Giedo van der Garde, Caterham, Spa-Francorchamps, 2013

After 50 races, DRS is killing my passion for F1

CommentPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Giedo van der Garde, Caterham, Spa-Francorchamps, 2013The Drag Reduction System was introduced to Formula one 50 races ago. But we shouldn’t necessarily think of it as something that was imposed on the sport.

Like hybrid engines, moveable aerodynamics is something teams experimented with many years earlier before bring outlawed by the sport’s governing body. Just as hybrid engines were introduced to F1 in a rigidly-controlled fashion as KERS, a similarly narrow definition of moveable aerodynamics was legalised in 2011 as DRS.

Imagine, for a moment, that moveable aerodynamics had never been banned. I find it fascinating to consider how moving wings might look after more than four decades of development. Would slender cars slip like darts down the straight before blooming with wings to maximise downforce as they reach a braking zone?

At a push, I could perhaps persuade myself that had F1 car evolution been untouched by the rule makers, a kind of ‘natural DRS’ could have developed. Drivers might have such control over their cars’ wings that they could ‘turn up the downforce’ in corners to counteract the turbulence produced by a car in front. Of course, the leading driver would have had just as much control over their own wings to fight back.

We never got the chance to see what might have been. Instead we have DRS: a bastardised version of the moveable aerodynamics concept in which the chasing driver is given a huge straight-line speed boost which the leading driver is denied. This gimmick has diminished the art of real racing and traded it for the cheap facsimile of push-button passing.

Artificial racing

That DRS would compromise the integrity of F1 racing was obvious from the moment it was announced. The first reader to comment on the first article about DRS on F1 Fanatic realised as much:

Very stupid idea, this will make artificial racing.

I would like to see overtaking in F1 but from driver skill, not one driver lucking out because of a adjustment to their rear wing when their rival can’t.

Three years on, the viewpoint has been completely vindicated. DRS’s contribution to the stated aim of increasing overtaking has largely been achieved by making it too easy.

Tyres making the difference

Another change introduced to Formula One the same year DRS arrived has played a more important role in increasing overtaking and has done so without the patent unfairness and artificiality of DRS.

The most significant contributor to increased overtaking in the last 50 races has been the variation in tyre performance between cars. That has come about because of the more aggressive tyre compounds which Pirelli were asked to supply from 2011.

Again, this much was clear soon after the change had been implemented. Rubens Barrichello, Formula One’s most experienced driver of all time and therefore well-placed to comment, said in 2011: “All the overtaking taking place this year is more to do with the tyres than the actual DRS.”

Tyre degradation, he argued, created the opportunity for overtaking in the first place: “The DRS only comes into play because of the tyres.”

Outside of the DRS zones tyre degradation has created the circumstances for some spectacular passes which have showcased driving of the highest calibre, such as Mark Webber’s celebrated move on Fernando Alonso during the Belgian Grand Prix two years ago:

But when a driver makes a pass on a rival in a DRS zone there is little more skill to behold than a driver pressing a button. Is this really what we are to expect from the supposed pinnacle of motor racing?

The ‘sweet spot’ fallacy

In the early days of DRS there was much talk of the necessity to ‘fine tune’ the system so that passing would never be too easy or too hard. After 50 races this has proved a vain and unrealistic hope. DRS may occasionally allow two drivers to head into a braking zone side-by-side but more often than not one will blast past the other on a straight with all the drama of a sportscar passing a tractor on a dual carriageway.

The ‘DRS sweet spot’ is a fallacy. Given the variation in performance between cars in terms of drag and straight-line speed, differences in how efficiently each team’s DRS operates and how car performance varies during a race, it is and will always be impossible for the rule makers to make DRS work the way they’d hoped.

It was clear during Sunday’s race that hopes of hitting the ‘DRS sweet spot’ are as far from being realised now as they were at the beginning of 2011. While some cars were able to blast past their rivals in DRS zones with no difficulty, others gained little advantage.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2013In the closing stages of the race the variation in tyre strategy gave us two interesting battles to look out for: the two-stopping Felipe Massa and Daniel Ricciardo were respectively catching Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez.

In both cases the outcome was inevitable. There was no tension, no battle and no doubt the driver with the benefit of DRS would get ahead. This is not motor racing.

Today the concept of a battle for position only exists outside of DRS zones. In Canada Lewis Hamilton fought to repel Fernando Alonso until the pair arrived at the DRS detection line – whereupon both tried to slow down to be the second man across it to gain the benefit of an easy DRS pass.

This year has seen a rise in the encroachment of DRS zones on F1 tracks. The number of DRS zones has more than doubled with a correspondingly poor effect on the racing.

Depressingly, the DRS contagion has infected other motor sports as well, such as the DTM. But other series show how F1 could retain the technology and ditch the artificiality.

In Formula Renault 3.5, drivers may use DRS for a set amount of time per race, allowing them to use it to attack or defend. Giving the leading driver equal opportunity to use DRS defensively would obviously make it more acceptable. Surveys on this site have shown most fans preferred that solution both before and after DRS was introduced.

Quantity over quality

As F1 increasingly fails to fulfil my appetite for real racing, DRS-free series like IndyCar and GP2 have become more attractive to me. Though not without flaws, they at least realise that just because one driver has closed to within a second of his rival shouldn’t earn him the right to jab a button and blast past easily.

