Home » DRS May Be Dead But F1 Has More Fake Nonsense To Replace It

DRS May Be Dead But F1 Has More Fake Nonsense To Replace It

New F1 Rules Ts2
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Formula 1 has finally outlined the new set of regulations that will come in for the 2026 season. We already knew big changes were afoot to aerodynamics and the engine formula, but the racing authorities have seen fit to grant us a treat especialle. The fake boost of the Drag Reduction System will be killed off. But don’t get too excited—the new rules will still leave a sour taste in the mouths of the sporting purist.

The truth is, Formula 1 has had a serious problem for a long time. Overtakes rarely happen, and much of the blame is put on the design of the cars. The turbulent aerodynamic wake of an F1 car tends to disturb the ability of a following car to generate downforce. Thus, when a car gets in range to make a pass, the following driver finds themselves losing grip, and thus losing time. A faster car can sometimes hang on and make a pass work, but the aerodynamic disturbance still makes passing difficult, and it also accelerates tire wear.

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Vidframe Min Bottom

The solution to this was the Drag Reduction System. F1 allowed a driver to activate a movable flap on the rear wing when they closed within a second of the car in front. Drivers were allowed to activate this in certain “DRS Zones.” The movable flap cut downforce on the straights where it’s not needed, which cut drag in turn. This gave a following driver a speed boost which would, ideally, help them to pass. Great, right? Problem solved! Well, not really.

Drag Reduction Silliness

First, we must understand DRS, so let’s go back to the start. Many fans immediately decried the DRS upon its introduction in 2011. The measure was seen as unsporting, giving the following car an artificial advantage over the one in front to try and generate more passing. Still, the technology was introduced, and to a degree, it appeared to work. 2011 had an average of 43.2 overtakes per race. This was over double the average in 2010, which stood at just 23.8 overtakes per race in comparison.

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While DRS could help shake up track position, the overtakes were hardly anything to write home about. Watch the first DRS overtake, and tell me that isn’t the most boring pass you’ve seen in contemporary motorsport.

DRS simply allowed the car behind to breeze past the one in front thanks to its top speed advantage. It wasn’t much fun to watch. Still, fans eventually grew used to the system. It did at least allow faster runners to filter through the pack more quickly if they found themselves out of position.

It became routine for F1 to tweak the length and position of DRS engagement zones at various tracks to try and make the boost just right—enough to allow some passing, but not so much that it would be too easy. It was all fake, concocted nonsense, and you had to pretend you couldn’t see behind the curtain.

In the years since, farcical scenes have often erupted thanks to the false boost DRS provides. “DRS Trains” began to form at some tracks, typically amongst the midfield. This would occur when a driver closed to within 1 second of a slow car, but failed to pass them. More drivers would tend to close up, each of whom would receive DRS from being within a second of the car ahead. You’d end up with a big train of cars, none of which could pass—since all but the lead cars were receiving an equal speed boost. In a shocking example, Kevin Magnussen was able to hold up following drivers by over 2 seconds a lap in Saudi Arabia this year, with DRS failing to help anyone get by him.

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Future Moves

The FIA has now announced the 2026 rules for Formula 1. The DRS concept as we know it will go away. However, movable aerodynamic devices will still be a thing. Instead of a single rear flap, both front and rear wings will have movable elements. This will allow an F1 car to switch between two modes—high downforce (Z-mode) and low-drag (X-mode). One suspects these may be named for the vector which is being optimized–the Z-axis typically referring to the vertical direction.

Under the new regulations, drivers will be able to switch to the low-drag mode in certain designated areas. However, there will be no requirement that they be close to the car in front. Instead, they’ll be able to activate X-mode at will in these zones to enable a higher top speed.

This eliminates the boost given to trailing drivers under the current regime. For sporting enthusiasts, this is a good thing. It brings an end to the contrived DRS sham that made for so many cheap and meaningless overtakes.

The Future Of F1 Showcasing The 2026 Fia Technical Regulations – Lighter, Safer & More Competitive! 6 29 Screenshot
Under current rules, the following driver may activate DRS in certain zones when within 1 second of the car in front.

