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. HounslowBusGarage
    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?

      1. Oops…excuse my dodgy link. It does work.

    1. 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…

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        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!

        1. 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.

          1. HounslowBusGarage
            13th April 2011, 20:16

            Understand. Let’s see how it works out on Sunday.

  2. 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”

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

      Enough sarcasm?

      1. 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.

        1. To be fair, F1 has always been about calculators so there’s nothing new there. That’s one of the things that excites me so much about it.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. scoobiesnoop
    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!!

  6. 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.

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

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

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

    1. HounslowBusGarage
      13th April 2011, 20:20

      Hardly. Two metres is six feet seven inches. An F1 car is well over four metres.

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

  10. 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.

  11. Long Straights suck big time.

    Far much better are long semi curves as the ones the old Hockenheim had. Where it’s not only going fast, but also withstanding the G forces that pull the car outside constantly.

    Same as U turns (also called 180’s). If the outgoing lane is not wide enough to allow multiple racing lines, and allow cars to begin accelerating earlier without rolling to the outside….

    Some people just watch 22 cars going around a track…. some others watch a race.

  12. I saw “MS” on the map and I thought it was Michael Schumacher’s position going down after every turn and straight

  13. Good lord. Some people watch racing for the crashes – at the moment, I’m not watching the racing at all – or at least, the speedy driving that some people insist on calling racing.

    But am watching the regulations and commentary on them for one crash in particular: The train wreck that the sport has become.

    Isn’t it about time for you guys to sit up, shake the dust out of your eyes, and say, ‘Hey, wait a minute! This whole thing is insane!’?

    You’re actually having a conversation about how to correctly position an “overtaking zone” so that there’s jussssst the right amount of passing.

    Can you not see the utter repulsiveness of this?

    Hasn’t enough time gone by for the “let’s wait and see” people to have seen the farce this has made of the sport? Or have you all become so blinded by the false excitement that you can’t remember a time when the racing wasn’t custom-designed to create just the perfect blend of passing and speed and danger to meet the target demographic of new viewers?

    With the level of outright support (and sympathiser-style discussion about implementation which legitimizes DRS) I’m seeing here, “f1traitor” would be a more suitable moniker for this site. I’ve tried to think of a less inflammatory word for it, but I don’t think there is one.


    1. sympathiser-style discussion about implementation which legitimizes DRS […] “f1traitor” would be a more suitable moniker for this site.

      Seriously? I think you’re getting a bit carried away.

      First, I’m obviously not going to censor people just because they disagree with you.

      Second, you are far from the first person to point out that discussing where drivers should get overtaking assistance does not reflect well on F1.

      We’ve had discussions about DRS before, we’ll have them again, but if you want people to take your point of view seriously I’d ratchet down the rhetoric by few dozen decibels.

      1. I didn’t – and don’t – advocate censoring anybody. But I do advocate passion for F1.

        And I find it odd that the guy who started f1fanatic is condemning me for being… fanatical about f1. DRS is not just a blip or a little experiment – it’s a fundamental change, a signifier of a complete tearing-down of the nature of motorsport.

        If it’s taken to heart by other series, it could easily see most forms of racing turn into farces like this.

        It wasn’t actually Hemingway who said this, but its spirit (despite my distaste for the other sports) is there: “There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.”

        DRS turns motor racing into a game. It is worth being fanatical about. It is worth making enough noise about that you not only noticed but replied. There are times for quiet, polite reasoning; this is not one of them. DRS – not the thing itself; that’s minor; I refer to the paradigm shift it represents – is the end of motorsport. I am not exaggerating.

        If a team were to employ a remote method to speed up one car so it could overtake the other, there would be outrage. If the FIA hit little buttons to slow down leading car at its whim, to make for more close racing, there would be outrage. If cars that had fallen behind were gradually given more and more power, there would be outrage.

        But DRS is the same as those – or worse – at its most fundamental level. This isn’t just about “does not reflect well” or “discussions about DRS”. DRS is a calculated and premeditated attack on the soul of racing. And what do you advocate? Polite discussion? No. This is not the time for that.

        As long as DRS exists in its current form, ‘discussions’ and nitpicking about overtaking zones and activation areas is, to use a cliche, like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. This is the time for someone like you, Keith, to throw your entire weight behind fighting DRS tooth and nail. Every resource you have should be dedicated to that goal, because as long as DRS exists, and as long as it opens the door for further such things, there is no F1 to be fanatical about.

        This blog is discussing a sport that no longer exists. The only thing that should be left to do is to get it back, not tiptoe around trying to figure out the best way to implement F1’s bullet to the head.

        1. Let’s just wait and see

        2. I loved this rage. Surely we need more of this and some action please, not just brushing it under the carpet with considered comments. The pen is mightier than the sword, but let’s use a big fat permanent one at the very least.

          Problem is, whoever dreams up this DRS garbage has absolutely way too much power and no sense of what racing was and no isn’t because of this farce.

          I too get incensed when DC speaks to Nikki Lauda and thinks that a turbo button is the same thing.. arggghhh! This is why quiet bullet points do not work with this debate… the FIA and nincompoops like DC connected to obliging teams do not listen to us!

  14. Yet more Super Mario antics. I’m certain we are just a few races away from picking up shrooms for more vrooms.

    Crass, artificial drivel. Really no place in F1, or rather what used to be F1.

  15. Can’t believe we’re talking about this. Doesn’t feel like F1.

  16. First, Why limiting the use of DRS? i mean
    this is a track with a long straight but thats not a fault of the team or pilot, i think they should use it all straight if they want, because as spectator i want to see something new happening

  17. I guess that on this track we will see some artificial racing.I still think that the DRS should have been use in the main straight.

  18. This decision is just to favour Red Bulls championship.
    It is a circuit. You can race on it. so use it all for god sake FIA!!!

  19. Since the back straight is actually a pretty decent overtaking spot already that has constantly seen action over the years, why not make the main straight along the start-finish straight as the DRS activation point? I mean, only that will the action spice up…and more overtaking opportunities will be created.

  20. Here is something that DRS could produce (I’m not quite sure how to look at it – it’s racing but a weird kind, anyway):

    Button and Hamilton are tearing down the straight between turns 10 and 11 coming up to the detection zone (which is basically ON turn 11). Button is in front of Hamilton coming up to turn 11 but he knows that Hamilton will have DRS and a long drag down the main straight pretty much guaranteeing a pass. What does he do? Answer – brake early let Hammy slide past into turn 11 (off line) and then pick up his tow through 12/13 and onto the main straight.

    Button will then have:

    a) a better line out of 11 and 12 – therefore better pick up through 12/13
    b) a VERY good close tow on Hamilton
    c) DRS for the straight

    Hamilton would basically be helpless he can’t move to break the tow (as we well know) so all he can do is watch all the way down the straight as Button storms past and into the distance. The only other option would be to let Button past again through 12/13 which just gets silly because everyone starts losing fist fulls of time it would be like a bleeding slow bike race!

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