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?

[poll id="305"]

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.

[poll id="306"]

*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. Steve_A said on 13th January 2012, 21:15

    hate drs & desperately want to see it banned for good!

    drs does nothing to improve racing, in fact i think it actually harms it!

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 14th January 2012, 0:47

      …you can’t ban something that was put in place by the rule markers themselves!

      You can revoke it or remove it, but to ban implies that it contravenes some rules. It doesn’t.

  2. dizzy said on 13th January 2012, 21:20

    if i see a stupidly easy drs pass in 2012 im turning off f1 & will never watch ab F1 race again untill this ridiculous gimmick is banned.

    DRS is the single most ridiculous thing to ever be introduced in F1, Did nothing through 2011 but harm my intrest in the races as I found every single DRS assisted pass to be boring, dull, unintresting & unexciting!

    DRS Sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Mads (@mads) said on 13th January 2012, 21:20

    I voted no DRS at all.

    I think DRS ruined a lot of the excitement on the really great circuits where overtaking is naturally possible and made the bad races sort of okay.
    So instead of sleeping through a few races a year, and then on the other hand be able to run around screaming and shouting like an idiot at other races. We were left with a lot of good races but always with that bitter aftertaste.
    I think we talk way too much about it here, and the people on TV as well.
    For me it is just a waste of time.
    Why should be always discuss afterwards whether the DRS were at fault, wes good, what did it mean etc. etc. instead of talking about the racing, the thrills, the spills. The things F1 is actually about.
    Some races are good, others are not. That is just how it is and will always be, and I don’t think DRS solves that.
    In my opinion Pirrelli is enough so far, then lets wait and see if reducing the aero and increasing the seize and grippiness (as that actually a word?) of the tyres is necessary and by how much.

  4. StefMeister (@stefmeister) said on 13th January 2012, 21:33

    Didn’t like DRS as a concept when it was announced & didn’t like how it worked through 2011, Found myself disliking it more & more as 2011 went on.

    I’d go as far as saying that I think DRS has somewhat devalued overtaking in F1.

    In the past watching the build-up to a fight for position was exciting, watching the 2 (or more) cars in close contact fighting for position was exciting (Alonso/Schumacher @ Imola 05/06) & any overtaking which did happen was truly exciting to watch.

    With the DRS through 2011 most of the time I started getting excited over one car catching another only for the car behind to get by the other car with reletive ease once he gets there with no good fight over the position with the car ahead been completely defenceless to hold the other car behind.

    We saw a lot more passing last year but watching it happen wasn’t as exciting & didn’t have me on the edge of my seat like I have while watching great battles for position & passes over the past 23 years.

  5. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 14th January 2012, 0:57

    I’m pleasantly surprised at the polls so far, particularly the second one.

    I’ve always maintained that DRS should be a permanent fixture on the calendar. This is for a couple of reasons…

    1) What constitutes a ‘good over-taking circuit’ is largely subjective. Yes, we may all agree that certain tracks and corners do lend themselves well to it, but putting that down in a rule book is a whole other thing. I believe that the quality of a race largely boils down to the events that unfold on that day rather than being purely limited by the track itself.

    2) Politics. Imagine how disgruntled Team X would be when Team Y start on pole and there is no DRS to assist them whereas at the previous race Team Y had all the DRS they could muster? I appreciate that DRS will be determined well in advance of any competitive session but I could see it getting very ugly very quickly. Especially when you have certain cars that perform better on certain circuits.

    Keep it. Give it another go.

    I’d like to think that for 2012 they can pump some life into it. Operate it in a way that limits it’s use to a tactical advantage and people may just respect it a little more. I think the problem with 2011 is that it really just boiled down to the luck of the draw sometimes and we would all like to think that some thought and skill has gone into its deployment.

  6. F1_Dave said on 14th January 2012, 2:06

    DRS should be banned, Its a terrible system which took away a lot of my enjoyment of 2011.

    I think DRS may be even worse in 2012 as the FIA are talking about more double DRS zones & teams will all have better, more effective DRS systems/wings which will give a bigger speed gain & make passing even easier even in smaller zones.

    DRS is a ridiculous, artificial & gimmickey system which will end up doing far more harm to the sport than good.

    i still fail to see anything good about drs, its just stupid, dumb & dead boring to watch in action!