It was a GP2 driver, free of his F1 peers’ obligation to only make positive comments about the sport, who best articulated how DRS overtaking is a matter of quantity over quality:

Jolyon Palmer, Felipe Nasr, GP2, Spa-Francorchamps, 2013“I stayed to watch some of the F1 on Sunday but left halfway through to beat the traffic back to Calais,” said Jolyon Palmer.

“I don’t think I missed much in the race though, most of the passes were done on the straight using DRS, instead of through exciting GP2 style race craft, and I don’t find that at all entertaining to watch.

“DRS on tracks like Spa isn’t good for racing and it sums it up when Hamilton let Fernando Alonso pass him on purpose at La Source just so he could have DRS up the hill out of Eau Rouge. On some tracks DRS can be helpful but I think with Pirelli tyres you don’t always need DRS to improve the racing.”

I agree with every word of that, but above all this: “I would much rather see fewer overtakes but more wheel-to-wheel scrapping and drivers having to work harder to overtake.”

Great overtaking moves are part of what makes motor racing special. Moments like Dijon ’79 and Mexico ’90 stand out in our memories for their sheer drama. Today these moments can only exist outside of DRS zones. And, as with Webber’s heroic pass on Alonso, we know the next DRS zone can immediately erase a hard-won advantage.

After 50 races, I’m done giving DRS the benefit of the doubt. There has been enough time to field-test and fine-tune it and I have no confidence it’s ever going to produce anything better than a sham parody of motor racing.

I profoundly hope DRS isn’t here to stay. I’m afraid it probably is.


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  • 233 comments on “After 50 races, DRS is killing my passion for F1”

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    1. We gave it enough time, right? In my humble opinion, it is simply time to retire DRS. 2014 and beyond should be a different era not needing easy passes and artificial spots.

      1. Yep, a more efficient and powerful KERS will be enough, like the Push-To-Pass in IndyCar. All we want is equality between the drivers for these devices.
        The Belgian GP showed the world DRS is more annoying than entertaining. This year, FIA placed 2 zones on almost every circuit and it’s still not working: Next year, will they allow DRS all time or just remove it?

        1. I don’t think you can get rid of DRS entirely, I can’t stomach the idea of watching Barcelona without it. Get rid of the detection points, get rid of the activation zones, and 1 sec gap requirements.

          Keep DRS, and the drivers should be alotted 10 actuations of the rear wing for up to “x” seconds at ANY point in the race, whenever and whereever they deem necesary. After the 10 actuations, the wing locks down. To me it trumps the Indy car push to pass variant beacuse the spectators can at least see when it the event happens. Only disadvantage is the fans at the track won’t know how many each driver has left, but that would easily be communicated on television.

          Regarding increasing KERS, I don’t recall the system in its first year (2009) creating passing opportunities as much as preventing them. However, I do think KERS limitations should be lifted in some controlled way (limited only by investment, not by energy capacities and outputs). The potential development of increased hybridization of powertrains is an intriguing technology area and can bring advancements to road cars, which helps the manufacturer teams and suppliers sell the investment of their F1 powertrain programs to their management.

          Regarding tires, unless the tire manufacturer is continually changing the compounds — passing created by teams figuring out the tires only seems to last 6-10 races before they all find parity.

        2. DRS needs to go, it’s an abomination in the sport. I agree that a more advanced KERS system would make more sense and also more relevent to road cars, that relevence being a stated aim of F1. I tried a simulator with DRS a while back and I hated it and what it did to the handling. It creates a reactive component when the driver is on the limit curtailing his ability to balance the car in the corners. Banning movable aerodynamic devices and then introducing one as a solution makes no sense at all and never will IMHO.

      2. I’m surprised people are strongly against DRS. I agree it isnt perfect but surely a lot better than the processions from only 3+ years ago?

        Aerodynamics was such a factor in a cars inability to overtake another (dirty air) that DRS came in as the solution. We could not go back to cars without advanced aerodynamics – that would have been too much of a backward step.

        1. But like Keith mentioned, the problem of the procession has been largely solved by the tyres. DRS just makes it too easy to pass.

          1. Fair point Andy

      3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        30th August 2013, 14:45

        I think 2011 was very important for DRS where Hamilton literally had his whole season ruined by trying to pass Massa in the non-DRS zones. That was a turning point for every driver on the paddock as they realized that if Hamilton is better suited to pass in the DRS zone then that would also apply to them.

        As Keith pointed out, I think the tyres have exacerbated this problem because trying to pass outside of the DRS zones costs a lot of rubber lowering the risk to benefit ration unless there is a huge difference in performance with the car ahead and you must pass immediately and have extra speed to do so.

        It’s actually interesting because some cars cannot pass other cars in the DRS zone because of the speed superiority of the other car:-) Essentially, it is a weapon that benefits some cars more so than others…

        1. But he also went from 5th to 1st at the Chinese GP that year with four passes outside the DRS zone, IIRC.

      4. AS LEWIS HAMILTON said with Martin Brundle during the 2013 Canadian GP.. First:

        Brundle: “What do you think Ayrton Senna would say/ think about DRS?”
        Lewis: No, I don’t think he will like it, I think he will be very upset about it towards racing”
        Lewis: It should be balanced out at least..

