Truth about the overtaking myth

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    Prisoner Monkeys

    Then cut downforce levels. Not only will this allow cars to follow one another better, it will also cut costs.


    Then cut downforce levels. Not only will this allow cars to follow one another better, it will also cut costs.

    Cutting down downforce levels isn’t going to change the basic traction rule. The car in front will always get on the power earlier than the car behind, but this advantage is much more clear in slow corners and harpins than in medium & faster corners. This still doesn’t solve the fact that too many of the Tilkedromes (Korea, India & Abu Dhabi) have a harpin/slow corner before their magical +1 km main straight which is suppose to produce tonnes of overtaking, and hence it fails, time after time.

    I can’t believe he doesn’t see this even after this strategy hasn’t worked out on all these occasions; and while I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, I’m bitterly disappointed that the Austin circuit too, has a slow acute corner before the long straight. Sigh, I’m afraid that once again, Tilke has made the same mistake.


    Regarding kinks. Many people might not realize how effective they are, drivers are far more likely to pull a banzai if there’s a kick before a sharp corner. That kink makes the driver in front reluctant to defend the inside line too much. You always think “I won´t lose 4 tenths going offline to cover a potential kamikaze move”, and when it happens, you´re passed without anything you can do, and even more, having to avoid the other guy running wide into you.


    There is also one such corner in Valencia – the very last one. However, there’s practically no passes at all, for there’s no straight leading there, but a series of flat-out corners with only one possible line throughout. If corners between 20 in 24 would be eliminated -corner 20 straight into 24- then the corner 25 would be a phenomenal passing opportunity. More so for being the last corner before start/finish line.

    However, to be honest, I actually do not want these high-speed corners to be eliminated. Having a bit of extra passing is always nice, but that complex of corners is what makes Valencia at least a bit challenging unique and gives it some character. Nonetheless, even so, despite the high speed corners I do remember seeing some overtaking being done there.

    Same could be said about passing happening at the Casino Hairpin at Montreal. I firmly believe the kink here helps as well.

    The theory might apply to Istanbul Park’s hairpin as well, where most overtaking maneuvers takes place, Turn 11 being the “kink”.
    Although IMO the kink should not be far from the hairpin, so the driver in the front commits to a certain line due to the very short time to traverse from the kink to the hairpin. And the driver chasing can take an alternative line.

    Disclaimer: I’m not asking for kinks everywhere on every circuit, obviously, but if tracks could have one kink at the end of a straight before a slow corner, you’d be surprised by the improvement in overtaking opportunities.

    Prisoner Monkeys

    Then what are you suggesting as a solution? Tearing up circuits and rebuilding them, at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars? And you’re proposing it based on one corner at Suzuka, completely ignoring the way that every corner affects every other corner on the circuit in terms of the requirements of the optimal car setup. Right now, your theory seems to serve no other purpose than to allow you to claim “I was right and Tilke was wrong”, even though you’re doing exactly what Tilke does in his circuit design – trying to break it down into a mathematical equation, whereby Condition A (a medium-speed corner leading into a long straight) plus Condition B (a tight corner at the end of that straight) will always equal Scenario C (overtaking). Ironically, you are ignoring the often-mentioned comment that the greatest circuits are more than the sum of their parts.

    The real truth about the “overtaking myth” is that you can’t do what you’ve just done and assumed that there is one solution for every problem, and that if every circuit was modified to include that solution, then it wouldn’t be a problem anymore.


    Uh, no. Now all we have to hope is that the FIA give us all jobs and 1% of Bernie’s $$ – Do you think Tilke or Bernie read these message boards? No thanks, the best we can do is suggest and present our personal new ideas.

    I’m writing on how and why I think is the best plausible overtaking sport that can be build, that’s all, nothing more. Frankly, to me it’s just frustrating because it is things like this which, for any serious motor-racing fan or F1 fan, are obvious, the designer doesn’t see. I’ve seen/read Tilke interviews, and similar to his talk about the Korean GP, he feels having a bunch of slow corners before a straight is actually the best way to increase the chances to overtake. However, based on what I’ve seen from every race held in Abu Dhabi, that simply isn’t the case, which almost leads me to question if Tilke even watches F1. I honestly don’t know.

    I think what Tilke has got wrong in his track design philosophy is that there are too often slow corners before long straights. I understand why it’s so often so, too fast a corner can ruin overtaking chances on a long straight as you lose downforce behind another car in that corner, BCN’s final corner/pit straight and and Magny-Cours’s first corners/straight to hairpin are good examples on that.

