Pass or fail: How will Liberty respond to calls for more overtaking?

2017 F1 season

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After a processional opening race of 2017, how will Formula One’s new owners react if the second race since they bought the sport also fails to excite?

Just a handful of legitimate overtaking moves were made after the first lap during the Australian Grand Prix. Although the race raised prospects of a season-long championship contest between Mercedes and Ferrari, will they be able to fight wheel-to-wheel in F1’s new cars?

However much fans like the look of the new cars and relish the potential title battle, many were clearly concerned about the lack of racing. The Australian race had its second-lowest score in Rate the Race of the past decade. Reaction elsewhere on social media was also mixed at best:

Of course one race doesn’t make a season. The Albert Park track has never been one of F1’s best venues for overtaking.

But the Shanghai Internatinoal Circuit, scene of this weekend’s race, tends to see plenty of passing. If F1 delivers another 56 laps of follow-my-leader, the calls for something to be done to improve passing will grow louder.

Could DRS tweaks be a temporary solution?

How Liberty respond to this may provide a telling sign of how they intend to manage their new $8 billion investment.

An obvious fix is already on the table. After Sunday’s race the FIA will examine whether the Drag Reduction System needs to be altered due to the changed aerodynamics of this year’s cars.

These changes are among the reasons why drivers are finding it more difficult to find each other closely. During one revealing radio exchange in Australia Felipe Massa expressed astonishment that he wasn’t close enough to the car in front to be able to use DRS.

Adjusting the DRS activation gap so that it is triggered when cars are within two seconds of each other instead of one second may increase passing opportunities. Another option would be to extend the DRS zones, though this wouldn’t necessarily be possible at all circuits.

But Liberty’s motorsport chief Ross Brawn has already signalled more than once he is no fan of DRS. He wants to explore the problem of cars following each other in a thorough, engineering-focused manner in order to arrive at a better set of regulations.

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This seems a sensible plan. But if the first race of 2017 turns out to be the shape of things to come, the pressure for F1 to respond immediately with a short-term fix will be high.

Arguably, adjusting DRS would merely be a case of making the current rules work as they were intended to. If it does happen expect it to be justified it in those terms, rather than as a continuation of the hair-trigger, knee-jerk management of the F1 which was familiar during the Bernie Ecclestone era.

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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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79 comments on “Pass or fail: How will Liberty respond to calls for more overtaking?”

  1. heres a comment form Mercedes – off the F1 website –
    “Drivers are going to have to be brave on the brakes, look after the car and hold onto it. If you’re going to overtake in this new era, you need to fight for it properly. That’s the way it should be.”
    it seems to me that we will get the hard pushed bravery of the sparkling era of formula 1. the days before electronic aids gave one soul team so huge an advantage they might as well have crowned the world chapions mid year and let the others fight it out (well mabey not qute). im not saying that we dont have that but we should see this (in the wider tracks at least) between the front three and the idfield will have their own war. now why wouldnt that be interesting ;)

    1. @greggriffiths I like that quote too and used it here yesterday.

    2. No amount of being brave on the brakes can make up for a 1 second gap which was rarely breached in Australia.

      Still early days but to overtake you really do need to be at least close enough to overtake in the first place.

    3. I think we should stop focusing so much on overtaking. There’s more to a race than just the overtakes. So to take measures based solely on lack of overtaking (assuming that Australia is the start of a trend) risks watering down what F1 is about. There’s plenty more that’s great about current F1; a few snoozefests isnt the end of the world. Plus, now that teams have been through one race, they’ll adapt and change and drivers will adapt and we’ll probably see closer racing as the year continues.

      Regarding DRS, I think it should be allowed everywhere. If people want F1 to be road relevant and use hybrid engines and better fuel economy, then why not DRS? Hyper cars and super cars already have it, shouldn’t F1 retain it as well if its trying to stay road relevance? The problem with DRS is the zones. Let drivers use it wherever they want on track, up to 30km per race (1/10 of race distance). Now its strategic. Who wouldnt want to see Vettel and Hamilton through Eau Rouge, flat out, and see who had the fortitude to keep DRS open? Or through Lesmos? Corners may not be corners anymore because some are taken flat out, but you can still make them challenging.

