Toto Wolff is not yet worried about concerns of a ‘spectacle problem’ approaching in Formula 1, as overtaking becomes tougher for the drivers.
The ground effect aerodynamics of 2022 were introduced with racing in mind, with cars losing much less downforce when following than their pre-2022 predecessors – all in the name of helping drivers follow each other for longer periods and race more closely.
But the significant improvements in downforce and aerodynamic performance since the beginning of 2022 has made life more difficult for the drivers to follow cars in front again, with thermal degradation on tyres proving an issue towards the back end of 2023.
Toto Wolff wants to ‘wait and see’ 2024 cars before ‘spectacle problem’ concerns take shape
Additional reporting by Thomas Maher
The Mercedes team principal hopes to see the cars go “flat out” in combat, as opposed to the tyre management that is often seen during races as it stands.
While the number of on-track overtakes has not yet proven a problem, the FIA predicted earlier this year that downforce loss behind cars has increased compared to 2022, with the issue of ‘dirty air’ becoming more prominent in the sport once again.
Pirelli have tested and homologated their 2024 tyre compounds, and Wolff hopes they are able to handle the thermal pressures of following other cars as a result of this phenomenon.
When asked if he would expect a “spectacle problem” to come in 2024 after an underwhelming Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Wolff told media including PlanetF1.com: “I wouldn’t, you know, we see it negatively here in November in Abu Dhabi, [but] we’ve got to wait and see what happens in Bahrain next year and how the season is going to pan out.
“So let’s wait and see how it goes, and let’s see how the Pirelli tyres are going to handle next year’s cars.
“But it is, when you’re looking [at it], overtaking has gotten worse, and it’s all about thermal management – so I’d like to have races like Qatar, where you just go flat out.”