Melbourne was a blast but F1’s aero problem remains (Australian GP analysis)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

The wet track allowed F1 cars to race side-by-side at Melbourne
The wet track allowed F1 cars to race side-by-side at Melbourne

The Australia Grand Prix was every bit as thrilling as Bahrain was dull.

But don’t expect many more races like that unless we get a lot more rain, because F1’s aerodynamic problem hasn’t gone away – as the later stages of today’s race showed.

Lap 1

Australian Grand Prix: Lap 1 position change
Australian Grand Prix: Lap 1 position change (click to enlarge)

In the pre-race analysis yesterday I wrote that you can count on two things happening on the first lap at Melbourne: the pole sitter keeping the lead and a crash.

Sure enough, Sebastian Vettel motored off into the lead and behind him Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher collided, tumbling down the order.

Further down the field a frightening crash eliminated Kamui Kobayashi, Sebastien Buemi and Nico H?â??lkenberg. Kobayashi’s front wing fell off, jammed under his front wheels and he slammed into Buemi and H?â??lkenberg.

Worryingly, this was the third time a front wing had come off Kobayashi’s car this weekend. The team said it did not fail on its own – Kobayashi had made contact with another car at turn three.

With the Virgins starting from the pits and Jarno Trulli not starting at all the HRTs gained the most places. Meanwhile the McLaren drivers converged – Jenson Button slipping back to sixth for fourth and Hamilton climbing four places to seventh.

Pit stops

Australian Grand Prix - pit stops
Australian Grand Prix - pit stops (click to enlarge)

Jenson Button pitted for soft tyres on lap six and completed the remaining 52 laps without another stop for tyres – an impressive feat.

Button’s early switch from intermediate to dry tyres prompted his rivals to follow suit. Though it’s possible that his off-track moment at turn three on his out-lap led them to being more cautious than they needed to.

When they reacted on lap eight Button was 2.1s faster than any other car on the track. The next time around he was 4.3s quicker.

For some reason Red Bull delayed bringing in Vettel and Mark Webber until laps nine and ten respectively. Although Vettel kept his lead Webber lost three places, plus another one when he went off at the start of his out-lap.

Lewis Hamilton lost two places in the first round of pit stops while Fernando Alonso picked up three (one was thanks to Adrian Sutil’s retirement).

The aero problem

Hamilton and Webber catching Kubica, Massa and Alonso
Hamilton and Webber catching Kubica, Massa and Alonso (click to enlarge)

During the first half of the race the Melbourne track was damp and then drying. The lack of grip meant the detrimental effect of running in the slipstream of another car was far less of a limiting factor for the drivers and so we saw lots of exciting passes and changes of position.

But it was a different story towards the end of the race. As the graph above shows even though Hamilton and Webber were up to two seconds per lap faster than Alonso/Massa/Kubica, once they caught them they couldn’t get close enough to pass.

Yes, Hamilton had asked a lot of his tyres in closing the gap to Alonso, making the job of passing him more difficult. But the fact remains the Ferrari driver had covered twice as great a distance on his rubber and Hamilton was faster. The McLaren driver couldn’t get close enough to try a pass because, now the track had dried, the cars were once again extremely sensitive to running in disturbed air.

Hamilton finally put a move on Alonso as the Ferrari driver became desperately short of grip, locking up his tyres at turn 13… and we all know what happened next.

This tells us two things about the much-debated question of – brace yourself for that horrible phrase – “improving the show”.

First, aerodynamics is still a big problem and fully dry races are likely to be much more processional than what we saw today.

However, because all the cars at Melbourne started on intermediate tyres none of them were forced to use both dry tyre compounds. As a result we saw some drivers pit more than others and as a result lapped quicker on fresh tyres later in the race – creating the opportunity for racing.

In the dry at Bahrain we saw no major differences in strategy among the front runners because of the mandatory pit stop rule. Removing this rule, and the requirement for the top ten qualifiers to start on the tyres they set their fastest time on should, looks like a good way of improving the quality of racing in F1. The next few races should provide more evidence for whether this is a good idea or not.

Read more: Bringing back refuelling will not solve F1’s overtaking problem

Race charts

Australian Grand Prix: Race chart
Australian Grand Prix: Race chart (click to enlarge)

Here are the race charts showing the gap between the race leader and the other drivers (top) and a version of the chart based on the leaders’ average lap time (bottom). The lap chart (below) shows the position of each car on each lap.