        Drs should be balanced out… ON some circuits.. it’s to overpowered. DRS on CHINA, SPA, CANADA it was too much… It should be minimized on some circuits… I’ll be surprised if they put 2 DRS zones at Suzuka… Even more at BRAZIL…

      5. What the hell does artificial racing mean anyway.Bin watching races since i can remember,still don’t know what that is,so please …Let’s get one thing straight,i would be watching F1 if it was Trulli train kind of boring,because there so much more to F1 to follow and to love.It’s fascinating to me how fast people forget how it use to be in F1 before DRS,basically if you got stuck behind a slower car,your race was ruined.And to people saying that we don’t need DRS because there is some overtaking outside DRS zones,the only reason that is posible is because chasing car closes up in the DRS zone,and forces a defending car to use up KERS or drive defensively or both,leaving him vulnerable outside the zone.Vettel couldn’t overtake Raikkonen and vice versa with two drs zones,and we are on about how we don’t need DRS all together.Like i said i could watch regardless of DRS,as im a die hard fan of the sport,butt this is not enough,not everybody shares our enthusiasm.Long story short DRS is cheap,effective and simple way to make F1 more interesting and appealing to casual viewer.

        1. DRS takes the challenge out of passing and once the ‘casual viewer’ catches on they will leave F1 because they were only ‘casual’ to begin with. Nor will the casual viewer delve into F1 enough to realize it’s other attractions. And the alternative does not HAVE to be processions. F1 could use their imagination and find many ways so that we don’t have phony meaningless passes, or processions.

          1. Each year I hope that this unequal overtaking nonsense will be removed so that I can start to follow F1 again. I really miss the real racing.
            I still enjoy the qualifying and the first lap, but at the first DRS pass I switch off.
            Has anybody noticed that the commentators have stopped saying “well there’s nothing that the lead car can do about being passed, now we are in the DRS zone”?…..Yawn!
            I’d love to see unedited comments on the subject by real overtakers such as Nigel Mansell, Sterling Moss, Eddie Irvine et al!

        2. But with the tyres used now would you get a Trulli train for very long?

        3. I’m a casual viewer of football. Should they introduce multi-balls for 5 minutes at random during every match to keep me better entertained? I’d watch more often, so it must be justified.

      6. oh oh, tears are falling, Its anti-DRS killing my enjoyment of F1Fanatic, Im not going to write a tear filled essay about this but its the anti-DRS dictators want F1 to go back to borefests, Collintine says that it in a round about way. You anti-DRS dictators still get your whole 1 or 2 magical moments a year, DRS has not taken that away from anti DRS dictators, DRS has provided more action, than you can poke a stick at. If it is so bad just watch some other form of racing.

        1. What action has DRS actually provided?

          1. I don’t know,passing,wheel to wheel racing,ability to run different strategies,all the interesting bits that make motorsport so lovely …

          2. Matt90 : What action has DRS actually provided?

            Because i realized that this post is against DRS and because i need to give an answer to the question, I will mention just one comment i hear watching last year f1.

            34 overtakes in a single race
            34 overtakes in 2008 in all year

            Is that meaning something… do you that you are against DRS?

            1. And if we move the goal posts in football to the sidelines there would probably be an average of 30 or more goals in every match.

              But what would be the point of it all if a football goal was no longer a hard thing to achieve? If you could just lob it over the backline as soon you got within 50 meters or less…

              Those stats are meaningless when its not real overtakes.

            2. There was 260 overtakes in 2008 actually :)

    2. I agree. With every race that goes by i am tempted more and more to stop watching F1 and start watching GP2. Its like the football in england. The Championship is better than the Premier League. I miss 2005 till 2008. It was proper racing with 2 teams challenging for the title. Nowadays, admit it red bull are the best and they only win because no one can challenge them. There might not have been many overtakes but those overtakes were worth watching and they required ‘skill’. No more gravel traps anymore either. The skill factor is being taken out of the sport. I am going to follow the GP2 until the end of the season and then start watching GP2 from 2014 onwards. These drivers have something to prove and will do almost anything to impress the F1 teams. I hate to say it but when I started watching F1 in 2005. I was in awe with every overtake and every race. Now sometimes I couldn’t care less. I no longer have that passion for F1

      1. Fancy starting GP2Fanatic?

        1. Next season for sure

      2. ‘red bull are the best and they only win because no one can challenge them’

        Isn’t that how it has always been when a team has enjoyed a period of domination?

        Funny thing is, you mention RBR but in the context of this article it is probably the last fitting team to name. With their short gears and overtake high downforce their top speed, even using DRS, is usually one of the worst in the whole field. I wouldn’t be surprised if they would lead in a “DRS vs non-DRS overtake percentage” statistic.

        1. no its not always been like
          that. Mclaren challenged Renault in 05 and Ferrari and Mclaren were even in 2007 and 2008. They were the best seasons I have seen imo

          1. I mean it’s always been like that in the sense that when all but 1 team fail to challenge, that team will be dominant.

            However, you can look at it another way. Did the MP4/4 just win because the rest failed to challenge? Or the FW14B? Or the F2004? Likewise the RB’s of recent years?
            Or did McLaren, Williams, Ferrari, Red Bull deliver something exceptional and got it all together?

