Slashing downforce is not a solution for all the problems in Formula 1 racing, says F1 technical expert Pat Symonds.
The series is working hard to figure out solutions to make racing more entertaining. Many believe the high downforce used by the car is making overtaking almost impossible. Recently Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost suggested reducing downforce by “at least 40-50%” will help improve the spectacle.
He believes that only drivers get to feel the power of the current cars which can corner at high speeds.
Refuting that suggestion, Symonds believes while reducing downforce is “certainly doable”, it would be a misguided solution.
“Often when you’re trying to get your head around an argument, you should take it to an extreme and see what answer you get,” he acknowledged.
“If you go to the extreme of having no downforce, you’d say well that’s got to be better because you can’t lose something that isn’t there.
“So there’s some logic in the argument.
“However, it’s much more complex than that. You could produce a car with half the downforce of a current Formula 1 car but with much, much worse weight characteristics.
“It would be all too easy to do. Then you’d be no better off than you are now.”
Tost’s argument was that by reducing downforce, it becomes easy for the cars to follow each other, and it will also become harder to drive through corners.
Symonds acknowledged that the current high downforce is making a negative impact on racing and teams are running cars slower intentionally to complete a one-stop race.
“I want the cars to be quick, but I want them to be spectacular,” said Symonds.
“If they are really nailed to the ground, I don’t think they are particularly spectacular.
“A rally car is spectacular. That’s something where you see the thing is absolutely on the edge of stability, it looks difficult to drive, it is difficult to drive.
“A Formula 1 car doesn’t always look too difficult to drive. Particularly at the moment where we’ve got the teams are strategically running at below the maximum performance to reduce the number of pitstops they do.
“Then the cars looking anything but spectacular.”