Jenson Button, McLaren, Buddh International Circuit, 2011

What did F1 fans like least about 2011? DRS

2011 F1 season reviewPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Jenson Button, McLaren, Buddh International Circuit, 2011
Button using his DRS wing

The controversial Drag Reduction System was a running theme in F1 Fanatics’ worst moments of 2011.

DRS was blamed for making overtaking too easy, eroding the importance of defensive driving and diluting the spectacle of Grand Prix racing.

Here’s what F1 Fanatics had to say about it and the other worst moments of 2011.

DRS – Drag Reduction System

In 2011 we never seemed to get through a week without having at least one argument about DRS.

The system was not without its defenders, but when F1 Fanatics were asked to name the worst moments of the season it was striking how many times those three letters came up.

Here’s what you had to say about DRS:

Yes, OK, it’s not a secret that F1 has lacked overtaking in recent years but that doesn?t mean you have to take away the skill that requires you to defend a position.

I for one felt quite annoyed when drivers lost positions very easily to DRS when for 90% of the lap they were more than capable of defending against the driver attempting to overtake. It kind of makes the racing feel artificial.

I hope the DRS is gone. It?s had its chance and it failed miserably.

Not really a fan of it, lost its purity a bit.
James Brickles

The times that battles which had the potential to be great, were spoiled by DRS.

I can see the point, but the implementation feels far too false for my liking

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Montreal, 2011
DRS left Schumacher defenceless in Canada

Several races were identified as being conspicuous failures for DRS:

‘Honourable’ mentions to the zones in Turkey, Canada, Spa and Abu Dhabi. [Also] Schumacher losing a podium finish due to the DRS.

Turkish Grand Prix ?ǣ as mentioned above, so much overtaking, so little excitement. “Catching is one thing in Formula 1, passing is another” ?ǣ the FIA need to bear in mind that this should be the case when they choose their DRS zones next season.

The Turkish Grand Prix [was] DRS at its confusing worst.

Watching Webber get a poor run out of the hairpin and still glide by Schumacher using DRS in Canada
David A

Michael Schumacher [missed] out on a deserved podium in Canada ?ǣ thanks again, DRS.


Paul di Resta, Martin Brundle, Silverstone, 2011
BBC will show Formula One-half in 2011

One of the busiest days on the site this year came when the BBC announced they would not be showing all of next year’s races live.

F1 Fanatic was inundated with thousands of comments at the time, and more when readers were asked to name what was worst about 2011:

The one thing that sticks out in my mind is the BBC?s announcement that they will only be showing “Formula Half” next season.

Whether or not they really had to make such a deal, the way they handled publicising it was pitiful. There was one article on BBC Sport explaining it, which attracted thousands of comments, many containing legitimate points or questions, which were all ignored.

Then nothing is said about it for months until the final race of the season, when their on-screen coverage boasts of ??every race on the BBC?? next year, and when pretty much the same article is wheeled out on their website once more. It makes me pretty cross.

The BBC/Sky F1 deal reduced me to tears that Friday morning of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
James Brickles

BBC bending over for Sky.
Alex White

But it wasn’t just British fans who had cause to complain about the standard of F1 broadcasting:

For me the fact that the broadcast of F1 in Greece is facing at a dead end. No channel want to pay for the rights and I suspect that it will be the first season after many years that we won?t have live broadcast of Formula 1.
Dimitris 1395

And remember the race everyone raved about yesterday? Due to the rain delay some fans didn’t get to see it:

TF1 (French TV) [didn’t] show the end of the Canadian Grand Prix.

No Kubica

Robert Kubica, Renault, Valencia, 2011
Robert Kubica's sole F1 outing of 2011 before his crash

The absence of one of the best drivers of recent years – and doubts over whether he will ever be able to return – cast a pall over the season for many:

Robert Kubica’s rally accident got the year off to a terrible start and Renault made a mess of the rest of the year.

Kubica missing the season. After Robert worked wonders with the Renault back in 2010 I was really looking forward to seeing what he could?ve been able to do in 2011. Sadly that wasn?t to be

More of your least favourite moments of 2011

Here are a few more of the moments that infuriated F1 fans in 2011:

The whole Massa vs Hamilton feud. I just hated to see them fighting like kids without trying to reconcile themselves. Fortunately Lewis ended this in Brazil.

