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.

2011 F1 rules


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

  1. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 16th March 2011, 18:17

    I can’t see this being an issue to be honest…unless KERS gives the front-runners that little bit more?

    I would think that when a driver is lapped it’s more beneficial for them to hang back and take advantage of the guys slipstream…albeit only briefly!

  2. Oliver said on 16th March 2011, 18:23

    I think a case of sponge brain is creeping back into F1. This has not been thought out well and the consequence will likely be a stalemate similar to Alonso – Petrov, but this time with Petrov constantly being able to retake the position, thus preventing Alonso from catching up with the race leader.

  3. John Kilmartin said on 16th March 2011, 18:37

    “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.”

    No, this is somewhat outside the proposed implementation which is to give better opportunities for overtaking but falls far short of permitting cars of similar performance, no matter slower cars, make easy passes.

  4. Andrew said on 16th March 2011, 19:41

    After reading this article, the zones for arming the DRS in Australia are a tad odd. If I recall correctly, the system gets armed two or three corners before the main straight due to the short straight in Melbourne. Couldn’t this cause someone to get a free boost off of a car in front, within one second, who dives into the pits?

    • Oliver said on 16th March 2011, 20:11

      Canada and Italy, probably Brazil also, are good candidates for such as the pit entry are high speed or semi high speed.

  5. It’s a fair rule on the face of it but it could be a headache if the cars unlapping themselves end up being shown blue flags again right away which would be pointless but I don’t know how likely to be that it would happen. If a car unlapping itself is on a fresh set of rubber so has closed up due to tyres then I doubt they’d even need to press the wing down as the tyre performance seems to avry so much. After reading the article and all of the great comments I still can’t decide if this is a very fair or very silly rule so I’ll just wait until it’s tested! :P

  6. Will the leader be able uo use the system to lap the other cars?

  7. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 17th March 2011, 2:17

    I don’t see the point of these? I will be kind if anyone explains it to me.

  8. Mr. ZingZang said on 17th March 2011, 7:40

    What of lapped cars that change onto faster tyres, which can be many seconds faster than used tyres?
    We’ve seen in 2010 times where cars round the back go onto softs pretty late in the race.
    The same can happen here with the slower cars in the back.

  9. 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.

    I suspect as well that it made the software that will run the system simpler and less likely to fail…

  10. Buglemeister (@buglemeister) said on 17th March 2011, 12:45

    I know this is fairly unlikely, but what happens if there is 3 or more cars each within a second of each other going into the DRS zone? and just to make it really complicated, what happens if one of those cars is a back marker???? :)

  11. Robbie (@robbie) said on 17th March 2011, 12:57

    Question…they have talked about getting rid of blue flags…now that they have DRS and Whiting is giving these scenarios, are we sure there are still blue flags in F1 for 2011?

  12. Cranberry said on 17th March 2011, 15:13

    It’s ridiculous to think that a lapped car is only a second behind the cars that lap them, this is merely FIA refusing to acknowledge the inadequate technology they use to measure the distance between cars.

    I think it’s up to FOTA to make up for FIA’s silly decisions in this case…and even if FOTA does not make a “gentleman’s agreement” the unlapped car will soon be lapped again after the pair exit the pre-determined passing zone where DRS activation is allowed during the GP.

    All this DRS thing is really going to do is allow the #22 Hispania to follow on the tails #1 RedBull (a faster car) for a lap or two and hopefully they can use the RedBull to help them catch the #21 Virgin (the next car to be lapped).

    Yey, or ney?

    • Melty said on 17th March 2011, 15:23

      It is very simple, they have no way of telling the system that monitors the time between cars (timing loop), what lap the each of the drivers now less than 1 second apart, are actually on. Hence the supposed ‘well thought out’ benefit being added. I agree with Cranberry, in that a canny back-marker can use this loophole to draft up behind the next car which is to be lapped by the leader. I like the new element that adds.

  13. Marco said on 17th March 2011, 16:38

    Question: will the DRS be active in the early laps of a race? I can see a karting style melee where the pack arrives on top of the leader at the breaking zone on lap 1 and with the higher closing speeds and a few egos chaos ensues! In karts it is fair game to smash your way through (‘I missed my breaking point, he was on the breaks too early, someone behind my hit me first!’) but in F1 it could be more serious… I assume that it won’t be available until the pack has been strung out and who decides when that is?

  14. Melty said on 17th March 2011, 16:42

    @Marco. As far as I am aware, DRS will not be enabled for the first 2 laps of the race. I am not too sure if that is also for 2 laps after a safety car as well though…

  15. What about DRS for the lead cars lapping the back markers???

    on Sunday Vettel come out of the pits behind a Virgin car (lap 48) and used his DRS to over take the back marker…is that not a little unfair? DRS was brought in to create more overtaking but this use of it is only giving the leader an extra boost he doesn’t need?

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