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Drivers divided over ease of overtaking

The adjustable rear wing has not found universal approval among F1 drivers following the opening days of testing in Valencia and Jerez.
While F-ducts and double diffusers will be absent from F1 in 2011, there will still be plenty for teams and drivers to get their heads around - and to cause controversy on track and off.

Among the talking points at the first two pre-season tests was the introduction of the adjustable rear wing, a concept designed to heighten excitement in the sport following complaints that overtaking had become too difficult, and races too processional as a result.

The driver-adjustable bodywork initiative was proposed by the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA), and ratified by the FIA in an effort to spice up the spectacle. The rear wing will be operated via a button inside the cockpit that opens up a slot to boost straight-line speed, but only when a driver is within a second of the car in front at one of several pre-determined positions around the circuit. The governing body has also said that it will retain the right to refine the system as the season goes on.

There was initial concern about the initiative, notably on safety grounds, but the focus has now switched to whether its introduction will actually spoil the sport by making overtaking too easy. Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel has admitted that he, for one, does not back the new technology, especially as it coincides with the return of KERS, claiming that drivers should be skilled enough to pass on their own.

"Overtaking in F1 has always been difficult," the German told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper, "Whoever manages to get past gets the same sort of admiration as a goalscorer in football. There is a risk that the public thinks overtaking will now be too easy. The drivers should be driving, not playing with all sorts of different buttons and systems - last year, there was the F-duct, now its the rear wing and KERS - [and] I'm not totally convinced that this is all a good thing."

Vettel's predecessors as world champion, McLaren duo Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, have other ideas, however, with the former yet to be convinced that the rear wing will provide a major advantage, especially with the way the rules are written at present.

“I think we need to wait and see what the situation is with the rear wing," he urged, "It will only be activated when you're within one second of the car in front, and getting within one second is tricky anyway because of the way the downforce works, so I don't know yet.

"In 2010, there was quite a lot of overtaking and, when you make a move and it comes off, it's such a buzz because it isn't easy. It's still not going to be a walk in the park to get past the driver ahead – it's not a 50km/h difference. It's probably about the same as what KERS would give you. It isn't a massive step, but it will give you an advantage in being able to tow up behind them and then having an opportunity to overtake.”

Hamilton, meanwhile, is looking forward to using all of F1's technological advances as he tries to recapture the glory of 2008.




Related Pictures

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12.02.2011- Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
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13.02.2011- Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
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FooAtari .

February 17, 2011 12:01 PM

Wide track Fatter slicks Less areo dependency Ground effect Steel brakes Then you will see real passing (as opposed to artificial) and the drivers really wrestling with cars. I don't see whats so hard about all this, and why the need for these gimmicks.

Tetley

February 17, 2011 4:17 PM

"The rear wing will be operated via a button inside the cockpit that opens up a slot to boost straight-line speed, but only when a driver is within a second of the car in front at one of several pre-determined positions around the circuit." ...And the Team has to stand on one leg and shake a six before they can activate the button. What absolute rubbish! Any more fantasy rules and they'll be racing James Bond cars!



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