But don’t worry! The FIA has found a new way to keep F1 artificially entertaining. Drivers will instead be given access to something called the Manual Override Mode. It’s basically a push-to-pass button that is enabled for a driver when they close within a certain range of the car in front. When enabled, it allows their car’s electric motor to deliver a set amount of more energy to help them accelerate past the car in front. Instead of less drag, you get more power than the car in front.

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The specific implementation is moderately interesting. Effectively, it will only really come into play on straights, with the MGU-K—the hybrid engine’s electric motor—continuing to output power at higher speeds when in Manual Override Mode. As per the FIA:

A Manual Override mode has been included to create improved overtaking opportunities. While the deployment of a leading car will taper off after 290kph, reaching zero at 355kph, the following car will benefit from MGUK Override providing 350kW up to 337kph and +0.5MJ of extra energy.

Basically, if you’re in front, your electric motor will only output 469 hp (350 kW) up to 180 mph. If you’re behind, you’ll get the full juice up to 209 mph.

Seldom
Close racing with overtaking is the goal. Will push-to-pass make that satisfying?

To an extent, I get it. People want to see F1 cars pass. You want to make that happen. Great. A push-to-pass button can help do that, albeit in an artificial way. But it remains to be seen what benefits the Manual Override Mode has over the existing DRS system. It seems to be just as fake and contrived.

The only reason one can imagine it might be more interesting is if power differential proves more effective at generating overtakes on a straight than drag differentials do. Given the way the FIA has set it up, that may be the intention. Currently, some teams have naturally higher top speeds than their rivals thanks to their cars being more aerodynamically efficient, or simply by running lower-drag configurations. This can dull the benefit of DRS for other cars. The new system creates a window where a following driver has an advantage of hundreds of horsepower, albeit in a small window. This could be very difficult to mitigate or defend against.

Really, though, it would be great if the FIA could find a way to allow cars to follow more closely in the corners. Then there would be no need for these contrived measures to let cars pass each other on the straights. We could get back to the ol’ slice-and-dice duels that make motorsport so compelling to watch.

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The Rest Of The Updates

The new engine regulations aim to cut fuel use and massively increase the electric power available to F1 cars. The current cars have around 740 horsepower from their ICE engines, and a further 160 hp from their electric motor. The new rules will see the combustion engines outputting around 540 hp, while the electric motors will be able to deliver around 469 hp (350 kW). Cars will be able to capture up to 8.5 megajoules of electrical energy under braking per lap.

The heat recovery generator, known as the MGU-H, will be dropped for 2026. It was used to recover electrical energy from the engine’s exhaust via the turbocharger, but was considered expensive, complex, and unappealing for future use. For increased road relevance and sustainability, the series will switch to running on sustainable fuel that will be “drop-in” compatible with traditional ICE vehicles.

The Future Of F1 Showcasing The 2026 Fia Technical Regulations – Lighter, Safer & More Competitive! 10 4 Screenshot

The Future Of F1 Showcasing The 2026 Fia Technical Regulations – Lighter, Safer & More Competitive! 10 9 Screenshot
The FIA has provided a mockup of what it believes a 2026 F1 car could look like.

The current cars have been derided as excessively heavy and large, which has hurt overtaking—particularly at street circuits like Monaco. To that end, the new cars will be 30 kg lighter, almost 3.9 inches (10 cm) narrower, and with a 7.9 inch (20 cm) shorter wheelbase. As previously discussed, movable aerodynamic elements will be available on both the front and rear wings. That should keep the aerodynamicists busy.

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The hope from many fans is that the new regulations can shake things up. F1 has been derided as a walk-over for many years in the past decade. Mercedes-Benz was able to dominate much of the turbo-hybrid era, with Red Bull steaming away to dominant victories under the current ground-effect rules. Ideally, the new rules will not only break any established advantage but lead to a mix of teams being able to fight at the front. We should all be so lucky!

The Future Of F1 Showcasing The 2026 Fia Technical Regulations – Lighter, Safer & More Competitive! 10 8 Screenshot

As much as F1 promises a lot for the future, it’s always difficult to predict what will happen at the first race. So many of us believed that ground-effect aerodynamics would solve all F1’s problems, and that turned out to be a total bust. We’ve seen two years of the dullest racing dominated by a single team, and this year is only just showing some flickers of real competition.

