Formula 1 2017 overtaking fears are justified by test, say drivers

Fears that Formula 1's 2017 aerodynamic package will make overtaking harder were borne out on day one of winter testing as drivers found it tougher to follow other cars

Formula 1 2017 overtaking fears are justified by test, say drivers

High overall downforce levels have always made it harder for a following car to keep up in fast corners, because it loses front grip in the wake.

Overtaking was not part of the brief from the FIA when the new rules were formulated, with the focus on making cars faster and more challenging to drive.

Both pacesetter Lewis Hamilton and veteran Felipe Massa felt the 2017 aerodynamics made the problem worse.

"I was behind a couple of cars out there and it was harder to follow, as we expected," said Hamilton.

"And then also right now the tyres are so hard that they don't drop off, they just keep going and going and going and going.

"So most likely we're going to be doing a lot more one-stoppers and, since there's not degradation - less mistakes, less overtaking.

"That's my prediction, I might be wrong, we'll find out."

Massa said he enjoyed driving the new Williams FW40, but was also cautious about the quality of racing.

"Definitely from the driving point of view, it's much nicer for the driver," said the Brazilian.

"For the show, I don't know.

"I'm sure it will be more difficult to overtake.

"Today driving behind cars you lose a lot more downforce. The car is also much bigger.

"We'll see, but I think it will be more difficult to overtake."

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo suggested the performance of the 2017 car had not yet wowed him in the way the rules revamp had intended.

Asked if the increased speeds from the wider tyres and improved aerodynamics had surprised him, Ricciardo paused and then replied: "Not yet. I think there is still a lot more to come from the cars, sure, and it is cold.

"The track feels like it is cold and the tyres are still not in their optimum temperature, but already you see the times - Lewis was already quicker than the qualifying here last year, so sure it will be faster.

"It is cool, but I think we will get a lot quicker from where we are now."

He admitted teams were "just kind of scratching the surface" with performance on day one.

"You feel the difference in the high speed corners but I think we can still get a lot more out of the car," Ricciardo added.

"The balance is still not where I think it can be, and the track is still really cold, so I feel the tyres are not at their peak and the car certainly isn't yet.

"Today is a little bit of a tease - we feel a bit of it but there is a lot more to come."

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