Formula One drivers said the first race of 2017 confirmed concerns its new rules have made it much more difficult to overtake.
Almost no overtaking took place after the first lap of the race which did not involve pit stops or team orders.
“What overtaking?” said Felipe Massa when asked how difficult overtaking had been during race.
“I did on the start [but] the race is much more difficult to overtake.”
“For the driver it’s fun because the way you’re driving the car is quite fun. But definitely overtaking is more difficult than how it was.”
“It was hard to follow and drive close behind others,” said Verstappen, who was challenging Kimi Raikkonen for fourth place at the end of the race. “I think as soon as you get within two seconds you can really feel it and could destroy your tyres.”
Another driver who experienced the turbulence generated when following another car was Valtteri Bottas.
“I was trying to get close but the problem is once you get within a couple of seconds you just lose so much grip in the corners,” he said, adding the problem was “definitely more than the years before.”
“Which is a shame,” he added. “It’s going to be difficult in places to battle with similar cars.”
Lewis Hamilton described the plan for increasing downforce as “the worst thing” when it was first proposed in 2015. He said his concerns have been vindicated.
“I know Formula One, it’s always generally been tough to follow [another car],” he said. “It’s definitely for me a lot worse, as I anticipated.”
“I hope that doesn’t mean that for the rest of the year it’s more of a train. I don’t know if it was more exciting for you guys to watch but for me personally I want to be closer up with cars and more close wheel-to-wheel battling.”
“It’s through pit stops that we’re racing now.”
2017 F1 season
- Sepang pays Haas compensation for Grosjean’s 2017 crash
- Williams revenues rose in 2017 after Bottas deal with Mercedes
- Australian Grand Prix cost government £56 million last year
- “Grand Prix Driver” takes you inside McLaren’s nightmare final year with Honda
- Undisputed champion: 10 titles name Hamilton top driver of 2017