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Teams reject overtaking move

NEWS STORY
08/04/2018

Since Liberty Media laid its $8bn on the table and effectively walked away with the deeds to F1, a new word has seemingly entered the sport's lexicon... "the fan".

Chase, Sean and Ross can barely open their mouths without uttering the word and now the team bosses have caught the bug.

Should the hardest of drinkers opt to play a game whereby they sink a shot every time Chase, Sean, Ross and pals utter the word, they'd be out of their heads long before the end of the interview. It’s that bad.

Yet, when the sport actually has the opportunity to do something positive for "the fans", it does what it always does, misses an open goal, shoots itself in the foot and puts self-interest above all else.

Yesterday, the FIA's aero man Nikolas Tombazis called a special meeting of the team bosses in a bid to solve the thorny issue of overtaking.

With overtaking in 2017 down 50% on 2016, and just 5 passes in Melbourne, it is one of the biggest issues facing the sport.

However, moves to improve overtaking in the short-term by means of a bigger and higher rear wing flap aimed at aiding the effects of DRS - which in itself is widely regarded by "the fans" as artificial, together with a (for now) modest simplifying of the front wing and brake ducts, were rejected by six of the teams with only four in favour.

With only a majority vote needed at this stage, the six teams - Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Renault and McLaren -got their way.

Despite the importance of the issue, it is understood that the meeting was eventually hijacked with talk turning to the moves which saw Marcin Budkowski and Laurent Mekies leave their jobs with the FIA for Renault and Ferrari respectively, the likes of Red Bull and Mercedes insisting that, in the latter case, a gentleman's agreement was broken and that in future such moves - including personnel leaving one team for another - should result in a period of gardening leave of twelve months.

The aero proposals can still be taken forward to the Strategy Group, which meets on the 17th of this month, and then the F1 Commission, but if a solution isn't found by April 30 any move would require the agreement of all ten teams... a rarity at the best of times.

In 1994, in the wake of the tragic events at Imola, the FIA was quick to react, even if some of the initial moves were of the kneejerk variety.

Assuming the FIA still has some say in rule-making surely it is in the best interests of all involved that the sport's governing body act now rather than wait on Ross Brawn's solution in 2021.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Brawn admitted that he hasn't entirely given up on a short term solution.

"There's some proposals going to the teams in the next few days for some things we could potentially do for 2019," he said. "If you look at the front wings we have now, they are massively complex, and the flow regime around the wing is incredibly complex, which makes it very sensitive to the car in front.

"So we simplify the front wings, then arguably you could say that you're going to go back in the right direction. Everything we have done in the last few years has gone in the wrong direction," he added, and of course, the man behind the double-diffuser would know all about that.

In the meantime, the 'who will think of the children' meme, made famous by The Simpsons Helen Lovejoy, might have its F1 equivalent, 'who will think of the fans'.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Bahrain, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Ro, 08/04/2018 20:11

"The teams should'nt have any word on rulings on what you can and cannot have on their cars. They only have their own interest at heart. So the results on 6 against and 4 for is meaningless....Rules should be out of their hands, completely"

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by CL, 08/04/2018 18:58

"F1 is a driver competition and a team competition, so technical skill is to be rewarded, but what the rules have allowed has put an imbalance in place where the aero technical side overrides the drivers skill once one car is following another closely, and at the same time made tyre and component management imperative. The balance needs to tip back toward the driver to give us close racing."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Schnauzers, 08/04/2018 16:20

"Tauranac introduced sports car noses on single seaters way back. At that stage they were superior to the very basic 'winged' narrow noses of the time. When ground effect filtered down to the lesser formulae, we did an experiment at the Williams wind tunnel to see if there was a disadvantage to continue with wide noses in case they effected the sided tunnels' downforce.
I suggested we place a 'second' car ahead of the main model, We did. All that we established was that the 'winged' 'main' model lost downforce, whereas when a sports car nose was fitted to it, there was NO LOSS.
Typically Tauranac, he opted NOT to follow that route as "If I do it and it proves successful, everyone else will follow, so no advantage gained"."

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4. Posted by Greg, 08/04/2018 16:09

"Fully agree Chis. Its not the actual overtaking, although the attack from behind with the late braking (DR) style is good, it is the battle and resistance that is the anticipated high. Will he wont he get past. Now its no closer than 2 seconds its a ho hum watch. As for team agreement. FIA should as rule master step on and just say . 1 2 3 this is it. If teams dont like it they may sau so but not sure if fhey would fully pull out"

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5. Posted by Oldbuzzard, 08/04/2018 16:04

"As long as techno nerds are allowed to dictate the rules, the situation will not improve. This is supposed to be motor racing not engineering competition."

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6. Posted by Editor, 08/04/2018 13:47

"@ F One

But the whole point isn’t about the overtaking, it’s about being able to overtake.

Whatever battle you want to recall it isn’t the pass one usually remembers it is the battle to make that pass.

However, if cars are unable to get within 2s of one another there can be no such battles… merely the hunter and the hunted for lap after lap until one makes a mistake or benefits from a VSC.

It is not about the overtaking, it is about the battle for the possibility to overtake. "

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7. Posted by F One, 08/04/2018 13:38

"Formula One has never had lots of overtaking. Remember the epic fight between Alonso and Schumacher at Imola all those years ago? Lap after lap fighting for the lead? That was fasntastic. It wouldn't have happened now. Schumi would have just pressed the DRS button and driven past. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

If you want overtaking then abolish the joke that is qualifiying, If you put the fastest cars at the front then of course noone will overtake because the fastest car is at the front.

Formula One needs to stop obsessing with "The Show". It's ruining the sport beyond all recognition."

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8. Posted by Tom2681, 08/04/2018 13:22

"Precisely. I've never met someone who cares about overtaking.
We all just want close racing.

Drop the wings so the cars can follow each other.
Use steel brakes to enlarge the braking zones.
Listening to Ross and co, you'd think this is rocket science."

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9. Posted by Editor, 08/04/2018 12:52 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 08/04/2018 12:55)

"@ F One

And is it "pathetic and pointless" that cars are currently unable to get within 1 - 2 seconds of one another?"

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10. Posted by F One, 08/04/2018 12:46

"The obession with overtaking and the supposed lack there of is pathetic and pointless."

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