Australian Grand Prix: Lap chart
Australian Grand Prix: Lap chart (click to enlarge)
Australian Grand Prix: Race chart (average times)
Australian Grand Prix: Race chart (average times) (click to enlarge)

2010 Australian Grand Prix

188 comments on “Melbourne was a blast but F1’s aero problem remains (Australian GP analysis)”

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  1. Well, if you guys wish for rain in Sepang, Malaysia this coming weekend, then you’re in luck. It has been raining heavily for the past few days here.

  2. Bartholomew
    29th March 2010, 1:57

    I propose rock hard tyres with smaller brakes, and a mandatory stop for a chug of beer.
    Then, making the cars 1,5 meters shorter.
    Now were talking business !

  3. Keith, you wrote:
    “But the fact remains the Ferrari driver had covered twice as great a distance on his rubber and Hamilton was faster. The McLaren driver couldn’t get close enough to try a pass because, now the track had dried, the cars were once again extremely sensitive to running in disturbed air.”

    With due respect, these are not the facts. And your theory accordingly is not supported. In the race I watched, in the final stages, Hamilton was climbing all over Alonso, and in fact was straight under his wing through the back esses before pulling along side on the next straight. He would have got him without a doubt were it not for Webber’s brain fade. In fact, aero-evils did not keep Hamilton from carving up some competitive cars throughout the race. I know we like the mash the aerodynamics-spoils-everything key all the time, but for once, the tire-wear differential actually overcame the aero thing here and to great effect.

    If anything, the race between Hamilton and the Ferraris in the closing stages simply shows that the cure for the passing problem is to bring in more drivers who will take the shot if the grip is there, period. Those drivers would change the current culture of the sport, wherein drivers slam the door way too late and then go crying to the stewards, and therefore where no one want’s to do a pass lest they get fined for contact or for violating the Hamilton Rule.

    1. I’m with Keith and disagree with your 2nd paragraph. However, I think you make a very good point in your 3rd…

    2. Hamilton reported over the radio that his tires were shot when he’d caught up to Alonso. A combination of his pace to catch up and the aero might explain this. To me he seemed to be at the greatest disadvantage over the last 2 slow corners before the main straight, where aero was the less critical component.

      1. Quick question: wasnt the whole aero kit on the car redesigned to allow more overtakin as u cud sit more in the slipstream?

    3. aero-evils did not keep Hamilton from carving up some competitive cars throughout the race

      Obviously the track surface was changing throughout the race – from wet to damp to dry. When the cars are struggling for grip the aerodynamic wake is far less of a problem (and this is when Hamilton made those great passes). Once the track is dry the aerodynamics become a greater limiting factor.

      1. Disturbed air isn’t the problem with overtaking, because the air was disturbed exactly the same earlier in the race, when there was overtaking. Mechanical grip is the real problem, That race proved the point, the start of the race the cars struggled for Mechanical grip on a damp track and went through phases of drying to a green state with no rubber down. From lap 10 we had lots of overtaking, but around lap 40 when Hamilton got stuck behind Kubica, the track had rubbered in and mechanical grip was at an optimum and a car 2 seconds a lap faster than Alonso on shot soft tyres struggled to make an impression.

        1. I’m not sure about that. In the earlier part of the race the cars are travling slower, therefore air isn’t passing over the car as quickly, which leads to less downforce being generated.

          1. That’s a different point to my point being that disturbed air is still disturbed air. If you follow a bus at 30 miles an hour or 60 miles an hour you’re still sitting behind a box shaped hole in the air, but the turbulance around that hole will be more intense because the air is travelling quicker. You’re right when you say when the cars first went to drys the aero wouldn’t be as efficient because the cars are travelling slower, and they were travelling slower because of less than optimum grip on a green track, i.e mechanical grip. If F1 introduced rock hard tyres that give comparable performance to that poor grip overtaking frenzy period in the Oz GP (lap 10 onwards) the aero wouldn’t be the problem! That disturbed air affects the tyres over a prolonged period because the tyres are too soft. On rock hard tyres it just wouldn’t be an issue. Thank You, you actually helped me explain the point.

          2. Dr Le Quack, that is a very good article. Didn’t they only run that wing on the ovals though? I watched Indy Cars back then and I seem to remember they only ran it on the oval tracks? I could be wrong though, that was a long time a go. The racing was great though. Frankly if it would work on an F1 car, the FIA and FOTA need to get on with it!

