Daniil Kvyat, Max Verstappen, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Overtaking not harder with 2017 cars – Verstappen

2017 F1 season

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Max Verstappen says he has already tried overtaking on his first day of running in the new Red Bull and isn’t concerned passing will be more difficult this year.

Concerns have been raised by some drivers that passing would become more difficult this year due to the higher amounts of downforce generated by the cars.

But Verstappen told media at the Circuit de Catalunya he’s “been quite close to some cars today” and “it’s alright”.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017
Testing day two in pictures
“I think it’s the same like last year,” he said. “I’ve done some [overtaking] today so it’s OK. It works, you can overtake with the car.”

“Hopefully we don’t need to overtake,” he added.

The Red Bull driver said he is pleased with the changes to this year’s cars. “I think the speed difference between the cars from last year is a good step,” he said. “It’s more enjoyable through the fast corners.”

However he said the team haven’t started chasing performance with their new car yet.

“For us at the moment it’s not about showing how quick you can be,” he said.

“It’s the first test, it’s the second day. It’s much more important to just get the mileage, see that all the parts are OK, and then we’ll see in the next few days how fast we can go.”

The team enjoyed a more productive day after Daniel Ricciardo’s running on Monday was restricted by problems with the car.

“In general the first day those things can always happen because it was basically, for us, a shakedown,” said Verstappen. “We hadn’t run the car before.”

“Today was very positive. We almost did everything we wanted so I think then it’s a good day.”

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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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  • 67 comments on “Overtaking not harder with 2017 cars – Verstappen”

    1. Maybe this will just be another of Verstappen’s advantages. He already seems able to overtake where others can’t.

      1. Ericcson, Magnussen, Hamilton and a few others allready said that overtaking would be much and much harder….but these rules don’t imply for Max..he is the king of overtakes and will use this to his advantage this year

        1. After hisc1st few seasons Hamilton kept saying an overtake is impossible then goes and pulls blinding overtakes. Hamilton can overtake as well as Max and Ricciardo can also, infact Vettel does as well but maybe not as outrageous as the other 3 mentioned.

      2. Yeah, Max is like “It was hard before? Never would have guessed!”

      3. Should go back and watch Australia last year, seemed he had some great difficulty overtaking.

        1. In a Toro Rosso with an old PU in the back? Anybody would’ve had issues overtaking.

        2. LOL He was pretty annoyed with Sainz wasn’t he! :D

          1. The hardest car to overtake is always the team mate’s.

      4. It’s easy to overtake when the car you are overtaking isn’t racing. We need to take this with a pinch of salt.

      5. So who wants to tell Max he overtook cars not going flat out, nor racing, nor [in all likelihood] even defending their position? He may be singing a different tune in.. you know.. a race.. or real overtaking scenarios..

    2. Just wait until you get to Monaco Max …

      1. To be honest…in Monaco he was the fastest driver on raceday..overtaking one after the other…..till the crash…so when Verstappen says it won’t be harder to overtake…I think you have to believe him ;)

        1. Huh? He crashed 3 times. What are you talking about?

          1. Indiana is clearly talking about the overtakes in the race (in which he only crashed the one time, the others were in FP and Q), before the crash, as was quite clearly stated.

            1. He crashed 3 times over the weekend and no he was not the fastest driver on race day.

        2. I sometimes wonder how liking a certain driver warps reality for certain fans. Monaco ’16 was not something I’d personally brag about if I were providing evidence for Max’s talents.

          1. Then read my answer again and again…..I specifically say TILL the crash. No, this was a weekend to forget, but this was not about the race in Monaco but on his overtaking

            1. @faulty Indiana is right though.

              Of course Verstappen had crashed in qualifying, so it was his own fault he had to start down the grid, but from there he was flying in the wet conditions and overtaking car after car. Obviously he then crashed again and ended up with zero points, so overall it was a bad weekend.

    3. You can’t not love a driver who practices overtaking in testing. It’s what set him apart in F3 and it’s what helped him in the rain in Brazil. Lovely mentality.

      1. Hell, he was practicing overtaking behind the safety car! I’m almost surprised that no one figured out until after the race that that’s what he was doing.

        1. I remember watching that and thinking he was practicing, testing grip levels etc. Wasn’t surprised when he made the move, but was surprised it seemed to catch others off-guard when he did.

        2. I think most others didn’t want to really be there that day. It was ridiculously courageous to even be on that track, let alone dart around like a butterfly or overtake left and right using unconventional lines and no visibility.

    4. Where the cars he was trying to pass on the same age tyres, on the same fuel, with same engine modes running to a similar delta to get their tyres to go a certain distance?

      If not, your assumptions are useless.

