Michael: Overtaking needs more work

Williams technical director Sam Michael believes Formula 1 teams will have to do more to try and help cars overtake, judging by the lack of overtaking at last weekend's British Grand Prix

Michael: Overtaking needs more work

Although a technical revamp of the aerodynamic rules was introduced this year to help make the racing more exciting, the new wings regulations and the introduction of KERS has not had such a dramatic effect.

Michael says the lessons of Silverstone - where several drivers got trapped behind slower cars, may need to be taken on board.

"Nico [Rosberg] at stages was a good 0.5s quicker than the cars in front of him, but he couldn't get past," explained Michael. "And those were cars without KERS obviously, so there is still work to do.

"It's maybe working a little bit, but we have just got to keep trying to improve it because it is not an easy problem."

Michael does not support the theory put forward by Felipe Massa that the use of double-diffusers in Formula 1 has had a role in what has happened with overtaking.

"I don't think that has got anything to do with it," he explained. "Because a slot diffuser is just a downforce-adding device so it's not really relevant. Cars are always going to have downforce because they are moving so fast through the air. Unless you run the races in a vacuum!"

Michael insists that F1 always has to play a fine balancing act, however, between making the racing better but not detracting from the sport being the most technologically advanced in the world.

"It is an issue that we have to keep trying to improve, but the fans are also here to see the fastest cars, the technology and the drivers that go with that," explained Michael. "They are not here just to see overtaking.

"All the fan studies that have been done by FIA and also FOTA show that. They want to know that they are watching the quickest cars in the world. Because if they just wanted to see overtaking, they could go down to Shennington kart track.

"You'd see a lot more overtaking down there than you ever would at a grand prix, or any autorace if you like. But there is a reason why you don't get 100,000 people watching go-kart racing, and that is because there is no technology. There is overtaking, but everything else that F1 has they don't have.

"It's a little bit why people go to Farnborough Air Show. They go there to see Migs, Tornados and things like that, because they know those are the absolute best things in the world - if they weren't after technology they would go and watch a paper airplane competition."

shares
comments
Q & A with Sam Michael
Previous article

Q & A with Sam Michael

Next article

Analysis: All eyes on Paris

Analysis: All eyes on Paris
Load comments
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021