Two detection points for DRS zones at Sepang

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

Vitaly Petrov, Timo Glock, Sepang, 2012The Sepang circuit will feature two DRS zones for the first time this year and each will have its own detection point, the FIA has confirmed.

A single DRS zone on the start/finish straight has been used for the last two Malaysian Grands Prix. For this year a second DRS zone has been added on the straight which leads to the last corner.

Each DRS zone will have its own detection point, unlike in Melbourne last week where a single detection point served as the trigger for both zones.

The new DRS zone will have its detection point in the middle of the high-speed turns 12 and 13. Drivers will be able to activate DRS 104 metres after the penultimate corner.

The configuration of the other DRS zone has been changed. The detection point was previously 207 metres before the final corner, but for this year it is in the corner itself, positioned 16 metres after the apex. The activation point has been moved back 23 metres from where it was last year.

The new configuration raises the possibility of one driver passing another using DRS on the back straight, then coming under attack from DRS themselves on the pit straight.

Sepang DRS zones, 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

Every track on the calendar bar Monaco and Suzuka will have two DRS zones this year, as drivers are no longer have free use of DRS in practice and qualifying.

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97 comments on Two detection points for DRS zones at Sepang

  1. Sean N (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk) said on 20th March 2013, 10:16

    Two detection points! That’s two too many.

    • bertie (@bertie) said on 20th March 2013, 11:14

      Wow this is soooo 2012

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 20th March 2013, 13:24

      I believe the DRS zones between turns 3-4 and 8-9, to allow for cars to either overtake on those straights, or at least keep them closer before the high speed corners that follow them. Cars are capable of slipstreaming each other in a straight line without DRS, and I’m sure we would have still got overtaking on the front and back straights.

  2. Mike (@mike) said on 20th March 2013, 10:18

    I’m very happy that they have got around to implementing 2 DRS detection zones…

    I think though, maybe the straights to turn 4 or 9 would have been a more interesting spots. We’ll already get passing on the 2 longer straights I think without DRS.

    • EstF1 (@estf1) said on 20th March 2013, 12:09

      I agree. Straight from turn 3 to turn 4 would be better cause there would be overtaking on the longest straights even without DRS. It would be better if the DRS zone was on the straight between turns 3 and 4.

      • ivz (@ivz) said on 20th March 2013, 14:15

        For sure, the straights leading into turns 4 and 9, that’s where DRS should be, pointless in having DRS where cars normally pass. Haven’t the FIA learned anything yet? It would also mean less cars bouncing off the limiter when they deploy DRS, as the zones would be on smaller straights where they are not getting near the top of 7th gear. I would love to see the first activation point actually midway through turn 3, see who has the guts and skill to open it early ;)

    • Jeanrien (@jeanrien) said on 20th March 2013, 15:37

      But is the detection at turn 15 before or after pit’s entry ? That was quite strange to have people with DRS available when leaving the pit at Melbourne, that’s not really the point of it …

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 20th March 2013, 17:51

        I think its now right at the pit entry, maybe that was one of the reasons for where exactly to put it @jeanrien.

        • Xr650 said on 20th March 2013, 22:02

          I agree with the above comments.

          Why do the FIA choose the worst points for DRS activation. Id much rather DRS was used half way though a corner through a straight before cutting off before a long straight so the driver would overtake through slipstreaming and BALLS!

  3. rez (@rez0) said on 20th March 2013, 10:20

    This will be one crazy race… DRS haters will be mad.
    Personally, I think it will be funny to see cars retake their positions on the pit straight.
    Most probably clever drivers won’t pass on the back straight and just stay behind in order to be inside the detection zone for the pit straight.

    • Euro Brun (@eurobrun) said on 20th March 2013, 13:33

      Most probably clever drivers won’t pass on the back straight and just stay behind

      Sad but true, and exactly the reason why two DRS zones should always be split.
      Personally I have nothing against DRS or the use of a 2nd DRS zone, but I think they need to be better planned.

  4. Bendanarama (@bendana) said on 20th March 2013, 10:21

    That should lead to some interesting battles.

  5. Jonny C (@loomx92) said on 20th March 2013, 10:25

    Hopefully it’ll work for people who’ve just been taken into the final hairpin to slingshot back past. But I genuinely just see people being miles behind on the first straight and catching into the final corner and just driving by them on the start/finish straight when they were nowhere near coming out of turn 14.

    I agree with @mike, would’ve been better on the straight coming to turn 4, but with a fairly short distance as cars usually get quite close there anyways, but it may just help the car behind enough.

    We’ll see come the weekend how it goes anyway.

  6. petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 20th March 2013, 10:32

    Drivers will be helpless to resist cars behind them by the sounds of it. You won’t have drivers like Sutil keeping Red Bulls etc behind him this time.

    If you’re within a second, you will use the first DRS zone to get right on the tail of the car in front and then you’ll use the second to drive clear around them. I suppose the only interesting thing there would be that if you aren’t able to pull a second clear following this, you’ll likely be overtaken back on the next lap…

    All of this will be largely irrelevant if it rains again though!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/weather/forecast/5013a

    • You won’t have drivers like Sutil keeping Red Bulls etc.

