Lowe: DRS removes need to change aerodynamics

F1 Fanatic round-up

In the round-up: McLaren’s technical director Paddy Lowe says DRS has removed the need to alter car aerodynamics to improve overtaking.

Links

Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Better racing – but is it fake? (BBC)

Paddy Lowe: “What’s great [about DRS is] at least we can move on from this debate of trying to change the aerodynamic characteristics of cars to try to improve overtaking. We’ve found something much more authoritative, much cheaper, easier and more effective, and adjustable from race to race.”

Newey: Red Bull can still improve (Autosport)

“All through pre-season testing you are never really quite sure, and it certainly seemed that Ferrari were going to be our main rivals, and McLaren were struggling with their exhaust system. But they did a painfully good and quick job of copying ours between the last test and the first race, so their performance in Melbourne was unexpected.”

Massa still quick – Todt (ESPN)

“Stefano [Domenicali's] role is the eye of the storm. I was also constantly the subject of criticism and I’m proud that in the end I made the decision about how I should retire after all the risks that I would be fired.”

Maldonado: Impossible for Williams to be worse in 2012 (Crash)

“I believe that was the worst position for a rookie [to be in], when nothing works, especially in the first year, [as] you have to learn many things.”

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Comment of the day

Steph thinks Jarno Trulli is wrong about Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna:

I genuinely think Trulli is wrong. Petrov was a lot more consistent this year and I think has potential and a decent amount of speed. Senna came in and was bang on the pace. He was inconsistent but he did on occasion show speed which was impressive given his time out.

Plus, the Renault was just awful this year. Who cares whether they?re pay drivers? So was Lauda at one point. You need a decent amount of money just to be able to buy a kart never mind get into F1 and that?s the real problem not whether these guys are talented or not because to me, they are.
Steph

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122 comments on Lowe: DRS removes need to change aerodynamics

  1. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 30th December 2011, 0:09

    I’ve read that BBC article by Andrew Benson and I can’t work out why Charlie Whiting said what he said:

    Whiting showed me a spreadsheet detailing the speeds of the respective cars in all the overtaking manoeuvres that happened in the Belgian GP.

    “This shows very clearly that when the speed delta [difference] between the two cars at the beginning of the zone is low, then overtaking is not easy,” he said. “But if one car goes through Eau Rouge that bit quicker, sometimes you had a speed delta of 18km/h (11mph). Well, that’s going to be an overtake whether you’ve got DRS or not.

    Okay, so, why do we need the DRS in those places then, if the speed delta is so high without the system deployed? If the overtake was happening whether you have DRS or not, then the whole point of the DRS is buried.

    And then he says that appart from Valencia and Melbourne, DRS “worked as expected”. I’m not so sure… at some places, their choice for the DRS zone was incredibly poor.

    I wish they get it right. I like the idea of the DRS but unless they tweak it a bit and generally improve it, it’s not going to work for the fans. I don’t see why they HAVE to use it at every track in the calendar either: Spa could very well be DRS-free and still provide an epic race. It is a “must-have” in Abu Dhabi, Valencia, etc, tho…

    • Enigma (@enigma) said on 30th December 2011, 0:23

      I think he was talking about when a driver was faster because of tyres or car performance.

      I agree about Spa – it doesn’t need DRS, and neither does Montreal. And I think it worked just fine in Valencia and Melbourne – we don’t want DRS to make it easy, we want DRS to make overtaking possible, but still challenging. That’s the whole point of it.

      • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 30th December 2011, 0:32

        @Enigma Putting DRS after Eau Rouge was something I never agreed with from the start. I reckon they should’ve put it along the S/F straight at Spa instead – how many moves do we see into La Source these days? Hardly any.

        • Mike (@mike) said on 30th December 2011, 2:12

          Exactly. Places like Melbourne and Valencia really benefit from DRS. However in places like China or Turkey it would be much better to put it in “alternative” places, to aid overtaking and fighting for position where it is less common.

        • Sheriff said on 30th December 2011, 22:25

          What’s the point in that??? They’ll use drs to get close and overtake on the straight. You’ll still see no overtakes at La Source as the chances of keeping the position after eau rouge are close to none.
          Imo, ban drs here and opt for softer compounds.

          • Sheriff said on 30th December 2011, 22:33

            Or, bring back re-fuelling. As we seem to heading for that kind of racing i.e, one car disadvantaged so another can overtake. Am I wrong?

      • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 30th December 2011, 14:42

        exactly, he was talking about the tyres or car performance. So, the DRS was reduntant, at least, in those situations.

    • jonchuckle (@jonchuckle) said on 30th December 2011, 0:58

      Abu Dhabi, Valencia, Bahrain and their ilk should never have been introduced to the calendar in the first. A fundamental part of any race track is that drivers should be able to overtake each other on it. Otherwise it’s just a road.

      • Mike (@mike) said on 30th December 2011, 2:13

        What about Monaco or Melbourne?

        • jonchuckle (@jonchuckle) said on 30th December 2011, 9:19

          Monaco gets a special dispensation because it’s Monaco, but it’s still an awful track. Melbourne I wouldn’t be sad to see the back of.

        • Bruno said on 28th January 2012, 2:02

          Nelson Piquet: “Driving in Monaco is like riding your bicycle inside your living room”
          Something like that.

