New restrictions won’t put teams off passive DRS

F1 technology

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Jerez, 2013For F1’s third season with Drag Reductions Systems the rules are getting a small but significant tweak. The DRS zones used during races will now operate during qualifying and practice as well.

That means drivers will no longer be chasing hundredths of a second in qualifying by daring to flip open their rear wing earlier than their rivals.

The change was provoked by concerns from drivers that it had become a safety problem: “I think it’s good,” said Mark Webber during last week’s test at Jerez.

“The drivers have been pushing for it for quite a while just to have the DRS in the sections in qualifying where we’d have it in the race.

“It didn’t really make any sense of the teams, the drivers, the fans to run on Friday and Saturday with the DRS open. It just adds a bit more risk and where we can manage that a bit better then why not?”

Not all the drivers were on board with the change: “I personally prefer using it everywhere,” said Lewis Hamilton, “but all the drivers want to use it less so that’s fine.”

However he doubts the change in rules will have a significant effect on the racing: “I drove with DRS and there’s not really much difference,” he said. “I was using it on the pit straight and on the back straight and there was no real difference.”

Knife-edge wings

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Jerez, 2013Lotus technical director James Allison agrees with Hamilton’s view: “I don’t think it is a sufficiently large difference from team to team.”

“Let’s say the top half of the grid, I don’t think there’s sufficient difference between the solutions from the various teams to cause much of a shuffling. There’ll be a little bit.”

Allison pointed out there is now less reward for pursuing more powerful Drag Reduction Systems: “DRS is sort of easy set-up-wise,” he explained. “It’s not tough.”

“What’s tough about DRS is rear wings used to be about the easiest thing on the car aerodynamically to do. Everyone had more or less the same rear wing and it just wasn’t an area of competitive advantage. You just had big ones for Monaco and small ones for Monza and in-between ones for everywhere else.

“With DRS you have to have a wing that produces reliable downforce but shifts a huge amount of drag when you switch it. And that means taking the wing much closer to the edge of stalling in normal operation than you would traditionally have done because that’s just a very obvious way of getting performance.

“The dilemma with that of course is that skirting to the very edge of stall with the wing means that things like bugs hitting the leading edge of the wing or a bit of a bit of rain or just misjudging it a bit in the wind tunnel means that your wing is not stable enough.

“And that’s where all the set-up difficulty is with the rear wing, it’s just getting the right compromise between stability and switch size. And the change to the DRS rules don’t affect that. All it does is de-power the effect of the DRS on lap time.

“So you could say that maybe there’s slightly less incentive to put a lot of effort into maximising the switch versus the stability. But there’s still lap time there, there’s still a competitive pressure to make this knife-edge wing which is difficult to do.”

Passive DRS

Teams have been banned from using DRS to cause stalling elsewhere on the car, as Mercedes did with their front wing using their Double DRS last year. However they may create ‘passive DRS’ by using the airflow over the car to stall a wing and increase the car’s straight-line speed.

This is fraught with difficulties, however, as the threshold speed at which the stalling should occur may vary from track to track and even throughout a race. And a sudden loss of downforce at high speed while cornering could cause a serious crash.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Jerez, 2013Nonetheless some teams plan to experiment with passive DRS during pre-season testing, including Mercedes. A new rear wing arrangement appeared on Hamilton’s car on Friday morning at Jerez which may be an early development of such a device.

“I wouldn’t say we’ve found the solution yet but we’ll be doing some work on it in the next few tests and we’ll see where we are,” said team principal Ross Brawn.

However he expects a breakthrough will be found: “We’re keeping it there, we’re still interested, we’re still doing some work but I wouldn’t say we’ve found absolutely the right solution yet and I think that seems to be what other people are experiencing.”

“We may see somebody find a solution and that will probably accelerate the development of the systems. But they’re pretty tricky.”

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68 comments on New restrictions won’t put teams off passive DRS

  1. Simon (@snelle-eddy) said on 12th February 2013, 9:50

    Thanks for the interesting piece.

