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Last Updated: Friday, 8 December 2006, 12:14 GMT
F1 delays plan to improve racing
By Andrew Benson
Motorsport editor

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen battles with Ferrari's Michael Schumacher in the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix
Overtaking is notoriously difficult in Formula One cars
Formula One has delayed by a year until 2009 the introduction of new rules aimed at making overtaking easier.

Governing body the FIA had proposed changing the design of the cars to make it easier for one to follow another.

But the teams said its plans were flawed and another study came up with a completely different solution.

"It was not clear any of the ideas would work to improve overtaking, so it was agreed to put it off for a year and look into it properly," a source said.

The source, one of Formula One's leading designers, described the situation as "a complete mess".

The teams and the FIA have now agreed to spend more time looking into the issue.

It would have been stupid to do one new design for 2008 and then another for energy-recovery systems in 2009

Leading F1 designer
An FIA study had proposed a double-rear-wing system, dubbed CDG, to increase the cars' drag and make it easier for them to follow each other.

But another study into the same problem, commissioned by the teams, came up with different proposals - for a more conventional-looking car with re-designed front and rear wings.

More research will now be done, with a view to introducing new rules along with engine energy-recovery systems in 2009.

Cost-cutting proposals, including standard electronic control systems, will still go ahead in 2008.

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That is the year in which new contracts binding the teams to F1 will be introduced, and the FIA had hoped to improve the quality of racing as well as cutting costs.

But the designer added that delaying fundamental changes to the cars until 2009 made sense because it "ties in with the energy-recovery systems.

"It would have been stupid to do a new car to new rules for 2008 because of aerodynamic changes, and then do another one mechanically for 2009 because of the engine change."

The FIA is to use F1 to promote fuel efficiency with systems that recover and re-use energy , such as are beginning to be used by road cars.

These store energy used while braking and re-apply it under acceleration.

They can also be used to promote overtaking by being linked to a "push-to-pass" button, which a driver can press for a brief burst of extra power.

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