When one of the main highlights of race day is the sight of Sebastian Vettel pushing away the race mascot – El Twato – before he can take a selfie, you know you’ve got a problem.
Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix had its moments, but for the most part, certainly at the front of the field, it was processional, events dominated by tyre management and the inability, under the current regulations, for cars to follow one another too closely.
Ahead of Thursday’s unveiling of the 2021 regulations, F1 managing director, Ross Brawn says that Sunday’s race highlights the need for change.
“It’s a shame that there was not much of a fight on track,” says the Briton, “especially among the leaders, as everything was in place to deliver an exciting fight, revolving particularly around the potential duel between Mercedes and Ferrari on a track where overtaking is very possible.
“However, once again we saw that when cars and drivers are evenly matched, then it becomes really hard to not only overtake but to even get close to the car in front. Getting too close for a few laps could mean ruining your tyres, causing drivers to back off and let them recover before making another brief assault.
“This is nothing new,” he admits, “but it confirms once again that there is a need for a change in the regulations to enable cars to fight at close quarters.
“Change is potentially now not far off, at least on paper, given that in a few days, the FIA World Motor Sport Council will rule on the regulation package for 2021, which we presented along with the FIA.
“The new aero configuration has been developed to reduce the impact of following another car. Overtakes and battles are easy when there is 1-2 seconds lap time difference, but when there is a smaller difference there is no chance.
“Suggestions we should delay the introduction are frustrating,” he adds, “because the situation gets even worse each year with the cars we have now.
“How many opportunities have we lost to see close battles? On Sunday there weren’t many, despite the track characteristics and the introduction of an additional third DRS zone.
“If even these attributes do not produce closer racing, it’s time we reacted. It isn’t about change for the sake of it, we have put a massive effort into developing these new regulations in the long-term interests of the sport.”
And this from the man whose own clever use of aero saw him walk away with both titles.