Whiting: Lapped drivers can use DRS to pass leader

2011 F1 rules

Lewis Hamilton, Rubens Barrichello, Jerez, 2011

Lewis Hamilton, Rubens Barrichello, Jerez, 2011

Backmarkers who are overtaken by the race leader will be allowed to use the Drag Reduction System (adjustable rear wing) to un-lap themselves, Charlie Whiting has confirmed.

Whiting told F1 Fanatic: “Any lapped car within one second of a car which is a lap in front will still have the opportunity to use the DRS in the relevant part of the track, the proximity detection system will take no account of the number of laps each car has done.

“There are two reasons for this: a) the lapped car could in fact be a faster car which had an earlier problem; and b) if a car is ??genuinely?? one lap down it is very unlikely to be able to actually overtake anyway. Because of the first reason we have to live with the second.”

Although some cars will likely be too slow to overtake others even with the DRS, it raises the potential for more ‘un-lapping’ to take place in 2011.

And lapped cars which are closer to the leader’s pace may be able to use DRS to move ahead again, creating a fresh obstacle for the leaders.

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101 comments on Whiting: Lapped drivers can use DRS to pass leader

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  1. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 16th March 2011, 15:00

    “Any lapped car within one second of a car which is a lap in front will still have the opportunity to use the DRS in the relevant part of the track, the proximity detection system will take no account of the number of laps each car has done.”

    You were watching the races in 2010 … weren’t you, Charlie? Did you notice anything about the cars that were being lapped the most? They were six seconds off he pace. Any car that gets lapped this year is going to have a hell of a time getting back on the lead lap short of punting the leader off.

  2. RIISE (@riise) said on 16th March 2011, 15:02

    That’s cleared that one up.

  3. Tango (@tango) said on 16th March 2011, 15:09

    I don’t know what to think : Take two cars of relative equal speed, with the lapped car (car B) remotely faster than the car currently 1 lap ahead (car A).

    Once car B has unlapped itself thanks to DRS system, itB couldn’t possibly be a fresh obstacle : Once it is in front and for the sake of arguments kills its tyres off and suddenly is slower, if car A comes back (car A still is nearly a lap ahead), wouldn’t car B get blue flagged and be forced to let car A pass again?

    • Dipak T said on 16th March 2011, 16:20

      The blue flag does not mean ‘let the leader lap you’. It means ‘the approaching car is faster, let him past, you are not racing him for position’.

      If car B through genuine pace does unlap himself from car A ahead on the track (does not need to be the race leader), and then is also faster afterwards, the blue flag cannot be used, as car A behind him on track is no longer approaching him, but falling back.

      • Skett said on 17th March 2011, 1:04

        Out of curiousity, does that mean the leader can get blue flagged if someone is coming up to unlap themselves?

        • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 17th March 2011, 1:53

          Out of curiousity, does that mean the leader can get blue flagged if someone is coming up to unlap themselves?

          Haha! I don’t know about that one… :P But blue flags are going to mean the person unlapping themselves will have to yield the position immediately after completing the pass. I can’t wait for the chaos to start in Melbourne!

        • Dipak T said on 17th March 2011, 18:15

          I dont know, by the letter of the law it should be I suppose, but then again if a car is coming to unlap himself, I doubt the race leader would be stupid enough to not let him through. If he did, he would just slow the both of them down

  4. DeadManWoking (@deadmanwoking) said on 16th March 2011, 15:11

    And lapped cars which are closer to the leader’s pace may be able to use DRS to move ahead again, creating a fresh obstacle for the leaders.

    And the converse is true as well, if the leader is within 1 second of a lapped car within the timing loop, he will be able to use his DRS on the straight.

    • Tango (@tango) said on 16th March 2011, 15:14

      So if a car is going to be lapped and gets blue flagged and moves out or purposedly slow down in the DRS zone, the overtaking car might still get an advantage compared to his chasing direct adversaries by deploying its DRS ?

