Adrian Sutil, Force India, Melbourne, 2011

Double DRS zones get single detection point in Melbourne

2012 Australian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

DRS map, Melbourne, 2012
DRS map, Melbourne, 2012
The FIA has confirmed details of the two DRS zones for this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.

Drivers will be able to use DRS on two consecutive straights during the race, leading into turns one and three.

There will be a single detection point for the two zones on the entry to turn 14.

Jenson Button said: “I think the potential of a second DRS zone will be a real benefit ?ǣ last year, along the startline wasn?t quite enough for overtaking ?ǣ I think we?ll get more benefit from a second zone.”

Last year twin DRS zones with a single activation point were used in the Canadian and European Grand Prix.

Two DRS zones were also used last year in Abu Dhabi, but each zone had its own detection point.

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113 comments on “Double DRS zones get single detection point in Melbourne”

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  1. DRS? I approve.

    Double DRS at Melbourne? Don’t really see the need for it considering how well one zone worked last year.

    Double DRS with a SINGLE detection zone? DO NOT WANT.

    1. PJ (@pjtierney)
      14th March 2012, 14:49


      But did one zone work well last year? Outside of Button’s overtake it didn’t seem to line up (m)any passing opportunities into Turns 1 or 3.

      Now maybe the second zone could make it too easy this season I don’t know. Turn 1/2 id a mid-high speed section which could serve to stretch the cars a little bit and essentially make the second DRS zone much like the first.

      1. @PJtierney In my opinion, it worked perfectly.

        I support DRS with this current aero package. It should be about negating the effect of dirty0air that prevents drivers in faster cars from being able to even attempt an overtaking move. It shouldn’t be used to provide ‘motorway’ passes, it should simply give the attacking driver a chance to get a run on the car ahead. Last year, I think Melbourne did that job perfectly.

        Jenson had multiple attempts with DRS on Massa in the early stages of Melbourne 2011, but he still needed to have a good run for it to allow him to finally make a move. That’s how it worked in Monaco, Suzuka, Nurburgring, India and Spain to name the first ones to come into my head. That’s what I want to see at every circuit.

        1. If we have to have DRS, that is exactly how it should be. This is a farce though. I see no benefits of the two zones with a single activation.

        2. @magnificent-geoffrey spot on! The DRS not only gave Jenson opportunities to overtake in the DRS zone, but by giving the ability to make up time he had lost with the dirty air he then had the opportunity to attack Massa in other areas of the track. The key word is OPPORTUNITY! Jenson had plenty of them, and that’s what DRS should give. It didn’t give overtaking and it shouldn’t, that should come from driver skill. I fear this year there will be no driver skill, and due to the ease of passing in one area, there will be no OPPORTUNITY for overtaking in other areas of the track.

        3. PJ (@pjtierney)
          14th March 2012, 15:42

          I agree that that’s what I want DRS to be used for as well: Give drivers the opportunity to overtake, not the overtake itself.

          1. But then it’s just a handicap to catch them up?

            DRS was brought in to increase passing, that that’s what they are aiming for.

          2. It was to increase the passing lost by cars running in turbulent air. So yes, it is to catch up, not just gift a pass.

          3. All I’m saying, is that wanting DRS to help catch up the following car so that he can have a chance to pass, but not actually necessarily being able to pass, unless enough skill is involved on the drivers part IS REALLY REALLY PICKY.

            Either you want DRS to help passing or you don’t. Last year at Melbourne, is wasn’t enough to create passing on the first straight. This year, due to the nature of the 3rd corner, it probably will help.

            Personally, I don’t care either way, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

        4. @magnificent-geoffrey 100% agreed. Let’s hope other races have more sensible DRS plans.

        5. I think that part of the problem with DRS is that it can serve as a motivation for a driver to sit behind and wait until reaching the DRS zone to attempt an overtake. If a driver overtakes prior to the DRS detection point (without enough time to pull out a gap) he will likely just be repassed and be back at square one so to speak.

          I also didn’t have a problem with the DRS zone in Melbourne last year, and liked that it gave the opportunity for overtaking without making it a certainty. However, I wonder how much of this is down to Melbourne being the first GP where DRS was utilized. How much data did teams/drivers gather over the course of the subsequent GPs about wing/downforce/overall setups on the car or KERS usage over the lap to maximize or defend? I would think that amount of data is significant. Teams figured out after a few GPs how to better utilize the Pirelli tires, and I would think the same goes for DRS. Even if they felt that it wasn’t effective enough last year, I feel that for this reason the FIA should have left the zone the as it was, as it likely would have still been more effective than last year.

