F1 has its closest competition for years but will new rules ruin it in 2022?

2022 F1 season

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The 2021 Formula 1 season has undoubtedly been one to savour, and not just for the championship duel between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

This is the most competitive field F1 has enjoyed for many years, certainly since the beginning of the V6 hybrid turbo era in 2014.

It is reflected in the fact a dozen different drivers have stood on the podium from eight different teams. More than half of the field have taken turns leading a race – the most since F1’s last season with V8 power eight years ago.

The closeness in the field has come about because F1’s regulations have gone without major change for four years. The most significant recent change in the rule book occured in 2017, when the cars and tyres were widened, yielding significant increases in performance.

Hamilton and Verstappen have been hard to separate this year
Since then the midfield teams have steadily made gains on the ‘big three’ of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari. The latter enlivened the competition between 2017 and 2019 by taking the fight to Mercedes (albeit too often ineffectively in the latter season) before slipping back into the midfield following an FIA investigation into its power unit which prompted rules clarifications.

The latest drastic overhaul of F1’s rules was due to arrive this season but was postponed by one year due to the pandemic. Instead teams were required to keep their existing chassis with limited changes including aerodynamic modifications which – intentionally or otherwise – hit pace-setters Mercedes harder than the rest.

The field therefore closed up further still this year. The graph below shows each team’s average deficit to the quickest lap time in all race weekends since 2016. In 2021 five teams (half the field) are within one percent of Mercedes compared to just one last year and two in each of the four preceding seasons:

That performance gap explains why we’ve seen closer fights for the places immediately behind Red Bull and Mercedes this year, and why Alpine and McLaren have been able to grab opportunities to win (as Racing Point and AlphaTauri did last year).

Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Monza, 2018
McLaren have slashed their deficit to the leaders since 2018
But another significant change in the rule book is coming next year. Not only are the aerodynamic rules being overhauled again, but new wheel sizes are being introduced and suspension systems greatly simplified. Will F1 therefore see the field spread out again, much as it did in 2017, depriving fans of the competition we’ve enjoyed this season?

This is almost certainly going to happen to some degree. Every team on the grid which haven’t been regular contenders for victory will see next season as an opportunity to close the gap to the front runners. The potential for some to get it right and others to get it wrong is undoubtedly there.

Recent changes in the F1 rules could play a role as well. This year it introduced its euphemistically-titled ‘sliding scale of aerodynamic testing restrictions’ – a performance-balancing system for aerodynamic development which allows those who finish in the lower places to spend more time in the wind tunnel or on CFD runs than their more successful rivals.

That’s good news for the likes of Ferrari, who finished last year in the bottom half of the field, and therefore are permitted a greater resource allocation than the majority of their rivals. Of course whether they or anyone else can capitalise on that advantage is up to them.

But there are reasons to be optimistic the field won’t spread out too far. The all-critical power units will remain unchanged over the coming seasons. The increasingly mature devices have largely converged on performance and they are about to be frozen in specification.

Poll: Will Formula 1’s new cars for 2022 prove a change for the better?
F1’s much-maligned prize money structure was also revised this year, eliminating the controversial bonuses previously enjoyed by top teams which allowed them to sustain their place at the front of the field. F1 now has a budget cap which limits the ability for teams to spend their way to success.

For better or worse, the new regulations are considerably more restrictive, reducing the possibility for any one team to gain a huge advantage. The unintended one-year delay in their introduction has provided an added opportunity for the sport’s governing body to weed out any double diffuser-esque ‘loopholes’ or unintended consequences.

More significantly, whether F1 produces good racing is not simply a function of how close the cars are in performance. It’s also a matter of whether the cars can race closely together.

In this respect the current machines are clearly inadequate. Outside of the first laps of races or restarts, close wheel-to-wheel racing is not possible because they are so sensitive to running in turbulent air.