      • Tango (@tango) said on 16th March 2011, 15:16

        What I mean is that you might get a “free boost” if you happen to be within 1 second of a car you are going to lap at the entrance of the DRS zone. (as lapped cars generally get blue flagged and hardly arm the faster’s car speed relative to its chasers)

        • DeadManWoking (@deadmanwoking) said on 16th March 2011, 15:18

          Exactly!

          • Tango (@tango) said on 16th March 2011, 15:33

            Again for the sake of argument, say Massa has had a problem, he might exchange position with Alons and give Alonso a boost every two laps (same goes for any other pairing).

            And also I get it that it may be possible for two cars running at the front, I feel being able to play this game when one of the team members is a lap behind seems wrong.

          • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 16th March 2011, 20:04

            It would be very rare that both cars would be on the same pace, so if anything that would slow Alonso down, so it won’t happen.

          • Dipak T said on 17th March 2011, 0:50

            Thats just convuluted and slow. And practically gurantees:

            a) a crash
            b) the withdrawal of the DRS in the face of such blatant misuse

    • Melty said on 16th March 2011, 16:25

      Are we going to see another Webber roll-over like we saw in Valencia last year? Closing speeds are going to be even greater now.

  5. It’s about tires because they can make big difference old and fresh ones.
    Second if for example Massa has problem and loses one lap, rejoins race behind leader on older tires he will be able overtake leader and go ahead fight for better position.

  6. DeadManWoking (@deadmanwoking) said on 16th March 2011, 15:28

    A lot will depend on whether the timing loop is located before or in the braking zone for the corner prior to the straight. As I alluded in the Schumacher thread, if it is in the braking zone the trailing driver will get an artificial boost due the ‘accordion effect’ as the leading driver will have to brake first and perhaps allow him to catch up to within a second.

    • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 16th March 2011, 17:16

      I don’t think that this is the case, the accordion effect is the closing of the physical distance rather than the time gap, because at lower speeds the same time gap equates to a shorter distance.

      This would only work to the extent that the following driver brakes later into the braking zone to get closer. It may be worth it if the loss of time from braking too late is less than the time gained using DRS on the subsequent straight but the level of judgement required would be too difficult (for example the car behind would need to know he is more than 1 second but less than, say, 1.2 seconds behind as the approach the corner).

      • DeadManWoking (@deadmanwoking) said on 16th March 2011, 17:34

        When the leading driver gets off the throttle and hits the brakes for a corner, the following driver is still accelerating until he follows suit a second later. This does close the time gap between the two which then reopens when the leading driver gets back on the throttle and begins accelerating before the trailing driver does.

        • George M said on 16th March 2011, 17:46

          Obviously the measurement will not be taken in the braking zone, that much is clear.

          Thinking otherwise assumes the FIA knows nothing about racing…

        • John Kilmartin said on 16th March 2011, 18:29

          No you’re wrong. Why would the time gap change. The distance yes but if they have identical performance the time gap for any point is a constant. Have a good think about it.

          • DeadManWoking said on 16th March 2011, 19:45

            Thanks John and Jersey, I did sit down and rethink this and you’re right, given identical performance the time gap would not change no matter the point it was measured at.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th March 2011, 9:27

            And you are right. Time does not change, only the distance (as its travelled at lower speed).
            Only time changes in this area are with one car braking better or later than the other, but that would be exactly proof of them being faster.

  7. Phildo said on 16th March 2011, 15:32

    is the picture supposed to imply the mclaren of Hamilton being lapped by such cars as williams this year. :P

  8. James (@jamesf1) said on 16th March 2011, 15:33

    What an idiotic ruling. Not just the use of the DRS “unlapping” leaders, but just the whole concept is ridiculous. It’s false, artificial, has little relevance in the real world. The new tyres and KERS will create better racing and overtaking.

    • John Kilmartin said on 16th March 2011, 18:32

      The limited use of the DRS is no worse than the concept of using unsuitable tyres on multi-million pound cars. Both will create new scenarios.

