Track or car design – what’s to blame for F1’s passing problem? (Poll)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Follow-my-leader at the Circuit de Catalunya
Follow-my-leader at the Circuit de Catalunya

Two F1 car designers have claimed F1 track designs need to be changed to increase overtaking – instead of making changes to the cars so they can follow each other more closely.

Do you think tracks need to be changed more to create overtaking opportunities? Or does the problem still lie with the cars?

What's to blame for poor racing in F1?

  • Car design (15%)
  • Mainly car design but partly track design (31%)
  • Car and track design equally (18%)
  • Mainly track design but partly car design (24%)
  • Track design (11%)
  • No opinion (1%)

Total Voters: 2,172

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Sam Michael, technical director for Williams, said:

If you look at somewhere like Abu Dhabi, there are some good aspects to the circuit, but there are fundamental mistakes. There wasn’t good enough racing there and the organisers need to rectify that before next year. You can’t keep blaming car design.
Sam Michael

Michael makes at least one point I agree with: the need to get rid of chicanes. It used to be that chicanes were something track designers used as a last resort when they had to slow the cars down before a dangerous section with little run-off area. When a track like Abu Dhabi is designed from scratch with a virtually unlimited budget it should not have chicanes in. They are unsightly and discourage overtaking.

McLaren engineering directors Paddy Lowe shared the same sentiment as Michael last month when he said:

If you go to a circuit and you ask a driver where he can overtake he will say, ??there?s only one place where I might be able to do it and it is here.? All the drivers will agree on that same corner. So if you follow the logic of that, we should be asking why all corners can?t have the features that drivers can so easily pinpoint to improve opportunities.
Paddy Lowe

I’m not entirely convinced. We’ve had 12 years of Hermann Tilke designing supposedly overtaking-friendly tracks and results have been mixed at best.

And when car designers start talking about adding even more slow corners to F1 circuits I have to put my fingers in my ears. Modern F1 track are already infested with slow, flat, uninteresting corners. F1 isn’t just about overtaking – it’s also about the spectacle of fast cars tackling the world’s great corners like Pouhon, Maggots, the Suzuka Esses and Istanbul’s Turn 8.

Michael blames “tracks like Barcelona where nobody overtakes” – but he’s forgetting that when the Circuit de Catalunya was first used in the early nineties it was considered good for racing. This was where Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell had their unforgettable wheel-to-wheel sprint down the start/finish straight. It was because the cars had much less downforce 18 years ago.

I think the chief problem is still the huge amounts of aerodynamic grip F1 cars generate. I don’t see how two technically savvy individuals can go to race weekends where lower-grip GP2 cars regularly put on better races than F1 cars on the same circuits, and then conclude the track are at fault.

The restrictions on car aerodynamics need to go further. But with none coming at present I don’t expect to see an improvement in 2010.

What do you think is to blame for poor racing in F1? Or do you think the amount of overtaking that happens is about right? Cast your vote above and have your say in the comments.

More on overtaking

120 comments on “Track or car design – what’s to blame for F1’s passing problem? (Poll)”

  1. 100% car design for me.

    Paddy Lowe’s comment should be taken with a grain of salt. The drivers are only identifying the corners where they can overtake under the current car regulations. Give them a car with no wings and fat tyres and they’ll soon be picking four or five spots where they can overtake on the same track where, today, they can only identify one!

    1. 100% car design for me.

      100% Agreed.

      1. Agreed here too, but not quite 100%. That doesn’t excuse most of the new circuits being totally boring though.

        1. Keith,I think you should have added one more option to the poll.


          1. Keith,I think you should have added one more option to the poll.


            lol… You mean, Vettel with a rock in his hands?

      2. 100% too

        1. My 2 cents,As I posted in the forum a short while ago:

          Brawn took off like a rocket and left the rest of the field at the first of the season.Everyone behind them were having battles.The rest of the field were outfitted with double diffusers and we were back to square one.I applaude Brawn for thier clever way of finding the loophole but,it totally underminded what the Overtaking Group worked towards.Racing slicks,no winglets,no refueling,,no traction control….we are getting close to better battles…NOW BAN THE DOUBLE DIFFUSERS!

    2. Another 100% agreement !

      Until F1 grasps the nettle and gets rid of the massive effect Aero produces they’ll never get really good racing.

      And I know a lot of GP2 fans who think the F1 teams are like the Emperor with his new clothes. Everybody outside F1 can see the problem but F1 teams CAN’T or WON’T.

      Come on guys….get real !

    3. It’s diffuser related mostly, the diffuser has more of an effect on cars following due to height of the ‘dirty air’.

      Any disturbance coming off the rear wing on a 09 car is negligible. The air of the high rear wing would be mainly upflow and much higher than the front wing.

      The DDD has less drag on car but then has big trail of turbulence after the car, this is exasperated by the angle of diffusers, and how it mixes up with lower body work…to top it off the air is then pushed down on to ground before then producing a low LONG trail of uplifting air at a height that will interfere with the front wing of the cars following.

      So… low down, longer trail of uplifting dirty turbulent air from DDD (more so than std 09 diffuser) that will come directly in contact with the front wing of car following and in turn cause understeer and a host of other aero dramas for following cars.
      If we reduce the diffuser of even the angle it’s allowed to work at…

      Don’t forget to thank Brawn and Co for the dirty 09 air…

      The rear wing is not the problem.

  2. Reading you article here keith, I am inclined to the conclusion that the engineers will look elsewhere than their own technical developement, because they would rather have the expensive, cutting edge tech, [read jobs] than admit to a simpler design would improve the racing, for me, take away all the extraneous aero, work on ground-effect, to maintain the high speed, make the drivers ultimately responsible for extracting the best out of a car…

    1. work on ground-effect, to maintain the high speed,

      Ground-effect disappears when bottoming occurs – it is very dangerous. With a ground-effect dominant car, that can mean the car losing almost all of its downforce instantly, leaving the driver helpless to correct the problem and rendering him just a passenger in a careening, out-of-control missile.

      Ground-effect should not be brought back.

      1. Thanks Hakka, in its infancy it was dangerous, but with the massive advances in cfd, and much greater understanding of all things aero, perhaps with some clever thinking, ground effect could be used in conjunction with some clever bodywork?

        1. It could indeed. I was going to write something similar, so I’m glad to see I’m not alone! American racing has employed ground effects for years by opening up the floor of the car for development. If this was done in combinations with reducing aero from bodywork and wings (such as the awful endplates and additions we see now), and adding four blocks to the corners of the main chassis’ underbody to prevent bottoming, racing would be improved in leaps and bounds.

