Data shows number of overtakes nearly halved in 2017

Brawn backs Mercedes 'steamroller' to continue in 2018 (1:38)

Ross Brawn believes Mercedes will continue to dominate next season and he feels the sport must look at how it can improve overtaking for the future. (1:38)

The 2017 Formula One season saw just over half the amount of overtaking as the 2016 season, according to data released by tyre supplier Pirelli.

There were 435 overtaking moves over the course of this year's 20 races compared to 866 across 21 races in 2016. That equates to an average of 41.2 overtakes per race in 2016 and just 21.8 in 2017.

Pirelli classes an overtaking manoeuvre as "one that takes place during complete flying laps (so not on the opening lap) and is then maintained all the way to the lap's finish line. Position changes due to major mechanical problems or lapping/unlapping are not counted."

The data confirms fears that this year's regulation changes would result in fewer overtakes, with the 2017 figure ranking as the lowest since the Drag Reduction System overtaking aid was introduced in 2011.

The aim of the 2017 regulations was to increase cornering speeds and cut lap times by making the cars and tyres wider while putting increased emphasis on aerodynamics. In many respects they were a success, with the average pole position time falling by 2.450s compared to 2016 and the average race fastest lap falling by 2.968s. However, the increased emphasis on aerodynamics has the side effect of making it more difficult for cars to follow one another on track as the turbulent air coming off the car in front reduces the effectiveness of the aero package of the car behind.

A number of drivers noted the difficulty of following other cars during the season, with Lewis Hamilton drawing attention to the issue following the Brazilian Grand Prix. F1's managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn has a team of experts working on ways to improve overtaking without the use of DRS, which is seen by many as an artificial aid, but has ruled out a quick fix for next year.

Of the season's 20 races, Azerbaijan Grand Prix had the most overtaking of any race, with a total of 42 passes for position, while the Russian Grand Prix had the least, with just one recorded overtake.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo made 43 overtakes over the course of the season -- the most of any driver -- with 13 of those passes coming during his fightback from a grid penalty at the British Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton were overtaken the least -- just two times each -- while Lance Stroll held the record for the most positions gained on opening laps, with a total of 36 places over the course of the first laps of all races this year.