        6. Well said @magnificent-geoffrey, a second DRS zone will only showboat its not the way to go.

        7. Very well said indeded @magnificent-geoffrey. If we are to have DRS, at least make it an aid in keeping up with a car ahead to enable overtakes despite the aero-wake, not a zoom-past button.

          It’s what made me love China (was it China?) last year: HAM overtaking VET explicitly outside the DRS zone bc. VET was expecting and thus defending an overtake there.

        8. Personally I don’t think it was quite strong enough last year. Though maybe with 2 zones it will be too much this year, I think I would prefer it if the start/finish straight zone was shorter to make sure that cars could only catchup on that straight rather than having 2 chances to pass.

          The McLaren was a lot faster in the race than Ferrari at Australia last year and yet Button was still unable to pass, until late on the race when he was on fresher tyres and Massa was pitting because his were going off.

        9. I’m on the pro side, it didn’t do enough last year to negate the dirty air effect.

          So having the two zones, single detection is a good thing.

          Let’s not forget, if you get passed by some guy who isn’t as fast as you becuase of DRS, you get to use it on HIM about 50 seconds later.

          It is going to encourage guys to have more confidence to use different tyre strategies knowing that they aren’t going to get stuck behind a ‘trulli train’

        10. @Magnificent Geoffrey best comment ive read for ages.

          i said same thing in the middle of last year. its their to allow the driver an attempt to pass. not do the pass for him.

    2. Can anyone confirm that the FIA has reduced the length of DRS zones for other tracks? Obviousy, if they would just reduce the length itwoyld prevent the ridiculou passes we had last year.

      1. There’ll only be one in Montreal, apparently. Apart from that they’ll change it at most tracks, depending on what they learnt last year. Hopefully they realise how it should be and make overtaking possible, but not a given. @s2g-unit

        1. If they had a second detection point in Montreal I think it would have been great fun to watch.

          1. I don’t think Montreal even needed DRS. There’s been a nice amount of overtaking in the years before anyway.

    3. It hardly worked last year. I guess 2 DRS zones aren’t going to make it a straight overtake like at other circuits because the zones are not that long and there’s quite a medium-high speed corner in the middle, plus off the line tends to be quite dirty in Melbourne.

      It’lll be interesting!

    4. @magnificent-geoffrey – I seem to recall reading somewhere that the FIA wanted to experiment with a system that would recognise a pass in the first zone, and so deactivate the DRS in the second zone.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys I’d support that. I don’t like the idea of a driver passing another into T1 and then getting an extra DRS bonus on the run to T3 despite already being ahead.

  2. Andy Redden (@andyredden-on-f1)
    14th March 2012, 14:45

    Personally I would have liked to see that one going in to turn 3 then another going in to turn 13.

    1. Yes, or in the run to turn 11……that would be interesting.

      1. +1, that would be great seeing drivers lining up the pass through the 9/10 chicane and then attempting to come around the outside of the long corner between 10 and 11, and into the 11/12 chicane.

  3. Canada last year was same was it not.

    1. @georgedaviesf1 it says in the article.

      1. The double DRS employed in Canada last year was predictably ridiculous. The rain thankfully rid us of farcical passes for the majority of the race, however when the conditions dried up and DRS was turned on, people were passing in the first zone and pulling away in the second zone due to the single activation point (Button and Schumacher were the notable winners and losers under this respectively on the day). Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but surely the way to promote battles on track is by acting to close the cars up, not giving the leading driver a boost to get away. This is the fundamental issue that bugs me about 2 activation points and one detection point.

        The placements are also once again dim-witted. Both zones (particularly the second) are, much like in Canada again, placed in areas where overtaking does not need to be promoted – in fact T3 has long been a passing hotspot. It would make far more sense to put the DRS zones in areas where overtaking is too difficult under normal conditions (e.g. down to T11). This way we would be able to witness battles around the entire track and areas where overtaking is already possible like T3 would not be made tediously easy to pass at.

