The new rules regarding driver adjustable bodywork have not been well received by fans or by the F1 drivers, it seems.
After the FIA World Motor Sport Council announced a new package of aerodynamic rules which will see drivers adjusting their rear wing, in a tightly controlled set of circumstances while close racing, the reaction from many fans and drivers has been negative.
To reiterate, the rule is as follows, “The driver may only activate the adjustable bodywork in the race when he has been notified via the control electronics that it is enabled. It will only be enabled if the driver is less than one second behind another at any of the pre-determined positions around each circuit. The system will be disabled the first time the driver uses the brakes after the system has been activated.”
Many fans feel that the device will be a gimmick, which adds an artificial element to the racing and today several drivers articulated similar fears. Mark Webber said that the devices would be at home on a Sony Playstation, but not in the real world of F1 racing.
“Overtaking moves should be about pressurising, being skillful, and tactical,” said Webber in his press briefing today. “Yes we want to see more overtaking, of course we do, we know that, but we also need to keep the element of skill involved in overtaking and not just hitting buttons, like KERS, like adjustable rear wings.”
One of the concerns the drivers have is that the art of defensive driving will potentially disappear. However well a driver defends his position, if the car behind can drop the wing angle and shoot past with a 10km/h speed advantage, then that skill will be redundant. As it will be the same for everybody, there are likely to be a lot more overtakes on straights, particularly at tracks with long straights like Shanghai, Bahrain, Monza and Abu Dhabi.
Jarno Trulli voiced safety concerns having been the victim of some high speed wing failures in the past, “We have to make sure we can run it in a way that it is safe,” he said.
“I have the lost the rear wing a couple of times and it is one of the most dangerous things you can have happen to you because you are no longer in control of your car. Normally it fails at very high speed and you’re going to end up hitting the wall. I do not want to have the worry of my rear wing failing. The front wing is slightly different even though it is still a problem, the rear wing is worse.”
Here on the JA on F1 site we’ve had hundreds of comments. This one from Curro sums up the mood, “Reminds me of those arcade games where the car behind was always much faster than the car in front. Overtaking is an art, not a right. Some people need to understand F1 can sometimes be boring. It’s just like any other love relationship.”