2013 F1 season
McLaren 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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