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

  1. David-A (@david-a) said on 16th March 2011, 16:30

    Was the main pictures chosen to illustrate a Mclaren lapping a Williams, or a Williams lapping a Mclaren? :)

  2. Burnout said on 16th March 2011, 17:02

    I don’t think this will make a very big difference. Even if the lapped car manages to unlap itself, it’s almost certain that the driver will be shown blue flags at the next corner and will have to pull over.

    The only thing this will do is slow down the “lapping” car, which might matter if the lapped driver’s teammate is in a battle with the “lapping” car.

    But yeah, overall it’s a silly rule. DRS and blue flags work against each other.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th March 2011, 17:08

      Perhaps, but given the big difference in tyre performance it’s not hard to imagine a backmarker on fresh tyres coming out of the pits behind the leader on worn tyres and lapping quicker than them.

      • Burnout said on 16th March 2011, 17:46

        That’s true. If tyres do drop off during races as dramatically as they seem to have in testing, things might get a bit more interesting.

      • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 16th March 2011, 22:29

        But in that case, isn’t it good that the slow leader isn’t holding up drivers racing a lap back, as he would be doing without them being able to use DRS? For them to be able to try it, they have to be, at least at that moment on track, the faster car.

        I like it, because I dislike the effect of blue flags on the race that is going on behind the fastest cars, slowing those cars down and disrupting fights; this seems a relatively trouble free (for the leading cars) way of mitigating that effect.

        Since quite often most action seems to happen at the back of the midfield, due to drivers taking risks in an attempt at getting towards point-scoring positions, I find that an important consideration.

  3. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 16th March 2011, 17:22

    It will gice some cameras to the last cars, but it’s risky. If you have good memory, I remember when Montota had already overtaken Verstappen, I don’t remember the race track. But Verstappen tried to unlap and collided with Montoya, and that can happen again if a rookie or a nervous pilot tries to do what he’s not used to do. These (always-last) pilots are like car testers. Remember Badoer’s performance? And he had a Ferrari, not a HRT. So I don’t want to imagine what would happen if there’s Hamilton or Vettel, or any great racer, overlapping Karthikeyan and he decides to unlap. Crash possibilities right?

  4. I imagine that if Ferrari have problems with backmarkers this year, this rule will be overturned.

  5. John H said on 16th March 2011, 17:46

    Irvine would approve ;)

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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…

  15. 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???? :)

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