    If I understand it correctly, the switch for passive DRS is operated via some sort of air pressure, right? But where is it allowed to stall the rear wing? Is that only on the top-elements of the rear wing, where the DRS-pod is situated?

  2. Proesterchen (@proesterchen) said on 12th February 2013, 9:55

    “The drivers have been pushing for it for quite a while just to have the DRS in the sections in qualifying where we’d have it in the race.

    “It didn’t really make any sense of the teams, the drivers, the fans to run on Friday and Saturday with the DRS open. It just adds a bit more risk and where we can manage that a bit better then why not?”

    Sure, keep taking skilll and cojones out of the equation, neutering DRS to remove any challenge to the driver and his judgement.

    It’s the Webber thing to do. And it saddens me.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 12th February 2013, 10:38

      @proesterchen Seems a bit harsh to stick it to Webber over something most of the drivers wanted.

      • @keithcollantine – Just purely out of interest, who, apart from Hamilton obviously, opposed the rule change and wanted DRS kept? I think this wasn’t safety driven in all honesty…

        • Antonio (@antoniocorleone) said on 12th February 2013, 17:29

          I think one other driver who opposed is surely Vettel, because in qualifying it neutralized the RBs huge downforce on a straight line (where is obviosly not needed) and gave back that downforce for the turns (where its needed). I think thats the reason that Vettel got so many poles over these couple of years. I think this change will be a benefit for Ferrari. Lets see what happens in 2013.

      • Proesterchen (@proesterchen) said on 12th February 2013, 13:28

        Yes, it might be harsh to single him out, but by being vocal in support, he opened himself up to be criticized for both the idea and his own role in promoting it.

    • Why single out Webber as its clearly something a lot of drivers felt strongly about?

      Also I don’t think been able to use DRS everywhere actually required any additional skill from the drivers as how early you were able to open DRS was down to how good the car was rather than how much extra skill or bravery the driver had.

      Teams turn up to races with enough data now to know exactly when was best to open DRS with there package (Same with KERS) so you don’t get drivers experimenting with opening it earlier like you probably did in early 2011.

      • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 12th February 2013, 11:55

        Also I don’t think been able to use DRS everywhere actually required any additional skill from the drivers as how early you were able to open DRS was down to how good the car was rather than how much extra skill or bravery the driver had.

        Quite right, I was watching the cars rpretty closely coming out of the final corner in Abu Dhabi last year and everyone was nailing the throttle and opening DRS at the same time. The only exception were the two HRT’s which could only open their DRS about 20 meters later.

        • @Dizzy How early you were able to open DRS was down to how good the car was rather than how much extra skill or bravery the driver had,yeah right.As far as i know Alonso and Massa drive the same car,witch is just as good for both of them,so skill does matter a lot,nuff said.As far as safety is concerned,if some driver does not feel safe,just don’t press the button,simple enough.Bottom line,it has not much to do with safety,me thinks …

          • s far as i know Alonso and Massa drive the same car,witch is just as good for both of them,so skill does matter a lot,nuff said.

            Correct & if you go back & watch practice/qualifying sessions from 2011/2012 you will see them both open DRS at the same time when exiting corners.

            Also listen to the team radio stuff on the pits channel through practice last year, Engineer’s were telling drivers at what point to open it based off the telemetry gathered early in FP1 as well as the simulated data.

          • DaveD (@daved) said on 13th February 2013, 21:53

            I seem to remember a radio transmission earlier in the year (before Massa seemed to start getting his mojo back) where they told him he was braking longer and earlier than Fernando in corners.

            I don’t blame Massa, getting slapped in the face with your own mortality tends to make it hard to get back to the same place. And like him, I don’t do as well when I don’t feel the support of the “team” around me. I think their team orders took more out of him than even the injury did and made the comeback longer.