    4. I totally agree with Toto’s view. I enjoyed the race, not only because Ferrari won, but because it was a tactical race.
      Sure overtaking is fun to watch, but i enjoy more the tactical side of the race. Tacking advantage of the traffic by pitting at the right time, “saving” your car so you could pump a few great laps when it matters. I grew up on this stuff, it just was another German in a red car at the time.

      But there are other fans, many more `obviously` that just want to see overtakes. And since they are many more, they will probably get their way.

      Overtaking will be difficult; tow and DRS effect should be greater with these cars, but if you start the straight 1s behind, there’s no way you’ll make that up until the braking zone.

      1. +1

  2. The problem is not ‘overtaking’, it is ‘following’. If a driver cannot get within spitting distance of his opponent for an overtake then one simply cannot happen.

    Cars should be able to follow the car in front without the turbulent air which seems to have been a problem for around 10 years. I appreciate that part of the problem comes from the open wheel format (which can’t and shouldn’t be changed), but look at touring cars and how they can race almost glued to the rear bumper of the car in front. As soon as they can achieve this then overtaking opportunities will follow and DRS can finally be taken off the car.

    1. Vettel was able to, Hamilton wasn’t. Reading between the lines it means Mercedes need to go work on that aspect of their car. Not everyone else.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        4th April 2017, 13:24

        @ho3n3r – We’ve known it’s a weakness of the Merc for a few years now. They’ve had it so easy that they don’t need to be able to follow others. If anything, the weakness has benefitted them as it’s made it difficult for their two cars to race at the front.

      2. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
        4th April 2017, 13:25

        @ho3n3r the problem is that he was able to stay close, but we don’t know if he would have been able to pass and preferred to stay second for strategy (unlikely if you ask me) or if that was the best the car managed to resist without losing balance (which seems to be the case here).
        But I wouldn’t like more DRS as the solution. Even more, leave the rules as they are all this season, and provide a real, well-studied aero solution as the rules for 2018. A solution they can test this year maybe, but not to apply mid-season, since it could change the pecking order the teams have work hard during months to get.

      3. Could it be that the Merc generates less turbulence than the Ferrari ans so Ferrari’s can get close to Mercs but not vice versa?

        1. @w-k Not sure about that. There wasn’t a point when Hamilton was following Vettel closely, since Seb pulled away from Verstappen, who was the one who held Lewis behind him.

      4. There is an element of truth to what you say, but only for the first 4 laps. From Lap 5 onwards Vettel was always following over a second behind Hamilton until Hamilton pitted. Looking at the graph of completion times relative to the race leader there did seem to be several drivers who were less than a second behind the car in front for the first few laps of the race, but by lap 5 none of the drivers were following less than a second behind the car in front, all were spaced more than a second behind the car in front of them. Looking at the graph of lap completion times for the entire race, apart a few exceptions, e.g. Lance Stroll following Antonio Giovinazzi by 0.634 sec on Lap 13, cars were generally following by more than 1 second through to the completion of the race. This makes me think there is some sort of attrition factor that means once a driver slips behind the car in front by more than a second it is difficult to regain that close proximity.
        I don’t think you can really make too much of a judgment regarding Hamilton’s trailing Vettel by between 5 and 10 seconds (plus the fractions of a second) for the remainder of the race, no one was going to overtake him, and there are 4 more races that this engine has to be used for.

    2. @ben-n

      The problem is not ‘overtaking’, it is ‘following’.

      Good point. The problem in Melbourne was the fact that the closest ‘battles’ consisted of cars separated by a gap of two seconds. It would’ve been a lot more entertaining if those had been actual battles, see Schumacher vs. Alonso in Imola.

