Guenther Steiner says people shouldn’t jump to conclusions after the limited overtaking witnessed in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The race in Baku saw just 13 on-track overtakes, with five of them being performed by Mercedes‘ Lewis Hamilton who had dropped out of position following some unfortunate timing with the safety car.
The lack of on-track action was widely criticised, particularly when Alpine‘s Esteban Ocon and Haas‘ Nico Hulkenberg managed to hold many cars in a DRS train, despite running almost the whole race distance on one set of tyres.
The back straight DRS zone was shortened from 2022 which led to cars getting close but frustratingly not close enough to make a move.
“They [F1 cars] can always be a problem,” Steiner told the press. “I mean, sometimes it’s better. I think last year it was better than this year.
“I think we didn’t help ourselves changing the DRS zone in Baku, obviously I say that ‘I think’ because I didn’t see the data of it but it will always be difficult.”
Pirelli came under criticism regarding the durability of the hard tyre. The C2 compound comfortably did 50 of the 51 laps on Ocon‘s Alpine as nearly everyone ran a one-stop race.
There have been calls for a return to tyres that drop off ‘the cliff’ or even to abolish the hard tyre all together to prompt teams to explore more diverse and ambitious race strategies but for Steiner, this talk is repetitive.
“With the tyres, we always complain when we have the drop off,” said Steiner. “We always complain when we don’t have it, you know?”
“We need to make our mind up on what we want, I think Pirelli deliver either way and then we say ‘Now it’s too much’ so it will always be difficult.
“I think we shouldn’t jump to conclusions after last weekend’s race. That is not all. We had good races this year with overtaking so we should look at them and try to replicate them and not just be too sour about what happened last week.”
Return of dirty air in F1
In August 2022,the FIA raised the floor levels by 15mm which some drivers think has indirectly made it harder to follow.
It’s possible in order to recover lost downforce, teams have began to add more parts above the floor.
This creates more outwash and turbulent air flow that disrupts the ability of the car behind to both follow and to control their tyres from sliding and overheating. Therefore it could be a conundrum for the FIA and F1 to navigate through.