      • Proesterchen (@proesterchen) said on 12th February 2013, 13:36

        Because he’s the quoted in support of the issue.

        And no, the use of DRS in practise in qualifying was not down to how good the car is, but how close you as a driver come to that edge. It’s a skill thing, it separates the best from the good.

        And now, with one of the few ways to make a difference for the driver removed, we have one less way for them to differentiate themselves through their talent and their craft.

        I guess that’s fine if you’re not certain that you’ll be the one with the extra meters with engaged DRS in comparison to your team mate. But if you are, how would you like your impact, your skill removed even further?

      • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 12th February 2013, 15:48

        Teams turn up to races with enough data now to know exactly when was best to open DRS with there package (Same with KERS) so you don’t get drivers experimenting with opening it earlier like you probably did in early 2011

        I’m sure the data could also indicate the optimum time to brake, turn in and accelerate. The drivers aren’t robots and the elements (tyre wear, fuel level, track temperature, wind) are so variable that it is down to driver skill to balance everything and optimise the lap time. Opening DRS was a skill in the driver’s toolbox during qualifying which has now been neutered – fact.

    • Mark Webber =
      – Wheelie-man (China GP 2013)
      – Eau Rouge pass at the Belgium GP 2011
      – Looping-man (European GP 2010)
      -….
      So a “Webber” thing to do? Taking out “skill & cojones”?
      When to push on a stupid button has nothing to do with skill & cojones… I have more problems pushing DRS at the right time in F1 2012 without spinning than they do in real life :D

    • @proesterchen plainly as you sit at your keyboard tapping away, you are well qualified to comment on the bravery of those who drive the world’s fastest cars for a living. Keep it up!

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 12th February 2013, 15:10

      Yes, everybody knows how risk-averse Webber is.

    • “It’s the Webber thing to do.”

      Really? I’m not sure we know the same Mark Webber! The one I know is one of the toughest, most committed drivers on the grid. What on earth makes you think you can judge the situation better than the people, you know, actually driving out there?

  3. nackavich (@nackavich) said on 12th February 2013, 10:26

    @proesterchen
    Your comment saddens me.
    Let’s just go back to the 1950’s-60’s before Jackie Stewart or any of the other drivers lobbied for a safer sport shall we?
    You’re not the one in the car already controlling a ridiculous amount of torque and aerodynamic stability teetering on a knife’s edge. Sure, the drivers could handle it, because they are professionals, but as Webber stated “the drivers have been pushing for it” – so it’s not just the “Webber thing to do”.
    If it was a fairly unanimous decision to drop free DRS use in practice and qualifying, then it must have been for the benefit of the teams and the drivers.

    The drivers had skill and cojones before free DRS use. The cars still slid around, and they still tested the absolute skill level and judgement of the drivers.
    Sounds like you only admire the drivers of 2012 who could use their DRS freely.

    • @nackavich – Although I do agree with you that it is unfair to single out Webber I don’t agree with your standpoint on DRS, and especially your comparison to the 50’s/60’s. Then the cars were inherently dangerous and many of the safety concerns were beyond the drivers’ control, DRS is driver operated and closes as soon as the brakes are applied. How is that unsafe? If somebody spins out because of it that is no different to spinning out as you normally would in my opinion.

      I think there’s another reason entirely for the ban but that is a different subject which I am discussing below. Don’t get me wrong though I’m not defending DRS, I’d rather it be banned altogether.

      • nackavich (@nackavich) said on 12th February 2013, 11:22

        @vettel1 I wasn’t really saying DRS was unsafe to begin with, I was basically commenting on the point made that the removal of free DRS use took away all the skill of the drivers – a point I disagree with. And the 50’s/60’s quip was just sarcasm haha

        • @nackavich – Ah, sarcasm is rather hard to convey in text! Sure it doesn’t take all the skill away but it removes a possible alley for exploitation in an increasingly tightening grid, which I don’t like. That’s purely because the FIA have said it is on the grounds of safety though, which I am very skeptical it is.

