‘One vital ingredient was missing, overtaking’


Ross Brawn concedes that the Australian Grand Prix fell short in excitement due to a lack of overtaking.

Although a third DRS zone was set up for this year’s Australian Grand Prix even that failed to add to the pass.

After lap 1 there were just five the entire race leading to Max Verstappen stating that he would have turned the TV off had been watching from home.

Brawn, F1’s sporting boss, acknowledges that it was a problem.

“One vital ingredient was missing, namely overtaking, as there were really very few passing moves in this opening round,” he said.

“It’s vital that the cars are capable of getting close to one another and racing wheel to wheel.

“When there is only a small speed gap between two cars then it’s almost impossible for the pursuer to get close enough to mount an attack.

“We saw that yesterday with [Lewis] Hamilton and [Sebastien] Vettel, Verstappen and [Kevin] Magnussen and again the Dutchman and [Fernando] Alonso and with [Daniel] Ricciardo and [Kimi] Raikkonen.

“Think of how much wheel-to-wheel dicing we missed out on.

“And, for the very first time, we even had a third DRS zone specifically to increase the chances of overtaking.”

Brawn, though, says there is not an easy solution to the problem.

“Until we take a structured approach to the problem, we won’t really make any progress,” he added.

“One of our aims, which we are looking at with the FIA and the teams is that, for 2021, we want to have cars that allow drivers to really fight one another on track.

“To that end, the FIA and F1 are carrying out an aerodynamic research programme with two car models, both in the windtunnel and using CFD.

“We need to evolve a car design that achieves close to the level of performance we now see but permits wheel-to-wheel action.”