Will 2017 changes increase overtaking?

The FIA’s Jean Todt is adamant that the 2017 regulation changes will be solidified in April and while that may be welcome news to teams who are looking for direction on their 2017 chassis design process, it also may give fans something to be excited or outraged about for 10 months.

As it is, we know there has been a lot of talk about the increased speeds and Pirelli were concerned about the tire specs being able to handle such loads. There is also some concern that it will merely turn into more aero to achieve these speeds and that will ultimately make for worse racing and more dirty air.

The FIA’s Charlie Whiting says that shouldn’t be the case:

“We’ve had countless meetings with the technical directors of every team, and we have had a whole range of proposals from what appears to be a huge amount of downforce to a very low level of downforce,” explained Whiting, about the process that the FIA has gone through.

“But it is all based on the premise that we will have a significant increase in mechanical grip. So what we have ended up, inevitably, is somewhere in the middle.

“It is incorrect to say that the anticipated lap time improvement will all come from downforce, because it simply shouldn’t be.”

“The whole idea is that half of that will come from mechanical grip, and the other half will come from aerodynamic downforce.

“One of the things that we have been talking all along is the fact that we must not make it more difficult to follow another car, and that has been one of the underlying principles. So, we’ve done I believe the best we can, given we have to take everyone’s views in to account.”

I hope he’s right because once again, everyone and their dog know that increasing aero downforce only creates more inability to trail a leading car and reduces passing. Charlie feels that the mechanical grip will be seriously increased and providing half of that speed.

I wonder if that’s enough? Is there not a way to reduce aero even more? That may change the style of racing too much but it seems it might be worth a try? What do you think? Should F1 start looking elsewhere and move away from its aero dependency? If so, can mechanical grip deliver the type of racing we want?

Hat Tip: Motorsport

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Andy Gibson

“we must not make it more difficult to follow another car” – and there in lies the problem. The #1 aim of these changes should have been to make it SIGNIFICANTLY less difficult to follow another car.

F1 is doomed until the people running actually know what strategy means – dumbed down, agreed at the last minute, fixes to problems that have not been properly analysed or understood is not a strategic plan.

Tom Firth

Agreed, nothing will change until they decide a path, if that is aero reduction, or radical change, need to follow it through, otherwise it’s the Indycar problem.

Tom Firth

I seem to recall them saying would be completed by the end of February… 2017 plan is going to be 2018 plan before they eventually confirm what the plan is.


This image always gives me a chuckle when we’re talking about FIA rulemaking:
comment image%3Fresize%3D600%252C400&key=clu4S4Lq-fn0lSxZpwRJ0Q

Tom Firth

See that’s not the image that ever comes to my head. Mine is a huge table for the important people, a childrens table for the teams that aren’t in the strategy group and a few others peering in through the window in the cold, begging for food (Money)

Bacon Wrapped Sushi

Seeing as Charlie says the difficulty to follow is a big deal gives me hope. They got it right with the increased tire options.

Jason Smith

Until they take measures to monitor and limit the amount of aero downforce produced (both MIE and I have described how elsewhere), any measures to limit it will be temporary at best.

Jason Smith
Jason Smith

MIE’s take (the superior of the two): https://theparcferme.com/editorial/if-i-were-fia-president/


Issue a standard wake reducing low downforce rear wing to all of the cars. Make it look more aggressive than Indy 500 wings and you’ve got something that will not only reduce downforce, but should also reduce the wake vs. no wing at all.

I am not an aerodynamicist, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn a few years ago.

Tim C.

I have to believe there is a good middle ground somewhere between mechanical grip and aero grip. These F1 engineers are a smart bunch. I hope the FIA will listen carefully to these individuals and come up with something the teams can work with. But, given what we’ve recently seen out of the FIA, I’m not holding my breath that they’ll get it right.


I hope for the best, really I do, but physics are physics. That simple fact makes it hard to imagine that any formula so dependent on huge front wings and rear wings+diffusers is going to successfully come up with a way of having the close nose-to-tail racing they seek. But at least they clearly recognize the problem, and that is the first step to a solution.

Paul KieferJr

So, we’re doing the “Twelve Steps” program?


“So what we have ended up, inevitably, is somewhere in the middle.”
I am not surprised.


more overtaking =/= better racing.


I guess my racecar taste isn’t as sophisticated as it should be.

I just wanna see WOT, spins and offs, high-performance, man and machine (and not “strategists” and engineers), driver-dependent and competitive racing.

Perhaps too pedestrian for the World Motorsport Council and the Strategy Group.