Drivers call DRS “a big step forward”

2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Yas Marina, 2011

Petrov: DRS fan

F1 drivers praised the Drag Reduction System, which is expected to increase overtaking at the Yas Marina circuit.

Last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix became a cause celebre for the problem of overtaking in Formula 1 as Fernando Alonso lost the world championship after spending most of the race stuck behind Vitaly Petrov.

Speaking in today’s press conference Petrov admitted it would be much harder to keep Alonso behind in similar circumstances this year with DRS and the 2011-specification tyres.

The Renault driver endorsed the introduction of the moveable rear wings this year, saying: “I think that it?s definitely a big step forward.

“I think we will keep this for many years, five or ten years. I think it?s a good chance for us to overtake and good for you to write something about overtaking, so I think it?s a good step.”

Sebastien Buemi agreed, saying: “I think it?s definitely a positive.

“We?ve seen a lot more overtaking; we?ve even seen some overtaking in Monaco. It?s definitely good.

“Sometimes it feels like the DRS zone is not long enough but I definitely think it?s going to help a lot this weekend.”

2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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97 comments on Drivers call DRS “a big step forward”

  1. Readover said on 10th November 2011, 15:28

    Some drivers just don’t have the balls to speak their own mind…

  2. bosyber (@bosyber) said on 10th November 2011, 15:29

    I still think that in many cases, passing a driver with DRS is something quite different to actually racing and overtaking someone. But I do agree that with a track like this, and the way the cars currently work, it’s a useful stopgap. But then keeping it instead of improving the gap it was supposed to stop, while probably quite normal, easy, and common in our everyday lives, is not a good or real solution.

    I don’t think it will make okay or good races much better, just help make tirelessly processional races more dynamic. And if that’s needed at a new track, some- or many a one did something wrong.

  3. matt90 (@matt90) said on 10th November 2011, 15:38

    This makes me feel very sad. So much for DRS being a stop-gap solution. In some cases it works in the way it should, helping drivers make up the ground they lose by running in dirty air and therefore attempt a pass, but all too often it involves cars arbitrarily breezing past on the straights. That isn’t real racing, and the best drivers in the world should not consider it to be- especially the very driver who benefited from great defensive driving at the very same event last year.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th November 2011, 5:12

      all too often it involves cars arbitrarily breezing past on the straights

      In those cases, the difference in speed between the cars is already so great that the pass would likely have happened without DRS. Only a handful of passes this year have been solely a product of the DRS

      • nefor (@nefor) said on 11th November 2011, 5:51

        I agree partly with this, the one that springs to mind because I know people were rattling on about it was Lewis retaking Mark in Korea, the F1.com video has a great view showing Lewis was already side by side with Mark before the DRS line and Lewis had a higher top speed according to the speed trap in Quali (314.6 vs 312.2) so I would imagine regardless of DRS Lewis would’ve retaken that place. The DRS just made it look easier than it was.

  4. antonyob (@antonyob) said on 10th November 2011, 16:01

    whereas turning up your engine to overtake is completely pure racing ?

    Its an added dimension only a flat earther would deny its worked.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 10th November 2011, 16:35

      A lot of people disagree, so saying everybody else is a flat earther seems a bit off. There are certainly examples where it’s worked, but equally there have been plenty of times it hasn’t worked at all. Turning engines up is something that is available to everybody, and when people turn up engines it can be strategic when they do so, so yes it is more fundamentally racing than DRS where only the attacking driver can ever access it. Coulthard has throughout the year referred to your point as being why DRS is okay and in the spirit of F1 in the 80’s, and failed every time to comprehend why it is something very different.

      • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 10th November 2011, 16:50

        But the attacking driver can only use it in very specific circumstances.

        If the defending driver remains more than a second ahead, there’s nothing to worry about.

        Once a driver is within 1 second, the very nature of F1 cars means they are subjected to dirty-air which immediately puts them at a disadvantage before ever attempting a move. DRS is not about giving the attacking driver an unfair advantage – it’s supposed to be an equaliser.

        • matt90 (@matt90) said on 10th November 2011, 17:01

          Yes and when it is an equaliser it is fine, but all too often the attacking driver breezes past before the braking zone, and the defending driver can’t even do as much as defend their line. Also, the double DRS zone in Canada was a joke.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 10th November 2011, 17:08

            Couldn’t agree more.

          • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 10th November 2011, 17:28

            @Matt90

            Yes and when it is an equaliser it is fine, but all too often the attacking driver breezes past before the braking zone, and the defending driver can’t even do as much as defend their line.

