Brawn all for changes to facilitate overtaking

LONDON • Formula One managing director Ross Brawn has insisted the aerodynamic rule changes for next season are a step in the right direction and fans should see better racing as a result.

The FIA, the sport's governing body, confirmed on Tuesday that the changes, which they described as having a "positive impact on racing and overtaking", would be implemented next year.

However, it is understood there was opposition from some teams, with Williams the only team to have publicly supported the changes.

The FIA had begun investigating the difficulties in passing after this season's opening race in Australia, where there were only five overtaking manoeuvres.

The changes will see a front wing with a larger span, winglets removed from front brake ducts, and a wider and deeper rear wing.

And Brawn believes the measures should make it easier for drivers to overtake one another.

"We've had some fantastic races this year but actually if you look at them in detail, they've often been created by unusual circumstances - safety cars or other factors," the 63-year-old told Reuters.

"What we want to do is create racing which can stand alone without the need for a safety car or some other event. And I think this moves it in the right direction."

The Briton highlighted the collision between Red Bull team-mates Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen at last Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix as an example of how hard it was to follow a car and make a move.

"We had a demonstration in a very extreme sense with Ricciardo and Verstappen that the moment Verstappen moved in front of Ricciardo, Ricciardo lost all the downforce and couldn't stop," he said.

"There was no way he was going to stop that car once Verstappen took his air away from him."

On those who opposed the changes, Brawn said: "There were some teams that felt we should have waited until 2021 and done the complete package. But certainly enough of the teams felt it was going in the right direction."

F1's current agreements expire after 2020, and the sport needs to decide what kind of engine and rules should be introduced after that.

Owners Liberty Media want a more level playing field, reduced costs and more equal revenue distribution.

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 03, 2018, with the headline 'Brawn all for changes to facilitate overtaking'. Print Edition | Subscribe