          1. Agree on having some form of ground effects and less reliance on wings, the way it is set up now is that there’s still too much air being thrown out of the path of cars following (see Ruben’s trailing smoke from an oil leak he had for an example, the smoke was literally pushed yards off the track).

          2. and adding four blocks to the corners of the main chassis’ underbody to prevent bottoming

            Debris will have the same impact to ground-effect as bottoming, and you can’t stop debris from going under the car with the four blocks you mention.

            CFD will certainly remove pitch-sensitivity and porpoising problems, but no amount of CFD will solve the fundamental problem with ground-effect dominant cars, which is the suddenness with which it can disappear, leaving the driver completely helpless.

            It’s a single point of failure. With wings, you can distribute the failure between the front and the back and hence leave some vestiges of downforce even under failure scenarios.

            (such as the awful endplates and additions we see now)

            The very endplates you disparage in F1 help with generating vertices that seal in the low-pressure zone under the car and increase the existing ground-effect in F1 cars.

    2. I’ve always wondered why F1 won’t reconsider ground effects. Yes, they were dangerous and unpredictible in the day, but ground effects aren’t affected by turbulence from the leading car as much as wings are. The FIA could bring them back with regulations, such as a specific cross-secion of the venturi tunnels. Here in the states, IndyCar/ChampCar/whatever have used ground effects safely for decades. In the late ’90s early 2000’s ChampCar produced some exciting wheel to wheel action without a turbulence problem. (Now their fuel rules were insane, producing a string of 15 cars that didn’t have the fuel to race each other!)

  3. Jonesracing82
    10th November 2009, 7:13

    barcelona ’91 was wet also, which helped the Senna Mansell duel!
    the cars could overtake this year UNTIL the bloody diffuser were put on the cars, watch Melb, Sepang and to some extent china (even tho it was wet) again, then loom at Bahrain and rest of the season……
    in Melb we even had non kers cars overtaking kers cars!

    1. Yes but in Melbourne we had a massive disparity in the tyres with one set that simply did not work properly.

  4. Jonesracing82
    10th November 2009, 7:17

    also, the “flip ups” we now see once again on front wings is also to blame! they creat more aero grip than any other part of the car and r the most effected by turbulance, yet there’s NEVER any restrictions on how many elements they can have on them! add the turning vanes which were meant to be outlawed as well at the stupid wings/mirror mounts they have and there’s the issue, none of this was used in the early season and we had passing galoer in the 1st 3 races, then the diffusers etc came in and nothing again

  5. Car design. With an effective racing formula, any track could put on results that we typically see at Sao Paulo or Spa.

    1. I agree with Paul. All tracks have corners, therefore all tracks have passing opportunities. The problem lies in the fact that the turbulence from the car in front prevents the following car from getting close enough to make a move on the approach to a corner.

      Somehow the air leaving the back of the cars needs to be cleaned up, so that following cars can get close enough to make moves.

      I think part of the problem is also physiological. If the drivers hear enough times that a track is no good for passing they might start to believe it. Look at Kobayashi he hasn’t had enough time to believe that you cannot pass in a formula 1 car, and he’s pulling off all type of exciting moves.

      1. I think part of the problem is also physiological

        Its a very important point that you mention over here Pinball. At the end of the day its the driver who overtakes, not something else.

  6. Tires are problem / I dont know if banning refueling will ad more overtaking becuase if a car that weights 630kg cant overtake a car thats 50kg heavier we have a problem. Ok i know that heavier cars will produce more driver mistakes but its still a problem. I dont know how the tires strategy will change but i think that maybe most of the drivers will start with hard tires and with a light car go on the soft ones / I just hope that all of those changes will produce better racing but dont now what will be the results

  7. the OWG’s focus seems to have been on minimizing the damage done by driving in a car’s wake. i think it’s obvious that emphasis should be placed on reducing the dependence on aero in the first place.

  8. You point out that GP2 races have much more overtaking on the same tracks – that’s true, but that’s partially because (inevitably) the driving standards are not as high as in F1 so mistakes are more common. The fewer mistakes drivers make the harder overtaking will be!

    Also F1 technology helps remove driver errors. One example – because of the semi-auto gearboxes we have now it’s impossible to miss a gear. So one of the major causes to overtaking moves (the driver in front missing a gear) vanished.

    We need to make F1 cars a bit harder to drive as well… a consdierable drop in downforce would help with this I’m sure!

    1. yes indeed, the semi-auto gearboxes with paddle shifters and no gears will be missed as it will be upshift and downshift in sequence.

      we need gated H-shifters back and foot clutch too!

      this will indeed slow down the cornering speed of the cars as drivers will face problems upshifting when cornering compared to current upshift without problems where both hands are on steering wheel.

  9. For sure its car design 100% As and more aero went on the cars then less and less overtaking happened, also refuelling gave the drivers no incentive to overtake on the track, am glad that’s banned again.

    Jenson has proved this year that if you’ve got the balls and the skill you can still overtake in today’s Formula 1. He showed us that on many many occasions this year, throughout the year, even against the KERS cars.

    1. There are a few exceptions of course, but the general mentality of drivers is that you cannot overtake on a Tilkedrome. Half the problem arises when teams themselves discourage drivers from overtaking.

      “Why overtake when you can pass him in the pitstops ” mantra was what won Schumi all those races.

  10. Prisoner Monkeys
    10th November 2009, 8:24

    Relax regulations on circuit design. Tighten regulations on car design, especially around the front wings. Back when the likes of Villeneuve and Arnoux were scrapping for position, the cars had very simple front wings. Not ones that looked like the front end of a combine harvester. Get rid of the winglets and appendages that generate downforce – make the cars difficult to drive and lss dependent upon aerodynamic grip and then we’ll see some killer races.

    1. I agree 100%

    2. Please DON’T tighten design regulations, just change them. They’re already far too tight, there’s hardly any room for innovation. The cars are basically designed for the teams, all the engineers can do is add little appendages here and there, maybe slightly change the shapes of some surfaces.

      The whole point of F1 is that it is not a spec series and that there is both competitive driving and engineering.

      1. i agree chimp. dont tighten the aero rules leave them as they are. the fia needs to loosen up the mechanical rules, there is no leway to introduce something new, and if you do the fia will ban it after two races, but the encourage it.

        at the begining of the year they said “we have tightened up the aero deveolpment so engineers can focus in making mechanical inventions to gain an advantage through mechanical thinking” yet the only development we have seen this year is aero.

        take mclarens brake steer, worked well, was safe but was banned because other teams didnt have it and it gave mclaren an unfair advantage. now how does that fit in with “we want teams to develop new mechanical technologies”

  11. I think its car. There are so many compenents on the car now which are close to perfect the the human element is a less significant variable in the race car. I don’t like these ultra efficient brakes, I also hate the fact that the start is done with clutches. The reason racing was so much more exciting in the past is because these technological advancements where not present and this meant the human aspect was more significant. Sure there may have been crashes as a result of this but there were also touches of brilliance. By removing these ultra efficent compenents which contribute nothing to the show you will be more able to identify the natural, raw talent, something which has been difficult in recent years. He who has the fastest car prevails currently.