That is the very problem the new rules for the 2022 F1 season were designed to address. If F1 has successfully tipped the balance away from being hugely dependent on tyre performance differences and DRS to generate overtaking, it may not matter too much if the field spreads out.

But perhaps most importantly, the long-term benefit to the racing should be there. Therefore, even if the field spreads out again next year, as it begins to close up again we can hope to enjoy a better standard of racing.

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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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66 comments on “F1 has its closest competition for years but will new rules ruin it in 2022?”

  1. Yes, new rules always do. Duh.

    1. This is the lazy take, however not surprising that it is the predominant view here given all the cynicism on this site. All powerunits next year should be on similar footing if we can asume Ferrari’s new PU will be able to compete, which I think it will. With the new regulations, there are not that many oportunities to have a huge advantage over the competition. I think many people forget how big the Merc advantage has been the last several years. You don’t need the cars to have similar performance, you just need them to be close enough so that the effect of non-performance variables (drivers, crashes, red flags, penalties, rain, strategy, pit stops, etc.) is big enough to limit the final effect of those advantages.

      The argument that the grid will be more spread out is not one based on what is actually taking place but just lazy cynicism.

      1. I’ll take what you call “lazy” bets over something as unlikely as ten engineering groups coming up with equally well-performing solutions any day of the week.

        1. The question posed is not will all teams have equal machinery. The question is will the competition be closer in 2022 than this year. From an engineering standpoint the answer to this question is most likely yes. Equal machinery is not necessary to get closer competition for next year and you have confirmed that those claiming that competition will not be closer usually defend their position with lazy analysis.

          1. May I refer you back to the post you’re replying to, if only to keep you from further assaults on this poor strawman?

            ten engineering groups coming up with equally well-performing solutions

          2. Have to agree with Sam here, and I particularly agree with the last two paragraphs of the above article which I think sums up the answer to the question posed in the headline nicely. No close competition such as we are having this year will not be ‘ruined’ in 2022, and even if there is a spread apart it won’t likely be by much and it won’t likely last for long. Certainly nowhere near 7 years, nor anywhere near to that degree.

        2. I’ve got to agree with Sam as well. Yes, every rule change has resulted in 1 or 2 teams coming off far better then the rest, however, this year should limit that. Whether or not it does, we will have to see, but I actually think that’s pointless to argue about.

          The problem with the 2014 and 2017 rule changes isn’t that 1 team dominated them. It’s that no other team was able to catch up (until the 2017 rule changes) and no other team has even broken free from the midfield. This isn’t something that’s happened before, give me any rule changes and most of them happen in the year of the changes (McLaren and Ferrari went from midfield teams to front runners in 2009 for example), and if they didn’t it didn’t take long for them to do so.

          I don’t think it matters if 1 team dominates for 2022, as long as the gap between front runners and midfielders is closer and able to be overcome. Add to that, we could have better racing although I’m personally not of the opinion that that really matters, not for F1 anyway (if you want good racing, watch any other series, F1 has never had good racing and that’s not the reason why most people watch it). I am happy to sacrifice 1 year to see those changes and a much needed step back to normalcy for F1. Although, I am also of the opinion that Sam is correct and even if 1 team has a clear advantage and will win, the FIA has done everything in their power to stop a major domination from one team.

          Also, it’s not a straw man if that’s your full rebuttal which Sam countered quite well, add more to your rebuttal and they’ll have more to argue against.

          Reply moderated
    2. Isn’t there provision that things can be banned after a few races if proving to give a huge advantage to prevent 1 team running away with it? I thought this idea was put forward not sure if approved? If it was there will not be a double diffuser, exhaust blown diffuser type advantage. Budget caps and the best teams getting less wind tunnel time also makes next year quite different than past large rule changes.

