The Formula 1 season is over for the year and many fans will sit back and wait patiently until the next season starts in Melbourne, Australia in March 2018. While fans are waiting, it is time to reflect on the season that was 2017.
While Ricciardo may have only finished 5th in the world championship, a full 163 points behind winner, Lewis Hamilton, it is safe to say he has got some serious skills. It has now been confirmed that Ricciardo has replaced his teammate Max Verstappen as the number one overtaker in the field.
Figures released by Pirelli last week, however, shows that there where half the amount of overtaking move then that of the previous season. This is mainly due to the changes in the F1 cars – making them wider and faster.
Watching every race this year, it was clear to fans just how little overtaking moves there were. Pirelli explains that in 2017 there were 435 overtakes during the 20 races. Compare this to 2016, where there was 21 races and 866 overtakes.
Over the course of the season Ricciardo managed 43 overtakes, with 13 coming from the Silverstone race alone where he started in 19th and finished in 5th. Compare this to Verstappen (the 2016 winner) who overtook a total of 78 times during the season. This year Verstappen only managed a total of 22 passes.
The lack of overtaking is an issue that many fans and experts have voiced their opinions on. If F1 wants to remain engaging and lively for the fans, something will need to be done to fix the issue.
Take the example of two races during the year; the Russian and Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Which one do you remember more? Probably the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, right? Well, this race had over 40 overtakes which made it highly entertaining and enjoyable to watch. The Russian Grand Prix, on the other hand, had only 1 registered overtake.
The way Pirelli deems if a pass is a registered overtake is that the move must be completed during a lap in the race (but not the first lap and not during practice or qualifying), overtakes occurring due to another drivers mechanical issues doesn’t count as well as the lead drives lapping the slower cars.
It will be interesting next year to see how the new tyre compounds and the halo come into play.