Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, Shanghai, 2010

Drivers can’t use DRS for full length of Shanghai’s longest straight

2011 Chinese Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, Shanghai, 2010
Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, Shanghai, 2010

The FIA has confirmed drivers will not be allowed to use the Drag Reduction System along the full length of Shanghai’s straight during the race.

Drivers will be allowed to deploy their DRS 902m before the turn 14 hairpin.

The stretch between turns 13 and 14 is the longest on the calendar, measuring 1,170m.

Here is an FIA diagram showing where drivers can deploy DRS (click to enlarge):

DRS zone for Shanghai
DRS zone for Shanghai

As usual, drivers will have free use of the DRS in practice and qualifying, including the full length of the straight.

Update: The FIA have shortened the DRS zone to 752 metres ahead of the race.

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105 comments on “Drivers can’t use DRS for full length of Shanghai’s longest straight”

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  1. The stretch between turns 13 and 14 is the longest on the calendar, measuring 1,170m.

    I was under the impression the back straight of Abu Dhabi was the longest on the calendar at 1.2km …

    1. Funny you should mention that. This from Mercedes:

      Other circuits may dispute the fact, but the Shanghai International Circuit currently boasts the longest straight in Formula One. The run from turns 13 to 14 totals 1170m […]

      This is the longest straight encountered during the Formula One season, closely followed by Abu Dhabi (1140m), Monza (1120m) and Yeongam (1050m).

      1. I guess its a bit to do with where you start and end the straights in measuring.

      2. Maybe I’m mixing it up with Fuji.

      3. And out of those 4 long straights how many have been biult by Tilke?

        Monza … no
        Abu Dhabi … tick
        Korea … tick
        China … tick

        A bit sad the state of F1 currently…

      4. The maximum distance that could possibly be driven in a straight line (more in theory than in reality) and the actual distance that can be driven on the racing line on that straight can differ by quite a lot, so its no surprise that there are different numbers from different sources.

    2. PM, and I always thought you had such a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips!

      1. Hey, it’s not like I’ve got this written down somewhere. I’m just going by what I remember.

    3. I was under impression the straight in Korea and the straight in Abu Dhabi were longer than the one in China…

      1. Ignore that comment – I was too slow! :P

  2. I thought the longest straight is now in India or Korea?

  3. Oops! My bad!

  4. Good thing to do by the FIA. Otherwise overtaking would be too easy.

    1. I am hoping that there is a heavy dose of sarcasm in here?!

      1. Why? It was almost too easy in Malaysia in my opinion, only when the driver behind lacked KERS (Webber) or DRS (Alonso), there were fights rather than overtakings.

        1. My point exactly. 900 Meters of DRS is a very long way, thats a whole kilometer on which they will have the equivalent of a 15kph boost for. If they can’t make that stick, they can’t make anything stick. It was more or less too certain in malaysia – so surely 900m is still too far, especially on a straight where overtaking is guaranteed anyway!

          1. Ok, now I understand what you ment, you’re right, the problem is I don’t know how long the straight in Sepang is. If it is shorter than 900m, then 900m is probably too much. What I ment is that it’s good they won’t be able to use it for the entire straight of 1170m, that would be even worse.

          2. Actually, the pit straight in Sepang is over 1km, so, I don’t think this should be too bad, even if making it a bit shorter would probably be better.

          3. Actually, the pit straight in Sepang is over 1km

            We went through this before on the site, the longest straight in Malaysia is 927m.

          4. but in the race if they have the same top gear ratio, then it wont matter if DRS is open after the chasing car reaches top speed

          5. If the Sepang straight is 927m, then 902m is probably reasonable. Melbourne was 867m. Personally I’d like to see them try about 800m. I think that would be around the right length at most circuits to aid in overtaking, but not make it easy by any stretch.

    2. But once the driver has overtaken does he get to use the DRS till the end of the zone or does he have to close it?

      1. He’s got it until he has to brake. Or he releases it manually.

        1. wont the engine bounce on the limiter a bit too quickly if the DRS is deployed on a long straight like this one?

          1. Not if they set the ratios high enough.

          2. Yeah, on a straight like that I would reckon 315kph might be a good benchmark. The Renault was hitting the limit at 304kph in Sepang so it’s bound to be higher in China.

          3. That’s why DRS is allowed in qualifying. It will force the drivers to set up their gearbox to allow the DRS enhanced top speeds.

    3. Because of the size of the straight, overtaking by slip streaming should be sufficient

      1. If you ignore the characteristics of the corner before the straight.

      2. then how come the renault last year was bouncing on the limiter? the time when i think vettel tried to pass button and then ended up crashing into his side pod? I thought engines had a physical limit beyond which it couldn’t rev any more?