          Its an awful track but its history.
          Herman Tilke’s tracks are horrible! Straight lines and slow corners at the end.. He should be banned!

      • topdowntoedown (@topdowntoedown) said on 30th December 2011, 9:50

        I agree that Valencia etc are rubbish racetracks.

        However, the reason Spa, Silverstone, Brands Hatch and the old Nurburgring are great is because they either were roads, or have been built to replicate them. Real roads go from A to B, they go up and down with the contours of the landscape, they have odd cambers, bumpy bits, tricky corners.

        You could say that new tracks should be more like roads and less like airports.

        • Ian Wilkins said on 30th December 2011, 17:31

          Silverstone was a WWII airbase, not a road. Just show’s what a great track that can be made from a very ordinary start.

          • I was going to make a similar point before my wifi failed. Many British circuits have their origins as airfields – Goodwood, Castle Combe, Thruxton, Snetterton, etc.

            Brands Hatch started out as a farm which was used for motorcycle trials racing. The bikes used the tracks made by the farm machinery, which was then paved to create a permanent track. Like its Kentish cousin Lydden Hill, the circuit also makes best of of its position in a valley to create excellent spectating opportunities.

            Before Rockingham’s oval, Lydden was the only track where spectators could see most of the track from a single position. McLaren acquired it years ago intending to make it their Fiorano-style test facility – goodness knows why, it’s one of the most primitive circuits I’ve ever been to.

        • Bruno said on 28th January 2012, 2:04

          that is exactly right!
          These new tracks designed by Herman Tilke are all rubish.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th December 2011, 1:27

      If the overtake was happening whether you have DRS or not, then the whole point of the DRS is buried.

      Whiting didn’t mean that a pass was going to happen regardless of DRS. His explanation is that if a driver is able to enter Eau Rouge a little faster than the car in front, the difference in speeds will be magnified when they come out; a little extra speed at the bottom translates into a lot more at the top – enough that a pass will happen.

    • d3v0 (@d3v0) said on 30th December 2011, 1:34

      AB-SO-LUTE-LY

      Referencing the bolded quote, that is precisely what I thought when reading that portion of the article – why bother even having the Damned-Ratings-Solution if the track is clearly good enough for overtaking without it?

      And even worse, Whiting wants to add a second zone to Melbourne? Is that a joke? Two DRS zones following each other means there will just be passing and re-passing ad infinitum. Its absurd.

    • Shrieker (@shrieker) said on 30th December 2011, 13:18

      From my pow, the drs should only be giving back what’s lost while chasing in dirty air. So, when the cars are alongside one another on a straight, that’s it, drs flap should close. If it remains open, that means it’s giving the attacking driver more advantage than he lost while in dirty air. It should bring you alongside to give you a chance for an overtake, the rest should be yours to figure out. But as things stand now, most of the time it’s so artificial…

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 31st December 2011, 9:02

      @fer-no65 Personally, I can’t get on board with the thought of having particular races DRS-free. It would make for a bitter political nightmare between the teams and surely end up with a strong degree of favouritism, or at least the impression of.

  2. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 30th December 2011, 0:12

    I know a lot of people on here dislike DRS and I respect that, so I’ll just say this: I didn’t like DRS when it made things too easy, I enjoyed it when it worked well (Melbourne, Nurburgring, Monaco, Suzuka, etc). I think the FIA and the OWG’s aim should be to make DRS work as it did at those tracks for every circuit on the calendar. If they can achieve that, that would be ideal for racing on top of KERS and Pirellis too, in my humble opinion.

    • cduk_mugello (@cduk_mugello) said on 30th December 2011, 0:21

      That’s exactly right. DRS should be like a good referee – it goes unnoticed.

    • djdaveyp85 (@djdaveyp87) said on 30th December 2011, 0:22

      I agree Magfrey, DRS itself is a great idea, it just needs tweaking!

    • Enigma (@enigma) said on 30th December 2011, 0:27

      It’s not a perfect solution, but I’ll take a race where DRS works (the races you mentioned) over a race like Hungaroring 2010. Alonso was around a second a lap slower than the Red Bulls, yet managed to keep Webber behind early on and Vettel in the late part of the race. That’s exactly why something had to be done I think.

      Though I believe a better solution could be found, a fairer one. But perhaps DRS is better than nothing.

      • Slr (@slr) said on 30th December 2011, 0:30

        Maybe the alternative is to remove the dirty air coming from the cars, just like fans have been asking for the sport to do for years.

        • Enigma (@enigma) said on 30th December 2011, 0:42

          @slr If there are parts of aero that produce much more dirty air than others, perhaps they should be removed. What about, you heard it here first, DIS (Drag Increasement (is that even a word?) System), that would give the car behind extra downforce in a corner? That way there wouldn’t be the passes where one car has much, much higher top speed.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 30th December 2011, 1:05

            I briefly considered this before. I think someone pointed out to me that it was the same as the adjustable front wings in 09. But it wouldn’t have to be, it could be to a much greater extent and if it worked I’d certainly be more interested in a button allowing cars to keep up through the corners rather than push-to-pass on the straight.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th December 2011, 6:48

            @enigma

            That way there wouldn’t be the passes where one car has much, much higher top speed.

