Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Shanghai, 2011

Drag Reduction Systems: Your verdict

Debates and pollsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Shanghai, 2011
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Shanghai, 2011

Three races into F1’s experiment with the controversial “Drag Reduction Systems”, is it a success or a failure?

It may have increased overtaking, but has it done so in a way that’s to the detriment of the sport?

Or is any pass a good pass, as far as you’re concerned? Have your say on how DRS has changed Formula 1.

For

In races, drivers are allowed to activate their Drag Reduction Systems when they’re within one second of another car (including lapped cars). This helps them catch up to make an overtaking move.

In the first three races of the year we’ve seen several examples of the DRS working, such as Nick Heidfeld’s pass on Lewis Hamilton in Sepang and Mark Webber’s on Jenson Button in Shanghai.

The rule aims to address the problem drivers have experienced trying to overtake in recent years.

Nico Rosberg is a big fan of the way the adjustable rear wings are used in races, describing them as “best idea ever probably” earlier this week.

Against

The chief complaint about DRS is that it gives one driver an advantage which the other driver does not have. It’s been likened to the FIA limiting the top speed of a leading car so that the car behind it can try to overtake.

F1 should be able to have exciting races without resorting to gimmicks which are fundamentally unsporting.

The system has also proved unreliable, with worrying implications. Fernando Alonso’s DRS opened incorrectly during the Chinese Grand Prix. Failures such as this could cause a driver to lose control and crash, or improperly gain an advantage.

I say

I enjoy watching the technology of moveable rear wings in practice and qualifying, when all the drivers are free to use it when they choose. It gives us another way to appreciate what the driver is doing behind the wheel.

But the way the technology is used in races is clearly unfair – something F1 fans picked up on when the rule was first announced last year.

We have seen more overtaking this year thanks to the new Pirelli tyres and the return of KERS. But DRS crosses a line.

It is an artificial device used to create unimpressive, ‘slam-dunk’ passes. It diminishes the spectacle instead of enhancing it.

The best wheel-to-wheel racing we’ve seen this year happened without DRS – such as Alonso’s battle with Hamilton in Sepang and Hamilton’s passes on Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel in Shanghai.

These moves were enjoyable because they were genuine racing rather than an artificially engineered show.

You say

What do you think of how DRS is used in races?

Tick ALL the statements you agree with below to show your opinion – and have your say in the comments.

Which of these statements about DRS do you AGREE with?

  • DRS has made F1 races more exciting this year (51%)
  • DRS is the only thing that has made F1 races more exciting this year (1%)
  • F1 should try running some DRS-free races (41%)
  • F1 should try running some races with more than one DRS zone (38%)
  • DRS makes F1 races too artificial (28%)
  • The rules on using DRS in races are unfair (32%)
  • I do not agree with any of the statements above (3%)

Total Voters: 573

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211 comments on “Drag Reduction Systems: Your verdict”

  1. We all know the modern aerodynamics make the cars faster and harder to follow. We want to keep it fast but make it easier to follow. The 2009 rule changes showed its hard to make them easier to follow, so we need to find another way. If the aerodynamics mean a car has to follow 1 second further behind than without aerodynamics then the DRS should be tuned so that the car can close up 1 second heading towards an overtaking place. This then gives neither driver the advantage it just negates the negative effect of the aero’s turbulence on the car behind. Allowing drivers to race as much as they could before aero took over.

    1. I don’t mind seeing lap times 5 seconds slower if the racing is better. I know F1 wants to be green but more power/less downforce is the only way to make the racing better and still keep similar lap times. So in my opinion, reduce downforce and accept slower lap times, and the racing will improve.

      1. Actually getting rid of downforce will help begin green a lot by getting rid of drag. And that means going faster in a straight line with less effort.

        Just look at cars like the Toyota prius and the Volt. They have low drag to help them be fuel efficient.

        1. Neither are exactly known for their straight line speed or acceleration. In reality, they are both a bit doggish. Also, a large part of their fuel efficiency is their relatively low weight, as that is a critical factor. In general, you need a bit of down force to counter lift at high speeds (the main reason for governors on alot of cars is to keep the car at a safe speed due to lift issues). In addition, more power with less down force means that braking zones are going to increase dramatically and the run off areas will have to increase dramatically as a result. In addition, accidents will be MUCH worse if they involve a brake failure, a slow car (Mark Webber/Heikki Kovalainen @ Valencia, 2010), or a misjudgement/failure involving a wall (Kubica @ Canada, 2007). Last I heard, people care more about safe cars than green cars, if you don’t believe me, look up the Prius fiasco Toyota had in the US.

          1. While all that you write there is probalby true (not too sure about low weight, with all the batteries), it does not really relate to what I wrote, i.e. that less drag makes for better fuel efficiency.

            In no way was it an attempt to promote nor discuss the actuall driving advantages and disadvantages of such cars.

        2. We shouldn’t be advocating to get rid of downforce, merely for the rules to allow teams to generate downforce in different ways like with ground effect.

          I like the DRS, it doesn’t create a slam dunk, but it made China one of the most exciting races in years. I will watch F1 regardless of what they do, but I like the DRS, though I see it as more of a temporary fix until regulations that promote for passing come to the fore in 2013.

      2. but the thing is those solutions have been tried every which way they can for the last 20+ years…. and they have never worked… because teams always find ways to maximise performance… In fact there is a strong argument that actually attempts to do this have just made the matter worse… time after time after time… Reducing downforce by regulation just makes the downforce that they can get even more important… and even more fragile.

        Personally I still have questions about DRS, but I do feel that with each race we are seeing improvements in how its implemented and the effects it is having on the race are ‘better’.

        In KL it was a bit to ‘push to pass’ but we still had some great racing around it, in China it was less push to pass and it also had an effect elsewhere on the track…

        How many of the passes down into turn one happened because of the position that the following driver was able to take after using the DRS earlier in the lap?

        How much were the drivers racing and fighting in order to take advantage of or defend against the usage of DRS later in the lap?

        How many overtaking opportunities were created elsewhere on the lap because of this?

        The thing is drivers don’t just make a move into a single corner, they often setup moves corners and laps in advance… if you want to hear about this listen to Lewis talking to Jake, Martin and DC on the Forum after the race… he describes how he made a number of the overtakes he made and talks about the planning and preparation that went into some of them.

        1. I completely agree with this, DRS wasn’t a slam dunk in the last race between equal or nearly equal cars (Lewis and Jenson) many of the passes elsewhere on the track were helped by DRS but the drivers needed to fight for them.

          1 more thing, at one point when Webber was trying to take… Petrov I think it was, Petrov had been fighting him for a couple of laps and Mark was getting very close, Petrov obviously yielded to him just before the DRS detection zone, he then however locked up into the braking zone and fell too far back.

          I’m wondering if he had though he might let Webber through and then use the fact that he was right up under his wing to actually catch DRS and drag back past him down the straight (the Renault was blatantly a faster car on the straight). This shows another way in which this is still under the control of the driver and therefore ‘real’ racing.

          He did make a shambles of it though…

          1. So you’re saying drivers lifting off to let cars past is ‘real’ racing? Come on, that is about as artificial as you can get on a race track. I’m sorry, I cannot take you serious when you call that ‘real’ racing. Nico did it in Malaysia and its so artificial its untrue. Drivers should be fighting to be ahead into every corner, not using these technicalities to get ahead.

          2. No Baz… what he is saying that drivers using their brains as well as their talents is what real racing is about.

            As for drivers fighting to be ahead at every corner… sorry but have you ever watched drivers racing through a series of corners… its not just about being in front its about position on the track, its about using the racing line and forcing other drivers onto unfavourable parts of the track….

            Did you watch any of the races in the turbo ear when drivers used to turn the boost up so they could pass and then turning it back down to race…. It was even more artificial than DRS and was something that was completely at the drivers control as to when they used it… the defending driver had no clue as to when they would be passed by a turbo boost.

            I understand and agree with your concerns Baz, I just happen to think you are taking them to the point you are throwing the baby out with the bath water. This season has gotten off to a great start when you compare it to recent seasons (going right the way back to the 90s) and in part that has to do with DRS… Yes it was a bit too easy to pass with it in Malaysia, but I think in China it was pretty much spot on…. and the result was a fantastic race…

          3. Andy, isn’t the boost equivalent to what KERS is now? A different argument I know, but another topic of interest. I agree entirely about track position and racing through a series of corners, my choice of wording wasn’t great to illustrate the point I was trying to make. It kind of goes along with ‘the drivers should be allowed to race flat out’ which would make the races even more boring in my opinion as the fast cars would be at the front, and the slowest would get left behind. Different argument again, but, it raises a question; to have real, entertaining races, do we HAVE to remove out-and-out racing?

          4. KERS is somewhat similar to boost in certain areas, both deliver more power to the driver but how they do it is very different, I am no expert so don’t quote me on this but boost allowed the driver to effectively turn the wick up on the engine allowing a 1.5l engine to produce anything up to 1500bhp (yes 1500) more than doubling the power of the engine for short periods of time… with the risk being the engines would occasionally explode.

            Also this was done entirely within the engine, they didn’t need any other equipment or do anything that would otherwise affect the handling, braking, weight distribution or anything.

            Turbos were banned due to the growing expense of running them, teams would use 2-4 engines per pace per car and the top teams used to run specialised qualifier engines that could only do a handful of laps before having to be scraped or rebuilt. There were also a number of turbo engines that exploded (not just in F1, but other motorsport categories as well).

            It will be interesting to see them if they get brought back, and to see what the regs say about boost…

        2. Andy W – well said.

          It’s easy to say “take off the downforce” and harder to do in practice.

          One thing I’m not sure of is why allowing more under body ground effect, as was done to good effect in GP2 cars, can’t be explored more in F1. Ground effect is less dependent on clean air and I always wondered why this path was off limits in F1. But you’re right, you still need to reduce topside aero efficiency for it to work and you will still have the teams clawing it back in a way which makes the cars more dependent than ever on clean air. Short of banning all wings and coming up with a silhouette that looks something like a mid 60s F1 car, I could never think of a high confidence way to reverse the turbulence deficit and the racing stale mate.

          I’m generally as much a purist as anyone but I realized years ago that divergent tyre compounds and high wear was probably the least egregious of the available options for preventing processional races and the “track position is everything” style of racing we had. Then I was highly skeptical of DRS because of the arbitrary way it assigns performance, but in practice I have warmed to it. Someone got his sums right about how long a DRS zone should be and how much drag to remove, and the key point is that it can now be fine-tuned by circuit to avoid slam dunk passing. Cr@ppy tyres and DRS are both artificial solutions, of course, but we already have a formula where engine performance is somewhat standardized, and tweaked from time to time by the FIA for particular motors, everyone is fine with one team getting a disproportionate share of the FOM money (not results related), and the rules are so massively prescribed and restrictive, that I would argue the whole thing is artificial in that sense, and has been for some time. It crept up on us, didn’t it?