            I respectfully disagree with you, here. Yes, some DRS passes have resulted in painfully easy overtaking moves like that and I fully agree that that is a problem. But the fact is that many (probably the majority) of DRS ‘attempts’ have NOT resulted in any overtakes at all, let alone those sort of ‘breeze-by’ overtakes.

            Think Button/Massa in Melbourne, or Hamilton/Vettel in Spain, or Hamilton/Schumacher in Monza, or Webber/Hamilton in Korea. Despite several opportunities, none of those attacking drivers using DRS were able to pass their opponent for multiple laps or even at all.

            The key issue with DRS, I believe, is that it is too dependent on the zones. If the FIA get it right – Melbourne, Sepang, Shanghai, Monaco, Nurburgring, Singapore, Suzuka – DRS works brilliantly because it allows drivers an opportunity to make a move without making it too easy. If they get it wrong – Istanbul, Montreal, Spa – it does indeed make things too easy.

            It’s important, therefore, that the FIA learn from the information they’ve gained about DRS this season and use it to make more informed, intelligent decisions about where they put the activation zones next year to strike the right balance.

            Also, the double DRS zone in Canada was a joke.

            No arguments there. That was stupid. One detection point per activation zone from now on, please.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 10th November 2011, 17:42

            Good point/post. I still think we really need to see a race without DRS but all the other current regs at a track with half a chance of producing a decent race regardless (not Abu Dhabi, Singapore or Valencia) to see how necessary it truly is though, or whether some tracks would benefit from it where others don’t need actually need it.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 10th November 2011, 18:16

            I am no fan of DRS for what it means – giving the guy behind an advantage to tip his chances of getting past. And I fully agree with those saying its a big shame this stop gap solution will now get to be a permanent fixture.

            And they need to learn from this year and get the zones better. But I am fully willing to give DRS the maximum chance here to show it can get people to overtake someone on track

        • John H (@john-h) said on 10th November 2011, 17:36

          Why 1 second? Why is this unit of human measurement so comparable to the effect of dirty air through a series of any undefined corners before a straight?

          How about reducing the amount of ‘dirty air’ by reducing aero dependence, making the tyres wider and sticking the exhaust exits into the sky so they don’t create even more turbulence – there’s an idea. Then we wouldn’t need DRS and the artificial adjustment it tries to make.

          DRS is the cosmetic surgery of F1.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 10th November 2011, 16:38

      @antonyob

      whereas turning up your engine to overtake is completely pure racing?

      Yes, because the other guy can turn his engine up too.

      But he’s not allowed to activate his DRS while the other driver uses his, gets a massive speed boost and goes flying past.

      • Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 10th November 2011, 18:15

        These are my feelings pretty exactly. As has been said, Indy Car’s “push-to-pass” button is executed slightly more in the spirit of fair racing: everyone has it at all times and it is therefore up to the driver to decide when is best to utilize it. If DRS was employed in the same way (you get to use it X amount of times per race and after that you’re out of them), I’d be much more in favor of it.

      • Whoops I see you made the same point :-)

      • Hairs (@hairs) said on 11th November 2011, 0:08

        And KERS is a “both drivers can use it whenever they want” solution – and it doesn’t work.

        The driver in front has a massive aero advantage. That advantage needs to be negated in order for passing to happen. DRS is a simple way of doing it. It may not produce the types of overtakes you want all the time, but a “both drivers have the same button” solution only serves to continue the status quo.

    • whereas turning up your engine to overtake is completely pure racing ?

      Not really a valid comparison IMO, as the car in front can also turn their engine up.

      DRS should only remain until they find a solution to following through corners. The advantage on straights and into the break zone is all wrong (there is not disadvantage to a following car there), but it is better than nothing for now.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 11th November 2011, 7:21

      Another good point.

    • Mark (@marlarkey) said on 11th November 2011, 12:51

      One often unmentioned issue is the rev limit.

      We’ve had more mention of it this year due to the gear choices the teams have to make, balancing top speed, DRS, fuel loads at different stages of the race, qualifying, etc.

      Right now there are many cases where someone can’t get past simply because of the rev limit and without the rev limit they would be inherently faster and able to make an overtaking attempt.

      So why have a rev limit at all ?

      Originally the rev limit was to reduce costs, improve reliability and put a restriction on engine power. The number of engines rule was introduced later.

      But now that we have a limit on the number of engines I can’t see why we need to have a rev limit at all. The engineering choices and race tactics are limited by the rules on the number of engines without having to have a separate rev limiter.