            I think it’s plain wrong to say they “just” win because the others fail. They’ve “just” done exceptionally well.

      3. Nowadays, admit it red bull are the best and they only win because no one can challenge them.

        I don’t understand this statement at all.

      4. Our GP2 commentator bitches about every other race how GP2 should have DRS and I strongly disagree with that. He said that for example in Hungary when Ericsson and Palmer were battling for the lead.

        It took many laps until Palmer got through and went on to win. With DRS he would have probably gone past instantly.

        For a spec series, DRS isn’t needed at all, the manufacturer should be just concentrating that there isn’t much dirty air. However in F1, the teams can find solutions how they can affect the car behind more and more, so DRS could have more use. However, I’m not really liking current rules regarding it. I would like more a set amount of uses or reducing the gap DRS has when it’s open, which would reduce a top speed with DRS open a bit.

    3. While the DRS is a mild annoyance the tyres are still far too much of an impact on the racing. I could tolerate the cars opening wing to pass if it meant they could spend the race driving at near flat out pace. I miss the sight of an F1 car doing 20 race laps in anger, like say, Webber at Hungary in 2010 to take that well earned win. Tyre maintenance is as artificial as F1 comes.

      Ive often wondered what would overtaking be like with Bridgestone tyres and DRS to avoid a situation like Abu Dhabi 2010?

      1. @infi24r that’d just mean the fastest car would win easily every time. You could argue that is the point, but it’d be deadly boring.

        Degradable tyres are fine I think as long as they aren’t too influential, like they have been for a lot of this year. 1-2 stops would be fine and would still potentially allow for flat-out laps of anger such as Webber’s in Hungary 2010: you’d just have to stop once more than another doing a coservation run. Just ditch the rule forcing drivers into using both compounds and we could have drivers running to the end on the harder tyres or doing shorter stints on the softer tyres for an immediate gain.

        Really, the ideal situation would be to kill the problem at it’s roots and ban front wings in tandem with re-introducing a certain element of ground effects. Then you have a severely reduced dirty air problem yet still have aerodynamic development hence preventing team’s investments in wind tunnel equipment from becoming redundant.

        I think DRS and bullet proof tyres is possibly the worst solution imaginable if I’m honest though.

        1. If tyres were made with the best technology available, I still don’t think they would be bullet proof. I think “Anger” driving would be the norm and to be fast you’d have to go ‘Berserk’. DRS is still ridiculous in its current format though.

        2. THANK YOU, Max! I’ve been trying to get people to talk about this, but it keeps falling on deaf ears. DRS was brought in as a way to get encourage more passing. The reason there is not more passing: dirty air!
          If they weren’t so dependent on that front wing, then this would not be a problem.

          As for DRS? I’m against the current implementation, but very much in favor of movable aero parts. That technology is already starting to hit road cars and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be on the best cars in the world.

          Now the whole “1 second rule” and only drivers behind using it….that bit is total rubbish. Why don’t we make a rule that says drivers can’t use full throttle unless they’re behind, but only by a second, too? LOL It sounds silly to even say it so why would they think that is a good idea for DRS?

        3. hmmm, that post somehow got all messed up. What I was thanking Max for, was this:

          the ideal situation would be to kill the problem at it’s roots and ban front wings in tandem with re-introducing a certain element of ground effects

          That is the part I was referring to that could allow for more passing.

    4. In 2010 it was obvious that the refueling ban would be enough to make the races better. DRS was a nice idea if they could get it right, but after 3 years it got worse – so time to scrap it.

    5. I remember when the first announced DRS, I thought it was a great idea, it sounded like it could really work. Unfortunately, that was not the case, and now we see passes being completed as if it’s the norm, rather than it being a spectacle of the sport. DRS really is an artificial gimmick, that had the possibility to work, but has instead killed some of the competitiveness in F1 by taking it the completely wrong way.
      In contrast, I love KERS, as I think it has been a great development for the cars, and I personally wouldn’t call it artificial in the same sense DRS is as everyone has KERS (apart from Webber, of course).

      1. I wouldn’t call KERS artificial in any sense: actually, it’s almost artificial to waste that energy! Not even from a racing perspective but just from a common sense perspective I think it’s ludicrous to not exploit energy recovery.

        1. @vettel1 I guess I didn’t mean artificial, I was more thinking along the lines of it being a driver controlled system that gave a performance boost, so it’s ‘artificial’… Ish, just not to the racing. I really do like KERS.

          1. @philereid only in the sense a driver activates it: however, I’d say it’s almost exactly the same in the sense that a throttle pedal is artificial, or a torque map change!

            1. Indeed. As I say, I really like KERS, it’s one of the better developments we’ve had in F1. The new ERS system for next year sounds fantastic as well.

      2. @philereid I agree completely about KERS. It’s what brings exciting tactical racing, where the following driver has to use their guile to find a way past. In this most recent race, I think it was KERS that brought the best move of the race, out of Les Combes into Bruxelles (forget who on who). I also look forward to a stronger ERS with its increased opportunity for intelligent entertaining racing.

        1. @mrguy037 I believe the move was Raikkonen on Gutierrez, and was indeed a good move. I’ve always been a big fan of the use of greater technology, so KERS is one of my favourite things to be introduced in a long time.