            Um, that’s what downforce does – it allow you to go faster in the corners because more downforce means more grip. The price is that the car generates more drag on the straights, limiting top speed. So all your Drag Incretion System is doing is changing where the pursuing car gets its speed boost. They would be faster coming out of the corners rather than going along the straight.

          • Enigma (@enigma) said on 30th December 2011, 8:49

            @prisoner-monkeys
            An overtake where a driver stays close though a corner and has a similar/slightly better top speed is in theory much less artificial than an overtake where a car is further behind and gets a boost on the straight, with 10 or 15 kph higher top speed. I’d much rather see those kind of overtakes.

          • topdowntoedown (@topdowntoedown) said on 30th December 2011, 9:53

            Those movable front wings were the most pointless thing ever. So pointless you couldn’t actually tell when they were being used or not.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th December 2011, 10:02

            @enigma – Your proposal is exactly the same as the DRS. It just gives the cars their speed somewhere else on the circuit. It’s just as artificial as the DRS is; the main difference is that it’s less obvious than DRS.

          • Enigma (@enigma) said on 30th December 2011, 10:34

            @prisoner-monkeys If you’re behind another car you lose downforce and gain top speed. I believe it would be more fair and less artificial if the wing would make up for the downforce loss, instead of giving even more top speed.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th December 2011, 10:37

            Except you’re still giving an advantage to the car behind, an advantage that the car in front has no access to in order to defend himself.

          • Enigma (@enigma) said on 30th December 2011, 11:44

            @prisoner-monkeys Not really an advantage, it would only make up for the downforce you lose in dirty air.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th December 2011, 11:48

            @engima – Whatever the case, it’s not really feasible. You don’t just ‘put’ downforce on the car. Downforce is generated by the efficient flow of clean air over the car. When you are following a car in front, you are travelling in the wake of that car. That wake is air that has already been disturbed by flowing over the car in front, so it does not flow as effectively over the car behind. So your idea isn’t really possible, because where is that extra downforce going to come from?

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 30th December 2011, 12:58

            The extra downforce would come from a greatly increased angle of attack of the front and/or rear wing. To make up for the turbulence of the air, this greater angle of attack would increase the downforce when running in the wake, probably not enough to help cancel the effects of running in the wake, but could perhaps contribute towards it.

            And of course it would still be artificial, but obviously if it actually worked it would be miles less artificial than DRS. DRS tries to make up for running in turbulent air by giving a boost on the straight, which in theory gives chances to attack into the next corner but often means breezing past on the straight. This would attempt to nullify the effect where it counts, in the corners, meaning that out of a corner the two cars will still have the same or similar acceleration and top speed, meaning it is more likely that overtakes would come in the following braking zone. I say more likely because the chance of the system being so effective it gave the following car a significantly better exit than the other car seems unlikely.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 31st December 2011, 1:55

            I agree with PM.

            This is even worse than DRS. Not only is it just as “artificial” as DRS, but you are trying to hide that it’s artificial…

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 31st December 2011, 15:26

            Not trying to hide that it’s artificial, just show that it isn’t quite as artificial- DRS tries to make up for the effects of turbulence on straights after cars have suffered the effects, this tries to cancel out the effects in the first place. Therefore, it would be preferable- in theory.

        • matt90 (@matt90) said on 30th December 2011, 0:44

          You’d think. But as Paddy Lowe suggests, they can’t be *****. Why make changes for the good of the sport when you can add a quick-fix?

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th December 2011, 1:37

      I think the FIA and the OWG’s aim should be to make DRS work as it did at those tracks for every circuit on the calendar.

      The problem with the DRS is that nobody really understood exactly how it would influence the racing. The activation point in Turkey was placed a similar distance from the following corner as the activation point in Shanghai was. But because the cars were going up a hill in Istanbul, as opposed to the flat straight in China, the DRS influenced the racing quite differently. But now that we’ve had a full season with the DRS, the FIA has a lot of raw data on how and why it works. Hopefully they should be able to fine-tune it for 2012 (though Bahrain, Hockenheim and Austin will all require a little bit of guess-work because they have never used DRS before).

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd January 2012, 7:49

        I would hope you are right there PM (and sure enough a whole season worth of “testing” it in race conditions should give enough data to learn from and better predict the effect).

    • I agree as well. The concept of DRS is great, it should help overtaking in an era when it’s more and more rare. I didn’t like when it worked out badly, but when it was perfect, it was perfect.

    • I agree as well. I don’t hate DRS, the idea itself is great: help overtaking. When it was badly positioned it ruined the overtaking moves, but when it was perfectly placed, that’s how it should always be. And if it were always like that, no one would have anything to object.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 31st December 2011, 9:06

      @magnificent-geoffrey I think even the most stringent supporter would find it difficult to not criticise its implementation at times, me included.

      What bugs me though is the lack of constructive criticism and dare I say it, gratitude.

      We wanted over-taking. 2011 gave us that. We spoke. They listened. You can’t argue with that. I wish people would just at least show some appreciation for that. How long have football fans been pushing for goal-line technology with FIFA?

      I would like to see a new approach with its on track implementation next year, either tweak the zones based on 2011 findings or use it more like KERS.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 31st December 2011, 18:20

        @andrewtanner

        We wanted overtaking. 2011 gave us that. We spoke. They listened. You can’t argue with that. I wish people would just at least show some appreciation for that

        As far as DRS is concerned, I can’t tolerate this argument.

