Tuesday, 21 December 2010

All change...in 2013

The much-vaunted F1 Technical Working Group, led by Rory Byrne and Patrick Head have settled on their plans to make the sport both more exciting for the spectator and more efficient - but will it work?

Its no secret that over the last, oh I don't know how many seasons the sport has struggled for a lack of regular overtaking.  Save for the odd race here and there where usually one of Button, Hamilton or Kobayashi have a particularly good day, races often go by without a single overtaking move of note.  Byrne and Head's plans seek to address that in a number of ways.

The cars will have a much smaller front wing, presumably to reduce the buffetting created by the dirty air off the back of the car in front.  This makes sense, I always thought the enormous front wings on the cars this year were unlikely to solve that issue, indeed they must have exacerbated it to a degree.  The cars will have most of their downforce created by the floor, specially shaped for that very purpose, and the overall downforce of the car will be reduced.

The tyres will remain slicks as this year, and cornering speeds will be maintained as far as possible though the cars will be slower in general.  On that note the engines will be reduced from 2.4 litre V8s to turbocharged 1.6 litre four cylinder engines.  I understand the drive towards greener engines, I just don't necessarily like it....

Plenty of work has gone into improving overtaking in recent years, to almost no avail.  I thought the removal of the ridiculous extraneous aerodynamic parts might make it easier to follow cars closely but it didn't have the desired effect.  I think circuit designs don't help, many of the new tracks aren't conducive to passing, even the best of the new breed, Istanbul for example, have only one or at the very best two clear overtaking spots.

I can only hope the changes, which will inevitably change themselves further between now and 2013, have more of an impact.  They're certainly more radical than any in recent memory, so fingers crossed!


haitchjg said...

Smaller front wings will help a bit, but as long as a driver faces losing huge amounts of aero efficiency if an opponent trips over his front wing we will not get any serious increase in overtaking....you can't stuff it down the inside and hope to get away with it....so they won't. Look at Touring cars, they make overtaking happen even when closely matched.....ok openwheelers can't take quite that amount of paint rubbing but reducing the extraneous aero bits has at least reduced the carbon shreds. Maybe they should ban endplates.

GreenJJ said...

I think we've got to be careful what we wish for, I do want more overtaking but I don't want F1 to become BTCC circa 1998 where races just became exercises in exchanging paint and having the biggest accident possible! I want there to be a lot of skill in overtaking, and if it goes wrong then you have to accept the consequences! Unless you remove front wings all together there will always be a significant loss in aerodynamic grip when one falls off.