Steiner: F1 cannot be ‘too sour’ in seeking utopia
By Ian Parkes
Sunday 14th May, 2023 - 6:00am
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner feels F1 will always have “a problem” when it comes to overtaking and should not be too hung up on seeking a seemingly unattainable level of utopia.
The recent Azerbaijan Grand Prix highlighted an issue long faced by F1, despite the aerodynamic redevelopment of cars from the start of last year that were designed for closer racing and to produce a greater level of overtaking.
Around the Baku Street Circuit, however, there was a total of just 23 overtakes, not helped by the DRS zone being shortened by the FIA by 100 metres, which sparked comment from all concerned.
One of the issues at present is that despite the close-knit nature of the teams behind runaway leaders Red Bull, there is a lack of a performance delta that would ordinarily aid overtaking, and cars become bogged down in DRS trains.
It would appear F1 is seeking the impossible in trying to close up the grid, whilst at the same time delivering close racing and a high level of overtaking.
“Obviously, it will always be difficult with single-seater cars with big wings,” said Steiner in addressing the debate. “Overtaking will always be a problem.
“Sometimes it’s better. I think last year was better than this year, although we didn’t help ourselves with shortening the DRS zone in Baku.
“But it will always be difficult. You will never have a Formula 1 where overtaking comes at a delta lap time off of two-tenths (of a second). There always needs to be more. It’s just one of those things.”
Tyre debate needs resolving
Conversely, the statistics for the Miami Grand Prix showed an improvement as there were 60 overtakes this year compared to 45 last season, despite the two DRS zones each being shortened by 75 metres.
One of the biggest areas of concern that has long been aired surrounds the tyres, and the level of management required during a grand prix that is required by all the drivers who are unable to push to the limit lap after lap.
“We need to look into it with the tyres,” added Steiner. “We always complain when we have drop off. We always complain when we don’t have it.
“We need to make our mind up as to what we want because Pirelli has delivered both ways and then we saw now it’s too much.”
Steiner also feels, however, it is easy to jump on a bandwagon just because F1 has one particularly poor race, which even Mercedes boss Toto Wolff decried as “boring”.
“We shouldn’t jump to a conclusion,” insisted Steiner. “We’ve had good races this year with overtaking.
“So we should look at them and try to replicate them, and not just be too sour about what happened (in Azerbaijan).
“Obviously, our expectations were high, that there would be red flags, safety cars, and nothing of that happened.
“But I’m pretty positive that if there needs to be something done, we will do it to make it easier again, but it will never be easy to overtake.”
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