          The other problem (apart from turbulent air) is that the purpose of engineering is to systematically remove sources of performance variability – that’s what performance optimization is and does. So tyre companies can make much more consistent, fast and durable rubber than they did in the 80s, teams have the simulation and other capabilities to approach the performance asymptote more consistently, and the whole field tends towards a performance optimum, which automatically means cars will tend to line up two by two and then slowly spread out. In short, more widespread engineering excellence and control will lead to more processional races anyway and you can’t turn back the clock. So, I accept these somewhat artificial innovations in the knowledge that we’re not returning to 1986 whether we want to or not. There was a period when it looked like the safety car was being used, NASCAR style, to scramble the form book at key moments in a race, could effectively DNF certain drivers in certain races, and the best argument anyone could make for it was (worst argument ever): “it’s the same for everyone”. I can only reflect that what we have now is far better than that.

          1. Just saw that there is a plan to use more ground effect in F1, so no need to answer that question, I guess.

    2. That’s why the FIA intends to bring back ground-effect in 2013.

      That way cars are less dependent on the air flow and can follow in the slipstream through corners and use the slipstream on the straight, where DRS is used now.

      1. BasCB – very good point, and another to add to why reducing downforce would be a step in the right direction.

        Sasquatsch – I actually wasn’t aware of that but that is great news – hopefully that will make a big, big difference.

        1. but they have been trying to reduce downforce for years…. we have had new set of regulations after new set of regulations all with the basic principle of reducing downforce at the heart of the regulations…

          and things have gotten worse and worse…. now we actually have something different and its working…. no its not perfect yet, but hey its only been used fro 3 races… lets keep thinking outside the box and keep on working at making it work better….

          1. but at the end of the day it is fake. I don’t care how effective it is, its simply not genuine. These are some of the brightest minds in the world, surely they can think of something more genuine?

          2. well they have tried for years… decades Baz and they have repeatedly failed….

            as for it being ‘fake’… motor sport is ‘fake’ because the cars are artificial creations that are created to exist within a set of rules and regulations… those regulations and rules are the same for all teams so as far as i am concerned its fair…

            I must admit I do think that DRS is artificial but its an artificial solution to an artificial problem created by car designers determination to push every set of rules and regulations to the maximum. I also wouldn’t be surprised if by the end of this season that teams and drivers hadn’t figured out ways to use DRS that completely break the intention of the moveable rear wing flap.

          3. I’ve gotta admit I’m kinda lost reading that! You’re bringing philosophy into motorsport, kudos to you :P

    3. We all know the modern aerodynamics make the cars faster and harder to follow.

      Yeah – in the CORNERS. Not on the straights.
      That’s the crucial distinction here. If the cars could follow each other closely in the corners, then you wouldn’t need the silly DRS to help the second car on the straight, because it would be in his rival’s slipstream entering the straight already.

      1. but how do you get cars that can follow each other closely in the corners?

        1. ground effect!

          1. and what are the risks and dangers of ground effect…. its not a new solution, and it did get banned for a reason… because it became incredibly dangerous.

          2. then simply kerb the regulations – they reduced downforce by 33% yet the designers ended up with more than previously. So take awake another 50% of what they’re allowed. Eventually the downforce will be reduced. Put simply, for the racing to improve, downforce HAS to be reduced.

          3. Seriously Baz they have been trying to do that for decades…. The more they try and take away the more different areas that designers will find to get it back….

            The idea behind DRS is that its a simple system that reduces downforce/drag, but does so only at certain parts of the race which can then be dictated and controlled by the race stewards setting the usage rules. The idea behind it is that by doing it this way teams struggle to optimise their cars for it (hence the concerns about 7th gear) and by doing so it gives drivers a greater chance to race…. which is what happened in China…

            My advice is to watch and see how this season unfolds… lets see what happens at circuits like Monte Carlo, Hungry and Brazil where DRS is going to be less effective simply because of the lack of places to use it… Lets have a look and see what happens if there are 2 shorter activation zones that allow for close following rather than overtaking….

          4. I’m totally with you on your outlook as to improving racing, I just would love there to be something fundamentally changed in the rules concerning downforce so the DRS would not be needed at all, while still allowing for great racing. It’s a good point that no matter what is done, the engineers will find ways around them. I agree also tracks like Hungary and Monaco will mean it is less effective, but say on these tracks a train of 4 or 5 cars are within 1 second of each other, particularly at Monaco where it could be most of the grid between laps 3-8, the whole race will be crazy!

          5. Taking downforce away doesn’t help. The problem is the dependency of downforce on free air.

            After a while the downforce on the car is so advanced that every bit of airflow is used. If that gets a bit disrupted then a big chunk of downforce goes away and the car can’t follow.

            The answer is SIMPLER downforce. Don’t allow too much elements on the wings and they won’t be able to direct every tiny bit of airflow.

          6. that is actually a very good point patrick – they removed elements and fins from the body but not from the wing. Perhaps making the wings simple will have a much greater impact, while being relatively simple to alter. Great point that one.

      2. Which begs the question: where are they going to put the DRS zone at Monaco?

        My suggestion: the whole circuit. That should make things interesting.

        1. Monaco won’t have a DRS zone.

          1. Do you know that for sure, or just speculating?

  2. I’m not a fan of the DRS at all.

    I’m in full agreement with the previous article on the Pirelli tyres.

    I don’t know the stats (maybe you could help with this Keith) but I think there may have been more overtaking outside the DRS zone in China.

    Watching those overtaking maneuvers were much more exciting then in an ‘overtaking’ zone.

  3. Not a fan at all. 1000bhp+ cars with little downforce is what it should be about. Even keeping the 750bhp engines they have now but reduce aero enough to make throttle control much more delicate than it is with the huge downforce the cars have nowadays. The great drivers can really surface then, even in sub-standard cars. Would really, really love to see this happen.

    1. and how many drivers do you think would end up being killed :-/ There is a reason why F1 moved away from that idea… fast cars that are pushing the very edges of being drivable are incredibly dangerous… I remember the deaths of more than a few truly great drivers who ran out of ‘grip’ rather than talent.

      1. not many, look at Kubica 2007, the cars aren’t tin cans any more.

        1. No, but a lot more speed with a lot less grip isn’t going to help is it?

          The high HP low downforce… is a foolish idea, and would set F1 safety back 20 years.

      2. to add to this, if you bring in ground effect AND reduce downforce, will that not keep similar speeds (equally as safe) yet allow the racing to be closer and more genuine?

        1. According to Jackie Stewart ground effects are dangerous becuase once the car bounces mid corner, large amounts of grip evaporate immediately. Ground effects need a controlled airflow between the tarmac and floor of the car, with a bump, that distrubs the “ground effect” and could send a driver wide in an instant. Scary if you are going through Eau Rouge or the 190r

      3. Kubica was incredibly lucky to walk out of that accident… yes modern cars are far safer than the cars of yesteryear… but when a drivers feet are hanging out the front of cockpit as Kubica’s then all it takes is a little bad luck and…

        The thing is the more accidents we have of that nature the more likely it is that a driver will be ‘unlucky’… Over the last few seasons we have seen a number of accidents in which drivers were incredibly lucky to walk away uninjured or with as ‘small’ injuries as they have sustained… and much as I love F1 and I love to see a big smash I always have my heart in my mouth because I can still see Senna’s accident when I watched that race live… I can remember seeing other drivers going up in flames and being carried off hugely injured or dead from a number of different motor sports not just F1… and its something I hope to never see again in these sports that I love.

        Ground effect is great, until something happens to break it… such as a damaged skirt or the car hitting a high curb/debris or whatever and then the the effect is lost and the car becomes a skipping stone. The other thing is ground effect allows for cars to carry far greater speed through corners which is where it becomes even more dangerous if the effect is broken.

        I still struggle to see what you consider genuine… the sport is fundamentally not ‘genuine’ its full of factors that unfair to drivers and teams… How is it fair that Vettle has a far better car that Di Resta, how is it fair he has had a better car 3 races in a row than his team mate? How is it fair that Renault have a better launch control system than the rest of the field? Or that McLaren probably spend as much on designing their overalls as HRT spends on designing its front wing?

        The thing is that none of that is fair… the only thing that is fair is that the rules and regulations are the same for all teams and drivers… All drivers have access to DRS, they all know where it can be used and in what circumstances it can be used…. to my way of thinking it’s then up to them to make the most of the tools at their finger tips… If thats the resources that McLaren can put into developing their car, Red Bull using the sheer genius of Adrian Newey, Renault using their fast starting cars and systems, driver A following driver B by less than a second over the DRS line…. then that is racing.

        1. Andy – I like you. You have a passion to debate on here which I’m really enjoying.

          The points on ground effect are true, and I most certainly don’t enjoy seeing accidents like Kubica’s, but I think the sport would benefit from a re-introduction of ground effect. Maybe brought in, but to less of an effect s in the past (a bit like the downforce regulations now compared to 2008, for instance). I know the teams will claw some of that deficit back but it can surely be made light enough so that even when pushed massively it can be made safe.

          As defining fair, thats a tough one I know. The way I look at it is when it comes to over taking, it should be about the drivers and the car in one set state (if thats worded easily to understand). So the drivers do their practice, do their qualy, choose a setup they believe is correct (e.g. some choose more wing, some choose less), and then when it comes to racing on track it is about the drivers racing in the cars in these set states, based on decisions they’ve made throughout the grand prix weekend. Thats a very basic view on it but its hard to try and describe in a few words. I hope thats easy(ish) to understand!

          1. Yeah I am enjoying the debate as well :-)

            They are planning to re-introduce ground effect in 2013, so we will have to see how they do it, however I doubt that the teams will be able to use some of the tricks around skirts that they have in the past… my understanding is that teams will be given more freedom to sculpt the undersides of the cars and get them lower to the ground, beyond that I don’t really know much (but I am sure some other people here might….)

            I understand the points you have made and will say that DRS is actually an attempt to get away from that, because that was producing increasingly staid races – still thrilling in their own way to watch as a purist, but generally less exciting. The thing is the teams and designers are too good at what they do… they develop cars that will maximise the amount of use they can get out of the air going over the car, the more the regs striped away the ability to do that more important it became to do it… because the advantages of doing it in terms of performance outweigh the penalties of not doing it… and those penalties are that following other cars becomes more difficult.

            I tend to think of F1 as trying to balance a pea on top of a balloon on top of a spinning pole, there are different competing elements and they all have to be constantly judged and changed to keep the pea in place, and really the only control over that process the FIA has is by changing the regs… they need to meet different requirements. DRS is an attempt to do that and i think its working… and I assume the clever people who do the sums and work out the implementation for it at each race are working as hard as they can to balance the needs of it giving close racing without it becoming a joke.

