Overtaking – The Talking Point

Well we seem to talk about it all the time nowadays, the lack of overtaking in Formula 1. As an avid fan myself I like to see overtaking, but it isn’t the be all and end all of the sport. I had the most enjoyable of races on Sunday watching both Petrov keeping Alonso behind and Kubica keeping Hamilton behnd for laps on end, the suspense was fantastic.

The problem with overtaking seems to have been getting worse and worse over the years as the cars are getting more and more finely tuned, leaving no margins for anything. The lack of margin is what I believe to be what is causing the problem.

Many people have come up with theories of what is  causing the problem, but I disagree with most of them. I have my own theories and it isn’t as complicated as everybody thinks.

The first thing that came to mind was Mark Webber’s move on Jenson Button at Canada this year. Impossible to do unless certain circumstances allow it, certain circumstances that happened. For me, the Canadian Grand Prix brought to light one of the most obvious problems with the cars today, the tyres are just far too good! It doesn’t matter how much downforce a car produces if it can’t put it down on the road.

Pirelli have an opportunity here to do exactly what they did last time they were in the sport. Make tyres that degrade quickly, sod the green philosophy that bridgestone had – F1 isn’t a green sport! And these tyres don’t give any particular team an advantage as it effects everybody. Tyres are one control thing that everybody gets the same. We don’t need contrived adjustable wings that give the guy behind an advantage. F1 is a sport for brains and brawn, not pussyfooting around and making something easier, it should be hard to overtake!

On the subject of adjustable rear wings, I’m writing it off as a failure before we even get there. The whole idea is a farce and heres why:

Yes they’ll decrease drag down the straights when they are allowed to use them but they won’t make the slightest difference to the top speed of the car if the teams do exactly the same as they did this year with the gear ratios. I lost count of the times somebody had a tow down a straight this year and couldn’t overtake because they were bouncing off the limiter.

Now there’s two solutions to this problem in my opinion. Either make the ratio for 7th gear a regulated size (meaning they can still choose the rations in the other gears), or scrap the rev limit. In the age of restricting the amount of engines teams have in a season and freezing development, it would be the team’s or drivers risk if they over-rev the engine to overtake an opponent.

Banning aerodynamic devices is not the way forward in this sport, as the engineers will always find new ways to claw it back. We need to start looking elsewhere to solve the “issue” if we want more overtaking.

For sure, the movable rear wing will be a disaster – they should have stuck with the f-duct!

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