        Yes, most people wanted to see more overtaking. That does not mean to say they feel everything else can be sacrificed in the name of creating more passing. In DRS, the fundamentals of the sport have been seriously tampered with in a way which I think is very unhealthy.

        You could use your argument to defend any alteration to F1 in the name of overtaking, however ludicrous, and that’s why I find it so objectionable.

        • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 1st January 2012, 18:13

          @keithcollantine Perhaps I was a little hasty there, in fact, I definitely was!

          However, while I would not like a repeat of 2011 DRS usage, I still do appreciate the effort that’s gone into trying to address the situation. I never expected 2011 to get it right first time but there will be a lot of questions to answer if they don’t change it dramatically for 2013 and beyond.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd January 2012, 7:56

            Indeed you were @andrewtanner!

            I did answer questions in the survey, and I did say I would like to see a bit more overtaking in doing so. But I also confirmed, that it is not the most important thing to me.

            And off course we were never asked if we had wanted to see something like DRS introduced to get more overtaking, a question I would have answered with a definite NO.
            Indeed I did have rather longer term changes to tracks and aero rules as were proposed to go with the new engines in mind (the first will not happen for cost reasons, and lack of understanding. The second was ditched for fear of losing an advantage by the top teams and said to be for cost reasons).

            I have no doubt, that the FIA and the teams will be able to finetune DRS in the coming season. But I am not convinced they really do cut it back to its stated purpose enough, as they seem quite content with the way it worked in say Abu Dhabi or Spa, but want to boost it for Melbourne (where to me, looking back, it was just about perfect in keeping the field close).

          • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 3rd January 2012, 13:22

            @BasCB You make a good point with your second paragraph. The survey probably needed to be more specific.

            At least we can be confident in one thing about DRS; it will keep us talking in 2012!

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th January 2012, 9:02

            At least we can be confident in one thing about DRS; it will keep us talking in 2012!

            Sure enough @andrewtanner!

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd January 2012, 7:44

      I do not really like the principle of DRS, but if used as you propose there @magnificent-geoffrey, and as indeed is the stated purpose of DRS, I will grudginly accept it to be part of the sport for giving a skilled driver in a faster car a chance of making a move stick where it was too hard to stay on another cars tail before its introduction.

  3. ScuderiaVincero (@scuderiavincero) said on 30th December 2011, 0:12

    A reintroduction of ground effects would have been much better, in my humble opinion. Aids overtaking, just like DRS, but it doesn’t give any driver an advantage.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 30th December 2011, 0:45

      100% agree. At least you’d think they’d give it one more try at changing the technical regulations rather than settle on what was meant to be a stop-gap solution.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th December 2011, 1:38

      A reintroduction of ground effects would have been much better, in my humble opinion

      It was considered for 2013 (later revised to 2014) to co-incide with the next generation of engine regulations, but the teams unanimously shot it down. They don’t want ground effects.

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 30th December 2011, 2:40

        Did they ever make it clear why?

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th December 2011, 3:03

          There was never a clear reason given, though I believe they felt it was changing too much, too quickly. Whatever the case, a lot of the teams opposed ground effects, and quite vehemently, too.

          • If they felt ground effects were too much, why did they suggest it in the first place and raise the expectations of fans? The way Autosport reported on it back then, it seemed it was almost certain it would take place.

            DRS is great, but I somehow don’t like the whole idea of it. It appears to be a gimmick for me. At this rate we could have ballast for the dominant car to slow it down, like they do in GT racing. It keeps the winning car from dominating every race, but such an idea is always brushed aside because it is considered a gimmick – not worthy of F1. To me DRS too appears a gimmick.

            An aerodynamic overhaul is what’s needed but teams just don’t want to change; they don’t want to do the hard work – but I can understand the cost considerations.

            Still, change has characterized F1 throughout history and so teams should herald a new age of aerodynamic rules and philosophies rather than weaving their magic wand now and then.

            Ground effects would have been awesome – it would have generated great interest from the media and even attracted new fans. It would have been great to see which team got the better if it. It has been more than 12 years since the narrow track formula came into existence. There have been many major changes since but not a revolutionary change. I think it’s time for that, with financial situation permitting of course.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th December 2011, 7:42

            @pt

            If they felt ground effects were too much, why did they suggest it in the first place and raise the expectations of fans?

            Except that the teams didn’t propose it. Ground effects were first suggested by Rory Byrne and Patrick Head. When the proposal was made to the teams, they rejected it.

          • topdowntoedown (@topdowntoedown) said on 30th December 2011, 10:47

            Perhaps because ground-effects cars are ruddy dangerous.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd January 2012, 7:58

          I do think they stated cost reasons.

          But I put it more to the sheer scope of it being enormous and no one being sure who would do best and what they had to learn before getting it right.

          Just imagine suddenly teams like say, Caterham and Sauber, getting it right (a bit like the DDD but multiplied) and the top teams not getting it right. There’s just to much at stake to take that risk for them, I guess.

  4. Enigma (@enigma) said on 30th December 2011, 0:16

    I was watching Alguersuari’s Q3 lap in Spa on F1.com today, and noticed how he kept his left thumb on a button on the straights – simultaneously with the DRS graphic. I also checked another onboard from Buemi I found on youtube and it does seem they used a different kind of switch.

