FIA set DRS zone on pit straight at Sepang

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix

The FIA have confirmed details of where drivers can use their Drag Reduction Systems during the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Drivers will be able to activate their rear wings coming out of the final corner onto the longest straight on the track, which is over one kilometre long.

They will only be allowed to use it if they are within one second of another car at a line just over 200m before the final turn.

This diagram published by the FIA shows the location of the zones on the track (click to enlarge):

DRS zone for the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix

DRS zone for the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix

Drivers will have free use of the DRS during practice and qualifying.

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix


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83 comments on FIA set DRS zone on pit straight at Sepang

  1. Chris P said on 7th April 2011, 10:19

    When is DRS un-activated (so to speak!)?

  2. BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th April 2011, 10:24

    What effect do we think this might have had in a fight like Petrov and Hamilton had last year?

    Would it make it easier for Petrov to get back the place on the pit straight, or stay close for another lap?
    Maybe with Hamilton waiting with the pass for the hairpin, he could then streak away with DRS activated?
    Or would he rather wait and make it easier to pass on the main straight?

    • Chris P said on 7th April 2011, 10:31

      Might be a case of use DRS to overtake on the straight, save KERS for getting out of T8 and T14 better. This would hopefully make enough of a gap to stop DRS use or be far enough away to keep the inside line to make T1 tricky for the DRS user.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th April 2011, 10:31

      I suspect it would have made it easier for Hamilton to get past Petrov.

      But the effect could be more complex and subtle than that. Hamilton initially passed Petrov going into the final corner – in which case whichever of them was behind 200m before the corner would have had the benefit of DRS on the following straight. So perhaps Petrov could have had the chance to use DRS to re-pass Hamilton.

      And to take the question a step further, would we have seen more of a fight between Hamilton and Sutil later in the race?

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 7th April 2011, 10:42

        Watching my old copy, I think they were pretty much neck-and neck at the 200m point. It’s hard to see with the TV angle and everything.

        Had we had the DRS last year, Hamilton would probably have taken Sutil.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th April 2011, 11:51

        So it might actually have done what it was designed to do here.

        Still, I think that Malaysian GP last year did not really need too much spicing up (And with rain possibly making the question of DRS use a mute point this year, I still think its a shame they did introduce it).

  3. mildertduck said on 7th April 2011, 10:31

    Couldn’t we have had it on *both* straights? Plus, isn’t the detection point at (or in) the overtaking zone into the last corner? Whoever’s behind there could come into the main straight ahead, in which case the car just behind wouldn’t get a speed boost…

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 7th April 2011, 10:37

      Very good point. If a driver overtakes into the final corner, they can then use their DRS to block a counter-attack, thus spoiling the racing.

      • Henry said on 7th April 2011, 17:17

        more likely they will be aware of this, so will use the back straight to get as close as possible without actually going in front into the last corner, saving it for the pit straight…result will be less overtaking on the back straight, traditionally a very good spot. Turns 1 & 2 are harder to make a pass stick on since the driver on the outside for turn 1 then looses track position for turn 2…all the defending driver has to do is cover the inside of the first corner and force the other driver wide on the second…so all in all I think this could be a shame for the circuit. but we will see. I also personally would like to see less commentary about the KERS and DRS, i would rather imagine the drivers are just battling away using all their skill and technology rather than think of them sitting there pushing buttons…as in if Coulthard and Brundle keep so much emphasis on those two devices, you forget that there are drivers behind the wheels!

      • Srini (@) said on 7th April 2011, 22:17

        Why is that spoiling racing? You have both the drivers not use DRS in the back straight, and both drivers using DRS in the main straight. So, they are competing on even terms.

    • sato113 said on 7th April 2011, 12:27

      yeah they should put the drs zone on the back straight!!! then we’d have overtaking on both straihts!

  4. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 7th April 2011, 10:35

    Poor choice. The main straight generally sees a lot of overtaking because of the proceeding corners. It should have been done on the back straight, it might have created some counter-attacks too, like Petrov and Hamilton last year.

