Overtaking - the riddle?


Here be dragons.
This is just speculation, so please don't shoot me down in flames - I am only a female after all (gender call)!

I have been watching F1 for donkeys (ageist call) and am a great supporter of Silverstone (home call). I thought that today's GP was more entertaining than most (bias call) so far this season and have put that down to the fact that the TV Director didn't focus on the front runners (lame-duck call).

But to get back to the title of the "article" - I am wondering if the well-held perception of lack of overtaking is more down to the calibre of the driver than the track or technology. Quickly scanning GM's overtaking thread, I note that some drivers attempt the "impossible" more often than others. This was highlighted today with several back-marker battles - hence my speculation.

Do we have a grid of wimps and not racers?
It's an interesting point and worthy of further analysis and discussion.

There is no doubt that the new regulations haven't made it easier to overtake this year.
That is fairly evident when a driver can close at over 1 second per lap but as soon as they get to within 1 second they progress no further.

However, there are definitely drivers who will make more of an effort to overtake, whether it is successful or not.

Today's race was a perfect example of a couple of drivers willing to take chances and overtake at the merest hint of a chance, compared to other drivers who were, on the face of it, happy to cruise up behind someone and just hold station.

Whether that's an accurate assessment or not is anyone's guess but I know which drivers I would rather watch on the current grid and they just happened to be fighting over 15th place today ;)
I thought the "Sato Award for best overtake in a poor car" should have gone to Giancarlo Fisichella. I thought his move on both Alonso and Kubica at the same time was brilliant.

I think Jen makes a great point and it could be a case of drivers who prefer the percentages rather than the risk. It's something I often thought of Michael Schumacher. He rarely overtook a car on the circuit and more often than not remained behind a car until that car pitted, and drove a series of awesome laps to come out ahead of said car after his pit stop. A winning strategy but a safe one.
actually this is a good point. but i think its slightly different.

one of the problems i have is that the drivers these days are closer to robots then they have ever been. there are no gung ho characters anymore. and actually, f1 these days is way too much a number game so there is no place for these characters anymore. not overtaking actually pays off in F1, cos the 'only' prize is at the end of the year. so when your car is reliable, it makes much more sense to play the number and averages game then it does to overtake and take risks.

being in the back is bad, cos you need to score points. so in my view, the only reason why we had the LH/nando battle was cos they were in the back. i am pretty sure this would not have happened had they been in the points.

but then, maybe i am too cynical.
bogaTYR said:
so in my view, the only reason why we had the LH/nando battle was cos they were in the back. i am pretty sure this would not have happened had they been in the points.

I think if we're fair, Mr. Hamilton has been more than willing to overtake people when half the country are screaming at their screens "Don't do it, Lewis!"

However, when you get past some utter insanity from the Stevanage Swiss then there is not a lot of attempting overtaking.

There was also the problem when the two drivers more likely than anyone to attempt an overtake, Alonso & Hamilton, were stuck behind BMWs. That looked pretty galling for them and there is a problem with the damned turbulent air.

I feel that aero is too important in F1. (and I'm not referring to bubbly chocolate)
C_A_T is spot on, I thought Fisi's overtake was a very impressive piece of driving and opportunism.

It is an interesting point you make Jen and you are right up to a certain degree. Technology is still hindering driver's efforts to overtake (look at Hamilton and Alonso behind the 2 BMWs, they were clearly faster but just couldn't get close enough due to the lack of grip when in turbulent air). However, on the flip side, driver's are not willing to take the risks if they can simply cruise up and take the position at the next round of stops.

The solution, which has been welcomed by the 'oldies' but seen as a move back by the newer generation, is to ban refueling. I am glad to see this rule enforced - but this may all be hypothetical if we don't get the 2010 championship up and running!
Speshal said:
jenov2003 said:
I thought that today's GP was more entertaining than most (bias call) so far this season


By definition an entertaining GP is one were I don't doze off!

And it was my "home GP". And the TV coverage was a bit more original in that we didn't just follow P1, 2 and 3.
I've been thinking about this a lot recently. There is much debate about whether it's the cars, the drivers, the circuits, or even the points system that is causing insufficient overtaking. Perhaps the proposed solutions are too prescriptive, and instead we should be looking at the ingenuity of the designers, and the skill of the drivers for the answer.

I propose replacing the existing qualifying sessions with a 30-minute qualification race. The grid for this race will be formed by the drivers in reverse championship order (i.e. with the championship leader at the back). There will be no pit stops for fuel or tyres in the duration.

At the end of the race, the finishing order forms the grid for the Grand Prix. No points or other inducements are offered for the qualifying race. Any cars that retire go to the back of the grid for the GP.