          • Proesterchen (@proesterchen) said on 12th February 2013, 13:50

            @vettel1

            Thanks, that’s my sentiment exactly.

            @nackavich

            I guess I should have been clearer, my point was that this change takes all the skill and challenge out of operating DRS, not out of operating the entire car, obviously.

  4. BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th February 2013, 10:32

    I perfectly understand the reasoning for cutting down on DRS usages – after all when its only an overtaking aid to help get past on the straight, why use it elsewhere. And maybe we should be happy to see it turned into less of a powerfull tool to be fast in qualifying, but to me, they would go a step further (better) by just doing away with it now, as this rule does much the same they did when banning the F-duct:
    they take away something relatively easy and cheap because its not easily controllable, but that only means that other things (passive ducts, which are far more tricky to get right and stable) will be more of a powerful tool and will have the richer teams pooring money into.

    • @bascb – This is why I don’t agree with the rule change: I think it is for the reasons you have stated and not because it is dangerous (which is the grounds on which it was banned on). I don’t like that – the FIA banning use of certain toys and then saying it was on the grounds of safety which I am highly skeptical it was with regards to DRS use in practice.

  5. I can’t believe I actually agree with what Hamilton has said. Personally I think the rule change wasn’t at all safety-related, it was performance related: to me it’s telling that one of the top two qualifiers wanted it kept whereas Webber (who usually gets beaten by Vettel) does not. I still fail to see how a driver-operated device can be dangerous.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 12th February 2013, 11:01

      @vettel1 Well in fairness to MW, it was said that numerous drivers wanted less DRS. Nevertheless, I liked DRS being allowed to be used to chase extra hundredths in qualifying (even if I’d rather just do away with the device completely).

      • @david-a I was just using Webber as an example from the article, I believe it was actually Petrov that started the crusade (although I can’t remember).

        This though:

        Nevertheless, I liked DRS being allowed to be used to chase extra hundredths in qualifying (even if I’d rather just do away with the device completely).

        Amen to that – I feel exactly the same way.

    • Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 12th February 2013, 11:09

      I still fail to see how a driver-operated device can be dangerous.

      A misjudgment? Even the best drivers still make mistakes sometimes.
      If someone were to make a mistake going through 130R, with the DRS open… Then it’s all over, at those sorts of speeds.

      • @tophercheese21

        but if the majority of drivers feel there’s a safety concern, then I have to respect that.

        Absolutely, they are best placed to judge matters like these but I’ve yet to actually hear what I would say was a valid reason expressing the safety concern. I think misjudgements are all part of the game and you could easily just prohibit use through 130R (to keep with your example) as DRS is banned on Eau Rouge and in the Monaco Tunnel if the FIA feel the consequences would be too dire, so I don’t accept that argument from the drivers.

      • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 12th February 2013, 11:37

        Sutil, Australian GP 2011??? Last corner coming on the straight!

      • Proesterchen (@proesterchen) said on 12th February 2013, 13:57

        On that basis, no motor racing of any sort should be allowed at all, because you can just as easily misjudge the breaking point coming into any corner as the activation point for DRS.

        That’s what we had race tracks changed so heavily for in the past two decades, to allow for human error (largely) without consequences to the one committing it.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th February 2013, 14:24

          Well, while neither of us might like it, I think that the moment the majority of the F1 drivers decides its too dangerous to drive these cars around corners, that will be the end of F1 racing as we know it.

          Either the teams pull in new drivers (likely they would) or they agree on just driving in straight lines or whatever else the drivers accept. After all they are the guys that have to do the driving in these prototypes, so some things are ultimately to be left to their grace to decide.

    • Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 12th February 2013, 11:11

      Personally I liked seeing it available everywhere for sheer viewing pleasure, but if the majority of drivers feel there’s a safety concern, then I have to respect that.