Ultimately, as a Formula 1 fan, I’m waiting with bated breath. It was so happy to read that DRS was over, and so frustrated to hear that push-to-pass was being implemented. There’s not a lot in the new regulations that I believe will improve the on-track spectacle, but I’ll be happy to be proven wrong. Let’s wait and see.

Image credits: FIA, FIA via Youtube Screenshot

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WM
WM
15 days ago

I think about overtakes like goals in soccer, a few good ones are better than 50 breeze past DRS moves. I like it when a driver has to work for it and finds a weakness in the driver in front or takes advantage of a mistake, likewise a good defense can keep a faster car behind and I find that quite tense and fun to watch.

To me, the biggest problem is the physical size and weight of the cars. Smaller cars would open up more opportunities especially at tighter tracks.

67 Oldsmobile
67 Oldsmobile
16 days ago

One solution is to watch WRC instead.
I’ve always watched formula one,but the last years I haven’t bothered because of a combination of the subscription being way too expensive because of fucking DTS and the racing being shit. I got my hopes up reading the headline but then reading the article just getting annoyed all over again.
Formula one cars are supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsports, and with the popularity it’s currently experiencing it should not be necessary to invent new ways of making the racing bearable to watch.
The mgu-h should stay in my opinion and then just make the cars a bit lighter/smaller with less aero to keep the racing closer.
i don’t think it’s possible to avoid that one team is the more dominant within a given set of regulations because that will happen in any race series not having “spec” cars,but making the cars a bit simpler to start with and having cost-caps would probably mitigate this as well.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
17 days ago

1.5 Litre Flat Plane Naturally Aspirated V8s revving to 18,000, with flat bottoms, no traction control, and no fucking wings or diffusers whatsoever. Add whatever spec of electric boost/recovery you want. Then you will see some exciting overtakes. The cars will be gorgeous and Eau Rouge will no longer be flat. The slot car scenes will no longer happen, but boy would it fun to see real battles in corners again. Keep the run off areas for fans/safety.

Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry
17 days ago

F1 should specify a random engine from a wide range of possibilities at the last possible moment for that engine to be integrated into the cars for the season.

Let the teams construct their cars and then it’s like “Honda GC190 187cc 4.6 hp single cylinder. Now GO!” and the teams have to integrate those engines into the cars, and race them.

Last edited 17 days ago by Jonathan Hendry
FleetwoodBro
FleetwoodBro
17 days ago

Maybe unpopular, but aero downforce ruins competitive racing. I want to see driving skill, mechanical grip, and who can build the strongest engine. Supercomputers crunching aero numbers to produce micro tunnels fabricated in carbon fiber is uninteresting to this race fan. A car that cannot closely follow another because of a messy aero induced vortex is a mistake, not a feature. The rules should be simplified as much as possible. Here are the maximum dimensions of the car you can build, here is the maximum weight, here are the tire sizes, here are the safety requirements, and by the way, aero downforce is forbidden. No spending cap, go nuts. Build whatever engine you want, stick it in there and let’s race.

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
17 days ago
Reply to  FleetwoodBro

Aero downforce is amazing but yeah there’s a reason all the golden ages of motorsports came before it. But it’s also really hard to put it back in the bottle now we know so much about it.

Brockett Hudson
Brockett Hudson
17 days ago
Reply to  FleetwoodBro

I was in complete agreement with you up to your penultimate sentence. Most professional sports have some form of spending cap or salary cap. The ones that are well implemented (see NFL and to a lesser degree MLB) have generally been credited with making their leagues more competitive. Among the other issues cited in the articles and your comment, I think F1 needs to fix its current spending cap system which showers vast sums on the constructor winners, leading to self-fulfilling cycles of dominance like we’ve seen from Mercedes and now Red Bull.
It takes more than three competitive teams/constructors to have an interesting racing series. The constructor pool should be split more evenly among all the teams, and perhaps there needs to be something akin to the NFL draft system that actually “rewards” the bottom teams in the series by giving them extra resources to become more competitive. This wouldn’t necessarily have to be all money, perhaps the tops teams could be required to share certain proprietary tech/software/knowledge with the bottom teams. Just thinking out loud, but otherwise, I honestly don’t understand how/why teams like Williams and Haas can or should bother continuing to compete in F1.

