F1 is working on a solution for it’s lack of passing – The program began 6-9 months ago
You waited all winter for the off-season to end. They threw the green flag on the 2018 F1 season and you were gifted with a snoozer. The Australian Grand Prix featured a combined total of 5 on-track passes.
Whoever said that races aren’t won in turn 1 have been proven entirely incorrect in recent F1 seasons. That’s an issue for any racing series. In the case of last week’s race, it’s not the track. It’s the modern cars that are the problem. F1 is working on it…
“One of the things we’ve started, and we’re now six to nine months into it, is a program to understand how we can enable these cars to race each other more effectively,” Brawn stated in an interview on SiriusXM.
“We need to keep the aerodynamic performance at a high level, but we need to do it in a way that’s more benign and more friendly to the cars around it.”
“There’s almost a force field that exists at the moment, a bubble around each car. And the car attacking it can’t get near it, because as soon as it gets within 1.5-2.0s of the car in front, it loses so much performance. It can’t get near.”
“So we started the program, and I’m really excited by what I’m seeing.”
F1 tried a simple solution in anticipation of a lack of passing. A third Drag Reducation Zone was added for the first race of the season. It didn’t help.
The car in front disturbs the air for the trailing car. The downforce is lifted off the car trying to make the pass and he burns off his tires. A somewhat recent maneuver in F1 is to purposely slow down and force the car behind to get close to the car in front.
Slowing down a little bit still doesn’t put the lead car under much of a threat. As Verstappen says, “They were also much slower, but you can’t pass them. You try, but it doesn’t make any difference. Even if you are one and a half second faster, it’s still not possible to overtake.”
Ross Brawn explains, “The front wing is for sure one area that is sensitive in both respects, in terms the disturbance it creates, and then the sensitivity to the disturbance of the car in front.”
“It’s not the only area. There’s all the furniture and bargeboards you see behind the front wheels that are equally as sensitive. And there are areas of the rear floor and rear aerodynamics which are sensitive.”
F1 is aware of the issue. The fix is set for implementation at the start of the 2021 season. However, some bandages might come before that, say next year.
“We’re looking at the whole thing, and I don’t think we should get into chopping one piece without understanding all the implications of the impact we will have. So we’re looking at a total solution, a holistic solution, of all the parts.
“We know the percentage drop in performance that comes as a car approaches another car, and already we’ve found ways of improving that in reducing the disturbed flow from the car in front, and reducing the sensitivity of the following car to that disturbed flow.
“We’re trying to do it in a properly structured way, and that will be the solution we’ll apply for 2021. Anything we can learn in the meantime, which we feel is safe and fair and correct to apply, will be done.”
In 2009, Ross Brawn acquired Honda. In his first year, the team won the championship. In total, he’s worked or owned teams that have won 8 constructors’ titles and 8 drivers’ titles.
In 2010, Mercedes purchased the team. It later became what is now Mercedes AMG Petronas. Marcedes has won the F1 drivers’ and constructors’ titles every year since 2014. They now sit tied with Red Bull Racing at 5th on the all time list of constructor titles.
In 2014, Ross Brawn officially retired from the competition side of the sport.He now leads the direction of technology and regulations from the other side of the fence. In January 2017, he was hired by the Formula One Group as managing director of the series.