F1 can't "push away" overtaking issues amid dull race concerns - Steiner

Haas boss Gunther Steiner says that Formula 1 cannot "push away" the issue of a lack of overtaking in this season's races.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523, leads Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23

The subject has been in the spotlight since the Baku weekend, where there was relatively little passing over the sprint and Sunday's race.

Several drivers blamed the shortened DRS zone in Azerbaijan. However, there is also a bigger picture of it becoming progressively more difficult for cars to follow as teams have developed their aero packages under the regulations that were introduced at the start of 2022.

In addition, the current breed of machinery creates a smaller slipstream effect than their predecessors.

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Steiner insisted that the series has to address the subject and find out why there is less passing than was expected with the new rules.

"I think we need to start to look at why overtaking is more difficult," he said. "Maybe it has to do with the change of the floor from last year to this year.

"Maybe it has to do only because everybody has more downforce now that makes it always worse to follow. It could be a combination.

"What we need to be careful that we're not turning the regulations around again in August for next year, because that then is quite annoying because you put a lot of money and development into a car and then 'oh, now we need to change or we change now or we don't change'.

"Or not now, in the near future. Obviously, it needs to come up on the table and needs to be talked about, not try to push it away, as if nothing happened."

When asked about following becoming harder, Steiner said recent complaints from teams up and down the grid have underlined that the difficulties don't reflect on individual car designs. 

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

"I think we were some of the first to say something," he said. "Because our drivers complained quite a bit saying that it is worse than the '22 car, and we were told it's mainly our car.

"But I think everybody's now jumping on the bandwagon and says it is more difficult.

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"In the beginning, we were standing there alone when we mentioned it, and they actually said there's only one or two teams which have more difficulty, maybe they've developed the wrong direction.

"I think it's in general, with this change of regulation last year, it didn't get any better. And then the other thing is to also be shortening the DRS zone. I tried to find out why we are doing that.

"And I still haven't found an answer, to be honest. I don't know why it was decided, because I don't think it's dangerous, that's it's my personal opinion.

"If somebody explains why it's dangerous, I am prepared to listen, but I never got an answer on anything like this."

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Asked by Autosport if was inevitable that following would become harder as teams developed their packages, Steiner agreed that downforce is a key factor.

"I think we know that from history, you always develop and always when you try to find more downforce, it always damages the people which run behind," he said.

"They [aerodynamicists] are doing their job to make the cars faster, which is putting more downforce on, they are not worrying about if you cannot follow, because if you are slow, because you have got a good wake, and you cannot follow anybody, you are not overtaking anyway."

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