aero with the new dimensions is figured out again the engines will be closer. Also it may put a bit more dependence on driver ability physically (although personally I’d be surprised if this is a huge factor, they’re all professional athletes) and with the ability to push harder on the tyres.

      I don’t think these changes have ever been billed as improving the ability to overtake or provide inherently closer racing. Does give the cars a bit more of an aggressive look though, which many people have been asking for.

      1. Also it may put a bit more dependence on driver ability physically (although personally I’d be surprised if this is a huge factor, they’re all professional athletes)

        I’d like to see the drivers climb out of the car looking properly knackered at the end of the race.

      2. Tristan : You said “The only way it’s (The rule changes) intended to close the gaps a bit is that it gives the other teams an opportunity for development”
        That is a gold comment and will probably sum up 2017 in a nutshell. The field might get a shake up and the order “might” change, but from all reports it will certainly not be a closer field overall. I can’t think of a time when major regulation changes have ever delivered closer racing. It always (I might be wrong) does the exact opposite of that. It’s not like this is an unknown fact either. The bit that scares me a bit is that these reg changes may be worse than others in the past when it comes to inhibiting passing.

        P.S. I am excited for this year. Driver changes, regulation changes, F1 ownership changes and so much more. I can’t remember a year where I have been so excited to get to the start of the season. And there lies your reason for the changes I guess. I creates an unknown element and we all get excited by that. However, the season is long, so lets hope we are still excited come mid season. It would be disappointing if my excitement is waning after the 3rd race.

    3. The strangest thing about the 2017 regs is the desire to make the cars faster. I still don’t know where that idea came from. Who wanted it? There were and are lots of issues with f1 but lap time was not one of them. Maybe it was the merc and ferrari who wanted to make the new engines look faster and more exciting by making the lap times faster? Or was it just bernie? I don’t know. Maybe someone does?

      1. At the time they started working on these rules Bernie, Red Bull with the help of mainly Sky were all lamenting how slow the cars were @socksolid.

        I think for Newey now to come out with this (surely he would have known it from the outset, since RB’s ideas were at the core of this whole change, with some McLaren influence as well) is pretty hypocritical. Does he now fear that Mercedes will still do a better job at it?

        Off course putting on more downforce would always mean that the issue of aero wake upsetting the FW/airflow of following cars will be far stronger. And on top, when they have to brake far less for corners because they can keep higher speeds, it will take away oppertunities there. The only thing we can hope for is that with the wider body and wider tyres (and maybe more durable tyres, you never know Pirelli might have accidentely hit a sweet spot?) cars will be more stable and that will give some drivers more confidence to try non the less. And the tyres might give us more slipstream passing on straights, if we get lucky.

      2. @socksolid, as BasCB notes, there were a number of media outlets who had complained about the performance of the cars – indeed, this site is an example of that when Keith himself complained about how slow the cars were becoming – and that in turn was driving a lot of fans to complain that the cars were too slow in relation to GP2 cars. There were quite a few who demanded faster and more taxing cars in the belief that it would “show us who are the real drivers in the field”, as it were, and they got what they demanded.

      3. not sure if the desire was to make the cars faster, Bernie couldn’t care less about what the lap times were. He just wanted to stop Mercedes from dominating so massively, and their main advantage over top competitors was the engine. The only way to make the engine less important was to change the aero regs.

      4. @socksolid @bascb I don’t think it helped when Lotterer was interviewed after getting out of an F1 car at Spa and he said something along the lines of, “Meh, thought it would be faster”

        Tbf I think that his main complaint was against the tyres. He said the Michelin ones he raced on week in week out were far better, but still don’t think it helped.

        1. Yes, I am pretty sure Lotterer focussed on the tyres being meh, and I think Webber also chipped in on that note later @3dom

    4. Newey and his team (RBR) were the main instigators/pushers of the new aero regulations (a minimum of +200kg of down force on the 2016 aero rules) which is going to increase the overtaking problem proportionately.
      Formula 1 needed less aero and not more of it.

  2. All this talk about it being harder to pass is tiring and boring. The rules are the rules now, so how about we wait to see how it actually ends up this year, and then go from there? We can’t judge until we have seen it

    1. @strontium, I also wonder whether most posters just read the extract from that article, because in the interview Newey spends most of it complaining that he believes the new design rules are too heavily biased towards the engines (saying that, if anything, he thinks the new regulations have biased things even more towards the engines) and the comment about overtaking is really just a throwaway line.

      1. While of course it’s good to read the article and indeed I just parroted a lot of what Newey was saying above, the headline that the editor here chooses to feature is just as worthy of discussion.

      2. They at RBR wanted the new regulations to add a minimum of 20% more aero, 20% (200kg) more aero was always going to increase the importance of the engine (power output) because more aero means more drag. formula one needed less aero and not more of it.

  3. But aren’t the 2017 regs heavily based on ideas put forward by Newey?

    1. No, red bull’s original proposal was much more extreme and would make the car faster by 7-8s. What was then accepted into the rules was a watered down version proposed by mclaren.

      1. I’m really intrigued to see that original proposal @juzh any tips on sites that have talked about them in detail?

    2. No. Red Bulls proposal was to guarantee 0 overtaking. This rule change merely makes overtaking unlikely.

    3. @FORTIS96, “But aren’t the 2017 regs heavily based on ideas put forward by Newey? see my earlier post as to who was the instigator/pushing for the new aero rules/regs.

  4. To be honest I don’t mind if the new rules make overtaking harder because i’ve always been of the view that overtaking should be difficult as that not only puts an emphasis on drivers racing abilities but also makes the overtaking that does occur mean a lot more & be far more exciting & memorable.

