F1 chief Ross Brawn admits Australian GP lacked 'vital' overtaking

Ross Brawn admits the Australian Grand Prix missed the "vital ingredient" of overtaking and the problem cannot be fixed until Formula 1 takes a structured approach towards rectifying it

F1 chief Ross Brawn admits Australian GP lacked 'vital' overtaking

Only five overtakes were completed in the season-opening race following the first lap and Red Bull's Max Verstappen said he would have turned the TV off because the grand prix was "worthless" as a spectacle.

The Melbourne circuit was bolstered with a third DRS zone in the hope of improving the wheel-to-wheel action on a track known for being difficult to pass on.

But Brawn, F1's managing director of motorsports, admits that F1 missed out on exciting battles because of the inability to overtake.

"One vital ingredient was missing, namely overtaking, as there were really very few passing moves in this opening round," he said.

"It's vital that the cars are capable of getting close to one another and racing wheel to wheel.

"When there is only a small speed gap between two cars then it's almost impossible for the pursuer to get close enough to mount an attack.

"We saw that yesterday with [Lewis] Hamilton and [Sebastien] Vettel, Verstappen and [Kevin] Magnussen and again the Dutchman and [Fernando] Alonso and with [Daniel] Ricciardo and [Kimi] Raikkonen.

"Think of how much wheel-to-wheel dicing we missed out on.

"And, for the very first time, we even had a third DRS zone specifically to increase the chances of overtaking."

F1's current, more aerodynamic-dependent, regulations were introduced in 2017 and played a part in the number of overtakes falling by almost 50% in its first year.

Brawn had set up a panel of independent panel of experts to enhance F1, including improving overtaking, and he is confident overtaking can be improved but underlined it had to be done in the right way.

"Until we take a structured approach to the problem, we won't really make any progress," said Brawn.

"One of our aims, which we are looking at with the FIA and the teams is that, for 2021, we want to have cars that allow drivers to really fight one another on track.

"To that end, the FIA and F1 are carrying out an aerodynamic research programme with two car models, both in the windtunnel and using CFD.

"We need to evolve a car design that achieves close to the level of performance we now see but permits wheel-to-wheel action."

Brawn added that pleasing fans is a big incentive to improve overtaking.

"Formula 1 fans want to see a better show and overtaking is the most exciting and spectacular element you can have on track," he added.

"The whole Formula 1 community must make an effort to satisfy this need because the fans are our biggest asset."

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