          1. KERS is great because you can use it whenever you want, there’s no stupid ruling for it. Same as DRS if you had just a Time limit per lap/race.

            1. BINGO! There is nothing wrong with DRS….just the silly rules limiting how it’s used. It makes the car go faster….let them use it!!!

      3. Glad to see people supporting KERS here since usually it gets lumped in with DRS as ‘artificial’, which i never understood. The only thing you could say is artificial is the 6 seconds per lap limit, you could allow it to be used as often as there is energy for it. But maybe they were worried the performance difference between teams would be too high – or that it could be saved for a couple of laps and then used for a longer period leaving the defending car ‘defenceless’ (don’t know how many seconds of use can be stored currently).

      4. I personally wouldn’t call it artificial in the same sense DRS is as everyone has KERS (apart from Webber, of course).

        LOL Quote of the week! Thanks for the laugh :-)

    6. Disagree. DRS has rescued the sport from what was a pure truli-train-snore-fest.

      1. @joshua-mesh If DRS hadn’t been introduced, you’d probably be saying exactly the same about the tyres.

        1. I have to agree with Joshua, I was really bored by the lack of passing in the old days. And after the Abu Dabhi race with Alonso/Petrov where the better car could not pass, I was frustrated like hell: that had nothing to do with racing (and no, I’m not an Alonso fan).

          DRS gives us action on track. I don’t care about the artificial part of DRS. In the end the faster cars will be at front of the slower cars. Thats whats racing should be al about. That example above about Hamilton let Alonso passing in La Source so he could pass him back at the DRS zone: did he succeed? No Alonso’s car was faster, so he could stay at front. Just how it suppose to be.

          And don’t forget, everything about racing is artificial. That doesn’t matter. It’s about how much action there is to see on track and about teams and drivers coping with different situations. I wouldn’t mind to neutralize the field once a race randomly (not in the first 15 or the last 15 minutes). An artificial safety-car, nice!

          1. @favomodo

            In the end the faster cars will be at front of the slower cars. Thats whats racing should be al about.

            If that were the case then we could just stop the weekend after quali and be done with it.

            Personally I’d rather see wheel to wheel racing, skillful overtaking and defensive driving.
            Seeing a slower driver skillfully keep a faster one behind, and the faster driver having to get inventive in order to pass is one of the best things about racing and we’ve lost that completely with DRS.

          2. DRS and Abu Dhabi are not my fave things in F1, they both could go.

          3. @favomodo But the tyres are creating overtaking oppurtunities without the need for DRS. The overtaking we’ve seen out of DRS zones is still far more than we’ve had in the past. Get rid of DRS, and those on-the-straight passes will lead to exciting outcomes, no inevitable ones!

            1. Don’t agree about the tyres. If they’re too soft, people don’t defend anymore in fear of ruining them. If they’re too hard, they’ll make no difference. So as with DRS, there’s a fine line to getting it just right and I doubt this would be easier to find than for DRS. Teams learn to work the tyres anyway so they would practically have to evolve each race in order to not establish a situation where everybody can go all out again.

      2. @joshua-mesh @electrolite I agree with Joshua. People blast DRS, but DRS is the system that lets races on these tyres work. If it wasn’t for DRS, on most tracks (excepting maybe Spa or Monza) teams wouldn’t be sure whether their driver would be able to pass slower drivers on older tyres. That means the 3-stop strategy whereby one drives fast the entire race and relies on DRS for overtaking, becomes a very risky one. You get stuck behind someone and your strategy unravels.

        That means strategy variation will diminish and everyone will decide to do a one- or two- stop (depending on the racetrack). Worse, not only will there be no strategy variation but drivers will be forced to drive SLOW to preserve the long-running tyres. With DRS, the drivers can drive faster strategies and are encouraged to overtake. Without DRS, the opposite will be true, and slow consistent going will discourage overtaking (because A: overtaking damages tyres – ie running in dirty air, B: that tyre damage is certain while success of an overtake is not).

        That means, to avoid a total farce, we need to make durable tyres so as to encourage pushing and overtaking, and ban the DRS. The result will be a one artificial pitstop of 2010, and Trulli-trains as everyone is put on the same tyre (in terms of longevity). There will be zero action on-track and drivers won’t be able to do much about it. What’s worse, the system seemed to at least marginally work with refuelling which allowed the possibility of somewhat diversified racing. Without refuelling, you might as well give the win to the pole man, because THEN I will lose my passion for F1.

      3. That’s not what the data shows us @joshua-mesh. Every time I saw it analysed, there were clear indications of the tyres and how teams use them being what did the trick there.

      4. Compare 2010 with 2009. Only major change was refueling was banned. No degrading tires and no DRS and the number of overtakes increased significantly.

        DRS is not needed – degrading tires neither. But if I had the choice I’d do away DRS.

        1. I wish people would stop believing this myth. The number of overtakes increased because of the new teams (Lotus, Virgin, HRT). In 2010, more than half of the total number of overtakes were made on drivers of these teams. Naturally, with more cars and more races, you will get more overtakes, especially if passing them is not much of a challenge. The refuelling ban has little to do with this.

