Should slower cars let the front runners pass when racing for position? (Poll)

Alonso found Trulli much easier to pass than di Grassi

Alonso found Trulli much easier to pass than di Grassi

Lucas di Grassi gave Fernando Alonso plenty to think about when the Ferrari driver came up to pass the Virgin driver early in the Monaco Grand Prix.

But after Alonso got past di Grassi he made light work of passing Heikki Kovalainen, Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli.

Did the other drivers make life too easy for Alonso? Or should di Grassi have yielded as well?


If two cars are racing for position, why should the car in front yield position even if it does have a much quicker car behind?

Enrique Bernoldi famously refused to let David Coulthard by in the same circumstances at Monaco in 2001 – the McLaren driver stared at the rear wing of Bernoldi’s Arrows for 41 laps.

Di Grassi’s defence from Alonso was impressive while it lasted as the VR-01 clearly had vastly less grip and power than the F10. But Alonso clearly wasn’t impressed, waving his hand at the Virgin driver as they climbed towards Massenet on one lap.


For the tail-enders, holding up a faster car can be costly to their race. Pulling off-line to defend position can make their lap times even slower, spoiling their chances of beating other cars that are roughly as quick as they are.

But how slow does a car need to be before defending its position is pointless? Three seconds per lap? Four?

The Lotuses were less than three seconds off the pace at this point in the race. Jaime Alguersuari was only one second faster, so should he have waved Alonso by too?


Should slower cars defend their position from significantly quicker rivals? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Should slower cars let much faster cars by when racing for position?

  • Yes - Slower cars should always let much quicker cars past (13%)
  • No - Slower cars should always defend their position from quicker rivals (87%)

Total Voters: 2,902

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149 comments on Should slower cars let the front runners pass when racing for position? (Poll)

  1. antonyob said on 17th May 2010, 12:39

    If he’d just let Alonso through we would not have enjoyed the fantastic site of De Grassi opposite locking through the tunnel at 170mph.

    They will not get much sympathy from the viewing public who want to see a proper overtake not a “bend over-take”
    a la Trulli.

    Id go further and let backmarkers race on the racing line. It used to be a fundamental part of racing, how you deal with back markers. Senna used to be awesome, in fact Lewis is probably closest to him in how he deals with the back of the pack if hes out of position. Be nice to see aggression rewarded. How about a poll on backmarkers Keith?

  2. sw6569 said on 17th May 2010, 12:41

    I also think this depends on the track. If its a track where you can’t overtake (i.e. Monaco) then it seems silly to keep a faster car behind. This is because they are not behind on pure pace, they are behind because the track says no. I’m all in favour of all the cars racing, but if this is purely because of the track, then I can completely see why the top teams would be frustrated

  3. Edu said on 17th May 2010, 12:43

    If Alonso doesn’t want to loose time with slower cars then don’t crash in Practice 3.

  4. I don’t think there’s a straight forward yes or no answer, it depends on the situation and what the slower driver has to gain or loose from such an act. The slower car can gain or loose time against other similarly slow rivals depending on if they let the faster driver through. They can also get air time for their sponsors/team by holding back a more distinguished teams car which is also good so it depends on what the priorities are. It’s also nice to see a bit of racing isn’t it ;)

  5. statix said on 17th May 2010, 13:01

    if slower car would have to let faster pass it then lets finish race weekend after Q. :)

  6. Jim said on 17th May 2010, 13:12

    Entirely up to them. Having raced in slick shod cars myself, I always let the faster drivers through. If you get fun holding up a championship front runner on a narrow street circuit, then so be it.

  7. Icthyes said on 17th May 2010, 13:21

    It’s racing. The drivers are babied enough with the blue flags as they are without being given positions too. In Monaco, I would make lapped cars yield after one lap in front of a fast car, but having a convention that a slow car should yield position? I thought these guys were meant to be world champions!

  8. PJA said on 17th May 2010, 13:30

    I think slower cars should always defend their position.

    During the BBC coverage Martin Brundle and David Coulthard said that for political reasons the slower cars should do the quicker cars a favour and let them through. While it is probably true that the quicker teams may hold grudges if one of their cars are held up I find that pretty sad.

    Eddie Jordan said he would tell his drivers to let quicker cars through because the slower car would loose too much time defending his position. I understand this position more but it could be the best strategy in some cases.

    We saw how much difficulty Alonso had getting past Di Grassi even though he was significantly faster so it just shows how hard it would be for a driver to make an overtake on a more evenly matched car at Monaco.

  9. silly question! Everyone is equal – every driver and every team, so teams which has much faster cars shouldn’t be favoured

  10. Tiomkin said on 17th May 2010, 13:55

    Alonso was at the back of the pack due to him loosing control of his car and trashing it. That does not give him the right to expect ‘red carpet’ treatment to the front. What happens when a fast driver gets a penalty and is dropped grid places? Are they to be ushered to the front? It would make a mockery of racing, as all grid penalties would mean nothing. You can guess how I voted.

  11. Ronman said on 17th May 2010, 14:15

    F1 is racing…. not charity work.. if those overtakes are not earned then Monaco would have been derided of any real racing yesterday no matter to what position the racing was being done…

    Alonso made a mistake, and that is why he was last… he pays for his mistake by having to fight his way through th efield… or else why waste time then… just put the ferrari ahead of all the other team and back in 6th position on the grid then…

  12. Platine said on 17th May 2010, 14:16

    At Monaco, do you really lose much time “defending”, I dont think so, its so tight anyway.

    Di Grassi should have brake tested him when he was having his tantrum, that would have been priceless.

    Also, how many times are you allowed to blatantly cut a corner? Massa had four wheels off the track at the chicane out of the tunnel circa lap 20 (?) and no penalty. Hamilton would have passed if Massa had been forced to correct the error, or brake hard enough to stay on track. I think it should be zero tolerance, if there was gravel there he’d be out, its either a chicane or it isnt.

  13. chump said on 17th May 2010, 14:17

    Generally, I’d say that guys do have the right to defend…possibly I even agree with getting rid of the blue flags altogether.

    However, Alonso had already made his pitstop … so while Lucas may have been entitled to defend, I question the wisdom of doing so. I can’t see what benefit there was to di Grassi. I would think it caused him harm, probably losing ground to guys he truly was racing against over the long haul, eg, Timo & Heikki.

  14. xabregas said on 17th May 2010, 14:17

    Not only the slower cars should make difficult the life for the front runners but also when they are going to be laped.
    This is racing not going for a ride in a beautiful sunday afternoon.
    Of course they should know accidents must be avoided since not runing for position.

  15. Nixon said on 17th May 2010, 14:27

    The reason was because the Lotuses and hiekki knew that there was no way that they would reach the points. Plus even if they made it hard for Alonso, i htink that he would still finish in the same position.

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