    • James (@jamesf1) said on 7th April 2011, 10:40

      Agreed. But if Australia is anything to go by, the FIA will change their mind again by tomorrow anyhow.

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 7th April 2011, 10:44

        Here’s an idea: why didn’t they make Turn 2 the activation point? Turn 3 is pretty much of an acceleration zone but its curved nature makes it hard to get a slipstream and tends top spread the cars out. then they could have the advantage going into 4, creating a new overtaking zone. The first and final turns see plenty of action already.

        • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 7th April 2011, 11:04

          That’s what I would have preferred. Have more overtaking opportunities, not more overtaking at established overtaking points.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 7th April 2011, 12:18

            That’s what I would have preferred. Have more overtaking opportunities, not more overtaking at established overtaking points.

            But what happens when the standard overtaking zones don’t produce any overtaking and the DRS zone can’t?

          • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 7th April 2011, 13:22

            Well the “standard” overtaking spots have, since the race began, produced more than enough opportunities to keep me happy if I’m honest. A quick flick through the Malaysian GP highlights of the last few years shows more than enough passes into the first and last turns (including a Button on Hamilton non-KERS v KERS move if I’m not mistaken).

          • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 7th April 2011, 20:05

            GeeMac I believe that was Bahrain.

        • Chris P said on 7th April 2011, 11:12

          Less rear wing through an acceleration zone on a corner? Not sure I like the idea of that.

        • Dan Selby said on 7th April 2011, 11:16

          That’s a fantastic idea. Enhance other sections, not make the established sections easier :)

        • Stephen Jones (@aus_steve) said on 7th April 2011, 11:48

          great idea! didn’t even think of that

        • James (@jamesf1) said on 7th April 2011, 12:17

          I hope you’re not being serious. In the words of Peter Griffin “that plan is so stupid it’s retarded”.

          DRS reduces downforce, which is why it cannoy be used during wet weather and corners. The system wouldnt get used. Those stupid enough to use it would see their back end swap with the front of the car.

          • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 7th April 2011, 13:33

            Not necessarily. In Qauli in melbourne the ywo Sauber drivers were deploying DRS while exiting just about every corner, they got a bit ove oversteer, but nothing they couldn’t handle. They should be able to go though turn three just fine with DRS deployed. I guess we’ll find out in the morning if that’s true.

          • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 7th April 2011, 17:05

            It’s an acceleration zone, not a corner. It just bends enough to be called one.

            Although to be fair with my original comment, we do see some passing into 4, but usually only on the first few laps.

    • David BR said on 7th April 2011, 13:37

      Agree totally. FIA have been listening to Massa, bad choice! The real excitement in F1 comes not from over-taking but re-overtaking soon after, i.e. a battle for the position. Would have been much better to have over-taking opportunities in two places, one after the other.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 7th April 2011, 13:48

        Would have been much better to have over-taking opportunities in two places, one after the other.

        They still do. You’re acting as if the DRS is the be-all and end-all. It’s not. Drivers are still capable of passing one another under their own power without the DRS.

        • David BR said on 7th April 2011, 15:22

          Well obviously. I should have said ‘more opportunities,’ i.e. more chance for those who need a little bit of extra help overtaking on track. I’m not actually a fan of DRS, I just think if you’re going to have it, make effective use of it. Icthyes point seems valid.

      • Lopes said on 7th April 2011, 17:03

        Well, IRC Massa said he preferred to have it on the back straight, not the pit straight.

        But I liked the concept of having DRS as a way of creating new potential passing zones…

  5. Rob said on 7th April 2011, 11:13

    What happens if the cars are within 1 second in the detection zone and then the leading car pits – can the following car still use the DRS on the clear track?

  6. F1iLike said on 7th April 2011, 11:20

    I don’t get why the detection point and the activation point can’t be at the same spot?!?! Are their computers seriously that slow or are they just dumb?

