Two DRS zones per track necessary for 2013 – Lowe

2013 F1 season

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Circuit of the Americas, 2012McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe says all F1 tracks will need two DRS zones next year to ensure it remains effective.

Currently drivers have free use of DRS in practice and qualifying to encourage teams to use sufficiently long gear ratios on their cars to gain enough of a benefit from DRS to make overtaking possible.

That will change on safety grounds next year, meaning drivers will only be allowed to use DRS in the designated zones at all times.

Speaking during a Vodefone McLaren Mercedes phone-in, Lowe said two DRS zones will be required to ensure teams still have an incentive to use longer ratios:

“We believe that, particularly if [FIA race director] Charlie [Whiting] arranges for two DRS zones at every circuit, which is what he’s committed to doing, that this will give enough incentive to ratio the car appropriately – pretty much as we do now, the same as if we had free use of DRS.

Of the 19 tracks raced on so far this year four featured two DRS zones: Melbourne, Monza, Buddh International Circuit and Yas Marina. Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and Valencia had two DRS zones last year but were reduced to one this year.

Lowe said DRS has been “a tremendous solution to the long-standing overtaking problem”.

“A lot of things have been tried over the years,” he added. “DRS at least has an authority to allow it”

“At some circuits it doesn’t. India I think was a good example of that – surprisingly, actually, because it’s got a good long straight there, it didn’t seem to allow overtaking.

“And then you get other circuits where arguably it’s too easy. It might be that we should look at that and try and trim the direction on those outlying circuits. But in general I think it works well.

“I don’t hear people talking about it being some sort of fix or artificial solution. I think it’s something that the driver has to play tactically and use with tremendous skill.

“We saw that on Sunday with Lewis and Sebastian. That was a fair fight, a very very close duel. Ultimately Lewis got past using DRS but it wasn’t easy and everybody admired the skill with which he did it. So I think generally it’s working very very well.”

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72 comments on Two DRS zones per track necessary for 2013 – Lowe

  1. Brian OF said on 21st November 2012, 12:57

    Am I alone in thinking that DRS is still a blight on F1? That it’s an easy way to artificially gloss over a fundamental design issue re- dirty air?

    In my view tracks should have zero DRS zones and until they do, F1 is poorer for it. So I’m a purist. That’s not a bad thing y’know!

    • beneboy (@beneboy) said on 22nd November 2012, 13:17

      Am I alone in thinking that DRS is still a blight on F1?

      No, you are not alone, it’s just that the teams/FIA/FOM have a very poor record of listening to what the fans are saying.

  2. Instead of using a Drag Reduction System, why don’t they reduce drag by reducing the aerodynamic effects of cars? Primitive ground effects could solve that problem without creating a huge safety concern (but they would need to be closely regulated to stop a repeat of the dangerously high cornering speeds in the early 80′s) and then reduce wing sizes. It worked before and it’ll work again.

    • Brian (@bealzbob) said on 21st November 2012, 16:09

      Exactly. That is an actual solution to the problem. But they (the FIA & the teams) would argue that this approach would require a relatively large re-design of the cars at a time when the teams are craving rule stability; not to mention the costs involved being probably more than the teams would like to spend at a time of serious cost cutting/control.

      The real problem we have is that the teams (as we can see in this article) actually have no problem with DRS. They seem to like it and its affects on the racing. Plus if the majority of casual F1 fans like it then we’re banging our heads off a brick wall even asking for a proper solution. The playstation generation seem to be the majority and that means bucks, which means they will get their way, sadly.

      • @bealzbob – I couldn’t have said it better myself. Money appears to be the only concern at the expense of real wheel to whee racing. I have yet to be blown away by the skill and daring involved in a DRS-assisted pass, primarily because the move is usually completed before the corner and secondly because the rules governing defence encourage easy passing manoeuvres. One of the greatest battles I have seen was between Häikkinen and Schumacher at Spa in 2000: robust defence by Schumacher kept Häikkinen at bay but with brilliant use of a back marker Häikkinen got by. That’s proper racing: no gimmicks. We would see even more of this if the cars had less downforce, with corners such as Eau Rouge actually being a challenge for drivers to boot.

        • Brian (@bealzbob) said on 22nd November 2012, 11:01

          Exactly. They have devalued the overtake. To the point where it is now an inevitability. We will never see the likes of what you describe between MH & MS while there is DRS. Even if the opportunity existed for it to happen at a non-DRS zone, the pursuer would simply wait until the next DRS zone so as to complete the pass with minimum risk.

          The overtake used to be something to be admired; an achievement. Like a goal being scored in football (soccer). If we doubled the size of the goal and every football game had 30 goals scored, the value of each goal would be greatly reduced. That’s what they’ve done to F1.

  3. Victorinox said on 21st November 2012, 17:47

    My take on the DRS has changed a little bit since the beginning. At first, I sided with the purists saying that it was a horrible gimmick that destroyed the races. I thought that being a tool that only the attacking car would have, it was an unfair advantage not needed in a “sport”. But then I watched some old Indy 500 races as well as the 2012 race, and all the drafting seemed to me exactly the same as DRS: Put your car at a certain distance from the car in front, and you have a one-sided advantage over your rival.

    Indycar purposely built its new car to create a lot of drafting, in order to increase passing, and improve “the show”. Formula 1 can’t do that. F-1 cars have such complex aerodynamic requirements that drafting is very difficult. So DRS, while being less glamorous than drafting, seems like the tool for the job.