      1. Lewis…is that you?

      2. @N I somehow don’t think he was commenting on how easily he passed a car, but just how HIS car felt when he was in dirty air. Surely he doesn’t deserve your jumping all over him when he has said himself they aren’t even trying for speed yet? That this is just testing? Frankly I love that he had to have his own curiosity satisfied, even if just using a relatively weak test in mundane circumstances behind a car or two just to see how his car felt.

        1. Where was the ‘jumping all over him’ ?

          I was asking if a certain set of criteria had been met that he will have to deal with in a real racing conditions. Until you have a car in front with similar pace (actually trying to stay ahead), with similar tyres, on a similar strategy, you cannot possibly know how passing is going to be.

          The only reasonable assumption you can make at this stage is that it cannot possibly be any easier than before, given the new level of aero-dependency. At best, just as difficult.

          1. @N Oh just when you used the term ‘useless’ and pointed out conditions that Max would be well aware of as them not being nearly race conditions, yet enough for him to formulate an opinion…obviously. And again with your ‘you cannot possibly know…’ Ya…he’s been in the car behind another car and has gotten a hint that has more weight than us in our armchairs with our remote opinions.

            But you know better than an F1 driver, including choosing to ignore the new tires and focusing strictly on the aero to come to your conclusion. Just ignore that just because they have more aero downforce doesn’t mean they’ll always be using all of it. They never have, in reality. They’ve never run Monaco setups at Monza for a reason. Just ignore that wider cars and tires might make the cars much more stable when in dirty air which is what Max might have been feeling. You know best.

          2. Actually, you can. Overtaking in recent seasons has always been dependent on tyre wear. Two cars of entirely similar tyre situation overtaking each other was rare. Either the one car was massively faster or the other had DRS. Verstappen is just making note of how he managed to overtake easily, how the turbulent air wasn’t an issue, nor the width. Now, granted, it’s Verstappen, who can overtake on a bicycle path in the Highlands, but still, his remarks aren’t meant to be analysed to your extent. It’s simply a counterpoint to all those who made it out to be impossible: note, the same people didn’t do much overtaking in the abovementioned situations during recent seasons. Verstappen is the exception, so I’ll choose to take his word for what is POSSIBLE with the new cars.

            1. @hahostolze

              Its not possible with the new cars, its possible if youre Max Verstappen.

    5. So he was racing people today? not sure if serious…

      1. No he was testing the wake when following other cars.
        Just revisit Brazil 16. He wasn’t racing those cars under safety car either, but they should have taken his ‘testing’ a bit more seriously.

        1. Hamilton was better than Max in Brazil, Max list control trying to keep up. Still think Hamilton and Ricciardo are better at overtakes.

          1. You can’t be serious.

            Many experienced drivers lost control on turn 14. Verstappen wasn’t pushing so hard he wasn’t able to catch it before slamming into the wall.

            Hamilton had the advantage of a clear track and a faster car, he did a fantastic job, managing the gap as required and not pushing any harder than he needed to, to avoid mistakes.

            As an Aussie, I’m a massive Ricciardo fan, but even I cannot deny that Verstappen is better at overtaking in tough conditions.

        2. Actually if you read the live reports of today, a few times he actually did try an overtake. But you’re right, he’d purposefully spend a few laps in their wake to see how it affected him, before dropping back. Did that to Bottas, Kvyat, Kimi and at least one other mention of it today. Smart.

    6. This is Max Verstappen though, he could overtake pretty much anywhere. When he was in karting, Jos used to pick out 1 specific corner and that was the only corner he could overtake on, no matter how difficult it may have seemed, and he always made it work.

      1. Ooh that could be tasty if Jos still challenges him on that now he’s in F1 @hugh11 ;-)

        Ooh maybe that’s why he made that move into Blanchimont at Spa. Wonder if Jos decided a harder challenge is now required, he’s probably challenged him to Portier at Monaco next ;-)

    7. Every time the Torro Rosso shows up in a picture, it’s the prettiest car in the shot. The nose *looks right*. Even if it’s aerodynamically garbage, and the car sucks, it’s the prettiest car in the field by such a huge margin that I *want* it to do well. Which is how all the cars should look all the time.

    8. Seeing as the Red Bull is devoid of appendages I’ve had a feeling since the first clearer pictures that they may have purposely built a car that can follow and overtake, as opposed to one that’s designed for clear air. Either way, I love the lean and mean look.

      1. That’s great and interesting point, but if you hardly ever need to overtake, such as Mercedes, they can allow to be not as good in dirty air and just win the race on Saturdays.

