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

2011 Chinese Grand Prix

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

  1. SirCoolbeans (@sircoolbeans) said on 13th April 2011, 11:32

    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.

  2. maxthecat said on 13th April 2011, 12:05

    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.

  3. Lord Ha Ha said on 13th April 2011, 12:11

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

  4. 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!

  5. Benc said on 13th April 2011, 12:33

    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?

  6. HounslowBusGarage said on 13th April 2011, 12:57

    What will the effect be of having the ‘detection point’ so far away from the ‘activation point’? It looks about 4-500 metres to me.
    I’m guess that the activation point is so far down the straight in order to control the final velocity of the cars as they arrive at turn 14 – is there limited run-off there?

    • The rest of my answer is further down the thread because I didn’t hit the reply button but as for the activation point issue, the detection zone is right at a very sharp slow left hand corner and then a quicker but not ‘fast’ right hander – this means that you are more likely to get to within a second within the detection zone due to the concertina effect of braking/accelerating. It’s also a more mechanical grip dependant section.

      I suspect this is because the next corner (or curve rather) is much more aero dependant than the corner the detection point is on. This means that you would lose ground through there if you are close due to dirty air and this is what the DRS is supposed to compensate for.

      That is to say – it measures people at a point where they have been least affected by aero and then lets them make up for the ground lost from travelling so close once they get to the straight…

      • HounslowBusGarage said on 13th April 2011, 15:25

        I understand, but surely if the right hand curve after the detection point is, as you say, more aero dependent and if you are going to lose ground there, by the time both cars get round to the activation point there’s going to be too much space between the cars for the DRS to make any difference.
        Not good English, but I hope it’s intelligible!

        • I can see what you are saying however the DRS system will work to it’s maximum differential over non activation under 2 conditions

          1) High speed
          2) Outside of a slipstream

          The reason for this is because when you are at low speed or in a slipstream your drag is less than it would be at high speed or when your car is breaking the air itself.

          If you are a second or so behind (even if you have dropped another tenth back through the right hander) your car is probably not picking up much of a tow any more however this means that you will get a large differential of using the DRS compared to if you had not been able to use it. You are knocking off huge drag in this case. You will then close up on your opponent much quicker as he still has a lot of drag and you will then slipstream him giving you a double aero advantage. The further down the straight you get the higher the speed gets and the air gets MUCH harder to break through, increasing your advantage all the way. When you pop out to overtake you lose the tow but you are now ‘sling shooting’ around the other car and you are probably nearing vmax meaning that your advantage of reduced drag from the DRS is actually operating at it’s maximum potential relative to a non activated DRS – as long as your gearing allows it you should be significantly quicker than the car without DRS activated.

          The effect of DRS down that straight *should* be much greater than the slight aero disadvantage of that right hander.

  7. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 13th April 2011, 13:29

    why 902 ?

    what was the problem with 900? I wonder how long was the meeting to decide: “900 is waaaaaaaay to short, we need AT LEAST 902 meters”

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 13th April 2011, 13:31

      Someone is being paid to make that decision, don’t belittle their job! ;)

      Enough sarcasm?

      • DaveW said on 13th April 2011, 15:19

        Maybe it’s a lucky number.

        The whole enterprise is absurd. Somebody with a calculator is deciding now whether how much excitement we should have to take. Do we not recall all the great battles into 14 last year? Hamilton had to work to get by Schumacher, for example, and that was good stuff. But who likes battles when we can have passes. Welcome to the Show.

  8. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 13th April 2011, 13:30

    Seems sensible to me. I think Sepang was just on the threshold between allowing drivers to get within enough to battle it out with their brakes, not just allowing them to actually get in front before the corner.

  9. HounslowBusGarage – going off memory if your brakes failed you would be in serious trouble but the run off area is quite generous. I don’t think the final velocity has too much to do with the placement it’s more the calculation of overtaking chance.

    The driver can use it at all times in quali so it’s not a safety issue related to run-off.

  10. scoobiesnoop said on 13th April 2011, 14:59

    I am not a fan of the new moveable rear wing but if they have it why mess about with where you can and can’t use it. Drivers can use it wherever they want during practise and qualifying so why stop them in the race. I just think sometmes the FIA make rules for the sake of making rules. Just let them race and utilise all the tools available to them!!

  11. alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 13th April 2011, 15:37

    I’m sure that by the time the DRS is activated they’ll be doing 160 to 170 mph anyway, so the effect will be minimal.

    • Surely then it would have *maximum* effect. The faster you are going to more effect it will have.

  12. Daz-18-11 said on 13th April 2011, 15:54

    it is probably set to 900m for safety reason else they would be going too fast into the brakeing zone

  13. bendanarama said on 13th April 2011, 16:23

    in regards to the 902 metres, my guess would be its 900 of track plus the approximate length of an f1 car.

  14. Bill said on 13th April 2011, 17:12

    These rules only serve to reinforce how much of a cheap gimmick DRS actually is.

  15. smifaye (@smifaye) said on 13th April 2011, 17:46

    I’d have it down the home straight, as the back straight already should provide overtaking opportunities. This could make overtakes too easy. But having said this maybe putting elsewhere would make overtaking FAR too easy. Creating two good chances of overtakes could be a bad thing.

    One thing that disappointed me in Malaysia with the DRS is what Alonso said. He complained about his DRS not working on the straight, meaning he had to make a move elsewhere on the track! Yes you need to plan your overtake and do it in a place where you are quicker than your rival, but to have one overtaking spot on a race isn’t a good thing in my opinion. They should be pushing for an overtake in other parts of the track, not just the DRS zone.

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