    But neither slow corners are the best solution to increase overtaking, it’s fast corners that enable you to gain speed advantage compared to the car ahead. Slow corners/corner sequences just lead to a drag race on the straight like Petrov/Alonso at Abu Crappy ’10. And in a slow corner, you can block the car behind so that he can’t get any speed advantage. Best solution is a medium-fast corner, like Junção at Interlagos. It’s a corner where a better car can have a significant speed advantage, yet it doesn’t lose too much downforce. Degner is quite on the edge whether it’s too fast, obviously aerodynamics have significant effect in that corner.

    But there’s currently one thing that enables overtaking even if the corner before the straight is too fast or slow, the tyres. If the car ahead is struggling with tyres, he’s got worse traction at the exit of a slow corner, and you can get speed advantage. That happened in Valencia this year, first laps looked like usual Valencia, because everybody had fresh tyres. But once some drivers’ tyres started to wear out, we saw lots of overtaking. But current rapidly-degrading Pirelli’s also enable overtaking after a “too fast” corner, if the car ahead has worn-out tyres, you may lose downforce and still get speed advantage. Maybe that’s why we saw so much overtaking in the hairpin after Degner this year, car with fresher tyres got sapped advantage for the straight.

    And yeah, maybe the kink affects too. Usually, most drivers are less likely to go defensive for the inside of a slow corner if there’s a kink before it. Why so, after all? If there wasn’t a need to, it’s a loss-loss-loss situation. You take a poor line through that corner and miss the apex, you get a poor exit out of the corner and you have dirt and debris on your tyres.

    Also, lastly, while I obviously I understand that Tilke cannot manipulate the landscape he is given, but regarding elevation change, it’d be efficient if the straight itself was an uphill climb for extreme slipstream effect, then the braking zone was downhill to allow braver drivers to out-brake the others.


    At least @Kingshark has real world evidence that backs up the basis for his equation.
    Tilke seems to have made his up out of thin air.
    I agree that you can’t, really, put a formula on what makes overtakes.
    Whether an overtake is going to happen or not depends on a gazillion parameters, but that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily wrong to assume that the formula; Medium speed corner – > straight – > hairpin would be the overall better base solution to aid overtaking, in comparison to tilke’s; hairpin – > long straight – > hairpin/chicane.


    Should be @prisoner-monkeys of cause.

    Prisoner Monkeys

    At least Kingshark has real world evidence that backs up the basis for his equation.

    I would not call that “evidence”. He has poitned to one corner on one circuit and said that because it is possible to overtake at that one corner, it should be possible to overtake at any corner if that corner was redesigned in accordance with his theory.

    Let’s consider the alternate, shall we? Turns 8 and 9 – the switchback – at Abu Dhabi. It was designed to promote overtaking. It had largely failed. Is this because the corner at the far end of the 1.2km straight that precedes it is a slow hairpin? Or is this because the sharp left that is Turn 8 is followed by a sharp right at Turn 9, which automatically forces an attacking driver to go the long way around his opponent once the cars have navigated their way through Turn 8?

    I myself am inclined to believe the latter.


    One corner one one circuit is still better, then no corner on no circuit in recent years : )
    That said, we do have more then just a single corner that does that. The last chicane in Suzuka would also somewhat fall in the same category. Of cause the corner preceding it is taken at the speed of sound, but its still a fast corner going into a chicane and it does provide decent overtaking.
    Another corner we could bring up is, the bus-stop in Spa. Again, very high speed as opposed to medium speed.
    Or in Turkey, T10 leading into T12. Where T10 is a slow/medium speed corner.
    First corner in Monza. Medium/fast corner followed by a long straight.
    Turn 5 in Hockenheim. T3 is more of a slow/medium speed corner.
    Catalunya, T9 going into T10. Medium/fast.
    Silverstone, Chapel leading into Stowe.
    Nürbürgring T15 leading into T1.
    Spa, again, T5 (eau rouge) leading into T7.
    Not all of these are equally good for overtaking, but all of them does provide overtaking on a regular basis but none of them contains a really slow traction zone before the straight.
    But its true that the situation of Abu Dhabi could be helped quite a lot by redesigning the chicanes. They don’t really allow a second car to hang on, alongside.

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