FIA confirms Eau Rouge DRS ban at Spa

2011 Belgian Grand Prix

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2010

Drivers can't activate DRS until they've passed through Eau Rouge

The FIA has confirmed drivers will not be allowed to use the Drag Reductions System through Eau Rouge during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.

The teams were told on Monday the use of DRS through the corner will not be allowed at any time on safety grounds.

The DRS zone for the race will be positioned beyond the exit of Eau Rouge.

The FIA previously banned the use of DRS through the tunnel at Monaco.

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127 comments on FIA confirms Eau Rouge DRS ban at Spa

  1. All this does for me is enforces the need for more testing to be allowed. How can they know if things will work and how if they are not allowed to test them more. That would enable them to know the tendancies of it. then they would not be limited to the little they get each race with free practice!!!
    And as already has been said it questions the capabilities of the drivers, are they not the best of the best in F1???

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 22nd August 2011, 23:56

      The entire season is pretty much a test for DRS, that’s why it lacks consistency.

      You couldn’t test DRS anyway, or not in a capacity that wouldn’t be just as dangerous as a race situation. You still need to go flat out to get any benefit from it.

  2. I’m told that going through there with the DRS activated would amount to much the same thing as going through with no rear wing on at all, such would be the change in balance.

    The other thing, of course, is that you would have to set your car up as best you could during practice and qualifying to get through there the best you can. And then come the race you’ve got a car set up for something that isn’t needed any more, since the DRS isn’t activated until after Eau Rouge anyway.

    Apparently there’s a big difference between the soft and medium tyres here, so I’m not too fussed about what happens with regard to the DRS anyway.

  3. Surely this has little to do with safety and more to do with making it a bit of a competition. I agreed with the Monaco decision, this is not so clear cut.

    RBR are likely to be the only ones that could do it, flat and DRS (maybe Mclaren or Ferrari) the rest certainly couldn’t so its no wonder Rubens is beating his drum again, self interest is coming into play IMO.

    One the other side I don’t buy the well the driver should know their limit arguments, even if the car can’t do it there are some brave or stupid enough to try it. Remember the article the other day?

  4. HounslowBusGarage (@hounslowbusgarage) said on 22nd August 2011, 21:00

    Does anyone know if the FIA has actually tested a DRS-equipped car through Eau Rouge, or is this based on theoretical knowledge, aka guesswork?
    I’d be really disappointed if it hasn’t been tested as the possible danger level will be assumed and not proven. And that’s not a good way to administer a race series.
    In addition, the dependence on DRS and outright speed varies from car to car according to the design, and if the FIA mandated this driver adjustable aerodynamic device as safe at the start of the season, it seems perverse to ban it for one section of one track without prior warning.
    We don’t know for example, that Designer A didn’t sit down and formulate his car’s DRS system based entirely on the performance required at Eau Rouge, only to learn now that his design has been compromised by the very late FIA ban.
    Or did the FIA always intend to exclude this section of Spa, but just neglect to tell anyone?
    Either way, I feel there’s a court case coming.

  5. So DRS can’t be used freely on a Sunday, it now can’t be used freely at all on some parts of a track, it can only be used on a Sunday when it’s by the car behind and that’s only when it’s within a specific distance of the car in front…what on earth is the point in DRS at all? Could they make it any more complicated?

    This has got my goat a bit. Racing for me is about drivers exploring the limits but this has taken away another chance for them to do just that. F1 drivers make decisions how much speed to carry into a corner ever single time they want to turn the wheel. If a car can’t hack it through Eau Rouge then they should use their own judgement and not use it. This isn’t like a fixed car part it’s movable the drivers have the choice to use it or not.

    • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 22nd August 2011, 21:24

      I disagree with you, Steph. I think it’s important to remember that DRS is primarily an overtaking aid, not a tool to assist in making cars produce faster laptimes. The FIA could just as easily have said ‘no DRS throughout all practice and qualifying this year’ but they didn’t. So the fact that they are restricting its use around one corner isn’t really that big of a deal.

      I honestly don’t feel like we’ll be missing out on anything because drivers will still be taking Eau Rouge at incredible speeds regardless. And anyway, how do we know anyone would be able to take Eau Rouge with the DRS active in the first place? I’d imagine you’d need the rear to be as stable as possible if you want to take such a daunting corner flat.

      • Thanks for the replies Mag and Bullfrog. In love how a fish and a frog have replied to my comments where is Hare when you need him? :):P
        Sorry for that, I’ll get back to the topic now…

        I understand where you’re coming from Mag even if I have disagreed with your stance on DRS since the beginning. I just feel like this is yet another complication and this one isn’t at all necessary. I don’t think we’ll miss out anything but the drivers will. They should be allowed to explore the limits with this like they have at every other track and back off when they feel they have to. I just don’t see why this is suddenly so different especially when last year we had them using the F-duct one handed through the same corner.