    1. start done without clutches*. Sorry

      1. Terry Fabulous
        10th November 2009, 10:49

        Regardless you make some very good points.

        Many overtaking moves in the past were aided and abeted by a driver error from the man being overtaken.

  12. Aero is the issue. F1 is no longer the absolute pinnacle of technology – it’s been watered down over the last few decades with ground effect, turbos, active suspension, ABS, traction & launch control, 2-way telemetry, etc, all banned in the name of safety – which is fine.

    But given that why must we continue to have the same poor responses to poor racing thrown at us who ultimately pay for F1? Aero is the problem. So the solution is to reduce the reliance on aero for grip. This idea is not new but is still ignored by F1 rule makers.

    Two options:
    1. Remove the big front wings and go with the CART oval track type of front wings and a degree of ground effect. If the FIA can give the teams a common centre section for the front wing then they can also give them a common undertray to use. Ground effect is not that badly affected by following another car (which is why GP2 has on track passing) and it would reduce costs. Simple.

    2.Get rid of wings altogether. MotoGP has great racing and sorts the men from the boys and they have no wings and lots of power. Remove the wings from an F1 car and then see who could drive them. Teams would then invest their aero budgets into reducing drag, which would have positive spin offs for manufacturers trying to reduce drag on their road cars (how many mainstream manufacturers have cars which produce downforce? That’s right – none). Braking distances would be longer, giving drivers more opportunity to overtake. Cornering speeds would drop dramatically, making all tracks instantly safer as the run off would be far more than needed.

    Seems an easy fix to me…

    1. how many mainstream manufacturers have cars which produce downforce? That’s right – none

      plenty do. not “drive it upside-down” amounts, but some. forget the porsches and corvettes, my 2006 infiniti (nissan) has some underbody fairing that negates lift at the rear wheels.

    2. but then noone will watch f1. they’ll pay far less to see a dtm race or v8 supercars or any other sports car category. the point of f1 cars is that they go round corners at exceptional speeds. i know i wouldn’t be interested in f1 cause it wouldn’t be f1. it kind of defeats the purpose to dumb it down to that level. i’m not an engineer/physicist so i won’t pretend to know the answer but slowing the cars down dramatically will cause f1 to lose its appeal, especially for casual fans.

      1. Mark Hitchcock
        10th November 2009, 15:39

        Tom has a point. Something needs to be done but any major changes to car design run the risk of alienating people and making F1 just another single-seater series. Make F1 cars much slower and they lose their appeal.

        This overtaking thing is a difficult problem to solve while keeping the essence of F1. I’m tempted to say that if you need overtaking then why are you watching F1? Don’t expect F1 to change, go watch something else.
        But the cars do need to become harder to drive again. Eau Rouge and 130r should be scary, difficult corners, not flat-out non-events.

  13. I voted for mainly car but partly tracks,
    they need to focus to change more on the car less on tracks. Starting on the heavy downforce generated by the car…

  14. 51% track design
    49% car design, i would say

    on some of the new tracks like Valencia or Singapore the non-ideal line (without any rubber) is so slippery, and the walls are so close, that noone would take the risk, and i just can accept it.
    besides that, if you’re driving behind another car for a while, the tyres will get grainy.

    i think F1 need tracks like the Paul Ricard, with a relatively wide asphalt, asphalted runover reas instead of sand, for easier recovery from a mismade overtake, and finally, that track has sparger features, so they can create a full wet track in a moment, and i guess i don’t have to say how radically more overtakes take place in wet conditions.

    1. you say we need more places like paul ric, with large runoff? look at abu dhabi! there is more runoff at that place then there is track. and it was a completely boring non eventful race.

      take albert park and interlagos, not much runn off but good racing, because these tracks were aproaced by a designer who did not come along and say “ok how can i make this challenging and where can i make over taking oportunities”, when track designers designed those tracks the didnt have that idea in there head and they came up with a place to race which was there main intention. look at tilkes tracks, they are way to over thought! he aproaces a track with inspiration from the old nurburgring (he has said that all his tracks have been inspired by the green hell many of times) he analises the topography of the land and then he attempts to model a track onto that before the track even starts to get drawn up in plan.

      track design is way to developed in my opinion, what was the designer of the nurburgring inspired by when he thought up the track layout? nothing! they just built that track onto the land when they got there, and it is the best track in the world, and it doesnt have any super corners like turn 8.

      spa for example. look at eau rouge. thats just an old brige that went across a river before the decided to start racing cars over it, now i can garentee that when the bridge designer came along he did not look at it and think how he was going to build the most spectacular corner for racing cars to drive through he just came along and figured out how to get across the river! it just turned out that it is now the best corner in f1. i will put money on it that if tilke was the bridge designer he would have come along and put a chicane right before the bridge, to “try make good racing”

      ive drifted off topic a bit but i hope you can see my point. the cars have had alot of work, so why not put some work into the tracks, oh and please ban tilke from doing that work

  15. spanky the wonder monkey
    10th November 2009, 8:59

    aero grip needs to be reduced as do all the devices that generate turbulence.
    simple yardstick is the 180r at suzuka. aero needs to be reduced to the point where that corner needs to be driven rather than simply taken flat.
    same could be said for the run out of eau rouge in belgium.
    we need the drivers taming the beast, not the beast emasculating the drivers.

  16. There should be one more option.

    6. FIA Safety rules

    Thanks to them, circuits


    have slow corners, extensive run-off areas and minimal elevation change.

    Cars will continue to be developed no-matter-what. Loopholes will always be found in the rules and some new aerodynamic component will be added which increases downforce and makes the wake of the car impossible to follow in.

    Ross Brawn, found a loophole in his own rule and developed the double decker diffuser :P :P

    F1 Cars these days are pretty safe, its time some of the rules on track design are relaxed, giving more freedom to Tilke. That he could come up with a gem like Turkey inspite of so many handicaps speaks volumes of his capability.

