Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

‘It’s still tricky to overtake’: Vettel feels little improvement from new wings

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel isn’t convinced the new front and rear wings which have been introduced for the 2019 F1 season have made it easier for cars to follow and overtake.

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What they say

While Kevin Magnussen was said F1’s new wings made it much easier to follow another car, Vettel was less impressed when asked about it during last week’s test:

Yes I have followed other cars last week and yesterday, not really this morning. It’s difficult to say in testing, it’s always difficult to judge because you’re on different tyres, not just different age of tyres but also different compounds and different programs.

So far it was still tricky to follow and to overtake.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

For RogerA, a good fan experience means not shortening F1 race weekends:

how is reducing practice/shortening the race weekend improving the fan experience?

When I attend a race weekend I want to see F1 drivers in F1 cars as much as possible. Doing away with Friday F1 running takes away a chunk of what I attend to watch.

Reducing practice running and especially turning it into a 2 day F1 weekend just makes it less worth attending in my view & does not improve the fan experience.

I would also argue that adding more races doesn’t improve the fan experience as it just makes each race feel less special and will more than likely only result in less fans watching every race which again I don’t see as improving the fan experience.

There are things that could be changed/improved. But the number of races & the overall weekend 3 day format with the current amount of practice are not things that do.

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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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44 comments on “‘It’s still tricky to overtake’: Vettel feels little improvement from new wings”

  1. Contrary to RogerA, I stopped bothering with Friday practice on race weekends now, preferring to get a bit more of an opportunity to experience the country / city I’m visiting as part of the trip.

    I haven’t found Friday’s running of any real interest in quite some time. Given the amount of hassle it takes to get to most tracks, there’s just not enough action on the Friday to warrant losing half a day in travel / messing around.

    As far as I’m concerned you could drop two of the practise sessions with nothing of value lost. Chuck a sprint race in there or something and I might turn up on the Friday.

    1. ColdFly (@)
      6th March 2019, 2:14

      I only go to the Friday session when the rest of the action on- and off-track is interesting (e.g. Melbourne).
      If it were just for the F1 FP sessions it is hardly worth it.

      If they could run all FP sessions on Saturday (or 2x FP + Qualy) then the Saturday would be even better than it is today. Add in a pit walk and some driver presentation and you might call it great.
      Sunday could either be Qualy at the end of the morning and the race at 14:00 (or some minutes after that). Alternatively, they could leave Q on Saturday and run the 3rd FP on Sunday morning.
      It’s not about less on-track action, but more about condensing all of it.

      And as a fan, I don’t mind more race weekends either.
      Look at football: Real played 3 major games (and threw away 3 championships) in less than a week. The stadium was filled to the brim on all 3 occasions.

      1. @coldfly you make a good point about the on track action.

        I personally like Fridays as I generally buy general admission only and Fridays give me a chance to explore and scope out the best spots to view the action.

        However, I must admit to being a bit disappointed with the support races at Singapore. The F1 cars are brilliant. It’s just unfortunate that some tracks don’t feature great support action (like the v8 Supercars in Melbourne or F2 at others)

        I’d still favour a setup like Moto GP where they run all 3 series on the same weekend and there’s no shortage of action every day.

      2. Sunday could either be Qualy at the end of the morning and the race at 14:00 (or some minutes after that). Alternatively, they could leave Q on Saturday and run the 3rd FP on Sunday morning.

        The problem with the first one is that if someone crashes heavily in Qualy they will be out of the race. The problem with the second one is (a) parc ferme prevents teams from trying anything in the car and (b) engine limits make teams not want to waste precious engine mileage of their brand new engine.

        1. ColdFly (@)
          6th March 2019, 9:25

          Fair points @paulk.
          Although, I’m not worried about a qualy crash, it even adds a bit of suspense and pressure for the drivers.

          Testing and Parc Fermee rules of course are more difficult to combine, and no team wants to change PU between qualy, FP3, and then before the race again.