What this would do, ideally, would be two effects:

(1) Force designers to give consideration to how efficiently their car's aerodynamics work in traffic. If necessary, liberalise the regulations on flexible bodywork to help them adapt the car's handling when running in close order. At the moment, the car only needs to work at peak efficiency in clear air. A prospective championship-winning car would have to be able to overtake to give its drivers a chance of big points in the race.

(2) Take away the tactical considerations that affect drivers' thinking currently. In the qualification race, there's no particular point in saving your tyres or fuel - you can go for it 100% throughout. So perhaps during practice, a thinking driver will run down the inside of the main corners to keep the line clean and put some rubber down?

I would even go so far as to allow teams to use different engines and brakes in the qualification race (sensible cost permitting).

I'm sure this proposal is full of holes?
The reverse grid idea is interesting as it will force drivers to overtake, assuming as you suggest the designers have done their job.

Gavin said on Sunday that qualifying is basically decided in order of the fastest cars and then when they line up on the grid in that order everyone wonders why there's no overtaking.
In fact, a lot of the overtaking we've seen this season has been by drivers out of position due to mistakes or failures in qualifying.

Perhaps you should get in touch with the OTWG and pitch your idea to them? ;)
I've always been against a reverse grid for F1 per se, but this system is a sort of compromise, in that each driver's final starting position will still be down to them, plus we get some action on Saturday.

Circuits like Monaco could present a bit of a problem, admittedly. But arguably, since that track gives us (usually) the most boring races, even if there's no overtaking in the qualification race we could have a fantastic Grand Prix in prospect, with the fastest teams having to come up with some really radical strategies?
If there is a flaw in your plan Gordo, then I can't see it. :snigger:

It would be a great idea as far as I can see.

The point that Bro raised about the cars forming up in the order of fastest first is very valid also. I think it worked better in the past for several reasons:

1) The free hour qualification meant drivers had to go for it when they felt it was right. On plenty of occasions we saw drivers fail to find a clear lap or get balked by a slower car. Note, free for all qually was only stopped because of TV exposure. No one ever said it didn't work.
2) The Cars/Engines/Tyres weren't modelled on computers to iron out every last snag so tyre compounds were drastacally different, Engines blew up in wonderful clouds of smoke and fire and cars ground to a halt for some obscure reason leaving a driver to try and hitch a ride back to the pits and get out in the spare.
One of the most 'popular' arguments against a reverse grid in F1, was that it would be dangerous to have slower cars at the front and the fast cars at the back. Seeing that this season "is the closest ever", should mean that safety considerations have been duly taken! Therefore, I can see no reason that the FIA can baulk your idea GM! :victory:
I think the problem is two fold, my previously mention issue of qualifying by its very nature negates a mismatch in car speeds in the grid order. But the other, more damaging IMO is the stupifying idea they came up with of using the race fuel in the final qualifying.

I really think this single change in the rules had the most damaging effect on the spectacle. The vast majority of the time nowadays teams will go for a two stopper because the one stopper takes a driver out of contention before the race has even started. Occasionally we see teams going for a three stop, but the vast majority of times it is an act of desperation to merely get on terms with superior teams in qualies, rather than a calculated strategy for the race.

Back in the days when the front runners could pick and choose fueling strategy for the race, I have great memories of the fairly regular occurance of 1st and 2nd placed drivers on differing strategies, really battling it out at the end of the race. On top of which, refuelling actually meant something instead of the sad sight it is today, which is rather pathetic surrogate for overtaking.

Not to mention the fact that all the drivers would go hell for leather because they didnt know what kind of pace would secure the race, instead of pulling out a 5 second gap and putting the car on cruise mode for the other 60 laps.

While know-nothing oiks like Leggard might very well celebrate the concept of every car on the starting grid crossing the finishing line, I myself am appauled by the idea that a sport that is suppose to be the pinnacle, pushing driver and car to the limit and beyond has turned into a rather sorry procession. Where cars dont overtake because they arent actually racing, just consolidating their qualifying position.

...but other than that F1 is great LOL
jenov2003 said:
An interesting take on what the fans want from F1, but then it seems to be based on market research - so it must be right then :D


From the article, Sam Michael "They are not here just to see overtaking." Just as well then, eh?! :snigger:

Sam Michael again - "Cars are always going to have downforce because they are moving so fast through the air. Unless you run the races in a vacuum!"

That would mean racing in space! Now I'd love to see that! LOL
Thank you all for not dismissing me as a complete looney (as MM would say).

I just have this memory of racers racing, irrespective of the chances of success - this is what I would like to see again. Is that wrong?

Pinnacle of technology now, but cack in terms of man against man in machine.
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