  17. It has to do with the car design.
    tracks must be more challenging too!!

  18. I’ve always wanted a reduction in aero grip but I do not think it’s totally to blame.

    The chicane at the end of the 2nd straight at Abu Dhabi is a classic, pointless chicane (turn 11 I think). This could have been a 90 left corner. It would have allowed the cars to carry on battling near to each other for the next few turns. Instead one always fell back behind the other.

    So, I’m partially track design and majority aero on my vote.

  19. I voted for mainly cars.

    I was surprised the FIA didn’t close the loopholes exposed in this years regulations regarding double diffusers, the winglets and airflow conditioners the cars still have. Ross Brawn pointed out that the loopholes existed when the rules were written up. I can understand them not changing the rules for the current season but I thought they would have for 2010.

    One of the problems is that after any changes they make F1 cars still have to be the quickest cars around, so just getting rid of aero completely wouldn’t work. I am not that technically minded so I don’t know what changes could be made to get the balance right.

    No matter what changes are made to the cars though there will always be some circuits where it is harder to overtake, whether it is a tight street circuit or a circuit where it is very dusty off line.

    1. PJA makes the point i was going to make.

      To reduce the downforce of an F1 Car you have to reduce the downforce of all single seater formulas buy the same percent.

      You cannot have a GP2/F2/F3-Euroseries car lapping within the same bracket as an F1 car. Martin Brundle made this point on the BBC F1 Forum a while back after a dull race, and he concluded it wouldn’t happen without major changes to all single seater aero packages. This won’t happen!!

      In my opinion, If you want overtaking you need to start the quickest cars at the back of the grid. It is completely against what i hold dear as F1 and sport, but we all remember the great races when fast cars started at the back (Hungary ’06, Suzuka ’05) and they produced the best races, wet weather or not. This Could Happen!

      For great racing and overtaking, we need less areo, steel brakes, manual gearboxes (preferably a stick), no refueling, and a few more ballsy drivers. This Might Happen Hopefully

  20. I thought there was a bit of “not me guv” in Sam Michael’s comments: easier to blame the tracks. I mean he also said

    If you look at tracks like Barcelona where nobody overtakes, and take exactly the same cars to tracks like Monza, Hockenheim etc, there’s plenty of overtaking.

    I’d imagine the Monza car’s aerodynamics are completely different from the Barcelona one – or maybe that’s why Williams did so badly at Monza this year.

    But I hope this debate leads to a review of unnecessary chicanes everywhere. Someone who went to the Abu Dhabi race said in the forum that Turns 5 & 6 (before the hairpin) should go, and I agree – they’ve even built a straight bit of track already, as if they knew all along!

  21. I think Clay got it right.
    We absolutely need to reduce downforce, with very drastic method, if needed. The comparison with GP2 is clear enough.
    About the tracks: they need to be technical, fast, difficult, with long straights. No more 90 degrees corners and slow hairpins, please. Among the newers I could save only Turkey and partly Sepang and Bahrein.
    What does Singapore, Valencia, Abu Dhabi has to say???

  22. I don’t think that the OWG failed with the 2009 rules.
    We should not forget that the OWG developed the 2009 regulations with the intention to allow overtaking when the car behind is at least 1 second faster than the one in front.
    The problem with this year was that the difference between the first and the last car has been minimal, oftentimes inferior to that crucial 1 second.

    This leads me to my second point, which is that the rules are too restrictive and cars end up being all the same.

    When I began watching F1 in 1989, there were V8s, V10s and V12s. Pirelli and Goodyear fought against each other and cars were visibly different. It was only natural that such diversity would produce often unpredictable races, as cars were differently suited according to the different tracks.

    Nowadays we have V8s only, control tyres, and terribly restrictive rules. KERS, although very controversial, at least allowed for some differentiation but we all know what’s happening with that.

    Now that Bridgestone has thrown in the towel, I believe there is a perfect opportunity to reverse the demented (i.e. Mosley) 1993 rules and go back to bigger tyres, so as to improve mechanical grip.

    That said, I agree with Sam Michael that tracks need to be modified, especially in terms of getting rid of the chicanes.
    But I am hoping for some more interesting technical challenges in the future: that is what F1 is all about.

    1. Completely agree.

      The field is very competitive and that makes it a lot harder to overtake too. The OWG can’t be blamed for that. They rightly said that overtaking should be a challenge.

      When cars are 3 seconds faster than others, then overtaking happens by the dozen. Look at what happened in Melbourne when drivers quickly ran down their supersofts.

  23. The problem of overtaking is for sure a problem with the cars and with the drivers. Track design should not be given this much attention as it is given recently, because 20 years ago there were much more fast tracks with high speed corners such as Imola, Ostereichring, Silverstone, Brands Hatch etc. and overtaking DID take place and they did not need those boring 1st and 2nd gear corners to do it.

    So to me it’s obvious that something is either wrong with the car and/or the drivers. I think it is completely crazy to ruin beautiful old style tracks where drivers are tested not only for skill but equally for courage, and to replace them with boring modern Tilke style tracks which are full of 1st gear and 2nd gear corners and have no character whatsoever.

    I don’t need to watch F1 to see cars doing 60 round a corner, I can just look out my bedroom window and watch cars coming by down the road. I watch F1 so I can feel my jaw drop as I see the best drivers rounding fast corners on beautiful tracks at a 150+.

    Second thing, overtaking still is possible, look at Button this year, and Hamilton, Kobayashi etc. So I think a lot of it is down to the driver too. But mostly it’s the cars, they rely so much on downforce and not so much on mechanical grip, so the solution is possibly to reduce downforce and increase mechanical grip (e.g. bigger grippier tires) so the cars don’t lose too much speed when following eachother. But please don’t touch the tracks, that’s ridiculous, we already have too much of those Bahrein and Shanghai boring look alikes.

    Last thing, refueling will not lessen overtaking, if anything it will increase it as those boring pit refueling strategies will be eliminated and overtaking will actually HAVE to find place on track rather than in the pits. I think anyone who doesn’t agree should watch a pre 1994 race.

    1. With regards to your point about drivers: It could well be that the ones who did overtake this year (Button, Kobayashi, as you point out) may have had cars that are more stable under dirty air. It’s very difficult to separate the two.

      We can however know that most drivers would have had to do a lot of overtaking in Karting and the junior series before making it to F1. So in my mind most of the drivers in F1 are all good overtakers and some are exceptional (trail braking).

      This eliminates drivers as a possibility.

