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Formula 1: Overtaking maneuvers Formula 1 overtakes less again

Formula 1 overtakes less again

In 2020, Formula 1 experienced as few overtaking maneuvers as it did in 2017. Will the negative trend end with new cars?

R.Ad-to-bike duels at 300 km / h with open cockpits and unclad wheels – that’s why many fans like Formula 1. But the number of overtaking maneuvers in 2020 was as low as it was in 2017. 534 times were overtaken in the 17 races – so pro Grand Prix 31.4 times. In 2019 there were still 38.9 maneuvers per race.

The 2020 season was of course an exceptional season. Routes on which a lot is overtaken on average (such as Baku or Interlagos) were taken off the calendar due to the corona pandemic. But since the cars were again widened from 1.80 to 2.00 meters in 2017 and aerodynamics have played a more important role, the number of maneuvers has decreased overall. In 2016 there were 866 maneuvers, in 2017 only 435.

When was it overhauled and how often?

In a historical context, Formula 1 is currently not doing so badly: Overtaking statistics have been recorded since the early 1980s. At that time there were an average of 40 overtaking maneuvers per race. 1984 was the climax with around 41 maneuvers. Then it went down continuously: in 1990 the average was only 30.86. In 1995 it was only 17.47. The low point: 2005 with just ten maneuvers per Grand Prix.

In 2020, Formula 1 experienced as few overtaking maneuvers as it did in 2017.

© LAT / Pirelli

Alone: ​​In the 1980s, cars overtook each other without any artificial elements. This is different today: First, the less spectacular, for many even unfair overtaking aid DRS was introduced (the man behind is allowed to open the rear wing – if he is less than a second apart, which reduces air resistance). Second, there is a compulsory pit stop today that enables various strategies. Without these two elements, Formula 1 would still have an overtaking problem.

Will the overtaking problem be solved in 2022?

Everything should get better in 2022. The downforce is to be reduced by 20 percent with the new aerodynamic regulations. Currently, a vehicle loses a lot of contact pressure when driving behind due to the swirling air of the vehicle in front and can therefore only stay on the opponent with difficulty in curves. With a distance of one car length the downforce loss is more than 50 percent, with three car lengths it is still 32 percent. With the rule changes, these values ​​are to be reduced to 14 percent loss of downforce for one and only six percent for three car lengths in 2022.

Formula 1 sporting director Ross Brawn: “We have designed cars that are easier to drive against each other.” That means: simpler aerodynamics, the contact pressure is generated more via the underbody and no longer via the wings.

Nevertheless, Formula 1 is preparing for the case that overtaking does not work out as desired: DRS should stay for the time being. “My hope is that the racing cars will develop in such a way in the years to come that we will one day be able to do without the adjustable rear wing,” explains Brawn.
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