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Page last updated at 16:49 GMT, Wednesday, 14 October 2009 17:49 UK

Track tweaks 'may aid overtaking'

Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso battle at the Belgian Grand Prix, as several cars crash behind them
Overtaking is notoriously difficult in F1, even after rule changes for this season

By Chris Whyatt

One of the key figures charged with boosting overtaking in Formula 1 has said altering corners on tracks, rather than the cars, may be the way forward.

Rule changes for 2009 cars aimed at increasing the sport's most thrilling spectacle have been mostly ineffective.

But McLaren engineering director Paddy Lowe, part of the Overtaking Working Group, sees an alternative solution.

"Why shouldn't all corners have the features drivers can so easily pinpoint to improve opportunities?" he said.

One of three lead members of the OWG, first set up by motorsport's governing body the FIA in 2007, Lowe admitted that body work changes to 2009 cars have not had the effect that F1 so desires.

The benefits [for overtaking] will come principally in looking at circuits

McLaren engineer Paddy Lowe

"It hasn't been a huge success, but it hasn't been a huge failure," he told BBC Sport on Wednesday.

With Lowe also of the firm belief that aerodynamic downforce, which enables cars to produce their top speeds, is likely to be reduced in the near future for safety reasons, he insists that further future car development cannot significantly improve overtaking.

"[It will] keep overtaking in a domain similar to where it is today," he added.

"The benefits will come principally in looking at circuits.

"We were talking about this the other day with Martin Whitmarsh [McLaren team boss]. As he said, if you go to circuit and ask a driver where he can overtake, he will say 'well, there is only one place where I might be able to do it and it's here'.

"All the drivers will agree on that same corner, there is no dispute on that point.

"So, if you follow the logic of that, really we should be looking at 'OK, why shouldn't all corners have the features that drivers can so easily pinpoint to improve opportunities at circuits as whole'."


The introduction of an energy-boost [Kers] button for this season has helped deliver some overtaking - but only simple manoeuvres over long straights and not around corners - while just Ferrari and McLaren now regularly use it after its uptake rapidly dropped away.

Adjustable wings were also introduced for 2009, but their impact on overtaking manoeuvres has been almost negligible.

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see also
Heidfeld expects more overtaking
06 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
F1 ready for racing revolution
04 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
New rules prompt Ferrari concern
20 Jan 09 |  Formula 1
Reverse F1 grids - Williams boss
11 Mar 08 |  Formula 1
Radical wing to help overtaking
24 Oct 05 |  Formula 1
F1 unveils plan to improve racing
02 Sep 05 |  Formula 1

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