Overtaking Problem - More Cars
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Increase the number of cars on the track
One of our readers insisted that we include this suggestion so here is what he suggest.
Please submit any comments you have on this suggestion below
Steve from the UK adds,
Having just discovered this site, I am reading with interest your debate
on the debacle of overtaking in F1. Anthony from America, with all due
respect, if you know anything about the Formula 1 circus, you would realise
that the chances of 10 more (or 15/20 as you suggest) cars joining the grid
is.... well - snow balls chance in hell comes to mind. The startup costs for
a Formula 1 team come to between 100 and 200 million dollars, and without
some sort of manufacturer involvement, this is unachievable for any
individual or private company, since the payback on this investment is not
really forthcoming. Your looking at 5 or more teams joining, and with the
track record of teams in recent years such as Pacific, and current teams
financial difficulties ( Minardi, Prost, no-one wants to make this sort of
commitment. Instead they're all waiting to see if Toyota falls on it's arse
or can make a go of it. And lets face it, with almost an unlimited budget,
and the vast experience of rallying and automotive building, if they can't,
then it doesn't bode well for anyone else.
I absolutely agree that there are just not enough motor manufacturers left, with deep enough pockets, to make the addition of another 5 teams possible. Add to that the requirement that they should have the ability to become competitive within a reasonable timeframe (as opposed to fighting for last with the likes of Minardi) and it could not even apply to three teams.
However, I do not share your confidence in Toyota’s ability to adapt to F1 quickly. Off hand, in recent times, Ferrari are the only other team that I can think of that has been successful with a car that was totally built in-house and it took a long time before they had both the pace and the reliability to win.
I am sure that Toyota with all their money will get there but if I was a betting man I would not put money on their first two years. If they make it in their third year it will already be one hell of an achievement.
Accepting that F1 is the forefront of technological development is from a philosophical point of view very valid. In theory we should allow them to use all and every aspect to go faster.
Practically, I am not sure that it would work. The speed differential between the “haves” and “have nots” may become so extreme that it could reduce the teams and cars that compete (remember it was not so long ago that the slowest cars could only qualify for some of the races) and make overtaking back markers even more disruptive.
Speed, and corresponding danger to all concerned, is the only concern but that is a subject for another debate.
Anthony from the USA suggests
I don't have the time to read
the extensive technical treatises such as the one above on the car-related
barriers to overtaking in F1 today. However, while watching the latter part
of the US GP from the stands at Indianapolis, noting the lack of passing and
the yawning of the spectator next to me, I had one persistent thought: the
tedium before me might be improved very simply by the addition of not less
than 10 cars to the starting grid. The currently small number of starters
allows the cars to put an excessive amount of space between one another,
even before attrition begins. If there were a third again more competitors,
they would unavoidably encounter one another more often. The law of averages
would simply not allow a driver to proceed very long without pulling up to a
car one position ahead or falling back to within range of a car behind.
Battling groups would more easily form, and even among evenly matched
competitors inevitable small driver errors would more often result in
position changes. Observe how in NASCAR racing, when a driver in a battling
group makes an error, it can cost him as much as ten positions in a matter
I don't know the barriers to implementing the foregoing; I imagine that they are major. However, I think "the more the merrier" is an approach with great promise, and if the will is there the problems, whether political or mechanical, will be solved and the expansion of the grids will just happen.
Heretic didn't respond quickly enough so Anthony sent another email and
Are you sincere about wanting
a radical solution? I'm suspicious. I've submitted this suggestion before,
and it was ignored: you don't even list it in your "official
roster" of solutions. I'll submit it again: A minimum of 10 more cars
on the grid. Maybe 15 more; maybe 20. Aerodynamics be damned, there'd be
I can hear the whimpering and
whining now: "Too dangerous!" Please. Grow up. This is auto
racing. Besides, due to super-strong carbon fiber chassis and other safety
improvements, decades pass between injurious or fatal accidents nowadays. I
cannot understand resistance to this proposal on any basis other than cheap
self-interest politics. Bottom line: each team DOESN'T WANT it's drivers to
The reason why I did not
respond to your earlier mail (and I apologize) is that although it is
undeniably valid, the chance of it happening because of politics in the
sport is so slim that it is not worth suggesting.
I do not believe that the danger factor should play a big role but just like the land rights and green peace people it has become a fashion.