          1. But the downside is your favourite will crack even more.

    2. My problem with dropping Friday’s is that I bet a month’s salary on it that if they do drop the extra day they won’t adjust the price of your tickets. So you’d be paying more to see less.
      And each year that the prices go up, you’d be hustled a little bit more.

      1. I think the big problem with dropping Friday running is that the teams already struggle with the limited testing time. Where will they test any new upgrade? This will then be compounded by the fact that any errors they find in the car on Saturday means that they won’t be running in qualifying. So sooner or later a team will turn up find an issue and then cos they have only the Saturday to fix it the weekend is a blown exercise for them already. Now say that team is in the championship battle and you lose the fight at the front.

        1. Perhaps we just say thats tough! Track time (and analysis time overnight) favours the big teams.

          1. Yup. That’s how I’m inclined to feel about it.

            As it stands teams (especially the big ones) end up perfectly prepared for the race / qualifying. We’ve actually seen more interesting results when practice was limited for one reason or another.

          2. Actually, lack of testing time favors the big teams. They’ve got the resources for simulators and banks of computers running race simulations ahead of time. The smaller teams can *only* learn with track time, because they don’t have the resources to do it any other way.

            Sure you might get the occasional crazy race when Friday running is disrupted, but if you remove it permanently, the big teams will be able to adapt by throwing money at the problem, and the gap to the midfield will only grow.

            Pretending that the same thing helps, or hinders, both the big teams and the small teams, has been proven time and time again to be a mistake– and the FIA keeps doing it over and over again.

            One size does not fit all, and the sooner the FIA stops pursuing an easy fix, the sooner we might get a level playing field.

    3. Sonny Crockett
      6th March 2019, 9:22

      I think the biggest issue is a lack of interest in the support races.

      If you look at the stands when the F2 and GP3 races are on then you’ll see what I mean. Even more so for the Porsche Cup races.

      Compare that to MotoGP where the grandstands are as busy for Moto2 and Moto3 races as they are for the main MotoGP race.

      I’m not sure what the answer to this is. F1 tickets are significantly more expensive than MotoGP ones so you would expect fans to be keen to get their money’s worth. Inexplicably, the opposite seems to be true.

      1. i wonder if Moto GP fans get more for their money even if tickets are cheaper. Also maybe they are just more passionate for overall motorcycling in general versus people that just go to an F1 race for only F1.

    4. Friday is just as important as a fan to me as Sunday. It’s part of the buildup, and spreading it across 3 days increases the drama. I don’t understand wanting *less* track time at all.

      1. It’s a perceptual fallacy. Race weekends where Friday running was heavily disrupted, frequently result in unpredictable races, ergo, eliminate Friday running, and all races will be unpredictable!

        Except if there is no Friday running, then everyone will again be on the same page, and we’ll again be sorting cars out from fastest to slowest, and we’ll be surprised when the faster cars finish the race ahead of the slower cars.

        I want to see the fastest car, with the fastest driver, win– that’s kind of the point of a world championship. Instead of forcing the top teams to be slower, how about we make the slower cars faster?

        Oh– right. That takes actually planning, and work, and constant management to stay on top of. It’s much easier to throw out some stupid rule designed to kneecap the bigger teams, and then be surprised when they spend their way around said rule.

  2. Contrary to Psychotext, I very much enjoy getting stuck into the track on Friday, walking around, seeing what there is to see, and getting a first look at the cars circulating under a low-pressure environment before it’s time for the more packed Saturday and Sunday.

    I have no interest in something that devalues the Grand Prix the way a sprint race does, and would feel the F1 weekend is reduced without Friday running.

  3. COTD is spot on.

    I can only manage to be in Melbourne for one day this year, so I’m heading down on Friday. Why?

    3 hours of track time vs 2 on satday and 1hr 40 mins on sunday.

    Less crowds, more freedom to roam the track and get a great view of the cars for the first time. Plus a great schedule of support races..!

    Can’t wait.

    1. @aussierod If I had to choose only a single day to attend for any given GP weekend, I’d definitely still go for the race day, despite the overall amount of track time for F1 usually being less than on the other two. The race, in the end, is the most relevant session of a GP weekend, so a no-brainer choice for me.

