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F1's current cars getting as hard to follow as in 2020/2021, lament drivers

Formula 1's current ground-effect cars are starting to get as tricky to follow each other as the 2020 and 2021 machines, leading drivers have claimed.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23,Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

While the Italian Grand Prix featured a number of overtakes and plenty of wheel-to-wheel action to show what is possible with the current generation of cars, there is now some concern about the impact of development directions that teams are taking.

As they probe ways to increase performance, this is inevitably resulting in the increased out-wash characteristic of airflow that is known to hurt the ability of cars to follow each other.

This is why leading drivers believe that F1 needs to lean even more on DRS if there is to be any hope of overtaking at certain venues.

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz said: "In 99% of the tracks I think we're going to need DRS, and we're going to need a powerful DRS, because these cars from the beginning of the year are starting to become a bit like 2021 or 2020 where it is difficult to follow.

"Obviously Monza is a special case because you don't only have the DRS, you also have very long straights of slipstreaming, which helps a bit more the car behind, but I think in the rest of the tracks, we're going to need the DRS."

World champion Max Verstappen, whose overtakes have been helped this year by his Red Bull having a super-powerful DRS, backs up the belief that the current cars are getting harder to race.

"I think in most tracks, we still struggle to follow or pass," said the Red Bull driver.

"I mean, at the beginning of the year, a lot of people were complaining about passing.

George Russell, Mercedes W14

George Russell, Mercedes W14

Photo by: Erik Junius

"We had the luxury of being a quick car, and we could still pass like in Miami where I think everyone was complaining about the passing – remember in the briefings – with DRS?

"I think the cars are getting more and more efficient and they have more downforce. So, it's harder to follow and then they're more efficient on the straight.

"Naturally here [at Monza] there's less DRS effect because there's almost no wing on the car. But I think it really depends on which track.

"[At Monza] for example, if Carlos, he was putting the car in the middle under braking into Turn 1, it's almost impossible to do something, because if I go for it and he just moves a little bit to the right, there is no space anymore."

Red Bull's Sergio Perez backed the view that F1 needed to increase the effectiveness of DRS at some venues if the racing was to remain good.

"I really agree," he said. "I think, definitely less DRS is not the way forward. I remember we were discussing to actually increase the effect because the cars are getting harder to follow.

"I think here the DRS effect, like Max says, is really, really small. So, I don't think in other places we can race with less DRS. If anything, we need the DRS more in some places to be able to have better racing."

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