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No quick fix for overtaking issue admits Brawn

NEWS STORY
26/03/2018

While much was made of the sport's new logo, its new anthem and various other gimmicks that Liberty Media is introducing in an attempt to put the 'bad old days' of Bernie Ecclestone firmly in the past, the sad fact is that the opening race of the season featured just five overtakes.

Even the bravest of the brave admitted that their best efforts were thwarted at every turn, whether it was Lewis Hamilton hunting down the man who had stolen his lead, Max Verstappen eager to make up for his earlier error or countless other drivers with a point to prove if not a point to be won.

Despite the addition of a third DRS zone, the age old problem of dirty air meant that whenever the pursuer got within a second or so of the pursued their car became unstable, meaning that even Hamilton had to eventually yield.

While the great unwashed have always known that it is the sport's reliance on aero, particularly the works of engineering art that adorn the front of the cars, that are responsible for the situation, it appears the sport's powers that be are only just beginning to cotton on.

While most of us believe the situation could be resolved by limiting the reliance on aerodynamics and cutting down on the architecture, perhaps even going down the route of introducing specific aero packages for different types of track, the sport's technical boss, Ross Brawn, reveals that it could be several years before a solution is found.

"Think of how much wheel-to-wheel dicing we missed out on," he said, reflecting on Sunday's season opener.

"When there is only a small speed gap between two cars then it's almost impossible for the pursuer to get close enough to mount an attack. We saw that with Hamilton and Vettel, Verstappen and Magnussen and again the Dutchman and Alonso and with Ricciardo and Raikkonen.

"The point is that, until we take a structured approach to the problem, we won't really make any progress," he continued. "One of our aims, which we are looking at with the FIA and the teams is that, for 2021, we want to have cars that allow drivers to really fight one another on track.

"We need to evolve a car design that achieves close to the level of performance we now see, but permits wheel-to-wheel action," he added.

Fact is, the sport needs to act before 2021 because fans are not only growing weary of the lack of overtaking but the fact that the sport seems unable or unwilling to bite the bullet and act. Whatever Liberty might think, the logo and anthem were not the problem.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by mzso, 29/03/2018 14:53

"@Stitch431
Actual ground effect would be dangerous. But keeping them wing-cars without sealing the sides (which makes it ground-effect) would work fine.
Exactly what was the proposal by Byrne/Head was about in 2010. Yet here we are ~8 years later and the problems are still the same only, much more severe..."

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2. Posted by Canuck, 28/03/2018 14:35

"Many good comments here about how simple it could be. The wind tunnel cost savings alone by restricting the aero-body would help reduce the spending gap also, leading to cost cap. Mr Brawn take on - we can do it attitude rather than a "so hard to do" attitude.
Afraid of loosing Ferrari? F1 is Ferrari's marketing tool, they spend very little in any other form of advertising. Merc, like Red Bull, will whine and cry if they are not winning. But they have found that F1 gives them a valuble marketing tool also. Will they leave?
Maybe all these teams should be reminded that they are building race CARS not AIRPLANES."

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3. Posted by Stitch431, 27/03/2018 18:45

"For next year, take of 80 percent of the aerodynamics and allow the teams to create a car with ground effect (almost the same but now under the car). Problem solved. Slipstreaming possible again as well as wheel to wheel without DRS!!! It is not difficult Mr. Brawn. Where there is a will there is a way and if there are certain powers trying to stop this as they are eager to hang on to their advantage then please let them go, regardless what name they go by. An F1 with close battles but without Ferrari or Mercedes is better than what we see now with the both of them keeping hostage the entire sports!"

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4. Posted by TestaRossa, 27/03/2018 18:05

"Merc and Ferrari don't want a change because they are winning ......."

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5. Posted by FQITW, 27/03/2018 13:26

"Back in the day, 1980s/90s, British club racing had well worded regulations.
Typically a few pages explaining what you could do to your car re: engine mods, chassis, safety etc.
At the end was a very clear one liner:
‘If it is not in the regulations you can’t do it’.
End of story .

Why can’t something along those lines be used by the F.I.A.?

I too share the disappointment of Brawn’s seemingly smug attitude to getting something done within our lifetimes.
Wake up! the F1 boat is sinking and taking on more water fast.
"

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6. Posted by Mugmug, 27/03/2018 11:58

"I had high hopes for F1 when I heard Ross Brawn would be the new technical boss, however, after a year or so of listening to him describe the various problems that plague F1, I have yet to see him implement a "fix". In my opinion, whenever someone says "there is no quick fix" to a problem, they should be replaced with someone who has a "can do " attitude. Unfortunately I think Ross has been contaminated by his new surroundings."

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7. Posted by Jezzer, 27/03/2018 10:03

"Even if the overtaking issue is "fixed" tomorrow it wouldnt have been a quick fix. This has been dragging on for years now. I am at a loss to understand why the FIA dont make the necessary changes needed to address the problem. They are able to ban certain trick items on cars within a race or two if they deem them unsafe..... Brabham fan car, Lotus twin chassis, Tyrrell X wings..... the list goes on. The current issue IS dangerous, F1 is in serious danger of losing many many fans because of this. DEAL WITH IT NOW not in 2021.
"

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8. Posted by Pawsche, 27/03/2018 9:53

""Ground Effect"... Surely Dr Brawn must have heard of it, or remember it."

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9. Posted by Mark, 27/03/2018 9:28

"Way back in 1998, F1 decided to ban so-called X-wings, first used by Tyrrell, on safety grounds, because they might break off and cause a hazard. In 2006 the airflow control vanes on the nose of the BMW used in practice for the French Grand Prix were immediately banned on safety grounds because they might interfere with the driver's vision. Despite that, here we are with all sorts of small flaps, turning vanes and barge boards along with a halo structural pillar right in the drivers faces."

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10. Posted by ryanhellyer, 27/03/2018 8:41

"F1 needs to swallow it's pride and start taking some tips from Indycar racing. The early 90's Indycars had this problem solved. They had cheap cars which were fast, yet didn't create turbulence. This was literally a solved problem 25+ years ago, and yet they keep pretending it is such a complex problem to fix."

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11. Posted by imejl99, 27/03/2018 7:48

"Aero enabled grip VS mechanical grip.

Is there some insider to reveal to us how many of the side wings, winglets, pods and diffusers are intentionally designed to spoil air for car behind, having nothing to do with actual performance?

Nothing to see here, move on?"

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12. Posted by Ro, 27/03/2018 7:14

"Quick fix? : GET RID OF COMPLEX WINGS"

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13. Posted by Tweek, 27/03/2018 3:34

"its time for a return to a wingless formula."

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14. Posted by kenji, 26/03/2018 23:33

"Maybe they should listen more closely to what Mario Andretti has just said instead of slapping themselves on the back and living in the dream that F1 is the 'pinnacle'."

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