Alpine’s Fernando Alonso Says Overtaking in F1 Is Still Difficult, Despite New Regulations

Alpine F1's Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon at the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix 7 photos
Photo: Alpine F1 Team / Twitter
Alpine F1's Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon at the 2022 Bahrain Grand PrixAlpine F1's Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon at the 2022 Bahrain Grand PrixAlpine F1's Fernando AlonsoAlpine F1's Fernando AlonsoAlpine F1's Fernando AlonsoAlpine F1's Fernando Alonso
After this past weekend’s exciting season opener in Bahrain, we now have a pretty good idea of where teams stand with these new F1 regulations in place. Ferrari and Red Bull look strong, Mercedes not so much, while McLaren and Aston Martin seem to genuinely be in trouble, pace-wise.
That being said, one major positive we could all take away from the Bahrain Grand Prix was the ease with which cars could follow each other in and out of corners. Does that mean that overtaking is easier now? Well, yes and no, apparently.

According to Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, the jury is still out on whether there will be more overtaking this year, compared to previous seasons. The Spaniard suggested that drivers will still need to generate a significant speed difference in order to successfully pull off a move, which means the focus would yet again be on tire life/degradation.

“Following was definitely easier. We spotted already in the test that it was easier to follow cars, but overtaking is still not as easy as it seems on TV,” said Alonso, as quoted by Motorsport.

“I met cars that I was two seconds faster [than] and I overtook in a few corners. And I also met cars that were two seconds faster than me and they overtook me in two or three corners. I think the tire is the biggest differentiating factor still, not the following. So, we need to see, we need to drive more races.”

This year, the emphasis was placed on downforce being generated through the floor (ground effect), the goal being to make it easier for an F1 car to stay in the wake of another car through corners. At least from what we could see, this target was achieved quite clearly – Leclerc and Verstappen did an excellent job in providing us with proof-of-concept.

As for Esteban Ocon, he also pointed out that the tow and DRS mechanism are both less powerful than in previous years, while mirroring his teammate’s feelings with regards to overtaking.

“I think what makes it very easy to pass on the moves you saw is probably the tire difference," stated the French driver.
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About the author: Sergiu Tudose
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Sergiu got to experience both American and European car "scenes" at an early age (his father drove a Ford Fiesta XR2 supermini in the 80s). After spending over 15 years at local and international auto publications, he's starting to appreciate comfort behind the wheel more than raw power and acceleration.
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