Suspicions Confirmed: Current F1 Mathematically Proven Less Interesting

Finally. Some proof to back up what many of us have been saying for quite some time. Whether you think the cause is team orders, the air disruption caused by excessive rear wing, the abandoning of mechanical grip in favor of aerodynamic downforce, or any of the dozens of other reasons behind the diminishing state of Formula 1, the answer seems clear. Look at the brilliant chart of overtaking in Formula 1 since 1983 that Brogan presented on Clip the Apex (and I suspect the data would be even more damning if we went further back).

I think we can agree that this is where the interesting bits of racing are, the passing, the maneuvering, the battles. Not in the pits, mind you, but on the track. These are the moments of a race that elevate a race from a pleasant Sunday afternoon’s viewing to legend. The data doesn’t lie, overtaking in Formula 1 has been in absolute free-fall for the past 25 years, and looks likely to continue with the double diffuser.

Head over to Clip the Apex for more analysis and more details on the data used to create the chart. I’m sure you’ll feel the same way I do: both vindicated and bummed out.

2 responses to “Suspicions Confirmed: Current F1 Mathematically Proven Less Interesting”

  1. Heath says:

    Interesting indeed… F1 is so dull that I’m happier to read about the races afterward than watch it on TV. Any theories on the root cause? I think it’s because of the rules – there are so many that F1 is pretty much a really expensive spec series. Keep the rules simple and consistent, I think the best approach would be to only focus on the crash testing – if a car can pass the FIA crash test, let it race.

  2. brettmhart says:

    I am an ‘ol fart’. I’ll admit that for this comments sake.

    I remember F1 from the late 60’s till now.

    Presently, I watch the ‘processions’ on 16x speed tape. If you have to ask why, do not read any further as you will understand little.

    The most memorable GP on TV for me was the 1981 Spanish GP. Strangely, there was very little passing. But the action was astonishing, gobsmacking, awe inspiring, because the racing was just that – racing!! for virtually the whole race Villeneuve held all 4 chargers at bay in a woeful Ferrari & the pack of five covered 1 and a half seconds for this period & the finish.

    My point being that passing is great but close racing does it for me.

    And close ‘proceeding’ is impossible these days in F1 due to wing technology.


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