Ross Brawn Already Solving F1’s Overtaking Problem


Magnussen and Verstappen during 2018 Australian GP
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Ross Brawn has said that Formula 1 is already looking into finding a solution to the sport’s lack-of-overtaking problem.

Formula 1’s Managing Director of Motorsports has put together a group of experts, including Pat Symonds and Jason Somerville, both former grand prix car designers, to help the FIA draw up the 2021 technical rules package.

While improving overtaking was not on the group’s original remit, following criticism of the 2018 Australian Grand Prix they are now fully focused on solving the sport’s current overtaking drought.

“One of the things we’ve started, and we’re now six to nine months into it, is a programme to understand how we can enable these cars to race each other more effectively,” Brawn said in an interview on SiriusXM.

“We need to keep the aerodynamic performance at a high level, but we need to do it in a way that’s more benign and more friendly to the cars around it.

“There’s almost a force field that exists at the moment, a bubble around each car. And the car attacking it can’t get near it, because as soon as it gets within 1.5-2.0s of the car in front, it loses so much performance. It can’t get near.

So we started the programme, and I’m really excited by what I’m seeing.

He added: “The front wing is for sure one area that is sensitive in both respects, in terms the disturbance it creates, and then the sensitivity to the disturbance of the car in front.

“It’s not the only area. There’s all the furniture and bargeboards you see behind the front wheels that are equally as sensitive. And there are areas of the rear floor and rear aerodynamics which are sensitive.”

 

PRE-2021 CHANGES POSSIBLE

Brawn suggests that Formula 1 must focus on the importance of the cars overall aerodynamic design, not just the car’s increasingly intricate front wings.

He also suggested that some changes to improve the problem could be introduced before the rules’ overhaul in 2021.

“We’re looking at the whole thing, and I don’t think we should get into chopping one piece of without understanding all the implications of the impact we will have,” he explained. “So we’re looking at a total solution, a holistic solution, of all the parts.

“We know the percentage drop in performance that comes as a car approaches another car, and already we’ve found ways of improving that in reducing the disturbed flow from the car in front, and reducing the sensitivity of the following car to that disturbed flow.

“We’re trying to do it in a properly structured way, and that will be the solution we’ll apply for 2021. Anything we can learn in the meantime, which we feel is safe and fair and correct to apply, will be done.”