F1 sets up group to research ways to improve racing

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MONTREAL, Canada -- Ross Brawn has revealed Formula One has created a group tasked with improving racing amid concerns around overtaking with 2017's cars.

F1's sweeping regulation change for this season was agreed before Brawn was installed as the sport's managing director of motorsports by new owners Liberty Media. Though the bigger, wider cars have slashed lap times and helped Ferrari re-emerge as a title contender after three years of Mercedes dominance, fans have criticised the lack of overtaking opportunities available to the new generation of car.

Ferrari and Mercedes lead the current pecking order, with Red Bull further back in third, though the gap to the midfield is even more significant. Brawn believes F1 must seriously analyse ways to address the huge performance disparity between its top and bottom teams in future regulation changes.

"We have been very fortunate we have had two teams battling out strongly at the front and I wouldn't like to claim any credit for that, it has just been good timing," Brawn said at a press conference ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix. "There is a real recognition there needs to be work done to consolidate that for the future. There is a slightly worrying gap between the front and the middle of the field that we need to pay attention to. We are still starting to understand the behaviour of these cars to see with regards to how well they can race each other."

Brawn says his team -- which was recently bolstered with a trio of new appointments -- have started working on forming a group that will properly assess the impact of rule changes in future.

"We have just initiated an aerodynamic programme to have a look at the design of these cars to see what we can do in the future to make them more race-able, that is something we are doing with the FIA, starting our own research programme. I don't want to call it an overtaking working group because that is not what we are looking to do.

"We are looking to create a group that design cars presently and the future to make sure they are race-able because the feedback from the drivers is that it is difficult."

Brawn believes it is wrong to assume that simply stripping the cars of downforce will automatically lead to better racing, as has been suggested by critics of 2017's new generation of F1 car.

"We know we rely on the aero performance of the car... there is a slightly naive view that if we get rid of the aerodynamics then everything will be wonderful. Fact is they won't be as spectacular or as fast if you get rid of the aerodynamics, you are just putting on bigger tyres and hoping they will go as fast as they will.

"We need to retain the aero but we need to do it in a way that makes the cars more race-able, and we can't guess that we need to work to establish it. I don't think we are taking anything for granted. We are fortunate we have some great racing going on and we need to make sure we do that more consistently in the future."