        DRS has the potential to add something positive to F1, however not in the hands of the FIA it seems.

        1. Exactly. T3 was fine. Now the drivers will just press a button and can forget the other guy because with drs you can just drive past the other guy with no skill.

          What drs does it makes the passing an automated event where the other guy can not do anything to defend because the drs is so overpowered. Just catch a guy and press a button.

          Especially these double drs zones with one activation point are just utterly bad. Why couldn’t they leave T3 as is and put the other drs zone between 9-11 or 12-13? The drs should never be put into places of the track where passing already happens normally. Not on spa on the straight after eau rouge or on the monza main straight just for example.

        2. drive past the other guy with no skill.

          Because in the old days, when drivers drove straight past each other on the straight they used raw talent to do it.

          I’m sorry, but you are being ridiculous, the DRS makes it more possible to pass down the straight, the amount of skill required would be untouched.

          1. The drs makes it impossible to not pass the car in front of you. There is no need for being close enough when exiting the corners to get really close to the other car, no need to slipstream and place your car behind the other one, no need to time it perfectly and no need to out brake anyone to complete the pass.

            With drs you just press a button and just zoom past. It is really easy.Spa in 2011 was imho just plain stupid and as a fan of the sport I was almost offended by the thought that someone somewhere thinks this is what we fans want to see. Mostly I’m just disappointed that this kind of artificial and corny overtaking assist is being used in my favourite sport that is F1. In fact I’m ashamed of it.

            Believe it or not but passing is a skill. With drs passing the skill is almost non existing.

      2. Yeah I missed that

  4. I don’t think I’m a fan of the single detection point, especially as drivers can use the second DRS zone even if they have already passed a car during the first zone. It gives the car which has gone passed a real chance of getting away unchallenged down the second zone leaving the car behind with little opportunity to take the place back.

    1. With the activation zones so close I think it has to be a single detection zone. If you had a second detection zone so close and a drive makes a pass during the first activation zone the then passed car will just use DRS in the second zone and probably take the place back. Didn’t we have something like that in Abu Dhabi last year? They put a detection zone on the exit of the hairpin to be used down that long back straight into the chicane. Then, just after the exit of the chicane there was a another detection zone which meant we saw drivers re-taking the position they’d just lost. Seem to remember Button and Webber having fun with this.

      1. The two comments above, from @f1abw and @mwardf1, highlight the unavoidable problem caused by having two DRS zones.

        Separate detection points mean that a driver overtaken in the first zone will take his place back in the second. On the other hand, a single detection point means that a driver who has got past in the first zone will be able to use open their rear wing again to pull further ahead.

        What’s the solution? I suggest not using DRS at all…

        1. The good news is that in Aus, they probably won’t pass in the first zone. Just like last year.

  5. Shame, I liked how it didn’t spoil good racing last year. It’s really getting out of hand this DRS thing.

    1. Never liked the DRS at all. Cheapens the meaning of overtaking. Why should overtaking be so easy. I’d rather watch an exciting battle in trying hard to pass someone, the tension is much better IMO.

  6. I’d love 20 wet races so we don’t have to put up with DRS :P

  7. Shocking. Why make the first race of the season a complete joke?

    1. Still, takes away the bite of having to watch on a sub-standard stream, as I doubt I’ll care as much about the action taking place anyway now. Thanks FIA!

    2. ?? People wanted more passing, they have been screaming it for years. It infuriates me that we finally have a working solution and people can’t stop complaining.

      The first zone won’t create many, if any passing opportunities, the second will. That’s what it’s designed to do.

      1. its not about the amount of overtakes,its about the quality.we had alot of overtaking last year,more than ever,but very few quality overtakes.5 or 6 at most.all the rest were easy and straight forward with no risk or skill involved because drs made it too easy,or because the drivers tyres were so worn they were sitting ducks.
        before drs f1 was more exciting imo.

      2. People wanted drivers to be able to get *close enough* to the car in front to attempt a skilful move at a corner.

        If implemented correctly, DRS could provide that. But all too often, it makes passing *so* easy that drivers simply glide past each other on the straights, without any need for a skilful manoeuvre.

