DRS: How should it work in 2012?

Debates and polls

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?

  1. steco (@steco) said on 13th January 2012, 14:29

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

  2. Mark (@marlarkey) said on 13th January 2012, 14:35

    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.

    • Sean Newman said on 13th January 2012, 17:04

      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.

  3. Rob Wilson (@rob-wilson) said on 13th January 2012, 14:37

    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.

    • John H (@john-h) said on 13th January 2012, 20:20

      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.

  4. Mark (@marlarkey) said on 13th January 2012, 14:56

    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.

  5. 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!

  6. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 13th January 2012, 15:23

    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.

  7. Carlitox (@carlitox) said on 13th January 2012, 15:53

    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.

  8. SempreGilles (@sempregilles) said on 13th January 2012, 16:54

    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.

  9. Sean Newman said on 13th January 2012, 16:59

    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

  10. Gagnon (@johnniewalker) said on 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.

  11. TED BELL said on 13th January 2012, 17:25


    You mean to tell me that designers with all of the means to perfect the shape of a race car can’t come up with something different that could give advantage to their driver and the net performance of their car in competition??

    This has been the way of Formula One for years and drivers had to get on with the job and show how their talent made them better than the next guy.

    Quit this nonsense of adding gimmicks to give advantage to lesser drivers who don’t have the stones to pass another competitor by simply driving better or more effective with the knowledge and ability to make a decent pass.

    Thats why there are so many levels in automobile racing. If you are good and can prove the merits of your ability , then you deserve to move up the ranks. This practice weeds out the pretenders and builds a unique group of talent that until recent years was what Formula One was about.

    Today you just need a bit of talent, a fat wallet and when you get there the cars will have loads of gadgets that will make you into false hero because of how this helping hand has enabled you.

    Just imagine how great you might be if you could do this without the gimmicks. Some of you will say this is what F1 has become but I challenge how the ripple effect will ruin what has been so special to us the fans.

    I challenge anyone who is a fan to continue to support DRS as it is presently being used and suggest that what is needed is a method to be heard and to let the FIA know that we want change, this path is no longer acceptable. Without a change the only thing we can do is stop supporting advertisors products.

    That kind of attention is noticed.

  12. DRS should be only avaliable at the top 10 hardest circuits to overtake including Monaco, Valencia and Singapore. However the Overtaking is fine using the Pirelli tyres and KERS during the other races such as Malaysia etc. However during the races that DRS is not in action it should be allowed to be used to every driver during the race, apart from the race leader, therefore it stops a Sebestian Vettel runaway leader!
    Just my thoughts, but it definatly should not be used at all races in the way it has been used this year however it does in others, therefore there has got to be a better use for it in the races that it is not!

  13. Sound_Of_Madness said on 13th January 2012, 18:24

    How about that one? Use it (at zones) when the gap is less than 1 sec from the car in front, but close it when the gap gets at sth like 0.2 sec. This way, it actually works like slipstreaming, since the attacking driver loses the advantage when attempting to pass while successfully closing down the gap.

  14. Slr (@slr) said on 13th January 2012, 18:29

    The least the FIA could do is try a race or two without DRS. Maybe they could put on a DRS-free race in one of the season’s earlier races such as Australia or Malaysia, which already produced plenty of overtaking.

    They should also place the DRS zones in places other than the places which already produced lots of overtaking. In Belgium, putting the DRS zone on the Kemmel Straight was a stupid idea, it should have been placed on the start-finish straight.

    I think the FIA need to realise that there is more to racing than just overtaking. There are many different types of scenarios and incidents which can make races highly exciting. I’m not saying the FIA should artifically add elements to races (e.g. sprinklers), as such things happen very often anyway.

  15. matt044907 (@mattdavis) said on 13th January 2012, 19:44

    You can’s assess DRS on one season – the FIA had no clue where to put DRS zones last year (my mum could have done it better) and whilst in some races it was great, in others it just became a farce. Give it until the engine changes then it won’t be necessary as turbo and KERS together will be a much bigger advantage than any aero device.

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