    3. @ben-n

      IMO create a set of regs which disallow high levels of downforce and perhaps even ban wings (front or rear), so the dirty air effect becomes zero. Aswell as some cost-cutting or prize distrubition change which allows a closer field.

      1. Not going to happen.

      2. Unless there is a way to create downforce instead of lift with an open wheel rotating at high speed then we are stuck with wings and such like.

    4. @ben-n It’s hardly a fair comparison between F1 and touring cars. TCs have almost no downforce, certainly only a tiny fraction of the downforce of an F1 car; as it forms a far smaller percentage of the car’s overall performance, anything which affects downforce will make a much smaller difference to the performance of the car. Plus touring cars also blast a far bigger hole in the air for a following car to drive into, so slipstreaming is far more effective.

      A better comparison would be between F1 and LMP1, since they have similar levels of downforce. However a far bigger percentage of the downforce for an LMP1 comes from its floor, which is less affected by dirty air. Still though, LMP1s do suffer from a loss of performance in dirty air, and can’t follow closely in medium to fast corners. Still though, as you say, it’s because they’re fully enclosed. I guess at some point someone has to ask the question – what is more important; having good racing, or making sure that F1 cars are open-wheeled?

    5. How about cars along the lines of the Brabham BT49 (my favourite car), which didn’t even need a front wing?
      Picture –
      Wikipedia –

      1. Let’s try again.

    6. Sorry but everyone complained they could not over take or follow closely due to tire wear last years. Thats solved.. Vettel followed closely, didn’t destroy his tires..

      Let’s not play populist journalism after one race…

      1. I agree with you, let’s just wait and see!

        Maybe the tires are a much bigger reason for the reduced number of overtakes. Let’s be honest, a lot of the overtakes last year were the result of early pitstops leading stronger teams to end up behind the midfield teams. With the stronger tires these early stops are no longer nescessary.
        I do not know yet wheter I miss these overtakes, let’s face it: those were hardly real fights, mostly highway overtakes.

    7. @ben-n

      The problem is not ‘overtaking’, it is ‘following’.

      You are absolutely correct on that one. However, any change to that would require a whole new set of technical regulations, and developing and implementing those is a process of at least 3, more likely 4-5 years. Remarkably, a fix (move the downforce generation under the car, where the air can’t escape other than to the back and thus any turbulence can be fetched and controlled) has been known for years and F1 still went the opposite way (lowering noses in several steps, and then the big change just now).
      Now, we can’t expect the root problem to be addressed any faster than in several years, and we can’t expect a promoter to not do anything for those years, so we have to expect tinkering with the sticky plaster that is DRS. And even within that, there are different possibilities of what the might end up doing, and those have different qualities. Both widening the slot opened up in the rear wing and lengthening DRS-zones would probably raise the number of overtakes, but both would be bad as those “solutions” don’t create more close racing, but rather reduce the time between someone getting through the dirty air and going past on a straight. The better stop-gap would be to allow it to trigger at a larger distance, say 2 seconds, or any gap that is similar to the gap where the dirty air begins to seriously affect the following car, so that DRS would be more of a closing-in tool.

      Cars should be able to follow the car in front without the turbulent air which seems to have been a problem for around 10 years.

      I’m pretty sure I heard the commentary talk about this in 1992-races already. The overtaking-problem escalated with refuelling, of course, in ’94, but at least since then it is F1s most debated topic.

      1. @crammond, why do you say “move the downforce generation under the car” when the underbody of the car already is the most significant downforce generating surface of the entire car?

        1. If you count the various surfaces on the upper side of the car together, you do currently have a good portion of the downforce from there. It’s is this part which is a lot more affected by dirty air. It is also this part which has relatively grown bigger, both due to more difficulties to get air below the car and due to more surface area allowed on the upper side, and whenever that happens, following becomes more difficult.

  3. Adjusting the DRS activation gap so that it is triggered when cars are within two seconds of each other instead of one second may increase passing opportunities.