    2. I am with the CotD and you guys @aussierod, @exediron, @dbradock, I love the relatively relaxed getting to see the track and finding viewpoints to watch the cars during the friday when visiting a race.

      Taking away that friday would also make charging a minimum of 5 nights (as many accomodaitions do at F1 venues) quite a hard sell IMO.

      1. I assume you’re booking places literally right at the track? Because I’ve never had that issue with any race that I’ve benn to (and so far I’ve done about 10).

  4. Great explanation from James Alison.

    Be interesting to see what changes they bring to Melbourne (and all other teams bring)

    1. +1, he’s such an excellent speaker. That’s the clearest and simplest explanation I’ve seen of why tyre wake is important and how managing its effect on the other surfaces is the number one goal of front wing, brake ducts and barge-boards.

  5. So based on what James Allison said, the car we saw in 2nd week of testing was planned all along. And here I was listening to all those experts who said those parts were made in 6 days or so as a reaction to the Ferrari’s pace. 😏

  6. Seb’s statement:

    So far it was still tricky to follow and to overtake.

    A strong endorsement for F1 aerodynamicists – outwash is back!

    Considering the bulked-up cars of this era of F1, why not just put some fairings over the wheels and solve the outwash issue without skirting around the intent of the rules.

    Sure, there’s the tradition of open-wheel racing. But there was also the tradition of stick shifts, open cockpits without Todt Thongs, V10s and tobacco sponsor liveries. At least Ferrari carries on the latter tradition.

    1. The front wing change was never going to be anything else other than a small improvement. The main cause of being hard to follow is the amount of downforce. Compared to 2016 the downforce levels have more than doubled and f1 has never had this much downforce ever before. F1 needs cars with 50% less downforce and 100kg less weight. Getting the details on front wings correct so it hurts the racing less than it did a year ago is good and well but that is just fine tuning. Ground effects are not the magical bullet either as 60% of the downforce already comes from the floor. There are no magical bullets. Only things that do work is reduction and then fine tuning to get the most out of whatever level of downforce you have.

      Even if the effect is small it is still better than none. So far there is no talk that it is worse than last year which in itself is already a win.

      1. @socksolid: It is my understanding (which is often limited and faulty), that the new wing design was reduce outwash, which creates more turbulence for a following car.

        This f1s-new-2019-wings-wont-reduce-outwashing-wolff post here on Racefans said as much, to me and my little gaggle of assumptions.

        Keith wrote:

        New rules for next year are intended to outlaw the complex ‘outwashing’ designs which has been blamed for the difficulties drivers experience when they get close to other cars.

        Not that I disagree with having too much downforce since 2017. 2016 levels were a better balance between power vs traction, imo.

    2. ColdFly (@)
      6th March 2019, 7:51

      without skirting around the intent of the rules.

      Why not bring skirts back, @jimmi-cynic? And if you reduce the size of the wings, it will give you downforce with no outwash and very little dirty air.

      Not sure though if asking for skirts in the #metoo era is still allowed ;)

      1. @coldfly: Don’t ask for skirts. Ask for kilts, using your Coultard voice. Or if you subscribe to SkyF1, use your Di Resta voice.

        Of course if F1 does opt to dress cars in kilts, the skidplate must be removed for thematic accuracy. ;-)

        1. @coldfly:
          Of course if F1 does opt to dress cars in kilts, the skidplate must be removed for thematic accuracy. ;-)

          Thanks a lot for the mental images that creates first thing on a cold Tuesday morning! ;P

        2. @jimmi-cynic
          I hope you’re proud, because your comment had me spraying my coffee at the monitor.

      2. 60% of the downforce already comes from ground effects. Ground effects does not mean no dirty air. Adding skirts would make the cars produce a lot more downforce while also being extremely skittish and rough to drive. You can make the bottom wing of the car smaller to make it produce less downforce but that makes it more sensitive to inputs that can cause downforce loss.