        2. to add to this too – say in qualy, the teams can use DRS all the time, so they set the cars up to have more downforce than usual, as they can use this in the corners while not suffering on the straights. There will be a balance issue there but say for all intents and purposes the teams will run more downforce with DRS being there, as it will gain them lap time. This will then further increase the turbulent air behind the cars as they will be set up to run with more downforce that if DRS wasn’t used (or used to heavily in qualifying perhaps). Things could be improved with respect to qualifying with the DRS that would aid racing, and they could be simple small changes, like not using it in qualy.

          1. I wish they would change the regs on using DRS in quali… have it free on friday to give the boffins the chance to study its effect over free practice (maybe require teams to do a series of laps with free usage and no usage).

            Then set the distances check them in P3, and then set ‘race’ conditions for quali except allow drivers to use the wing in its given spot on their flying laps.

        3. What is genuine is everyone having the same rules to work within [i]at all times[/i].

  4. Not a fan of DRS
    I think pirelli tyres have provided use with more exciting overtaking than DRS

    1. Totally agree ron.

  5. I think that the DRS worked fine in Australia. It enabled cars to follow close behind to get into a position to overtake elsewhere in the lap. And it enabled cars clearly faster to get past, avoiding trains following drivers over a second off the pace.
    But I agree with the argument, that F1 should not have artificial things to make that happen, its not as if it is that hard. As Head said a few years ago, take away the rear wing and they will be closer on track!

    With the tyres making it interesting and giving multiple strategies that push drivers to overtake to make it work I really think they should try a race without any use of DRS in the race to see weather it is really needed.

    1. “As Head said a few years ago, take away the rear wing and they will be closer on track!”

      haha that would be interesting! But it is a very valid point – to improve the racing, the aerodynamics need to be reduced – I know F1 is about aero a lot these days but racing would be better with reduced aero surely?

      1. Remove the rear wing and it’s not F1 anymore – remove the rear wing! Oh hell remove all the aero!

        Put the wheels inside the body work! Let contact happen! Do it on a dirt track! Call it Banger racing!

        1. I think you’re taking Head’s point a bit too literally – he is stating that if you reduce the aero, the cars can follow closer. It’s simple, reduce the aero and these gimmicks don’t need to be brought into the sport. And just to ask, why without a rear wing would it not be F1? Pretty sure the cars didn’t used to have rear wings and some point in history.

          1. Actually he meant it very literally. His next sentence was, that it would not come about as the rear wing offers so good an advertising area!

          2. Haha! The sport will miss Head and Williams when they depart – two of the old school. In whatever context he meant it though, the fact is that downforce is the problem – it seems to me that if you simply reduce it the problem will be solved. Yes, they reduced it before, but the downforce levels themselves were not reduced as the teams soon made up the deficit, which is why we’re in the situation we are now.

          3. Baz, The problem, being turbulent air created behind the cars, is no longer a problem.

            The DRS compensates of that by allowing drivers to gain a speed advantage during the race.

            With this we have seen exciting racing.

            I do not understand your problem. If it is, as I think it is, with only the driver behind being allowed to use it, thus being given an advantage. Consider for one moment, that all the drivers are allowed to get the same advantage, provided they are behind.

            Your argument, is like saying a driver gaining advantage with a quicker pit stop is unfair. In that all drivers are able to get a quicker pit stop, but not all of them actually will.

            How I see it, the DRS has helped to provide some very, very exciting racing. I can’t help but feel this is a good thing.

            I think in the past years the difficulty in making a pass has been rising, I think the DRS counters this, and that for me, is a good thing.

        2. There weren’t wings until the 70s in F1. Lots of things in F1 have been developed and then been outlawed, active suspension for instance. Why would banning wings make it any less F1 than banning other things?

    2. You’re right. The DRS worked perfectly in Australia, where its advantage was at a minimum. In Malaysia and China it seemed like the driver in front was defenseless. The most exciting part of the Malaysian GP was Alonso chasing Hamilton without a functional DRS sytem, and had his rear wing malfunctioned we wouldn’t have caught that exciting battle.

      I’m not completely against the DRS system, but I feel they need to find a balance with the advantage it possesses at different tracks. Plus I think using DRS and KERS at the same time gives the driver behind an unfair advantage, perhaps limiting the use of both of them together might help in finding a better balance. The DRS system is still at a very nascent and experimental stage, and hopefully fine tuning it will appease the critics.

      I think DRS should be dropped from qualifying though.. that whole concept makes absolutely no sense to me.

      1. Great point about DRS in qualifying – the times being set are ridiculous, and there is no consistency with the race. Coulthard meantioned last GP I think it was that the lap times were 7 or 8 seconds slower than qualy? The times in the race would be a lot more comparable if DRS was simply disabled in qualifying, and they would be more genuine.

        1. But qualifying is a seperate spectacle and should be treated as so, in fact it adds to the mix in terms of the race. As we have seen some cars are great in quali and have much slower comparative race pace. I can understand the purist view but for me overtaking is a must be, but not by sacrificing safety, I’m no aerodynamicist (see can’t even spell it) but I do know through F1 history that most regard ground-effects as a dangerous way to control flow. Granted it’s the elimination of dirty air thats key but for the moment does DRS not just simulate that? This whole debate is about desires, needs and can haves. At the moment we all agree F1 NEEDS overtaking, most of us DESIRE it to be in a purist fashion and not synthetic, but there is no other safe solution available at the moment so NEEDS outweigh DESIRE and DRS is the best compromise.

  6. I like the DRS, however I think 1 second, however I think they pose too much of an advantage. I’d rather cars overtake each other under braking in the corner at the end of the straight rather than a vanilla pass on the straight. So, i’d like to see the activation zone shortened with respect to that corner – I think the FIA did this in the end in Shanghai?

    1. 1 second was just a guess at how far extra behind they have to be because of the aerodynamics on the car. If it is just used so that the DRS removes this buffer so overtaking was just as hard is it was before aero and not a “slam dunk” pass then it is certainly a good thing

      1. Very true; I meant to delete that clause (seems like I didnt get around to it though!), my post’ll read better if you ignore the “however I think 1 second”

  7. The chief complaint about DRS is that it gives one driver an advantage which the other driver does not have.

    I disagree with this. The drivers are very smart about how they race. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that Barrichello and Heidfeld are racing one another (I deliberately chose two drivers in the midfield). If Barrichello comes under threat from Heidfeld, he can conserve his KERS device to try and offset Heidfeld’s advantage when they get into the DRS zone. Likewise, Heidfeld can use his KERS to try and keep in touch with Barrichello, then activate his DRS.

    The DRS would only be unfair if that was the only driver aid they had. But the KERS device gives 80bhp for six seconds per lap, which is more than enough to defend when used appropriately. And, as we’ve seen, a simple defensive move across the track can put paid to a KERS- and DRS-assisted passing attempt.

    1. Dragging KERS into this only confuses the matter. The attacking driver can use KERS as well, so it’s entirely irrelevant to the subject of DRS.

      1. That’s not entirely true Keith. As PM pointed out, the defender can use KERS to counter DRS, or use it to break the 1sec prior to DRS activation. The attacker can use KERS to counter KERS as you say, but unlike DRS the attacker does not know where the defender will use KERS, advantage defender.

        Tyres, KERS and DRS are all relevant in each of the “tools” discussion. KERS use affects tyres, Tyres can help achieve the 1sec DRS activation gap, as can KERS, KERS+DRS+Tyres (Tyres = grip and acceleration out of the corner) all impact the overtake on the “DRS straight”.

        1. the attacker does not know where the defender will use KERS.

          But the opposite is also true.

          So, again, KERS is irrelevant in the context of a discussion on the merits of DRS.

          1. Agreed – Dougie, for your first paragraph, swap the words attacker and defender, and it is still valid.

          2. I think PM has a point though, In Shangai, moving across the line did allow some fairly effectiv defence (I clearly remember Heidfield hampering someone by shifting to the right). I was quite surprised Petrov (was it Petrov?) didn’t use the move to defend againts Hamilton.

          3. Mr.Zing Zang
            22nd April 2011, 16:57

            Kieth the main point of the DRS flew over your head like a B52 bomber..you didn’t even meantion it in the article. IT KEEPS THE RACES CLOSE! The driver following gets a mini boost to catch up with the one in front, so an OPPORTUNITY for a pass is created whether the DRS is used to make the pass or not. Can you confirm?

          4. Paragraph five.

    2. Most drivers attacking will save KERS to use when using the DRS, and both together are clearly an unfair advantage to the defending car. Plus, its made things happen like Rosberg lifting in Malaysia just so he could use the DRS on the straight and ensure position gain. Things like that are clearly artificial and ruin the racing for me. They have increased overtaking without improving racing, its improving the racing which is important.

    3. I disagree with you.

      It still gives that one driver an unfair advantage, specially with cars that doesn’t have KERS, or they both use KERS at the same time.

      Your argument about defending with KERS an also apply to the car behind, which can use KERS to come within that one second in the last corner and use KERS as well on the straight as an extra boost, used in conjunction with DRS.

      It is only fair if both drivers can use it.

      1. It is only fair if both drivers can use it.

        Formula 1 is, by nature, unfair. How is it fair that Sebastian Vettel gets to drive an RB7 whilst Narain Karthikeyan is putting around in a Hispania F111, but it is unfair that only one driver in a battle for position can use the DRS?

        1. That’s a specious argument. There’s nothing in the regulations which forces Hispania to make a slower car. Some teams do a better job than others – hence the constructors’ championship – but there’s no inbuilt bias.

        2. Formula 1 is, by nature, unfair.

          How is that an excuse for making it even more unfair?!?

          That’s like seeing a small kid getting beaten up by a bully twice his size, and then giving the bully a baseball bat saying “That fight was unfair from the beginning”.
          What kind of logic is that?

          1. You’re twisting my words.

            And I do the metaphors around here.

        3. F1 is a team sport. It is fair because both teams got to develop cars under the same rules.

    4. Your argument does not add up. As both drivers can use the KERS it still gives the advantage to the chasing driver.

      1. Only if the chasing driver conserves his KERS. A defending driver would use KERS to stay out of reach before the DRS zone, meaning that the chasing driver would need to use KERS to stay in touch with him. It all comes down to who can manage their KERS more effectively and who can produce the better lap – because as we’ve seen, the DRS only gets a driver into a position where he can make a pass happen, but he still has to do a lot of work to make it stick. In the cases where drivers have just driven clean around te one in front with the DRS, the difference in speed between them was already so great that the DRS didn’t make any difference.

    5. I also disagree with the comment PM highlighted.

      For me an unfair advantage is where one driver is doing something that the other driver is not aware of. They all know the rules and where the DRS zone is, so I don’t consider it unfair, and therefore they are able to defend against it as PM says, or by attempting to be at least over a second ahead at the detection point.

      I selected the last option Keith put in the poll. I feel the races are more exciting due to a combination of things, possibly including DRS. I’ve no objections to the FIA trying different things with DRS but I don’t feel strongly about it. It may be a little bit artificial but not “too”, and as I say an “unfair advantage” is where one competitor is doing something the other is not aware of.