      Reply moderated
    3. @proesterchen is correct but that’s how it’s always been when new regs were introduced, sometimes it more than other times but new regs always separates and gaps out the field when the teams show up with a new unproven design concept. Every team comes up with their own direction and plan on how to tackle the new regs. Someone will get it right and others can be way off. Generally after some races or a season or two, lingering teams catch up and the gaps get much tighter (at least we hope so).
      I just hope one team doesn’t get it completely right and all the other teams linger, like Mercedes did in 2014. That brought out a lot anger from non-Merc fans (I don’t blame them) and many new rules were enacted to help consolidate their domination. A spec car race series with all the same cars that drivers race with create very tight, even racing and the best driver wins but that’s not what F1 is all about.

      I’m looking forward to next years cars and seeing who nailed it. I foresee a lot of learning and developing throughout the grid as the season goes on. It will also be a very different kind of racing compared to this seasons racing and perhaps not as good but we shall see; fingers crossed.

  2. The closeness in the field has come about because F1’s regulations have gone without major change for four years.

    Not to mention that most teams have done little or no development work at all on this season’s cars…
    This pattern is a repeat of previous major rule changes also, where the final year of a rule-set is subjectively the best of the lot, as teams shift their attention and development focus elsewhere.

    Yes, we can expect a sizeable field spread next year, although probably less than usual (of a new rule-set) as there is a decreasing window of opportunity for teams to get it wrong, thanks to the proportional increase in technical regulations.

  3. “has its closest competition for years”
    …but still not close enough, and still a fundamentally flawed car concept.

    Like savouring a McDonalds burger after a week in the bush, and pretending it’s a premium steak dinner.

    *Grumpy old man*

    1. I don’t see how it can get closer. The spread from pole to last place is closer than spec series like Indycar. This is a really good championship.

      1. @darryn I agree

        In the realm of F1, this season has been one of the very tightest seasons ever. I forget how many different drivers have been on the podium this year but I think its the most in over a decade+. The cars throughout the grid I think are the closest they ever been in F1? (except haas)

        We need to applaud and enjoy the racing we’re seeing this season.

        1. @redpill The problem isn’t how close they are, but the fact that no team has been capable of breaking past the midfield. That last couple of tenths is impossible to bridge and teams have shown that. The 2014 and 2017 regulation changes are the only ones where large teams haven’t been able to bridge that gap, not even manufacturers have been able to do so.

          It doesn’t matter how close it is if only 2 teams are capable of building championship winning cars and only 1 has been successful at doing so for the past 8 years.

          Also, this season is what we see every time we are just about to have a regulation change and due to the token system is somewhat of an anomaly. I wouldn’t be surprised if this year was a repeat of 2020 if it was just another normal year.

          Reply moderated
          1. @mp4-bob Bob, I agree but in every sport, seems to have the same issue. Especially in the sports where development and innovation is welcomed.
            You can also look at F2, everyone is given the exact same car to race; there extremely little what teams can do to the car other than chassis tuning for particular tracks but certain teams (Prema & Uni) with more experienced engineers and budget have given them the ability to find on avg. those extra tenths and dominate.

            I think examples of Alpha Tauri, McLaren and even Williams being able to get on the podium on merit is a nice testament and great example of the tighter competition as a whole. I think we can say that McLaren has been challenging the top two compared to any previous mid group teams and personally I think there is now a solid top 4 group with McLaren in it; they have over twice as many WCC points as Renault in 5th place (leader of mid-group) and theyre ahead of Ferrari; thats significant. How long will they be able to improve or fall back in results remains to be seen but the agree the top 2 are locked.

            I’ll bet my lunch that we will be seeing the same type of close racing in 2025…..and type of leaders.

          2. @redpill

            You’ve inadvertently supported my point. Also, your comparison to spec series such as F2 and F3 is moot. I’m not sure if you watch them or not, but yes top teams such as Prema usually end up winning due to various factors. However, it’s not like F1 where you’d be considered crazy if you say it’s likely that someone other than the top teams (Red Bull and Ferrari this year) would win. In F2, you go into each race in each weekend not knowing what teams will be on the podium and who would win. You just expect certain teams to be strong and get good points overall.