        While making f1 more physical would be great but you also get the downside that ground effects aero is very finicky thing to work with. If you hit a bump mid corner for example the downforce levels can change drastically very quickly if you have a car with lots of ground effect downforce and skirts. Naturally on glass smooth modern tracks this is rarely an issue. Ground effects cars also require very precise control of the ground clearance as the ground effects work best on extremely narrow optimal height. This also means that other cars can effect your downforce levels drastically as dirty air can change your ground clearance. Also the last time f1 had skirts they ran very stiff cars to get the most out of it which meant the drivers were experiencing vision issues because of the vibrations caused by the rough ride. There are lots of reasons why f1 banned skirts.

        F1 has too much downforce. There is no way around it. Even nascar has trouble racing whenever they add more downforce and they have miniscule amounts of downforce compared to f1. Downforce makes cars faster but it always hurts the racing. Same with indycar and all single seaters. How you make the downforce matters a lot less than how much you make. More downforce = more dirty air. Different systems may produce that effect slightly differently but the outcome is always the same.

  7. COTD makes an excellent point about the number of races. If the season is too long it’s far more likely that people will skip races. I always thought 16 was the optimum number.

    Also, making the weekend more of an event, with more support races, is a great idea. Liberty once said they wanted to make each race into a festival. This would go some way towards achieving that.

    1. Sonny Crockett
      6th March 2019, 9:25

      Things have improved dramatically since Liberty took over, although they could still improve.

      The “F1 Village” that they now have at each race is far better with a proper F1 store and better facilities overall.

  8. The comment about Formula E bringing chaos to London is hysterical. I think this country is well practiced in chaos and a weekend in a 90% closed off site (are they using any public roads?) is hardly anything to cry about considering the farse that’s been going on for the last two years.

  9. I couldn’t agree more with the COTD, precisely what I’ve pointed out as well. The current weekend format isn’t broken, so no need to alter it and the current number of races most definitely is more than perfect from the POV of all the aspects be it revenue/income, exposure of the sport, anything, so no need to go beyond that figure either. Anything from the range of 19-21 (where the number of races has varied during this decade) is perfectly fine for F1.

  10. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
    6th March 2019, 9:56

    Considering how he drove in Japan and Monza last year , Vettel himself might also have some issues with overtaking…

    1. Considering how Verstappen drove in Australia, Bahrain, China, Spain, Monaco, Austria, Germany, Austin, Yas Marina, I’d say he’s got some more issues himself. That’s only overtaking and general driving. Ofcourse there was also plenty to criticize about his defending, often illegal, yet hardly (ever) punished such as in Azerbaijan, Silverstone, Italy, Japan, Brazil.
      In both instances I may have missed something.

  11. Who is Jean Tost?

  12. Seb feels no improvement.
    Leclerc, meanwhile, feels plenty of improvement….

  13. The solution is to have 2 races…
    -friday morning, saturday morning (and sunday morning) are FPs, QP, and 1 race of the first race.
    -friday afternoon, saturday afternoon and sunday afternoon are the FPs, the QP and the race of the other race

    or you can stay with the current situation: friday is open to everyone, satuday is FP, QP and race of first race. Sunday is dedicated to the second race.

    Here is how to get fruity with this:
    -since each team has 2 driver, each can be with only 10 cars (one driver focuses only on 1 race). A driver is assigned to 1 race by drawing lot on Thursday.

    -one race is with the usual direction of the track and the other race is the opposite direction of the track (which needs revamping a bit the tracks…)
    (it is really stupid to have only one track per circuit…)

    I think ideally, each race would be with 20 cars and 1 race is in the opposite direction of the usual race. Each race would be a long race.

    1. of course, the timetable is even more loaded when f2 and f3 runs too, but at least the audience will have plenty of things to watch…

  14. Everyone: Overtaking is too hard with the aero we have!

    FIA: Be quiet minions. Lets make the rear wing even bigger. And lets make a massive front wing that is even more sensitive to disrupted air.

    Everyone: facepalm.

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