    However, my problem with DRS is that it is set up in a way that makes it ridiculously easy to pass a car, or it is assigned to places in the race track that eliminate real overtaking chances. In races like Korea, the DRS assisted overtakes were being completed with more than 1/3 of the straight left, which is just too easy. In races like Canada, the DRS section after the hairpin resulted in drivers waiting for that zone to make a pass, instead of making a move diving into the hairpin. In Canada, the problem is worsened by the fact that no grandstands are available on the DRS zone, so the passing was moved from a corner in front of large crowed grandstands to the middle of nowhere.

    Tracks don’t just need multiple DRS zones; they just need better DRS zones.

    • But then I watched some old Indy 500 races as well as the 2012 race, and all the drafting seemed to me exactly the same as DRS

      An oval & a road circuit are totally different things where you need to race in totally different ways using some different skills.
      Drafting is the way you race on an oval, You get a good slipstream & have to use that to your advantage to get by people. There is also a lot of skill involved as you have to time it right, If you pull out too early you won’t complete the pass for example.

      Also at Indy the pass is usually still done in the corners, The draft gets you alongside but as soon as you pull out the drag of the air slows you down so you have to complete the pass using driver skill in the corners.

      One of the biggest problems with DRS is that unlike the slipstream the car behind doesn’t start to lose momentum when they pull out to try the pass. This is why so many DRS passes are so boringly easy, The car behind gets a 102-kph speed boost while behind the car infront & retains it even when it pulls out & even when its ahead.
      With the slipstream you get the speed gain while in the tow, but lose that momentum when you pull out so you get alongside but have to work hard to actually complete the pass.

  4. Calum (@calum) said on 21st November 2012, 19:31

    Maybe they could have Q-DRS (Qualifying Drag Reduction System) on more sections of the track? Instead of just the single one in quali, have an extra two on back straights, tailor it to suit differant tracks. I quite like the spectacle of qualifying with DRS, there’s something I like about the drivers pushing it to the limit opening the DRS-letterbox as soon as possible, seeing some of them getting caught out and spinning.

  5. Instead of increasing the no. of drs zones, the cars can be made faster which will add more overtaking opportunities not just on straights but where ever possible on the circuits. I badly miss the days of the rumbling V10s and the cars of that period that had complex aerodynamic designs yet guaranteed higher levels of excitement on the tracks.

  6. sato113 (@sato113) said on 21st November 2012, 22:25

    @keithcollantine i wonder if there is the possibility to assign not only the race drs zone, but also any other long straights as ‘DRS available’ during practice any qualy. this way we dont need 2 drs zones in the race.

    example: in practice and qualy, the drivers can use drs on the wellington straight and the hangar straight, but in the race just the wellington will be used as a drs zone.

  7. TED BELL said on 21st November 2012, 23:11

    The Dumb Racing System is what its name suggests.

  8. Kimi4WDC said on 22nd November 2012, 2:35

    I think someone messed up whole DRS thing just before it got implemented.

    DRS should have been on a forced activation 200m before each corner, that would result in more unstable braking and cornering manoeuvres. Exactly what is needed to see who is a better :D

    • Kimi4WDC said on 22nd November 2012, 2:40

      Also iron brakes instead of carbon will fix up whole not enough overtake non-sense. It’s cheaper too!!!!

  9. tigen (@tigen) said on 22nd November 2012, 4:31

    DRS is definitely lacking in elegance. And besides that, it accentuates the more boring type of pass (on the straight) instead of the more spectacular ones. You almost want the opposite of DRS (add downforce when following).

    Aero effect following in turns is the real problem. In principle they should be able to just regulate the end goal, in the form of measuring the wake, instead of just car dimensions.

    That is difficult for scrutineering without a windtunnel. But perhaps it could be done: have a “control car” follow a competitor’s car at speed, and measure downforce effect at control car. Have some fudge factor for different environmental conditions, and whether a particular car is an outlier vs. other cars.

  10. So it seems I may not be watching F1 for much longer :(

    Im fed up of DRS, I hate the sort of boring/unexciting pass that DRS produces. I’ve put up with it for 2 years now & have yet to see it do anything to make a race more exciting.
    Its an artificial gimmick that produces artificial, boring, unexciting & soul-less passing & thats not the sort of passing I enjoy watching.

    I’d go as far as saying that overtaking in F1 has been badly devalued due to DRS these past 2 years because everyone is now looking at quantity rather than quality & as long as this keeps going the quality of passing is just going to get more & more boring which will devalue it even more!

    Something I find intresting is that back in 2009 when Raikkonen used KERS to pass Fisichella for the lead at Spa, Fan reaction was extremely negative to how easy KERS had made the pass. However suddenly the same sort of boring/easy pass DRS-assisted is hailed as brilliant by some of the same people today?

  11. Couldn’t they have the DRS shut down when one car is alongside the other? That then allows them to catch and fight in the braking zone without this ridiculous driving straight past mallarky…

  12. Pete_E said on 22nd November 2012, 17:29

    Not surprising that Paddy Lowe would want more DRS since DRS was apparently his creation.

    I’d much rather see less DRS rather than more as I really don’t like what its done to the racing, Far too artificial & very gimmickey for my liking.

  13. roger_e said on 22nd November 2012, 17:32

    they may as well make a rule saying that the car ahead must move over & let the one behind past when it gets within 1 second as that more or less all drs does.

    hate it to the point where i won’t be attending next years canadian gp (having been there every year there’s been an f1 race since 1989) based off my experiences there with drs the past 2 years.

  14. Joey Zyla (@) said on 7th December 2012, 7:55

    Get rid of DRS. Entirely. There was never an ‘overtaking problem’. It’s all in some people’s minds. DRS makes overtaking way too easy. It might be okay if the car in front could use DRS to defend.

  15. joergh said on 6th March 2013, 16:51

    if there are two DRS-zones, do we see two detection zones too?
    btw, I´m a fan of the DRS-zones, they should be as long as possible

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