Most, but not all of us, have been saying this for the better part of seven years now and it’s never taken root in the decision making in Formula 1 because, in my mind, of two reasons.
Less aero which should beget less aero wake and more mechanical grip for more overtaking. At least that’s our consistent refrain. After all these years, the sport has not changed the levels we feel is needed to achieve this.
With all deference to F1, they have reduced some aero but not enough because teams continually claw back much of the lost aero through crafty interpretation of the regulations.
Aerodynamics is the least expensive way to claw serious time out of an F1 car. Sure, it’s expensive but not as expensive as other more radical means like an all-new hybrid engine development program or changing wheel size and drastically altering the entire chassis design. Before you heap scorn on me, I’ve spoken with a few key engineers in the sport who have told me this, I’m not making it up so it isn’t just my silly hunch here.
Teams know that big gains can be made through magical interpretation of the regulation via aero tricks when the FIA makes big changes to the technical regulations. They still recall 2009 when Brawn GP showed up with a dual diffuser and rubbed everyone’s nose in the dirt over a relatively inexpensive stroke of genius. They also don’t want to eliminate their current performance advantages or mothball their enormous wind tunnels they spent millions on.
Leave it to our friend Lewis Hamilton to say what other drivers won’t and certainly team boss won’t or can’t.
“There’s been a lot of talk about the rules and whether the drivers should be more involved in decision making,” Hamilton said. “It’s not our job to come up with ideas and we all have different opinions anyway.
“But personally, I think we need more mechanical grip and less aero wake coming off the back of the cars so we can get close and overtake. Give us five seconds’ worth of lap time from aero and nothing will change – we’ll just be driving faster.
“I speak as somebody who loves this sport and loves racing. I don’t have all the answers – but I know that the changes we’re making won’t deliver better racing.”
Good on him I say! It’s great Lewis has the brand equity at this stage in his career to call it out when it needs calling out.
It’s not a popular opinion and I know this but it may be one of the biggest ways to get F1 back on track and fans reinvigorated again.
We’ve done the hybrid sustainable thing and the gimmicky baubles like HD Tires and DRS so let’s try something different for the next 4 or 5 years. What do ya say? It couldn’t be any worse could it? On second thought, don’t answer that.
Hat Tip: Sky Sports F1