    Since 2011 with the DRS & the high degredation tyres I honestly believe that overtakes became too easy in many cases & that the big increase that was seen devalued overtaking as we weer seeing so much that it started to lose the value it once had.

    You go back & watch a race like the 2004 Belgium Gp as I did recently & while on the whole there wasn’t a lot of overtaking what did happen was all exciting & memorable (Montoya getting by Schumacher, Massa getting by Montoya through Eau Rouge, The 2 McLarens racing side by side down to Les Combes, Rubens passing Fisichella round the outside into Les Comes with Button pulling off a fantastic late lunge up the inside of Fisichella at La Source among a few others). Every one of those overtakes that was caught on camera was genuinely fun & exciting to watch with the battle over that position been edge of your seat stuff for the laps leading upto it.
    More recently there has been so much passing at Spa with the DRS down the kemmel especially that it all blurs into one & much of the 30-40+ that occur are quickly forgotten which ends with a race that is not only less interesting & exciting than its 2004 counterpart but also a lot less memorable.

    I’m not arguing for a situation where overtaking is virtually impossible, But I don’t think it should be made quite as easy as it has often been the past couple years. Ideally overtaking should be just about possible, Not too easy but not practically impossible as then we will see who the best racers are & I feel that the racing overall will be far more interesting, Far more exciting & far more memorable.

    1. +1. Overtaking should be a challenge. F1 shouldn’t be trying to find ways to increase overtaking.

      1. Sorry, I pressed post before I was done!

        Shouldn’t be trying to increase overtaking for the sake of a cheap pass here and there. I too would much rather see a few skilled moves every race, with drivers trying and failing at other times.

      2. @strontium Yes, but the problem is that teams are always trying to find ways not to get overtaken and aero is their main weapon.

        1. Obviously there’s a fine line. Rules shouldn’t allow them to create aero specially to disadvantage those behind

      3. While it’s easy to say that now, and I agree entirely, the general public perception is simply not in line with that. There’s a reason they introduced DRS.

        What I don’t understand is why zones haven’t been adjusted or the mechanical efficacy of DRS reduced. They said it was never the intention for cars to breeze past each other with DRS but they’re not using the available adjustments to alter it.

        Brawn’s right to focus on the larger long term goals of F1, but there are certainly immediately small adjustments he could make to immediately improve the quality of racing without it being a knee-jerk.

        1. The rules were changed because of the perception of the general public?

    2. Yes, SPA DRS totally ruins the on track fun.

  5. Badger GP coming up with great articles. Jean Todt, FIA, ACO, the video, all have one thing in common, everything is French, and they are representing the World championship…

  6. Wow, can’t believe that I won the caption competition! My first time! Thank you @keithcollantine.

    Have to say there were loads that really tickled me too. Put a real smile on my face. Cheers ladies and gents :-)

    1. That’s a worthy winner, love it

  7. Even with DRS in recent years, can’t really remember the whole field having close racing(except for the first half of 2012). Most overtakes we are seeing aren’t because of cars lapping in similar times, but drivers in different stints due to degrading tyres, fuel saving etc. The time-sheet at the end is the one to check.

    1. Also, let’s take Newey’s comment with a pinch of salt. If RBR’s winning like they were in Vettel years, he won’t be stating such balanced views about the regulations.

  8. Guybrush Threepwood
    20th February 2017, 6:46

    People are speaking as though overtaking now is not difficult…

    Unless there is a long DRS zone, overtaking doesn’t happen. Hell, Hamilton couldn’t pass a car 2 seconds a lap slower at the opening race last year. Under the new rules I expect… unless there is a long DRS zone, overtaking doesn’t happen.

    1. My thoughts exactly.

      A lot of people talk as if we have just been in a stellar era of racing in F1. 2015 and 2016 were poor. There were a few decent races but let’s not talk like the racing can get much worse than the previous formula. Most passes came from Verstappen or because of DRS. I can’t see the quality of the racing really being much worse than the last two years, and at least the cars will be more challenging for the drivers and more impressive.

      1. Maybe we need more Maxes.

  9. Re Newey’s concerns…

    Lewis Hamilton said pretty much the same thing last year.

    Saw many comments that said, “what does he know, he’s not a designer he should just shut up”

    He even said, if they wanted to improve the racing, give them better tires with more mechanical grip and reduce the wait of the cars. The drivers who are the ones driving the bloody cars, were all left out of the decision making process

    But hey……..

  10. Wasn’t he the most vocal lobist?

    1. Indeed. I would take everything Newey says with a pinch of political salt. Yes I’ve read the full article and it is full of contradiction. On the one hand he thinks F1 is too engine dominated, and on the other there is too _much_ dirty air from all this extra aero he lobbied for that he (and Red Bull) now has.

      More mechanical grip and less aero please, it’s a simple solution to create closer gaps between cars and less dirty air (and getting rid of the wretched DRS). Really, I don’t understand why it has to be so complicated, but then you have individuals like Newey saying such contradictory things. I’m hoping Brawn will bring some common sense to this going forward.

  11. It is launch week, I won’t be reading negative news/opinions. Yes it will reduce the content to 10%, so I will be an ignorant this week, my fellow commentators should therefore expect ignorant comments from me (just to stir the things up a bit).

    Keith you should also report only that 10% of good news, take a break.

  12. Maybe Newey, with all his brilliance should stop trying to make the cars faster but should concentrate more on the airflow at the back of the car. I’m sure if he did we would soon find out whether we can have aerodynamic cars that can get close enough to stay close enough in the corners so overtaking can be attempted in the following straight, or that it is an impossibility and aero has to be reduced to enable non-drs overtaking.

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