    Not sure why they’d do that as other teams used a toggle switch with DRS closing automatically when the brakes were touched. Perhaps something to do with drag needing some time to re-attach after DRS closes, and that might cost you under braking.

    Or maybe just for drivers always being sure – if you take a corner with full-throttle but have to close DRS it’s possible to get it wrong with the usual button, not possible with such a switch.

    Anyway, just a boring off-season with nothing interesting going on in F1 so I thought I’d share.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th December 2011, 1:44

      Virgin did it, too. I remember OneHD – the Australian broadcaster – had a technical segment where they approached Virgin and asked about the system. Timo Glock’s engineer explained that their DRS system required the driver to apply constant pressure to a button in order to activate the rear wing; if they released it, the wing would close, even if they were yet to apply the brakes. Virgin felt that this system was safer than the trigger-paddles used by the other teams because it offered a fail-deadly (basically, a dead-man’s switch). If, for whatever reason, the Virgin DRS failed to close with the application of the brakes, the driver could close it by releasing the button.

      • Harvs (@harvs) said on 30th December 2011, 6:05

        Its also to allow the DRS to re attach the airflow to the rear wing so the car has maximum down force in the braking zone. Because with a less efficient DRS system it would take a short time for the air to reattach to the rear wing so some smaller teams were opting to release the DRS before the breaking point, doing this with a thumb controlled switch was easier and more effective than using the brakes.

    • disjunto (@disjunto) said on 30th December 2011, 11:04

      I’m sure I remember reading someone (Mercedes?) using an extra pedal or something for DRS that wasn’t a toggle, I may have made it up though.

  5. matt90 (@matt90) said on 30th December 2011, 0:40

    What’s great [about DRS is] at least we can move on from this debate of trying to change the aerodynamic characteristics of cars to try to improve overtaking. We’ve found something much more authoritative, much cheaper, easier and more effective, and adjustable from race to race.

    To me this is a sickening quote. Why try and adapt (improve) the technical rules when we can add an artificial device for next to nothing? More authoritative. Huh? Much cheaper. Yes, fair enough, but in F1 it’s perfectly reasonable to expect real solutions to be expensive. Easier and more effective. Easier yes, but again not necessarily a good thing, and as for more effective, where’s the evidence? Seeing as new regs haven’t been experimented with I don’t see how this can be proved. New regs would be more effective around the entire circuit, rather than a straight that allows slipstreaming. Adjustable from race to race. I’m sorry, but F1 isn’t about changing the rules for each race as far as I’m aware, and that we need to is a desperate sign.

    Possibly the worst thing is the first line of the quote, at least we can move on. I didn’t realise it was such a waste of time trying to improve the sport for the long-term rather than short term, or perhaps if you personally can’t be bothered you aren’t in the right sport.

    • Enigma (@enigma) said on 30th December 2011, 1:03

      Well said.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th December 2011, 1:53

      @matt90 – the problem with revising the aerodynamic regulations is that the teams inevitably find a way around them, and they usually find that way pretty quickly. We saw it in 2009 when the aerodynamic regulations were tightened up: narrow wings, no protruding aerodynamic devices, and so on. Downforce levels were dramatically altered, and it was hailed as a solution to the problem of no overtaking. And yet despite the dramatic intentions of the rules, the teams found a way around it, and within eighteen months, the cars were producing more downforce than they had when the rules were first introduced. Of course, the FIA could always change the regulations mid-season, but as we saw at Silverstone, that can be very messy. Despite the total ban on off-throttle blown diffusers, which would have drastically cut downforce levels, every single team was still running a blown diffuser because they all applied for (and were given) exemptions to the ban. They might not have had the same level of downforce as before, but Renault’s concessions meant that their downforce levels were halved rather than negated completely, as was originally intended.

      In this respect, the beauty of the DRS is two-fold. For one, teams cannot alter their rear wings (much), because given the inherent safety concerns over the DRS, alterations to the wing are banned for fear they will compromise the car when the DRS is deployed. And secondly, an open DRS wing gives the cars a distinct advantage, so the teams are unlikely to fight it; they will naturally follow any rule that gives the more speed. So the introduction of the DRS means the FIA has found a way to increase overtaking, but one that will not be negated within three races because someone found a loophole to get more downforce and everybody else followed suit. Because that’s what the rules have essentially always been: a cold war between the teams and the FIA to try and either get more downforce or take it away.

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 30th December 2011, 2:35

        But the revisions aren’t to necessarily reduce downforce as, like you say, the teams will quickly build back to current levels. But changing the way the downforce is generated, so ground effects are utilised, which I believe creates less turbulence than wings, could be an effective measure. Regardless though, I don’t think DRS should be turned to as a’solution’ as that isn’t even what it was devised to be- it was a stop-gap to cover the poor passing situation that comes from the high turbulence.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th December 2011, 3:01

          Ground effects were proposed for 2014, but the teams rejected the idea. I believe they thought it was changing too much, too qucikly.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 30th December 2011, 4:15

            Seems like a pretty poor reason to me. I suppose it would have been expensive, but any change in the regs will be, so they may as well have made the most of it.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th December 2011, 4:35

            I think they may have felt that understanding ground effects and the new engine formula at the same time would have been too much. The cynic in me believes that this is because the teams are afraid of losing their WCC positions, but I suppose that if they do happen to build a bad car with ground effects and new engines in 2014, they could easily waste 2015 with another bad car.

