Alonso: too much focus on overtaking

Admittedly Fernando Alonso’s comments about overtaking find a safe harbor from me as I have, to the point of becoming a droning idiot, been moaning on about DRS for ever since it was introduced. I’ve also said many times that I am a bit of a heretic in the Formula 1 fan community because when I took those many surveys like millions of other people, “more overtaking” was not high on my list of things I felt F1 needed to improve.

For me, DRS was an answer to the fans clamoring for more overtaking but it was also a way to avoid the elephant in the room which is aerodynamics—the Holy Grail of F1 designers—and find a way to allow these cars to somehow overtake each other at the end of long straights.

Fernando thinks we may be putting the focus on the wrong thing:

“But definitely nowadays it’s very possible that the car that is running 16th or 17th can overtake a Mercedes out of the pitlane with newer tyres and pull away.

“That’s difficult to explain to the people in front of the televisions.

“The overtaking is probably not as real as it was before. You don’t need to be inspired by something or to choose the right moment in the right place.

“If it’s not in this corner, you wait another corner and you will pass because they are five seconds slower.

“I don’t think we need to put a finger on one thing to improve the show because when we were having those races with two or three overtaking moves we were asking for more overtaking to improve the show.”

I agree with him—no surprise there. It’s not prolific overtaking I want to see, it’s relatively competitive cars that are able to race and pass each other. Alonso uses the example of Spain 2005 but I would go back a little farther in the late 90’s when McLaren and Ferrari were locked in an epic battle and the driving skills of Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher often times made the difference if either car was slightly off song in setup.

There wasn’t complete parity between the cars but they were close enough and the design of the cars, while certainly impacting each other aerodynamically, weren’t so tweaked that the wake was massive and the trailing car would chew up its high degradation tires just trying to close in on the leader.

If relatively comparable cars can race close together and allow for driver skill to overcome slight deficits, it would be far closer to what I would hope for from F1. To be fair, that’s asking a hell of a lot from the series and it is easier to just create HD tires and DRS to provide some semblance of passing than it is to really roll the sleeves up and come up with the strategy that would allow for this type of racing—not to mention the teams would not be all in agreement.

Perhaps the new chassis designs for 2017 will be approved and effective…at least that’s what I am hoping for. I think Alonso is too.

Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT

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jiji the cat

Where are these fans?

Negative Camber

Well, they are out there and in large numbers if you look at the results of all the surveys over the past 2-3 years. Dunno.

MIE

I think that the surveys asked the wrong questions.

jiji the cat

I’m not sold on it either

mini696

I agree.

JackFlash

The Surveys were written specifically to answer the Questions that
Formula 1 regulators and owners ‘wanted to be asked’, and not allow the
Elephant in the Room to be pointed out.

Just ASK Grace about that
EVIL of intentional Survey Manipulations mandated by the Corporate
entities paying for the “right result”.

“There… in the corner. Eeeeek !!! An Elephant in a Hot pink toutou.”

charlie white

When the mob rules, the mob is not always right. I would love to see the new rules written in such a way that it would eliminate DRS completely. That’s probably asking too much.

mini696

Problem is the people take “more overtaking” as an interpretation of “closer racing”.
The FIA read it literally.

Sophia Aragon

DRS is a problem because it is restricted. Same problem with KERS and everything else. If engineers and drivers had a free hand with their development and use, racing would be far more interesting. And, btw, those that crave overtaking should take a look at ovals. That’s what they are for.

charlie white

Take away the restrictions and you’ll have just 6 cars on the grid with 5000 in attendance watching the races. Every form of racing has some form of restriction.

Sophia Aragon

Restrictions are what ensures that only a handful of teams can win. Take all restrictions out (except safety and a couple other common sense ones) and off-the-wall ideas will flood F1. Most will not work. But some will.

charlie white

Your logic is seriously flawed. I would like to know an example of such reasoning. Restrictions-free racing does not exist in this day. I don’t want to watch a 6 car grid in F1.

Sophia Aragon

Consider the prohibition of turbo engines on account of safety until, suddenly, they became mandatory. Consider the prohibition of certain developments at critical times during a season based on twisted interpretations of technicalities (e.g., mass damper) while others clearly dangerous and later prohibited (e.g., double diffuser) were allowed for “friends only”. The list goes on. Consider how KERS and DRS are mandated and regulated. The fact is that all of this nonsense has a clear political motivation. F1 sits at the top of motor-racing. There is no need for class delimitation beyond a handful of reasonable considerations. Anything else is… Read more »

MIE

I don’t recall the turbos being banned for safety explicitly, it was just as a way to limit maximum power. This is still limited through the fuel flow rate, so safety hasn’t been compromised by mandating the current power units.