  6. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 12th February 2013, 11:06

    Will drivers be allowed to use DRS everywhere at the next test in Barcalona? Or only in the DRS zone?
    Since its on the calendar.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 12th February 2013, 11:50

      It’s only a test, so the system will probably be unrestricted. The FIA already know how to limit the usage of DRS to one part of the circuit, so there’s not need to test that.

    • They are testing this year with the new rule ie; only on DRS allowed zones.
      I remember reading some driver (can’t recall who) saying in Jerez he was opening the DRS on all possible points of the circuit out of habit and had to stop himself from doing it.

  7. Peter_GH said on 12th February 2013, 11:49

    I never saw the point in letting them use DRS everywhere to be honest as it took away what drs was initially designed for, That been for overtaking. The last 2 years you often teams optimizing drs for qualifying use rather than the race.

    My big concern however is that with everyone now looking purely at setting the cars up for race DRS usage we could now see DRS became even more effective at producing the easier passes which are not fun to watch & this will only detract from the racing.

    I’d rather see a bit less of the DRS passing & a bit more of the real exciting racing & overtaking & I don’t think this change will give us that sadly :(

    • panache (@panache) said on 12th February 2013, 14:41

      All other things being equal, limiting DRS in practice and qualifying sessions should encourage teams to adopt shorter gear ratios for better acceleration and lower top speed as this will yield the fastest laps at most tracks.

      Shorter gears are more important for acceleration when the drag on the car is higher and there will be less opportunity to exploit DRS in qualifying to max out in final gear.

      Presumably the performance of low downforce and high downforce setups in qualifying will also change as it won’t be possible to shed huge amounts of downforce and drag for large sections of the lap. Surely this would be a net gain for a low downforce setup?

  8. andae23 (@andae23) said on 12th February 2013, 11:58

    I’m incredibly interested in this ‘passive DRS’ thing. It basically consists of two parts: the actual thing that is being stalled (either the rear wing or the beam wing) and the activator that stalls it. The latter is the tricky part: how can you design an aerodynamic, static lay-out that sends air through a tube above a certain airspeed, but not below that speed? And if that isn’t enough, you’re facing the challenge of un-stalling the wing exactly when you want it (re-attachment).

    My guess is that most of the top-teams are already looking into this and see if there might be other applications for stalling certain parts of the car at certain speeds (though the rear wing is the obious suspect). As soon as the teams get to grips with this stalling, I think a potentially dangerous situation might occur where the cars are very unstable. But for now, this is definitely one of the things to keep an eye on.

    • andae23 (@andae23) said on 12th February 2013, 12:17

      … and see if there might be other applications for stalling certain parts of the car at certain speeds

      With this I mainly mean the diffuser, which accounts for roughly 40% of the car’s downforce, and thus also creates a lot of drag.

      • James Kilby said on 12th February 2013, 12:38

        One of the things about the diffuser is that as an aero device its very efficient. As in the downforce you get for the drag penalty is small. This is why its a key aspect of the car and why red bull etc go to a lot of trouble to hide the rear of the car.

        It is easy to get extra downforce on a car but not easy to do it without creating drag. As the diffuser creates less drag compared to front/rear wing does it make sense to look at even attempting to stall it ?

        • andae23 (@andae23) said on 12th February 2013, 13:09

          The diffuser doesn’t create as much drag as the rear wing and the front wing, but it still creates a considerable amount of drag. Now, because the areas that can be stalled without an aerodynamic penalty are at the rear of the car, you end up with the rear wing, the beam wing and the diffuser. For a team it is much more beneficial to first look at the former two, and once they understand these parts’ DRD, a team might look at other option, of which the stalling of the diffuser could potentially be one option.

        • crr917 (@crr917) said on 12th February 2013, 14:53

          Maybe it is easier.
          And along with air resistance there is the friction between the tires and the ground. If the diffuser generates 300kg of downforce, that’s 300 kg extra wight the engine must pull on straights. There is benefit in reducing that number on the straights.

