As a letter from the drivers launched the new era of F1

With the implementation of the new Technical Regulations in Formula 1, the leaders of the championship hope to improve the show on the track and attract an ever-growing audience. But there’s something even more important with this change in regulations: that drivers can also experience emotions behind the wheel. Because the latter, like the fans, have never especially appreciated the era of cars so difficult to move forward.

In fact, one of the reasons for the introduction of the new Technical Regulations in 2022 is the pressure exerted by pilots. It was his association, the GPDA, under the leadership of Alexander Wurz, that met and wrote to Liberty Media leaders shortly after the American group took over Formula 1 at the end. of 2016. As Wurz explained today, this letter stressed that the old aerodynamic philosophy of the championship was the enemy of overtaking and that it therefore had to be modified if F1 gained popularity.

“[Le GPDA] he worked on a document to introduce the new owners, and it coincided perfectly with Ross ’arrival [Brawn] and Pat [Symonds] to freedom “says the former Formula 1 driver. “We knew there was an opportunity to initiate and support a change, so we sent our letter to Liberty, the teams and the FIA ​​asking for a study to change the aerodynamic rules. We asked them to study abandoning the main concept of front wing flow sensitivity and moving towards a more robust aerodynamic platform that should help pilots follow each other more closely. ”

Lewis Hamilton and Alexander Würz

Known for his technical qualities and analytical mind in the world of motorsport, Wurz knew that a scientific approach was needed to help F1 choose the right path.

“The air behind a car is moving”keep on. “As a result, the next car simply loses grip and the ability to drive fast behind another competitor. That’s why aerodynamics has been the enemy of overtaking and fighting on the track for decades. [la F1] He tried to find solutions, but they were only attempts at quick solutions and not new concepts developed. “

“The drivers’ letter was not a scientific work, but it was a clear and forceful request to help F1 rely on its own research to help itself. So I think the new rules are a big example of the four main strengths. [la F1, la FIA, les équipes et le GPDA, ndlr] be aligned and work together on medium- and long-term goals, which are separate from team-driven performance agendas. However, while I am sure we are going in a very good direction with the new rules, we also need to be realistic about what we can and cannot expect today. “

This last comment is important because Wurz acknowledges that it is unrealistic to expect the new rules to bring satisfaction in the very short term. The Austrian believes it takes a period of rolling to move from a fragmented platoon to a more compact one. Aware of the quality of the riders, the Austrian also thinks that overtaking will not quickly become an easy task.

“When the best drivers compete and make very few mistakes, and the performance of the cars is very similar, moving forward is difficult, of course.”explain. “I hope no one expects to see hundreds of overtakes per race. But in the long run we will see a more compact grid and a more natural race.”

Lando Norris driving the McLaren during the Austrian GP.

Lando Norris driving the McLaren during the Austrian GP.

“MAlthough in 2022 we see a wider field, I am sure these new regulations are the key to a better future in F1. Once the teams have mastered the rules, we should have a more compact field and much tighter races. So the prospect of the new rules is very exciting if we remain realistic and patient. “

But beyond the added pleasure for the riders if the field is tighter and the races better, Wurz says there will be some unexpected benefits that will ultimately transform the nature of the Grand Prix.

“If the whole platoon hardens, the overall strategy will be much harder to predict”he says. “Previously, the best teams knew that after 15-20 laps they had a good pit stop window due to their superior performance. Today, if that window never opens, strategic planning will suddenly be much more complex. and unpredictable. This is a welcome side effect. “

“Drivers have always insisted on this key point: we need to ensure that F1 is a sport and not a fabricated show. The closer the drivers are, the more exciting F1 is. Something we saw with the incredible increase of popularity that was helped by other key factors, such as openness [de la création de contenu] on social media and alternative media for teams and pilots, and letting pilots be stars, unlike past decades ”.

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