      Given that Red Bull is working the bottom of the straight line speed charts, I don’t know about that…to be honest, I think it might turn out to be the other way around, with Red Bulls trying to pass other cars and not getting near their gearbox even with the DRS…

      • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 20th March 2013, 10:47

        Possibly but I think that with 2 DRS zones, it’ll be easy for anyone to catch and pass on the straights. Because the Red Bulls tend to be monsters through the high speed turns, I’d expect them to catch cars through T12 and T13 and then more so again down the back straight and then past on the pit straight.

        • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 20th March 2013, 10:49

          But as I said, the forcast is for fairly consistant storms from Friday – Sunday so I wouldn’t get too worried about DRS!
          I just hope we get complete a full race this time!

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 20th March 2013, 11:12

            @petebaldwin

            the forcast is for fairly consistant storms from Friday – Sunday

            Such storms are common in Malaysia at this time of year – just because a website has condensed an entire day’s forecast into one icon showing a thundercloud does not mean it’s going to rain throughout all three days.

          • HoHum (@hohum) said on 20th March 2013, 12:45

            You know what they say about equatorial climates,”Hot and humid and it rains at 4 O’clock every day”
            What time does the race start?

          • @hohum I think Keith’s (valid) point is that the weather forecast always looks like that. You’re right, if it rains in KL/Sepang it usually strikes around 4pm, but there are plenty of days when it doesn’t, as evidenced by the fact that there have been Malaysian GPs at that time with no rain.
            Obviously, it would be great to have some rain in the race to mix things up a bit like last year, but it is by no means guaranteed, no matter what the forecast says.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 20th March 2013, 17:59

            as evidenced by the fact that there have been Malaysian GPs at that time with no rain.

            I might be mistaken here @ladym, but if I remember right, its been all rainy since Bernie moved the starting time to 4 PM in 2009. Since then we have had one abandoned race in 2009, one rainy race in 2012 and two dry races where qualifying was affected by rain.

          • two dry races where qualifying was affected by rain

            I guess we have a different definition of “all rainy”!

            What I meant was that there hasn’t been seriously heavy rain in every Malaysian GP since the start time was moved to 4pm. Because it does not, in fact, rain every day. I was at the Malaysian GP last year and the Sunday was the only day it rained (blessed relief after the previous few days!) All I was trying to point out was that the fact that a weather forecast for Malaysia has an icon of a thunderstorm does not necessarily mean there will be a 2009/2012-style downpour. It’s all 50/50, really.

            I do think they should move the start time back to being earlier, though (and that goes for Albert Park too) because I think it’s silly to run non-floodlit races that close to sunset.

    • Jason (@jason12) said on 20th March 2013, 10:50

      Yes Sutil did spoil Vettel’s race, I personally don’t want that happening again.

      • Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 20th March 2013, 11:18

        Sutil did in no way spoil vettel’s race, in fact after 2 or 3 laps not being able to catch sutil with DRS he lost it and never got in range again. The ferrari’s on the other hand were right on his tail DRS-ing him. So he was in fact holding the ferrari’s up a little bit.

        And if my memory serves me correctly Sutil was on the same lap as the leaders. He has the right to hold up the leaders as long as he wants. That is the game of battle for position

        • Jason (@jason12) said on 20th March 2013, 12:07

          He has the right to hold up the leaders as long as he wants

          Agreed….
          My point is that at least DRS limits the damage that the slower driver can do to another drivers race.

          • HoHum (@hohum) said on 20th March 2013, 12:49

            But that is what racing is suppossed to be about, if you are genuinley faster you should be able to pass or you should not be behind in the first place.

          • Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 20th March 2013, 13:43

            @Jason I agree as well but Vettel had DRS for 2 or 3 laps and didn’t even get close (on fresher tyres!). I think it is fair to say he had his chance but just couldn’t match Sutils pace at that time.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 20th March 2013, 18:01

            What damage? If a slower car can keep a faster car behind by good driving, I am all for it.

            Sure, the practice where cars that were whole seconds faster suddenly get stuck after 1-3 laps behind another car was extreme, but lately we have not seen that much of such situations.

  7. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 20th March 2013, 10:34

    The new configuration raises the possibility of one driver passing another using DRS on the back straight, then coming under attack from DRS themselves on the pit straight.

    Therefore, we could see drivers “sur-placing” in the final corner to avoid crossing the DRS line first. I think DRS on the back straight is too much, while on the start-finish straight it’s no good as it discourages overtaking on the back straight. Much better to have DRS on two of the small straights, but I suppose this is the price we have to pay for not being able to use DRS anywhere in qualifying.

    Strangely, GPupdate.net yesterday had an article stating that there would be only a single DRS zone, only to be replaced shortly after with an article saying there would be two zones.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 20th March 2013, 12:53

      Imagined message to Caterham, ” slow down and let Kimi catch you in the detection zone then speed up to make sure Alonso is more than a second behind” . After all it is a team sport.