FleetwoodBro
FleetwoodBro
16 days ago

Okay, I’m convinced on the spending cap!

Thx1138
Thx1138
15 days ago

The F1 cost cap is $135,000,000 for 2024 and 2025. They are giving more wind tunnel time to the lower level teams. Does this mean that the playing field is going to be evened out quickly, no. This was seen with Williams trying to play catch up with a new wind tunnel to help with development of their car.

A. Ocolotl
A. Ocolotl
17 days ago
Reply to  FleetwoodBro

No spending cap, go nuts. Build whatever engine you want, stick it in there and let’s race.

And that sentence is CanAm. I saw bits of the CanAm revival, though I’m told the original series started off pretty fun and then became nothing but a spendathon. The deepest wallets won the races, and the second-deepest wallets didn’t see a return on investment and bailed.

I’m all on board for the rest of it. Change that quoted sentence to, “Here’s your spending cap, go nuts.” And I’m not against a nod towards environmentalism either: “Your engine must be an ICE that burns ethanol or hydrogen.”

Bjorn A. Payne Diaz
Bjorn A. Payne Diaz
18 days ago

F1 is barely car racing. Let’s break down who wins and how. Whoever wins is whoever can furthest bend but not break the human mandated laws of the race. That’s boring. The driver and track barely matter but those are two very important things in the definition of “car racing.” That’s boring. What matters then? How much human work and CPU computation can a constructor cram into a box in a given amount of time. To me that means the real racing is occurring with the CPU and human processing power. Of which there are better ways to participate in watching both of those races play out.

Nothing happens in an F1 race. The place in which things happen to impact the race we don’t get to watch. The development of the cars. That’s where the racing is. Not on the track.

Last edited 18 days ago by Bjorn A. Payne Diaz
AMGx2
AMGx2
18 days ago

We could put virtual objects on the track and if you drive over them you gain a boost, or extra downforce or you shoot a homing rocket at the car in front of you.

Strangek
Strangek
18 days ago
Reply to  AMGx2

Maybe the cars can drop banana peels behind them to spin out the cars behind?

Radiant13
Radiant13
18 days ago
Reply to  AMGx2

Blue shells and only blue shells.

Strangek
Strangek
18 days ago

I’m glad they’re making the cars smaller at least. The current aero rules seemed to have solved the following closely problem, Red Bull just totally outclassed everyone with their design and implementation. Other teams are creeping closer though. They should just use the push to pass system that IndyCar uses, it’s far less convoluted. You get a certain amount for a given race that you can deploy whenever you want. You can use it to attack or defend, or to haul ass on your in lap or out lap, or whatever you want.

Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
18 days ago
Reply to  Strangek

The system Super Formula uses has another dimension to it, in that once you’ve used it, you’re prevented from using it again for a certain amount of time.

James Carson
James Carson
18 days ago

Mandate 175x70x13 bias ply tires with no tire changes over race duration. That alone would make it safer, slower, even out the top to bottom tier teams and make the sport more a contest between drivers. All the wings, downforce, and massive horsepower would be useless.

Speedway Sammy
Speedway Sammy
18 days ago
Reply to  James Carson

I raced on that size tire in a SCCA Showroom Stock car back in the early 70s. Makes sense to me.

Jj
Jj
18 days ago

We need more retirements for mechanical issues.

Push to pass should be allowed, but every press should come with a 1 in 20 chance of sending the car into limp mode requiring a pit stop to reset.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
18 days ago
Reply to  Jj

I like this idea. Like how Pirelli makes the tires to a spec specifically designed to degrade at certain intervals (which is apparently why Michelin doesn’t want to be involved).

Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
18 days ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

I’ve read this before and would love some verification on that. Because Michelin provides tires to MotoGP and the riders’ choice of compound is frequently a topic of discussion, as the softer compounds are known to wear out faster. So it’s not as if the idea is alien to them.

