No quick fix for overtaking issue admits Brawn

26/03/2018
NEWS STORY

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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Published: 26/03/2018
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