    • Steve said on 7th April 2011, 11:27

      It gives the drivers time to look at their steering wheel and then plan their attack.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 7th April 2011, 11:47

      It’s to give the drivers time to recognise that their DRS is available. If they were detected and activated at the same time, the driver would be halfway down the straight before he activated it. The system works in such a way that when the driver crosses the detection line, he is told that his DRS will become active when he enters the DRS zone. It has nothing to do with the system calculating the difference between two cars.

      • F1iLike said on 7th April 2011, 16:34

        that’s a bit meeh but alright. At least it wasn’t a whole sector away like at Melbourne.

  7. mildertduck said on 7th April 2011, 11:36

    They don’t have to press the button the minute it’s activated, do they? Just at any point along the straight… I’d think most drivers would have a pretty good idea of what “1 second” looked like, anyway!

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 7th April 2011, 11:48

      It’s not for the drivers. It’s for the spectators. In order to show how the DRS works, the lines were added to the circuits so that fans could see when one second between cars looks like.

    • The driver can activate the DRS any point between the activation line and the first time the brakes are touched following the activation zone. Yes, this means if a driver’s foot slips 5 metres after the activation line, their DRS is lost at that point.

  8. RBAlonso said on 7th April 2011, 12:32

    This is very frustrating. Again we hear that this season is about the “show” and yet the fanatics are treated like idiots by the F.I.A.. Surely, the best place for the DRS to be used is on the back straight so that if an overtake happens at the final corner then there is a chance to re-take the place at turn one. This has been the case for most of the excitement at the Malaysian GP over the years. Now surely, we are going to see gaining by the second car through slipstreaming then they will deploy DRS and the be so far ahead by turn 1 there is no chance for a re-take. This is my opinion is the definition of an artificial pass.

    Let me know what you think.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 7th April 2011, 12:41

      You have to understand that the FIA are not just catering to the die-hard fans – they want to attract casual fans as well.

      • RBAlonso said on 7th April 2011, 12:53

        But at what cost?

        The fanatics become disillusioned by the forever business-like, green-pursuing, technology-inverting “sport” whilst a few casual fans watch the race in their spare time to see a few overtakes. Then the more the casual fan watches the less of a grasp they have on the complexity of the sport and find that the fanatics are almost united against the technology.

        I am completely against KERS and DRS because I believe they are catering to an unnecessary audience.

        Did the first race you enjoyed feature KERS?

        Did the post 2009 races bore us all to tears that we were crying out for push-to-pass gadgetry?

        Was the 2010 season so boring that we needed a drastic overhaul of the regulations?

        For all three questions I think the answer is no.

        I say we give the fanatics what they want, what is good for the benefit of the sport and see where the casual fan stands.

        I personally think the sport could only prosper.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 7th April 2011, 13:00

          The DRS is no different to the F-duct. And I didn’t see you complaining half as much about that last year.

          • RBAlonso said on 7th April 2011, 13:22

            The f-duct was a technological advance made by one team of incredible engineers who thought outside of the box and found an ingenuous way around the regulations.

            DRS is a technology invented by the FIA to try to improve a sport which was naturally returning to its peak.

            I just don’t see the point in it.

            I am all for technology in sport, active suspension, even traction control had its day but I think anything added to the sport purely as a ploy should be discouraged.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 7th April 2011, 13:28

            Show me where it is written where the DRS guarantees that a driver will make a successful pass.

          • RBAlonso said on 7th April 2011, 14:00

            You make a good point here PM but I still feel that racing should be the best team producing the best car with the two best drivers.

            I don’t like the idea of races being won and lost on the push of a button. There was nothing wrong with the racing over the past years and this is a knee-jerk reaction for a problem that never needed addressing. F1 is trying to be cost efficient and then throws this technology into the mix and we wonder why we only have 24 cars trying to make the grid. I’d prefer to see 40. But it just isn’t viable because of DRS and for those two reasons I am against it.