    7. Nice piece of opinion and I totally share it.
      Supress it or allow it anytime for anyone, that should make race interesting. And this year make it two was the “too much” of DRS, most tracks just don’t need 2 DRS zones (Spa doesn’t need any for the matter).

      And they want to force different strategies by forcing drivers to use multiple tyres compounds but that is just cancelled by DRS. Would be interesting to see how a one stopper could defend against 2 stoppers (For example Button at Spa, forced to pit while he could have stayed and battle if there was no DRS).

      Let’s hope they open their eyes soon enough …

    8. DRS needs to go, putting it on straights where was good overtaking beforehand is stupid. If its going to stay put in places where there isn’t much overtaking and create new opportunities. Personally if F1 needs an overtaking add use the Indycar P2P system, i’ve always enjoyed that

      1. *overtaking aid

      2. @f199player
        I agree. I cannot fathom why someone “up there” in the FIA has not realized that overtaking aids aren’t needed, in places where overtaking all ready happens without it.
        It’s like having a dirty car and then spend two hours cleaning the inside of the glovebox and then pretend like the car is now clean. Except that, doing so, doesn’t make your car worse. So in that respect, what FIA is doing is even more idiotic.
        And that they then get paid for it…

      3. +1.

        DRS is fake and DRS-zone makes it even worse, if they want to keep it, let this guys use wherever they can and if they think it’s unsafe kill DRS for good. It will not be missed.

        I like KERS but DRS… no no no!

        1. One argument for DRS going, Michael Schumacher Canada 2011 gets to 2nd place with superb driving only to get denied by being motorway passed in the closing stages

          1. Conveniently forgetting Schumacher made 2 DRS-passes himself to get up to second place?

    9. Wholeheartedly agree – been a fan of F1 for 19 years and for the first time finding myself not caring about the races anymore – DRS has to go!

    10. I have to agree that DRS in it’s current form has been given a fair chance and has failed in the eyes of motorsports fans. As you say, it takes away the most exciting part of motor racing for us: the battle for position.

      The problem is that most people are not motorsports fans. For those with only a casual interest (i.e. the people that Bernie et al want to attract), all they see is lots of overtaking. They do not understand how artificial it is, and do not care. They would not find it exciting if one driver was stuck behind another for many laps, racing wheel to wheel but unable to make the pass stick.

      So I, personally, think it is here to stay, because those who make the decisions don’t care about the real fans. They just want to attract more “spectators”, so will appeal to the lowest common denominator. It doesn’t matter if we all switch to watching another sport eventually, as long as they have more than made up for it with “normal” people.

      1. For me, Comment of the Day.

      2. +1. You’re exactly right – and this same problem affects not only F1 but lots of different sports around the world…. as well as consumer products and musical acts for that matter.

        So anyway, while I agree with @keithcollantine that DRS in its current form has had a completely ruinous effect on races, I don’t think I agree that all experimentation/fine-tuning has been tried. I think there hasn’t been much experimentation/fine-tuning tried at all besides adding more zones. For example I think it could work if at tracks like Monza, Spa or Montreal they cut the entire first half or first 2/3 of each DRS zone, so that drivers only got a small boost as they are about to dive into heavy braking zones. But then at tracks like the Hungaroring a maximum-length DRS zone would probably still be needed.

        The problem is that each track will have its own unique optimal solution, and only going to each track once a year means we may not find that solution for a long while. Plus I don’t think the ones in position to make these decisions are the most creative or adventurous people, and the only real measurable output for viewer satisfaction we have are perhaps this site’s “Rate the Race” pages!

        1. I just don’t think the alternative to DRS HAS to be the ‘Trulli train.’ I think there are many things they can do, like lessening the amount of aero dependancy such that cars in dirty air are far less negatively affected when behind another. I hate DRS and I appreciate many fans not wanting processions either, but if I had to choose between the two I’d take processions because at least they’re not phony. But as I say, we don’t HAVE to have either. There is plenty of middle ground and I think it starts with lessening F1’s cars’ dependancy on downforce.

          1. Yeah I agree with you here – reducing aero dependency would help a ton, and not just because the cars could follow each other. If you look at what F1 looked like when it was less dependent on downforce, and what sports car series look like nowadays which have no dependency on downforce, every corner is exciting because you can see the drivers sliding the cars around constantly, keeping the tires right on the knife-edge of their grip limit. Every F1 driver has the capability to do this too as they’re the best in the world, but we can’t see it because the handling characteristics of a car dependent on aerodynamics make that kind of driving unproductive. Plus we can’t see much in terms of drivers’ personalities – even if we had a modern-day Gilles Villeneuve in the field, we would have no idea, because nobody slides the cars anymore.

            Personally, I love seeing that kind of driving. You can see the cars dancing around on the asphalt all through the braking zone, mid-corner and corner exit under acceleration. I’ve taken to watching lots of more grassroots-type sports car racing such as the Continental Tire series and the Pirelli World Challenge series here in the US, as well as Australian V8 Supercars which are always a hoot, just to see more of this. The Aussie guys specifically really love to lay the rubber down…

            I’m not saying we should go back to the 50’s and 60’s when everyone drifted the cars all the time, but just a little more of it would be nice!