      Hope this makes sense.

      1. The DRS would only be unfair if that was the only driver aid they had. But the KERS device gives 80bhp for six seconds per lap, which is more than enough to defend

        Wow, how wrong is that comment. Seriously, PM, what’s wrong with you, mate?

        That’s like there were two people fighting and you gave each of them a knife, then you gave only one of them a sword and said “The sword would only be unfair if that was the only weapon they had. A knife is more than enough to defend”.

        KERS+DRS is more than KERS.
        That math couldn’t be more easy, come on.

    6. @Prisoner Monkeys: Like you, I also disagree with this complaint. I understand it, but would like to add a nuance.

      From my perspective, the advantage doesn’t extend for the whole race. At the particular point that the trailing driver gets to use DRS, yes, one driver has an advantage, but that advantage is reversed now that the other driver is behind them if, and only if, the overtaken driver can maintain the < 1 sec gap.

      If it really is an unfair advantage and they are evenly matched racers & cars, the passed driver would be able to repass, and be repassed etc… all race long! whooo! And this would continue until someone figured out how to maintain and grow the gap. Maybe I'm a simpleton… but that would NOT suck.

      To me that is crucial, because it stops the scenario where a slower car with nothing but the usual aerodynamic wake around the corners, holds up a considerably faster car because they can't get close enough coming out of the corners, and or, the faster driver burning up his tires on these "irrelevant" battles, and then not having enough for the big dogs ahead.

      IMHO, it is way too early to be making judgments yet, but what DRS has done, so far, I think, is allow the evenly matched cars to fight each other, and that makes the battles more interesting for me.

  8. truechictruef1 I’m from the UK. If all the drivers are up speed on the know how on how to use the DRS then it’s a fantastic idea I liked it in the AustrialianGP it worked far better for that race then the other 2 races,Some driver’s accidentially enable it at the wrong time And that’s when accidents occur.If You keep on changing the rules regarding the use of D>R>S then I don’t see the need for it.

  9. I think we should see some DRS free races to see how much of a difference it really makes. The Pirelli tyres are main culprit for the great racing. I don’t mind DRS, but I do question whether we really need it.

  10. One of the main problems I see (besides the gimmicky feel of it) is that it’s too easy to get wrong.

    Allow it to be on for too long and you get slipstream battles. Too short and it’s ineffective.

    And of course, each circuit is going to be different, and as the cars develop the effects that can be obtained from it will be different. How can you predict that – one error too far may render an entire race void. It’s too easy for the FIA to get wrong.

    I’m even loathe to see it in qualifying, even if it is kept in the race.

  11. It’s a touch one to pick? To me by decreasing the DRS zone in China by the FIA was a good move. Don’t like the idea that only the attacker will have all the advantage & the defender will have none.I guess the tyre as pointed out played a good part of racing but I do doubt that without DRS people like Webber may have had some trouble getting 3rd in the Chinese GP.

    I think the main effect of DRS may be seen in races where we don’t have too many overtaking at all like Spain, Valencia, Hungary.

    1. The defender has the advantage of dirty air all around the lap

  12. I would have liked to have seen the statement “It hasn’t made a massive difference to F1” – in the races we’ve seen so far, anyway. Melbourne was (uncharacteristically) fairly boring, even with a couple of DRS-assisted passes (mostly at turn 3 not turn 1), but faster cars were still stuck behind slower cars and there was still some overtaking at other points on the track.

    The longer straights of Sepang and Shanghai allowed for a bit of overtaking, but not much was purely down to DRS. (It’s true that Hamilton’s pass on Button was strongly helped by DRS even though it took place about 1km after the end of the DRS zone. On the other hand, Lewis was going to pass him anyway).

    As I’ve seen pointed out elsewhere, if DRS was too artifical and unfair, you would see slower cars passing or re-passing faster cars all the time, or the field stringing out over the race as every car instantly passed every slower car and then pulled away. Neither of those things is happening. I think they’ve got the balance about right.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if they run two DRS zones at Turkey (which normally sees some overtaking anyway; so that might be a bit OTT), and I can’t see them having one at all in Monaco.

  13. F1 rules obviously need to be adapted to the reality. There are a lot of things, which have made races less exciting than they were in, let’s say, 1980s. One tyre supplier, less technical failures, modern circuits and more aerodynamics mean that the rule makers need to be a bit creative if they don’t want to see races turning into boring processions. This is why I believe that introducing less durable tyres is an acceptable way to make F1 more attractive for the fans.

    But I believe that DRS is one step too far. I am not gonna stop watching F1 because of that but this gimmick is just unnecessary and brings a couple of negative consequences. It gives an unnatural advantage for the chasing driver. It lessens the probability of midfield or backmarker teams making it to the top sometimes, which, in my opinion, is important for F1. Slower cars have sometimes been able to keep faster ones behind just because it was too hard to overtake. Now it’s harder to do. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see Vettel being desperately stuck behind Maldonado every second race but now and then it’s not too bad. DRS works in favour of the best cars.

    What is more, the best thing about passes (at least for me) is the unpredictability – will he make it or not? If I can predict a pass many laps in advance, then it gets boring. And DRS makes passes more predictable, too.

    1. There are a lot of things, which have made races less exciting than they were in, let’s say, 1980s

      Rose tinted glasses alert!!!!

      I do not believe 80’s or beginning of 90’s racing was more interesting! (maybe Rosberg’s championship year…). Seriously, those cars could overtake left and right, but most years, a car or two would be 2 to 3 seconds a lap faster than anyone else! So overtaking wouldn’t be a real problem. And all the classic overtakes were made by cars being or becoming massively faster than others. How many times would Senna / Mansell, Piquet do a superb overtake and disappear in the horizon in no time? Sure, it would change from one race to another, and there was the possibility of brake down, but having recently reviewed few “classic” races footage of these, I can honestly say that most don’t compare to the tight high intensity racing we’ve had in the whole tightly closed up, DRS assisted, field we seen in Shangai this year.

  14. I’m probably in the minority here – but it’s my opinion that the DRS has worked best in Australia.

    In China we had overtaking mainly because of the tyres. DRS and KERS were somewhat incidental – they sped the overtaking procedure up, but most of those moves would have happened eventually.

    In Malaysia we have a track that has already seen a large amount of overtaking in previous years. Its simply a track that allows the drivers to overtake because of its two huge straights. What the DRS did was to localise overtaking to the main straight rather than the back straight – but largely, overtaking there was similar to the previous years overall.

    In Australia however, we had an example of a race where few overtakes usually happen. The race is normally exciting for other reasons – there is often a safety car, sometimes rain and its usually the first race of the season so there is unreliability. Its not normally an overtaking circuit so to speak. This year, the DRS worked well by making the main straight into an overtaking zone. It worked perfectly – and provided us with an exciting ‘normal’ Australian race, which otherwise wouldn’t have been so.

    The DRS is a great new system – and definitely is a positive step for F1. It’s clearly not as important as the tyres though and we haven’t seen it come into its own yet except for the opportunities it delivered on Australia’s straight. But it will do. And this season will be great because of it.

  15. I don’t mind DRS helping drivers get closer behind someone (basically, reduce the problems of losing touch in corners and thus not getting close enough at the end of a straight), like it did in Melbourne, and in that respect I was happy they reduced the length of the zone for the China race, as in Sepang it really meant it was too easy to overtake if you were at al close enough.

    I also liked how Hamilton mentioned that he aimed to not overtake Vettel within the DRS zone, because he would be expecting him; as I commented on another article today, that shows that in a lot of cases, the DRS only changes the way good drivers (both Hamilton and Vettel, in this case) approach defense and overtaking, but not really is a game changer.

    Webber on Button, I am not sure that wouldn’t have happened even without the DRS as Webber had so much better tyres at that moment. In any case, had he had KERS, he likely wouldn’t have needed a DRS at all. But as it was, perhaps he would have needed an extra lap or two without DRS, which would have meant a possible podium for Button.

    In all, with the additional unreliability of the DRS that several teams have had creating possible unsafe situations, I think it would be better to not have it, but provided it becomes reliable soon, it really doesn’t seem to matter much, unless Lotus becomes a lot faster soon but Trulli is prevented from creating a train behind him by DRS.

  16. I think its been okay, its aided overtaking a bit but i like that’s it help cars stay closer together to be able to try a pass somewhere else.

  17. The thing for me is that it is fake. It isn’t genuine, so no matter how effective it is, it is still wrong. They should find ways to improve the aero regulations without having to resort to gimmicks to improve racing. F1 contains some of the brightest minds alive today, surely they can think of something more genuine to put into the regulations?

    1. They should find ways to improve the aero regulations without having to resort to gimmicks to improve racing.

      The teams will never agree to this. So long as they know they can find a tenth of a second per lap from aerodynamic downforce, they will fight to keep it. And even the best-written aero regulations will have loopholes that the Adrians Neweys of this world can exploit.

      1. This is what is breaking the sport in my opinion. What makes it great is also its main flaw, so this debate will rage on for as long as F1 stays as it is.

  18. The chief complaint against DRS is so flawed. Yes, the trailing driver gains an advantage not available to the leading driver at that time. However every opponent of DRS conveniently forgets the equally huge advantage available to the leading driving by running in clean air and throwing up dirty air for the following car. DRS is great because it evens out these 2 advantages. It’s no mean feat to get within 1 second of the car in front so it’s never a ‘free’ pass, and I for one was sick of seeing a clearly faster car catch up by 1-2 seconds/lap but then having almost no chance to get past purely because of the dirty air. In addition most of the DRS passes we did see did still required bravery and precision under braking and wasn’t just sailing past on the straights.

    About Alonso’s DRS problem, I don’t believe it has activated by itself, the system error was that it was available to him at the wrong spot, but he must have chosen to enable DRS manually at that point. Software error or not, he just should not have pushed the button at that point.

    1. However every opponent of DRS conveniently forgets the equally huge advantage available to the leading driving by running in clean air and throwing up dirty air for the following car.

      But cars haven’t been designed like that to deprive other cars of the ability to overtake. They’ve been designed that way because it’s the quickest way of getting them around the track.

      There’s nothing artificial about that – whereas DRS clearly is.

      1. running in clear air on the straights is also a disadvantage to the car in front – so the DRS increases what is already a disadvantage to the defending car. But as you say Keith, its the fact its artificial that is what I’m against, I personally feel the introduction of KERS and DRS have ruined F1 – 2005/2006/2007/2008 were all great seasons without these things in the sport.

      2. But cars haven’t been designed like that to deprive other cars of the ability to overtake

        True, Cars have been designed to generate more downforce. But a byproduct of the more downforce is the dirty air behind the car. Inadvertently, this dirty air deprives the ability of the following car to overtake.

        So in a way yeah, the car design is what is compromising the other car’s ability to overtake.

