Vitaly Petrov, Timo Glock, Sepang, 2012

Two detection points for DRS zones at Sepang

2013 Malaysian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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)
    20th March 2013, 10:16

    Two detection points! That’s two too many.

    1. Wow this is soooo 2012

    2. 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. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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 ;)

        1. Haven’t the FIA learned anything yet?

          I think the more important question is ‘Will the FIA learn anything at all?’

    2. 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 …

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

        1. 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. 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.

    1. 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. That should lead to some interesting battles.

    1. Or some boring processions.

      1. or online arguments.

    2. Yes, we might be seeing some repeats of what we saw in Korea the last 2 years, or in AbuDhabi (or in Canada last year with Kimi and Massa?), with drivers hesitating to pass on the first straight to have a go on the second.

      1. @bascb Worst was India with Massa and Raikkonen slowing down way before the corner to be the last one over the detection line. Not quite pinnacle of motorsports when there are two guys fighting who’s slower!

        1. Ah, yes, that was horrible – as if watching racing in reverse.

  5. 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. 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!

    1. 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…

      1. 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.

        1. 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!

          1. @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.

          2. 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?

          3. @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.

          4. 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.

          5. 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.

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

      1. 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

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

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

          1. 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.

          2. @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.

          3. 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. 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, 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.

    1. 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. 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. 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.

    1. At some point teams need a dry race so they begin to really understand their cars this season.

  10. 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. 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. 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 :)

    1. 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.

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

  13. 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…

    1. @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!

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

    3. 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 :(

    4. 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. 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?

    1. I think it worked fine last year so what is the point of introducing a second DRS zone? its not like you cant over take in Sepang without DRS anyway.

  15. 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.

    1. @timothykatz, Laughable or exciting, depending on the knowledge and temprament of the viewers involved.

      1. Yes, that too.

  16. So the driver that will overtake in the first straight, will get overtaken in the second…nice

  17. This is such a terrible idea. Why don’t the leave the DRS zones in the places where there isn’t already overtaking? Or reduce the zone so I can be less effective like in Australia 2011. It gave the car a change pull up close but didn’t allow it ti fly by.

  18. If you’re going to have two DRS zones, having two detection points is a must. Given they’ve decided to slather DRS everywhere this year, it’s the best of a bad situation.

    But as others are saying this track shows the problems of DRS and having two zones. A driver with an equal or only slightly better car will do well to use DRS to get right up behind someone but not pass and use the second DRS to get clear of the leading driver so the pass won’t be undone next lap. Whereas a driver in a better car will fly by whenever. In both cases DRS is unnecessarily changing the race.

    If you are going to have any system like this at all, and the need/want of such a system is obviously debatable, it needs to be a system that opens up more passing opportunities on other parts of the track rather than putting the one or two spots where passes already occur on steroids. Driving close on a straight has never been an issue (minus some cooling loss). Give a car more downforce through a twisty area so the driver can carry more speed. Let teams use unlimited KERS/ERS—which would allow development of better energy recovery systems that could flow down. Or, I don’t know, fix the *********** aero issues that are causing so much trouble in the first place. DRS is the worst.

    1. In both cases DRS is unnecessarily changing the race

      Don’t agree with this.
      DRS cancels out the loss of performance caused by the car less than 1 sec ahead. History tells us that drivers have struggled to make a pass even on long straights such as Sepang’s.
      Just don’t see point of delaying a faster driver for 22 LAPS, and he finally passes ANYWAY. So the obstructor hasn’t gained anything except destroy the other’s race (and perhaps both of their tyres).

    2. There was nothing more frustrating pre DRS than watching a someone catch the car in front at 2 seconds a lap and then suddenly, just as they got close, they seemed to get stuck around a second behind and followed the car in front until the chequered flag. So anti-climatic!

      What would you prefer? DRS where drivers have a chance to overtake when they are faster (often too easilly) or Alonso vs Petrov 2010 Abu Dhabi?

      1. @petebaldwin (and @jason) – Of the options given, pete, I prefer Alonso v Petrov. If you can’t get around you are either not a good enough driver (probably not the case here as Alonso is right at the top of the class), or there is an inherent problem with F1 cars. And not to toot my own conclusion, but, ding ding ding! we have a winner.

        The beauty of the non-DRS Trulli-trains is that it shows the problem. Hiding the problem behind an artificial system that changes the game just prolongs the problem. Address aero problems, allow innovation by teams, but giving only one driver in a two-driver situation the upper hand is artificial and unfair. And given how much “the show” is deemed the be-all end-all, it makes the show more boring as well, in my opinion.

        If a driver makes a better strategy call, works the tires better, and comes out ahead of a driver (either on a pass or a pit exchange), he is then in peril because the other driver can flip a switch and drive by. That leads to processions.

        The only reason the racing is any good of late is the tires/tyres. Bring back the everlasting gobstoppers/Bridgestones and watch how dull races become. DRS reduces the need to risk passing anywhere else and makes passing in the DRS zones a joke.

        1. @hobo, I agree with your argument but totally disagree with your conclusion, if the following driver had tyres that maintained their performance no matter how hard they were pushed, with skill , luck and a fast car they could find a way past, now all they can do is back off and hope that they get really lucky or the leading drivers tyres fail before theirs do.