      3. this problem affects not only Formula 1 but most of the worlds problems: its all about the money

    11. Great article @keithcollantine I completely agree. It’s as if some people believe that just because one car is faster than the one in front he automatically has a right to get in front. As if there’s something wrong if a faster car can’t pass a slower car.
      It’s definitely affected my passion and interest in F1 too. I no longer look forward to a race weekend with the same excitement as in the past.

      I hope it’s not killing your passion for F1F because this site has become an integral part of my interest in F1. The great articles and comments made by the readers make this site special.

      Could we possibly somehow start an F1F campaign to get rid of DRS? I find it surprising how easily leading figures in F1 dismiss criticism of DRS.

      1. Down With DRS!
        Sign me up for that campaign.
        Keith Collantine rallies the troops again.

      2. @metallion wholly agreed: Keith, are you listening? I think we should definitely start a “down with DRS” campaign for it’s immediate banning to come into affect for the 2015 season (since it’d be slightly unfair on the teams to ban it now as it’s an integral part of the 2014 regulations).

      3. @metallion @ferrox-glideh @vettel1 As long as I don’t have to abseil down the podium holding a “down with DRS” banner…

        1. @keithcollantine I’m sure we could find somebody else to do that particular stunt ;) A poll to send to the FIA would be nice though – unlikely to do anything I’d imagine but hopefully they’d at least pay some attention!

        2. Could we just campaign to get them to do away with the silly DRS rules instead? I find nothing wrong with allowing the cars to go faster (and save fuel by reducing drag) on the straights. The problem is with the silly “1 second rule” and only allowing the drivers behind to use it and only on one or two places on the track.
          They don’t put in a rule saying “the cars in front can only use 95% of throttle and the car chasing can only use 100% of throttle if it’s within 1 second of the car in front”. Think about how silly that sounds. So, why would we limit DRS that way? It makes the cars faster and more efficient…so why do we tell them where and when they can use it? Shouldn’t the driver decide when to put down full throttle and when to use DRS???

    12. Agree, 100%.

      It’s not even as if casual fans I’ve watched F! races with think it’s good, or entertaining. Infact, it is frankly embarrassing for me to have to explain to people what it is and why it’s there.

      What I want to know is, do the drivers like it? If I’m not mistaken, no one seems to have made any strong enough, or public expression of disagreement with it. Do they quite like the fact they can have half of the overtake done for them? Is it the drivers at the front who are more likely to hate it?

    13. As F1 increasingly fails to fulfil my appetite for real racing, DRS-free series like IndyCar and GP2 have become more attractive to me.

      Amen to that Keith! @keithcollantine

    14. It’s boring with DRS, but now that slipstreaming is out of the equation, they don’t have much choice, do they? It’s one of those “Between a rock and a hard place” kind of situation, I think. Without DRS, we’d probably have some horrible traffic jams led by a Button or a Rosberg, while Vettel builds up those vintage 45+ second leads.

      1. but now that slipstreaming is out of the equation

        People often say that but from everything i’ve seen from OnBoard’s etc… slipstreaming still works just as well as it always has.

        Vettel used a good slipstream to pass Lewis at Spa & We saw plenty of slipstreaming lead to overtakes into the final chicane.

        You also hear the revs shoot up & see the slipstream working in this OnBoard from Bottas at Montreal this year:

        The only thing that hindered the slipstream Pre-DRS was the 18,000Rpm Rev-Limit, Drivers would get a good tow but hit the limiter too early which would kill there momentum. But we still see that problem occur with DRS if a team has got gear ratio’s wrong.

        1. Well, maybe there is the occasional miraculous slipstream action, but not nearly as much as ‘in the old days’. Being behind another car is just a huge disadvantage nowadays, though I don’t know the specifics about loss of downforce, air disturbance, etc.

          1. @flig
            It is true that being behind another driver results in a very significant loss in downforce. But that is what slipstreaming is. DRS isn’t a way to solve that. The solution is to move the downforce away from the body of the car and onto the floor and give them wider tyres to compensate for what could be loss of overall downforce due to simple wings etc.
            That will mean that the total amount of grip the car has, is less effected when you loose, say, 10% of downforce by driving close to another car.

      2. +1
        I’m not missing those bad old vintage 45+ leads

    15. Completely agree.

      I’d rather see some good racing with less overtaking than average racing with a shed load of ‘passing’.

      I think the problem with the whole DRS concept is that its presumed that a lot of passing regardless of how its done or how easy it is = great racing.

      Like Keith I have also found DRS taking away my passion & love for F1, Im no longer as interested in F1 as I used to be & Have instead found myself growing more interested in other forms of racing at the expense of F1, The series that got me hooked on the sport back in 1989.
      There was a time when the thought of missing an F1 session irritated me, Yet recently I’ve found myself not been bothered about potentially missing a qualifying session or having to go do something else during the race, Especially when the early laps have shown DRS to be overly effective.

      Seeing the typical easy DRS pass does nothing for me, I find it unexciting, dis-interesting & frankly boring. Its not what I enjoy watching & if anything takes excitement away from the race rather than adding to it.

      The biggest problem with DRS for me however is that it hasn’t solved any of the underlying problems regarding turbulent air, Or more precisely the cars over-reliance on aerodynamics. We saw at Spa that cars would still drop back sector 2 due to that problem a problem that has no chance of been improved as long as DRS is around because DRS is “Working”.