        This dirty air gives an artificial advantage to the car in the front. DRS just gives another artificial advantage to the car behind.
        If one is in favour of TRUE overtaking then one should be opposing the excessive aero-grip on the cars, not on DRS.

        1. They should be opposing both, which I am :)

        2. Very valid you make too, by the way sumedh.

  19. Obviously it has added some spectacle, although it would have been more interesting to gauge the same system on Bridgestones.
    But one thing is clear, it has given faster team more advantage even if somebody screw up Qualies,(Renault’s and Schumi in last race) until or unless there are some crashes.
    Till now it looks like point distribution will be too much skewed towards faster teams unlike last year midfield: 69(williams), 68(FI), 44(Sauber), these teams probably have to settle for much lower figures.

  20. How about if the DRS shut once the attackers front wheels drew level with the defenders rears. This would stop the rear driver just sailing past…
    I think they should try a race without DRS.
    Pirelli is the biggest star of f1 2011 so far.

  21. I say we let drivers use DRS anywhere they want, but they can only open it once a lap.

  22. I’m sorry, but the argument that all drivers should have the DRS available equally under all conditions just points out the fallacy of the fans. Everyone complained for years and years about how there wasn’t enough overtaking in the sport and demanded that the Powers That be do something to make the races more exciting. Well, the PTB listened and came up with the drag reduction system, specifically designed to make overtaking easier. And despite initial concerns that drivers would push a button and magically pass the car in front (despite being based on the exact same principle as the F-duct, which never caused magic overtaking), the DRS has done just that, putting drivers in a position where they can overtaking, but still demanding the skill and judgement to make a pass work. Despite listening to them and giving the fans exactly what they wanted for years, the PTB are suddenly under fire for making the racing “too artificial” and “unfair”.

    Well, guess what? You wanted it – you got it. Now you’re just trying to have your cake and eat it, too.

    1. the argument that all drivers should have the DRS available equally under all conditions

      Who’s arguing in favour of that?

      1. Everyone who says it’s unfair. The direct implication is that the DRS is only fair if all drivers have equal access to it. The part about “all conditions” refers to the way it can only be used within a designated overtaking zone, not all the time.

        1. I think it’s unfair and that’s not what I’m saying. And I think I’d know if I was.

          There are other options: switch it off entirely, or limit its use to a certain number of times per race and/or per lap.

          It is not the case that the only alternative to the present solution is having it available all the times under all circumstances.

          1. But how does that address any problem? The DRS was specifically designed to facilitate overtaking, and so allowing two drivers the use of the DRS under the same conditions will simply negate its purpose. If a driver uses the DRS at a certain point, his pursuer will use it, too.

          2. And that’s the crux of the discussion. As it happens I don’t necessarily think it would be useless or a less than worthwhile addition to F1 under the terms you describe.

            But as I said in the article preventing a driver from being able to use it defensively when he’s being attacked with it is akin to throttling their engine performance to encourage overtaking. Would you be happy with that?

          3. I don’t think it’s comparable.

    2. Everyone complained for years and years about how there wasn’t enough REAL overtaking in the sport […] Well, the PTB listened and came up with the drag reduction system, specifically designed to make FAKE overtaking easier.

      And now you see, why you’re wrong here:

      Well, guess what? You wanted it – you got it.

      Nobody asked for fake overtaking.

      1. Nobody asked for fake overtaking.

        I didn’t say anybody specify a way to produce the kind of overtaking they wanted. Did you? How are the Powers That Be supposed to read your mind? It’s like if you went into a bakery and ordered a birthday cake. The bakery makes your cake, and you get home to discover it’s vanilla when you wanted chocolate. You never specifically said you wanted a chocolate cake, yet you criticise the bakery for not knowing this.

        The same thing has happened here: the fans demanded more overtaking in Formula 1. More overtaking was delivered. But the fans never said “We want more overtaking and we want it to happen like this” – they just said “We want more overtaking” and expected the PTB to read their minds.

        1. I didn’t say anybody specify

          That should read “I didn’t see anybody specify”.

        2. +1
          totally agree.
          Shangai is already registered as one of classics, yet there is not stopping whining

          1. I wouldn’t call it a classic. Exciting as it was, with these artificial means of overtaking in place, I can’t judge them as respectfully as say, Donington 93. The tyres add enough to the races, please take away DRS, it is simply not needed.

        3. Haha, Prisoner Monk, you’re playing with the definitions :)
          Ok, let me put it this way:
          A DRS assisted overtaking maneuver = not an overtaking maneuver at all. Almost like passing a blue-flagged car isn’t one.

          1. A DRS assisted overtaking maneuver = not an overtaking maneuver at all. Almost like passing a blue-flagged car isn’t one.

            We’ve seen plenty of attempted overtakes using the DRS that have failed. As David Coulthard rightly pointed out during the Sepang race, the DRS only allows a driver to get his front wing alongside the rear wheel of the guy in front. Everything else is up to them.

            And like i said earlier, in the rare instance where a driver has simply powered around the car in front – Vitaly Petrov did it in Malaysia – with the DRS deployed, then he was already so much faster than the car in front that the pass would have happened regardless of whether or not the DRS was open at the time.

          2. We’ve seen plenty of attempted overtakes using the DRS that have failed.

            So what?
            Not-a-100%-efficiency of an unfair measure does not make it fair.

            It’s like giving a boxer in a boxing match a baseball bat for 10sec in a round that he’s losing and saying it’s fair, because the boxers with a bat aren’t always able to KO their opponents during those 10secs.
            “We’ve seen plenty of attempted attacks using the baseball bats that have failed.”
            That’s great man, great…

  23. I am for more overtaking, but I am against remote-controlled overtaking that a driver is sure of completing easily when he can use his DRS. Only real drivers can overtake, but if everyone uses DRS we won’t know who is a real driver and who is not.

  24. DRS is a good idea but should be there for a driver to use at any point arround the track, but limit them to say 20 seconds per lap and then it is down to the driver deciding where to use it and where to defend with it. Like kers but for a longer period of time. Then there is no limiting the top speeds it is then down to tactics

  25. I don’t think we have seen the worst of DRS yet. My biggest concern is that in one of the future races a midfield team could get in the lead due to lucky strategy or great setup like Force India did in Spa 2009 or Toro Roso at Monza 08 and lead the race, but then a Red Bull or McLaren comes within a second and just flies past with the wing wide open, just like Raikonen did with Fisichela using KERS. We haven’t actually seen a midfield team winning the race since 2008.

    1. Agree with you 100% on this one. I doubt Webber would have finished 3rd without DRS. He didn’t have KERS, yet still was massively quicker. But then if this was due to the tyres, why is DRS needed? It needs to go, pure and simple.

  26. a combination of tyre changes DRS and KERS have made racing exciting, they all work together to make racing
    more interesting

  27. It is way to early to start a debate on the subject. We haven’t seen all types of circuits and rubber compounds in action. The teams haven’t made their first major car upgrade and they are still learning about tires, KERS and DRS as well as the drivers.

    There’s so much refinement of all these issues to come from all sides of the grid. We could end up with everybody perfectly planning the strategy and managing tire wear, which will lead to processional racing and DRS may remain the only method to gain a position on track. The Formula 1 itself hasn’t got her head around the tech yet and we, fanatics, already speculating about it like it’s been here forever.

    I skipped the vote. It’s meaningless at the moment. I’ll reserve my judgement at least until Silverstone.

    1. I didn’t want to run this article too soon and decided this was the right time.

      That was partly influenced by seeing the FIA first set the DRS zone for China at 902 metres and then shorten it to 752. Clearly they’ve got an idea of what would make it too powerful or not powerful enough

      So I think the time is right for us to make our minds up.

      1. Yeah, I agree with that. Australia was not too typical and it was the first race. Malaysia showed DRS being maybe a bit too much and in China it was close to getting it right again, not too powerfull.

        Seems like a good time for the first evaluation, I think the teams also said they will evaluate it with the FIA after the first 3 races.

      2. The point is that we have to look at the complex of factors, the big picture. DRS alone can be evaluated already, yes. We’ve seen where it helps, how it helps etc. But it’s not just about the wing, isn’t it? How many DRS assisted passes (and passing moves overall) would stick if there was no difference in tire wear? In China most of them wouldn’t simply because there would be no advantage in traction out of the corner which does not giving driver a luxury to choose any line into the corner and outdrag the opponent on the acceleration. This is exactly why i’m looking for more evaluation time, to give teams and drivers to play around a bit more and find the solutions. DRS works, yes – it gives speed boost etc etc etc.
        But as i said above, it’s not about the wing alone.

        On the other hand, lots of people claiming it to be too gimmicky and artificial yet at the same time praising Pirelli for fast degrading rubber, which in my view is the same thing – artificial. Manufacturer artificially disadvantaged those, who are at the end of their racing stint – and there’s not really much driver can do about it. It just goes off and you have nothing to defend with, they can take you on the outside, inside, braking, accelerating, entry, exit, slow corners, fast corners – everywhere – just blasting by on that fresher set of wheels. That’s even more artificially disadvantaging the driver than not letting him open his rear wing to defend his position on the straight. And people are excited, they praising the effort from the manufacturer and blaming the FIA for that gimmicky wing which makes our favorite racing artificial and predetermined.

        This is a very delicate debate to give it a go just now, it needs more input from races, teams and drivers.

  28. I am a fan of the DRS.
    I do not agree with the fact that you are handicapping the driver in the front by limiting his top speed. The guy ahead already has an advantage of travelling in clean air and everybody else is already disadvantaged because of the dirty air.

    DRS would have been a huge failure in the olden days when the reliance on aerodynamics was less. The 2009 rules aimed to reduce aero downforce but clearly that didn’t work.
    The DRS is offsetting this dirty air effect alone. It is only removing the handicap of the following driver and not giving him any advantage.

    For that matter, I also believe that unless Adrain Newey retires from the sport altogether, F1 will continue to generate more and more downforce (And hence less overtaking). Last 3 years every team on the grid has been following his ideas on every aspect of car-design.

    If you want to increase overtaking there are only 2 ways, either counter Adrain Newey’s innovations by some counter-innovation (such as DRS) or get him to leave the sport.

    1. this argument is quite frankly silly. For the car defending, he is clearly at a disadvantage time-wise when in front on a straight. The car is punching a hole in the air for the car behind to catch up. Overall, the car is quicker through the corners, yet slower on the straights. So exaggerating the disadvantage of the car in front is clearly an artificial way to improve racing. The only way to improve it is to reduce downforce. Yes they reduced it once (by 33% I believe) and the engineers clawed it back. So remove another 50%, and they won’t claw that back. Then racing will improve.

      1. If what you said were actually true, and there was just a hole in the air behind the car instead of dirty air, we would have seen lots more overtaking in 2009 and 2010. Did we?

        1. Fair point, but at least last year cars like Petrov’s Renault at Abu Dhabi were able to defend, whereas this year on the open tracks it feels like taking candy from a baby at times. This is where the fundamental argument of downforce comes in. I’ve said many times on here that downforce needs to be reduced, as did you on another post, which I totally agree with.

