Kobayashi admits Drag Reduction System doubts

2011 F1 testing

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, Barcelona, 2011

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, Barcelona, 2011

Kamui Kobayashi admitted he has doubts over whether the Drag Reduction System will help increase overtaking.

Sauber issued a Q&A with the driver in which he said: “I?m not sure if the idea for the races of the one second gap to the car in front will really work.”

He added he’s not concerned about the complexity of using the DRS and Kinetic Energy Recovery System at the same time: “I can definitely manage that.

“Regarding all the talk ?ǣ well, we are race drivers and complaining sometimes can be part of the business.??

Here’s the Q&A in full:

Have you yet been able to use all types and compounds of the Pirelli tyres?
Kamui Kobayashi: Yes, I have had everything that has been available so far. This includes wet tyres, although I ran them when the conditions were not ideal because the track wasn?t quite wet enough. Normally I would have put intermediates on, but I wanted to learn about the wet tyres as well.

What is the most significant difference from the construction of the previous tyre?
KK: ??First of all I think Pirelli has done a good job within a short period of time. The outcome are tyres which are different in almost every aspect compared to what we have been used to.

“The grip level is lower, the tyres don?t last as long, and once you overdrive them the drop is dramatic and can be five seconds per lap. But these characteristics didn?t occur by accident and they will produce a lot pit stops and exciting races.??

For the Bahrain test that was originally scheduled we expected much higher track temperatures than in Barcelona. What difference does this make from a driver?s perspective?
KK: ??Higher track temperatures definitely make a huge difference. So, yes, we will have that lack of experience when arriving in Melbourne.

“But this is the same for everybody, and we have to prepare ourselves as well as possible by considering how we can react and deal with what happens.??

There was much talk about excessive demand for the drivers due to the new systems ?ǣ KERS and adjustable rear wing. What is your opinion on that?
KK: ??The most important question is how you can improve lap times with the new systems and by how much. I am working to get used to the new systems. It is a driver task and people who are using it well will have an advantage compared to those who are using it less efficiently.

“It is a matter of concentration, that is true. I can definitely manage that. Regarding all the talk ?ǣ well, we are race drivers and complaining sometimes can be part of the business.??

Do you believe we will really see a lot more overtaking now?
KK: ??At the moment I guess so. Although I don?t believe the KERS will help because almost everybody has it. So it is only the rear wing and I?m not sure if the idea for the races of the one second gap to the car in front will really work.??

You have a talent for overtaking. Will that be worth less now?
KK: ??Maybe yes, especially in case it turns out overtaking really becomes much easier for everyone. But this is nothing to worry about because it is part of the rules.??

In the meantime you have got to know your new team mate quite well. When you work together how do you feel in your new role as being the more experienced driver?
KK: ??Personally I?m fine with this. I have to use my experience as best I can, and also have to work on the car, which is most important. Compared to a rookie, one season of experience is a lot. I know quite well how it is for Sergio [Perez], as it is not easy and he needs time.

“During testing there is time and this is good. The first race weekends will be tough. Practice is limited and very quickly you have to qualify and race. Every rookie has to deal with that.??

Will the team bring new parts for the Sauber C30-Ferrari to Barcelona?
KK: ??Yes, we will have several new parts. It will be our start of the season package and relates to almost all the aero components on the car. I?m very much looking forward to testing them.

“The final winter test is always something very special with every team?s cars close to what they will be at the first race, and everyone trying to find out where everyone else stands. What we all estimate may still be wrong, but it is exciting!??

Video: Sauber’s Drag Reduction System

See Sauber’s Drag Reduction System in action towards the end of this vieo:

2011 F1 testing

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60 comments on Kobayashi admits Drag Reduction System doubts

  1. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 1st March 2011, 9:30

    On the topic of Kobayashi, I had a wild thought today: if he continues to impress in 2011, and if he out-does Alguersuari and Buemi, if Webber retires and/or leaves Red Bull at the end of the year, and if the likes of Massa and Kubica and Rosberg are all tied up in contracts, could we see Kobayashi in a Red Bull in 2012? I know this requires a whole lot of “ifs” in order to work, and people will probably doubt that Helmut Marko would allow a driver with the potential to be more popular than Vettel anywhere near the team (but Vettel’s already got his championship), but since McLaren and Ferrari are full for 2012, now that Robert Kubica is going to be out for 2011 (and will probably need 2012 to show he’s still got it), Kobayashi has to be on somebody’s radar. I know I’ve waved the anti-Kobayashi flag in the past, but that was more to do with people getting carried away after he’d only had two races. Now that he’s got a season under his belt and he’s become a fan favourite, I can see him fitting in at Red Bull becauswe he’s got the take-no-prisoners rock star approach that they had to begin with (and lost with Dany Bahar since it was Bahar’s perojative).

    • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 1st March 2011, 9:46

      God, that would be awesome.

      I don’t know where guys like Ricciardo and the like stand with Red Bull, but if Jaime and Sebastien don’t show much improvement, chances are any new drivers that Red Bull will look at will replace them at Toro Rosso. So you could be on to something there.

      • trulli dead09 said on 1st March 2011, 9:57

        My dream would be Buemi is kicked out of Toro Rosso, with Ricciardo taking his seat, and then when Webber retires as champion at the end of the year, Kobayashi takes his spot in RBR for 2012, smashing Vettel and demoralising him, which makes Sebastian rage quit to Mercedes/Ferrari, allowing Ricciardo into RBR to make a super team. :D

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 1st March 2011, 10:04

          I very much doubt Ricciardo will wind up in a Red Bull any time soon. His lap times in Abu Dhabi were impressive, but there were a whole heap of factors that contributed to that time that made it more impressive than it seemed (ie the track was very rubbered in, he had the best car and the most experience, etc.). Until he actually races, he’s not the prodigy people are making him out to be.

          And I don’t think Vettel would leave the team because he was beaten except for in one’s fantasies.

          • Mike said on 1st March 2011, 12:33

            Alonso left McLaren because he was being beaten…

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 1st March 2011, 12:48

            And that would be relevant if we were talking about Alonso and not Vettel. Just because Alonso does something, it doesn’t mean all drivers do it. By your logic, Webber, Button, Massa, Schumacher, Hulkenberg, Petrov, Liuzzi, Alguersuari, Trulli, Senna, de la Rosa and di Grassi all would have left their respective teams because they were beaten by their team-mates simply because Alonso did it four years ago.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 1st March 2011, 10:02

        If Webber were to leave Red Bull, I don’t think putting Kobayashi into a Toro Rosso would solve anything. Toro Rosso and Sauber are both midfield teams, and while they’re not the same, they’re close enough that Kobayashi’s performance in Sauber is representative of how he might go in a Toro Rosso. There’s no real need to put him in one, especially since Webber’s seat would be vacant. I’d say you’d get better odds promoting Kobayashi straight to Red Bull than you would of running Buemi and Alguersuari, though given the way Jaime has improved, he’d be the better candidate if Red Bull had to choose between their Toro Rosso drivers. I don’t know why people seem to think that Red Bull are obligated to take a driver from Toro Rosso to replace Webber when he (eventually) leaves, because if they want to continue with their success and fight for World Constructors’ Championships, they need two good drivers, and right now, Alguersuari and Buemi just don’t cut it. And given the way contracts are stacking up, Red Bull are going to need to look to the midfield for a repalcement for Webber because Alonso, Massa, Hamilton, Button and Kubica are all stitched up for 2012. Assuming Webber leaves the team – whether to retire or go somewhere else – for 2012, I think the choice for Red Bull is going to come down to Kobayashi, Rosberg, Sutil, Glock and Hulkenberg as an outside chance (no racing in 2011 will hurt him, but I suspect Willi Weber is aiming for a Mercedes seat in 2012). Of those five, I’d say Kobayashi and Rosberg would be the most genuine contenders. Sutil is still too scrappy, while Glock is in limbo at the tail end. Kobayashi is fast, but a little rough around the edges; Rosberg is much more polished, but I feel his true potential is still a little unknown because he hasn’t been put int a championship-quality car. If Kobayashi can keep his edge, but race a little neater, I’d say he’s going to be hot property for 2012. Red Bull may just be interested.

        • RaulZ said on 1st March 2011, 15:07

          First: Let’s see what Kovayashi does this year.
          Second: Kovayashi is complaining and whining about the new devices and rules ¿isn’t he? I thought you didn’t like it.
          Third: I like your novel.. when does the movie open?

          I cannot beleive how can you give so much credit to some drivers and so less to others.

    • It would be great to see Kobayashi in an RBR, but do you really think that if Webber won the championship that he would retire? I think that if Webber doesn’t win and Sebastian does again and they have a few more issues with one another, then Webber might retire.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 1st March 2011, 10:20

        If Vettel beat Webber fair and square, I don’t think Webber would object. He’d only complain if he felt the team were interfering. But if he has a few retirements like the one he did in Korea – those that were entirely his fault, or at least mechanical failures that could not be pinned on the team supposedly meddling – then he wouldn’t have much to whine about. I don’t think Webber expects a championship simply because Vettel has one; that’s un-Australian. If and when Webber walks away – be it from Red Bull or the whole sport – he’ll do it on his own terms.