            The fact that you can say that certain midfield teams being able to get podiums on merit is a testament to better competition actually ironically supports my point. The fact that this is a testament to better competition is due to it being so long since this has been common, and the fact that it has been so long since it’s been common for midfield teams to get podiums supports my argument that we’ve been long overdue for changes in regulations to reduce this gap. If I remember correctly, 2012 is the last year that this was commonplace. You can argue 2013-2016 was similar, but that’s realistically only due to 1 team capable of winning, meaning in each race a midfield team would get at least 1 podium.

            Look at 2009, at the start of the season McLaren and Ferrari were midfield teams, by the end they were front runners and by 2010 they were fighting for both titles. Since 2014, we have not seen 1 team bridge this gap (but we’ve seen 2 teams drop from the front actually), all we’ve seen in 8 years is 2 midfield teams return to normal and fighting for the podium on merit. The fact that this is now the new standard just supports my point. Also, it comes the year before a rule change which notoriously makes competition closer, this year is an anomaly. Last year is a better representation of how close the midfield would’ve been to the top teams if we kept these rules, and back then midfielders weren’t able to get podiums on merit (bar McLaren at Monza).

            These rules may cause 1 team to have an advantage for a year and dominate, however, as long as that advantage can be bridged over a year then it is worth it in my opinion, and that’s not the case with these rules since it’s been 8 years and no serious inroads have been made (the first second is much easier to bridge then the last tenth). The 2017 rule changes were a slight improvement in reducing the gap between teams, hopefully, these rules bridge the gap between the backmarkers/midfielders and the midfielders/frontrunners. Also, your logic of rule changes leading to 1 team having an advantage is inherently flawed. That’s not been the case for a lot of changes (2017, 2007, and 2005 for recent examples), and usually, when it is the case it’s only for 1 year. I’m assuming you’ve only joined F1 recently since you seem to think this is the norm and what we should be aiming for?

          3. Bob, you’re exactly my type of grumpy 😆

          4. @mp4-bob I have more than just watched F3 & F2, what your’e alluding to in those series does not remotely hold water and what you see on the result sheet is directly caused by fabricated handicap results with slower teams & drivers gifted with inverted starts. Prema & Uni and to a lesser extent Carlin are clearly the dominate teams with Prema having a very distinct edge despite being a spec series and they’ll most likely will continue to do so for the next several years. You’re welcome to your opinion but before you reply, please spend some time working in the paddock and at the races before saying otherwise.
            Talent pool, assets, budget, operational methodology and chosen design direction taken will always create a hierarchy down the grid (always has, always will); especially in F1 and you will see this again happen next year, with 1-2 teams being clear ahead of the grid in the beginning of season, if not dominate because they got it more right.

            PS> Been watching F1 since ’77 and was first in the paddock @Spa-Francorchamps ’87, seeing first hand Mansell physically attacking Senna in the paddock while Prost won.

  4. Yes, I believe the field will spread a bit more, and then will converge again but, this time, with cars than can actually engage in racing.

    A price worth to pay. The future of the sport is not just a year or two away.

    1. What makes you think they will be able to engage in racing anymore than they do now?

      1. @darryn You don’t think the drastic reduction in the dirty air effect is going to make for much more close combat more of the time? I certainly do. Surely you get that the cars and particularly the tires very much limit how much close racing they can do before said tires go off? If you think this is a really good championship, then I say wait until the new chapter, and we certainly won’t be waiting 7 years to get to a good championship again. And the championships will be even better.

      2. What makes you think they will be able to engage in racing anymore than they do now?

        Possibly the fact that an entire teams worth of aero engineers have been handed the rule book to facilitate that very reason????

  5. They may have gone 4 years without a “major” change but the reason this year is close is largely due to a significant change that affected Mercedes more than Red Bull combined with the fact that the rules are changing next year so Mercedes haven’t spent much effort looking for solutions. If that wasn’t the case, Mercedes would still be dominating.