          • Dobin1000 (@dobin1000) said on 30th December 2011, 11:39

            I believe ground effects will never be re-introduced because of the inherent dangers coupled with the teams’ desire to find loopholes in the rules.

            Take the RBR ‘flexing wing’ for instance – it passes every test the FIA has but it certainly looks to be flexing during races. If this ingenuity is applied to ground effects then the increased effectiveness means that the potential for a dangerous accident if something goes wrong is significant. If cornering speeds are that much higher then the potential impact speed into a barrier if something on the car fails would mean some circuits would have to make significant changes.

            Think about Perez and Rosberg’s accidents in Monaco and how much worse they could have been if they had been carrying even more speed out of the tunnel from having a significantly increased exit speed from the previous corner.

    • Matt90, these teams don’t care. As Prisoner Monkeys suggested, they’re concerned about losing the championship positions – new rules could bring in unexpected winners. I’m sure Red Bull Racing wouldn’t be too keen on it.

      But whatever, the teams have disappointed me and many loyal fans out there by suggesting, and nearly saying it’s gonna come, and then backing out. Like you Matt90, I can’t figure out how Mr. Lowe can be satisfied with a stop-gap gimmick like DRS. But get used to it, because I think we’re gonna see a lot of this in the future.

      Sometimes I wish F1 was like a good old Goodwood Revival race – no sophistication, some old cars, but tons of action thanks to the power differences between the cars – just letting my mind wander, that’s all!

    • The problem isn’t DRS, the problem is the fans. DRS has provided lots of overtaking, just what the fans wanted, but they’re STILL not happy!

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 30th December 2011, 13:02

        It isn’t just what a lot of fans want, because it is artificial. As my post clearly says, it’s meant to be s stop-gap, so it is stupid for everybody to suddenly sing its praises as the magic solution. To me it’s the equivalent of economies printing more money when times are bad.

      • drs hasn’t produced overtaking, its produced dull, boring, unexciting & in most cases easy passing.

        what most fans wanted was better racing in which overtaking was more possible. drs doesn’t produce better racing & doesn’t produce real overtaking.

        wasn’t a single moment through 2011 where i saw a car use drs & thought ‘wow that was fun’ & the fact that no drs pass appeared on any of the ‘best overtakes of 2011′ list just proves the fact that drs doesn’t produce any excitement at all.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd January 2012, 8:07

        CNSZU – you say

        DRS has provided lots of overtaking,

        Can you prove it did?

        To me the overtakes it “provided” were no overtakes but mere passes, only rated a bit higher then passing in the pits, where its done in part by a good/skillfull in-/outlap and great work by pit-crews. Not something that’s worth introducing it.

        The only overtakes generated were those where DRS helped cars get/stay close and then allowed them to pass without using DRS, like Hamilton did on Vettel in China. But the tyres did far more to bring such battles to us than DRS did.

  6. Lin1876 (@lin1876) said on 30th December 2011, 2:34

    Look at the BTCC. The cars generate little downforce by their very nature, and are able to run closer and overtake more often. However, defence is very possible and a skilled driver can keep a faster car at bay for many laps, a feat almost impossible in the DRS era of F1. Failing that, close racing is always good, and other series like the Ginetta Juniors prove that.

    Give F1 cars skinny little wings, massive slick tyres, big engines and no DRS and they will race closely, skill will be the major decider and people will watch, even if they have to pay for it! It’s all very well technology solving a problem which technology created, but if the problematic technology doesn’t get a chance, as in touring cars, things are infinitely better.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th December 2011, 4:42

      Give F1 cars skinny little wings, massive slick tyres, big engines and no DRS and they will race closely, skill will be the major decider and people will watch, even if they have to pay for it!

      For about two races, by which time someone will have found a loophole in the regulations that allows them to pile on the downforce.

      • Sean N (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk) said on 30th December 2011, 9:06

        With skinny wings, little or no diffuser, a flat bottom and smooth bodywork where will the downforce come from, the wing mirrors?

        • sumedh said on 30th December 2011, 9:55

          With skinny wings, little or no diffuser, a flat bottom and smooth bodywork

          Then that wouldn’t be F1 then. F1 has a technological aspect to it, like it or not. It is not about drivers and their skill alone. It is not an individual sport. It is a team sport.

        • Dobin1000 (@dobin1000) said on 30th December 2011, 11:41

          The teams would just use the body shape of the cars to produce more downforce, unless you brought in restrictive regulations for that. And then they just find something else to use until you regulate against that too, until you end up with a spec series.

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 30th December 2011, 13:45

        Downforce doesn’t matter. If it comes from the body shape rather than the wings then the downforce would probably cause less turbulence in the wake, making the increase in downforce unimportant.

    • @Lin1876

      Good point, just what I was thinking.

    • MuzzleFlash (@muzzleflash) said on 30th December 2011, 12:54

      The nature of the racing is too different to be comparable. Touring car racing is about momentum; throw it at the apex and hope it sticks. Whereas F1 cars brake hard and late and then go hard and early on the power, this invites the ‘concertina effect’ which forms a gap between cars on corner exits. This difference in driving styles is brought about by the different power to weight ratios of the cars.