    • vjanik said on 1st March 2011, 10:37

      there are hundreds of other more likely possibilities how that might pan out.

      there is a bigger chance that Kimi will go to Red Bull. and that is still a low probability.

      i really dont see kobayashi in red Bull. never even thought of that before now.

      • slr said on 1st March 2011, 10:42

        I really don’t see Kimi Raikkonen coming back to Formula One, let alone going to Red Bull. Kobayashi has a much better chance in going to Red Bull.

        • vjanik said on 1st March 2011, 10:47

          i think its almost impossible that Kimi will return. i said that to emphasize how low a probability kamui has to go to red bull. Citroen is sponsored by Red Bull and Kimi said he will only return if it is a possible champioship winning car.

          Red Bull are now at the very top. they will be looking for potential champions. Kamui is a rookie. Plus Red Bull have an extensive development program inplace and spend lots of money on it. why chose a rookie who is not part of that program? makes no sense.

          • slr said on 1st March 2011, 11:19

            Red Bull are not going to just pick someone from their development program, as soon as one of their drivers leave. Red Bull need to do what is best for the team, and it probably would be better to bring in an experienced driver, as it would be too risky to bring in a young inexperienced driver. Kobayashi is not a rookie anymore, it would be more sensible for Red Bull to take on someone like Kobayashi, Rosberg, Glock or Kovalainen.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 1st March 2011, 10:44

        there is a bigger chance that Kimi will go to Red Bull.

        Raikkonen will not return to Formula 1 at all. The sheer fact that Kobayashi is racing meas he has a better chance of going to Red Bull. A lot of people assumed Red Bull’s sponsorship of Raikkonen in the WRC meant he would join Red Bull Racing in 2011, but look at the IceONE livery – there’s no Red Bull branding …

    • Shimks said on 1st March 2011, 17:18

      Imagine how much more Red Bull they’d sell in Nippon. I don’t think anyone at Sauber would be against the idea.

  2. Henry said on 1st March 2011, 9:35

    “Regarding all the talk – well, we are race drivers and complaining sometimes can be part of the business.”

    That is why we fans like Kobayashi! Great comment. Blunt, to the point. looking forward to seeing him back on track!

    • RaulZ said on 1st March 2011, 15:12

      Well, he’s lucky that nobody thinks he’s complaining, whining, moaning, etc…

      • skodarap (@skodarap) said on 2nd March 2011, 9:11

        Well that’s difference between him and most of the other drivers. While likes of Button, Hamilton, Alonso, etc would say something like “It’s bad, very bad.” Kamui would say “It’s bad, but it’s same for everybody so it’s not a big deal.”

        It’s not what you say, it’s also how you say it that matters. And like Henry said, that’s why we like Kobayashi. Personally, he reminds me a lot of Kimi, although he speaks more. :D

  3. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 1st March 2011, 9:49

    I’m slightly frightened by the prospect of Kobayashi having both KERS and the adjustable rear wing this year. It’s a bit like giving Usain Bolt rocket shoes and robotic extendo-legs, he just doesn’t need them, does he?

    • Tango said on 1st March 2011, 9:57

      He didn’t overtake that much last year. But when he did, it did come from nowhere!

      If Sauber have good straight line speed and slow cornering, he might have difficulties this year. You have to be 1 second behind the car to activate DRS, and if you lag exiting a corner, you’re not going to be allowed doing that.

      • Sush Meerkat said on 1st March 2011, 10:32

        If Sauber have good straight line speed and slow cornering, he might have difficulties this year.

        The word in F1 was that last years Sauber wasn’t that good in the corners, could be the reason that Kobybashi’s cornering was V shaped much like Hamilton driving style.

        Look at some of the replays and you’ll see his Sauber almost go straight off the track when he overtook in a corner.

    • xtophe (@xtophe) said on 1st March 2011, 10:07

      I like how gutsy Kobayashi is when overtaking a car in front of him, but if he meets a driver that closes the door on him when he dives into a hairpin the way I dive into a turn in a videogame, he’s in serious trouble.

  4. Calum said on 1st March 2011, 10:04

    My only concern – what if it breaks in low downforce mode?

