Williams technical director Sam Michael believes Formula 1 teams will have to do more to try and help cars pass one another, judging by the lack of overtaking at last weekend's British Grand Prix.
Although a technical revamp of the aerodynamic rules was introduced this year to help make the racing more exciting, the new wings regulations and the introduction of KERS has not had such a dramatic effect. Michael says the lessons of Silverstone – where several drivers got trapped behind slower cars – may need to be taken on board.
"Nico [Rosberg] at stages was a good half a second quicker than the cars in front of him, but he couldn't get past," explained Michael. "And those were cars without KERS obviously, so there is still work to do. It's maybe working a little bit, but we have just got to keep trying to improve it, because it is not an easy problem."
Michael does not support the theory put forward by Felipe Massa that the use of double-diffusers in Formula 1 has had a role in what has happened with passing.
"I don't think that has got anything to do with it," he explained, "because a slot diffuser is just a downforce-adding device, so it's not really relevant. Cars are always going to have downforce because they are moving so fast through the air. Unless you run the races in a vacuum!"
Michael insists that F1 always has to play a fine balancing act, however, between making the racing better but not detracting from the sport being the most technologically advanced in the world.
"It is an issue that we have to keep trying to improve, but the fans are also here to see the fastest cars, the technology and the drivers that go with that," explained Michael. "They are not here just to see overtaking. All the fan studies that have been done by FIA and also FOTA show that. They want to know that they are watching the quickest cars in the world. Because if they just wanted to see overtaking, they could go down to a kart track. You'd see a lot more overtaking down there than you ever would at a grand prix – or any auto race. But there is a reason why you don't get 100,000 people watching go-kart racing, and that is because there is no technology. There is overtaking, but everything else that F1 has they don't have.
"It's a little bit why people go to the Farnborough Air Show. They go there to see MIGs, Tornados and things like that, because they know those are the absolute best things in the world – if they weren't after technology, they would go and watch a paper airplane competition."Related story:• Full Q&A with Sam Michael