        2. No, we didn’t, because the following car was so far behind coming out of the previous corner. Just the same as they are this year – the DRS significantly reduces drag, leading to better acceleration and more top speed for the following car.

          “Dirty air” is turbulent air, which is fairly bad for aerodynamics, but it is also lower pressure than free-stream air, i.e. it IS a “hole in the air”.

  29. I liked china because half of the drivers could not get past in the DRS zone but only by a small margin which ment an excelent fight on the next 3 turns!
    I also wonderd wether DRS should be used throughout the whole circuit IF you have been lapped?! It may seem a silly idea but it would probably cause more of a battle in the same lap!

  30. Until the diffusers are allowed, the DRS makes things fair. Agree with Nico – a great idea!

  31. The same way you wouldn’t call an execution by firing squad “a battle”, you can’t call a DRS overtake “racing”.

    But the real problem lies with the rules. Limiting the defending driver to a single defensive move per corner – now THAT’s artificial. Get rid of that, and suddenly the DRS won’t seem like such a firing squad.

    1. Interesting point. The removal of that rule is needed anyway in my opinion, and with it being there for safety, if a driver causes a collision defending too vigorously, they get a severe punishment. That’s something to think about though. Personally I’d like to see both DRS and the one-move rule scrapped :)

  32. I’ve voted: DRS makes F1 races too artificial.

    But is artificial a bad thing? the knife cuts on both sides with DRS. It’s great to see more overtaking instead of driver trains because I hate driver trains. On the other hand I think you need more skill to overtake a driver without having DRS at all and I like that too.

    I’m still wondering if Webber would have finished 3rd in China if there wasn’t DRS.

    1. I feel he wouldn’t have – as superb as he was, without KERS he would have a hard time overtaking that many cars towards the end of the race.

  33. Best idea is to keep DRS the same way as KERS, so that both the tools can be used at anytime. I think this would really make overtaking and defending more challenging. Right now, DRS during race is a bad idea in the current form. Some of the overtaking in China was really artificial.

  34. very interesting comment by Keith about allowing a limited amount of DRS uses per driver. Say every driver gets 10 activations per race. This would totally defuse the ‘unfairness’ debate as both attacker and defender could use it in a fight, but it also adds a whole new strategic dimension to the race. It may make drivers wonder whether to go for a DRS pass or try it the ‘ol fashioned way. Imagine the final laps Lewis v Vettel. Lewis has 2 DRS uses left, Vettel just 1, when to use it, where,… Oh the drama and tension!
    I think that could be truly awesome

    1. Taking the idea further, you would probably have to limit them to one activation per lap, to keep them from using them just to jump other cars during pit stops.

      So it’s not perfect, but everything’s a compromise.

      1. I think I like the “1 activation per lap” idea better.
        Because I wouldn’t want to see a 5-final-laps showdown between Vettel and Hamilton with Vettel having 6 DRS boosts left and Hamilton having none, only because he was stuck behind some backmarkers in the middle of the race after a pitstop and was forced to use all of them then.

      2. CART/INDY had this in the guise of “push to pass.” You got 50hp for X seconds, and you got Y amount of pushes per race. The broadcast graphics would show how many pushes a driver had left. So yes, there was a whole strategy of when to save it to defend, when to use it to attack, etc. This would be an improvement on how DRS works now.

        It would be better if a car basically immobilized by having run the Pirellis one lap too long could thwart a pursuer who had foolishly used up all his pushes. That would be bona fide racing, because if the drivers arrive at the battle with unequal weaponry, it would only be because one of them did not properly forsee or prepare for the situation by wasting his arrows—rather than because every single lap and that particular point on the track the pursuer gets a special dispensation.

        But of course, that would be too easy and too economical, espeically now that we have a common ECU. Instead we had teams spend a fortune on a weak hybrid system, to improve passing, and then spend more money on a rear wing contraption.

  35. I´m absolutely for DRS. It still doesn´t make it piece of a cake to overtake.
    About the unfairness: The overtaken driver has the chance to use DRS and take a position back next lap but we haven´t seen very much of that.

    DRS makes it easier for the fast to use their speed, race and not being blocked by slower cars.

    1. It still doesn´t make it piece of a cake to overtake.

      If we fought each other with you having a large knife and me having a sword, it wouldn’t be a piece of cake for me to kill you either.
      This fact wouldn’t make it fair though, would it?

      Like I’ve said:
      Not-a-100%-efficiency of an unfair measure does NOT make it fair.

      1. @ Damon

        I never said the DRS is fair. It´s not but I´m fine with the fact that you “win” the advantage to use DRS if you come close to a slower car so you can more easily pass it to race on. For me, being faster and get stuck behind a car because of all the different reasons (dirty air, less grip outside race line, etc.) is not racing. It´s boring. Yes, I wish it would be easier to overtake in F1 so we wouldn´t need DRS but it´s hard with the technical rugulations as it is today.

        Like I said in other comments: If you don´t want somebody to DRS-zoom past you, don´t let them come within 1 second from your gear box.

        DRS+Pirelli=Better F1

  36. I like DRS, but think it needs more finetuning.
    -> In 2008, we had 9 overtakes in China. This year, we had over 60… something is working and DRS plays a part in it. I don’t agree that the majority of all overtaking were made too easy on the long straight.

    But I only like DRS as a short-term solution for the problem of the “dirty air” and the overtaking issues it causes. Truly hope that the 2013 rules will address the dirty air issue (ground effect would be lovely), so that we no longer need something like DRS.
    KERS can stay (if all teams get it worked out and we see some different strategies in making use of it, otherwise it can be cancelled as well),but most important of all is that we keep having good tyres. Let them wear out quickly. I don’t care. All the more excitement.

    1. -> In 2008, we had 9 overtakes in China. This year, we had over 60… something is working

      Yeah, the Pirelly tyres are working. ;)
      And I like the irony of that statement, haha.

      and DRS plays a part in it.

      A marginal one.

  37. Basically, for this year at least, there is no other option other than run without in which case, whilst the tyres are different, the formula will basically be the same as the last few years:

    Have a quick go at overtaking if you are massively faster than the guy in front, if not then drop back out of the dirty air because all you are going to do is wreck your tyres and you are unlikely to get past anyway – best bet, try to distract them but preserve your tyres and try to do them on an undercut.
    Other option – Hero or Zero lunge. Unlikely to be attempted – not good racing – often ends up taking one or both cars out of the race.
    Result – mainly processional ‘races’ where people settle for places and deliberately hold back away from other cars. It would be even worse this year with high tyre wear because running in dirty air for a few laps will ruin your day.

    Now: People attack everywhere – there is always a chance to overtake even in equal cars you will get close enough to ‘have a go’ if the DRS zone is correctly placed then it just allows you to get close without making an easy pass. We see actual racing throughout the field. Nobody holds back and we don’t have a fast car getting mired down behind a really slow car that’s 2 seconds a lap slower ruining the best battles (P.S. No that’s not a battle in general it’s a rolling road block)

    I wasn’t behind DRS at first and I don’t think that it’s a solution that should be kept forever BUT for this year for a step on the road to ground effect (which is almost certainly the solution) it has to be accepted as a GOOD thing for the sport and a clever and well thought out move.

    1. This post is closest to my thoughts on the issue.

    2. nice post this one, I understand your views. I’m against DRS but I suppose if it’s just for this year and maybe next, then ground effect is brought in for 2013, that will satisfy me. The racing with ground effect will be much improved.

  38. DRS is wrong for F1. The racing has been better this season, mainly due to the tyres, and there is a danger that DRS will become a fixture. We need a better solution to the overtaking problem and it has to be reduced downforce.

    Attempts to reduce downforce have so far been ineffective because they haven’t been drastic enough. Designers have recovered the losses too easily and we have been back to square one too quickly. Rear wings should be lower, front wings narrower, and both should be simpler in design. Ground-effect should not be re-introduced. The circuits could then be altered to get rid of the chicanes and tight turns that are being used to keep speeds in check. The cars would be better for racing and the circuits would provide a greater challenge. There would be no need for push-to-pass gimmicks.

    1. Sounds awfully like Indycar… small wings, no tight turns, no chicanes, lots and lots of slipstreaming. No thanks.

      That said however, I follow the context of the idea, in that I am all for drastically reducing aero downforce and increasing mechanical grip. No additional aero appendages as currently. I’d have the wings, the sponsors need the advertising space, but smaller and ineffective. I would re-introduce ground effect and the diffuser, as they are less influenced by the wake of the car in front. Increase the tyres and lets go racing.

      1. ps. and I’m for KERS, or other electicity generation tools, but open up the restrictions. I like the idea that James Allen reported on recently of electricity only in the pitlane too.

      2. It would be nothing like Indycar. I can’t imagine how you got that idea.

        I didn’t say ‘no tight turns’. Of course there is a place for tighter corners and hairpins. I’m talking about reinstating sections of circuit like the final sweeping double-right at Barcelona.

        It seems we have to choose between fast cars or fast circuits. Slower cars on faster circuits would actually go faster than the current super-grippy cars are allowed to go on todays overly-tight tracks.

  39. DRS has to be:
    a) banned altogether
    b) allowed everywhere at any time on the track.
    c) working properly if b = true.

  40. I think there would still be more overtaking if DRS wasn’t there. I voted for option 1, 3 and 4.

  41. I think DRS has improved the racing so far this year. I think by the very nature of the varied circuits across the calendar there will be races where DRS makes more of an impact than others.

    The way I see it, DRS allows for a battle in the braking zone then leading into a corner, Vettel displayed this brilliantly with Hamilton in tow in Shanghai.

    I think it’s a fair system. The turbulent air coming off the back of the car ahead cannot be ignored simply because you can’t see it. You may as well attach tin cans to string and dangle them off the diffuser for the amount of disruption it causes. DRS goes some way to addressing this issue.

    Why should a leading driver be at a disadvantage during the race due to DRS? This argument is negated when you appreciate that a following driver has to put up with tremendous amount of dirty air.

  42. Keith,

    I have to say that I am big fan of your site and tend to agree with your views. In this case I strongly disagree with you!

    First let me say that having raced karts competitively, I am a purist racer. I believe the fastest guy with the best race craft deserves to win.

    There is no doubt that DRS is not a perfect solution but the problem of following a car in turbulent air is a very real one that needs to be mitigated to avoid processional races. Before the first race I pointed this out to the many people on this site who were deriding the system before they had even seen it in action! It was ridiculous then and only marginally less ridiculous now we have seen the racing.

    We absolutely do not want the leading car to be a sitting duck to the guy in second place but the point is this: in other formulae where aero is not an issue do we see racers breezing past because the catch a slipstream? No. Do we think that cars behind should not be allowed to use the slipstream because it is ‘unfair’ on the car in front?? Nope! There are many race circuits around the world where it is actually an advantage to be in second place on the tail of the leader going into the last lap.