    Not a concern, but the electronics mean the end of rear wing pitstops?

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 1st March 2011, 10:09

      The ARW system works by having the centre of the flap raised. That way, if it breaks, the flap will fall into the closed position. The only way it can then open is if the wind behind it gathers enough force to push it back up from behind – but in order for that to happen, the winds would have to be travelling at about 300km/h, which means the race is in the middle of a tropical cyclone, and the drivers probably have bigger things to worry about.

      And I don’t think there has ever been a pit stop to replace the rear wing. If there has been, it was years ago. These days, the rear wing is mounted to the rest of the car in several places, and is not easily replaced. Rear wing failures tend to be terminal.

      Also, the actual device that opens the ARW is mechanical, not electronic. Electronics are used to send a message to the mechanism, but the mechanism itself is not electronis; it’s a rod-like deivce that raises to push the flap upwards.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 1st March 2011, 10:31

        LOL, Kobayashi riding the Typhoon!

        You are perfectly right off course on the functioning of that wing (although Mercedes raise the flap from the sides)

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 1st March 2011, 10:39

          Well, however the flap is raised, the important part is that it is raised, so that if the mechanism fails, it will automatically return to the default position and cannot be opened again.

      • vjanik said on 1st March 2011, 10:43

        so you’re saying that the wing cannot get stuck in the low downforce position? i think stranger break downs have happened in the past.

        if the electronics stop working when the wing is in the locked low downforce position, then you cannot send a signal to realease that, meaning you cannet reset the wing. race over

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 1st March 2011, 10:44

          so you’re saying that the wing cannot get stuck in the low downforce position?

          The way they’re designed, the wing moves up to reduce downforce, so if there is a failure the force of the wind should just push the wing back into place.

          To have the wing stuck open something would have to get stuck between the flaps – not impossible, but highly unlikely.

          • vjanik said on 1st March 2011, 10:59

            yes. but the mechanism that prevents the wing from being forced down can fail and remain locked on. (its like the throttle issues that Toyota had with their road cars. A failiure caused the system to remain swicthed on) You could also have a purely electrical issue with the steering wheel for example, making the system think that the button is always pressed. In qualy this could cause the wing to remain open.

            but i relaize this is just speculation and i know little about how it really works.

            i hope the BBC have a piece on the DRS in their pre race segment in Australia.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 1st March 2011, 11:11

            but the mechanism that prevents the wing from being forced down can fail and remain locked on.

            Nope, that’s accounted for. In the event of a rear wing failure that would cause the lever to lock the ARW in place, a secondary protocol will come into effect, one that will disengage the lever at the actual wing, causing the lever to remain in the open position, but allowing the wing to drop down. A lot of people have been using the “But what if the wing becomes stuck open and causes an accident?” scenario to argue for the ARW system being scrapped, but pretty much every outcome has been conceived and accounted for to prevent the wing from being trapped open. And even in the worst case scenario, where the wing becomes locked in the open position and the secondary protocol fails, a driver will be aware of the problem – the sudden loss of downforce will caused a marked change in the way the car behaves – and he will be able to return to the pits (albeit at a very slow pace) and have the wing disengaged manually.

          • RaulZ said on 1st March 2011, 15:18

            And what if the second protocol fails?

      • sukoco said on 1st March 2011, 14:05

        but how about if the pin on back flap support fail or jam/stuck something and flap wont back in normal position?in 50 lap vibration heat friction etc.. emm i think one of those will be fail in this season.. n it will look horrible like we’ve seen wing fail

  5. Icthyes said on 1st March 2011, 10:15

    I would rather see Kobayashi at Ferrari. He reminds me a lot of how Massa used to be, I think he would fit in well. But it would be funny to see him at Red Bull and watch him pass Vettel half the time.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 1st March 2011, 10:40

      Alonso would never agree to it. Can you honestly see Kobayashi move over because Ferrari tell him to when his natural instinct appears to be to throw caution to the wind and go for it?

      • Icthyes said on 1st March 2011, 14:43

        Yes. Being an opportunist overtaker and following contractually-agreed team orders aren’t opposing concepts.

      • RaulZ said on 1st March 2011, 15:30

        @PM could you please stop saying absurdities about Alonso and Ferrari? Do you really think Alonso controls what ferrari wants to do? Do you really think any driver controlls his team, where there are so much money invested and no one coin is from them?
        I honestly see Kobayashi or whoever move over if his boss says it, whoever was behind. I honestly see F1 as a business so stop giving it a romantic halo where racers are knights seeking the Holy Grail.
        They are selfish and they are subordinated to an industry, and all they are allowed to do is to complain a bit, as Kamui says.

