I disagree with you here. I am a fan of the DRS, so allow me to explain my point of view.
2011 has given us overtaking but now that the stats are out, it works out that DRS overtakes were only about 30% and I think people are now realising tyres play a much more crucial role than DRS.
I like the DRS and I believe that this is a good thing. In my opinion, having the majority of overtaking moves in the sport being DRS related would be a terrible thing. That’s not what it’s designed for. As you don’t need me to remind you, the DRS was born out of the desire to counter the ‘dirty air’ effect. How many times have we seen genuinely faster cars or drivers close up to a slower rival and then struggle to find any way passed as soon as they get within 1-2 seconds behind? The disturbance to the aero balance of the cars would make it just too difficult for even the best drivers in the world to actually get into a position to make a move in the first place. The idea of the DRS is not to produce easy ‘slam-dunk’ overtaking opportunities but to allow drivers to get into positions to overtake where they have usually been unfairly disadvantaged by dirty air. I hear a lot about how DRS gives the attacking driver an unfair advantage but I disagree. DRS is an equaliser. It helps to take away the disadvantage of dirty air and give drivers a chance to pass.
The main gist of the article is that DRS overtakes happen mostly in places where overtaking will happen anyways and it takes away from the spectacle of memorable great overtakes.
I challenge that argument. First of all, the majority of the spectacular passes I can remember this season have taken place outside of DRS zones. I think I can remember more passes into Turn 1 at the Nurburgring last month than into the Chicane at the end of the DRS zone. Like I said earlier though, this is a good thing. It also means that the art of race craft and overtaking ability is no less important in the DRS era than it was before it, which I agree is an important thing for the pinnacle of motorsport. “But Geoffrey, what about Istanbul? DRS it WAY too easy to overtake at the end of the straight!” Yes. I agree. I can’t argue against you there. However, DRS is a unique and completely brand new concept. It’s bound to take a bit of time for the FIA to tweak it and to discover where it does and where it doesn’t work so effectively. I agree to an extent that it’s unnecessary to place DRS zones on long straights where lots of overtaking has always tended to occur. I’m also not convinced about the idea of double DRS zones. But it’s good that the FIA are clearly learning about what’s working and what isn’t and are adjusting the use of DRS accordingly.
Ultimately, I’m very much for the retention of DRS. I believe it can be an effective tool for equalising the playing filed like I outlined earlier. I also disagree that it’s ‘destroyed the art of defensive driving’. I’ve watched every race this season and the majority of DRS ‘attempts’ I’ve seen throughout the season have not resulted in overtakes. You still have to be in a good position to make the maximum use of it and get passed. Button didn’t simply drive around Massa in Melbourne did he? And on the other hand, if it wasn’t for DRS, I doubt Alonso would’ve ever made that move on Webber in Valencia. So to say that it’s spoiling F1 racing or whatever is just bizarre to me.
I also think the DRS factor adds a whole new unique element to racing. Remember when Hamilton was chasing down Vettel in Barcelona towards the end of the race? I remember everyone saying that as soon as Lewis was within 1 second, it was on like Donkey Kong. I think it’s both cool and exciting when you see a car get within 1 second of a rival and you see that DRS graphic start flashing. It’s like it’s the F1 equivalent of a fighter pilot getting a lock-on on a target. You think “oh my, here we go!” and you just know that something dramatic is about to occur. I also like the fact it’s an element that’s unique to F1. It helps to differentiate Formula 1 racing from the other single-seater series as well as illustrating just how important the physics of downforce and aerodynamics are to F1 cars.
So, yeah. I’m a fan of DRS and while I agree it’s not yet been ‘perfected’ I hope the sport doesn’t discard the idea too quickly because it’s played a significant role in shaping the truly exceptional action we’ve seen so far this season.