        Bullfrog I agree we’ll never know now which is a shame as I’d have liked to see the difference. I think it might have been better before the chicane too but DRS hasn’t really dominated the overtaking and I doubt it will now. I still think we’ll get an exciting race.

        • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 22nd August 2011, 21:54

          Steph:

          I understand where you’re coming from Mag even if I have disagreed with your stance on DRS since the beginning. I just feel like this is yet another complication and this one isn’t at all necessary. I don’t think we’ll miss out anything but the drivers will. They should be allowed to explore the limits with this like they have at every other track and back off when they feel they have to. I just don’t see why this is suddenly so different especially when last year we had them using the F-duct one handed through the same corner.

          Again, I have to disagree with you mate.

          What I’m picturing in my mind is that on Friday, the first driver to really attack Eau Rouge with the DRS active may suddenly lose the back end and ‘do a Villeneuve’. With the speed they’ll undoubtedly be doing, as soon as that happens it’s not a case of ‘will there be an accident’ but ‘how huge will this accident be’. You’re not going to know how the car’s going to handle until you’re already heading up the hill and if it snaps away from you, it’s going to be one hell of a shunt. I honestly am sceptical as to whether drivers would keep the DRS active through Eau Rouge even if they weren’t barred from doing so. But this is all pure speculation at this point and to be honest, I’m not that massively upset that we’ll never know the answer, personally.

          As for the F-Duct, I agree that that was dangerous in its own right but I also realise that the drag reduction from the aptly named ‘Drag Reduction System’ is considerably more than from the F-Duct. So I don’t think it’s fair to compare the two when the DRS works like the F-Duct did but on steroids.

          As everyone knows, I am a fan of the DRS. However, I do share people’s concern about the positioning of the DRS activation zone here. I think drivers have managed to overtake just fine into Les Combes over the years and they don’t ‘need’ the DRS to help them overtake there. If it was me, I’d place it immediately after Les Combes heading into Bruxelles or maybe along the S/F straight as the run to the Bus Stop has produced plenty of overtaking over the years as well.

          • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 22nd August 2011, 22:14

            I’m not sure the DRS has that much of a greater effect than the F-Duct did. I believe the F-duct gave you about 6mph, which is almost 10kph. I’ve seen a figure (on this very site) that says KERS + DRS gives 15kph, so the difference between the two probably isn’t that great, as we didn’t have KERS last year.

            Note also that last year not everyone who had an F-Duct used it through Radillon either.

            And I do think the actual placing for the race is woeful indeed.

      • US_Peter said on 22nd August 2011, 21:40

        But shouldn’t it be up to the drivers to determine for themselves if they can do it/have the balls to try it? I agree that Eau Rouge will still be fantastic, but I agree with Steph that the tweaking of the DRS rules is getting nerve wracking and bordering on comical.

        • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 22nd August 2011, 22:06

          But shouldn’t it be up to the drivers to determine for themselves if they can do it/have the balls to try it? I agree that Eau Rouge will still be fantastic, but I agree with Steph that the tweaking of the DRS rules is getting nerve wracking and bordering on comical.

          I don’t quite see how it’s bordering on ‘comical’ at all. I actually think the FIA have done a great job so far of learning from the DRS experiments they’ve made and are constantly tweaking it as they learn more about it. It would’ve been a very FIA-ish thing for them to say, “right, we’re having two zones for every race until the end of the season to be consistent and that’s that”, but they haven’t. They’ve realised what’s worked and what hasn’t worked and they’ve done a good job of changing things accordingly, in my opinion.

          The thing about Eau Rouge and the tunnel in Monaco is that they are two extremely unique corners. There isn’t anything like those two corners anywhere else on the calendar. The last thing any of us fans want to see is a truly major shunt that endangers the drivers, marshals and fans that can be easily be avoided by simply saying “you can’t use it there”. You can use it anywhere you like on the rest of the circuit during practice and qualifying, so I don’t really see how that’s particularly extraordinary or ‘comical’ at all. And besides, drivers are only allowed to use DRS in the designated areas and in the right conditions during the race, so this really affects practice and qualifying. And as I said above, the FIA could just as easily have prevented teams from using DRS outside of races anyway, so I really don’t understand why so many people are so very upset. But that’s just me.

          • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 22nd August 2011, 22:22

            I actually think the FIA have done a great job so far of learning from the DRS experiments they’ve made and are constantly tweaking it as they learn more about it.

