Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Nurburgring, 2011

DRS: How should it work in 2012?

Debates and pollsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Nurburgring, 2011
Schumacher using DRS at the Nurburgring

A year since its introduction in F1, the Drag Reduction System continues to inspire a mix of vehement criticism and steadfast defence from F1 fans.

Its detractors say DRS is fundamentally unfair because it robs the leading driver of the ability to defend their position. They add that Pirelli’s more challenging tyres and the reintroduction of KERS in 2011 proved overtaking can be made easier in F1 without resorting to artificial gimmicks.

DRS defenders insist that it has successfully increased overtaking, and that problems with its implementation can be solved by tweaking the rules and positioning of DRS zones.

The top ten passes nominated by F1 Fanatics last year did not contain any that were achieved using DRS. The move that was voted pass of the year – Mark Webber’s sensational move on Fernando Alonso at Eau Rouge in Spa – was reversed the following lap when Alonso used DRS to pass Webber on the straight.

The DRS debate is complex and highly-charged with shades of opinion which run the gamut from banning DRS entirely to subtly changing the rules.

With that in mind, I’ve set up two polls below in an effort to accurately reflect what F1 fans think of this controversial recent addition to the sport after the first full season with it.

How often should DRS be used in 2012?

There are no changes to the DRS rules for 2012, although the position of the DRS zones at some tracks may be altered.

Assuming the DRS rules for 2012 remain unchanged, how often would you like to see DRS available for drivers to use in races?

How often should DRS be used in 2012?

  • DRS should be available in all races throughout 2012 (45%)
  • DRS should be available in most but not all races (20%)
  • DRS should be available in around half of races (7%)
  • DRS should be available in less than half of races (4%)
  • DRS should not be allowed in any races in 2012 (25%)

Total Voters: 604

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How should DRS work in 2012?

In the many conversations we had about DRS during the course of 2011, various different rules were suggested. Here are a selection of some of the most popular alternatives.

But could the alternatives make it less useful for overtaking? Or might they encourage drivers to mainly use DRS on out- and in-laps to increase their chances of passing their rivals via the pits?

Cast your vote on what should be done with the DRS rules in 2012.

How should the DRS rules work in 2012?

  • Drivers can only use DRS when within a second of another car (in races)* (21%)
  • Drivers should have free use of DRS during the races (14%)
  • Drivers should have the opportunity to use DRS a certain number of times per lap (8%)
  • Drivers should have the opportunity to use DRS a certain number of times per race (35%)
  • DRS should stay, but using another different set of rules (6%)
  • DRS should not be allowed at all in 2012 (16%)

Total Voters: 573

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*i.e., the 2011 rules

How successful was DRS in 2011? Do you think it should be used at every track in 2012? And could rules changes improve it?

Cast your votes on DRS using the polls above and have your say in the comments.

An F1 Fanatic account is required in order to vote. If you do not have one, register an account here or read more about registering here.

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170 comments on “DRS: How should it work in 2012?”

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  1. Look there are some very inovative but essentially flawed suggestions above that are very expensive and complicated to implemement. Esentially the effect of DRS is very similar to KERS. You push a button and you go a bit faster for a limited amount of time. if this is down to more power to weight ratio or power to drag ratio is irrelivant, so why all the silly rules. Combine the two into one Boost button and give everyone a fighting chance at overtaking / defending but limit it to universal fixed amount, so its down to the driver when to use it. My preference is to Keep these ‘aids’ to enable a fast driver to catch up to the front of the pack in the event of a colision or rain forced tyre change etc. something outside of their control to allow them to recover. I think once they had caught up the advantage would be lost as both front runners would have the same aids available to them and therefor only racecraft would secure a sucessful pass. Being an Engineer i also like to see the outcome of the race dictated by not just the driver but also the equipment Therefore it would be interesting to see which team could combine the effect of a joint drs and kers the best as you could effectively tune them to work better together.

  2. I think DRS is a good idea. I’m not sure on the current rules though, I like the idea of it being used a certain amount of times in a race, it would play into the strategy and increase the spectacle in my opinion.