        1. @Mike…therein lies the rub…what you define as a ‘working solution’ is something that many disagree with. I would prefer not a parade, nor a plethera of passes every race, just quality passes that drivers can attempt through mechanical grip and less aero dependancy, not silly passes borne of a moveable device that makes the pass look easy and the only being passed look defenceless and amateur. DRS passes will not go down in the annuls of F1 history as memorable.

          1. I would prefer not a parade, nor a plethera of passes every race

            I agree, Now lets see a solution.

        2. @Mike…for me they are so close to making it better, imho of course. I think that by having the sticky tires they do (mechanical grip), and by greatly inhibiting the EBD effect, they have made good strides. I think they might not even need DRS now, but if they do still feel that fast cars would still be stuck for too long behind slow cars due to the dirty air effect (thus their opinion/need to keep DRS in play) then I think they just need to restrict the teams further in terms of how they can achieve downforce, and then the mechanical grip would carry a greater percentage of the grip vs. that achieved by downforce, thus reducing the dirty air effect perhaps to something more reasonable.

          The lowered, and by almost all accounts ugly front noses, albeit with the still high chassis from the ‘wedge’ back, is another direction they have gone that while meant for safety reasons, also starts to restrict air flow under said nose and therefore around the rest of the car.

          I still like JV’s suggestion back when they introduced grooved tires that he thought were a joke…he said give us back the big fat slicks of the 70’s and that will kill two birds with one stone…instant mechanical grip, while those fatties caused so much drag that in order to achieve any kind of respectable straight-away speeds you were forced to run less wing. ie. mechanical grip, and less wing/aero dependancy.

  8. This just proves the FIA have no idea what the fans want. Of all the possible variations of DRS used last year this was the one that the fans seemed to dislike the most!

  9. I am curious about one thing. Does anyone have a good estimative how much faster a car (in tenths of seconds) can get using this double DRS? I am not concerned about the overtakings but if that could help a slower car to keep in touch with a faster car in front (I confess I haven’t seen that happening during the last season).

    1. My thoughts about my question since nobody, apart @tom, have answered. The DRS must improve the performance of the car which is behind in such way that, at the end of the DRS straight, this car should gain between two to three “car lengths” which would enable it to, at least, share the next curve. Let´s say that the speed of these cars is 300 km/h or approximately 80 m/s at the end of the straigth. If the length of a F1 is 4.5 m, it means that the car behind would have gain between 10 to 15 m, which at 80m/s is aproximately 0.125 to 0.185 seconds. It seems to me that 0.1 to 0.2 seconds on the straight is enough to overtake but not enough to flatten the differences between two different cars or even two different drivers with the same car. I can´t remember one occasion last year were the DRS was used by a driver to keep in touch with a faster car in front of him. But what it will happen with two DRS? Are we going to watch a more closer race?

  10. 2Ugandan Discussions
    14th March 2012, 15:52

    Can someone explain to me the basics of “detection” and “activation” please? Thanks in advance

    1. if they are within 1 second of any car in front (including lapped cars) at the “detection point”, they can use their DRS from the “activation point” until they have to brake for the next corner. In this case the one “detection point” applies for both “activation points”

      1. 2Ugandan Discussions
        14th March 2012, 16:03

        Cheers Jake

  11. tom (@iwishiworkedformclaren)
    14th March 2012, 16:19

    @claudioff it is between 3-4.6 seconds for the car with the activated wing, over the course of both activation zones, this of course depends on the speed of the car and traction etc, but that is a very rough estimate.
    While i am here commenting, i am actually a fan of drs, no perticular reason why, i know that is rubbish grounds for an argument, but i do agree that it should be used very thoughtfully, track by track, perhaps get the ex-drivers who appear on the stewards panel to have some input into where they think it should be.

  12. IMO it worked best in Melbourne last year!
    No free overtakes but it closed the cars up so they could fight for the rest of the lap, or at least the driver behind would have to make a serious effort to get close enough to overtake by the help of the DRS.
    So now its ruined by two DRS zones and on top of that only a single detection zone.. oh god.

  13. Michael Brown (@)
    14th March 2012, 16:23

    Come on, single activation double DRS ruined Canada. Don’t want to see a pass in the first zone and then using the second zone to pull away.

    1. Cars will probably not be able to pass in the first detection point. It was ineffective last year.

  14. I don’t think the problem here is so much the single detection point but more the 2 consecutive DRS straights. Even if there was to be 2 detection points you wouldnt see much overtaking into turn 1 and repassing into turn 2 because – A> Its hard to pass even with DRS into turn 1. – B> Why pass into turn 1 when you know your going to be repassed into turn 2 due to the 2nd detection point.