    Well, would you look at that. I’ve voiced exactly the same consideration in an obscure German forum a week ago, mentally high-fiving myself for what I thought was a clever interpretation of the ‘adjustments’ promised for the rest of the season.
    I take this as a proof that great minds do think alike. ;-)

    1. Problem is the speed difference between the two cars would have to be huge to make up 2 seconds in the length of a straight. Imagine how dangerous defending in the braking zone would become. DRS has already made defending position dangerous, causing stricter “One move” rules. We don’t want the braking area to become even more dangerous.

      1. @the-last-pope
        That’s not really the point. Gaining two seconds on a straight under remotely normal circumstances is impossible. Period.
        So what would a 2 second DRS window be good for? The race in Melbourne apparently showed that it has become extremely difficult to get within a second of the car in front, because the loss of downforce in dirty air becomes noticeable somewhere between 1.5 and 2 seconds. There’s not much of a slipstream with this kind of gap, so the advantage of following another car on a straight is greatly outweighed by the disadvantage of following it through the corners.

        A larger DRS window could allow drivers to catch up, because it would shift the balance between time gained on the straights and time lost in the corners, resulting in (potentially) better lap times.
        Currently, there seems to be some kind of ‘cliff’ somewhere around the 1.5 seconds mark. You have to push extremely hard to get closer than that, and your tyres will start crying for mercy by the time you get DRS assistance.
        A 2 seconds window would make that approach a lot smoother, taking the edge off said cliff.

        Now for the speed differences on the straights, that has absolutely nothing to do with the DRS window. You probably had the length (in metres) of DRS zones in mind. Making them longer would indeed increase the difference in straight line speed. But that’s not what Keith and I meant.

        1. No. What is the point of using drs to just close the gap on the straight when it will all just be lost again though the corners after the straight. You’d have to rely on a second drs straight, straight after the first, where all the overtakes in the whole race would take place, in a totally artificial way.

          If you wanted to have drs overtakes from 2 seconds back the drs would have to be so much more effective, the speed difference between the DRSing car and the defending car would be dangerously large coming up to the braking point at the end of the straight. Max Verstappen like defending or lunging could become deadly.

          1. @the-last-pope

            If you wanted to have drs overtakes from 2 seconds back

            But I don’t!

        2. @nase But that is what DRS is for, to enable the cars to be close enough at the end of the straight for an out braking maneuver. It’s completely pointless otherwise. You make it sound like you think closing the gap is the difficult part and once the driver has got close using DRS he can stay close to the car ahead until the next overtaking chance. That isn’t the case. Any time gained using DRS will quickly be lost again through the first relatively fast corner. A two second window would only be useful on a track with a double DRS, using the first DRS to get close and the second DRS to overtake. Here you would come up with the problem of having much slower lapping cars be quite capable of overtaking faster lapping cars just because they happened to be 2 seconds behind at the DRS detection point.

    2. mark jackson
      4th April 2017, 17:57

      If the following car can’t overtake when they’re 1 second behind, what makes you think they’ll overtake when they’re 2 seconds behind?

    3. Step one, avoid knee jerk reactions.

      The three tools I think they have available for 2017 are:
      * Adjust DRS
      * Get Pirelli to to change up the compounds– China last year was SS/S/M… so this year, try US/SS/S. Or maybe US/S/M
      * Ditch the “race on your qualifying tire” rule.

      That should hold us over until 2018 when a more comprehensive set of changes might be possible (narrower front wing? driver adjustable front wing? underbody diffuser?)

  4. I agree with @ben-n above.

    The issue isn’t necessarily “more overtaking” – it’s less impeding of overtaking (due to dirty air etc).

    And I disagree with those who think it is an individual car / driver problem. We’ve been suffering this for years and the problem is pervasive.

  5. I think what people are forgetting in the whole overtaking debate is that it’s not just car’s formula. It’s the first race of a new formula. And sometimes a new formula means bigger gaps between the cars. Especially at the front the gaps were pretty sizeable. Midfield had plenty of fighting. As teams get the hang of the rules more the cars will get closer in level to each other and only then do I reckon can we truly gauge the overtaking.

