I re-watched the second half of the Canadian GP today, and I’ve read through the threads on the Mercedes post race report, and the debates on twitter recently about whether DRS is artificial, and too easy, and whether the leading driver is getting mugged, or robbed by it. I have a couple of questions I came to my own conclusions about that I’d be interested to hear alternative opinions on.
Driver A and Driver B
A is ahead, but B is 2 seconds a lap faster. Ignore what the cause is of that speed difference – we don’t care if it’s tyres, weight, skill, aero, anything, it’s not relevant. B is right behind A as they leave a slow corner leading onto a long straight.
What do you think should happen in this scenario?
Rule A and Rule B
Overtaking is unreliable and unpredictable, sometimes too much, sometimes too little. The sport institutes two rules.
Rule A: A free-for all. No restrictions on weaving on the straight or moving in the braking zones. These are the best drivers in the world, let them get on with it.
Rule B: A mandated passing zone. You can only pass in that zone, and if you don’t make it, you have to wait til the next lap. But you get to turn off your restrictions on revs, diffs, suspension and wings to do it.
So all the sport’s current artificial restrictions on what you’re not allowed to do with overtaking are lifted, but there’s a different artificial restriction put in place. Would it work?
I doubt it. Rule A would potentially lead to accidents all over the place resulting in an abundance of safety cars, which no one really wants.
On your second point, Rule B, are you talking about only one designated over-taking point on the whole circuit? Lifting the restriction on anything else would be unnecessary and would not go down well with drivers, teams and fans. DRS was introduced to try and negate the dirty air issue. No other issue need be addressed.
The only thing I would be tempted to change would be to allow drivers to defend using DRS. The driver following, providing he’s close enough, will already benefit from the slipstream so technically the driver in front is already at a disadvantage. Still, I would rather look at it properly at the end of the season.
Like Andrew said, the driver behind would already benefit from the DRS because of the Slipstream. It could also be a battle of who presses the Button first too, or who breaks later. Who I think I’d prefer.
Nice way of theorising it. My argument/opinion on DRS:
Scenario is without DRS.
Driver B is closing at 2 seconds per lap on Driver A. Driver B cannot overtake due to the wake from Driver A fouling up his aerodynamics. Driver B’s advantage and speed negated by something which only the lead driver has at his disposal and therefore cannot overtake.
Like you said a few days ago, Hairs, DRS is not meant to act as a weapon where the defending driver actually has no defence, but simply as an ‘equaliser’ to give a faster car an opportunity to pass to begin with.
Ah, but it does matter why the car is 2 seconds a lap faster. If a Red Bull has all its advantge in high speed cornering and were theoretically 2 seconds a lap faster than say a Force India which is very fast in a straight line, it might still not be able to get by. It’s always important to be in the fastest car period, but where the car is fast does also matter especially over the course of a race. It’s all those complexities that make F1 what it is!
Like I say, I don’t want to get into arguments about the technology, or the aero, or the differences in the chassis on the first point. DRS doesn’t exist in this scenario, neither does KERS or anything else. Assume that the cars are wooden blocks, if you like, or they’re all the same spec.
I’m only interested in what you expect to happen in that scenario.
I read numerous comments since last week where people seemed to think that B should have been held up behind A until he made a mistake, or saw fit to let the other guy past. That argument made no sense at all to me.
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© Keith Collantine 2014 • Disclaimer
© 2014 Keith Collantine