D he GP Australia was not a benchmark. Even if there were eleven instead of five overtaking maneuvers as in the previous year. On three of them, Antonio Giovinazzi waved his pursuers past. The next three drivers overtook the Sauber when its tires ran out. 'In Melbourne you won't be able to overtake even with a go-kart,' scoffs Racing Point technical director Andy Green. “The straights are too short and the corners too fast afterwards. You can't just dive in with these radii. Regardless of the cars. ”
The Bahrain GP was a better benchmark. Last year we counted 52 overtaking maneuvers in two DRS zones. This time there were 60 overtaking maneuvers in three DRS zones. The concern that it would be made too easy for the drivers was unfounded. Most of the position changes were still an act of violence. Lando Norris and Nico Hülkenberg distinguished themselves as front runners with seven overtaking maneuvers each. Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen followed with six each.
Overtaking has not become more difficult
Is that proof that the new aerodynamic rules have proven themselves? At least it doesn't speak against it. 'We can catch up a bit closer than last year,' admits Raikkonen. “You are closer to the exit of the curve. But if you don't have good traction then it remains difficult. It's like the rabbit and hedgehog game. It's easier for you to catch up, but it's still difficult to get past. ”Most colleagues agree with Raikkonen. “It's gotten a little better,” confirms Kevin Magnussen.
Bahrain, with its long straights and the angular curves afterwards, is predestined for overtaking maneuvers. On the course of Sakhir cameadditional positive factors. Bahrain is one of the few two-stop races on the calendar. That creates big differences in tire grip because the 40 pit stops are spread over large windows. This means that the situation “new tires against old tires” often arises.
This year the strong wind also helped out. The fierce breeze that blew the pilot in the face when driving towards Turn 4, reinforced the DRS effect. The nasty gusts also increased the error rate in the field.
Critical voices such as Nico Hülkenberg's, “Our cars are too easy to drive. You hardly ever make any mistakes. You can't make up for anything with courage or driving skills, because everyone is already perfectly on the road. Where else do you want to make a difference with the mega-short braking distances? How do you want to accelerate better when everyone is on their brushes early? '
' You used to tremble as close to the wall as possible in Melbourne in Turn 2 and Turn 9. Anyone who shrugged had lost. Today I don't worry. The cars have so much downforce that you hit the gas early without any problems. In addition, our cars are sluggish like tanks when changing direction. We carry way too much weight around with us. ”
Extreme improvement with 2021 cars
On Problem could be solved with the cars for 2021. In terms of downforce, they should at least fall back to the level of 2017. And most of the contact pressure is achieved through tunnels under the car and no longer through the wings. This is insensitive downforce that is less dependent on the energy of the air in which the car is moving.
Pat Symonds, head of the F1 management's technical committee, feels confirmed: “The results of this one Years show us that we are heading in the right direction. But that's only a small step compared to what2021 is coming. ”
The Formula 1 car of the future is just beginning to turn its tenth development loop called“ Juliette ”. Another front wing modification is at the center of development. If everything goes as the expert group suggests, then Formula 1 drivers can expect a completely different world in 2021.
'At the moment, the car has 50 percent of the air energy available one car length behind' reveals Symonds and promises: “In 2021 it will be 95 percent.” Two car lengths behind, the driver behind no longer feels any turbulence. “At the moment the air energy is 75 percent. In two years we will improve to 100 percent. ”