    We have racecraft: the ability to position the car on the race circuit to defend.

    The point is that the tools are available to everyone in the same measures. It is not like the additional weight limits that touring cars adopted in the 90s when Audi became totally dominant to slow the fastest cars down at the next race.

    Until a car sits in second place until the last lap and then uses DRS to breeze past and win or we have Indy car like swarming fields I will totally disagree with you…

    Improve and refine the system? Yes absolutely. Do away with the system all together because I few idealistic fans are miffed?! No way!!

    1. I have to say that I am big fan of your site

      Thanks very much!

      Do away with the system altogether

      I didn’t say I wanted that – I said I enjoy seeing them use it in practice and qualifying.

      But I’m not convinced the way DRS is used in the races is the only way to solve the dirty air problem. We’ve seen ample evidence so far this year that the change of tyres and the return of KERS has improved it enormously, and neither have the same taint of gimmickry and outright unfairness DRS has.

  43. I’m against DRS being an artificial advantage for the drivers behind, but I’m also against cars being designed in a way that increases turbulence for cars behind, making overtaking much more difficult. The purism is a bit hollow when the teams constantly design the cars to be ‘impure’,working round, stretching or breaking the regulations (and not always being detected). So which wins?

    I think being practical FIA could run another couple of races with DRS as it is, collecting more data and impressions, then run a few races with KERS only (plus the tyres of course) to see what the difference is. Of course asking FIA to be practical may be a bit much.

    I think the interesting phenomenon nobody has really mentioned is the bunching effect DRS causes. We see more packs of 3+ drivers trailing behind a ‘slower’ car, which translates into TV coverage as ‘battles for nth position’. That certainly adds excitement and sets the race up brilliantly overall.

    All in all I can’t help feeling that the DRS advantage balances out over a race (after all those who were ahead and get passed have the chance to use the same advantage on the driver ahead) and that it’s a fairly good solution to the turbulence problem. Enforcing aerodynamics rules to try to reduce the latter won’t work, the teams will always design round it, though at ever escalating design costs.

    Plus in the end the better skilled drivers and more strategically clever teams, on the day, use these elements to their overall advantage – as Hamilton and McLaren did in China, beating a faster car. I think the number of additional variables (tyres + KERS + DRS) helps ensure that races aren’t too predictable. Formula 1 is always in a way a battle to ensure that it’s not just the faster car that wins. That can happen through the driver skill of course, but to be honest we now have 4 or 5 superb drivers, any of whom could take the fastest car – now the Red Bull – and, all other things being equal, walk the championship, as Vettel was threatening to do.

    1. oops, 2+ drivers

  44. I think the tyres do more for the spectacle than DRS does. Since I’m not sure, I want the FIA to try it without DRS (or even with unrestricted use for everybody anywhere).

    DRS originally was intended as a short term fix for the aero wake problems. The leading car had an unfair advantage, because of the wake.

    Ideally the DRS negates this effect – and does no more than that. The DRS assisted overtakes did make me wonder if it has become too easy and indeed unfair.

  45. I would rather have racing without DRS, but in the short term i see it as a good thing. I agree with the argument that better tracks with more than one racing line – like the first few corners in China where Hamilton took Button – and designing cars that do not create so much ‘dirty air’ is the best way forward, though don’t be surprised if developments under any new regulations end up creating dirty air in a different way, so we should be much more focused on tracks than on cars. The fact is though, that under the current regulations, too many races have been spoilt by the impossibility of overtaking a car that is slower but sticking to the racing line. At least DRS lets aggressive drivers have a chance to even things up for a while. Yes it looked a little too easy in China, but on the whole I think has been a success so far. And don’t forget, DRS doesn’t make driving easier. It changes the balance of the car and requires skill to control.

  46. The DRS should be permitted at any time. It should also work the other way, to increase downforce on command, at any time.

    1. Well it does increase downforce when the flap is up…drag is a ‘side-effect’ of downforce.

  47. DRS has made F1 races more fair.

    -> Faster drivers are able to pass slower drivers.

  48. If the main reason of introducing DRS was to negate the bad-aero from the car infront, why not make a rule stating the DRS can only be used when the car behind is 0.5-1.5s from the car in front. This will allow the car to close in and hence negate the bad-aero effect, but to make the pass stick, the driver has to use his own skill.

  49. wheres the option “We’ll find out after Abu Dhabi”? or possibly Valencia

  50. to me f1 has become a tv show. It has taken me a few years coming to terms with it. Now that i have, and after having decided not traveling to another f1 race until the cars improve in performance. I have to say that drs helps with the show. So i say i don’t mind having it. At the end of the day the best driver always preveil. congratulation lewis, you are the best of the current f1 pilots.

  51. Yes it is more exciting with DRS. but then it gives the slow cars a chance to pass a faster car, which basically mocks that faster team for wasting all the time spent upgrading the car’s aero pack to get like a little advantage.
    As we saw in China, all the good drivers were able to pass the cars ahead of them no matter which part of the track they were on. So DRS is more of a 1up for rookies who aren’t that good at passing yet.
    DRS can be dangerous if deployed accidentally due to glitches, but then that is very rare.

    True, it helps those cars which are stuck behind a slower car to pass faster. but the faster car cannot pass, cause the slower car has a better driving and blocking style.

    It seems more like an unfair advantage to me.

  52. I think that instead of being able to open it every lap, every driver should get maybe twenty opportunities to use it. That way it can be used to defend as well as attack but adds another strategy element to DRS.

    Much like Indycar’s push to pass in a way.

  53. It’s an interesting system that definitely needs working on. Sometimes it’s blatantly unfair (Malaysia) but I think China and Australia gave us some exciting battles.

    If it was to be scrapped, I wouldn’t miss it though. The most exciting moment from this year was Hamilton defending from Alonso and that was all because of Alonso’s glitchy DRS. If it was working he would’ve easily passed him and it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as compelling.

    1. Why do you think it was unfair in Malaysia but (presumably) not at Australia and China?

      1. Just from a spectator’s point of view it seemed like the overtaking in the DRS zone was incredibly easy at Malaysia, while the other two not so much.

        It’s extremely difficult for someone of my position to say whether that’s down to the drivers, the race situations, the tyres etc.

  54. I don’t take the view that its giving an advantage to the car behind. I think that it is going some way to negating the advantage the car infront has. For people that say that they wouldn’t have it in the 60’s, well the cars infront didn’t have their advantage either. It needs refining still but its only worth around 4 tenths a lap in the race from what I could see in China while the cars infront are meant to have around a second advantage from clean air.

  55. I think Martin Brundle has got it absolutely correct. In exchange for an ajustable rear wing which reduces downforce, they scrapped the ajustable front wing which increases downforce. Which one assists overtaking? Doesn’t take a genius to work that out…

  56. I feel that DRS does what it is supposed to do – compensate for the loss of downforce encountered when ~1sec behind another driver, as such I only ticked the first box, although I wouldn’t mind if they tried a race without.

  57. DRS has got to go.

    Im surprised that so many people are now embracing it now, but mark my words…as soon as we have a race victory decided by an easy DRS pass in the last few laps of the race, the fans and the media alike will be calling for it to be scrapped.

  58. I seem to have a strange glitch : in order to vote, I have to post a comment, because the page shows me as offline (and shows the results of the poll). All the other pages show me as logged in, but this one doesn’t. I’m using Opera, maybe it’s a problem with this browser.

  59. There will be NO point in using DRS at Monaco because of the crash risk. Look back to Australia with Sutil. Now think about the Anthony Noghes exit (or in the tunnel) and if you lose downforce there you will crash and the safety car will come out.

    1. DRS really has very little to do with how close the barriers are to the circuit or indeed how narrow it is. The only time DRS is dangerous is when you apply it too soon after a corner, which like you said happened in Australia. As long as the FIA designate an area that’s safe and allows the car to balance itself before DRS activation there shouldn’t be an issue. The issue is finding a place that suits in Monaco.

  60. How does the technology prevent the driver being overtaken from using his DRS? Is there a mechanical/electronic inhibitor or just a gentleman’s agreement, in which case why go to all the trouble? Just wave them past with an “after you Fernando”!

    1. The rules state that only the following driver can use DRS as long as he’s within 1s of the guy in front. Of course that also applies if the person you’re chasing is also 1s behind someone else.

      You could try your best to defend by going tight into a corner and being the last of the late brakers and KERS might even help.

      There’s no point defending too much, you will get done Hamilton-style for weaving.

  61. As a few other I am very surprised to see how positively DRS is generally received.

    Because of the level the aero dynamics have reached it was certainly too hard to follow closely behind another car. The only way to “fix” that issues is obviously to reduce the aero while DRS is nothing but a misunderstood “patch”! The problem still remains exactly the same – only now it no longer prevents overtaking.

    The reason why I find DRS a failure is that it actually reduces the amount of “racing” instead of increasing it as intended.

    Overtaking obviously happens when someone is faster than the car in front. Fortunately the cars don’t start in order of race-pace on the grid and further there are a number of reasons why the pace of the cars change over the course of a race. This is what causes the “infights” that are my main reason for being exited about racing:
    The car behind is slightly faster but the car in front has the advantage of the ideal racing line. The battle is on!
    Or; at best; cars/drivers are very equally matched at a certain stage of a race and it all becomes down to skill and courage, which is exactly why the Villeneuve/Arnoux fight for position has half a million views on Youtube even though it happened decades before the site launched!

    While the excess of areo dynamics of todays cars has certainly limited us from having similar fights it seems that the introduction of DRS will just kill it off completely!

    Think about it; the already faster car that was able to catch up receives an additional advantage over the slower defending car. And while drivers will still have the opportunity of overtaking in any corner just like before – why risk it, when they can just wait until the DRS zone and press “beam me past, Scottie”!

    DRS defeats the purpose of “racing” and while Keith’s idea of making the use non-regulated would solve that issue, well; then we would still have the original aero problem to solve!

  62. UKfanatic (@)
    21st April 2011, 22:45

    judging by last race it is pointless to have the DRS, at least in the way it was meant to be used. Have you heard the new news about Ferrari. They are blamming the wind tunnel again for their inconsistent data and performance issues, they are again planning to use the german wind tunnel the one used by toyota

  63. Can anyone recall a moment in any of the opening three grand prix where they’ve seen a much faster driver stuck behind a much slower one and, because of the aerodynamics of a modern f1 car, he can’t get past? I can’t and DRS has played it’s role in this.

    Also, DRS primary role so far has been to set up a pass on the straight after the device could be deployed. In china and Malaysia it was the home straight and in Australia it was the straight leading into turn 3. in this function, it is a fair fight between drivers, all DRS does is give the car behind the chance to pass in an even fight.