    We’ll see what happens with the 2022 regs – perhaps it’ll actually be competitive or perhaps one team dominate for the next era and we’ll have easy, uncompetitive wins like we’ve seen far too much of this time round. All we can do is hope.

    1. To be fair, it’s not just RB vs Mercedes that’s referred to as close, the whole field in general is closer than normal than before.

      Also while I agree that Merc losing relatively more downforce than RB/non-AM due to the emergency safety aero rules has badly affected them, keep in mind that RB’s new engine is also a big factor in their WDC success this year.

  6. I still see Mercedes and Red Bull leading the field with significant margin. I want 4-5 teams battling for the win on a regular basis.

    1. It’s the biggest single aero change in decades so I suspect it’s a crapshoot to be honest. Doesn’t mean it will be 4-5 teams fighting for the win but we don’t know which teams would be fighting for it.

    2. That almost never happened in 70 years.

    3. Nor will it ever happen. Spec series like Indycar still have dominant teams.

  7. If a team does find a magic “double diffuser” next year I’m sure they won’t show it until the last day of testing. Even then their advantage won’t be long lived, perhaps they can exploit it until the summer break before their closest rivals have their own version on track. No team will go “all in” with their budget spending early in the year, I expect it will be a slow burn with bits and pieces showing up as the competition unfolds.

  8. Even if somebody was to find a double diffuser type advantage i’m not sure they will even get a chance to race it given how Ross Brawn has been clear that anything they see a loophole that they deem will have a negative effect on what they want the 2022 rules to achieve they will ban it immediately.

    The F1 of innovation, Technical freedom, Differing concepts is done & we are now entering the Indycar+ era of overly restrictive regulations, similar looking pseudo spec cars & as many gimmicks as Liberty can get away with.

    The sad part of it from my point of view is that those of us who are against the Indycar+ concept Liberty are pushing F1 towards have nowhere else to go, There is no real alternative to what F1 was/is so those of us who have supported the sport for the longest period & who enjoy what F1 has always been about are essentially been pushed out of it.

    The younger/newer fans will likely never get what us longer time fans got. They will likely never get the buzz that we got from somebody turning up with a new idea, New innovative thinking, A radical design, Something that just makes you stand there & go ‘wow’ because the ‘wow factor’ is about to be taken away which I think is a real shame because over the years it’s that wow factor that has drawn so many into the sport & got them to stick around.

    If it was purely about the racing (As the Indycar+ supporters like to claim) then other categories which already feature ‘better’ racing would surely be just as popular if not more so. But no it’s F1 as the pinnacle of the sport, The fastest, Most visually thrilling cars with many of the technical developments & innovations over the years which has consistently been the most popular category over the years.

    I honestly believe that regardless of what the racing is like going forward that F1 is going to decline because it’s going to lose so much of what got it to where it’s at & what has kept so many hooked to it over the years.

    1. “ The closeness in the field has come about because F1’s regulations have gone without major change for four years. ”

      You can’t ignore the major aero change that fundamentally affected diffuser design and performance between low and high rake cars.

      I’m not sure Mercedes gets caught without the dremeling off a chunk of floor off the cars. Not that this was necessarily foreseeable.

      Going to a clean slate with closely spec’d cars could give us Indycar or alternatively it could give us 2009 when someone steals a March with a key loophole, ahem, innovation and cleans up.

      1. Probably, but because a team they didn’t like were winning, people kept complaining to get things changed, failing to understand the law of diminishing returns. Merc bringing out a car 0.5s quicker than anything else would teach them a lesson.

        The 2017 changes have been a disaster for close racing anyway, and the 2019 changes made next to no difference. If you just leave ot for a while, everyone else catches up. Amazing how short-sighted this fanbase is sometimes.