Sophia Aragon

Read back on the narrative of the 80’s. The major reason given at the time was safety for this and many other prohibitions. Of course, it all came down to controlling racing for the new tv audiences that Ecclestone was wooing.

Anyway, those regulations were crap and consequently resolved nothing. Cars have continued getting faster and here are turbos again except now they are mandatory. Why not a free hand? Because it would mean not being able to control the “show”.

Bolivar

This is the show you love, and I just can’t recall a time when ut has been any different. F1 was politicized the day it started to hit audiences around the world. Hence, engine regulations, aero changes and limitations, along with a spice in the overtaking ability has increased the fan base. Ultimately, we pay the bill no??

Sophia Aragon

No, my friend. I love racing. The show can go fvck itself. There are many competitions whose existence is not dependent on an addictive relationship to marketing. The bottom line, just so we understand each other, is that regulations aimed at controlling the competition will continue flipflopping in paradoxical and contradictory manner while always claiming that they are fundamentally necessary even though they are and will be no more than a ruse to architect the script of a tv show. F1 is not going down the drain because “audiences don’t understand the technology” (they never did). F1 has become crap… Read more »

MIE

Which particular record are you using to judge that Vettel is the best?

Sophia Aragon

You can start with:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sebastian_Vettel#Formula_One_records

Personally, btw, I absolutely do not consider Vettel the best on any account. Yet, on paper, on the record, he’s beaten the best in F1 history. That’s what F1 produces today. And Vettel is not the only driver that’s been hyped beyond comprehension. His situation is no exception. It is the rule.

MIE

Those records indicate that he happened to be racing at a time when the season had more races than previously and the points awarded were greater than any time previously. With 21 races this season I would expect that one of the Mercedes drivers would beat the points record for the season, If you are going to use statistics to compare drivers then normalize them to take account of the number of races in a season and the points available. Vettel is very good, you don’t win four championships by being average, but the fact that he isn’t considered the… Read more »

Sophia Aragon

My point exactly. Vettel is not considered the best driver in F1 history and, moreover, he is not even consider the best of the current field.

Yet, please provide the full list of F1 drivers who at 28 have “accomplished” more than Vettel. You haven’t got a thing, have you?

Thus, my point. Todays’ F1 is a sham.

And, btw, I mentioned Vettel but the same applies to the bunches upon bunches of champion heroes today. The record says they are the bee’s knees. But not one serious fan takes the record seriously. It would be ludicrous.

MIE

If you are going to use age as the determining factor then no one will ever beat Max Verstappen. Meanwhile in the real world, Vettel has won an impressive 26.1% of the F1 races he started, this is currently just ahead of Hamilton (25.1%), although that picture is likely to change by the end of the season. However this is behind Stewart at 27.3%, Schumacher at 29.7%, Clark at 34.7% and well behind Fangio at 47.1%. Many don’t appear to rate Vettel because he was perceived to have a dominant car for his championships. This was only true for one… Read more »

Sophia Aragon

You continue to miss the point. By your numbers, Vettel and Hamilton are already as good as the few that might be considered the F1 greats by their accomplishments over an entire career. This somehow satisfies you. This makes me laugh. F1 has not been a competition for more than 10 years in any recognizable form. The manufacture of fictitious champions is, I contend, among the reasons why folks are disillusioned with F1. You are of course welcome to continue comparing Vettel and Hamilton with Fangio. They might just be made to beat the Argentinian to your delight. Of course,… Read more »

charlie white

No one will argue that the FIA have been balanced or fair when it comes to its own rules interpretation in the past or present. And if your issue is the “green” aspects of F1, that’s fine but it is trying to reflect the eco-concerns of the public. In its present state, it will never completely open its regulations and let the engineers play freely. In fact, it never has done that.

Sophia Aragon

Not without irony, it has just been announced that engine regulations have been somewhat relaxed for next season. What was accomplished racing-wise then? Not a thing… other than to control the sport for the benefit of a handful.

Wahoo

as long as they have allowances for front wings the size of a 4×8 sheet of plywood and rows of cantilevers, nothing will change………