  8. Olav Kersen (@okersen) said on 20th March 2013, 10:41

    Think of all the battles and overtaking that are going to take place in packs of 2-4 or even more. It’ll be overtaking madness in the midfield. Great!

  9. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 20th March 2013, 10:43

    This is one of those decisions that either works brilliantly or fails miserably. My bet is still on some rain though to spice up the action.

  10. a4p (@a4p) said on 20th March 2013, 11:02

    Cars might arrive side-by-side at the second detection point… If it won’t rain, this one is going to be one of the sickest F1 races ever!!! :D

  11. EternalSunshine (@eternalsunshine) said on 20th March 2013, 11:09

    I can’t wait! I’ll be sitting in the main grandstand for the first time so I’m really hoping to see a lot of action on the main straight.

  12. Kimi4QDC said on 20th March 2013, 11:22

    Hmm… wouldn’t this mean drivers will be reluctant to use first DRS zone, just to get overtaken in second?

    Though this could be fun for us to watch when field is close :)

    • D (@f190) said on 20th March 2013, 12:30

      I agree, I feel drivers will try to not overtake in the first drs zone and instead just stick to the wing of the car in front, then use the second to complete the pass. Anyone who overtakes in the first drs zone will be instantly passed again on the pit straight. I wonder if any drivers will realise this and kind of work together to pull a gap to the rest of the pack ? Almost taking it in turns to lead the race rather than waste time fighting into every corner.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 20th March 2013, 12:57

      Maybe we should have straightline race tracks with alternate detection and DRS zones every 500meters, imagine all that passing, absolutely fabulous.

  13. josephrobert (@josephrobert) said on 20th March 2013, 11:24

    I love it when DRS works. Anyone anti DRS should watch a pre DRS processional GP.

    F1 cars produce so much downforce they struggle to drive behind the car infront. Thankfully in part to smaller wings they can get closer and with DRS get a faster top speed to get along side the car infront to try and pass.

    If you think DRS gives an unfair advantage to the car behind, then why don’t they just over take them on the next lap? The only down side is the predictability of passing in the DRS zone, ie waiting for the DRS zone rather than trying one else where on the track.

    DRS is still in the learning stage and last season proved to be highly entertaining, partly thanks to DRS when it worked well. I miss it in Qualy…

    • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 20th March 2013, 14:17

      @josephrobert – Personally, I agree that DRS has had a positive effect on the sport. Some races before DRS were horrific to watch, just cars following each other around lap after lap. DRS passes aren’t the most exciting things to watch but they beat cars overtaking each other via pit stops!

      One thing I would say is that if you look at the stats regarding overtakes since DRS has been brought in, unsurprisingly there have been a lot more however if you remove all passes made in the DRS zone/s (usually the best overtaking spot of the track), you’ll find that you are still left with more overtaking manouvers than previously.

      Ideally, DRS would only allow cars to get alongside another and it’s always a shame when it allows cars to breeze straight past but if it’s that or pre DRS Catalunya races, I’d pick DRS every time!

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 20th March 2013, 15:12

      Joe-Bob, I think you will find that at least 100% of the people who are against DRS HAVE watched many pre DRS races.

    • Dizzy said on 20th March 2013, 17:00

      I love it when DRS works.

      I don’t!!!

      Anyone anti DRS should watch a pre DRS processional GP.

      I did, Been a big F1 fan for just over 40yrs.

      All DRS does is produce easy, boring, unexciting & completely ridiculous straght line highway passes.

      The art of ‘overtaking’ is been completely lost in F1 in favor of ‘push of a button’ passing!

      Im not sure how much more of this utter ** DRS-ing I can take :(

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 20th March 2013, 18:07

      Now, @josephrobert, I get your point that DRS reacted to a problem the teams identified. But to state that people who do not like it don’t know their racing is very uch over the top, as pointed out by both @hohum and Dizzy below who have been watching for longer than I live!

      I myself have been watching F1 for almost 20 years now, and I am not happy about DRS either. Not that I want processional races where Brundle is talking up how Hamilton is closing in on Trulli a being a second a lap faster, only to get stuck behind him for no reason other than the wake of the car in front. But DRS is a stopgap solution at best, and far too many times its given too big an advantage to the following driver making it impossible even for a skilled defender to hold his own (therefor often called Highway passes).

  14. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 20th March 2013, 11:28

    Bets on people using the first DRS zone to get very close and storn by by the second DRS zone?

    I feel people will back off and take it easy… two massive straights, both with DRS. The benefits are immense. Who on earth would risk overtaking someone somewhere else?

  15. Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 20th March 2013, 12:31

    I think the location of the DRS zones shows a lack of imagination and a lack of confidence on the part of the FIA in their effectiveness.
    Two consecutive DRS zones on the two straights that have been the location for most overtaking could produce yo-yo overtaking which will either be laughable or frightening, depending on the skill and temprement of the drivers involved.

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