    • HxCas said on 16th March 2011, 23:44

      Why is the word ‘false’ being bandied around so much? Is it because it may make overtaking easier and give the following car some advantage? If so it really isn’t any different from a McLaren overtaking a Williams. The McLaren is clearly a faster car, so that makes the overtake a bit ‘artificial’ i.e it wasn’t purely driver skill. F1 isn’t a level playing field, all I see the DRS doing is creating slightly more overtaking opportunities in tracks which otherwise would not allow them

  9. dennis (@dennis) said on 16th March 2011, 15:35

    Now since this year team orders are allowed…
    If one driver HAS to win… I’d just let my second driver drop down the field until driver 1 is behind him. Then I’ll tell them use slipstream each other and change the “lead” now and then on the straights.

    Could work on tracks like Monza.

    • Shimks said on 16th March 2011, 17:35

      Fantastic idea, dennis! :D

    • Matt M said on 17th March 2011, 0:11

      They also would not have to be one lap apart, they could run 1 – 2 nose to tail all race and swap positions every lap if it improves their overall speed.

      This is open to every team, who will we see use it first? My guess is Mercedes or McLaren, I don’t the performance parity and level of cooperation being right in the other teams.

      • Craig said on 17th March 2011, 5:50

        I can’t see how a little boost in top speed in one straight would be enough to make this strategy viable since regardless of the new DRS system.

        F1 cars like clean air, and always work more efficiently when they aren’t in the dirty air of the car infront. In this scenario you’d be trading running in the dirty air for a lap, to ok take and lead, and then have your “teammate” running in the dirty air.

        The only thing I can see this doing is hurting the fragile tyres more then necessary and causing excess stress on the car from the heat of following the other car ?

        Please correct me if I’m wrong :)

        • dennis (@dennis) said on 18th March 2011, 1:31

          Well, it was just a thought.
          But imagine a lap in Monza. Driver B follows driver A relatively close through Parabolica. Then activates the DRS and gets past driver A immediately setting himself infront. Driver A now in the slipstream can use DRS as well, and slingshots himself past driver B again… And so on…

          • Craig said on 18th March 2011, 4:28

            Dennis – That might work in Practice and Qualifying. But in the race there will only be once spot per lap to activate DRS. So it plays out differently to how you describe.

  10. Explosiva said on 16th March 2011, 15:37

    Well, this oughta get interesting.

    Not.

  11. nemo87 (@nemo87) said on 16th March 2011, 15:39

    Alonso is going to love this..

  12. Mads (@mads) said on 16th March 2011, 15:41

    Why would that be a good idea?
    I don’t like drivers that hold up drivers they are not fighting for position. It is their own fault most likely that they are getting lapped, so i don’t see why they should be allowed to benefit from being lapped, and if they manage to overtake, hold back the lapping driver even more. I think that when a driver comes around to lap them, they should just get out of the way as quickly as possible and continue their own race.

    • George M said on 16th March 2011, 17:54

      Put it this way. In a circuit such as Monaco Vettel (who is in the lead) has lapped Kovalainen, but several laps later he has an engine issue which requires him to nurse it back home. Kovalainen catches up, and you’re suggesting that he is not allowed to make use of a system which is put in place to aid overtaking. Kovalainen is unable to overtake Vettel, and gets caught up by another driver, who is allowed to overtake him with the DRS, and therefore does so. Also, Kovalainen might lose positions due to pitstops by being impeded by Vettel. There are several more problems which spring to mind.

      This is an extreme scenario perhaps, but you have to realise that the DRS is being implemented to aid cars who are faster to overtake those who are slower than them (even if it is just for a short amount of time), regardless of the position they are in…

  13. Cacarella said on 16th March 2011, 15:44

    I think they’re making the rules for this fit in line with the poor technology which was developed to determine the cars distance from one another. They couldn’t make a clear separation between cars that were a lap down so they fudged this stupid rule in and tried to make it look like ‘we meant to do that’.
    If you’re a lap down, you’re not 1 second behind the car that just lapped you, you’re an entire lap (1minute+) + 1 second behind!

