Formula One: New rules mean more overtakes, closer racing

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Motorsport fans have long bemoaned the lack of overtaking in Formula One, but that could be about to change.

Alterations to cars’ aerodynamics from 2019 will seek to encourage more thrilling, wheel-to-wheel racing.

These include simplified brake ducts, a wider, deeper rear wing, and a simplified front wing.

According to research by governing body FIA, the current front wings direct air round the outside of the tires, making life more difficult for chasing cars behind.

“In addition to the aerodynamic changes ratified on Monday, the FIA is continuing to evaluate a range of other measures aimed at encouraging closer racing and boosting overtaking in F1,” reads a statement on the F1 website.

“A raft of other measures have already been put in place for 2019, including an increase in race fuel allowance to allow drivers to race at full power for longer, the separation of driver weight from car weight to end the disadvantage of heavier drivers, and the requirement that drivers wear biometric gloves.”

Last season saw F1 overtakes fall by half compared with 2016.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who collided with teammate Max Verstappen while attempting to overtake during Sunday’s Azerbaijan GP, recorded the most last year with 43 in the 20-race championship.

In the 2018 season-opener in Melbourne, there were just five overtakes, something that prompted F1 managing director Ross Brawn to lament the lack of “wheel-to-wheel dicing” following the race.

“Formula One fans want to see a better show and overtaking is the most exciting and spectacular element you can have on track,” he added.

The next race in Bahrain, however, saw Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton pass three drivers with one stunning move.

Brawn says the upcoming changes, which were presented to teams in Bahrain, have been motivated in part by instances such as the one between Verstappen and Ricciardo in Azerbaijan.

“Once Daniel had settled for his line, and Max had changed direction once more, the Australian suddenly had to cope with a car that was very light at the front end due to the turbulent air generated by the leading Red Bull,” said Brawn on the F1 website.

“In these conditions Daniel was no more than a passenger with few, if any, options to manage the situation: he could not change direction and the hard braking he tried would have had little chance of success.”

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