          • Ben Curly said on 7th April 2011, 14:04

            It’s vastly different to the F-duct in the way that it’s implemented. If drivers could use DRS whenever they wanted, it would be far better: more challenging for them, more entertaining for us and clearer for the casual viewers.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 7th April 2011, 14:11

            we wonder why we only have 24 cars trying to make the grid. I’d prefer to see 40. But it just isn’t viable because of DRS and for those two reasons I am against it.

            Actually, the grid size is limited by the size of the pit facilities. Where circuits like Abu Dhabi and Shanghai could comfortably hold over thirty cars, Monaco can only hold twenty-six at most. There is no space for any more teams – they had to cancel a planned GP3 round there this year because there was simply no room in the expanded paddock alongside the GP2 cars (and before you suggest dropping the support races to make room for more Formula 1 teams, GP2 and GP3 occupy the annexed paddock; the pit lane itself can only fit twenty-six cars).

            The maximum size of the grid will always be dictated by the smallest pit lane.

          • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 7th April 2011, 14:24

            I did not know that. Shame that, do you know how they did it in the late 80s/ early 90s? Purely out of interest

          • Burnout (@burnout) said on 7th April 2011, 15:03

            @RBAlonso: They had two rounds of qualifying in the 80s. Pre-qualifying to weed out the slowest cars. Only the fastest 30 made it to final qualifying on Saturday. And of those 30, only 26 made it onto the grid.

          • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 7th April 2011, 15:05

            Thanks Burnout, couldn’t remember of the top of my head

          • F1iLike said on 7th April 2011, 16:37

            the DRS and F-duct is very different! If you haven’t noticed, the F-duct was open for everyone to use at all time. The DRS is for the driver 1 second behind. THAT’s the ridiculous part.

  9. sato113 said on 7th April 2011, 12:36

    Put the detection zone before the back straight, with the DRS zone being all the way down to the final hairpin. that way a driver could overtake down the back straight and then have to defend from a, closer non-DRS, counter attack down the front straight.

  10. BBT (@bbt) said on 7th April 2011, 13:03

    No surprises really, expected that to be the layout.

    PS. Keith I’ve just spent 15 minutes to get this article to open. So I emptied my cache restarted Chrome but I just got the header / menus, a white screen and waiting for cas.criteo.com
    Shutting Chrome a second time and reopening finally it worked.
    I’m on Chrome 10.0.648.204

  11. coxy said on 7th April 2011, 13:21

    Am i right in thinking DRS will be shut off when it rains??? at it looks like it will rain so most of this is really pointless isnt it?

  12. Goggles Paisano said on 7th April 2011, 13:49

    What if there are 3 cars within 1 second of each other coming into the ‘DRS activation zone’ (this happened in Melbourne)? Example – Vettel is followed by Hamilton, who is .5 seconds behind, followed by Alonso who is .5 seconds behind Hamilton.
    Do Hamilton and Alonso have DRS on the straight? Only Alonso? None?

  13. BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th April 2011, 13:57

    Seems one of the reasons for Petrovs qualifying in 6th in Australia was agressive use of the DRS:

    The Russian says that he ‘took risks’ in qualifying last time out in Melbourne and does not expect to be able to replicate that performance this weekend.

    from autosport I like gutsy drives and drivers, keep that up Petrov and you can be a star.

  14. vjanik said on 7th April 2011, 14:00

    the last corner is one of the most common overtaking places.

    so what happens if two cars pass the DRS detection zone (within a second of each other), then the car behind passes the other car at the last corner, and because he was within 1 second at the DRS zone, has his system activated and get get away from the other car more easily having passed him?

    i think this might happen several times druing the race and can make the DRS a defensive tool, rather than what it was designed for.

  15. Adrian78 said on 7th April 2011, 14:00

    they have put the DRS in the wrong place, when Hamilton overtook Petrov last year on the last corner he would have behind Petrov in the DRS detection zone, then on the pit straight Hamilton could have used the DRS to pull away down the main straight even though would be in front of Petrov, they should put the DRS zone on the back straight,

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