    • Cryptowillem (@cryptowillem) said on 30th December 2011, 14:46

      Give F1 cars skinny little wings, massive slick tyres, big engines and no DRS

      So, in other words, you’d like to turn F1 into Indycar.

      Don’t think I don’t appreciate Indycar racing, but F1 is a different beast entirely. As @sumedh mentioned, F1 has a technological aspect to it along with the racecraft, and without that, it’s just another spec series.

  7. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th December 2011, 3:00

    Rumours abound that Proton may be forced to sell Lotus Cars because Lotus has not turned a profit in fifteen years, and industry analysts believe the earliest they can start making money is in 2014.

    • jonchuckle (@jonchuckle) said on 30th December 2011, 9:29

      @prisoner-monkeys Lopez’ll buy it.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th December 2011, 10:00

        I doubt that. Although Lopez purchased the team from Renault, he had to borrow money to do it – and he borrowed money from a Russian banker who was arrested a month ago on fraud and embezzlement charges. Lopez is a venture capitalist; he finds businesses (like Renault F1 and Skype) and puts up the money to invest in them in the hopes that they will turn profitable. If he is going to buy Lotus, he will need to borrow the money from someone.

        • jonchuckle (@jonchuckle) said on 30th December 2011, 23:30

          I don’t know if he’d need to borrow any money to buy Lotus. He’s probably personally wealthy enough to stump up what little token cash Proton would want to have him take off their hands.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd January 2012, 8:17

          You are right on the borrowing aspect @prisoner-monkeys, but I am not too sure it would present a problem for Lopez / Genii.

          After all, if the Malaysian government/Proton decide to get rid of Lotus they might well provide the capital to do so (Renault borrowed it to Lopez as well in the first instance).

          Quite another question is, weather the Malaysians wouldn’t rather get rid of a non too prosperous Proton in one go as well.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 3rd January 2012, 9:01

            I can’t see the Malaysian government expediting the sale of Lotus. They weren’t happy that Renault were planning to use the sponsor money from Lotus Cars to pay of Antonov, so they suspended the deal. That’s why the team were forced to drop Heidfeld and pick up Senna – they needed to pay off the debt.

            If Proton are struggling, they may convince Kuala Lumpur that they will be able to make up lost ground by selling off Lotus, in which case I can’t see Proton going up for sale at the same time.

  8. vjanik said on 30th December 2011, 9:55

    I think that trying to solve the problem of processional racing by introducing DRS was wrong. Ground effect sounds nice and could be great but i think there is a simpler solution.

    The problem nowadays is that the cars are just easier to handle and drive on the limit than they used to be. For the amount of downforce and grip, I think the formulas are underpowered. We have less power than we used to have with the V10s and Turbos, but much better suspension technology and downforce. The cars stick to the ground like they are on rails. If it is easier to drive on the limit of a car’s potential, this means driver skill is not as important as when the cars are more of a handful.

    I say put bigger engines in (as well as reduce downforce) so that you cannot take corners like eau Rouge flat out. Make it a bigger challenge and let the best drivers stand out more.

    This would surely improve overtaking and wheel to wheel racing because it would be harder for drivers to stay on the limit for the whole race and we will have more errors and more glimpses of brilliance on occasion from the best drivers.

    Unfortunately with the new engine regulations we are going in the opposite direction.

  9. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 30th December 2011, 11:51

    What à shame.

    we have à worthless, race-ruining DRS, so we won’t look at other options

    Another Sad day for F1. There Will come à moment that I – and I guess more fanatics – won’t bother. Meaning DRS aliniated hardcore fans while failing to attach new ones.
    Thanks guys!

  10. f1geordie (@f1geordie) said on 30th December 2011, 12:15

    I agree with paddy lowe on the aerodynamic side. That being the case, can we please revert back to the 2008-spec cars but with DRS; they still look nicer than the 2009-present-spec cars!

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th December 2011, 12:28

      What do you mean “nicer”? They’ve got all those hideous fins and ridges sticking out at angles and bloated bodies with oversized wings. The 2009-present cars have clean lines and neat wing packages; they look like actual racing cars since they are no longer laden with all the aerodynamic bells and whistles that you need a PhD in vehicular physics just to understand the function of.

      • Do you know what a racing car looks like? The best racing car is the fastest one. Since you don’t like “bells and whistles” I guess you’d rather watch horse racing.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th December 2011, 13:27

          No, I don’t like all the fins and ridges because they make the cars look alien.

          • f1geordie (@f1geordie) said on 30th December 2011, 15:43

            IMO the more imaginative and wild a racing car looks the better. The front and rear wings of today’s spec cars still look disproportionate.

          • Alien compared to what? You obviously imagine there is an ideal form which constitutes a racing car. Just keep in mind that F1 is about engineering development. For example, the cars of the 60’s look different from the 70’s.

            I’m looking forward with great anticipation to what the cars in 10 years from now will look like. Maybe you can watch archival footage instead if you insist upon a particular style.

        • Give @Prisoner Monkeys a break, @CNZSU. You don’t have to agree with him but he was just giving his view. And I’ve got news for you – F1 is as much about form as it is about function. Why do you think we have exposed tyres when it has been proved time and again that they are great drag inducing devices?

          Closed wheels would be so much better – but that would just steal the aesthetics out of F1 cars. Style and eye pleasure are equally important, mate. And before you start attacking me, remember that I was just presenting my view.