  6. There is another part of the equation which is often forgotten in these discussions – the question of speed differential. Massa suggested that the following car now needs to be 2 seconds per lap faster than the car in front now in order to make a pass, as that’s the sort of performance loss suffered in dirty air. But don’t forget, even with no loss of performance from dirty air, the car following still needs to be going faster than the car in front in order for a pass to be possible. Either because of the car itself, or because of the drivers.

    Actually, I think a big part of the issue here is that the performance of the cars is so consistent. They all start the race roughly the same weight, and all use up tyres and fuel at roughly the same rate. And they start the race with the fastest at the front and the slowest at the back. So where does this performance differential come from? By what means now does a car become faster than the car in front of it? Especially when the quality of the drivers is so high that drivers will usually complete every single lap with just a few tenths variance.

    Make all the changes you like, but unless you can find a means by which the car behind becomes faster than the car in front, you’ll never see any overtakes under normal racing conditions.

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      4th April 2017, 13:32

      The slipstream effect.

      1. In f1? Maybe back in the 80’s.

    2. @mazdachris, MotoGP, have a similar spread of skill and performance to F1, are similarly weighted to each other, and start in the same order as F1, yet they do not always finish in the order they start so it must be possible for F1 to provide similarly exciting racing without changing the format.

      1. @hohum Well the difference there is that the performance of the MotoGP bikes is more variable through the course of a race, mostly due to tyre deg and free choice of front and rear compounds. I’d also say that there is more of a variance in the bike performance – there are some bikes which are better in the corners and some which are better in the straights, and so at various points on the circuit you will see one bike faster than another, and then vice versa. F1 has systematically eliminated weaknesses from the car designs because they are operating at such a high level of technology now. Every car has effectively the same strengths and weaknesses, just with incremental improvements based mostly on how much money the team has.

        Tyre degradation is really the only means by which this kind of racing can be achieved, and I think it’s probably the right way to go, but realistically Pirelli got this pretty badly wrong and the result was cars running round at less than 80%. But in theory the concept is absolutely sound.

        I’m not saying aero isn’t a problem, but you still need to have a situation where a following car is able to go faster than a leading car.

        1. @mazdachris, If you mean F1 should adopt the same freedom of choice of tyres to run from start to finish I’m with you. Regarding aero/downforce it is quite clear that identical power does not mean identical performance, and this is where all the money goes, developing the most efficient low-drag/high-downforce wings and widgets, hence MBs dominance till now and RBRs desperate but failed attempt to compensate for a power deficiency by concentrating on effective downforce in the corners and turbulence with low drag on the straights.

  7. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    4th April 2017, 13:33

    What would happen if these cars’ floors were just more separated from the track? And no more rake angle. Wouldn’t that eliminate downforce? And by that the turbulence that affects the chasing car? Or would that risk more crashes as the one Webber had in Valencia?
    Many questions sorry. But please someone answer if possible.

    1. @omarr-pepper
      No, that would make it worse. The downforce due to the floor of the car is less dependent on clean air. The problem is the huge, intricate front wings. They have to have clean air to work and it’s stunning to me that nobody ever suggest they limit the size/complexity/number of elements on the front wings when they are also a huge cost to each team.

  8. On the evidence of Albert Park, Merc are still relatively poor where performance in “dirty air” is concerned. I expect their overall package to have the edge in Shanghai due mostly to what is likely the most powerful power unit on the grid. The only question is how much Ferrari have reduced the horsepower deficit. Should Shanghai pan out as I suspect, Red Bull might find themselves under attack from the chasing pack.

    1. With regards to your last point, I expect the Williams in Massa’s hands to be giving the Red Bulls a hard time. Whether he will actually passes them though will probably depend on how brave he feels. Having said that, if Massa can qualify in front of the Red Bulls, then he should be able to pull away. A P5 for Massa should be doable.

