Albert Park in Australia hasn’t always made the best passing track but the iconic circuit is a terrific location for the Australian Grand Prix. The FIA introduced a 3rd DRS zone for last weekend’s season-opening race and Pirelli introduced seven total tire compounds in an effort to increasing passing opportunities but with all the effort, the race still proved pass resistant.
F1’s technical boss, Ross Brawn, agreed there was a lack of passing despite these changes and said this is one element that the owners are looking at to change.
“Until we take a structured approach to the problem, we won’t really make any progress,” said Brawn.
“One of our aims, which we are looking at with the FIA and the teams is that, for 2021, we want to have cars that allow drivers to really fight one another on track.
“To that end, the FIA and F1 are carrying out an aerodynamic research programme with two car models, both in the windtunnel and using CFD.
“We need to evolve a car design that achieves close to the level of performance we now see but permits wheel-to-wheel action.”
I often think of all the details that have to be agreed to during these critical nogotiations between teams, owners, regulators, sponsors and promoters and there is nothing easy about what has to be done. If Liberty Media can get this all completed and a new Concorde Agreement in place (which I would be surprised if there even is a thing such as the Concorde Agreement since that was a Ecclestone-era notion and Liberty aren’t keen to keep Ecclestone things) I would be very impressed.
Regulations over engine, power unit and chassis design are one set of complications. Prize money distribution, historic team payments and FOM cost increases are all in another bucket. Then there are the FIA and track owners with massive contract and desire for cheaper sanctioning fees and lower ticket prices. Not to mention all-new broadcast packages.
Of all of these issue, aerodynamic changes could, and I say could, be one of the easier things to reach agreement on with the teams. Aero is a black art and an area of big gains through relatively low costs contextually speaking.
Brawn says the fans are a driving force here.
“Formula 1 fans want to see a better show and overtaking is the most exciting and spectacular element you can have on track,” he added.
“The whole Formula 1 community must make an effort to satisfy this need because the fans are our biggest asset.”
Now, you all know how I feel about passing for passing’s sake. That’s why I hate DRS. I do not consider F1 a prolific passing series but it is true that removing the aero penalty of not allowing cars to follow close to others is a move in the right direction. Will the team’s agree? This is their secret sauce. Think of Red Bull and Adrian Newey…this is where his merlin-esque skills differentiate the team from others.
Hat Tip: Autosport