The Sauber driver has made a very good point in his latest comments. Marcus Ericsson believes that whilst he’s expecting less overtaking this season, the overtaking that does happen will be much more entertaining.
After running in the new 2017 challengers this week, a handful of drivers have reported back that their experience behind the wheel has confirmed that overtaking will be much more difficult in 2017. The engineers saw it coming when the regulation change was introduced. Greater focus on aerodynamics, therefore an increased level of downforce leads to a larger pocket of dirty air directly behind the car in front, meaning that the car behind will only pick up an already distorted airflow flying out of the back of the car it’s following, meaning that it’s harder to overtake.
But Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson believes that whilst this indicates a decrease in overtaking opportunities, it adds quality to any overtakes achieved.
for me, the last couple of years there’s been a lot of overtaking, but maybe not the most exciting overtaking, because it’s been DRS on the straight and overtaking.
I think now maybe there will be less overtaking, but more pure overtakes than the DRS pass on the motorway overtakes. If I watch a race, I prefer to see one good battle than 10 DRS passes on the straight.
We have to wait and see how it works out in the races, but I still believe it’s going to be possible to overtake.”
– Marcus Ericsson
It also has to count for something that all drivers are reporting that they can push much harder on the new Pirelli compounds, and will be less likely to worry about tyre temperature and preservation during the race. This surely means that we’ll hear less of “managing the gap” and more “push push push”. Given that this platform will allow drivers to go flat out, maybe it will serve to counteract the anticipated troubles with an increased aero.