  24. Maybe the present day drivers don’t have the guts(few exceptions of course) to perform overtaking maneuvers like Senna,Mansell & Hakkinen. They are too afraid to overtake cuz they are afraid they’ll get penalized. Look at what happened to Hamilton at spa 2008. Although I agree there are flaws in the OWG’s design, the drivers must also make a conscious effort to overtake. For example people like Nick Heidfield race only for statistics(he’s finished 50 odd races in a row I think)if it were Senna or Mansell or for that matter Montoya in his position, they wouldn’t give a damn to such a useless statistics. It is people like nick Heidfield, Nakajima,Fisi that make racing boring. If I’m right Nick Heidfield hasn’t won a race since the turn of the decade(1999 he won a f3 race, his last ever race win). So he doesn’t know what it takes to push for a victory. All he cares about is finishing all the races , so that people will remember him as the driver who finished the maximum races in a row. Who cares about such a statistic? No real racing driver would give a damn. Drivers like Nick Heidfied must be confined to testing & other activities. He’s certainly not a racer. We are in desperate need of some ballsy drivers. The last one was JPM.A day might come when the art of overtaking might well be forgotten. The sole purpose of racing according to me is overtaking, the rest including pitstop, refueling, managing tyres etc is all bull…
    Nowadays drivers are discouraged to overtake by their own teams! look at what happened in Brasil 2008. After Vettel had passed Hamilton with 3 laps remaining, Whithmarsh came on the radio & told Hamilton that he was racing Glock & not Vettel! Vettel was a few feet ahead of him & Glock was almost half-a-lap ahead!Now hamilton being a “well groomed” mclaren prodigy obeyed his godfather & decided to play it safe & thereby not pass Vettel. Now just imagine what if those extra drops of rain had not fallen at Juncao? Glock wouldn’t have lost grip & Hamilton would have never been kissed by nicole :P All that I’m trying to say is that would Senna,Mansell & JPM played it safe like Hamilton. With no disregards to Hamilton,no they would not have. They would have gone chasing Vettel, at least attempted to pass him even if it meant risking losing a championship. That is what we want. Not an old man sitting in front of a LCD screen looking at the GPS data, telling their their drivers who is where & asking them to play it safe. By doing this on a consistent & regular basis the teams themselves are directly discouraging their drivers from overtaking. Whats the fun?

    1. I agree, the last real racer with some steel balls was JPM

      1. Mp4..for once I agree with you.

        JPM is my favourite driver of all time for this reason. When he raced on Sunday, he actually raced, no strategy could hold him back. I recall Jackie Stewart mentioning sometime last year that the last real racers in F1 were Jacques Villenueve, Montoya and Eddie Irvine…incidentaly, these were my favourite drivers of the last 12 years or so.

        We can blame the car, the tracks which have a part to play, but I think the drivers themselves are too pampered these days. If think about it, its all Michael Schumacher’s fault. His well calculated strategies, winning races from the pits over all those years have caused this.

        Call me daft, but if we’re blaming downforce as the culprit, how there were so many great races during the ground effects era of the 80’s?

    2. Apart from Spa 2000, Hakkinen was rubbish at overtaking. DC was much better than him in that respect.

  25. Mainly car design but partly track design

    The double diffuser is an issue but other cars can overtake on tracks like Barcelona and Turkey.

    Some tracks though seem to produce great races no matter the cars are like, Spa, Montreal, Melbourne, Interlagos.

  26. I’m picking something that isn’t on the list – Drivers. In my opinion, the only current drivers able to overtake are Hamilton, Alonso, Raikonnen. Kobayashi too from the little we’ve seen. These are the guys that risk it all to lunge round the outside, when most would just chill out and wait for the pit stops.

    We need braver drivers and less pussys like Kovalienen.

    1. Wow AA, we’ve suggested the same thing exactly at 10:24 AM. Absolutely correct! Half the problem is with the drivers.

    2. It’s about balancing the compromise: if you’re faster than the guy in front but he’s pitting in a few laps, is it worth lunging into a corner and risk smashing up your car or getting a penalty? And if the driver in front is a rookie, how do you know how he will react?

      The problem is NOT drivers. If car and track issues were solved, we’d see fast drivers working their way up the field because they drive quicker, not because they risk it all for one corner in a 60 lap race. I applaud the drivers who can cleverly find their performance advantage at a particular corner and exploit it though. Some statistics on overtake attempts versus successful overtakes would be interesting here.

      1. The problem is NOT drivers. If car and track issues were solved, we’d see fast drivers working their way up the field

        and in reality we see some drivers who work their way up the field and some who don’t. So … then it IS partly caused by the drivers.

    3. In my opinion, the only current drivers able to overtake are Hamilton, Alonso, Raikonnen

      So no overtaking from Button then?
      That’s pretty much what won him the title.

  27. I voted 50/50 on the poll. I agree that the massive aerodynamic grip is the main cause of less overtaking in races today, but you must remember that the more modern tracks (ie. Tilke-designed circuits) have been designed with the current aero performance in mind. It’s a vicious circle: clever engineers find increases in downforce, circuits have slow corners added to nullify downforce to create overtaking spots… we end up with even more boring races.

    The driver does have an effect on overtaking of course, and this is all about confidence in grip into the braking zones, and maintaining a line through the corner to get good traction. This confidence is affected by car performance and corner design, and of course we see some drivers more confident than others, but if they were all gunning for it then we’d see more entertaining racing overall.

  28. I’d say mostly cars but tracks like Singapore, Hungaroring, Valencia don’t help with overtaking either.

  29. I’d like to see a test sessions at any circuit where the cars have all the wings removed. Let’s see if the cars can follow eachother through corners. If so, ban wings altogether. If not, increase the width of tyres.

    1. That would be very interesting indeed. I think OWG’s biggest blunder was to use simulation data to frame the current regulations. Why did they do that? They could have designed different car variations and asked drivers(like Kimi, who do anything for huge sums) to have a go at each other at Barcelona(same track was used for OWG’s simulations). Then they could have concluded as to which variation was best for overtaking. Simulation is simulation. Just ask what aicraft pilots think of Microsoft’s FSX.

      I think all is not lost, they can do the same for 2013 before all of them commit to the Concord agreement.

      1. its rather acuarate.. its good for getting a good understanding for what the dials mean and do however you cant get a fell for how a plane moves in real life

  30. I believe the tracks could have wider curves with plenty of safe space of asphalt if one makes mistakes, so encouraging the drivers to take chances, besides, design alternatives on how to make those curves, or maybe, alternative paths in the same circuit. A driver could choose one or another. Sounds crazy, but I’m sure it would be exciting, just thinking what is the driver going to do…

  31. Totally car design for me. When you watch old races drivers can pass on corners that wouldn’t even be overtaking options with current cars.

  32. To sum up the idea on a track that I point it out earlier, heres’s the image that I’ve created minutes ago.

    1. There’s still only one racing line. I’m not sure of the safety implications of splitting the track?

      It reminds me a bit of Queensland?