        1. they do. You set 18000rpm to be 315kph or whatever you like, then it sits like that in parc ferme after Practice 3. Teams balance this with the whole circuit though… if a driver feels that hitting 18000rpm in 7th right at the end of the main straight leaves him with too much headroom in the other straights (not getting anywhere near 18000 on piut straight for example) then they’ll leave it at say 312kph, giving more power in the other straights. Most teams will play with these options in the first few runs in Practice 1 and 2 and decide for sure over friday night before setting it finalised on Saturday morning. Having one really long straight but lots of tight and twisty corners like here in Shanghai provides the option for several different approaches. A car that maxes out ast 310kph will reach that speed quicker, and may lose less time over the entire lap than a car that maxes out at 320 but only reaches that speed once per lap… go play Gran Turismo or F1 2010 and play with these settings it’s fairly obvioous once you grasp the concept of it. Engine limits are set, but not gear ratios, teams decide themselves.

  5. that is still a huge distance – nearly 1km to have in order to overtake! If you can’t get ahead with that much space then really you are doing something wrong!

    1. i think this is an attempt to handicap red bull slightly. if a team with superior straight line speed starts winning, the FIA will react with shorter DRS activation zones on secondary straights… that’s my guess. they want this championship to go down to the wire, even if it takes a little manipulation.

      1. Red Bull have the fastest car. Who’s going to overtake them?

        1. Mouse_Nightshirt
          14th April 2011, 0:01

          Everyone going by poor Mark Webber :P

  6. This annoys me – there will be plenty of overtaking on this straight anyway… why not use it for the entirity of, say, the straight after turn 10, or failing that, the pit straight?

    I’m a big fan of DRS – as I don’t think it makes the pass for you, they seem to have the balance just right, it just gives a boost rather than being an “overtaking button” as it has been described.

    I hope we have more races like Malaysia – really enjoyed it.

    1. I agree with you and said something similar about Malaysia, but I don’t think that place would produce any overtaking. Like in Malaysia, I think the best alternative place would be after Turn 2.

      1. In fact… looking at the track map, I think the best place for it would be between 4 and 6 – with heavy breaking into 6.

        1. Sorry, I didn’t realise they were designated as individual corners. I thought Turn 4 was “Turn 2”!

    2. I claimed it should be on the pit straight yesterday. For me, it would be much better to create a new overtaking oppurtunity rather than make what is one of the most common overtaking spots in F1 a lot easier.

      Other than that, would it not be better to 5/6 hundred metres or so of the straight, putting the following car firmly in the slip-stream and leaving them to make the move from there.

      Both these solutions would make the balance a bit more like Aus, which for me was better.

      1. *better to be 5/6 hundred metres or so at the beginning of the straight…

      2. Also, if DRS was enabled on the pit straight it would give the leading car a better chance of defending (if it had KERS).

  7. I don’t understand how to FIA make up some of the number they publish…

    Why 902m? Why not 900m or 1,000m? Why the stupid extra 2m?

    Rant over,
    Good Day!

    1. I’m sure it’s calculated and not “made up” – but I do agree with you in sentiment. Like driving tests starting at 11.03… why? Madness… but i’m sure there’s a reason for it.

      1. The first man to measure the height of Mt Everest calculated it at precisely 29,000ft, but he was scared that if he said that then everyone would assume he just made it up, so he said he had calculated it at 29,002ft. Maybe the FIA want everyone to think that they’re genuinely placing effort into working out cornering speeds, aerodynamics and acceleration in order to identify a perfect distance for the track. As opposed to them just using common sense to say ‘here’ and ‘here’.

        ps: I concur with other statements which say that this should have been on the pit-straight.

      2. The 902 m will be down to where exactly the timing loops are placed (the DRS activation zone has to be on a timing loop for accuracy reasons).

        The driving test is at x:03 because putting appointments at times other than the whole hour, half-hour or quarter-hour points increases the proportion of people who turn up on time – possibly because x:03 is more memorable.

  8. Why is it on the backstraight at all? Surely its long enough to get a tow and make a pass without it? Maybe the pit straight would be a better choice?

    1. Of course not, that would be too logical for the FIA.

    2. They are speed limited in the pit straight, so I doubt DRS would have any effect :)

      1. LOL
        speaking of which, does anyone know why Buemi’s penalty at Sepang was a stop-go and not a drive-thru? Did he massively flout the limit and charge up pit lane??

          1. Oh of course, didn’t think to check STR’s race breakdown. Thanks!

  9. I think they’ve done the right thing about not letting them use the whole straight. It would be far too easy to breeze around otherwise.