Davedave
Davedave
18 days ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

This is not right at all. F1 tyres have always been designed to degrade in whatever way is specified. Pirelli got upset because F1 was blaming the manufacturer rather than say that it’s by design when fans got upset with the way the tyres work; perhaps Michelin have said that they’re not interested because of that.

Vanillasludge
Vanillasludge
18 days ago
Reply to  Jj

Bring back Alfa Romeo…their road cars pretty much do exactly that.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
18 days ago

This type of stuff is why I am only a casual fan of F1, and even then get more out of the political and personal drama than the racing. Nothing more to add except I miss the more raw racing of F1 in the 90s.

Jj
Jj
18 days ago

I feel like the last round of aero changes has allowed cars to follow more closely. Before that, the trailing car would be severely compromised even just staying within a second of the leading car.

They’re still not trading places that often, but it seems less common for a following car to be stuck behind for too long. Trailing car used to follow for a lap or two before their race engineer was telling them to back off to cool the car.

Of course, none of these changes will cancel out Kevin Magnussen driving like a GTAV newb running faster cars off the track.

Vanillasludge
Vanillasludge
18 days ago

There are plenty of other racing series to watch if you want to see a bunch of people trading spots in spec cars.

The beauty of F1 is that it’s about more than that…technology…politics..money..and racing.

I’d argue that the more it’s regulated the worse it will get. Let the cost cap do its job and stop all the dicking around with regs to “improve the show”.

We used to have some really boring races back in the Golden Era, but we also got 6 wheeled cars and fan cars.

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
18 days ago
Reply to  Vanillasludge

I agree with what you are saying, but I think passing aids and other triggerable “boosts” are kinda lame. That being said, I’m not sure how to implement hybrid based systems that aren’t used as passing aids since you can deploy battery selectively.

Bjorn A. Payne Diaz
Bjorn A. Payne Diaz
18 days ago
Reply to  Vanillasludge

The beauty of F1 is that it’s about more than that…technology…politics..money..and racing.

I couldn’t disagree more. F1 would be better with less politics and less money and a loosening of the technology they are allowed to implement. If you wanna watch arbitrary and fabricated arguments by people with money check out the TV channel Bravo. My wife loves thats channel. Especially the real housewives series.

Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
17 days ago

The problem when you loosen the rule set is that one team invariably gets it better and the problem of competitiveness gets worse. Cost cap or no, series with wide open rules tend to consume themselves. Can-Am is a cautionary tale everyone remembers.

Wolfpack57
Wolfpack57
18 days ago
Reply to  Vanillasludge

If F1 wants to be for engineering and not racing, that’s fine, but currently they’ve limited the alteration zones to too little of the car. Why 1.6 v6s?

In essence, I agree with you, but I think that interesting cars are more fun at historic meets than in the present, because one will always be faster and that’s hard to ignore in a full field, while it’s okay at Goodwood because the engine makes a cool noise or something.

R Rr
R Rr
18 days ago
Reply to  Vanillasludge

Let the cost cap do its job

Except for when no one checks if the teams abide by the caps <*cough* RedBull *cough*>, or does anything about it when they clearly don’t

I say this as a lifelong F1 fan who used to watch it religiously since I was 7-8 years old, but have stopped a few years back. Nowadays I just keep to Formula E and 2-wheels racing (MotoGP & SBK)

Last edited 18 days ago by R Rr
Jj
Jj
17 days ago
Reply to  R Rr

I should start watching Formula E. I never got into it. That car change thing in early years seemed weird.

Mister Win
Mister Win
15 days ago
Reply to  Vanillasludge

Yeah, everybody just HATES those spec racing championships like NASCAR and Trans-Am and Indy… I’m always hearing how there’s just too much passing in NASCAR!

OSpazX
OSpazX
18 days ago

So…. “Rubber Banding Mode”..