    I think the rules of DRS in qualifying need to change as well.

  3. All or nothing.

  4. I voted “Most Races” and “Free use” as they are the closest to how I think they should be done.

    “Most Races” is because I think there are certain tracks and/or areas of track where their use is dangerous: to other drivers as much as the one who opens their flap at the wrong time (I would reword that, but I’ll leave it in so those as immature as me can have a giggle). Therefore it should not be allowed on those races/sections of track (or conditions such as heavy rain/yellow flags etc).

    WRT rule changes, I think they should basically reverse the current rules: Allow free use of DRS throughout the race, anywhere on track (subject to the above restrictions), EXCEPT in a defined “passing zone” if there is a car less than 1s behind you (actually I’d change it to half a second).

    This would also allow the device to be used for different purposes, e.g. fuel savings. It is very similar to my view on KERS/ERS: If the system has charge, the driver should be free to use it, including off-throttle (fuel savings again) or similar, for as long as it lasts (no artificial time limit)

  5. To me the solutions is very simple:

    Allow DRS in all races scrap the “within 1sec rule and dedicated zones” and simply limit the number of activations per race – this could be done in many ways

    A: Max 10 activations per set of tyres??
    B: Fixed number of activations per lap or fixed number for the whole race??

    This still gives an advantage but allows the driver to decide when its best used and as other said it adds another dimension to the already complicated strategies.

    At the end of the day I want to see man and machine battle it out, and to me that means who can get the most from their machine who can utilize their brain to make the best use of what they have available? Also it would spice things up as the drivers experiment on where to use it in order to gain their advantage?

  6. If it is going to exist then it needs to be at all races.

    Really needs to be re-written to be used whenever the driver likes (though have some DRS safety blackspots where the system won’t allow it to be activated) but limited to a certain number (say 10) times per race so that there is some strategy to whether to use your allotment early on or as the race progresses.

    Then have rules that it can’t be used for the first two laps of the race or immediately after a SC. It also can’t be used when running anything other than dry tyres.

  7. I am not a fan of DRS instead I think the FIA needs to work hard with Perilli to make tyres that will make interesting & also sometime in the future they need to allow teams use unlimited amount of KERS in a race per lap.

  8. DRS should only be used at cricket grounds.

    1. Sorry about these silly comments.

      Trying to make a serious comment for once, I really think that we should test out a few races with no DRS now that the double diffusers have gone.

      This seems like complete sense to me and we may find that the level of overtaking is perfectly entertaining (and not 200 per race either) because now drivers are not waiting until the DRS zone to overtake, but actually looking at all parts of the track once again.

      Overtaking should be difficult. F1 is a challenge. Admittedly it was made too hard by the dirty air generated by a) Aero parts over all the cars up to 2008 and b) double decker diffusers in 2009-2010.

      This would also let the drivers think more about steering the car and pressing the pedals, and not when to push a button. Call me old fashioned but that’s what I call racing.

  9. I’m not decided. I’m between no DRS never and, DRS at some (boring) tracks with current rules.
    I liked DRS in Barcelona, I really did. It added to tha suspense but didn’t spoil it.
    But to have this system at good tracks like Spa and Monza is à sin.
    Aren’t tha rulemakers watching? Don’t they know that overtaking should never be too easy?

  10. If the problem is that it makes it unfair to the driver in front then how about linking DRS usage to KERS usage so that DRS use reduces the amount of KERS available on that lap. Therefore there is some equalisation of the benefit between the front driver and the one behind. I believe DRS provides a greater benefit than KERS so they wouldn’t just cancel each other out.

  11. it should be banned, whole art of defending was destroyed, as was overtaking, now its just passing by… more boring than no overtakign whatsoever.

  12. How about further reducing the aero influence so that following cars can get close enough to slipstream without DRS… like the good old days.

    Having watched the film Senna last year all it did was remind me how exciting it used to be when cars actually raced each other in close proximity. And the opportunities for overtaking that arose.

