F1 fans who expected to witness a lot of overtaking at the historic Monza circuit this weekend were disappointed.
This was because, although Monza appears to be a good circuit for close racing and overtaking, once again, we saw that the loss of downforce caused by following in the turbulent air of another car means that overtaking in normal dry conditions remains very difficult under the current regulations.
Hopefully, the new regulations for the 2011 season, such as the adjustable rear wing, will mean that there will be more overtaking, although we will not know for sure until we see it in action in Bahrain next year.
Monza was Fernando Alonso’s third win of the season and interestingly his other wins also came in races where overtaking was not commonplace: Bahrain and Hockenheim. I don’t believe that there is a specific link, but it is an intriguing coincidence.
Despite the lack of action during the race, there were plenty of pleased spectators at Monza as the Tifosi watched their beloved Ferrari secure first and third places. This was not only a good result for fans of Ferrari, but also for the neutrals as it tightens the drivers’ championship up again.
After Spa it appeared that Hamilton and Webber had managed to put some clear air between themselves and the rest of the championship contenders, however the Monza result has meant that Webber, Hamilton, Alonso, Button and Vettel are all within a win of each other.
Given that we have now had 14 races, it really is quite amazing to have five drivers in such close contention at this stage of the season. It is particularly exciting given that the cars of the three teams involved, Red Bull, McLaren, and Ferrari, all seem to have about the same pace. The constructors’ championship standings would certainly suggest that things are pretty tight with McLaren only three points behind Red Bull, and Monza has helped Ferrari close the gap to the leading two.
Up until Spa it was Red Bull who clearly had the fastest car, and although neither Spa nor Monza were meant to be tracks which suited them, it still seems that Ferrari and McLaren have caught them up a bit.
This may also be partly due to the new load test on the front wing that the FIA has employed, which means that the Red Bull front wing appears to be flexing less than it did earlier in the season, so it is possible that the Red Bull has a little less downforce than it did previously.
It will be impossible to tell whether Red Bull’s advantage really has been eroded until the cars take to the track in Singapore; however, even if one team does have a significant advantage at that race, there is still quite a ways to go in the season.
In fact, this Championship battle seems destined to go right down to the last race in Abu Dhabi in November. As an F1 fan, I sincerely hope it does.