D er The plan of the FIA and the F1 management was ambitious. New aerodynamic rules should make overtaking easier. That went wrong ten years ago. In 2009 the wing dimensions were changed and the cladding of all superstructures cleared out to give the following car better air. In fact, it only made the problem worse. Thanks to the wider front wings, the engineers were able to direct the turbulent air around the outside of the front wheels. These turbulences met again behind the car and robbed the pursuer of downforce.
The new rules aim to prevent that. The front wing is now less rugged, but also wider. 'Why did you make the wings wider again when you realized years ago that these wide wings are the problem?' Wonders Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel for laps behind Sainz
The width of two meters allows the engineers to continue the so-called outwash principle. The front wing end plates are as wide as the front tires and also angled 15 degrees outwards. The aerodynamicists do the rest with the arrangement of the flaps. In most cars they are flatter on the outside than on the inside.
Even in advance, many experts feared that the new rules would not solve the overtaking problem. “It didn't do anything at all, it just cost a lot of money,” says Red Bull Motorsport Director Helmut Marko. Then the doctor continues: 'Our drivers report that they still feel the same turbulence in the slipstream.'
On the third day of the test, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton proved that nothing has changed. Vettel drovelaps after Carlos Sainz's McLaren, Hamilton what feels like an eternity behind Kimi Räikkönen's Sauber. The Ferrari driver had previously caught up with Sainz by two seconds per lap. Vettel reported: “No chance to drive past him. I just never got close enough to him “
Situation even worse than before?
Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hülkenberg have had the same experience. They unanimously reported that the driving experience has not changed at all. “As if you had pressed the copy & paste button,” grins Nico Hülkenberg.
Red Bull technical director Adrian Newey even fears that it will be even more difficult to stay in the slipstream of another car. “You lose just as much downforce as before. But it is still unstable because we now lack the vertical baffles in the front wing to control the flow. '
Force India technical director Andy Green is not surprised that the efforts of the overtaking committee are ineffective:' We don't build cars that make driving easier for those behind. We make sure that our car is as fast as possible. And to do this, the air has to bypass the wheels on the outside. As long as we see the chance to do that, we'll do it. ”