  33. Notice that the curves are very wide, making possible to a driver pick a right point to brake and turn depending on the situation, even making it possible to X-pass on the curves. Another point that I believe it could be nice and safe is that at a point, the track could be devided in alternative equal paths (mirror)… what do you guys think? Is that too crazy?!

  34. When a track like Abu Dhabi is designed from scratch with a virtually unlimited budget it should not have chicanes in. They are unsightly and discourage overtaking.

    Maybe they had to correct an error that was made during the design? Or they decided to add a grandstand or hotel in the spot where a runoff area was planned?

    Did they really put that chicane in there on purpose?

    On the other hand, I used to love the chicanes in Germany with their super slo motion camera’s. It just looks amazing to see an F1 car make it’s way over the kerbs of a chicane. So maybe they did do it on purpose.

    And when car designers start talking about adding even more slow corners to F1 circuits I have to put my fingers in my ears. Modern F1 track are already infested with slow, flat, uninteresting corners. F1 isn’t just about overtaking – it’s also about the spectacle of fast cars tackling the world’s great corners like Pouhon, Maggots, the Suzuka Esses and Istanbul’s Turn 8.

    Well some people like both. I went to Magny Cours (2000) and sat near the hairpin. I saw a huge amount of overtaking action. A lot more than was ever shown on tv.

    That’s fun to watch. See drivers fighting hard in and out of that corner (coulthard even fliped Schumacher the bird) and see Schumacher retire (although that could have happened anywhere I guess)

    I also sat at Pouhon several times. To be honest I like the fighting in hairpins beter. You just don’t get the sense of speed looking at a car from a distance.

    From on-board the fast bends are cool though.

    Why can’t a track have both a slow hairpin and a few high speed bends?

    I think the chief problem is still the huge amounts of aerodynamic grip F1 cars generate. I don’t see how two technically savvy individuals can go to race weekends where lower-grip GP2 cars regularly put on better races than F1 cars on the same circuits, and then conclude the track are at fault.

    Because it’s a combination of both. F1 cars are designed so they have to be 1 sec faster to be able to overtake. Probably even more than a sec at the end of the season even. That situation just doesn’t occur a lot.

    GP2 cars probably require less difference.

    A slow hairpin after a longh straight makes overtaking easier. In those cases less than a second lap time difference is needed.

    So if you want more overtaking then either increase the number of locations where overtaking is made easier or change the cars so the lose even more downforce and less difference is needed.

    The latter also has the effect that cars get slower overall. That might have good or bad side effects. For instance, fast bends might become “slow corners” and kill the spectacle or it might just lower the speed from flat out to “on the edge” and increase the excitement for the bend.

  35. For those who only blame car design –

    There are two kinds of corners that provenly make overtaking easier REGARDLESS of car design.

    1. High speed (but not full throttle) corners

    With slow corners, it’s just getting your braking right, and most drivers can do it, fine thanks. At the other end of the spectrum, with full speed corners it’s almost just a question of neck strength.

    However, when you have a very fast but tricky corner (Eau Rouge, Parabólica etc.), the chance of making a slight mistake is always there. In such cases, the car will be vulnerable to being overtaken in (or at the end of) the following straight.

    2. Slow, but not extremely slow corners with several lines to take

    Just look at a track many people love to hate: Hungaroring. It has that first corner providing beautiful overtaking maneuvers (Piquet-Senna, Massa-Hamilton) or at least drivers coming out of the pits being promptly overtaken, wobbling on their new tires.

    It’s because wide plus semi-slow corners always provide room for cars going side by side, having a go at the other one from both the outside or the inside.

    Paddy Lowe is perfectly right.

    If one can pinpoint corners that give us overtaking year after year, what the hell prevents track designers from studying such corners, understanding what makes them special, and then creating corners with similar characteristics?

  36. i believe a couple people already said it but…. steel brakes, steel brakes, steel brakes. Combined with current aero, problem solved.

  37. It’s the cars design for me. I’d ideally like to see OWG make a recommendation that the aero levels need to be reduced to those of the early 90’s, but that’s never going to happen. The teams have become so dependant on aero that they can’t go back. Take this year as an example, they dramatically reduced the downforce the cars produce, but by the end of the season I heard someone (could have been Brundle during one of the races) saying the team have already clawed back a significant portion of what they lost.

    Another thing that isn’t on the list that does play a role in my mind is the fact that the “smaller teams” have gotten better. In the “good old days” when a fast car like a Williams, McLaren or a Benneton fell back down the pack for some reason (tripping over someone and losing the front wing etc), they would be able to carve through a field of useless Footwork’s, Larrouse’s, March’s, Minardi’s, Dallara’s, Simteks, Forti’s, Lotuses, Brabhams and Tyrrell’s (in the later years) and salvage a point or two. The fact of the matter is that the field is much more evenly matched now than it ever was.

    1. you do know Benneton was a back marker for quite some years….
      As was Ferrari…a podium was a MASSIVE deal, and a win a dream

      1. And when was it when a podium for Ferrari was a massive deal?

        1. Ehhh….pretty much the few years leading up to Schumi’s arrival, as well as all of 2005….

  38. Another option should be the regulations.

    The aero group did all this work trying to sort out the car design but missed a trick. The regulations should define the effect on the air that leaves the car and not restrict what can be done with the car itself.

    Require cars to leave the air in a useful state and that resolves the problem, no matter how much downforce is generated.

  39. There are three main factors:


    Track design does influence overtaking, i.e. Hockenheim, but if aero dependency were reduced, more overtaking would be achieved where it should be possible – Monza, Silverstone etc.


    No doubt about it, the car’s aero is the main factor. In the wet, when the car has half of it’s downforce, it’s no surprise the cars can overtake.

    [b]Incentive to Overtske[/b]

    A lot of the time there is no incentive to overtake – they should have based the championship on the number of wins.

    The problem with modern circuits is that off line the track is so dirty, e.g. Abu Dhabi, Bahrain – compare that it with Magny Cours, the straight before the hairpin is conducive to overtaking.

    To increase overtaking the cars need to have the same downforce in the dry as they do in the wet – simple. Also, if the braking distances are reduced – by using less powerful, standardised brakes, then overtaking will be on the up.

  40. Get rid of double diffusers and increase braking distance!!

  41. in essence it is the car design and the huge aerodynamic grip that is at fault…. but…

    Today, GP2 races are funner on the same tracks as F1… hummm not so interesting.. if F1 wants to become as action packed as GP2, i think they need to design better tracks if they want F1 cars to remain as they are aerodynamically, but then if that is to change, what would the difference be between GP2 and F1? ok then, lets dump F1 and produce GT1… essentially GT2 designs with F1 engines…. that could solve the problem…

  42. Like I’ve said before,

    Give the cars a standard aero floor a la champcar.

