Charlie Whiting

Whiting: Problem is the big three teams are too quick

Charlie Whiting

Formula 1 cars were wider, faster and more spectacular in 2017, but overtaking was considerably scarcer than in recent years, but FIA race director Charlie Whiting believes that the real reason for this lies with the sport’s three big teams and the fact that they did such a good job during the course of the year.

Speaking to New York Times last year, Whiting said, “The biggest problem we’ve had this year is that it’s clear the big three teams — if you want to call them that — in Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull are significantly quicker than the rest.”

“In an ideal world, you would want them all as close as the midfield. When you look at the times, a tenth of a second is the difference over three grid places.”

“We always do see close racing from Force India, Renault and others. I don’t think the racing has been bad; it’s just that some have done a significantly better job than others, which is nothing new in Formula 1.”

“I don’t think closer racing is the issue, and I don’t think the cars are the problem. We’ve seen lots of close racing, although the drivers do say this year’s cars have been a little more difficult to follow, and we’ve seen lots of wheel-to-wheel racing. We mustn’t lose sight of that fact.”

Drivers have relished driving and racing the new generation cars which sported wider front and rear wings, fatter tyres, increased downforce and grip, in particular through the corners, with higher G-forces.

Whiting believes the objectives of the new rules were met, “Tweaks to the rules are O.K., but this was the biggest change for a long time, and the objectives that were set have been pretty much achieved. Those objectives were to make the cars more physically challenging to drive, better looking, faster, the fastest cars by a long way.”

“They are now very physical in high-speed corners, pulling 6G, which is pretty good, I would say. The drivers quite like driving them, and they look a lot better.”

“So all of the things we set out to achieve, we have done in varying degrees, depending on the type of track. I suppose that was inevitable, to some extent, but I feel all of the boxes have been ticked in that respect,” added Whiting.

Big Question: Are the three big F1 teams too quick for the minnows?