      What’s wrong with have unrestricted rev limits ? Teams could turn up the wick by running higher rev limits to aid overtaking… but they’d run the risk of blowing their engines and paying penalties over the course of the season.

      And what’s wrong with that ?

      My two most obvious ‘easy’ improvements to the “show” are:

      1. remove the blue flag “get out of the way” rule
      2. remove the rev limiter

  5. UKFan (@) said on 10th November 2011, 16:04

    I hope sometime in the future we can see DRS with no restrictions in races and still see some overtaking, I think that is the purpose of moveable wings.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th November 2011, 5:16

      The problem is that as soon as a defending driver can use his rear wing, the advantage to the attacking driver is marginalised. The effect would be the same if neither was using DRS.

      • Mark (@marlarkey) said on 12th November 2011, 12:21

        So how is it “overtaking” to give the driver behind a boost that the guy in ifront is prevented from defending ?

        This is why it is an articial gimick that increases “passing” but undermines “overtaking”.

  6. xivizmath (@xivizmath) said on 10th November 2011, 16:14

    DRS and KERS ruined 2011 for me after brilliant 2010, I’m very disappointed to hear drivers praising this idea, which in my opinion is killing the fun from watching drivers compete. Can’t drivers just deal with the fact that it’s hard to overtake in Abu Dhabi?

  7. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 10th November 2011, 16:40

    I’m pleased to hear the drivers themselves echoing my own views on DRS.

    For a number of reasons this season, we’ve seen a lot more overtaking – even on Tilke tracks. DRS has unarguably played a role in that and I feel it’s added an extra dimension to the racing this year. I feel DRS has a place in the current Formula and so I’m pleased that the drivers are keen on retaining it also.

    Is DRS perfect? No. Of course it isn’t.

    Is it better than the prospect of returning to the boring processions of old when drivers didn’t have any chance of passing slower rivals? Absolutely.

    But I’m not holding my breath about it working in Abu Dhabi too well. The painfully slow corners before both the straights will make DRS practically useless as the concertina effect under acceleration from those tight turns will keep cars spread out for most of the straight.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 10th November 2011, 16:47

      @Magnificent-Geoffrey

      Is it better than the prospect of returning to the boring processions of old when drivers didn’t have any chance of passing slower rivals? Absolutely.

      With the new tyres and with the return of KERS I do not believe we would go straight back to processions without DRS.

      And it’s a terrible shame they missed the opportunity to find that out by rushing in this silly little gimmick.

      • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 10th November 2011, 17:00

        @Keith-Collantine

        With the new tyres and with the return of KERS I do not believe we would go straight back to processions without DRS.

        If this was earlier in the season, I’d probably have agreed with you completely. However, over the past few races we’ve seen a stagnation of exciting racing situations emerging from Pirelli tyres and KERS. At both Korea and India, the vast majority of overtaking moves were made as a direct result of DRS. Tyres and KERS led to hardly any overtakes outside of DRS zones.

        Now, I’m not saying that’s a good thing. It isn’t. But it says to me that Pirellis and KERS can only do so much. Granted, Korea and India are both Tilkedromes. But if F1 will continue to go to these new circuits with their very uniform layouts of straight, slow, straight, slow, I’d argue that DRS will have an important role in ensuring those circuits don’t produce boring, processional races every single time, guaranteed.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 10th November 2011, 17:19

          @magnificent-geoffrey

          If your argument is “F1 needs DRS because it keeps going to rubbish tracks” then we’re definitely never going to agree!

          In that case what F1 clearly needs better tracks. Using DRS as a sticking plaster just makes a bad situation worse.

          Is the future of F1 really 30 Tilkedromes with cars queueing up around the obligatory twisty bit, perhaps in front of a harbour or some pretty hotels, then flapping their DRS wings to pass each other on mile-long straights?

          That’s not the sport of Fangio, Stewart and Senna. That’s a third-rate facsimile of motor racing.

          • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 10th November 2011, 17:43

            @KeithCollantine

            If your argument is “F1 needs DRS because it keeps going to rubbish tracks” then we’re definitely never going to agree!

            No, that’s not the ONLY reason why I support DRS. :P And to clarify, I don’t believe F1 needs DRS – I just genuinely believe that it adds something significant to the racing element of the formula. That’s all.

            In that case what F1 clearly needs better tracks. Using DRS as a sticking plaster just makes a bad situation worse.

            Oh definitely. F1 needs better tracks, for sure. However, I don’t quite see how having DRS on the Tilkedromes makes anything worse. To borrow your analogy, if boring circuits are like an injury and DRS is just a sticking plaster, of course it won’t suddenly cure you if you apply it, but it’s certainly a better option than having nothing at all.

