Overtakes were at a premium in Formula One in 2017, much to Lewis Hamilton’s chagrin.
Hamilton, while speaking at the British Racing Drivers’ Club Awards on Tuesday, said he wants Liberty Media’s post-2020 technical regulations to spawn cars that are “more raw” than the current crop, according to Motorsport.com. The Mercedes-AMG Petronas driver wants the next-generation racers to allow for wheel-to-wheel battles, similar to what you see in kart races, noting that Formula 2 currently produces closer racing than F1.
F1’s season finale in Abu Dhabi, for example, was one of the least eventful races of the year. But the F2 support race at Yas Marina Circuit, by contrast, featured a last-lap duel that decided the championship.
“There’s no reason why a GP2 race — or F2, or whatever you want to call it — should be louder and sound better and be able to have better racing, and follow closer, Hamilton said.
“And that’s what we’ve somehow got to make in F1, while it’s still faster than the other classes.”
Ahead of 2017, many raised concerns that the new cars’ wider tires and increased downforce levels not only would make the cars four to five seconds quicker per lap, but also make passing difficult.
Pirelli revealed Tuesday that this season saw just 435 overtakes — 10 percent of which Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo completed himself — the lowest number since 2009, the year before F1 introduced DRS, according to Motorsport.com. That represents a 49 percent decrease from 2016, when drivers made 866 passes, the most since record-keeping began in the 1980s.
“The cars this year are the best they’ve ever been,” Hamilton said. “Looking at the next step, I believe Ross (Brawn) and Chase (Carey) and the teams are really working hard to make sure that the next cars in 2021, they’re even more raw.”
A solution the four-time world champion likely would be pleased with would be F1 cars that, like IndyCar’s 2018-spec single-seaters, use their floors to generate most of their downforce. The underbody is less sensitive to the “dirty air” coming off the car in front, so drivers would be able to follow each other closely without losing as much aerodynamic grip.