        1. Yeah I agree with that sticking the same rules will tend to help in the long term.

      2. Is March getting back into F1?

        Reply moderated
    2. @roger-ayles I have to agree.
      As far as I’m concerned all they really needed to do was bring in the budget cap and some general parameters for cars (max fuel, no of front wing vanes, weight etc.) and let the designers loose. They could even have specified a maximum turbulent wake value to take care of the dirty air problem.
      I see some argue that F1 “had” to have this “reset” back to a spec engine & chassis so that things could be loosened up after a balance is struck but I just don’t see it happening.
      My guess is that some of the engineering geniuses that have lived and breathed F1 will probably lose interest if they can’t actually apply any of their creative juices (or they do and their designs get banned immediately) and will seek opportunities elsewhere.
      I’m looking forward to next year – really keen to see just what hits the tracks from each team, but must admit to some trepidation that we’ll see indycars dressed up a F1 without much variation.
      We’ll see but I fear my interest (and investment) in F1 may be coming to an end.

  9. I’m also hopeful the upcoming changes won’t cause spreading as much as traditionally through the budget cap, wind tunnel time, & PU development freeze, so the field should be close-ish already in season 1, but we’ll see.
    Following ability matters the most, so hopefully, this target won’t fail.

    1. I forgot, fairer & more even prize money distribution.

      1. They fixed that this year I believe for the most part. And budget caps help a lot too.

        1. @yaru Indeed. More balanced distribution, budget cap, & CFD are all in place already, so they directly impact next season, followed by PU freeze from next year onwards.

  10. I wish they would change the colour of that concept car. Either that, or put some Colgate sponsorship on it so there’s a reason for it looking so naff…

    At least the shape looks a lot better with the versions the teams have released with their real liveries on it.

  11. Therefore, even if the field spreads out again next year, as it begins to close up again we can hope to enjoy a better standard of racing.

    No because there will be a new rules upheaval again as soon as converge is about to be reached.

    Reply moderated
  12. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    5th October 2021, 15:35

    Just curious, is it fair to say that the fact that the competition is the closest could be a result of the budget caps?

    1. Probably not, most of the development of the car was spent in the budget less era. It might have some effect but not enough to pull close this much.

      1. @yaru @freelittlebirds
        No impact on this season, correct.
        Next season, yes, as those cars will have been designed, developed, and built under the budget cap.

  13. The point of next year’s regs changes is not exactly to replicate the close competition that we have in 2021 – it would be welcome but that’s not the main issue. The point is to solve the chronic overtaking problem that none of the previous regulations did successfully and also bridge the massive budget gaps between the big-3 and the rest of the teams (that none of the previous regulations even tried to do).

    The problem with Mercedes’ dominance is that they had a massive engine advantage locked for the first 3 seasons combined with a massive budget difference to their nearest customers that enjoyed the same engine. After that, Ferrari briefly caught up and threatened them a bit (until they were forced to run a legal engine last year) and Red Bull spent a lot of time trying to nail their engine with Renault & Honda, to actually take the fight to Mercedes.

    Next season, all the engines will be frozen and will be more or less equal, the budgets will not go through the roof – so logic says that most teams will be close to each other (and even if they aren’t, they would be able to catch up quickly). Plus if the main point of the regulations works, we’ll fix the big dirty air/overtaking problem and that will result in better racing.

    1. @black 100% spot-on, COTD worthy.

    2. That would be correct if Mercedes were the only team running the Mercedes PU. But they’re not.

      The dominance of Mercedes is everything to do with the design of the car and Lewis Hamilton. The PU is much less of a factor.

      1. Are you joking, the other teams running a Mercedes PU were Force India and Williams for whom every year was a do or die scenario. The lack of reliability and power deficit was the core reason for other major teams to be not able to compete for championship. Ferrari tried with a illegal engine and finally RB can show its potential with the right engine on its back.
        Not taking anything away from Mercedes for developing such a great engine, but as a fan of F1, I have had enough of Mercedes dominance. 2021 is the best season since 2012.