          1. @hohum – I see where you’re coming from but at the very least, the tyres are within the control of the team/driver. If the car is heavy on the tyres, that is a variable the team has to work around or redesign towards. Meanwhile, DRS is completely artificial and not something that the other drivers/teams can defend.

            If teams were allowed to innovate, tyres could be more durable, as the differences in the cars would (and should) be the focus. But the closer you get to a spec series, the more you need variables. My contention is that I’d rather see tyres influence races than DRS. Others may differ.

          2. @hobo
            +1 Well said agree

        2. @hobo – ok so I agree that DRS masks the inherent problem with F1 cars – that you lose a huge amount of downforce following another car closely. It’s something that should be addressed and in an ideal world, you wouldn’t need DRS but we’re not there yet. I’d like to think that next year’s cars (with more power coming out of the corner than grip) will promote overtaking without the need for DRS so fingers crossed but as things stand, I personally think races are better for DRS at the moment.

          1. @petebaldwin – Fair points all. I, too, hope the 2014 specs help create better racing conditions generally and specifically for those following. We’ll agree to disagree on DRS, but if we agreed on everything, it’d be boring. Cheers.

          2. @hobo, Ah yes, if only the teams were allowed to innovate, I think we both want the same thing only your view is a practical compromise while mine is wishful thinking.

          3. @hohum – Wanting teams to be allowed to innovate is indeed wishful thinking. Sadly. Fingers crossed they head in a beneficial direction.

          4. Well if we could give the teams a bigger share of revenue it might be possible.@hobo

          5. @hobo – fair enough! :) I think in general, we’re thinking the same – the future of F1 needs to be full of overtaking without the need for DRS!

          6. @hohum – getting the teams more money may be the biggest pipe dream of all (see: Mr. B.E.).

            @petebaldwin – I fully support this petebaldwin idea.

      2. Alonso vs Petrov 2010 Abu Dhabi?

        DRS would likely not have helped Alonso pass Petrov at Abu-Dhabi 2010.

        Reason been why Petrov was able to stay ahead in the 1st place, A car running less downforce with a better F-Duct system & higher gear ratio’s giving him about 20kph more top speed than Alonso.

        Also even if DRS worked in that situation why should Alonso be gifted a pass on Petrov who had a better car setup (To maximise top speed), Was driving a great race free of mistakes (Alonso had made a few little errors & run off track) & who’s team had run a better pit strategy?

        IN the past drivers/teams doing what Petrov/Renault did that day in having a better strategy & been able to hold off a faster car would be applauded (See Jarama 1981), Now it seems to be considered an appalling injustice because modern fans don’t know what racing is all about, There only interested in constant action because there attention spans are so small they get bored after 2mins of watching proper, real racing!

        1. You tell’m James.

    3. DRS is an artificial device with no real world application and is for entertainment purposes, i.e the show. While, in principle, I see DRS as wrongheaded, from and entertainment point of view, it is broadly effective. Tire compounds are almost interesting as it forces teams optimize setup compromises and and carry out different strategies.

      As far as the two DRS zones back to back, I think it will be interesting to watch and see, as there are several different scenarios that will drive different strategies and approaches. In some instances the driver will be wise to hold drafting position for the first zone, while at other times the sandbagging driver will risk losing position to a following driver… The notion of drivers working together like a breakaway cycling group is interesting…

      Would more mechanical grip, i/e bigger tires, and less aero allow the cars to race closer, and make it more about the fastest most skilled driver of the day?

      1. @j-dubya – I’ve stated my opinion on DRS and my (lack of) interest in it. To answer your question, I don’t think anyone can prophetically say that more mechanical grip and less aero would make things better and more about driver skill, but I’d much prefer that approach to the one that currently exists.

      2. Newsflash: Formula 1 cars are artificial devices with no real world application and are for entertainment purposes. This is because you don’t make road cars that are designed to need an overhaul after driving 305 km. Real-world development happens in endurance racing.

        1. True true, I like that; entertaining for sure. Perhaps endurance racing is the most applicable to real world development. Never-the-less, I believe that F1 would do well to stick to and build from a core philosophy based on core principles. I do not hate DRS, while it serves it’s intended purpose fairly effectively, the basis for DRS is more akin to arcade game gimmick, and clearly not based on any purist principles. I would worry a slippery slope, that the more F1 employs gimmicks for show, the further astray and afield it will go. My question is can the accomplish the same using regulations faithful to more of a purist ethos and fewer gimmicks. But I am not in the mainstream, so who cares what I think. For example, I think it is wrongheaded for NASCAR cars not to be based on real cars, but they sell a lot of tickets and merchandise to Bubba’s all over.

          1. @j-dubya, back when there was less aero and bigger tyres the car on car battles were much closer and longer in duration, another aspect of those times was engines with different characteristics, typically V12’s had a higher top speed at the end of the straight but V8’s were quicker to accellerate out of a corner.

        2. @ilanin, the shorter the life span the quicker the learning, that’s why the flu virus evolves faster than tortoises.

  19. why not two drs zones in practice and qualy but just the one in the race?

    1. Not a bad shout… Personally, I’d go with 2 DRS zones but both much shorter. This would allow cars to attack into both hairpins but wouldn’t allow them to rocket past on the straights

    2. Why would you need two DRS in those sessions? DRS is only relevant in the race!

      1. so that teams can set up their gear ratios for maximum benefit in qualifying.

  20. Useless..

    It will rain anyway

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