The Canadian Grand Prix was great once it got going but the laps wasted behind the safety car aggravated many:

The safety car staying out in Canada until it was almost dry enough for intermediates.

Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Monaco, 2011
A three-way battle for the lead in Monaco was spoiled

The Monaco Grand Prix was building to a thrilling climax when a crash brought out the red flags:

The red flag at Monaco. Of course, it was the right decision, and I think drivers should be able to change tyres before the restart, but the last laps were totally anti-climactic.

I suspect Fer no.65 will have to put up with this one again in 2012:

All the uncertainty regarding the Bahrain Grand Prix. It was horrible news on its own right, and it was even worse when they announced the Grand Prix would be held during the year anyway.
Fer no.65

Team orders may be legal now but Phil9079 wasn’t the only person disappointed to see them make an appearance:

Team orders at Red Bull. I really, really am grateful that Sebastian Vettel has the drivers’ championship again but I just wanted to see some fights between the Red Bull drivers just like Hamilton and Button, what they can, every team can! We all know now that Vettel actually can overtake, he just needs to find that right moment of doing it and don?t get impatient.

And it wouldn’t be an F1 season without at least one FIA rules cock-up:

The FIA fiasco with the exhaust blown diffusers at Silverstone.

Just “discovering” midway through the year that the teams were using this technology and that it was deemed illegal was disingenuous and the utmost in stupidity knowing it backdated to the previous season. The interpretation of the rule is still suspect.

What were your least favourite moments of the 2011 season? Have your say in the comments.

2011 F1 season review

Browse all 2011 F1 season review articles

Images ?? McLaren, Force India/Sutton, Julien Leroy /, Red Bull/Getty images

149 comments on “What did F1 fans like least about 2011? DRS”

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  1. I like the idea, but not so much the way its used! I think DRS should be more like Kers, used for a specified/limited time per lap! so it can be used not only for overtake, but for defending your position! it would show driver skills , new tactics and B*lls (opening in the midle of a corner exiting to the straight) :D

  2. My biggest disappointment of 2011 was not a moment but rather a continuum, namely the way in which Vettel (and consequently Red Bull in the constructor’s) walked away with the championship.

    Just before the summer break, there was a little bit of a promise that McLaren (and especially Hamilton, as crazy as this seemed later in the season) might give Vettel a run for his money (and even Webber was quoted as saying the dominance was now over), but Sebastian quickly squashed those hopes with very strong performances in Spa and Monza.

    The racing of 2011 combined with the championship battle of 2010 would have made an absolutely classic season. Oh well, there’s always 2012…

  3. I think the technology is great but the implementation is wrong.

    In some track, it is good. Like the Abu Dhabi, where you get two DRS zone in a roll, so the driver getting passed has a chance to fight back.

    However, in most other track, the DRS gives any car within 1 sec range a clean pass, and that pass could be forever.

    I like the idea of DRS, but I would want in more in a KERS form than the way it is.

  4. DRS is not so bad, but I think theres some track that doesnt need it. Interlagos, Montreal are a few exemple. But if you remove the DRS from valencia, singapore and abu dhabi, theres no overtaking. They just need to find the right balance and stop to put a zone on every track. The Button vs Alonso fight could have been great on Interlagos if it wasnt of the DRS. Same for MSCH in Canada. These 2 track doesnt need DRS.

    1. @Gagnon That’s something that has been said many, many times over the season. Some circuits are more conducive to overtaking than others but I don’t believe it’s as black and white as often is made out.

      The problem is that if you start dropping DRS zones on any given circuit people start asking questions. There is very little science to designing a track for plenty of overtaking, clearly even after 50 years track designers get it wrong. If you drop a zone at one race you get into a situation where that circuit will already suit a particular car. That could be interpreted as giving an unfair advantage. Allowing a downforce heavy car a bit of breathing space at Spa or Monza? Dangerous territory.

  5. I have to agree, at one moment it looked like the DRS was going to destroy my love for F1 completely but then the Canadian GP came and made me happy again. I admit that the adjustable rear wing made a couple of races less boring but most times it was a complete disaster. I’ve learned to tolerate it now but I hope it will disappear sooner or later.

