London, Saturday: The Formula One Teams’ Association has reacted to a trilogy of overtaking-rich Grands Prix by indicating that there is now too much overtaking in F1, and measures should be taken to curtail the practice.
According to FOTA, a surfeit of overtaking moves makes races too difficult for casual viewers to follow, and the group has warned against alienating new fans to the sport by making it too hard for them to understand what is going on.
“After Australia, Malaysia and China, we’re worried about the negative impact too much overtaking is having on F1,” FOTA president Martin Whitmarsh claimed. “If passing moves are happening all the time – perhaps as often as one every four or five laps – the non-enthusiast might find it difficult to understand what positions all the drivers are in, thus reducing their enjoyment of the race. We want to make sure they are able to follow what is going on all the time.
“Furthermore, F1’s more hardcore fans – who we are also considering (no, seriously) – have for many years been so unfamiliar with overtaking that these changes will not have much impact on them,” Whitmarsh said.
Possible solutions mooted by the teams’ association include introducing harsher penalties for drivers who perform dangerous manoeuvres such as attempting to run side-by-side with another car or outbrake one another. Another alternative would be to make sure each track is covered with a series of umbrellas, to prevent rain from getting onto the circuit. “As we have seen, rain increases overtaking opportunities and makes the whole show dangerously difficult to keep track of,” Whitmarsh added.
Other suggestions are expected to be raised by a FOTA working group commissioned to investigate the matter, which will feature a number of high-ranking F1 designers who will spend a period of weeks shouting at one another behind closed doors. “It’s the only sure-fire way to resolve the matter,” said the FOTA president.
UPDATE: A FOTA poll aims to assess the views of fans on this matter: