Liberty Media is examining to see if any changes to grand prix track layouts are required to make the race more exciting, says Formula 1 chief Ross Brawn.
F1 is already researching for ways to tweak the car design so that the cars can follow each other tightly. Parallel to this, another research is trying to find out how the track design can be enhanced to make the race more entertaining.
Brawn says if Formula 1 can figure out what makes a track good for racing, then they can plan to make such tweaks on different circuits.
Talking about the possible changes to F1 tracks to increase overtaking in a race, he said: “The aerodynamic programme is now starting to pick up pace, and the work on circuit development is happening.
“We have already got engaged with some circuits about possible modifications to improve racing.”
Recently Melbourne’s Albert Park track was planning to change one section of its track to include an overtaking spot. But the governing body shelved the idea since it did not believe the new addition would improve the racing experience.
As a part of its research, Liberty is combing through F1‘s history to find what kind of things made for an exciting race in the past.
“We have started looking in our archives,” he said. “Were there periods of racing where there was more overtaking? Are there tracks where there is more overtaking? So you can do a statistical analysis.
“The thing you have to be careful of is that overtaking isn’t good racing. You have got to start to think about what is good racing – and it is two cars fighting each other.
“It may mean the guy in front stays in front, but you can have some great racing going on. It is a little bit more complex than the number of overtakes, counting the number of overtakes.
“What we are seeing so far is the ability to take different lines through corners is quite important to help racing.
“So if you have got a hairpin, and it is a narrow track, it is not that great. If you have a hairpin and it is a wide track where there can be some different lines going into it, then you can get something happening.
“Austin, I think, would fall into the category of where there is a complex of corners. So, you take a line on one corner going in, and then you start to force the defending car to start taking different lines. And then eventually you come out in the right place. That is what we are looking at.”
The track surface is another thing that makes for an entertaining race, Brawn added. Smooth, low degradation asphalt does not make for an entertaining race, while a high degradation of a tyre could bring in a difference in performance.
“The surface is quite important to the racing because the type of surface can create degradation and a reasonable degree of tyre degradation is helpful to racing because you start to get performance differentials,” he said.
“It doesn’t want to be the band-aid to fix it. But if you look at circuits with very low degradation, like Sochi, the racing there is challenging, and it is one stop. The tyres don’t go off, so away you go. There are no performance differentials created.
“If you look at some of the great races, we have had this year, there have often been tyres involved in terms of degradation levels, so the guy defending – like [Kimi] Raikkonen, defending on tyres that were not as good as the tyres Max [Verstappen] had attacking him. The surface is quite a factor in terms of the racing you get.”