Several times during the last few years we’ve seen almost 8 cars qualify within one second. Futhermore – whenever we discuss new rules, we very often do it with equalization of cars in mind.
F1 is “the pinnacle of racingsport” and they are all great drivers in F1 – or else they wouldn’t have been there. (Exception may be the paydrivers who are there because of economic reasons. They drive somewhat slower and they are actually also getting passed quite often by all other drivers. So paydrivers are not the argument here. But the other top class drivers, maybe 10 of them, lapping on almost same laptimes, are included in this argument.)
Equal cars – yes great. Top class drivers – yes cool. Same laptimes – yes thrilling and close. But… what does this actually mean?
Same laptimes = constant pace. It is a fact that a driver needs around ~1s to fulfill a more or less safe pass of the car in front. But with equal cars and almost same laptimes – how are the drivers supposed to gain this essential ~1s in only one lap?
Well, the answer is clear as milk – on pure driver skill.
Those cars are way to simple to drive. Hmm… Are they really? Well I don’t know, but the logics point no other way. How many times have we seen 2 or 3 batteling drivers post almost identical laptimes for several laps in a row. One car is chasing the other and both are lapping within 0.5s or even less. Well… no wonder there ain’t no passing. Their pace is constant but need to differ >1s.
I honestly don’t think the tracks are the problem. Tilke has been banged on for a long time now, but maybe he is not the guilty one. Eg Tilke always design wide tracks, and width is needed for passing. In rain, there is plenty of overtaking on Tilkes tracks.
The only smart way to increase action/overtaking is to make driving more difficult. Whatever rule change FIA introduce – it should be aimed at making driving more difficult. Bring back the manual gearboxes, double cluthes, maybe even separate pair of brakes for front and rear wheels. Adjustable wings, KERS and those suggestions might actually be a very good move from FIA. What else can we introduce to make racing more difficult?
Why are rain races so much more exciting? Because there is more overtaking? “No sh_t Sherlock”, but wait… the tracks and cars are the same aren’t they, so why is there more overtaking? Because there is plenty of driver error during rain. It’s more difficult to drive in rain. Driver-error is probably the only thing that can increase laptime differences between drivers if they are top class with equal cars. So make it more difficult to drive.
Shifting with paddles stands out as “near to childish” in what we call “the pinnacle of racingsport”. Bring back the H-gear-stick and double clutches. Pit speed limiters, fuel mix and differential adjusters and all those technical aids should all be excluded. Put a horn on the wheel and skip the rest. Let them work for their pace, and may the best man win.