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
18 days ago
Reply to  OSpazX

As I was reading the article I kept thinking “F1 is turning into rich people’s Mario Kart…”

Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
18 days ago

There are a lot of race series with push-to-pass systems in place, just off the top of my head:

IndyCar
Super Formula
Indy NXT
FRECA

So I don’t think the idea of an overtake button is a curse unique to F1. And in any case, to get the benefit of the DRS, you still have to get to within one second of the car ahead. I’ve seen many examples, this season alone, where it was very tough for the following driver to do that. It’s still racing, it’s just different than what you’ll see elsewhere.

The intent of the ’22 rule set was to decrease dirty air, and allow closer racing. It did exactly that. Everyone is big mad because one team, out of the gate, figured it out better and more quickly than the others did. That doesn’t mean the rule set was a failure. As you may have seen this season, two-and-a-half years in now, everyone else is starting to figure out how they did it, and convergence is happening. So the points race is tighter than it’s been in two years.

In ’26, one team will have figured it out better than the rest, and be wildly out in front again. It’s a constructors’ championship, so that just means they won. But I guarantee there will be cries that the rule set doesn’t work, and the racing sucks. So a new rule set will be proposed, just as convergence is happening again, probably around ’28 I would guess.

If you don’t want to watch what F1 is, watch something else. There are a lot of good series.

Last edited 18 days ago by Matt Sexton
Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
18 days ago
Reply to  Matt Sexton

The difference (at least with regard to IndyCar) is that both the passing and lead car can use “push to pass” until it runs out (x number of seconds per race). So it can be used defensively. DRS and this new system cannot be used defensively.

Wolfpack57
Wolfpack57
18 days ago
Reply to  Jack Beckman

I agree that Indy’s push-to-pass is the least “faked” form of competition for that reason, but you really can’t find unaltered racing in F1(push-to-pass/no passing to start with), Indy(Push-to-pass), sportscars/endurance(BOP), Nascar (Stages and championship format), Super Formula(Success ballast). I think that V8 Supercars might be safe, but I’m not sure

Amschroeder5
Amschroeder5
17 days ago
Reply to  Matt Sexton

The points race is only tighter than its been in two years because Perez doesn’t deserve to have a spot in F1, let alone RB. And tighter than its been in two years is worse than it has been for the driver championship in what? 15 years?

Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
17 days ago
Reply to  Amschroeder5

Oh yes because when Hamilton was rolling off 6 championships out of seven years, they were hotly contested seasons indeed.

Amschroeder5
Amschroeder5
17 days ago
Reply to  Matt Sexton

By comparison, actually yes. Ferrari was faster in 2 of those 7 years by cheating (until ofc they got caught). And standings between Hamilton and Rosberg/Bottas was **way closer** than Perez has been. Both in points and races, and certainly poles.

Amschroeder5
Amschroeder5
18 days ago

Real talk here… the cost cap has been an utter disaster to the quality of racing in F1. The last year of the old regs was not only the best and most competitive F1 had seen in 15 years (at the front), but it delivered stunningly good racing from the front to the back with tons of teams having actual results and podiums left and right.

The cost cap is way too low when RB and Merc were still making money even if spending 300M a year. There is simply not enough resources to catch up to a year 1 advantage when trailing is **always** far less efficient than leading (no copying does not save more money than having to do way more iterations and parts and churn to develop). Also F1 should have a minimum spend limit as well that prevents teams from just coasting on their laurels. Let andretti in and force everyone to spend between 150-200m instead of 135m cap in a series where it was profitable (if organized sensibly) to spend 300m.

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
18 days ago
Reply to  Amschroeder5

You want a real cost cap? Change the regulations to stop using a dedicated F1 motor. Just mandate the maximum horsepower, the amount of fuel per km that will be allowed (or really, bring back refueling for more action) and then mandate that all engines be based on a production block, with at least 1000 *identical* examples in customer road cars. Let the manufactures determine if that’s a V4, V6, I6, V8, V12, etc. You want hybrid? Up to you. You want EV? Up to you if you can make the tech work (in which case you need to specify the energy allowed per km I suppose).

Davedave
Davedave
18 days ago
Reply to  Jack Beckman

Ironically, the reason for the engine specs as they currently exist dates back to the last time engine rules were much looser, when the Cosworth DFV became so dominant that almost every car had the same engine. The problem is that for any given set of rules, there is usually one set of design choices that works best, so the eventual differences are minimal.

