Find out more about our subscriptions

Michael: Blame tracks for lack of passing

Sam MichaelWilliams technical director Sam Michael believes that circuit design is currently the biggest reason for the lack of on-track overtaking in Formula 1.

Wholesale aerodynamic rule changes brought in for this season in order to allow cars to pass each other more easily, but Michael still thinks that more can be done at the tracks to improve the spectacle for fans.

"I think that clearly the changes made the cars easier to follow, however, there's a lot of work that still needs to be done," said Michael.

"One of the things that wasn't addressed in the 2009 rule changes was circuit design. If you look at tracks like Barcelona where nobody overtakes, and take exactly the same cars to tracks like Monza, Hockenheim etc, there's plenty of overtaking. The difference is circuit layout.

"Organisers need to look closer at creating slower speed corners which feed onto straights, and at removing chicanes.

"If you look at somewhere like Abu Dhabi, there are some good aspects to the circuit, but there are fundamental mistakes. There wasn't good enough racing there and the organisers need to rectify that before next year. You can't keep blaming car design."

F1's aerodynamic rules will be tweaked for 2010, with wheel fairings banned and narrower front tyres permitted. These changes will, in Michael's opinion, go some way towards creating more overtaking opportunities for drivers.

"Narrower front tyres will shift weight distribution rearwards slightly, which will affect the aerodynamics and set-up of the car because of where the tyres position the wake," he added.

"A ban on wheel fairings should also improve the wake behind the car, so drivers can get closer to each other. That should help to improve overtaking opportunities."

  More news  
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
Visit the shop
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
Paddock insight from group F1 editor Jonathan Noble
Grand Prix news updates from F1 editor Edd Straw
Breaking news feed
Live commentary feed