        • Palle said on 1st March 2011, 20:58

          Ferrari fans and Ferrari all alike. We would never see a comment like this from, say an RBR, McLaren or Mercedes fan;-)
          Hilarious, hehe;-)

  6. apeman (@apeman) said on 1st March 2011, 10:20


    That about sums it up =)

  7. BasCB (@bascb) said on 1st March 2011, 10:25

    He seems to be so down to earth, really like his comment on complaints, and he seems to understand just why the tyres have more degradation perfectly.

    I hope he shows the DRS will help him do even more on track this year!

  8. Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 1st March 2011, 10:51


    Just for a bit of balance with the comments on yesterday’s thread. :)

  9. We are likely to see wins due to faster mechanic hands at the pit stop – at least two pits are expected per race – the drive that pushes the most – almost sure that he gets three pits.

  10. Alex Bkk said on 1st March 2011, 11:11

    Hmmm, Watching Kobie’s adjustable rear wing open and close makes me think that Sauber should paint some shark teeth on the upper and lower elements of it…

    I think it would suit him well :)

  11. Damon said on 1st March 2011, 12:36

    That goes against everyones beliefs, that the new tyres would be grippier than the bridgestones. Doesn’t look good for Schumacher

    • CarsVsChildren (@carsvschildren) said on 1st March 2011, 13:34

      I don’t think it matters so much if they are grippier or not, moreso how they grip.

      I.e Schui likes a pointy front end, therefore he wants the fronts to be stickier than the backs.

      Its more about relative grip (f to b) rather than overall grip levels.

  12. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 1st March 2011, 13:20

    5s/lap ?! I knew it was high, but that’s astronomical :D

  13. John H said on 1st March 2011, 14:03

    I have one question. Why have the flap at all? Why not just allow the chasing car a little more KERS when they’re within one second?

    Less things to press, less to go wrong, same effect.

    • John H said on 1st March 2011, 14:06

      Or to put it a different way, cars with a car behind within a 1 second gap cannot use their KERS.

      (PS: I realise know that some cars do not have KERS yet, so there may be a flaw in this idea).

    • sukoco said on 1st March 2011, 14:18

      i think DRS is good.. low cost more speed.. but 1 sec behind to active?lol i see trouble in here, and as a fan i will confuse cause never know when its work..

      why not put it like power button on A1GP.. give them 10 times/race to active n let them decided where and when they want to used it.. thats racing.. i want to see talent driver used on high speed cornering haha not just straight…(thats Drag racing itsn?)

  14. DGR-F1 said on 1st March 2011, 14:37

    Reading between the lines here, is anyone of the opinion that the FIA are only expecting the drivers to overtake in the designated area, using the KERS and the wing?
    I hope that we will be seeing the likes of Koboyashi, Hammy and Fernando (on a good day) overtaking their rivals using the more traditional methods, and the races won’t just be a one-corner-fits-all charade.
    Or have the FIA thought ahead and banned any manouvre which comes out of the box?

    • sukoco said on 1st March 2011, 15:25

      agree … if anyone wanna see alot overtake in highspeed in line straight box no need steering wheel or skill watch DRAGRACE..

      Gave them technology tell them how much.. but in track let them decided when n where they want to used..they more pro n know this stuff then we are..

  15. HounslowBusGarage said on 1st March 2011, 21:11

    I nominate this quote from KOB for Comment of the Day, Month, Year so far!

    Regarding all the talk – well, we are race drivers and complaining sometimes can be part of the business.

  16. DavidS (@davids) said on 1st March 2011, 21:32

    It would be great if Kobayashi does get a seat in a Red Bull (assuming they are still competitive then). I would think that by that time, Vettel will have developed the wise head that comes with winning a WDC and then defending it. So the combination might work.

  17. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 2nd March 2011, 2:11

    I do agree with him that KERS won’t help too much on overtaking but if the rules of using rear wing is made more easier them I think we will have some exciting racing.

  18. SeattleChris said on 2nd March 2011, 9:57

    Since the topic of the article has already been hijacked:

    Anyone notice how thin the front tires are in this picture of Kobayashi? Maybe its just the angle, but they seem thinner than similar pictures of the other teams fronts.

    Furthermore, in this image (again, the one above) look at the endplates on the front wing. They slope upward. I’ve always thought that made sense, but I don’t recall ever noticing it, or it being as dramatic as the wing on this car.

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