According to Eurosport commentators who analyzed the accidents in depth, there were several contributing factors to the accidents:
Smaller engines: Restrictions have been introduced in an attempt to slow down the cars and keep the laptimes for the fastest of them at around 3 min. 30. This means that if you lift off, it takes longer to regain lost momentum.
The engineers in turn have sacrificed downforce for speed, in an attempt to combat the new rules.
With the race result projected to being a very close thing, I have no doubt that the Audi team strategy was to push, push and push from the start and til the end.
Ergo McNish thought he was OK when going for the pass of the other Audi and possibly did not see or know about the slower car, visibility in the cars being very limited.
Discussing the other accident led to quite a debate on Eurosport: Some commentators thought the Ferrari would have seen the Audi from a long way off; the Audi headlights are impossible to miss, and so the Ferrari should have lifted off or not moved over to the racing line.
The other viewpoint was that rearward vision out of the slower cars was just as atrocious as forward vision out of the closed cockpit LMPs so being blinded by a set of Audi headlamps would just tell the driver in the slower car that a fast car was somewhere behind but speed and position would be very hard to estimate correctly.
In drivers briefing prior to the race drivers of the slower cars had been told to be predictable and let the faster cars pick the time and place of passing, the faster cars being responsible for doing so in a safe way.
Now the million dollar question is; what is more predictable. Staying off line, letting off the throttle as your neck is illuminated with a couple of thousand lumens, or following your racing line?
Jens C. Lindblad
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