Formula One Overtaking Fears Continue to Mount

The first pre-season Formula One tests are underway and the first signs of the overtaking fears are beginning to show – are these just flukes?

Mercedes W08

Since the regulation upend, one of the greatest causes for concern has been the additional downforce that cars would experience out on the track. The wider bodies, tires, more aggressive engines, and unrestricted mid-season tinkering were implemented to give the sport a much-needed shakeup. However, after the first day of testing at Barcelona, some drivers are already claiming that the additional downforce on their vehicles is showing signs of an unintended, yet anticipated consequence.

“I was behind a couple of cars out there and it was harder to follow, as we expected. And then also right now the tires are so hard that they don’t drop off, they just keep going and going and going and going.

So most likely we’re going to be doing a lot more one-stopper [races] and, since there’s not degradation, less mistakes, less overtaking.

That’s my prediction, I might be wrong, we’ll find out.”

– Lewis Hamilton

F1 2017 Testing Images:

With the additional downforce that the F1 cars will be receiving in 2017, it’s going to mean that the driver ahead will be receiving the lion’s share of air passing through their cars aero kit – leaving not a whole hell of a lot for the pursuer to gobble up, considering they’re sitting square in the slipstream.

Although we’ve yet to see what the performance of the cars is going to be like in a race, it doesn’t bode well should these overtaking fears become reality. Race stewards have already been instructed to be more lenient with collisions out on the field as they want a more aggressive Formula One, but this does pose a serious threat to relegate the “race” to qualifying.

Ferrari SF70H

If dirty air end up ruining battles up and down the grid, then the Managing director of Motorsport, Ross Brawn, will have a lot of amending to do once the season is underway.