        2. Jasper, sorry, but I really think you are wrong wile Keith is spot on! You always need some mechanical grip regardless of the aero because all the downforce in the world cannot make the cars change direction (until they are equipped with air rudders!)

          When the track gets wet the mechanical grip becomes the main cornering-speed factor over the aero, and this is further enhanced by the lower speeds. All of a sudden we a lot of overtaking and action because distribution of mechanical grip is all about skill and feeling and in addition alternative lines start to make sense. Again everything is enhanced by the lower speed because cars follow each other closer but this is not the main reason.

          The main reason simply is that the mechanical grip factor by far overrules the areo grip factor and that’s why this race should easily make it clear for everyone that mechanical grip is the way to go and aero grip has gone way too far. I don’t think it could have been outlined any clearer than in Melbourne!

          On top of it all; Hamilton’s excess of speed on the fresh tires in the dry should make it clear that pit stops should not be controlled and ultimately the quantity and type of tires not either.

  4. Florida Mike
    29th March 2010, 2:13

    Matchett and Hobbs on Speed were very vocal about the rules going in the wrong direction; reducing mechanical grip with narrower tires while increasing aero-dependant grip with larger front wings. Plus those wide front wings are a inevitably the contact point when things get tight. Limiting the front wing to no wider than the inside distance between the front tires seems like an easy way to relieve the dependance on clean-air.

  5. [blockquote]During the first half of the race the Melbourne track was damp and then drying. The lack of grip meant the detrimental effect of running in the slipstream of another car was far less of a limiting factor for the drivers and so we saw lots of exciting passes and changes of position.{blockquote]

    I think this actually suggests that aero problem is less of an aero issue than a grip problem. Maybe give them rock hard tires so a) the drivers can rely less on the mechanical grip, and b) have more than one grippy racing line through the course. I think everyone has bought into the “aero problem” because the media is pounding it home, but this exciting wet race – especially the first half – makes me believe that we’re barking up the wrong tree.

  6. I dont dont feel different tyre stratergies is good, it promotes artifical overtaking,it cant be anything but artifical,1 car on nice fresh soft rubber,passing a car with worn rubber,thats well?Yeah shortening the wheelbase may help,get rid of the diffusers and anything that will loosen the rear end up so that they have to battle with balance.Get the safety car on the track more regularly.

    1. I dont dont feel different tyre stratergies is good, it promotes artifical overtaking,it cant be anything but artifical,1 car on nice fresh soft rubber,passing a car with worn rubber,thats well?

      I don’t agree.

      We’re talking about a driver having a choice between, say, using one set of tyres and nursing them for an entire race distance, or using more than one set of tyres but being able to use them more aggressively and having to accept the time lost in the pits.

      That’s part of the challenge of racing, there’s nothing artificial about it.

      Why do you think would shortening the wheelbase help?

  7. Yes, thank you! As I watched things unfold, I too felt like the rain had played a big part in the exciting racing, yet it was the difference in tire strategy that was applicable to future adjustments. If they would just get rid of those damn stupid tire rules, strategy would be freed up and, as we saw, would make for more interesting racing.

    1. Analyze the Melbourne race objectively and the fundamentals still equate with Bahrain.

      The train progressively forming behind Kubica, with the only serious attempt to pass – Webber on Hamilton – ending in disaster, confirms that a reasonably talented driver in a healthy car is almost impossible to pass.

      So, since the race did excite from time to time, what caused this to be?
      1. Weather, specifically rain, which cannot be counted upon to affect each race in a similar fashion.
      2. Tires, since everyone started on wets, the foolish tire rules were negated and everyone was free to use whatever tires they wished, whenever and however they wished, thereafter.

      Since we can count on the tire factor in every race, change those rules now! Bridgestone brings 3 slick compounds, 1 intermediate and 1 full wet tire to each race. The teams are free to use whichever tire – or combination thereof – at will, the number of tires being the only restriction.

      A fix? No! Just a Band-Aid, till a permanent fix is instigated in way of trashing a number of similarly foolish restrictions in other areas, that have destroyed the racing in favour of the show.

  8. During the race the commentators were talking about an idea Sam Michael had about making it possible for the drivers to adjust front and rear wings during the race to enable them to follow other cars more closely.

    Can someone with more technical nouse than me (ie, any) tell me if this would work. And if it would be possible to introduce mid season?

    1. theRoswellite
      29th March 2010, 6:39

      Here’s my take…which does not imply that I have any special technical insight.