      2. Interesting thought.

        You’d still need to be good in clean air though, otherwise you’d overtake but not be able to maintain the advantage. And you’d probably be lost in the midfield on Saturdays.

      3. I think they did. I was watching Ted notebook and he was speaking with Newie and he was speaking about aero but it was still a motor formula. So i think the Red Bull is slippery on the straights with still max downforce to compesate the lack of Power.

    9. Maybe overtaking will not be more difficult, but the main question is: will there be as many situations where drivers actually need to pass (which was usually after a pitstop) as before?

      1. With less pitstops those situations will be less frequent I guess. However, the amount of overtake don’t really interest me. A good battle between cars running close can be more interesting than cars semi-fake battling each other because of gimmicky tyres.

        I fear processions this year, especially because we’re gonna see more 1 and 2 stop races, but it might not be so bad in terms of suspense if the cars are relatively close to eachother pace-wise. We’ll have to wait and see.

    10. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      28th February 2017, 19:43

      That’s my boy! Love his attitude. He is going to stand out even more this year. These aggressive driver’s cars will hopefully emphasise the best drivers even more. Max’s moves are gonna be even more spectacular when the rest of the grid are hesitant/can’t make the moves happen.

      1. If that’s the case Hamilton, Verstappen and Ricciardo will stand out and further down it might benefit Grosjean and Alonso. Bottas is quick but I haven’t seen great wheel to wheel skills from him. This is also true for guys like Sainz, Magnussen and Perez imho.

        Vettel had some good fights down the years but I wouldn’t say it’s his calling card. In that sense Raikkonen could maybe be a stand out compared to him as he has always been very skilled in wheel to wheel situations in his first career and even in 2012 on his return to F1 when the Lotus was fighting at the sharp(ish) end.

        Stroll might be in trouble here, because his wheel to wheel skills (not his overall pace which was good) were his great weakness in F3.

        1. @jeffreyj I started to become impressed by Vettel’s wheel to wheel skills in 2015, last year took some of that shine off of it though (I don’t know how much that was “overdriving” to make up for shortfalls in the car).

          This year it will certainly be interesting to see how different drivers find the change to increased cornering speeds. Early on as teammates, Webber always seemed to perform better than Vettel at circuits that had more high speed corners, it was when the off throttle exhaust blowing came to the fore that Vettel started to get one up on Webber. I wonder if, to the contrary what Villneuve

          1. … was saying that Kimi may favour these cars more than Vettel for that readon

            1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
              28th February 2017, 21:06

              @3dom I was thinking the other day that these cars could really suit Kimi’s style. It’s just whether at 38 he’s still the same level.

            2. @rdotquestionmark he looked at a decent level at the end of last season, and there’s always the occasional sportsperson that keeps performing regardless of advancing age, so here’s hoping. Would be good to see Vettel & Raikkonen pushing each other.

        2. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          28th February 2017, 21:05

          @jeffreyj Yeah absolutely. My thoughts exactly

    11. Unrelated to this article but does it mean anything that we’ve seen a couple of cars spin including both Bottas and Hamilton? Can this be related to downforce usability?

    12. A little pet peeve: Why do some people still write TorRo Rosso with double R? Is it that hard to learn? Nobody days Ferari or Wiliams, right?

      1. Days? Says! (Another pet peeve: smartphone’s keyboard glitches).

      2. Gah! You’rre rright! That was my mistake. :D

    13. Good to know, atleast Max will be able to overtake.. take lessons Lewis.

    14. I recently watched a video from the archives of Prost passing Senna as they battled with backmarkers at Circuit Paul Ricard in 1988. Drama, tension and a great opportunistic move for the lead.

      If indeed the 2017 regs make overtaking more difficult and the Liberty group are eager to spice the show up a little, perhaps it’s time to scrap blue flag rules altogether.

      Leaders battling backmarkers as well as each other is a far more ‘natural’ source of overtaking, excitement and unpredictability than DRS, degrading tyres, KERS and any other ‘gimmick’ F1 has implemented in recent years.

    15. He said no more difficult than last year. Overtaking has been difficult for a while.

      1. Yeah true but I just have this feeling that the drivers will be much happier on these tires…much less frustrated. I’ll be surprised if they feel they have to hang back out of fear of ruining their tires and thus their race day game plan. I think (hope) we’ll see closer racing and drivers with more confidence in the car to attempt moves while in dirty air.

    16. overtaking is not a crime ;)

      1. Overtaking is an ART!! (Jos Verstappen fans used to have flags with that line back in the 90’s)

    17. Still wandering why Kimi with his newer set could’t overtake Max, who was on shredded tyres, for ages in Spain. For me it is the driver who overtakes and not the tyres, they are just a part of the car.

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