Amschroeder5
Amschroeder5
18 days ago
Reply to  Davedave

And getting to 99.9% of those eventual differences used to be relatively plausible for all teams, should they be willing to spend out of it. These days, you literally cannot catch up. There is not enough time or money to do so.

Amschroeder5
Amschroeder5
18 days ago
Reply to  Jack Beckman

I don’t particularly want a cost cap at all, honestly. But assuming the powers that be seem to all agree that it should exist in principal, my point is that it has clearly been **way** too constraining for teams that are not in first. People whine and moan about the Merc dominance era, but it has been far far worse since then.

No More Crossovers
No More Crossovers
18 days ago

“Catch up” mode in racing games is now the hardcore realistic choice I guess

Davedave
Davedave
18 days ago

I never really understood the ‘fake and contrived’ arguments about DRS. F1 is, by its very nature, a ‘fake and contrived’ set of rules, with ‘fake and contrived’ problems caused by those rules. (It’s been possible for getting on for a century to build cars that are undrivably quick, so F1 has always been a series of eras of rulesets designed to limit achievable speeds.)

DRS, at least, did no more than a minimum to solve a very specific problem, and it only affected the thing it was intended to affect. The DRS trains mentioned in the article aren’t a bug, they’re a feature. It was only supposed to help pass cars that were already significantly slower, which it did.

If you want to complain about anything, the thing to complain about is that the real problem is that narrower vehicles have more passing opportunities, and F1 cars are far too wide. It isn’t hard to have F1-level speeds with cars half the width of current ones. Hell, there might even be enough room for overtaking at Monaco, that way.

Davedave
Davedave
18 days ago
Reply to  Davedave

I just did a bit of googling to check 1950s dimensions against modern ones. The cars were 1.5m wide, compared to today’s 2m. So that’s a third more. I hadn’t thought of it earlier, but the cars are also 40% longer, and obviously that also makes overtaking harder.

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
18 days ago
Reply to  Davedave

While car size is very important to passing, you are also ignore than ’50s cars weren’t aero dependant. So a following car had basically the same amounts of grip as the leading car, which means passing could be done much easier. Or, if they weren’t passing, there was basically zero detriment to being a following car. So your tires weren’t getting eaten up just trying to keep pace with the lead car.

Sure, drag still existed back then, I’m that’s not what I’m referring to. I’m referring to downforce.

Davedave
Davedave
18 days ago
Reply to  BolognaBurrito

I really don’t think it’s as big a factor as is made out, if the cars are much narrower. Also, you underestimate the effects of dirty air on cars without modern aero; I can’t find it right now but I’ve read old race reports where people like Fangio and Hawthorne talked about their cars being unsettled by wake turbulence.

Strangek
Strangek
18 days ago
Reply to  Davedave

The current ground effect aero did a lot for the dirty air problem. You’re absolutely right about the size of the cars being an issue, though I think the length is more of one than the width. Those things are as long as a Suburban.

Davedave
Davedave
18 days ago
Reply to  Strangek

My thinking is that width matters more, because there are more alternative lines available with narrower cars – but I agree, length also matters. If nothing else, a longer car takes longer to pass.

Strangek
Strangek
18 days ago
Reply to  Davedave

Watching them try to steer those barges around Monaco stopped being fun a long time ago!

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
18 days ago

This talk of F1 whilst IOMTT is on right now?

Honestly, what’s better in motorsport than watching another Dunlop rip through the peaceful countryside WOT, with such safety measures in place as stone walls, and old pubs to protect the riders from skipping too far off the ‘track’.

No silly push-to-pass.