      If you allow the wings to be adjustable, then all the cars will be able to increase the down force when they need it (braking, cornering, accelerating) and decrease the down force when they don’t need it (on the straights).

      It won’t help the problem, it will make it worse because the car running in the front of a group of cars will be in clean air…thus his use of down force will be increased compared to now, while the following cars will be in even more disrupted air; so that even though they can increase their down force from adjustable wings it will be less relative to the car in front of them. You have actually exacerbated the problem.

      With apologies to many of the folks above…

      The problem is the abundance of aero down force over mechanical grip. Period.

      Perhaps I can exaggerate for effect.

      Imagine the car in front of a group with no down force assistance from wings. As he bores a hole through the air, the following car encounters disrupted air (if he follows close enough he will find himself in an area in which the air has been “parted” and has not yet been able to return to it’s normal condition…thus the following car will encounter much less drag. This is of course, drafting.

      But, to return to our problem…

      Because we are having all the cars receive no down force from aero, the following cars will not be affected by the wake turbulence, to use the aeronautical term, thus when they come to a corner they can follow close behind the leading car…their grip on the road, mechanical grip, will be the same, theoretically, as the car in front of them.

      This is WELL UNDERSTOOD by the FIA and the teams.

      So, why you ask, don’t they drop the aero-grip, or down force? Simple. It will decrease the cars speed in corners…significantly. Very significantly. And, the powers that be do not want the most technically advanced race cars on earth to be seen as…..slow.

      However, there is an answer. You can still axe the aero if you increase the mechanical grip enormously by……such things as: increasing the size of the contact patch (wider tires), allow the suspensions to be variable, or active,(which does not mean they have to be automatic), attempt to have the tire compounds be as adhesive as possible.

      Finally, sorry for the length, the use of increased down force from the underside of the car, ground effects, will not solve the problem because the amount of down force the car gets from GE is affected by the air the car encounters. If the air is disrupted, following close behind another car, then the down force will be less. It is the same conundrum.

      We need to stop racing “air-craft” and start racing cars again.

      1. Reducing the wings and eliminating the diffuser and low rear wings/flaps will do a lot to reduce low level turbulence, and the front undertray splitter should allow limited ground effects to work underneath.

        Lower aero grip in the corners won’t drive away fans, and your suspension suggestions might help.
        The key is to level the ground effects for everyone and maybe let the designers have more leeway other than the smaller wing restrictions and no diffusers.

    2. What a surprise – an engineer suggests a solution that involves more engineering.

      I’m deeply sceptical. I can’t see many solutions to the problem that don’t involve taking more of Sam Michael’s toys away.

      1. Well, I suggest LESS engineering.
        But, I am rather olde-fashioned.

  9. I don’t get what all the fuss is about. It is certainly possible to measure how ‘clean’ the air is behind a F1 car in a wind tunnel. Give the engineers free hands, but introduce a rule saying how clean the air should be behind the car. I’m not that into aerodynamics but I’m pretty certain the engineers are doing everything they can at the moment to disrupt the air flow behind their car.

    1. True, but how do you measure or enforce it?

      1. Accidental Mick
        29th March 2010, 14:21

        @ Gustav. With you all the way on this. It would stop designers deliberately producing cars that are difficult to overtake.

        @ Mike Put all cars through a wind tunnel before the season starts. Then, either ban outright any aero updates or put the car back through the wind tunnel after the updates have been added.

  10. All drivers who had gained the most positions ( Senna, Chandhok, Petrov) didnt made anything good at the race

  11. Another great analysis Keith. I have to make two points though.

    “Jenson Button pitted for soft tyres on lap six and completed the remaining 52 laps without another stop for tyres – an impressive feat.”

    It is impressive, but the fact that F1 tyres are now so durable that a driver can last 51 laps on the second softest compound available to him is one of the reasons F1 races have become so processional. How many laps could Jenson have completed on the “prime” tyre (the hardest offered by Bridgestone), my guess is about 100, far far more than a race distance. Prehaps I’m simplfying things here, but in my view, a super soft and soft tyre should be just that… SOFT! They should provide epic grip and massive pace, but for a VERY limited time period. These things should be worn out within 10-15 laps, no more.