  15. Double the DRS zones double the fun…

    Combine the defenseless DRS nonsense with a single move to block approach to a corner and somebody will get run over. Wrong path of technology and poorly thought out rules.
    The consequences of these decisions could be drastic. I hope I am wrong about this.

    1. I don’t think that argument is limited to just DRS. It could be applied to any over-taking move.

      1. My point is to say that usage of DRS is pretty much undefendable and that the human reaction to defend your position because of DRS by making a defensive manouver or lane change could become a point where individual drviing skills are overwhelmed in that split second and that is when the potential for diasaster is ripe.

  16. @keithcollantine Are you sure that quote is from Lewis. Sky are giving the exact same quote to Jenson. It would make more sense coming from him seeing as he was the one who got the opportunity to use it last year?

    1. @jleigh Very good spot – thanks for that. I had mis-attributed it. Have changed it now.

  17. At a certain point, wouldn’t it just be easier for the FIA to distribute overtaking vouchers at the drivers’ meeting?

    This is a rather inauspicious way to start the season if you ask me.

  18. This is ridiculous, There shoudl be less DRS & not more.

    I got fed up last season of watching dull, boring & totally unexciting defenceless passing.

    No DRS pass in 2011 did anything to improve the racing, Just made the passing we did see less intresting as it was all boring straght line drive-by’s.

    DRS is completely ruining F1! This ridiculous, stupid & needless technology should be banned!

    As to the so called racing fans who support drs, name one example where drs did anything to add excitement last year?
    was there a single exciting moment created by drs?
    was there any moment where drs made the racing better?

    1. I think you have to look at DRS in a way such that you would miss its effect if it was’t there.

      Canada last year was probably the best race, mainly down to Button’s advance through the field from the very back, ultimately winning the race. He would not have been in that position to put Vettel under such pressure had it not been for a few crucial DRS assisted passes.

      1. but also talking of canada you had the ridiculous situation of schumacher who had driven a brilliant race been completely defenceless to defend his 2nd place purely because of drs.

        i;d have much rather seen a great, fair scrap between schumacher/button/webber where schumacher at least stood a chance at defending his 2nd place than button/webber simply pushing a button & cruising easily & boringly past.

        drs does nothing for me, it doesn’t intrest or excite me, it killed my intrest in 2011 & if it does the same in 2012 then f1 is dead to me untill this ridiculous device is removed, or at least untill the rules are changed to prevent the ridiculous situations we saw due to drs in 2011

      2. it was the weather and safety cars that helped button,and taking lewis out too who was about to overtake him for a second time in that wasnt really drs,that made the race exciting.
        but thats only 1 race.

        1. Canada became a crapshoot, with all the weather, and safety cars, and red flags, as well as the length of time the race took to get in. MS was never as high up all year, thanks to the luck of the draw on several occasions that day. And he got passed by being DRS’d sure enough, but he also used DRS to his benefit earlier in the race. And JB did nothing wrong to LH. All JB did was hold the normal racing line and it was LH that decided to attempt an unusual pass at an unusual spot on that straightaway, knowing that virtually all cars always take the line JB did, year after year, along that straight.

  19. We saw what a double DRS zone with one detection point does in Canada. You get one driver ahead of the other and then give the driver the opportunity to get away so he can’t lose the place. I am fine with DRS but this is going to be really dreadful. I rather have two cars close together than a fake pass and then the “overtaker” gets a cookie for doing so.

  20. I totally understand all the concern about single detection point but the first zone is very short for DRS overtaking unless the car behind can closely follow the car in front through turns 15 and 16. with the help of KERS and good traction out of turn 15 (and perhaps a bit of defensive moves), we won’t be seeing too many overtakes in first zone.

    1. Well, I think thats quite a long straight down to T1, compare it to the Hungaroring mainstraight. At Hungary thats the only real spot to overtake, and to make it, you have to get right the last and the second to last corner. And drivers could overtake at the Hungaroring without DRS, so I dont think they should have a problem at the first zone in Melbourne.

      Also, I’m a fan of DRS as long as it makes overtake possible, not sure.

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