        Reply moderated
  14. It’s fine if they do. The rules needed changing, these cars need changing. Red Bull being able to fight for wins doesn’t mean the dirty air issue is solved, the tire issue is solved, and it still is next to impossible to do legit overtakes on most circuits.

    Rule change is long overdue, and they need to make sure we do not get another period of seven seasons where there’s one team getting it right and the rest being unable to catch up no matter how much they spend and how talented they are.

    1. @sjaakfoo Agreed and well said. It is indeed hard to imagine another 7 year run of domination such as we have just seen, particularly with the homogenization of the power units, the more restrictive technical regs, and the better financial situation. I do think the top teams will remain so but to a lesser extreme, so they should be closer to each other as should lesser teams be able to knock on their door, and they and new teams seeing some light at the end of the tunnel for a change. Particularly I’m just ultra stoked to see what I am envisioning as a much more driver vs driver series, and thus a driver ‘dominating’ (small d) by sheer talent vs a car dominating (big D in Mercedes’ case). e.g. We have known for years and years that in order to win the WDC a driver almost always has needed the WCC car, or at least a very very close second place car in the WCC. I envision that there will be much greater chances of a second place car in the WCC being good enough for a very good driver to win the WDC.

      1. That would be a good thing, maybe even worse than the 2nd best car if they’re close enough.

  15. Dark Schneider
    5th October 2021, 19:40

    Fia F1 2021 prototype will win all the races, because Brawn designed it =^^=

    Reply moderated
  16. Wouldnt one of the reasons that the field is closer now be exactly because there is a rule change and some teams apparently slowed development down (like Mercedes) while others did more this year, seeing it as an opportunity? I guess this doesn’t answer the question but maybe something to think about. I mean, the teams have had the rule change over their heads for two seasons now so maybe that has had an even larger effect in bringing the teams together.

  17. The new car is too big for overtaking on tight circuits like Monaco or Hungary.

    F1 is about to become even more processional

    1. It’s the same size as now

  18. I wonder if, with the association HAAS have with Ferrari, and HAAS clearly focused on next year earlier than their counterparts, if Ferrari stands to benefit in some way?

    Given the wind tunnel/CFD and financial regulations that have been in effect, the extra run time HAAS have will allow them to have quite an advantage in the development race.

  19. Closest fight? You mean 1 RedBull that occasionally keeps up with the decade long dominant team? Well only if it is judged from the perspective where we are coming from in recent years, you can call it progress I guess. And a congratulation is in order for the F1 PR team for creating this illusion.

    1. Well only if it is judged from the perspective where we are coming from in recent years, you can call it progress

      Isn’t that literally the definition of progress, otherwise how could you measure progress without looking at where you started from?

      1. Sure, but you can differ in the amount of time you go back and reflect the current situation against. ‘Recent years’ is one of them, but so is the 80’s.

  20. We see this every time with rule changes…

    If now Ferrari win 6 years un a row, everyone will be tired of their dominance by the end of year 1.

    Then on the other hand, while competition is good, racing not so much. Passing is hard or DRS at best of times.

    We only get good racing in mixed conditions or top driver moving up from the back of the field.

  21. Ofcourse, the field will be spread out more.

    Hopefully the cars are harder to drive next year, but can follow each other a lot easier.

    You will have more emphasis on driver skill, and more opportunities to act on someone’s mistakes.

    The better drivers will then naturally come out on top. And we could get more spectacular races.

    Reply moderated
  22. It’s inevitable. Whenever F1 starts looking good, they change the rules. They never let things settle down long enough for us to enjoy great racing. That’s the main weakness of FIA management. It’s almost as if they think: “This isn’t looking so good; we have to separate these teams again.” ;-)

    1. That is the trend we’ve seen. Typically the field converges over time. But I guess innovation is a large part of change as well. And in this case the overtaking really needed to be tackled. Introducing drs just screams the need for regulation changes.

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