    “The aero problem”

    You hit the nail on the head again Keith. Much more still needs to be done to limit the cars reliance on aerodynamic grip. Yesterday’s race was epic, but it was solely because of the changeable weather conditions. Yesterdays race would have been processional too if it had been dry. Need evidence? Fernando Alonso could not pass Felipe Massa, who was clearly struggling with the car. A driver in a quick car, who had great pace through FP and Quali, and who is one of the best racers on the grid today, could not get by his team mate who was struggling to keep his car on the track never mind string some fast laps together. Lewis Hamilton, driving his socks off in the McLaren, couldn’t get by Alonso despite the fact that he had been catching him at 1.5 seconds per lap. It’s just not right.

    1. One thing I forgot to add to my rant is that the time which you could gain by changing tyres is now cancelled out by the reduced pit lane speed limit. What does this lead to? Less pit stops, more drivers and teams afraid of losing track position because it is impossible to overtake, more processional races.

      1. Well said, although I think the slower pit lane speed is an Albert park issue.

        1. Wasn’t also used in Bahrain?

    2. I think it’s more likely that Alonso wouldn’t get past Massa rather than couldn’t.

      It’s hard to overtake with lots of risks for an accident. You don’t pull something like that on your team mate.

      Before the team might have allowed that if the drivers were on different strategies. For instance when Heidfeld let Kubica pass him in Canada and Kubica went on to win the race that Heidfeld would have won otherwise.

      Or when Kovalainen let Hamilton pass at the nurburgring after they “forgot” to give Hamilton a pitstop during the safety car situation.

  12. sorry guys for asking a dumb question. why the dirty air effects a car balance in dry track, but not when it is wet?

    1. It’s not a dumb question at all!!!
      I believe it is because they run slower and generate less dirty air…

    2. HounslowBusGarage
      29th March 2010, 9:09

      Because of the relatively slower speed of the cars in the wet.

    3. They can also choose different lines heading into corners on a wet track without too much change in grip. A wet track has different characteristics than a dry track (or even a damp track with a dry line) in terms of grip over the entire width.

      1. Edit – actually should be “into and through corners”

        1. And let’s not forget that on a wet track throttle control becomes *much* harder :)

  13. Agree a lot on aerodynamics limitation.
    Agree a lot on free tyre choice.

    But another silly point is: if we see spectacular races when the rain comes in, it means that we need to decrease mechanical grip also!!!
    With lower mechanical grip the drivers need to manage engine power, that means that you are much likely to do a mistake and be attacked from the others.
    Less aerodymanics is ok. But what about narrower tyres and more powerful engines? Or any other device to reduce mechanical grip also???

    1. I think this is a common misconception, Lower Mechanical grip will simply see cars going slower,

      What the rain actually does, is lower the predictability of the tracks grip levels, A driver does not know how much grip he will have as the track is always changing in those conditions, Which means, he must be careful, and if he is not, he facing losing grip, and sliding, possibly into retirement.

      That’s why we saw so many drivers go off at the first corner after their pit stops, they expected more grip than was available.

      Ok, badly explained but hopefully you can see what I’m trying to say.

    2. No, rain means the entire field slows down, especially in heavy breaking areas and fast curves.

      Slower speed plus longer breaking distance diminishes aero grip to a greater extent than mechanical grip entering and through a corner.
      Why penalize the mechanical grip in that case?

      1. I wouldn’t know…I just observe that when you have lower mechanical grip (rain for example), you have a lot of overtaking.
        I know it appears to be absurd somehow, but I’m just basing on empyricals…

        1. This is a very fair question, one that James Allen raised in his blog a while ago.

          However the F1 teams seem to generally agree that the aerodynamics are the main problem and they are the one who should know best. Also, a few years ago grooved tyres were introduced to reduce mechnical grid in order to lower cornering speeds for safety, but we didn’t get masses of overtaking then.

    3. theRoswellite
      29th March 2010, 19:08

      If you reduce or eliminate aero-grip and mechanical grip, as you suggest then you have a massive overall reduction in grip, which means, as you say, the cars will be sliding around more (4 wheel drifts…a good thing!) and the driver will become more of a factor in overall car speed. All of which I like.

      But, the problem will still be a significant reduction in cornering speed, it can’t be any other way, and this, at present, is unacceptable to the powers that be.

      Oh, and if it rains under the above conditions (no down force and low mechanical grip) you can almost forget about being able to race at any speed close to what they are now running at.

  14. I think the race was a good example for why there should be no mandatory pit stops at all. After everyone had changed to slick tyres we saw what it could be like if drivers did not have to use both compounds of tyre and could choose whether or not to pit.

    Both Mercedes, Hamilton and Webber decided to pit for fresh tyres and try to use the extra grip to charge through the field while the other leading cars decided to stay out and try and make their tyres last until the end. If everyone had to make a pit stop they would all have just come in at about the same time so as not to loose track position.