Davedave
Davedave
18 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

I’d rather not watch any sport with a death toll as high as that. It looks so crazy because it is. If they want to do that, the best of luck to them. But I’m not going to do anything to make them any keener to do it, even in whatever tiny way one additional viewer might add.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
18 days ago
Reply to  Davedave

That’s a fair position to take. And much could be done to improve the safety situation.
The counter point being that they’re generally publicly available vehicles without such strict limitations of speed/power/aero as imposed by F1, enabling more active movement of the pack (and not, as one might put it, artificially stifling competition). Such styles of racing can more directly influence what joe-q-public is able to purchase/obtain ourselves on the showroom floor – because it could quite simply be the same thing. Especially considering that OEMs, like Honda, directly sponsor the IOMTT.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
18 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

It does get to the thing about motorsports in general that we’re usually afraid to acknowledge out loud: part of the draw – participant or spectator – is the fact it’s dangerous. The stakes are high, it’s just a question of how much.

Davedave
Davedave
18 days ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

I completely disagree. Everything carries some level of risk, but that’s not a draw, it’s off-putting – to the degree it is risky. Where the amount of risk is too high, it’s essentially a blood-sport and I’m not interested.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
18 days ago
Reply to  Davedave

I think we’re saying the same thing actually – it’s the level of risk that determines the acceptableness. As they say, if you don’t want to drown, the best way of doing that is to stay out of the ocean.

Motorsport of any kind is risky – that’s why not many of us would say that video game racing is really a sport. It’s the commitment to doing something difficult in a high-stakes way that in part draws us; the big question, as you pose, is: at what point does it become pathological?

Davedave
Davedave
18 days ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Yes, it’s one thing to watch people doing something where a combination of factors and incredibly bad luck might lead to serious injury; it’s another entirely to watch something where you have to be lucky not to see a fatal incident.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
18 days ago
Reply to  Davedave

And we may be confronted with this soon in a way I didn’t see coming – it likely won’t be too long until there are AI racers in cars.

Zero risk to humans, and plenty of go fast action, perhaps even more property destruction. But will we feel the same connection to it?

Davedave
Davedave
18 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

I don’t know all that much about motorbikes, but as far as I’m aware, they’re still limited classes. I’m not sure how much faster unlimited bikes would be, though. Is there a point where adding a bigger engine stops making them faster because they get too heavy? Could they make more power from the same engines with turbos or something, or does that not work well on bikes?

Amschroeder5
Amschroeder5
18 days ago
Reply to  Davedave

Hypothetically there is a point, but that point is probably 10-20x the power that we have now.

Diminishing returns are a thing though, and acceleration tapers off faster than top speed for a more powerful bike.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
18 days ago
Reply to  Davedave

They’re not limited in the sense of F1 and that they’re so unbelievably dissociated from street-rideable vehicles.

There’s also a point on a track with motorcycles that more power isn’t the answer as with two round-profile tires limit what you can put down anyway. Though MotoGP is, arguably, faster but it’s not magnitudes as with F1 with such downforce (and it would represent the F1 equivalent that they’re not publicly available vehicles)

Davedave
Davedave
18 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

Now I’m wondering what the TT would look like if the bikes were limited enough to get something close to an acceptable level of safety. I love the old footage of the 50cc class, so I’m not sure the answer is that it’d be less good to watch.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
18 days ago
Reply to  Davedave

I think it might not be possible; it’s the nature of the course that makes it the hazard/questionable race it is. A 125cc bike can throw you hard enough into a curb to severely injure you, easy.

Rider protective tech is getting a lot better of late (airbags, etc.), but mailboxes and telephone poles, not to mention outright stone walls, are unforgiving no matter what.

Davedave
Davedave
18 days ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

While you can definitely get seriously injured even at relatively low speeds, it seems fairly obvious to me that if the top speeds were a third of what they are now, far fewer riders would die or be seriously injured. And with sufficiently lightweight bikes and skinny enough tyres, even 70mph can seem like an extremely sketchy speed.

Jb996
Jb996
16 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

I do wonder why Autopian covers F1 so heavily. I guess it’s a function of the authors’ interest, and that there is the most money there.
We do get fascinating technical insights into Nascar, but nothing else about the series.
IndyCar is ignored. Rally? Drag? Moto? There are so many other types of racing that are actually interesting and competitive right now.

Maybe we should just ignore F1 for a while?

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
16 days ago
Reply to  Jb996

Arguably F1 has far greater worldwide footprint than any of the other series’. Nascar is definitively American-only

Jb996
Jb996
14 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

I know.
It’s just also the most boring.

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