      Pre-DRS we had people looking at real solutions, Aero changes were proposed & adopted, Circuits like Abu-Dhabi were talking of making alterations yet all these things were killed the second DRS was introduced because as Paddy Lowe (Who I think was the guy who came up with DRS?) said, DRS is easier & cheaper.

    16. DRS was introduced because overtaking wqa practically impossible on most tracks due mainly to their layout (city streets, Abu Dabhi, etc) and to modern aerodynamics. 2009 was a boring season, cars needed to be at least 2 seconds faster in order to overtake. (Conclusions of FIA study). That meant that on most tracks the frontrunners could only pass the back markers. DRS was introduced to remedy this situation, as neither the tracks nor the design of the cars could be changed. But it has come to the point where we are not watching racing any more. I do not believe DRS will be dumped, but some changes, making its use more difficult, may make it tolerable. For example, activation should be set at half a second. No DRS use during the last ten laps of a race. Let the frontrunners fight it out. If there are two zones a driver can use DRS in one zone only during a lap, etc.

    17. I feel the same as Keith. I don’t look forward to races and ever more I’m becoming attracted by series such as GP2 and le mans.

    18. Never liked the idea of DRS, hated it when it was first introduced and I’m increasingly less interested in watching F1. The tyres haven’t done the sport much good, but DRS overtakes are plain pathetic. All they do is promote the ‘natural order’ of cars to finish in, rather than encourage actual fights.

      2010 was an epic season. No DRS, long lasting Bridgestones and we were just relieved of refueling. We probably saw little overtakes, but the ones we did were at least special.

      1. By the way, perhaps it’s time for another poll on the issue of DRS and perhaps a serparate one on tyres as well?

    19. DRS is a nonsence. And the thought of F1 in 2014 makes me shiver. If you had told me in 1995, when I started watching F1, that in 2014 we would go from glorious 3ltr V10’s and wide pretty cars, to the skinny DRS pathetic 1.4 V’6s we will soon have, I would have thought you were mad.
      Consider this, Montoya was lapping about 2 to 3 seconds a lap on most tracks in the 2000’s. Add this deficit on to the fact that next years cars will be a further 2 to 3 seconds slower and you begin to realise that an old F3000 car will soon be quicker than a current F1 mule.
      I used to laugh at A1GP with their ‘push to pass button’ , now F1 has it too!
      If you want to see real racing these days you need to watch MOTO GP.
      The F1 I loved is gone…
      Hello Kitty very sad.

    20. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      30th August 2013, 13:28

      I agree with Rubens, Pirelli’s tyres are enough to generate passing, let alone being allowed a drag reducing speed boost.
      I was one of the people defending DRS and hoping they they could “fine tune” it, so that it created the opportunity for a possible pass, but not so easy that you just breeze past.

      My stance on it at the moment is that it should only be implemented only on tracks where it is really needed. In my opinion, there are only a few tracks that do not need it at all because passing opportunities come thick and fast. Some that need 1 zone, and a couple that need 2.

      This is how I would implement DRS if I ran Formula 1:

      No Zones:
      – Montreal
      – Belgium
      – Italy
      – Brazil

      Single Zone:
      – Malaysia (After T14)
      – China (Pit straight)
      – Bahrain (Pit straight)
      – Spain (After T9)
      – Monaco (Pit straight)
      – Silverstone (Wellington Straight)
      – Hockenheim (Immediately after T1)
      – Korea (Pit straight)
      – Suzuka (Pit straight)
      – COTA (Back straight)

      2 Zones:
      – Australia (Pit straight and second straight), This is one of the few zones that the FIA have actually gotten right!
      – Nurburgring (Pit straight and Back straight)
      – Budapest (Pit straight and after T1)
      – Singapore (Pit straight and main straight)
      – India (Pit straight and after T4)
      – Abu Dhabi (After T7 and after T9)

      1. It’s not just about the multiple zones, its the detection zones too.

        Wasn’t it terrible in Australia because whoever activated it on the first straight just scampered off into the distance on the second?

        1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          30th August 2013, 13:56

          Personally I think there should be dual detection points when two zones are used, regardless of the track. Like you say, if the attacking driver gets ahead in the first zone, its not great racing if he can scamper off in the second.

          Having the second dection point, means that whoever is behind prior to the second activation zone will get the benefit of DRS. This would have been particularly useful at Canada.

          Off the top of my head I cant remember vast amounts of overtakes in Australia with DRS assisted. Certainly there were some, but not to the same degree that Montreal or Spa throw up.

      2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        30th August 2013, 14:08

        For some tracks, DRS has been an absolute god-send. Monaco, Budapest and Abu Dhabi come to mind, because overtaking and getting along side the car ahead is extremely difficult. Watching those races without DRS (pre-2011) were extremely boring (even though i love Monaco).

        At others, it has been a curse, because there’s already a surplus of overtaking anyway. (Montreal, Spa, Italy & Brazil). So it really isn’t needed there.

        1. Hm, at monaco the onl DRS zone is on the curved straight. IT really doesn’t do much to change the results at all @tophercheese21.

          1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
            30th August 2013, 14:12

            Paul Di Resta and Kimi Raikkonen certainly made good use of it at this years race.

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