    1. agreed, especially the KERS cars. It would be a metaphorical blood bath.

    2. True, perhaps they also don’t want cars reaching Vmax too early on the straight and bouncing off the rev limiter for the last 3-400m.

  10. Isn’t the drs activation line somewhere around where the slipstream usually starts to come into affect anyway?… Does anyone see a potential “webber at valencia” situation when drivers push the magic button?

  11. I am afraid that will make it too easy to overtake. A short burst of DRS from turn 4 to 6 or 10 to 11 could maybe create some new overtaking opportunities, instead of making the established overtaking spots easier. There is plenty of overtakes down that back straight anyway. But the FIA is the experts, i think they know what they are doing. At least i think it worked fine the last two races.

  12. Maybe the only logic behind using the back straight is that if the DRS was on the pit straight, one driver could overtake at the hairpin/turn 15, then the overtaken driver will be in the 1 second zone for DRS detection, presumably place before turn 16, and then just immediately take the place back down the pit straight into turn 1.

    I doubt that makes sense, but it works in my head.

    1. that sounds exciting to me!

  13. This is as exciting as the tyre supplier press conference. Racing is almost taking a secondary role to KERS, DRS, stage managed tyes and interfering Stewards.

  14. The people above make an excellent point.
    DRS should be used in a place that makes a point on the track not normally an overtaking point into a possible overtaking point or a very difficult one a bit easier.
    Not an easy one a certainty.

  15. Agreed… With any luck the drivers will be able to make some good moves at the other overtaking areas around the track (namely turn 6 & 11) that we’ll all be talking about come monday morning.

  16. I agree with the comments above. The DRS zone should not be on that straight, as we always get overtaking into turn 14 (or at least appear to from what I can remember).

    That’s a bit of a shame, hopefully we don’t just see every overtake happen at that one corner. We haven’t had that so far this season, but maybe that will be the case here. It will be interesting to see.

  17. I have to say this is getting silly now, the whole DRS thing should be scraped. It basicly amounts to cutting the leading drivers engine power when someones behind him, it’s not racing, it’s not overtaking, it’s manufactured pap for people with no attention span.

    1. 100% agree.

  18. Advantage KERS is amplified. Charlie and his McLaren-Ferrari tango.

  19. As others have said, the DRS zone is way too long on that straight definitely.

    The problem there is that at the beginning of that straight you are going to punch the KERS button to pull you out of turn 13 at this point the aero drag isn’t too bad so the DRS wouldn’t be a massive effect anyway, there will be a point where drag does play significantly into it (and possibly after your KERS runs out) before the DRS zone but it will be fairly short, you then hit your DRS just as drag becomes a real issue at high speeds and you sail past your opponent.

    If I were the opponent I would then save my KERS for the drive out of the final corner and try to get a run at them into turn 1 but with the entry speed, braking while turning and bump that might be very difficult.

    However I now have a few questions:

    1) DRS rules – I presume the car behind can use DRS to pass and then if clean past just leave it wide open until the braking zone – possibly making a huge advantage and ruining the racing at the end of the straight?
    2) The ‘passed car’ cannot activate once the other person is past? (I very much suspect this is the case)

    And one more point:

    Gear ratios: due to the length of the DRS zone you would dearly love to have a HUGE top gear so you can sail past and keep going but this will heavily damage your top speed when you aren’t in the DRS zone (most of the race) – this may negate *some* (but by no means all) of the big advantages of the long DRS zone – I suspect people will not run massively long top gears because it will hurt their average pace too much so you are going to see lots of cars bouncing off limiters all the way down that straight with DRS on. Either that or people will run a sixth gear that does most of the work on the straight most laps and use seventh as an overdrive but surely they would lose too much advantage around the rest of the track with such a long sixth? This would be the best setup for quali/race mix though I would think as you will need all the pace you can get down the back straight.

    Anyway – DRS, I think it’s a stop-gap measure to reduce the problems of ‘dirty air’ from the aero to get us through to a better solution (return of ground effect) in a few seasons time. With the lack of a better current resolution I think it’s ‘OK’ and probably better than watching fast cars follow slow ones around without being able to get close to passing, let alone 2 title contenders nose to tail trying to scare each other off the track with no real hope of it.

    Sorry if this post is a bit long!

  20. It seems like the FIA might be a bit out of touch with the average viewer. Like all sports, F1 needs to attract new viewers. With all the technical elements like KERS, DRS etc are fanatic heaven, this just seems like a complication too far.

    It’s like having to explain the offside rule, and then it has variants for each pitch you play on.

    Entertainment is good. Simple is also good. Can’t we just have it for the main straight on every GP?

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