      • @Prisoner Monkeys

        You still need a Ph.D in Vehicular Physics to understand the front wing. Why couldn’t the new rules make the front wing simpler – just a flat plane (or two angled planes on each side) like it was in the old days?

  11. F1_Dave said on 30th December 2011, 21:56

    so basically were stuck with drs for the long term, oh great :(

    whatever happed to it been a temporary solution which would be gone for 2013 when new regulations would come in?

    • Steve_A said on 30th December 2011, 23:49

      Seems that way & if DRS works through 2012 as it did through 2011 then as far as im concerned F1 can go ‘F’ Itself.

      I have watched F1 for something like 30 years & I watch it because I love racing & DRS does nothing but harm the racing, Certainly doesn’t improve it.

      If I wanted to watch a race that featured a hundred boring passes (Which is exactly what DRS provides) I would watch Nascar or something similar where you get a lot of that.

  12. HoHum (@hohum) said on 31st December 2011, 0:39

    Interesting reading and while I don’t like large wings I feel “ground effect” is not answer because it is dangerous due to the sudden total loss of downforce if something causes the car to rise above its designed ride height. I prefer smaller wings and bigger tyres, I think Indycar has got it right in this respect.

    • Steve_A said on 31st December 2011, 2:29

      Ground effects isn’t dangerous, Where did you get that idea from?

      The GP2 series rely on a limited form of ground effects & the 1st-gen GP2 car (Which produced the best racing GP2 has seen to date) was even more reliant on ground effects.
      http://www.gp2series.com/Guide-to/The-values/

      Engines which provide over 612bhp, no electronic gizmos such as traction control or power steering, plus ground effects and proper slick tyres make the GP2 cars powerful and tricky beasts to handle.

      Even Indycar use ground effects & the new Dw12 will be a bit more reliant on underbody downforce & less so on downforce generated by the wings.

      The form of ground effects proposed for F1 in 2013 were not the same as what were banned from F1 in 1983. A return to fully fledged ground effects (With fully shaped undertrays & side skirts) was never on the ajenda. What was proposed was the same limited form thats successfully raced elsewhere.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 1st January 2012, 1:03

        @steve_a , The word is “limited” the diffuser is a form of ground effect as is the plank but when someone says we should replace the wings with ground effects, full sideskirts and concave underfloors are exactly what comes to my mind and it is this form of ground effect that was banned and was banned because it was dangerous, any lesser form will be ineffective compared with wings, unfortunately.

  13. F1_Dave said on 31st December 2011, 3:46

    You know people always talk about dirty/turbulant air as been the problem, However that isn’t the full story.

    Everything that passes through the air generates turbulant air, even the wingless cars of the 60’s generated a fair bit of turbulant air, However those cars didn’t have front wings that were creating tons of downforce so the effect wasn’t felt apart from when a following cars picked up the tow.

    People above talk about ground effects, Even ground effect cars were generating a ton of turbulant/dirty air, Probably not much less than the cars of today. Difference was that the ground effect was generating so much grip that in many cases the cars didn’t need front wings (If you watch races from 81/82 cars didnt always run front wings) so the turbulant air didn’t have much of an effect on front grip.

    Cutting downforce would help, However it woudn’t be the magic key many believe. If you want to get cars able to follow closer you have to get away from wings generating a majority of the cars grip/performance.

    A secondary problem is the braking performance (Also assisted by aero downforce/drag), Brazking zones are so short nowadays that the ability to outbrake someone is massively reduced as you have less room to do it.

    DRS is the dumbest solution to generate passing, its a band aid & not a proper solution & should not be something relied upon long term. Unfortunately the teams don’t want to spend time or money looking at alternatives & sadly a portion of fans have simply accepted it no questions asked ignoring the fact it isn’t really fixing the underlying problem.

  14. GT_Racer said on 31st December 2011, 3:50

    The longer DRS is retained the less likely a real fix is to be brought in & as Gary Anderson pointed out recently-

    If this bandage is kept in place for too long, drivers will actually lose their ability to make decisions on where another driver is weak and where they are strong, and they will only work on the areas that the DRS will give them the potential to pull off an overtaking move – which, because of circuit design, will always be placed at the end of the main straight, which is not always the best area for overtaking.

    DRS should not be retained beyond 2013 at the latest, With the downforce reductions, Re-Introduction of Turbo’s (Which will see boost increase options which could be used as a Push-2-Pass overtake assist like in ChampCar) & KERS been replaced by the more efficient ERS (Energy generated by the heat of the engine rather than braking, More efficient way of generating energy & has the ability to give a bigger performance gain) I don’t think there will be any need for DRS anyway yet annoyingly & sadly its still there in the regulations for 2014 & beyond.

    The sooner DRS is dropped the better F1 will be & the better the racing will be.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd January 2012, 8:25

      I must say I feel there is quite a risk of seeing exactly that happen @GT_Racer, lets hope the best drivers will still find a way of going against that trend, just like Hamilton was overtaking in unexpected places when he first joined the field and therewith spiced up the action a bit.

      If the FIA/teams can refrain from making it too powerfull (I fear they won’t) it might still give us battles like China 2011 where Hamilton did attack Vettel in an unexpected place to get Vettel less well prepared for the move!

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