Formula 1

Formula 1 Became More Exhilarating in the 2011 Season

Due to changes in technical regulations this season, there were more many overtakes than ever before.

Over the last few years, overtakings on the race track became the main worry for Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula 1 racing series boss. As his show gained popularity around the world it also attracted criticism for the lack of overtakings, and the subsequent bore that millions of viewers had to suffer. As a result, a few technical working groups were established in order to find a solution to that problem. And fortunately, it now appears that a solution has been found.

At the beginning of the current season that will come to a close on Sunday at the Brazilian Grand Prix, a new tire supplier, Pirelli, has been drafted to replace previous supplier Bridgestone. Before Pirelli started developing the new tires, Ecclestone gave them a short brief: make the tires last for the least amount of time as possible and make it so drivers will have to change tires at least two or three times in a race. Pirelli took notice and produced soft tires even on the hard compound (two tire compounds are mandatory for each race meeting) and the result was that we saw many more overtaking maneuvers in the first 18 races of the 2011 season.

Not only are the less durable being tires credited for this phenomenon, but also are the DRS mechanism and KERS system. DRS is a mechanism that allows a chasing car open up the rear wing on certain sections of the track in order to reduce drag and increase its speed and to complete the overtaking maneuver before the designated straight's end. And there was also the KERS system, which accumulates electricity during braking and can feed it back to an electric motor for a few seconds every lap and supplement the engine's output with an additional 80hp.

As a result of all these combined measures, overtaking became a common occurrence during the races. From the data summary, it's been found that there have been 1,436 overtaking maneuvers in all categories. When excluding overtakes categorized as 'Lap One' or because of damage, there have been a total of 1,180 maneuvers. The combined total of 'Normal' and 'DRS-assisted' moves - the indicator of what most observers consider to be 'clean' overtaking - is 804 overtakes. This gives an average of 45 normal and DRS overtakes per race.

There have been 441 normal overtakes this season and 363 DRS overtakes; from the total of 804 clean overtakes, 55 percent were normal and 45 percent were DRS. 300 overtakes were on the three slowest teams by faster cars, with passes between team-mates accounting for 76 overtakes. The highest number of clean overtakes were recorded in Turkey (85), Canada (79) and China (67). The races with the fewest were Monaco (16), Australia (17) and India (18).

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