    If the people in charge are still looking at ways to “improve the show”, my suggestions would be in the short term to get rid of the mandatory pit stops, and make the tyres more marginal, I don’t think it should be possible for the soft tyre to be able to last the whole race so easily. In the long term it comes back to the car and they need to reduce the dependence on aero so the cars can follow each other more closely.

    When the BBC interviewed Stefano Domenicali (I can’t remember if it was on Saturday or before the race on Sunday) I liked what he had to say including that F1 shouldn’t rush into making any knee-jerk changes after just one race. He makes more sense than some other people in F1.

    1. Agreed entirely. Make the soft tyres less durable, get rid of the two compound per race rule, and most all of the problem goes away – just like that.

  15. No offense Kieth, but i dislike any of the driver? Because it seems to me that you aren’t a fan for Alonso.

    1. I’ve nothing against him. What was it in the article that made you think otherwise?

      1. Alonso is the best in my opinion, and that is the only opinion that counts. And, Keith? If you have a bother with this, we shall arm-wrestle over it!

        But, I am rather arthritic, and not too fond of Spaniards. Now, if he was Scottish or Canadian, I should be rather threatening towards you. But, sadly, Fernando is not either, so I will continue with veiled wimpy talk to defend my fave driver … :)

  16. The race was good, up to a point (it dryed out) The last 25% of the race was as dull as Bahrain, and I’m starting to lose interest in the sport, again. Unless something is actually done to fix the aero problem then I’ll just give up and wait till 2011.

  17. I definitely agree with everyone that says the problem is the mechanical grip and not the Aero grip. That’s why wet races are always more exciting, – less mechanical grip.

    What we need are really hard tyres that last the whole race or even two. The tyres would have a lot less grip and drivers would make more mistakes. Drivers could be restricted to sets of tyres per season as they currently are engines. (cheaper for the tyre supplier too) this would spice things up when some drivers are forced to use old tyres at a race whilst others use fresh ones.

    The only problem with that is that you would have to go back to refueling inrace to force pitstops.

    James Allen suggested going back to manual gear boxes – great idea, botched gear changes would provide loads more overtaking opportunities.

    1. Just like Mike said above. This is a common misconception. Wet tracks lead to drivers making more mistakes not because there’s less mechanical grip, but because you don’t know how much grip is available. When a dry line starts to appear after it stops raining, as soon as you get out of this line you go on a damp surface with slicks and you slide. Even when it’s raining, you can’t know exactly how much grip is available since it’s always changing, and every time another driver goes into a corner, the grip levels change since the water is moved.

      If you lower mechanical grip in the dry, races will just be slower. Drivers are always on the limit of the tyre’s grip, and sometimes you go over and lose traction, but those are just simple mistakes that happen even in dry races (like massa at the end in bahrain when braking). But you’re pretty sure how much grip you’ll have and most times know ahead of time when and if you’ll slide, but in the rain you go slower since you don’t know how much grip you’ll have in the next corner, so you’re not as close to the limit, and another driver that judged the grip levels better, or was simply lucky, overtakes you because he was closer to the grip limit.
      I hope it makes sense but pretty much if there are tires with less mechanical grip drivers will go to the limit and will just go slower, without aiding overtaking since the mistakes will just be regular simple mistakes, not many, as in for example bahrain, a dry race.

      1. Can’t argue with that I suppose, but won’t drivers with less grip -be it mechanical or aero- make more mistakes thus creating more overtaking oppertunties? Of course with changing conditions drivers are going to make even more mistakes, maybe they should hose every track down at the beginning of the race!

      2. theRoswellite
        29th March 2010, 19:15

        Yes, I agree, well put MARIOME.

  18. going back to manual gear boxes is one good idea
    it will let the drivers show their true driving skill

  19. I’m not sure I agree that aero is the problem … this race showed that mechanical grip is the issue – take a bit of that away and actually the passing flows quite freely. You’ve just got to look at all the overtaking in the race on what was essentially a track that reduced mechanical grip. The aero was the same.

    Had Webber not shunted lewis he would probably have got past Alonso … that was still pretty exciting racing!

    1. you’re missing the point. when the cars go slower (ie in rain), the ability of the aerodynamics to create grip lessens. (These cars arent designed to go slow remember, so when they do, they’re a dog to drive.) The car then has to rely on mechanical grip. That’s why the racing was better.

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