  9. So sheet hit the fan after just one race? puhhlease…
    There’s gonna be some monster action on the track soon. Drivers will adapt and be on the very limit

  10. Michael Brown (@)
    4th April 2017, 14:26

    I just hope we don’t get knee-jerk reactions

    1. @mbr-9 I agree. I hope they give it enough time to see what the extent of the problem is, and to work out a good solution.

      Not sure if you agree, but personally I’d rather see an occasional overtake that is well fought for, than stronger DRS drivebys

  11. A technical problem meant that when this article first went up the full selection of Tweets wasn’t visible. This has been sorted and they are all in place now.

  12. I find the reaction over lack of overtaking in Australia way overblown. In any case, all messages coming from Liberty and Brawn have been to the effect that stability and long term vision are what they’ll be aiming for. F1 has been broken in many ways for quite some time. I for one hope that they make good on their message and take their time to at least make a solid attempt at producing a truly competitive, fun racing series. I’m a patient man.

    1. I agree with that notion @maciek. The problem has been there for years. I do think that maybe tuning DRS would be a viable option – that said, why on earth didn’t they think about that earlier – but really, there are no quick fixes.

      I also think that part of it was the same thing we saw in Bahrain 2010 where everyone found that they could have pushed a lot more than they did. I certainly hope the new management keeps with their long term view here, and does not jump on the knee jerk “any action is better than none, and bashing the formula is the first step” thing Bernie used to promote, heavily supported by his stoodges at RBR (and at times Ferrari) and Sky Sport to promote the knee jerk as the only solution.

  13. In the end the biggest issue is not really the amount of aero but the complexity of the wings. The way the downforce is created is by carefully channeling the very complex vortices and flow structures around the car using trillions of tiny sharp fins and winglets. This means that when you drive in clean air the aerodynamic performance is very good. But once you get into dirty air the aero on the car simply breaks down. The small winglets just can not steer the air anymore because they are so sensitive to any change in the airflow coming towards them. The more sensitive the aerodynamics of the car the harder it is to follow and pass.

    Solution? Simplify the front wing, remove the tiny winglets from the car.

    1. @socksolid ”Solution? Simplify the front wing, remove the tiny winglets from the car.”
      – Good suggestions, and also the downforce being generated primarily via the underbody/floor of the car and or the diffuser, i.e., the underbody-DF to the wing-DF ratio more towards the underbody (ground effects in some form).

    2. @socksolid

      Finally, someone is talking common sense! The front wings ARE the problem and they are also a HUGE expense for the teams so why is there never any talk of limiting the number of elements, total surface area or some such thing that will stop the arms race? Teams moan about how they have no money and the sport talks about road relevance to keep the manufacturers engaged.

      SO…why do they let teams spend tens of millions of dollars every year on twiddly bits of carbon fiber on the front wings which make it impossible to follow other cars closely? Just make it simple: Each team gets 4 “elements” on the front wing and their total surface area can not exceed 500 cm^2.

      1. 500cm^2 is very little though :).

        My idea would be to allow just 2 elements. Both of the elements need to be full width of the wing to delete the Y250 vortice (which is one of the reasons why the front wing aero is so sensitive). In addition to that the rules then specify the width and chord lengths of the wing.

        That being said I’m not actually against front wing being developed. It is one of the most visually important parts of the car (along with the nose and sidepods) that allows people to differentiate the cars one from other. So it is important to allow enough freedom so teams have more than one route to take but still guarantee that the optimal solutions are not too sensitive.

  14. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    4th April 2017, 15:29

    One of Liberties biggest slogans thus far has been “we re going to make this a 3 or 4 year point it in the right direction project”. They said no quick overnight fixes. I hope they can follow this.

  15. How will Liberty respond to calls for more overtaking?

    Hopefully not with kneejerk changes to the rules/qualifying format/car specification/tyre requirements or suggest sprinklers, like the old guard.

    Have faith that Ross and co will come good now Bernie is out of the loop. It’s just going to take some time. Enjoy this season for whatever Vettel vs Hamilton/Ferrari vs Merc battle we’re treated to. So what if there are fewer overtakes, the new cars are monsters and have huge development potential, both chassis and power unit.