    Another lowlight that I remember is the last test day before the season start. I had a flu and tried to cheer myself up with following F1 testing but there was almost no action because of heavy rain! I was also disappointed by the delay of the season start. On the other hand, it was the right decision and, compared to Bahrain, Australia is a 10 times better place to start a season anyway.

  6. I’m not big on DRS, let everyone use it at any stage in the race, you’ll get overtaking where people forget to open it/make an error like Sutil at Oz

    Also the SC is ridiculous in the wet, these are the best drivers in the world, they can handle spray (ok aquaplaning fair enough) and instead of a SC start, how about 3 warm up laps (not just 1) so they get a sighter and then a standing start, knowing where the water is)
    Also, bring in the SC earlier or even use an old GP2/GP3 car as reference when its dry enough to go racing. All we get now is drivers saying yes or no depending on how well placed they are.

    Its a big shame BBC are not doing F1 fully now as they raised the bar a lot, but I’ll give Sky a chance

    Also, a pity about Monaco but its the rules, flawed rules maybe. Kubica too, would have been amazing in the early season Renault and would have kept it up near the Mercs for much longer than the others did.

  7. I believe that DRS should stay in F1. It makes the racing interesting, we can finally see overtaking done by the driver…and not by the pit crew only, or at the start of a race where we always see Mark Webber (for the great driver that he is, I am a fan) lose positions because he does not know how to get that car of the line.
    It’s not like drivers just pushed the DRS button, and simply passed by other drivers…..most of the times we could see the build up, all the laps it took to get the car so close to finally be able to over take with the DRS. Defending drivers also have the chance to make one defensive move…I believe the Stewards are a bit harsh on what they consider a defensive move.
    We can continue to write on and on about this topic….in the end, DRS made the race interesting, we saw overtaking, it did what it was meant to do…DRS was a success and it should stay in F1. What ever modification they want to do in the rule book…that’s fine, but it should stay in F1

  8. DRS needs to go.
    KERS needs to go, it only makes defending easier.

    Ground effects need to come back.
    Wider tyres.
    More mechanical grip.
    Less downforce and airo-dependency.
    Wider cars.
    Less acceleration – More power.
    Smaller front wings, larger rear wings (more slipstream)

    That’s just my opinion.

  9. The issue with DRS that has bothered me is that it has left me to wonder whether it is possible to produce a great defensive drive anymore. One of my favorite battles this year was Schumacher and Lewis at Monza. Granted Schumacher was highly aggressive and pushed the boundaries however it was wonderful to see a pair of highly skilled drivers battling for position with the noticeably slower car fighting tooth and nail to stay in front. This was only really possible because the effects of DRS were cancelled by the Merc’s top end speed.

    With DRS I can’t help but think that I am never going to see another race like Schumacher and Alonso at Imola in 2005 or Turkey 2006 or Schumacher holding off the BMW Williams cars of Ralph and Montoya. While more overtaking is nice I’m not sure the balance is right and one of the greatest aspects of F1 has fallen by the wayside.

    1. So, have you been waiting 5 years to see a good Grand Prix?

      1. Oh no you misunderstand me. There have been some wonderful races in the last few years. What I mean is that these great defensive drives are going to disappear except in extreme circumstances. Battles like Schumacher vs Lewis are likely to become the exception and not the rule.

  10. Personally, I’m a fan of DRS. It just needs fine tuning. It was perfect at brazil.

    1. It was perfect at brazil.

      no it wasn’t, it still made passing way too easy.

      even jenson button talked about how passing alonso using drs at brazil was “No fun” & he was completely right.

      watching a car pass another via drs is no fun, its boring & not something i want to continue seeing.

      1. Button actually said he pushed Alonso into running wide in turn 1-2 which is why DRS worked for him, but he would of rather overtaken without DRS into turn 1 which would have been more fun.

      2. I think it would be very fun passing Alonso with DRS. Button was telling fibs I think.

  11. DRS is artificial racing, People need to remember that this is Formula One, the pinnacle of motorsport, where we now reward the driver who is behind.

    DRS is not Formula One.

    1. If DRS really was rewarding the driver’s who are behind then we would have seen HRT’s passing Vettel all year long, Not Vettel lapping HRT’s all year long.