  7. ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 14th January 2012, 5:02

    I don’t mind DRS being used in the short term, as a stop-gap solution, but my issue is that it seems some people in F1 are simply giving up now on finding a better long term solution. For example, Abu Dhabi postponed their plans for layout changes, and Paddy Lowe said a few weeks ago that further aerodynamic changes aren’t needed any more.

  8. Nixon (@nixon) said on 14th January 2012, 9:32

    I would like to see it in boring tracks, and I would like to see it used in different places that are not used to setup an overtaking maneuver (example: long straights).

  9. toddjamin (@toddjamin) said on 14th January 2012, 13:43

    either not at all, or free to use anytime. i hate the fact that the man in front has no means of defence when he got there in the first place.

  10. Whilst DRS does a great job, I’d prefer a handford device type system that was used in CART on the big ovals, just used all the time. The time lost in dirty air in the corners would be easily made up on the straights as the handford essentially created a massive slipstream.

    On CARTS ovals it produced LOTS of passing, arguably too much and made it a bit of a NASCAR affair. But passing is more difficult on road courses anyway, and I believe most of the job will still have to be done in the turns, as once the car pulls out of the slipstream the advantage is lost, unlike DRS which just drags the car past easily.

    Hopefully that would give drivers more of a chance to overtake by getting closer going into a corner, unlike DRS which gives the following car a huge advantage on the straight.

  11. anakincarlos (@anakincarlos) said on 16th January 2012, 3:05

    Something has got to give, and DRS seems to work. But why use DRS in qualifying?

  12. socksolid (@socksolid) said on 16th January 2012, 8:26

    There are also technical considerations that need to be remembered. For drs to work well it needs longer gear ratios. That in itself means that teams need to sacrifice some speed t have that extra available when drs is enabled. For this reason the drs is allowed on qualifying. It encourages the teams to have slightly longer gear ratios so that drs is useful in qualifying.

    If a team does not have long enough gears then passing with drs is hard because your maximum speed is limited by gear ratios. Like hamilton in monza against schumacher.

    Another aspect that needs to be remembered is that if a car has drs then the device itself needs to be designed and built into the car. If in some races you can use drs and if in some races you don’t then teams will want to build two rear wings. For that reason it is sensible to have drs in every race even if the race track does not need it. Also if the drs is adjusted to suit every race track then in turn that means having different rear wing for every race. For that reason having less effective drs for spa and more effective drs for monaco is not great idea in terms of costs.

    Another problem is the use of drs and essentially where it can be used. This is a huge double edged sword because if you allow drivers to choose where they use the drs then there are safety concerns and because drs is also so effective the drivers naturally want to use it on the best overtaking place anyways. The other side is that if there is a drs zone then you basically limit overtaking into that place on track. With double zones like in canada this is just really bad imho.

    Personally I’d just make the drs less effective. The way it was in 2011 the drs passes were boring and way too easy. The activation zones need to be adjusted as well and generally using the 2nd longest straightaway is the way to go. Not the longest straight except in monza and hungary etc..

    I don’t like drs though and in my opinion it should be a temporary solution to a problem that will be fixed other way as soon as possible. Push to pass type of solution with the turbo engines that are coming is a lot better option than this drs even if ptp is not totally ok for me either really :).

  13. Alex W said on 16th January 2012, 10:02

    Could we please have DRS, but instead of the current arbitrary zones, it could be activated at any time a car is within 5 meters of a car infront. This could be done with a live GPS plot, and would be deactivated as soon as the DRS car is alongside (ie: no longer 5 meters behind), and would not be available until the DRS car passes, or falls back into the 5 meter “Zone”. the passed car would get DRS as soon as it was passed so youwould get real drag races with DRS opening and closing, obviously thesystem used would have to be very accurate and have a few meters of tolerance, but i’m sure it could be done.

  14. If there going to have DRS then maybe they can base it off of qualy times. The slower your times the longer your DRS zone will be. The faster your times the shorter your DRS zone will be. This will (like the tire situation) will add an interesting strategy to qualifying.

    On a side note I don’t think leading cars should be able to use DRS on lapped cars.

  15. Eliminate DRS. Maybe the FIA can focus on drafting sporting regulations that foster competition and innovation among teams, which could naturally lead to better overtaking by design.

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