    1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      4th April 2017, 16:39

      I couldn’t agree more with JC’s comment.

  16. Neil (@neilosjames)
    4th April 2017, 16:51

    Albert Park is a terrible circuit for overtaking (it’s a terrible circuit full stop, but that’s one for another day)… among the worst four or five on the whole calendar. Monaco is obviously harder, and… Singapore perhaps, and maybe Hungaroring when it’s dry. Melbourne is probably on a par with the famously processional Catalunya and the new Tilkified Mexico, so I’m trying not to get too worried because they couldn’t really overtake at Albert Park last year either, even if the car behind was substantially quicker, unless they had something that doesn’t seem to exist now – a massive tyre advantage.

    The following gap was about the same… seven or eight tenths.

    So as much as physics has been telling me for over a year that overtaking is going to be harder, I’m forcing myself to wait until I’ve seen China and Bahrain before coming to a final conclusion. Two very different tracks, different tyre limitations, different approaches to their main straights… and, Tilke or not, they’re actual race tracks, rather than little roads through a park the sport outgrew about 15 years ago and which isn’t really representative of anything.

    But in answer to the question, if the likely outcome does occur, they’ll just make DRS zones longer. Because in the eyes of the people controlling the sport – still the Strategy Group, rather than Mr. Brawn, sadly – that’s a suitable replacement for proper racing.

  17. If only the energy of the entirety of knees jerking could be harvested

    1. I think Bernie actually owns the patent on that machine…

    2. glue, if you could combine that with a machine to capture all the hot air from fans going on about how good things were in the good old days, you’d probably find the biggest source of renewable energy in the world…

  18. Ironically, we’d have probably seen better racing if we’d just stuck the 2017 tyres on the 2016 cars, but the need to reign in Mercedes meant the new aero regs were pushed through as well.

    I normally prefer stability of regulations but I’m really not a fan of what we’ve got currently, and it’s made worse by the fact that I strongly believe it’s possible to have both fast cars and good racing.

    If F1 is to sort itself out all parties will need to agree on the objectives of any change in regulations early on, and focus on a couple of key areas to improve racing:

    Increasing the mechanical to aero grip ratio, and finding a way of delivering more consistent aero.

    I’d personally like to see exhaust blowing re-introduced as it created a way to seal the diffuser without relying on stupidly complex and wake-sensitive aero at the front of the car.

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      4th April 2017, 18:59

      I agree on exhaust-blowing, or at least allow the exhaust to exit near the diffuser

  19. Overtaking is over rated. I want intense battles. The tension inspiring “nearly did it”.
    We leave for the excitement, unless of course your favourite driver is the one behind, then it can get frustrating.

  20. Michael Brown (@)
    4th April 2017, 19:05

    I’ll wait until at least Bahrain. Since it became a night race in 2014, it has consistently delivered great races.

  21. knoxploration
    4th April 2017, 19:20

    I’d rather see one good, hard-fought passes than a thousand crappy, foregone conclusion DRS “passes”. F1’s fundamental problems are twofold right now:

    * You can’t get close enough to mount a concerted effort to pass over a period of numerous laps, and really put the pressure on.

    * That problem was fixed with a bandaid that actually made things worse: DRS, which gives one driver an unfair advantage over the other and robs us of *ever* seeing that hard-fought pass on track.

    The solution really isn’t as difficult as the powers that be claim. Take away the DRS, and take away a significant amount of the downforce, and especially anything which generates excessive wake turbulence or which is especially sensitive to running in disturbed air. Get rid of these ridiculously overcomplex front wings and all the unnecessary frippery that currently adorns the cars, give them more downforce from ground effects, and bring back the tire war for greater mechanical grip. Also, raise the minimum weight of the cars to lengthen the braking zone, thereby increasing the chances of getting by in that braking zone if you’re the last of the late brakers. And *stop* letting cars just get away with cutting the track: The track limits must be enforced 100% at all times, and there must be a real and significant penalty (read: getting stuck in a gravel trap) if you overcook things.

