Newey concerned about “overly manufactured” F1

2011 F1 season

Adrian Newey, 2011

Adrian Newey, 2011

Red Bull designer Adrian Newey says he expects the new adjustable rear wings introduced this year to increase overtaking.

But he warned they could make passing too easy and creating an “overly manufactured” spectacle.

Speaking at the annual Sid Watkins lecture for the Motorsport Safety Fund at Autosport International Newey said:

It will help, sure. It reduces the drag of the car on the straights so that you’ve got extra straight-line speed.

I think the key thing is going to be adjusting it, juggling it, so that it makes overtaking possible but not too easy. If it makes overtaking too easy, so that you get into the position where you want to be second going into the last lap, it then becomes overly manufactured.

There is that danger and certainly at the moment the boost that’s provided, to me, looks too big.

Personally, I know I’m in a minority in this view, the difficulty of overtaking is vastly over-egged. Because what difficult overtaking does mean is that when someone does overtake it’s really memorable.

We all remember [Nigel] Mansell going around the outside of [Gerhard] Berger in Mexico or Nigel and Ayrton [Senna] having it out along the length of the Barcelona straight.

Those stand out because overtaking isn’t that easy and if it becomes like a NASCAR slipstreamer it’s going to lose something.
Adrian Newey

Newey also said he is concerned that high straight line speeds could contribute to accidents in 2011.

Increased closing speeds could create greater risk of an accident similar to the one suffered by Mark Webber in Valencia last year.

The very high end-of-straight speeds are probably the most dangerous area. That’s something that worries me slightly this year with the moveable rear wing and KERS.

We could potentially have some very high end-of-straight speeds. It’s not so much the speed itself as when you get that sudden difference between them.

That, of course, was what happened with Mark – Heikki braked earlier than Mark expected and it’s the huge difference in speed that causes the accident.
Adrian Newey

Newey explained the difficulties of preventing this kind of accident through car design:

There are ways being thought of. The fundamental problem is as long as we have an exposed rear wheel then when a nose hits a rear wheel the rotation is going to lift the car.

You could look at regulating very now front noses but that brings other things. At the moment the great thing about high noses is there’s little danger, if a car T-bones another one. If you T-bone a car with a low nose the car could end up on top of you.

So it’s like all these things. It’s almost like the original debate over safety belts: 99% of the time they’re good for you but occasionally there’s going to be an accident where you’d be better not to have a safety belt.
Adrian Newey

Asked what else could be done to stop cars flying into the air Newey added: “Probably get the drivers to brake a bit earlier!”

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91 comments on Newey concerned about “overly manufactured” F1

  1. nakos said on 14th January 2011, 22:58

    Finally, someone expresses what I’ve felt for a long time

  2. Jared404 said on 15th January 2011, 4:39

    This is silly. If you need to be in second on the final lap then we will see a fight to be in second for the final lap. It is sport and the driver who makes the best use of the rules and the car abilities will win, until the next race when everybody will try to use the same trick on him.

    Everybody has forgotten that without the rain last year the races would have been processions.

  3. Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 15th January 2011, 11:37

    Newey is right, this gimmick I believe will benefit the sport as a whole. The point I find concerning is the amount of in-car adjustments the drivers are taking on nowdays. Why can’t we restrict the amount of adjustments a driver can make, bring back the skill of setting a car up? Front wing, rear wing, fuel mixture etc… need not be adjusted during races if the car is set up ultimately at the start of the race.

  4. Calumski said on 15th January 2011, 17:06

    Adrain is right but the part about wanting to be second on the last lap is wrong…it’s not often you have driver 1 second behind and if it does happen (most likely at tracks like monaco and singapore) then it will be pretty darn exiting knowing in the back of your mind the man behind has a chance…and that brings onto my next point: overtaking at monaco and singapore! WOOT!

  5. Nigelstash said on 15th January 2011, 22:26

    The whole ‘lack of overtaking’ debate is valid but the last thong we need is undeserved overtaking. This idea might tide us over until the dirty air problem is solved through rafical changes to the regs, but I am not hopeful. I want to see overtaking battles, not random osition swapping. I want to see skillef drivers on lesser cars making it hell for the top teams. Of a driver gets past they should deserve
    it. Btw ~ ever heard anyone complain of lack of overtaking in horse racing?

  6. That step is absolutely necessary, in order to avoid the boredom created by stupid track design. One will still need some speed in order to catch up with an opponent, so this is just a small aid, remember the conditions on the activation of the system. Exciting season is forthcoming :)

  7. BBT (@bbt) said on 18th January 2011, 9:07

    I’d like to see some stats on how many times the MRW could of been used in 2010. I’d suggest not as many as people think. From memory most got stuck about 1.5 second behind the car in front, so no use of the MRW allowed.
    With the exception of the last race, anyone that got within a second did get past a majority of the time. Don’t mention Bahrain because again people couldn’t get within 1.5 seconds never mind 1 second.
    If its going to work they are going to have to play around with the gap in which it can be used.

    PS. I rather see one great over take than twenty poor ones. I kind of agree with Newey if it becomes too easy, but we’ll have to see, I not sure it will.
    I never want to see more than one or two retakes that just makes it a joke IMO

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 18th January 2011, 9:11

      You might be right BBT. On the other hand, there was not much use in trying to close into the guy in front this year, was there?

      With that wing, Vettel might have tried in Singapore, Hamilton might have fashioned closing in for a move on Vettel and Webber in Turkey etc.

      • BBT (@bbt) said on 18th January 2011, 11:20

        Equally why overtake if they can easily just retake, I suggest a smart driver would just follow until close to the end of the race.

        I 90% sure Hamilton was not close enough to use the MRW in Turkey.
        Vettel might of been close enough in Singapore but I would be surprised if he wasn’t.

        Having said all that I’m open minded, it could be the best thing ever or a total flop.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th January 2011, 9:37

      I’d like to see some stats on how many times the MRW could of been used in 2010.

      That’s a great idea. I’ll have a look into it.

      • BBT (@bbt) said on 18th January 2011, 11:30

        It would be interesting, my (or other peoples) perceptions of the different it might make could be miles out depending on the reality of how many times it gets used.

        My guess would be almost never for people chasing RBR a little more often in the top six places and will be used most in the middle order battles, so biggest benefit to those runners.

        Might benefit team with poor pit stops as it might no longer be the end of the world if you drop behind someone you are quicker than.

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