    Limit the number of wing elements allowed.

    give them BIG fat slicks in the rear like the early 90s.

    Take away carbon brakes.

    Allow the cars more horsepower.

    You’d be left with more mechanically dependent cars that would be faster on the straights but slower in the corners. Creating longer braking zones that allow the drivers better opportunites to pass…..while also allowing the cars to follow each other closer becasue they are less aero dependent.

    The tracks could use a little tweaking also…chicanes are a waste of asphalt.

    Just my thoughts on it anyway.

    1. Nice idea, not so sure about the standard floor, but other than that this gets my thumbs up.

  43. Mainly cars, sometimes track (like the modification to Barcelona’s final sector; that chicane ruined any chance of overtaking there).

    Call my cynical, but I’m not surprised it’s the guys working on the cars who claim it isn’t the cars’ fault. They want open aero regulations to show off their talent and make themselves indispensable to the team, and command big salaries.

    Reduce the aero from the bodywork, have simply wings (we can even go back to pre-2009 style wings when this is done), open up the underneath for limited, safe development. Do this to the effect of lowering overall downforce, and then increase the size of the tyres to bring it back up again. Or the other way around, so the drivers aren’t so dependant on tyre peformance!

    It is also partly the drivers. How many times have we heard Kimi say “I waited until the first stop to pass”? Vettel too seems shy of overtaking. The likes of Hamilton, Button, and Kobayashi should be rewarded for having a go.

  44. I’d like to add something else – Keith has mentioned this previously.

    The ability of F1 drivers to simply drive people off the road and force them to back off is a classic example. Per example Webber’s “robust” defending of his line in Brazil should not have been allowed. Same for Kobayashi in Brazil on Nakajima. If you actually give the drivers a chance to get alongside then we’ll see more happening.

    I consider Webber’s safety stance a bit weird as his “robust” defending against Rakkionen resulted in Sutil, Trulli & Alonso all crashing.

    1. I consider Webber’s safety stance a bit weird


  45. I voted 50/50 however I feel that the interference by the stewards also makes a difference. As so many overtakes result in a penalty now that it may deter some drivers from attempting an overtake and just hope they can jump them in the pits or force them into a mistake :(

  46. I agree with all your comments although I feel a lot of the problem is the tracks… take a look at Abu Dhabi for instance… when I first started racing that track on rFactor the chicane was missing after turn 4… there was no better feeling than getting turn 2,3 and 4 right at full throttle and having that straight… my first thought was great place to grab a tow and pass…( and it worked well in the game :)… but then the race comes around and they throw a chicane in there… passing spot eliminated… so some thought has to be put in the area of track lay out..

  47. HounslowBusGarage
    10th November 2009, 15:59

    And I want to add another factor to the equation.
    I think one of the contributors to lack of overtaking is . . . TYRES.
    The modern F1 tyre offers superb grip levels, but it also sheds quite a lot of ‘marbles’ around the track. These marbles get thrown onto areas outside the optimum racing line. But it’s these very areas of track that a driver will have to use in an overtaking manoevre, but he can’t get the same amount of grip off line and on top of the marbles. So he can’t overtake.
    Over the seasons we’ve all heard commentators and drivers say that a track is very slippery off line due to the rubber debris, and it’s become easier for a defending driver to stay on the racing line secure in the knowledge that his persuer cannot go off line to pass because there’s no grip out there.
    Maybe that why wet races are often more exciting. In the wet, it’s sometimes quicker to follow a ‘karting’ line around the outside of the corner, and marbles don’t seem to matter as much.

    1. very good point.

  48. Simple – Ban Aerodynamics

  49. I agree with Wesley and PJA…it is car design, particularly the double diffuser. I am suprised the FIA did not close the loophole. The original regs were designed to aid overtaking ( as was KERS).

  50. Agree with most the comments here, Car design.

    I think they should lower the grip on the front and back in good proportions and then increase engine power. Mistakes like power slides etc really help pick out the good drivers from the bad. More power is more dangerous but the safety of the cars has come a long way but the power hasnt.

  51. Yes. It seems worse than ever, I hoped the return of slicks would help but I guess they lay more rubber down than before, so there’s a greater difference in grip between the racing line and off-line.

    Also we have more and more races in the desert or at dusty purpose-built tracks that are only used once a year. And would more support races help?

    It would be great if the new tyre supplier could create something for 2011 that grips better on all parts of the track.

    Failing that, the new Portimao track has a sprinkler system…

    1. Dammit, was aiming to reply to HounslowBusGarage and missed.

  52. I voted both but I’m beginning to think the car is more to blame after reading some of the wonderfully knowledgeable comments on this site.
    However I would say…fix both and then we won’t have this argument :P
    And stewards stop interfering so much! Drivers need to want to attack more too.

  53. Not the cars. It’s the tracks. Tilke needs to put a map of Interlagos on his wall and meditate on it for one hour every day.

    Whatever the rules do for body design, the hard core luddites here won’t be satisfied until drivers have to hand-crank their cars on the grid. Clutches? Why not make every driver complete 3 Soduku games per race while he is driving? Driving the cars is plenty hard now, thanks. Ask Giancarlo Fisichella.

    And replacing the grid with a spec GP2 chassis won’t improve racing. What made the cigars-with-wheels cars better for overtaking was not the lack of aero, but their horrendous performance—times, poor braking, crappy tires, dynamic instability. And as for GP2, it has been duly explained above that rank hackery is great for passing, but not a worthy aim of for F1.

    The bottom line is that it is damned hard to pass a car that can go from 200 to 50 MPH in 100 meters. And so it should be. This the pinnacle of motorsport, not the pinnacle of motorsport spectacle.

    But we have seen cars than car race side by side and follow closely haven’t we? What Interlagos can teach us:
    –It’s wide. Even the slow bits allow you to jump inside. See Bico de Pato
    –It has straights that begin with multiple fast or medium corners and end in medium corners–you can’t be close to car coming ot of hairpin because one car can accelerate while the other is still rounding the bend. Multiple bends allow a traction advantage to accumulate before the straight.
    —Ending a long straight in hairpin is stupid. The following car cannot compromise his entry and exit angle to decrease his braking distance to make a pass, or avoid a wreck. See, turns 1 and 4 at Interlagos. Yes, the hairpin theory is that it increases the time under brakes but its a dumb theory because passing requires differential braking times not longer ones per se.
    —You need multi-apex corners to allow a following car to compromise his line in favor of braking or exit speed. See Ferradura.

