Red Bull driver Max Verstappen is not expecting more overtaking despite new regulations specifically designed by the rule-makers to reduce airflow behind cars and thus allow for closer racing… theoretically.
But the ‘solution’ to simplify the front wing has resulted in even more turbulence due to the outwash effect by the bigger wings, which has nulled the desired effect of reducing the airflow wake caused by F1 cars and added the risk of damage in wheel-to-wheel ‘combat’ situations.
Which translates to Lap 1, Turn 1 will be interesting and could be very expensive too!
In a wide-ranging interview on his website, Verstappen was asked if as a result of the new rules he expected more overtaking in 2019, he replied, “No. When I am trailing someone I still have a lot of turbulence and, when you look at the lap times, you see that we are still going tremendously fast again as we did before.”
“I think that the FIA and FOM never expected us to get back up to speed again so fast. Engineers are very smart and are more than able to work around a problem and, like in this instance, find downforce somewhere else.”
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel asked the obvious question: Why were wings made bigger when for ages we have known that they are the problem?
Asked about the new front wing, Verstappen explained, “I don’t think there is anything wrong with the rear wing, I am now better able to look in the mirrors. It actually looks a bit more butch now.”
“The front wing, on the other hand, is a bit too clean. I do like a smaller front wing, like the cars in 2007 and 2008 had, as opposed to such a broad one. I think we’ll see many front wings being damaged this year at the starts because they’re as wide as the wheels are.”
As for the larger DRS gap, the Red Bull driver acknowledged, “You can notice that. The wing is also lower, causing the DRS-effect to be much stronger. But it still depends on the circuit how big it will be. In Australia and Hungary it will be more difficult than in China, where you can race beautifully.”
Despite a few niggles on the RB15 during his stint in the car on Wednesday, Verstappen still managed an impressive 128 laps.
He summed up afterwards, “Not a perfect day, but still a good one. There are always things you want to check, instead of driving until something breaks.”
“We did a routine check this afternoon and then got back out again at the end of the session. But even with the delay we had, we still managed to do over 120 laps, so I think it was still a very positive day.”
“The more laps, the better and today we did a lot, so overall I’m happy,” added Verstappen.