Driving and Overtaking Techniques

 I think I'll let Brundle do this one...

I'll be honest, these are quite difficult to explain. About 5 years ago, Martin Brundle did a series of features with his (then) ITV crew, known as 'F1 Insight'. I think these two videos clearly explain driving styles and overtaking.

Of course, everyone develops their own driving styles as they get more and more experience. I just think it's interesting to study some of the current F1 drivers' styles.

 Just to quickly summarise that first video, driving styles can be sorted into three (or two and a half) categories:

  • The smooth arc - move the steering wheel once to the left/right, and then center it gradually. Throttle control is also smooth acceleration, rather than jerky stabs at the pedal. This reduces tyre wear, and so keeps a high race pace. Also fast in the wet, as you can be punished for attacking a wet track - this steering style seems to almost move with the track, rather than against it. Note: slower qualifying - doesn't allow you to go 'beyond the speed of the car'.
  • Throwing the front of the car into the apex (centre) of the corner, so that the rear end may start to slide. There will be many 'edge of grip' moments - this style is all about inducing oversteer or even sliding the car, and then catching it just before you lose it. This takes immense skill and experience, and is obviously harder on the driver, and the tyres. Watch out for rear tyre wear. However, one-lap speed will be much better, as the maximum performance is extracted from the tyres.
  • Alonso's was a variation of this - he just prefers to keep the rear end more firmly planted, rather than slide it, and throw the front into the corner.

 This is a great video to show you some of the overtaking moves you might want to use in F1:

  • Slipstreaming - labelled 'the tow' on this video. When you follow a car quite closely, the turbulent air from their aerodynamics affects your car badly through corners - you might lose front downforce (aerodynamic grip), making the car understeer. However, if you can stay close on the straight, that helps, as there's less drag acting on your car, enabling you to travel at a higher speed and overtake.
  • Dummies - the rules say that a defending driver can only change their direction (position on the straight) once. If you're attacking, you can move about as much as you want. So let's say the driver in front is blocking the inside line for the next corner. You could move to the outside - they will then move to block you - and then cut back onto the inside. As they've already moved once, they aren't allowed to move again, so they're powerless to defend from you.
  • To overtake through a corner, you basically need to 'outbrake' the driver in front - brake later than him. If you brake too late, then they might be able to get you back on corner exit (the 'switch back' in the video). Remember - if you take the inside line, you can take a faster corner entry, but might be a bit slower on the exit. If you take the outside line, the other car will block your corner entry, but you can accelerate earlier, and overtake on the exit.
Those are the simple overtaking templates you can follow - although often you will be required to be creative, as the defending driver will know these moves too!

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