F1 figures defend overtaking rate

Leading Formula 1 figures are adamant that the FIA has got its implementation of the DRS regulations spot on - despite criticisms that overtaking proved to be too easy in the Turkish Grand Prix

F1 figures defend overtaking rate

The race at Istanbul featured one of the highest number of overtaking moves witnessed in an F1 race, and drivers appeared to have little trouble in passing slower cars ahead of them.

The relative ease of overtaking prompted some claims that F1's new 2011 rules have taken away some of the purity of the racing, but high-profile figures from the paddock are not so sure.

Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner said: "It has taken away an element - and it could be argued that perhaps overtaking was a little too easy.

"But it is great the cars are able to get into a position, and drivers have to work really hard to get within that second to make use of it. It has added another element."

Renault technical director James Allison believed that the high level of overtaking in Turkey owed more to the varying tyre wear on different cars than the DRS

"I think that what you were seeing was a track where, because the tyre degradation was high and because different people chose three stops and some four stops - and even the four stops were stopping at different phases of that, it built up big differentials of performance.

"If you looked at people who were on the same strategy as one another, behind one another, they could not just breeze by on different laps. There were lots of laps where they were pinned behind other people for many laps, so I think the FIA got it again pretty spot on."

When asked if overtaking had become too easy and the races too complicated now, Allison said: "No I think it's alright. We are an entertainment business and I think it produces entertaining races."

Williams technical director Sam Michael believes that although DRS had worked too well in Turkey, the concept was still good ultimately for F1.

"It definitely meant you could just run optimum strategy, as you didn't have to worry about traffic," he said. "But that is sort of what the intention was. I think the DRS is still pretty beneficial for this sport though, and it is pretty good.

"Plus, when you have a big differential of speed when someone is on 15 lap old tyres and some are on brand new, they are going to go past you whether you have the DRS or not."

Rubens Barrichello believed that the unique track configuration at Istanbul - with the DRS running through a corner - made its benefit more extreme.

"If you took that [the DRS] off, there would be no overtaking," he told AUTOSPORT. "This track is a little bit of an Interlagos type of track. You have a slight angled corner, which is effectively a straight. That creates drag for a car going through it, and the car behind doesn't get that so then you have more tow.

"So this is a track where you can have more overtaking, and we need to have more of that. With the DRS here, it was almost like people were overtaking before the straight, because you have that drag reduction plus the type of corner that makes the overtaking possible."

Bruno Senna, who as Renault's reserve driver has watched all the races on television, felt the key to getting the amount of overtaking right was in tweaking the length of the DRS zone.

"I think if you looked at the GP2 race this weekend, it was natural overtaking," he told AUTOSPORT. "Everyone is bunched up on each other, and that is because the cars can run a bit closer.

"In F1, maybe without the DRS and the KERS, people will have more difficulty in overtaking each other. Here, it is a case of making it look very easy because a straight naturally helps overtaking, but other places it will be the right thing to do. If they put the DRS system a bit further down the straight then it wouldn't be so easy."

When asked if F1 had got the balance of overtaking and proper racing right, Senna said: "It is difficult to understand what is happening. And the problem is that sometimes you see people getting happy because their favourite car or driver overtook someone else, and then after five laps they will be sad because the other guy overtook them back because the tyres had gone or the DRS helped.

"Yet it is still racing and drivers have to do a lot. Maybe it is the case of trying to follow the recipe of GP2 a bit more, and getting the overtaking a bit more natural."

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Jordan King
Author Jonathan Noble
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