Video: Rev limiters preventing overtaking

Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Mercedes, Indianapolis, 2007Rules brought in to reduce costs are making it harder for drivers to overtake.

Engine rev limiters were imposed this year to reduce engine failures.

But it’s clear from looking at videos from the United States Grand Prix that it’s made it even harder for one car to get past another.

Fernando Alonso catches the slipstream from team mate Lewis Hamilton and draws alongside him.

But just as his moves along the other McLaren the note of his Mercedes engine audibly flattens as it reaches the rev limit:

With the two cars travelling at the same speed there’s no chance for Alonso to pass. Even if he had been on the inside of Hamilton he would have found it difficult to pass.

Once again it seems the governing body have hurriedly implementing a regulation for one reason with no thought as to what side-effects it might have.

Related links

Tags: / / / /

Advert | Go Ad-free

10 comments on Video: Rev limiters preventing overtaking

  1. This is the perfect time for the introduction of the “boost” button they hav talked about for a little while – allowing the rev limit to increase for a few seconds would have allowed Alonso to get past. And similarly Lewis could have tried the same technique next time around to regain the lead.

    Obviously it’s use would have to be limited somehow, so driver’s couldn’t use it all the way round every lap!

  2. That’s the first time I’ve seen the in-car footage of Alonso’s passing attempt. It’s very revealing and you are undoubtedly right about the rev limiters. Alonso went through the banked corner faster than Hamilton, closed very quickly down the straight and shot out of the slipstream to be side-by-side almost immediately. In previous years he would have been past before the corner but no, suddenly both McLarens are doing exactly the same speed as Alonso hits the limiter and there is just no way the Spaniard can contest the corner, being on the outside. Alonso’s frustration becomes that much more understandable (and also his confidence that he can make up the ground on Hamilton in the second half of the year – all he has to do is make sure he gets pole every time, since his starts are better than the rookie’s).

    I don’t believe that the boost button is the answer, however; that smacks of artificially trying to fix a situation that should not have happened in the first place. As in all these scenarios, the best solution is just to get rid of the rules that make racing impossible (and try again, if you really must). Mighty Max has already admitted that the manufacturer teams just circumvent his attempts to bring down costs by spending it in other areas, so I can see no reason to retain the rev limit.

    What’s that, 20,000 rpm engines are not relevant to road car technology? And since when has F1 been based on that consideration? Oh yes, that’s right – ever since Max threw his lot in with the manufacturers, who don’t give a monkey’s about the quality of the racing as long as they can somehow get to that top step of the podium…

  3. Sorry, Keith – that developed into a bit of a rant, didn’t it?

  4. the whole engine freeze and rev limit rule is stupid. the cost saving will never happen, whatever the rules. the money teams save on engine development are spent on aero. more aero, more turbulence, more difficult overtaking and that on top of the effect of the limited revs this post is talking about … so, instead of improving overtaking the rules go exactly the opposite direction …

  5. The main advantage of having rev limiters in practise appears to be increased engine reliability. However, it doesn’t do anything for performance and appears to make it easier to drive the cars at the limit. I’m still unsure about whether it decreases overtaking in itself (the engines the cars in a given team had were presumably equal and therefore eventually had this effect too), but F1 should be about performance and challenge. Boost buttons in A1GP mostly helped the defenders, and won’t help solve this issue. Removing rev limiters might.

    As for the cost, Max seems determined, in league with the manufacturers, to implement such restrictive rules that any cost-cutting is counteracted by the money needed to research deeply into the limited areas available. The cost-cutting rhetoric is exactly that, and has been for years.

  6. The reliabilty has been greatly improved this year especially – I doubt Lewis Hamilton would have had the start to his career that he has had if he had been racing in a McLaren last year!

    Unless someone comes up with a solution that retains the reliability element but combines it with more power and no rev limiter, then I fear it is here to stay.

  7. You’re probably right, Craig, but personally I’d rather watch races with the occasional engine blow-up than the no-passing processions of 2007.

  8. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd June 2007, 19:46

    There appears to be a problem with the video above – you can also view it at the end of this clip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7LX0PSinA4

  9. I hate to repeat the obvious but as corny as the ‘push-to-pass’ button may seem, situations like in the video above are the reason why it was implemented.

    The offense is that FIA think drivers cannot be trusted to conserve their motors.

    The exchange, as I think it would’ve played out with a ‘pass’ button, would have been that Alonso passes Hamilton, then Hamilton passes Alonso back ad infinitum until the the time on the button is exhausted or they reach the chequered flag, depending on how the rule is implemented.

    I agree that the engine freeze does not work. All FIA are doing is deciding where the millions are overspent, instead of controlling the spending. We -are- discovering which teams aren’t any good at developing aerodynamics, however…

    A little off topic, but I think for as “easy” as the US GP track is supposed to be, there were an awful lot of bold overtakes in the back of the field; maybe we consider making the tracks easier instead of more difficult? Just a thought.

  10. I agree with you too Clive – even when a car was leading by miles at least there was still a certain amount of excitement over whether it was going to actually make it to the finish line. Especially if it was a McLaren!

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.