    Finally, to the nay sayers who claim DRS makes racing artificial think about this, F1 has been artificial for some time. Lets be honest, in a fair fight, it would not be possible for Petrov to keep Alonso behind him for as long as he did in last years season finally. In previous seasons the driver ahead in a 2 car battle has been afforded an artificial advantage by virtue of the ‘dirty air syndrome’. all he has to do is stick to the racing line and he can be sure the faster driver behind will not be able to pass. not much skill required there.

    as far as i am concerned it should be easier for a faster car to pass a slower car than it is for a slower car to hold up a faster car. the new tyres, Kers and also DRS have made this possible.

    1. Chris, I think you are missing the point. Please read my comment slightly above.

      1. I don’t know if Chris is missing Poul’s point. But it doesn’t matter, since Chris makes an excellent point all on his own. It is an error to think that DRS is meant to “increase the number of passes.” It is intended to address the specific problem of a faster car getting stuck behind a slower car because of aero turbulance. (Thus Chris’s example of Alonso in last year’s final.)
        If, instead, two evenly matched cars are fighting for position, it’s true that DRS *might* allow the following driver to carry off a pass where he wouldn’t otherwise have been able to. But then, it’s up to the other driver to stay close enough so that he’ll have the opportunity to use DRS. Thus if you think of the race as a whole instead of one isolated overtaking maneuver, DRS doesn’t create the slightest “artificial” or “unfair” advantage. Rather, it removes the “unfair” (and silly) advantage that an objectively slower car used to have over a faster one simply due to dirty air.

        1. Sorry wdf2, but you are missing the point as well.

          The point is: DRS does NOT remove the problem of dirty air. It just slaps an even dirtier patch on it but the problem remains the same.

          DRS does NOT allow the slightly faster follower to actually fight for position in dirty air zone. It simply blasts him right past.

          Racing has always been about maintaining position and not just about speed. The guy in front must have been faster at some point in order to get there but if he can’t defend his position the racing aspect is gone and we’re back to time trials: Who can get from A to B in the fastest time, just like rally.

  64. Well In Simple words Racing is artifical with DRS. Next one to come is only the trailing cars will be allowed to use KERS to overtake the one ahead. I mean we all love overtaking but that should be based on drivers skill and speed of the car and not by a grace.

    I totally did not like it. It is like “okay the DRS zone is coming and that is where racing happens ” I hate to agree with Luca and Fernando but for once they are right about DRS making racing artificial.

    Hope F1A takes it away or atleast restrict it to number of laps in the race so drivers can use it at their wish where ever they want. some change is surely needed.

  65. Elliot Horwood
    22nd April 2011, 1:00

    Im a hardcore F1 fan, and i have to say im not a big fan, there is no way to defend a DRS overtake, and even the commentators know it! I say have a few races without DRS and im sure the Pirelli’s will perform to people needs without creating an artificial overtake with a stupid “overtaking zone”

    1. Vettel kept Hamilton behind in the DRS Zone, Hamilton overtook because his tyres were fresher. I actually think it is fun to watch, because it makes defending skills much more important down the straight. So instead of praising the overtaking driver, we can sit and enjoy the massive skill it takes to stay in front even after the DRS zone. I found that very enjoyable to see Vettel holding back Hamilton on the apex, so he couldn’t get on the throttle soon enough and by that make enough room to stay in front down to the first corner.
      It just changes the balance a bit. Before it was easy to defend, not it is a little easier to attack and harder to defend.

      1. But Mads; at the same time the defender is only allowed to make one defending move. In more than 90% of the cases all the “massive skill” in the world will have no purpose because the attacker is already fully past before the end of the straight.

        1. In how many cases did we actually see that happening? I only remember a few overtakes where they had passed each other before the breaking zone. We saw that it is possible to defend against DRS, and Vettel even did it without a working KERS system.

  66. I was a sceptic. I like it. I thought it would be artificial and the person in front would be a sitting duck. However, it’s turned out well. Particularly with KERS the person in front still has a chance to position their car, use KERS and fend off the attempted overtake. It also does mean that cars without KERS still have a chance to be somewhat competitive. I think it does need to be regulated and adapted for each circuit.

  67. While it has made the racing more exciting I don’t like something so artificial. That it can only be used by certain people in certain places in certain circumstances is stupid. If you want a system like that then everyone should have it all the time. Or say a limited number of times per race like a boost button.

    My personal opinion is bin it and keep the tyre situation as it is.

  68. It was a long time since I made my last post. If we were to make the race more exciting, then we should replicate what has just happened in Shanghai. Cars were so close together, I remember at some point 8 seconds covers the top 5 cars. DRS has made the actual overtaking too easy especially it is used in a straight line. In some occation, it has actually skipped the proper overtaking move if it DRS wasnt there, the overtaking move probably will take place anyway in a lap or 2.

    This is what I suggest, and I want the right people to hear this. DRS should be used to help cars to catch up to each other. That is, I suggest to allow drivers to use when they are 2-6 seconds apart. This will help the following drivers to catch up to a point, where overtaking can be done by their own driving skill. No artificial overtaking, only artificial “catch up”. This will certainly make the race more exciting. If there following car is slower, it wont get past the 2 seconds gap, it was faster then, we will see overtaking attempt more often.

    Agree?

    1. It will probably make it more exciting, but the catchup wont be exciting.
      You have to remember that what the DRS is there to do is to remove some of the penalty of driving in dirty air. Which is only a problem around 1 second behind the driver in front.
      If the DRS was allowed 2-6 seconds behind the other driver we would see people catching up easily by half a second and then suddenly when they can’t use the DRS anymore they will hit a two second wall and then be stuck there, or just slowly creep in on him by a tenth a lap and then when he hits the 1 second barrier he won’t get any closer.
      I think the use of the DRS is good, but i would like the DRS zone to be shorter and then on several places if the circuit allows it. That could help the driver behind to catch up when he is within 1 second, but because of the short DRS zones he will not be able to pass the driver in front because of it, it will just keep him just on his tail, ready to strike when the moment comes. We saw some of that in Australia, and in my opinion that was where i liked the DRS the most.

      1. Actually, that might work. But at tracks like Monaco, we are struggling to have one DRS zone, and track like Australia is difficult to fit in another DRS zone.

        Honestly, I just dont treasure as much of each overtake as I did before, here I am referring to ones used DRS etc. We need more Kobayashi and Hamilton put it that way.

  69. Can anyone answer this?

    From what I understand doesn’t the ground effect not produce as much turbulent air as the current aerodynamic rules but is just as affective?

    So .. couldn’t we bring that back and get rid of DRS which I’m against because it just seems artificial

    Obviously the regs cant change overnight but for the future maybe?
    Or am I looking at things too simply :D

    1. There are rumours suggesting it could come back in 2013. The reason it’s not looked upon particularly favourably is due to safety concerns. Ground effect is extremely sensitive and when you need it most is when it’s most dangerous. All it takes is a bump in the road or for the car to be slightly off balance and you’ve lost ground effect, potentially sticking you in the barriers.

  70. I like the way the tyre situation is working out this year. But I think the DRS is too artificial and potentially dangerous if activated accidentally (say on corners). Better to cut down on aero overall and allow more effective drafting (with help from KERS for overtaking).

  71. Many said DRS keep the race / car close. I have to disagree to agree. The cars has to be close to each other before they can use the DRS, so in that case they were already close before they apply the use of DRS!

    But in theory, many were right, it helps faster car to get to the front, and eventually, all fast car should be up there in the front. But real race is very different to Theory.

    To be honest, Bring back refueling, and drop this DRS thing. Its too artificial. When the car behind has an advantage, thats artificial. F1 drivers can overtake with their own skills.

  72. Surely this season is showing that less aero and more mechanical (tyres) emphasis on grip is what produces great racing.This has been the creed of many fans especially those that were fans before wings.

    1. Agreed, and it was pretty bad judgement to introduce two major changes like the degrading tires and DRS in the same season.

      The tires would have made it alone and next they could have worked on reducing the aero.

      To further improve, they should not enforce the use certain tires through the race. A harder tire should fully make up for lesser grip by providing a longer performance, making it up to the strategists to chose the best tire for the day combined with the number of stops.

      It used to be exiting to watch someone with more stops all on softer tires finally catch up with the guy on harder tires and less stops. The Pirelli’s are helping because not everyone uses the same strategy now but why not take the final step give it free?

      Pirelli has shown us that it would be fully possible to achieve various strategies without enforcements but to force a stint of hard tires on a car that wanted multiple stops with soft compounds is just as artificial as the DRS joke!

  73. The DRS concept does what it was ment to do. It helps a faster car (because if it’s in the zone of the 1 second is faster) to overtake a slower one. Example : Hamilton could not overtake Massa during the second stint with the prime in china because he was slower for 0.1 of a second or they were even. Thus DRS or not he could not pass. Alonso in the same time overtook MSC and he was 0.7 of a second faster (MSC was on older tyres, of course). Without DRS Alonso would never pass, just like Abu Dahbi last year. DRS is good.

    Pirelli’s job is great. But the higher degredation of the pirellis should be replaced with 2 extra pairs of rubber for every car in a racing weekend. Thus we will have more running in the free practices, and more Webber-Hamilton like races from every driver on the grid. How much more problem for the logistics could it be? Only 2 extra pair of prime we ask (or one and one).

    Is anyone misses refulling…. I know I do. If refulling was permited for this year, it could be the best ever (from a spectacle point of view).

  74. For people who started watching F1 in the refuelling era I guess it seemed good, for me it made the whole race about the pitcrew and strategist, as a Damon Hill / Williams fan at the time it was incredibly frustrating to see him lose an advantage eked out in qualifying and 20 laps of racing in the pits every time. To me it seemed that they could have had the chief mechanics throw darts to determine the winner and it would have been equally relevant. But back to DRS and aerodynamics, reducing the size of the wings and increasing the size of the tyres and the restrictions ( other than total number used) is the better option. As background , before wings cars relied on 1 set of tyres and passing depended entirely on the better car/driver combination for that track or that part of the track, going offline did not ruin your grip and engines were of different characteristics eg Ferrari and Honda had high reving high power V12’s and on long straights had a speed advantage but others like Brabham had lower power V8’s that had better torque at lower rpm so were faster out of corners and better balanced for cornering speed. All the regulations restricting innovation and standardising cars are as much to blame as the aerodynamicists.(And yes I remember Jim Clark was even more consistent than Seb Vettel at Pole to Flag victories )

  75. It is unfair for the car infront because it cannot defend his position. End of story.

  76. My main problem with DRS is that the slower/smaller teams that occasionally luck out lose a lot of hope of winning or being on the podium, because the faster cars will always naturally drift to the front. Sensational stories about a small team making all the right calls and winning is more unlikely I feel.

    Look at Schumi in Canada, he could have been on the podium but had no defence against the DRS wielding cars of Webber and Button. I’m all for creating opportunities to overtake but why introduce two variables? In my opinion they should have tried the Pirelli tires first and then analysed their effect. Did the quality of the racing improve? If not then maybe DRS could have been trialed.

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