Wolff: ‘Mistake’ to add downforce to F1 cars for 2017

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Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff believes that giving cars more downforce under the proposed technical regulations for the 2017 season is a “mistake”.

In a bid to improve the on-track spectacle and aid overtaking in races, a new set of radical regulations are being proposed for the 2017 season and are set to be finalized at the end of the month.

However, many have raised concerns about the plans to add more downforce to cars, the belief being that it will make overtaking more difficult instead of aiding it.

Wolff agreed with this assertion when asked about the plans for the new technical regulations in a video Q&A produced by Mercedes.

“The answer is no. The cars will not be able to follow each other but we have a yes for the are the 2017 rules agreed,” Wolff said.

“We have made a step towards more downforce which means that the car that is following will have more disturbed air because of the wake of the car. You can almost imagine like a motorboat and the wake.

“At the moment when you follow a car closely, you lose downforce, so when you have 100 kg of downforce and you follow a car, that will drop to 50 or 40 the nearer you come.

“That ruins your tires and as a consequence you will not be able to overtake. Great example was Lewis and Max Verstappen in Melbourne. The same will happen next year but much more.

“I think adding downforce was a mistake. We like the challenge and the guys in aero have taken the fight up, but I think for Formula 1 generally, for overtaking, it was the wrong decision.”