          • HoHum (@hohum) said on 12th February 2013, 15:26

            @crr917, I’m sure you are aware of the difference between MASS and WEIGHT but your correlation of friction to weight is not clear, nor does it explain how it is easier. Clarification please.

          • crr917 (@crr917) said on 12th February 2013, 15:49

            @hohum
            2943 N sounds better to you?
            And “my correlation” of friction to weight means simply that heavier cars experience more friction through tires. Weight is a force as is DF, acting in the same direction.
            “easier” was meant as a possible answer to

            As the diffuser creates less drag compared to front/rear wing does it make sense to look at even attempting to stall it ?

            That was not clear on my part.

          • andae23 (@andae23) said on 12th February 2013, 15:57

            The friction that the tyres produce is just a fraction of the drag an F1 car produces, certainly at high speeds. So I think it would be a minor advantage, which is paired with the disadvantage that the tyres are less able to ‘put the power down’.

          • crr917 (@crr917) said on 12th February 2013, 16:12

            @andae23 Are you expecting an F1 car to spin tires at 300km/h if it has reduced DF? :P

          • andae23 (@andae23) said on 12th February 2013, 16:23

            @crr917 Okay, that last point is maybe less relevant for this discussion. Would be nice though, wheelspin at 300kph! :)

          • I was under the impression acceleration is affected by mass, not weight (which is what downforce generates I think, although it is measured in kilograms). It is only the drag that affects speed.

          • andae23 (@andae23) said on 12th February 2013, 17:28

            @vettel1 That is correct, but when you accelerate you want as much weight on the rear wheels as possible (for a given mass). The harder the tyres are ‘pushed’ into the road, the better the car accelerates.

  9. I’ve posted this before but I think that what’s really glaring to me here is the hypocrisy of eliminating a stable, driver operated device in the name of safety, and leaving the door open for (thereby encouraging) development of an unstable, “automated” device which reduces drag. All of the teams seem to agree that the DRD is a significantly more dangerous, and harder to develop piece of aerodynamics but they all have a (pardon the expression) hard on for developing it further.

    You can have it one way or the other, but you can’t have it both ways.

  10. I’ve got a question:

    Have any drivers ever used DRS in the middle of a corner to reduce understeer?

    I’ve been using this technique in F1 2011 to good effect but I wonder if an F1 driver has ever been able to do this?

    Obviously this isn’t the best/quickest way around a corner but if a driver has turned in too quick and as a result understeered and they need the rear to step out and they are already at full throttle, shedding a little downforce at the rear will help the car corner more neutrally so could be used to “save” a corner?

  11. kgriff said on 12th February 2013, 23:28

    What I can’t seem to come to grips with is why Brawn is set on investing in “tier 2″ DRS… as opposed to maximizing the effort toward efficient downforce production and getting on terms with McLaren and RBR.

    Seems painfully evident that the investment paying the most dividends is efficient downforce; as demonstrated by RBR and McLaren – the obvious leaders right now in downforce production and the clear leaders in the latest development campaign. And last year’s Merc DDRS seems to have been an abject fail… not to mention painfully complex. (Didn’t seem that many teams followed suit, and neither did they suffer for it.) Do I sound frustrated, invested? Perhaps – because I am. I’d really like to see Merc come good – especially as I’m a Hamilton fan. F1 – to me – is about, amongst other things, superlative maneuvering amongst the various formulae, handling, track times, downforce – as opposed to simple straightline pace. I’m just not convinced that it’s going to pay to invest deeply in passive DRS – or other advanced DRS for that matter.

    • Proesterchen (@proesterchen) said on 13th February 2013, 0:01

      It’s probably way oversimplified, but look at the history of the team. They had a really good car once, in 2004, but it got overshadowed by a fully dominant Ferrari that year. They also found themselves with a good car in 2009, but its fundamentals were behind the competition and the only thing that elevated them to their successes that year was a gimmick.