    • DeadManWoking (@deadmanwoking) said on 16th March 2011, 15:52

      I disagree, I thought back in January that this is how the regulations would be put into effect which just highlights how much of a videogame arcade F1 is about to become.

      • Cacarella said on 16th March 2011, 16:02

        Isn’t it mind boggling that at this high of a level in motorsport, that a new rule be put into place and two fans of that sport interpret the rule in two totally different ways?

        • DeadManWoking (@deadmanwoking) said on 16th March 2011, 16:11

          Yeah, I had a discussion going with Keith in another thread where he was arguing the Spirit of the rule while I was arguing the Letter. The problem with pushing the Spirit of the rule interpretation is that it kept down the outrage over the computer game mess that we’re going to be in now that the Letter of the rule is being applied.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th March 2011, 16:35

            At the risk of starting the argument again, I never saw my point of view as being the ‘spirit’ of the rule.

            As far as I’m concerned a car that has been lapped once which is right behind the leader isn’t less than a second behind, it’s a lap and bit behind.

            But we all know by now that you and I disagree so let’s leave it at that!

          • DeadManWoking (@deadmanwoking) said on 16th March 2011, 16:47

            We agree again! LOL

      • Well I agree, another example of making a decision (making something up) and then thinking about the problems later… result…. flawed rules.
        Just like the pace car rules /problems last year and countless other things

  14. Calum said on 16th March 2011, 15:58

    Brilliant!
    And I mean that, not sarcastically.

    F1 is racing to finish in the highest place you can, so why should the driver in last have to compromise his race just to make it easier for the top drivers – the driver in last has to be allowed the chance to catch up and overtake the next slowest car or there is no point in these drivers turing up. F1′s fastest should have to deal with it.

  15. Reminds me of a little incident in Suzuka in 1993 which heralded the auspicious arrival of one Edmund Irvine onto the F1 scene.

    Nothing wrong with unlapping yourself – as Eddie said to Ayrton: “you were too slow, and I had to overtake you to try to get at Hill”.

    Roll on the unlappers, delappers, whatever…

    • Cacarella said on 16th March 2011, 17:57

      Reminds me of a more recent incident in Brazil 2008 when Kubica unlapped himself by passing Hamilton in the closing stages of the race. I think it destabilized Hamilton enough to allow Vettel past which almost cost Hamilton the championship. This type of rule could do more damage than people seem to think.

      • Dipak T said on 16th March 2011, 18:10

        But thats just racing in my eyes. The car which a lap down cannot impede a car on the leading lap if it is lapping faster, and it has every right to unlap itself.

        Consider a race where it is staring to rain heavily, if a car a lap down having pitted and on full wets approaches the race leader on dry tyres dicing round to try and make it to the pits, should ihe just sit behind him?

        No chance, and its not his problem whether the car he passes becomes ‘unsettled’ and lets another car pass for race position. Not his problem at all.

        • Cacarella said on 16th March 2011, 18:18

          I agree, the Kubica on Hamilton pass was just racing and he had every right to unlap himself. But why should the rules give Kubica and advantage to passing Hamilton? It isn’t for position, and he hasn’t closed within a second of the Hamilton to qualify for the advantage because he’s a complete lap behind!

      • Oliver said on 16th March 2011, 18:46

        Unlapped himself and also brake tested Hamilton, almost costing him the championship

      • DaveW said on 16th March 2011, 22:12

        Yeah it was fair play by Kubica, even though I immediatly struck him off my christmas card list at the time. But it brings up a possible change in dynamic strategy: If there is rain, or if your tires are running out, you may not be so free to try to slow down to try to maintain a strategy against your actual competition if you have a feisty backmarker coming up behind. Especially given that now a Ferrari may at some points be seconds slower than a Lotus. If you are slow into Retifillio or whatever, you could next see a Virgin trying to cram a wheel under you in the next turn, for really no good reason other than he had a button to mash and it works.

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