Red Bull designer and top F1 aerodynamicist Adrian Newey believes the proposed ban on double diffusers in 2011 won’t make it easier for F1 cars to overtake.
Speaking at the Watkins Lecture at Autosport International he said:
I don’t think [double diffusers] affected the overtaking. It gave us more downforce and made the cars about a second a lap quicker. That doesn’t change whether the car’s going to overtake or not, there’s no difference in the aerodynamic wake which is what affects the ability of the car behind to overtake.
He said F1 should not slip back into the practice of introducing piecemeal changes to the regulations as it had during the “narrow track” era of 1998-2008:
The regulations we had for 2009 were the subject of a lot of research by the Overtaking Working Group. It’s questionable whether they worked or not, but the process, I think, was correct.
What’s now happening is we’ve gone back to these piecemeal modifications – banning double diffusers or getting rid of barge boards. For me, it’s very frustrating that it’s not being thought out. [It needs] a clear goal and proper research.
So often in Formula 1, things are changed with very little research.
He echoed the view of Sam Michaels and Paddy Lowe that the role of circuit design needs to be looked at.
Newey has similar concerns about the ban on refuelling during races:
I think the ban on refuelling is another example of that where… maybe it will be good for the racing, but it was not thought out. Some people thought “we could save a £100,000 here by cutting the cost of flying the refuelling rigs around the world. But if that destroys the spectacle and the racing becomes more boring as a result of that and people start turning their televisions off, then that wasn’t £100,000 well saved.