Button: DRS an “unnecessary danger” in Monaco tunnel

2011 Monaco Grand Prix

Jenson Button, McLaren, Barcelona, 2011

Jenson Button, McLaren, Barcelona, 2011

Jenson Button says he supports the FIA’s decision to prevent drivers from using the Drag Reduction System in the tunnel at Monaco.

Speaking during a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in he said: “Yes I think it is necessary.

“The tunnel is a very slippery place anyway, it’s got a lot less grip than the normal circuit.

“Also you’ll have the marbles bouncing off the barrier and coming back onto the racing line. I think the first person who tries to use DRS in the tunnel is going to put it in the wall.

“So, yeah, I think it’s a really good idea [to ban it] around here. It’s not going to help overtaking in the tunnel so it’s pointless having it there, it’s an unnecessary danger.”

He added that DRS zone on the start/finish straight will not make much difference to the problem of overtaking around the tight Monte-Carlo circuit:

“I don’t think you’ll see much overtaking there but I think you will get closer which is a bonus for other places around the circuit.

“I don’t think think the DRS is going to make a massive difference to the race, it’s more going to be the tyres and the KERS that will help with overtaking.

“With different strategies and the KERS, if you use it in one place, and the guy behind you hasn’t, he’s got a real big boost to get you in another section of the circuit.

“We’ve that seen in the last few races. It’s still going to be bloody difficult overtaking but there’s more possibilities than ever before.”

2011 Monaco Grand Prix
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27 comments on Button: DRS an “unnecessary danger” in Monaco tunnel

  1. sato113 (@sato113) said on 25th May 2011, 17:03

    mclaren are probably happy with this ban because Red Bull would be able to take the tunnel corner flat out with DRS open, whereas Mclaren would have to close DRS briefly, or back off a bit.

  2. BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th May 2011, 17:03

    I see how he comes to that conclusion.

    But did no one tell him, that the only time the tunnel would see DRS usage, would be long before its covered in marbles and certainly not to overtake (ie. in FP and Qualifying).
    That makes his reasoning a bit mute in my eyes.

    • mike77 (@mike77) said on 25th May 2011, 17:31

      good point

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 25th May 2011, 17:34

      I was going to say he was right, then I read your post and now I’ll say you are right.

    • HounslowBusGarage (@hounslowbusgarage) said on 25th May 2011, 19:49

      So if it’s only going to be useful in free practice or qualifying, when (as you say) there isn’t any overtaking, AND if the stated function of this item is to INCREASE OVERTAKING, then what’s the point in having it available in the tunnel at all?

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th May 2011, 20:00

        That is because in Qualification it is used to get better lap times, including in the tunnel, at least for some.

    • johnny 5 said on 26th May 2011, 0:04

      If the supersofts are going to selfdestruct in only 10 laps, there will certainly be marbles before the end of FP. Anyway, the point he was making was that the effect of being enclosed in the tunnel means that the marbles (however many there are) get spread more evenly over the track, they don’t get flung to the edges and stay out of the way.

    • SVettel said on 26th May 2011, 16:39

      This is my opinion: No one is forcing you to use DRS. If you believe you can’t use it through the tunnel, then don’t. Buttons argument is like saying that DRS should be banned for the last corner at Catalunya. If he believes it to be unsafe, then he won’t use it. That doesn’t mean the rest of the field can’t

  3. Icarus said on 25th May 2011, 17:52

    Didn’t they use the more complicated but same functioning F-duct in the tunnel last year? What exactly is the difference from a safety standpoint?

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 25th May 2011, 18:17

      I guess the tyres last year were a whole lot more predictable. Its the combination of using DRS with these quickly degrading tyres that could potentially be dangerous. If the tyres were to suddenly fall off the cliff with the DRS enabled levels of downforce, it could lead to a huge crash.

    • HounslowBusGarage (@hounslowbusgarage) said on 25th May 2011, 19:32

      We don’t know this, but Button might have felt that using the F-Duct in the tunnel last year (if they did) was also dangerous.

  4. MVEilenstein (@mveilenstein) said on 25th May 2011, 18:00

    “The tunnel is a very slippery place anyway, it’s got a lot less grip than the normal circuit.

