Sam Michael: Closer racing in 2009

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Sam Michael
Nick Heidfeld commented on his initial observations regarding the new 2009 regulations and movable front wing. Nick said that he felt it would improve overtaking and make the act of following other cars a better proposition.

Traditionally when following other cars, an F1 car lost critical access to the “clean” air and negative lift properties keeping grip levels at a premium. This prevented slipstreaming and ultimately overtaking; something very much desired by F1’s fan base. To those ends, Max Mosley made regulation changes allowing a movable front wing that the driver could change on the fly to give their car more negative lift. The idea was to eliminate the loss of grip when following other cars in their slipstream as it were. It sounds if Max may have gotten this one correct with the endorsement of the Overtaking Working Group of the FIA according to Sam Michael.

“It was something that we thought would be a little tuning aid, but having gone through the first test from the first try out in Portugal, the ability to follow other cars through high speed corners was massively improved,” said Michael.

“A lot of it was because traditionally when you followed somebody you got a lot of understeer because you lost front downforce. Now, you can correct it all using the front wing flap.

“On some tracks it won’t make too much difference. At Melbourne probably the only corner you can use it is onto the start finish straight, because I don’t think the straights are long enough, but at some tracks it will make a big difference for sure.”

I’ll be surprised and disappointed if it doesn’t work.

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