      Now in the past couple of years, the team have proven they could take that basis and improve on it roughly on par with the top teams, sometimes more closely than other, without ever managing to close the fundamental gap in car performance. Don’t get me wrong, this is a major improvement from the buckets of sick they produced in 2007 and 2008, but still falling short of their own goals.

      Which brings me back to how my way oversimplified hypothesis at this point is that they don’t have the expertise and/or money to close the gap to RBR, they’re running into the same issue hopeless back-markers have in the last year of a given set of rules:

      No easy way to solve your issues, no justification to invest big in fundamentals. You build your car on cruise control and have a small fund to go after ‘creative’ solutions. A gimmick won them a double championship. They’re close enough that all they need is another gimmick. They’re chasing the gimmick.

      And let me just warn you: As a Hamilton fan, you should brace yourself, cause you’re in for at least one year of yuck. No, you can’t trust a word they say. And no, they will never ‘understand’ their car well enough to land more than a lucky punch. And no, this is not McLaren who can turn a pile of garbage into a winner in 3 to 4 months. It doesn’t get better. Sorry.

      • I feel the W04 will win 3 races absolute max. 1 or 2 due to pirellis randomness and possibly a third due if other teams suffer misfortune and Hamilton’s in a position to be able to make use of that. I wouldn’t be suprised though if they don’t win a race at all, although Hamilton should be wishing to get a pole and a win to keep that unblemished record of his intact.

        I imagine like that like last year the car will fall away towards the end of the year.

      • kgriffin said on 13th February 2013, 1:11

        Yeah… Proesterchen-

        I know you’re right – one shouldn’t expect an efficacious first year. (I reiterate from an earlier post – why Hamilton didn’t stick with McL for the next year with an out clause for 2014 or 15 is a bit of a mystery. Why not take the (best immediate) opportunity wrap up one more title?)

        But I’ve got my bar set a bit low as well. Though, it’ll be intriguing to see if he can get more out of the package than is natural for it to give. Anyhow, the budget / commitment hypothesis also seems plausible to me. Merc seem to have a very non-committal and hierarchical tenor to their involvement in the sport. I’m sort of surprised they’re still in it. Further, I look at the way that BMW exited and Renault scaled back to become a supplier. Ironically, the car companies – by and large – seem to be bested by non-auto-making sporting participants, with the obvious exceptions.

        And, yes, right again … the pace of the Brawn car down to the double diffuser – and then everyone caught up. (Tangentially, I respect JB’s skill more now after watching him drive for McLaren, but I have to say that 2009 did not convince me.)

  12. I’m all for it. I could never understand why DRS wasn’t limited to practice (for gearing etc) and the race only, it’s an aid for overtaking in the race, I have always been against it’s use completely in Qualifying.

    • kgriffin said on 13th February 2013, 13:45

      I’m perhaps agnostic to whether DRS used in quali or practice. *But*, I welcome more strategically restricted use in the race. In other words, I like it as a means of closing up gaps between consecutive cars that may otherwise be competitive. I *don’t* like it as a means to actually make the pass… use it to get close enough to fight it out; then DRS shut. If you’re not quick enough, then you’ll presumably drop back or back off anyhow. That scheme would highlight (what to me) is the sporting emphasis… driver skill, aero and mechanical grip, the “tension of the driver battles”, tactics… and so on… the dynamics of negotiating technically difficult circuits under the pressure of immediate competition.

  13. Abdurahman (@) said on 13th February 2013, 6:07

    Webber is one of the few drivers with cojones big enough to say in interviews that he is against DRS period. All other drivers toe the F1 line and in public agree with it.

  14. accidental mick (@accidental-mick) said on 14th February 2013, 12:37

    I have no objection to the use of DRS during practice because, after all, the purpose of these sessions is for everyone to learn as much about the car as possible.

    Qualifying though is supposed to be under race conditions which is why the cars are all in parc ferme. You cannot, or rather should not, have different rules for qualifying and racing.

    I, for one, applaud this new restriction.

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