            I don’t agree at all. We saw how powerful putting the DRS on a long straight was in China (so much so that they cut it), Turkey and Canada, yet they’ve put it at the end of another long straight here. If you ask me, the DRS placements have been the greatest contributor to the criticism that it’s a “too easy gimmick” and yet they seem to be persisting down the same course instead of thinking of more novel places to put it.

    • Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 22nd August 2011, 21:29

      Yes, a Virgin or HRT couldn’t take Eau Rouge and Raidillon flat out with its wing open, but a Red Bull might have done…we’ll never know.

      I hope this doesn’t spoil the race by making overtaking too easy like in Turkey. That uphill straight doesn’t need any help, it always produces lots of overtaking. I wish they’d put the DRS from Blanchimont to the chicane or something.

    • Ratboy said on 22nd August 2011, 21:54

      Isnt Blanchimont taken flat out? so the drivers wont be touching the brakes the close the DRS there making it as dangerous as Eau Rouge surely?

      oh and make that a fish, frog and rat now replied ;)

      • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 25th August 2011, 18:39

        I was just about to say what Ratboy said! :D Blanchimont is easily as scary as Eau Rouge, and the run-off area is no bigger. That’s where I think the FIA are wrong. Drivers have been choosing where to use the DRS all season long and we’ve not seen a single accident as a result of it. That wasn’t going to change this weekend because the corner happens to be called “Eau Rouge”.

  6. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 22nd August 2011, 21:24

    Not sure this justifies getting rid of the DRS altogether, as some have said. If the FIA had just stuck to it being an anti aero wake device we wouldn’t be having these discussions. I get the feeling they introduced DRS for qualifying to try and further justify its existence in the face of criticisms that it’s a gimmick. They’ve just created problems for themselves to be honest.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd August 2011, 6:41

      I always understood that allowing DRS in qualifying is so teams will be motivated to do their gearing in a way to actally give a speed benefit from using it. Otherwise they might well end up having a completely useless DRS for the race, nullifying what was the target of DRS in the first place.

      In practice its allowed to test where to use it and to be able to decide on the gear ratios.

  7. Icemangrins said on 22nd August 2011, 22:19

    I guess this is not bad after all… the drivers would still take Eau rouge flat out… but have the DRS enabled for the Kimmel.

  8. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 22nd August 2011, 23:59

    Seems fair enough to me.

    Word of advice…remember there is a lump of very fragile flesh in that car before you jump to wild assertions.

  9. howick20 said on 23rd August 2011, 0:36

    I would love to know what buffon decided on the DRS detection point for this weekend. Blanchimonte to the bustop is where it should be-its a no brainer surely?…F1 has become very frustrating this year in more ways than one.

  10. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 23rd August 2011, 3:38

    I would like to see DRS through Eau Rouge which should have made the corner spectacular.

  11. raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 23rd August 2011, 7:12

    How will this thing be policed? Where is the point where you must shut off your DRS, and where is the point you can reactivate it? I assume that once they’re no longer traction limited on the exit of La Source they’ll want to activate it; and similarly on the exit of Raidillon

  12. Accidental Mick said on 23rd August 2011, 8:26

    This aplies equally to Rubens (who I like) and to Charlie Whiting.
    It is a fact of life that you get more cautious as you get older. I am pushing 70 but even at 50 I wouldn’t have done some of the things I did at twenty.
    Perhaps Rubens and Charlie should consider handing their respective roles on to younger hands?

  13. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd August 2011, 11:37

    I would have thought the DRS zone would go on Blanchimont on the approach to the Bus Stop.

  14. vjanik said on 23rd August 2011, 11:51

    why are they putting the DRS activation zone after Eau Rouge? That long straight was always an overtaking spot. one of the few places we saw overtaking even before Pirelli, DRS and KERS. So why oh why put the DRS zone there? Why not put it on another place on the track that would otherwise not see that much overtaking?

    sometimes I just dont get the FIA.

  15. JustAnF1Fanatic (@justanf1fanatic) said on 23rd August 2011, 13:21

    I havent read every comment, so i dont know if this has already been said ….

    people who say that the DRS is just like the trottle brakes etc are forgetting a key difference, the trottle is effectivly analouge, as in is has a scale of pressure to torque, but the drs doesnt. its “press button lose X amount of drag at the back end.” My point being that its hard to have a little test, you dont know how close to being able to use it you are, whereas the trottle will give feedback, and you know how far you can currently press it.

    i would love to watch the faster cars take the plunge and go through Eau Rouge with the DRS open, i think mclaren, red bull and ferrari (maybe) could do it, but eventually someone lower down is just going to have a go and lose it in the wall.

    (I apologise for the lack of CAPS of “i” and at the start of sentences etc)

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