    Of course changes can be made to the cars. I’ve advocated steel brakes and downforce tunnels, both of which would help and would not turn the sport into museum of past automotive technology. I’d bring back TC and up the engine power again—allowing a superior car to apply its grip advantage off the corner will aid passing also.

  54. carl f1 genius
    10th November 2009, 19:05

    sit every car in the official fia wind tunnel and pass them only their turbulence is less than a set amount. also ride heights should be set to a minimum ground clearance so that we dont get the debacle of aqua plaining cars on heavy rain days, its a joke.

  55. Can someone tell me exactly when there was more overtaking? I’m asking because I watched the 1982 Austrian GP and the 1986 Belgian GP on YouTube, and in terms of entertainment they didn’t seem that much better or worse than a modern GP.

    Also, what if the FIA banned diffusers and raised nosecones?

    1. Agreed. Many comments are based on false nostalgia and excessive review of historic passing moves on YouTube. I awoke many a dawn over the years to sit through many processions. This golden age of passing never was.

      If diffusers were banned cars would become more dependent on less efficient and higher turbulence-producing wings. Remember that we have diffusers now because proper tunnels were banned in the interest of slowing the cars—without any thought to the effect of wing-turbulence. Going further in that direction would not be a step forward in my view.

  56. Does anyone from the FIA ever read these comments Keith? We’re giving them all the answers right here! When will they listen to the fans?

  57. I would like another option to vote for which is that drivers today do not have balls the size of Nigel Mansell’s.
    Or maybe that drivers are a bit too afraid to crash the car so do not try “Dan Dare” maneouvres as much as they used to.
    The tracks and cars have always had this problem. It will get tougher to overtake if the lap time between two cars is relatively small, as we have seen this year. Didn’t stop Jenson though did it?

  58. Mike "the bike" Schumacher
    10th November 2009, 22:39

    Does anyone remember the britsih gp 2003 barrichello overtook loads of cars to win, likewise coming from behind in germany 2000, Schumacher in his last race in brazil 2006, Schumacher,Raikkonen, Alonso, Japan 2006, Raikkonen Bahrain 2006 and even Button in Brazil this year.
    he might need a slightly faster car also.

  59. 100% cars (aero)… get standard front and rear wings, no winglets in the bodywork and ban double diffusers.. then we will have overtaking

  60. Car design does have a big effect but why did we had good racing in Brazil & Belgium but not in Bahrain & Turkey.
    Yes downforce needs to be shredded but they also need to come up with good circuit design which despite the downforce will help to have good racing.

    Yes I agree with you Keith that in GP2 we have better overtaking than in F1.

  61. I strongly believe that it’s mostly car design but there are some track that are at partial blame to. When you can see close wheel to wheel racing and lot of overtaking attempts and maneuvers in GP2 on the same race track the F1 cars cannot or barely manage to overtake. Todays F1 cars rely way to much on down force but are not allowed to utilize down force features as skirts (allowed in GP2), their lap times are only around 10% slower it seems then F1 cars so their overall down force isn’t that bad and yet they have no problems laying close behind another car ..

  62. why not limit the buttons of the steering wheel.

  63. the reason long straights dont work with these car is the restrictions on the engines, many of times this year have we heard of the cars bounding on the limiters on the engines and the drivers complaining about it.

    in a slip stream the car buhind experiences a lesser downforce effect and thus the car appears less heavy for the engine so it makes higher speeds reachable while in a slip stream (i hope we all know that). if a car is in a slip stream and is benifiting from it, the affect of the aero is reduced and the engine can rev higher becuase of the lesser aero weight that would usually restrict it if it was driving along in a non turbulent air pocket. if you have gone racing or have played racing sim games you will notice that this affect occurs, when the engine will get up to heigher revs than normal behind another car.

    so there shouldnt be restrictions on the rev limits for the engines, especially when drivers are complaining about bouncing of the limiter even when the are not even behind another car.

    this is another reason for KERS failiure because the driver could not use it when bouncing on the limiter while at top speed because the engine would not turn faster with the extra 80 bhp being applied

  64. Isn’t it just the drivers that are driving too carefully?

  65. I also chalk most of it up to car designs. In MotoGP I see some of the same circuits used by F1 producing great races with fantastic overtaking. Now I know kikes and cars are different animals, but still, it can’t be all that different.

  66. I must be sounding like a broken record on this but … F1 needs a standard wake performance test with a rig that must be able to be fitted temporarily to the back of each car. Other aero restrictions could even be relaxed a bit because a clean wake is not easy to do whereas now the incentive is to create as dirty a wake as possible.

  67. The name Tilke makes my blood bubble so I’ll say no more…

  68. I had to tick ‘No Opinion’ as there was no option for “I don’t think there’s a problem.”

    Overtaking in F1 should be rare and exceptional. All the drivers have rare talent and exceptional skills, every now and then an overtake will occur. It’s rarity is what makes it special!

    F1 has never been any different. Show me any era of F1 when people were overtaking willy nilly.

  69. brakes and aero-efficiency…
    double the braking distances (smaller carbon brakes or steel brakes)

    and limit the front and rear wing elements to 1 (and 2 for monaco and hungary)

    the cars are generating between 200-300% more aero than 15 years ago… they go very fast by themselves but lose significant tenths when behind another car…

    simplify the front wing and rear wing massively, have no limit as to how low the front wing can be and limit the height of the rear wing

  70. I would say it is about 70% track design, and 30% car design.

    Regarding track design, I think it is a very major part of the problem. To overtake, you need a good corner design to provide best opportunities for drivers to do it more frequently. With a good corner design, I’m talking about suitable corner angle & speed, wide braking area, grip, and harmonic relationship with the previous and next corners.

    At some circuits, we can see some corners are just blatantly meaningless, as if it’s just for a corner’s sake. To make a race as exciting as possible, that is in one way increase the number of overtaking, we have to make as many corners as possible meet the requirements of a good corner design.

    Car design also contribute some to this problem. Fundamentally, F1 cars are extremely dependent of aerodynamic downforce, which make them a lot slower at medium to high-speed corners when a car is racing right behind another car. The ironic part is it’s the situation where the cars are before they overtake. With the current design, it is highly difficult for them to overtake on those corners.

    With a more overtaking-friendly design, such as splitting the rear wing into two parts and putting them right behind the rear wheels, it will increase the downforce available to cars right behind, thus increasing the probability of overtaking.

    I’m no engineer. I’m just an F1 fan, waiting for more exciting races.

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