F1 teams concerned over passing; maybe a survey will help

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Reading an article about the Formula 1 regulations and how they may be preventing passing, I am reminded that the concept of passing is still very delicate in the expectations department depending on who may be discussing the racing element. F1 hasn’t been a prolific passing series and yet some of the dramatic moments in history have been when a key or critical pass happened. That’s to say, it isn’t prolific but when it does happen, it’s usually for big gains and can be very rewarding for fans, drivers and the teams.

The concern now is that the new cars create a higher amount of disturbed air that it is difficult for trailing cars to even follow let alone pass even if they are quicker than the leading car. An article at Autosport has Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul lamenting the inability to pass that this season could represent.

Their comments are perfectly fine and they’ve been around the sport long enough to not only see what’s happening but to anticipate what may happen as well. However, I found Red Bull’s Christian Horner to be a little more measured in how the sport may approach this issue when he said:

“We have to reserve judgement [on overtaking] after two or three races,” he said.

“Historically there’s never been a lot of overtaking [in Australia].

“Let’s wait for China and Bahrain, which are two of the more easier circuits to overtake at before drawing any judgement.

“The positive [from Australia] was the drivers were pushing all the race.

“There wasn’t a lot of fuel saving going on and not a lot of tyre saving going on.”

It’s been one race and while all the earmarks are there and the teams knew the increased aerodynamics of this year’s car was always going to challenge passing, there is a circuit element to this as well.

Chances are, harder tires and a lack of passing means this year could see a return to passes made in the pit stops and one-stop strategies all year long. The question is, what will F1 do to thwart this processional aspect? We also know how Ross Brawn warned of knee-jerk reactions.

Some have argued lengthening the DRS zones but I found Jason Swales and Will Buxton’s idea of making the detection zone longer. Instead of a one second detection zone, make it two seconds. This would be that a car within 2s of the leading car can use DRS. Normally it is limited to 1s but expanding that may be a simple improvement.

This still means that DRS would be the only major hope of inducing passing this year and ultimately, that’s a gimmick that has to go.

There was another fan survey and while Motorsport.com was proud of the response rate, I am not taking F1 surveys anymore. Sorry, but I’ve taken them for the last fifteen years saying the same damn thing over and over again. The results have been misinterpreted by the GPDA at times and then the F1 Strategy group ignores them. What’s the point? I think it’s terrific that Motorsport had such a good turnout though, I’m not slating them for trying, but ultimately the desired changes rarely match the hidden agendas and machinations of the sport.

As such, doing away with gimmicks and constructs is a resounding fan desire but if the cars can’t pass each other this year, then gimmicks are about all we have left in order to make that happen.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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10 Comments on "F1 teams concerned over passing; maybe a survey will help"

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The fan surveys have long been irrelevant to the Powers That Be. While some team bosses may openly complain about this new lack of passing caused by the new specs, nothing will change through the season because the majority see nothing is wrong with the state of the sport…on track.

Zachary Noepe
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Zachary Noepe

I’d be more hopeful. I think the fan surveys have been ignored by Bernie – he’s gone. Say what you will about the folks from Liberty, they care about fans (not because they’re lovely people, because they’re greedy). I expect a little more interest in what people think, I can’t imagine Chase Carey telling everyone at Silverstone ‘you should go to a real grand prix sometime I don’t know why anyone comes here’. New day, could be better, I’m hopeful.

Salvu Borg
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Salvu Borg

‘New day, could be better, I’m hopeful” like I said many a time before, once the onehalfthecancerofF1 left in the sports gets out the door, most of formula one problems will follow him out that door.

Salvu Borg
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Salvu Borg

Improved overtaking was never at any point one of the key objective of the new car rules.

jakobusvdl
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jakobusvdl
The sooner Liberty Media pick up the discussion about how they are going to define what they want F1 to be, and how it needs to change, and how they’re going to make those changes. On the fan forums we just keep going around looking for the silver bullet solution that will make F1 ‘great again’. I don’t think there is such a thing, and we light up on a topical issue, argue about how to fix that, and then cycle on to the next issue. It needs some big picture thinking, and some leadership – step forward Todd, F1… Read more »
Salvu Borg
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Salvu Borg

JAKO, You effected by the water in Whakatane district?.
LM can only express what they would like F1 cars/races to be like, what they want doesn’t count.
These latest F1 CAR CONFIGURATION, has created a power to weight ratio and power to aero downforce ratio problem, that can only be solved by either Increasing the power output of the PU or reducing the aero downforce, or reducing the weight of the car.
The power to weight ratio is 100kg more than it was in 2013.

jakobusvdl
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jakobusvdl
Thanks Salvu, we’re on the South Island so just getting the tail end of all that rain, but its been a rough week for lots of folks on the North Island, and the folks in Queensland the week before. There is no doubt that the Hybrid cars, and now this new configuration are getting a bit porky, 642kg in 2013, to 722kg this year, both including driver, but excluding fuel, and apparently most teams aren’t making the minimum. That does make it more remarkable that these heavy beasts can match the lap times of those earlier cars. I guess is… Read more »
Zachary Noepe
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Zachary Noepe
Goes to show, I think, how hard it is to manage F1 to produce a pleasing product. The ideas which have been discussed – simple standard wing for all teams, cheaper simpler engine similar to past ones, etc. seem likely to produce close racing and allow for small teams, yet the cars they’d produce would be some sort of bastard love child from the union of a vintage class and a spec class. Is that the pinnacle of motorsport? I guess it is if watching racing on track is motorsport, and there’s a strong case that’s exactly what it is.… Read more »
Salvu Borg
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Salvu Borg

“FUEL LIMITS/FUEL SAVING/TEAMS UNDER-FUELING”.
The following might interest some, According to Pirelli Wintax simulation this GP (China) would require 108KG of fuel.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

That’s the problem, F1 involves a whole bunch of conflicting aspects and competing participants. It’s not just Ross Brawn who has to be smart to sort this out, Chase Carey, Sean Bratches and Ross Brawn have got to be brilliant, to balance those conflicts and bring the participants together.
It is going to be fun, and frustrating, to see it play out.
I suspect you’re right that we’ll be going towards a spec car driver series, which may be entertaining, and cheaper, but far less interesting for techy types.