    I could make a case for unrestricted DRS use based on that quote. This is a weak argument.

  5. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 25th May 2011, 18:16

    Perhaps i’m looking for problems…but if you interpret this in one way you could argue the drivers could activate the flap outside the tunnel just before it, therefore not actually changing the aero balance in the tunnel itself.

  6. John H said on 25th May 2011, 18:19

    I agree with Jenson here. He should know having been into the barrier himself at the end of the tunnel. There is nothing to be gained having it open in qualifying at all (other than more Red Bull pace!). We don’t want another Wendlinger crash for no reason.

    As for the marbles, I don’t know what he’s going on about! Suffering from a bit of brain fade again perhaps. ;)

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 25th May 2011, 18:26

      There are no run off areas in Monaco, and barriers run along the entire length of the circuit. According to Jenson’s theory, there should be marbles covering pretty much the entire track. So that is quite a poor explanation for not having a DRS in the tunnel. I think Jenson’s lost his marbles :)

  7. MuzzleFlash said on 25th May 2011, 18:27

    What’s the history on removing crashed cars from the tunnel? Is there enough clearance for a crane in there? I imagine it would be a red flag nonetheless.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 25th May 2011, 19:19

      Pironi once conked out of fuel and the marshals pushed him down the tunnel!

      But if there was a crash I would imagine a Safety Car unless there were actual chunks of car blocking the way.

    • HounslowBusGarage (@hounslowbusgarage) said on 25th May 2011, 19:36

      There were two drivers who crashed into each other in the tunnel a few years ago – I think they were behind the safety car already. Was it SCH and ALO?
      IIRC the SC period was extended while these two cars were recovered by hauling them out of the tunnel. There is certainly not enough headroom to get a normal track crane inside the tunnel.

  8. maxthecat said on 25th May 2011, 18:27

    It’s probably time to accept that Monaco is more about the event then the race, doesn’t matter what you do to the cars it’s just to tight and twisty to overtake. The only really good place to get pass is at the end of tunnel at nuvelle so i can understand why some drivers wanted DRS in the tunnel. It’s going to be next to useless on the main (not) straight.

    • Mike said on 26th May 2011, 6:16

      I watch it for the race that’s for sure,

      I like how hard they push yet how precise they have to be. one mistake and it’s race over.
      Watch Kubica’s qually lap last year and you will see what I mean.

  9. Damon (@damon) said on 25th May 2011, 19:24

    The tunnel is a very slippery place anyway, it’s got a lot less grip than the normal circuit.

    If that’s so, then nobody would use DRS there, since by reducing downforce, ergo grip, it’d only make you slower through the tunnel.

    I think the first person who tries to use DRS in the tunnel is going to put it in the wall.

    The first person who tries to use DRS in any turn is going to put it in the wall. That’s why nobody uses DRS in the corners.
    What’s the problem, seriously?
    Either you’d benefit from using DRS in the tunnel or if it slows you down you wouldn’t use it.

    The cars are pushed to travel at the limits of grip in every turn and corner with or w/o DRS anyway.
    If you took all wings off of the cars, it wouldn’t make the cars crash in every single turn – they would just go slower, duh.

    Its the combination of using DRS with these quickly degrading tyres that could potentially be dangerous. If the tyres were to suddenly fall off the cliff with the DRS enabled levels of downforce, it could lead to a huge crash.

    If the tyres were to suddenly fall off the cliff w/o the DRS enabled levels of downforce then it’s no difference; if you lose it in the turn then you lose it.

    And the mere fact that you could go faster through the tunnel curve faster with DRS means that you didn’t need that downforce coming from the rear wing to keep you in the right line in the first place.

  10. Butler258 said on 25th May 2011, 21:25

    Maybe he is reminiscing about the time he had a massive crash coming out of the tunnel when there was no DRS or anything on his car, 03 i think it was? Maybe 04. I doubt he would want to experience that again.

  11. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 26th May 2011, 3:06

    I agree with him that in this race the tyres will play it’s role not the DRS. Also I think qualifying will again be important just as it was in Monaco as you know it’s very tough to overtake down here.

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