Some races could see a 50% increase in overtaking according to FIA simulations
The FIA believes some grands prix on the 2019 Formula 1 calendar could see a 50 per cent increase in overtaking thanks to the overhauled aerodynamic rules.
F1 introduced a raft of aerodynamic changes aimed at boosting overtaking by allowing cars to follow more closely, and whilst much of it depends on the performance of the cars and the pace advantage one holds over another, the FIA's simulations showed a 10-50 per cent increase in passing based on similar gaps to 2018.
"We had noticed that year on year it [overtaking] was a worsening trend, and the 2019 rules have been framed to recover some of that. From the indications we’ve had from some teams there has been a step in the right direction," explained Nikolas Tombazis, Head of Single Seater Technical Matters.
Although the opening race of the season saw a small increase in overtaking, Tombazis admitted that Melbourne's Albert Park is one of the circuits where they didn't expect the new rules to have much of an impact.
"We were not expecting a huge delta in Australia, which is a difficult track at which to overtake in any case," he told the FIA's AUTO Magazine.
"Some simulations were showing a +10% increase of overtaking, assuming a similar evolution of a race, of course. In other races the same simulations expect a more sizeable increase, possibly to the tune of +50%. To be clear, that is from simulations of cars following each other in races from last year, using this set of rules.
"That’s the feedback we’ve had so far, but it will really only become clear as we progress through the season. We weren’t expecting miracles in round one at Australia, but generally we are expecting a step in the right direction as far as aerodynamics are concerned."
Tombazis' comments were made prior to last weekend's dramatic Bahrain Grand Prix.