Drivers heed first warning signs of F1 2017 overtaking fears

Fears that Formula 1’s new aerodynamic package will make overtaking harder in 2017 were borne out on the opening day of pre-season testing, as drivers found it harder to follow the car ahead.

Drivers heed first warning signs of F1 2017 overtaking fears
Felipe Massa, Williams FW40
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08 with the media
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W08, leads Felipe Massa, Williams FW40
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, follows Carlos Sainz Jr., Toro Rosso STR12
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
Felipe Massa, Williams FW40
Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C36
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Felipe Massa, Williams FW40 spins

Higher overall downforce levels make it harder for a following car to keep up in fast corners, because it loses front grip in the wake of the car ahead.

After the first full group F1 test today, Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa admitted that it will be an ongoing issue this year.

Overtaking was not part of the brief from the FIA when the new rules were formulated, with the focus on making cars faster and more challenging to drivers.

“I was behind a couple of cars out there and it was harder to follow, as we expected,” said Hamilton. “And then also right now the tyres 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.”

Massa: “Much nicer for drivers”

Massa said he enjoyed driving the new Williams FW40 today, but he too cautioned about what the racing will be like.

“Definitely from the driving point of view, it’s much nicer for the driver,” said the Brazilian. “For the show, I don’t know.

“I’m sure it will be more difficult to overtake. Today driving behind cars you lose a lot more downforce, the car is also much bigger.

“We’ll see, but I think it will be more difficult to overtake.”

Ricciardo: Today was a “tease”

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo suggested the performance of the 2017 car had not yet wowed him in the way the rules revamp had intended.

Asked if the increased speeds from the wider tyres and improved aerodynamics had surprised him, Ricciardo paused and then replied: “Not yet. I think there is still a lot more to come from the cars, sure, and it is cold.

“The track feels like it is cold and the tyres are still not in their optimum temperature, but already you see the times – Lewis was already quicker than the qualifying here last year, so sure it will be faster.

“It is cool, but I think we will get a lot quicker from where we are now.”

He admitted teams were “just kind of scratching the surface” with performance on day one.

“You feel the difference in the high speed corners but I think we can still get a lot more out of the car,” Ricciardo added.

“The balance is still not where I think it can be, and the track is still really cold, so I feel the tyres are not at their peak and the car certainly isn’t yet.

“Today is a little bit of a tease – we feel a bit of it but there is a lot more to come.”

shares
comments
Hamilton: Mercedes “looks 1000 times better” than F1 2017 rivals
Previous article

Hamilton: Mercedes “looks 1000 times better” than F1 2017 rivals

Next article

Sauber signs Calderon as development driver

Sauber signs Calderon as development driver
Load comments
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1 Prime

How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. Nigel Roebuck recalls a remarkable champion.

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Prime

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Motorsport.com heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Prime

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022
The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future Prime

The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future

As attitudes towards the motor car and what powers it change, Formula 1 must adapt its offering. Mark Gallagher ponders the end of fossil fuels

Formula 1
Jan 3, 2022