    DRS has increased passing… I disagree that it has increased overtaking.

    1. Best answer yet.

      People always write off this answer as a step backwards and believe the cars will be slower. That would be wrong.

      More power and very wide tyres would keep the lap times the same as now.

      Do the same thing in the lower formulae too and bingo…all fixed.

  13. If it was up to me, i would get rid of it. The tyres alone plus the fact we will have 6 world champions on the grid, plus KERS will make for some exciting racing anyway. I don’t think we will need DRS in 2012.

    Having said that, we will have DRS in 2012 and i don’t mind really, it doesn’t put me off watching at all and it has it’s benefits every now and then, for example when a faster car needs to make it’s way through traffic quicker – (Hamilton, Singapore)

    But yeah overall i don’t mind if they keep it or not but like i say, if i was making the decision i would scrap it, (but keep KERS) and watch the real racing in 2012.

    1. The tyres alone plus the fact we will have 6 world champions on the grid, plus KERS will make for some exciting racing anyway

      It’s not just that. 2011 was the first time we didn’t have aero appendages and double decker diffusers too.

  14. Another thought… what will happen when the new engine rules are introduced and the teams have turbos again ?

    Will the new turbos include a push-to-boost button ? Combine that with DRS and KERS and it gets very bizarre.

  15. DRS should go, I really hate that what was a stopgap solution now looks like it is here to stay, with the teams and FIA deciding there is now no need to overcome the fundamental reason why DRS was brought in in the first place. The cars have too much aerodynamic grip!

  16. None of the alternatives to DRS float my boat. No matter how it’s done, there’s still a visible advantage given to a chasing driver. Yes, the defending driver has always had an invisible advantage, but you can’t expect the casual fan to always be aware of that. Meanwhile a lot of the hardcore fanbase, who is aware of these things, is against it anyway. It just seems to me that no matter how well it’s worked in a few cases, no matter how many times it’s been a joke in others, it’s simply a PR disaster that makes the so-called pinnacle of motor racing look like a computer game. Even the anti-blocking rule in IndyCar is in the name of safety – the strength and placement of DRS this season by the FIA was little more than a cynical exercise in making overtakes happen, whether they should have or not. At least the tyres are strategy components and not a blatant Mario Kart booster.

    I gave DRS the time of day as a stop-gap. Now FOTA is keen on it being permanent, I despair.

  17. For me there were races in which DRS made too many artificial overtakes. A good example (although not present this year) was Istanbul, where most of the overtakes took place at the back straight. Tracks like Monza, Spa or Hockenheim don’t need DRS, in fact, it makes the races worse. However, tracks like Malaysia, Singapore and other “Tilkedromes” need it desperately. So I would choose carefully in which races DRS should be included, and when included, keep the same regulation as this year.

  18. I didn’t like the 2011 DRS so I voted for it not to be allowed in 2012. My dislike is because of the highway style passes it creates. No excitement in watching one car fly by the other with ease (unles it is because of a top speed difference!). But since FIA isn’t going to remove it anyways, they should look at the lenght of the zones. DRS should enable the car that wants to overtake to get just besides the other car. After this DRS should have no effect so a succesful overtake is based on a higher top speed or capability of the driver to brake later. That way I could certainly live with it.

  19. DRS is the scaffold that holds up the crumbling house called the FIA rulebook. Sometimes to escape from a maze you have to retrace your steps. Why can’t we have more power, no (or small and inefficient) wings and big tyres? This will keep the lap time up and allow for close running through corners. Is this so hard for the people in charge to see?

    Don’t tell me the lesser formula would be faster because the same could be applied to them also.

    No one has ever been able to give me a satisfactory answers as to why. I dispair

  20. Gagnon (@johnniewalker)
    13th January 2012, 16:59

    Still I think the DRS should be avalaible a certain number of time during the race. That way the driver could pass with DRS but they can Defend with it too. and I driver that is 2nd and the leader pitstop, he can push the DRS for his lap before the pit to make the gap to first position.

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