            Is the future of F1 really 30 Tilkedromes with cars queueing up around the obligatory twisty bit, perhaps in front of a harbour or some pretty hotels, then flapping their DRS wings to pass each other on mile-long straights?

            I hope it isn’t. I hope F1 finds a better solution to the dirty-air problem which will allow drivers the opportunity to make moves more naturally. But until then, we have to deal with what we’ve got and I feel DRS is a simple, cheap and worthwhile means through which the sport can attempt to curb the deterrents to overtaking that Pirellis and KERS alone cannot overcome.

          • Ilanin (@ilanin) said on 10th November 2011, 19:50

            Commercial reasons mean there is no reasonable likelihood of a decrease in the number of new tracks on the calendar. Arguing based on an assumption that there will be is fallacious.

          • lubhz (@lubhz) said on 10th November 2011, 22:37

            @KeithCollantine but what do you suggest to solve the problem of the dirty air?

            We can’t compare modern F1 cars with those from more than a decade ago. They became so efficient nowadays that a quicker driver can’t do much and end up stuck behind.

            For me the DRS is a reasonable solution. Or they can drastically reduce the aerodynamic efficiency through strict rules, reducing wing size and ground effect. But the whole speed will be reduced, compromising the category as the pinnacle of motorsport.

          • Hairs (@hairs) said on 11th November 2011, 0:12

            @Keith_Collantine India, by all accounts, is not a “rubbish track”. Yet its race was the most boring of the year – because the teams have now adapted to the Pirelli tyres, and working out the best KERS strategies is easily done in the simulator.

        • I think the tyres more than anything this year have lead to most of the overtaking, but that I think is because they have largely been an unknown quantity and the behaviour of the race rubber has been quite unlike the predictions. But eventually, and we are already starting to see it, unless Pirelli keep changing everything, the tyres will become a known quantity, strategies will become the same for most teams and the easy overtakes due to tyres will become less and less common.
          That doesn’t make me a fan of DRS far from it, but neither do I like seeing one driver on new tyres simply drive round the outside of a driver on tyres a few laps older. Yes they are both overtaking, but not the fights of skilled drivers taking things to the limit that I personally class as great overtaking and that’s what over the years I’ve always wanted to see.
          They are both sticking plasters on a gaping wound which is the sensitivity of modern F1 cars to dirty air. Looking at the Haynes manual on the Red Bull car I was astonished how much of the total downforce comes from the front wing. As the front wing is normally in clean air when not following another car it doesn’t take a genius to work out that until that proportion is hugely reduced they will remain very sensitive to dirty air. I personally would love to see front wings banned entirely or a least restricted to something small and simple, that way perhaps we would see more real overtaking moves and hopefully less artificial ones.

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 10th November 2011, 17:09

        I did wonder why on earth they introduced 3 new factors at once, making it very difficult to see where the improvements are really coming from.

      • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 10th November 2011, 17:16

        I insist they should try to do a whole race without DRS. Interlagos without DRS would be great.

        • matt90 (@matt90) said on 10th November 2011, 17:27

          2nd that. What is the point of them not experimenting with it? How else do they determine the real validity of it?

        • Why, there,s been 60 odd years of F1 without DRS. We know what F1 is like without DRS.

        • John H (@john-h) said on 10th November 2011, 17:39

          YES YES YES. Why haven’t they done that. We need control experiments and now the championship is over this makes perfect sense (that’s why it won’t be done).

          • Why would Pirelli tyres be a magical pill for passing. Tyre maker’s have come and gone in the past. Never produced passing before, why would it this time.

          • KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 10th November 2011, 22:44

            @john-h No, the reason they haven’t done that is because there are still battles within the championship that need to be settled. IF all the teams AND all the drivers were far enough apart from each other to make no difference to the standings no matter what, THEN they would consider mixing things up. Any attempt at doing it before would be just the same as the Silverstone incident where things became over-complicated and it resulted in emergency meetings held a few hours before the race to sort out an agreement.

            If the FIA were to bring back non-championship races however, that might be a chance for them to experiment.. I believe Keith did an article on that a few months ago…

          • John H (@john-h) said on 11th November 2011, 9:06

            @KeeleyObssesed I understand your point of course, but you know what I mean in terms of importance.. the constructors and the drivers are done, but I do get what you’re saying especially in terms of that 10th spot in the standings.

            And not having drs is a relatively minor change compared to the hassle of getting rid of ebds for a single race.

        • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 10th November 2011, 17:45

          I’m a supporter of DRS – but with both championships now over, if the FIA said “we’re going to try interlagos without DRS, just to see what happens”, I’d have no problem with that whatsoever.

          • I dont ‘t believe tyre stratagy alone is a permanant solution to passing or lack of in F1. F1 driver’s will just go back to ” for sure I was faster than ….. but once I got in that turbulant air I just could’nt get close enough to get by” We have all heard this time and time again.

          • Ilanin (@ilanin) said on 10th November 2011, 19:52

            Using Interlagos, an extrremely overtaking-friendly track, for the no-DRS trial would not exactly be good grounds for comparison.

    • Only Two, count them Two races that were boring in 2010 that weren’t boring in 2011 (Valencia was poor in both), oh wait the 1st of the two didn’t even happen Borerain.
      People have odd memories, I agree with others that say it wasn’t broken in 2010, and with KERS back in 2011 & tyres (that are no better than the 1st half of the year where they were to inconsistent) it would of been as near as good as it gets without DRS.

      • *now better, not no better, lol

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 11th November 2011, 17:58

          @Keith…I agree with your opinion about the silly little gadget completely…I don’t care at what tracks it has worked or hasn’t, it is still a gadget.

          Most who are fans of it still say it isn’t perfect but is better than processions but I think you correctly point out the mechanical grip provided by the Pirellis may have been enough, and the only other thing I would do is restrict their wings such that the cars are less aero dependant. That way we have passing by the drivers’ seats of their pants rather than by a gadget.

  8. Calum (@calum) said on 10th November 2011, 17:09

    It’s a shame venturis were cancelled because developing the new tech was ‘too expensive’ – especially when Ferrari, Mclaren and RBR will spend over half a billion pounds between them… money clearly wouldn’t be an issue – I’d go as far as saying the big 3 don’t want their feathers ruffled with another upset of the running order like 2009 because reintroducing ground effect is a huge change, and any team could ge caught out and be left behind…

  9. vickyy (@vickyy) said on 10th November 2011, 17:43

    Cliche it is, but the main problem with DRS is, it is stripping off real racing.
    No race-start mayhems, no wheel-to-wheel between faster and less faster cars. Remember last year Sepang, Sutil holding-off Hamilton for good 25 laps, Petrov-Alonso, Kobayashi-Alonso and plenty more.
    This DRS has clearly divided whole grid in mini-grids: Unbeatable top-3, then next 5 and then backmarkers.

  10. nikhil said on 10th November 2011, 17:47

    Drs is gud, bt it has made overtaking more easier and qicker but i hope the fuel strategy comes back , wow it waz so much fun when sum started on low fuel nd some on high fool,,, it was exciting,, more incidents than dominating,,, this season was bit on boring side with just redbull f1 team dominating in almost all the races, …

  11. I lost a lot of respect for Alonso after his petulant hand waving at Petrov after the race last year. DRS/KERS? I like both of them. I’d prefer KERS to be say, use it for 10 minutes during the race weekend, whenever you want.

  12. PaxJes (@paxjes) said on 10th November 2011, 20:15

    “We’ve seen a lot more overtaking; we’ve even seen some overtaking in Monaco. It’s definitely good.”

    i thought DRS wasn’t available in Monaco…

  13. With criteria, DRS can help overtaking without taking the job away from the drivers. Sometimes this year we’ve seen wrong positioning of the zones but overall it’s helped to spice up the races.

  14. James_mc (@james_mc) said on 10th November 2011, 21:24

    I’ve said it once, and I’ve said it again:

    DRS is perhaps not perfect, however you have to consider that the leading driver has an enormous advantage with the “dirty air barrier”.

    DRS is simply levelling the playing field.

    • But that dirty air already gives the car behind an advantage in the form of a slipstream down the starghts, All DRS does is give the car behind a double advantage in a straght line.

      And unlike a slipstream the DRS effect doesn’t dissapear when the following car pulls out to actually try the pass.

      DRS ain’t about racing & ain’t exciting, If it ain’t banned soon it will kill the sport & turn actual RACING fans against F1.

  15. So looks like there’s no point in my watching F1 next season.

    Hate DRS, Its seriously harmed my enjoyment of the racing this season.

    I like watching racing, good racing, wheel to wheel racing with real overtaking. DRS has done nothing but produce boring & often easy passing which are not exciting to watch in any way.

    I can’t see how manybody can like it & am massively dissapointed that these so called ‘RACING drivers’ support it.

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