  12. Something to think about regarding DRS is that we saw through 2011 how teams brought new rear wings which dumped more drag & gave them more speed with DRS enabled.

    The FIA can tweak the zones but teams will still bring out new DRS wings which drops more drag & brings more speed when open & this will just make passing even easier.

    DRS is a gimmick, Its artificial & has no place in F1. It doesn’t make racing better, It makes it worse because with DRS there is no racing there is just a lot of soul-less, boring passing which any true racer/racing fan should be totally againt.

  13. My problem with DRS is that there was no need to introduce it this year, and doing so meant we couldn’t really see its real effect. What I mean is, as someone who has undertaken many experiments, one important thing I’ve learnt is that too many erroneous variables is not good. So to have DRS, KERS and Pirelli tyres all introduced in one year is a bad move.

    We saw in China with Hamilton that KERS and Pirelli tyres produced great racing; none of his moves were in the DRS zone. We also saw in the same race that DRS was too much (Button being utterly defenceless against Webber).

    From this and many other incidents (Nurburgring to name just one), I believe that KERS and Pirellis would have been enough to make great racing. In fact I believe KERS is the answer to F1’s overtaking problems but, because the unnecessary variable of DRS has been introduced, the effect of KERS has been judged as insignificant.

  14. I really don’t like DRS, Didn’t like the sound of it when it was proposed & didn’t like the way it worked through the year.

    DRS really harmed by enjoyment of the racing through the year, I didn’t see a single DRS assisted pass which got me excited or which I found fun or enjoyed seeing, Just got me frustrated.

    Seeing Michael Schumacher’s brilliant drive to 2nd at Montreal basically come to nothing thanks to DRS was probably the lowest DRS related moment for me. Im not a big Schumacher fan or anything but I do like seeing great drives get rewarded & in that case I felt DRS completely ruined that race.

    I think it speaks volumes that all the best racing moments & all the best overtaking occured outside of DRS zones & I actually think the racing would have been much better without DRS this year.

  15. Mark Webber-

    “Some people will like to see cars passing and re-passing all the time. Nascar stock-car racing in America is founded on that. But for some who have a more purist point of view about F1 – like me – overtaking should mean more than that.”

    “I’m still not a huge fan of how it is; sometimes the overtakes are not all that genuine because the guys don’t have anything to fight back with.”

    Jenson Button-

    it’s more fun to pass someone without using DRS.

    don’t like drs, want it banned!

    something drs does which people dont mention much is that it basically puts cars in there natural order, you don’t see the smaller teams punching above there weight anymore because as soon as they do they get drs-ed.

    if you want the races be like that (cars finish in natural order) then why bother racing, just takes the results from qualifying.

  16. The low point for me was an off form Hamilton , for me he’s the best driver on the grid and an immense overtaker , but seeing him under perform and his spats with massa got me down ! But I have a feeling he’ll be bk with a bang next year , come on Lewis come on maclaren !!

  17. You have overtaking with DRS, or little or no overtaking

    Keep DRS until or unless something better comes along

    1. it might have already done so we just don’t know it. See my above comment

      1. You don’t get overtaking with DRS, you get boring passing.

  18. For most of the races it was rather too obvious who will be swallowed up except for a few tracks. Overall I was not impress at all.

    It’s either a procession or rampant amount of overtaking. We need to be somewhere in the middle I guess.

  19. pirelli & kers should be enough, drs makes it too easy sometimes.
    sadly whole art of defence has been destroyed
    very often drs zones were too long, or totally not needed like in turkey.
    alternate solution is to reduce aerodynamics, cut off those wings and other bits…

  20. themagicofspeed (@)
    19th December 2011, 16:30

    I too think DRS has done its job..a little too well. The racing has been artificially manufactured this year at times. It seems to me that the overtaking problem is like trying to find the answer to the holy grail.

    It seems to be a balance – too little overtaking and its a ‘procession’.
    Too much overtaking and it ruins the racing.

    It’s an equation they still havent solved.

    Maybe if they kept KERS, but make it available only in ‘KERS activation zones’ like we have seen DRS use this year, and make it available for a maximum of 10s, while either scrapping or toning down DRS. However, KERS is persistently unreliable, and i think i read that it’s being dropped anyway.

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