    There’s a reason the racing in the late 80s and early 90s was so much better than what we see today. That reason is all of the things we have taken away or added since then.

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      5th April 2017, 0:06

      I disagree that the cars need to get heavier; they are heavy enough. I propose that the brakes should be regulated to be smaller, and open up regulations for regeneration under braking.

  22. One race in with the new formula and already some fans are clamoring for changes. Are attention spans so short that we can’t wait until things start to actually develop in the championship before judging the entire show? I’ve seen plenty of races that were more boring than the Australian GP was last month, and I for one think that things are looking positive for a good fight across the field as the year plays out.

    1. Yes it is a bit sad, @ferrox-glideh

      For me if I had to take a decision I would wait at least a couple of races and see how the rules apply to different types of tracks before I try to change something.

      Also now that Eccelestone is gone from F1 and Liberty Media promises faster improvements and stuff, fans assume it is easier to implement some new form of change. But the problem is knee jerk reactions and quick rule changes will take a toll on team (high stress to keep up with the changes) and drive up costs which is the last thing F1 needs.

    2. @ferrox-glideh, I agree that it is rather hypocritical of the fans to complain about the governing body making knee jerk reactions, only to demonstrate spectacular fickleness themselves – we went from people making hysterical complaints about a Mercedes cakewalk in the first practise session of the Australian GP to talking about a Vettel cakewalk by the end of the race.

      We see people talk about wanting stability in the regulations, but then scream for changes to the regulations all the time to satiate their demands for instant gratification. We’ve barely begun with this new rule set, and most of the teams are still trying to work out how to get the most out of their cars (Horner, for example, has said that Red Bull’s main priority is working on their set ups given their car currently doesn’t have a particularly wide operating window) – at least give it a bit of time to see how things shape up.

  23. I think we should at least wait to see how it works out in China, with more aereo drag the slipstream should be more powerful.

  24. Manfred (@)
    4th April 2017, 22:22

    One race, and they write it off already.

    Do people not have patience anymore?

  25. If China is as bad as Melbourne, which I don’t think it will be, we are in trouble, I can only see two options that are easy to implement. 1 mess with drs – open wider and/or longer or 2 pirellis back up ‘designed to degrade’ tyres.
    If things have to be changed I’d rather a well thought out plan than a Bernie style quick fix!!!!

  26. Seriously, wait until the end of the season. Why are we even talking about this now, aren’t we a little against this reactionary approach? Hopefully Ross agrees and can define the exact problem(s) that need addressing at least halfway through the season after a big reg change.

    1. @john-h Agreed and I think Brawn already knows what the problems are from a technical standpoint and wrt close racing. He ‘just’ needs to get everyone on board with a focussed agenda as to what F1 wants to be going forward, and how they can all get there in a way that is feasible and sensible and considers the large gap between the have teams and the have-nots. And it involves no knee-jerk reactions. I’m greatly buoyed that he has already talked about a good mechanical to aero grip ratio and the eventual removal of DRS. Those things take re-design time, so we need to be patient. In the meantime I’m so grateful that they have moved to the current dimensions of cars and tires even if it’s been overkill with the aero downforce. For now.

  27. I’ve been watching this sport since 1994 and I always love(d) it. But, we have every year new regulations and they make F1 less appealing to fans (new or old, doesn’t matter)….
    We should bear in mind: ” F1 is about technology and then driving skills”. So, I can suggest my own regulations for the sport:
    1- Just give the maximum height, length, width (car ans tiers), fuel and number of engines (oops, power unit of course!!!) and let the team race. If one team wants the V12, the other wants V6H, I don’t care.
    2- NO TEAM helps for drivers (settings, pit stops, retirement call to save the engine) bar the lap time and the gaps.
    It might work.

  28. ILuvSoundtracks (@)
    5th April 2017, 14:22

    Don’t let it go worse in the next few races. F1 isn’t failing.

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