Start, Spa-Francorchamps, 2016

DRS blamed as Spa race falls short of expectations

2016 Belgian Grand Prix Rate the Race resultPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

With Lewis Hamilton charging through from the back and the Ferraris and Red Bulls poised to challenge pole sitter Nico Rosberg at the front, Spa had the ingredients for a great race.

And though it got off to an explosive start, when the chequered flag fell many were left with the impression that it had failed to deliver.

While not a bad race by any stretch of the imagination, I think this was the classic race that got away from us after the Ferraris and Verstappen tangled at La Source.

The tyres acted contrary to what was expected, leaving Rosberg to cruise away unchallenged when Riccardo and Hulkenberg should really have been able to punish him on what should have been the faster tyres at the restart.

Hamilton and Alonso did brilliantly to get up the order, even with the chaos going on around them while Ocon put in a solid, if unspectacular performance on his first outing.
Craig Wilde (@Wildfire15)

I expected a lot from this race given the grid and the tyres but unfortunately the red flag ruined it for me. Thankfully that rule has been amended for next year.

It started off absolutely chaotic and really it was a shame to lose three cars from contention so early on. It was absolutely frantic until Magnussen’s shunt.

After the restart I didn’t think a great deal happened bar the great racing between Alonso and Hulkenberg in the pit exit. I spent much of the race cursing DRS underneath my breath as I have done so frequently in recent races.
Craig Woollard (@Craig-o)

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Those who got to enjoy the thrill of racing at Spa first hand were much less equivocal about how good the race had been:

Was brilliant to watch from the Kemmel Straight. The crash at Eau Rouge and nearly jumped out of my skin with the tyre explosion of Sainz. Action down the field was brilliant to see unfold, all in all top weekend!
ForzaF1

The quality of driving was also a taking point:

Yes there were a lot interesting stories happening on track, but all those moments existed because – or resulted in – bad driving. Despite some of the results some drivers got, for instance Hamilton, I didn’t see any real good racing. Nobody really excelled. Tire strategy was important but when it doesn’t result in on track scraps, as viewer it doesn’t really matter. And once there finally was someone putting a driver under pressure DRS made sure it wasn’t exciting for very long.

If the stewards should receive any rating it would be one out of ten. There were numerous incidents that, while not necessarily deserving a penalty, should at least have been under investigation. For instance the Alonso/Hulkenberg pit lane occurrence. And of course the Verstappen/Raikkonen Eau Rouge incidents.
NewDust

The Verstappen/Raikkonen incident has already been covered at length elsewhere but it was a point raised by quite a few of you.

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2016
Kemmel saw a lot of passes made with DRS
An average rating of 7.2 out of ten put the Belgian Grand Prix smack in the middle of the rankings so far this year. But if there was one aspect of the race which received an overwhelmingly negative verdict it the Drag Reduction System.

As has so often been the case at Spa in recent seasons, many of you believed the DRS effect was far too powerful and spoiled the racing:

Another DRS snooze-fest. For next year they should remove the DRS-zone on the Kemmel straight. DRS is too effective there and history shows us that Kemmel doesn’t need DRS. Removing DRS from Kemmel would also encourage drivers to overtake more at La Source or even Bus Stop.
Rick (@wickedwicktheweird)

It was a very eventful start to the race with all the collisions on the first lap and then we had the big Magnussen crash which resulted in first a safety car and then a red flag.

This meant that there were a few cars out of position compared where they qualified so we got to see some recovery drives.

I would probably have given the race a higher rating but later on it seemed to quieten down and the passes were mainly straight forward DRS moves.
@pja

Whatever happened to the idea that they would review DRS lengths over time? The one at Spa is a good 150m too long. Time to get this conversation going again.
@Roodda

DRS again ruining one of the best tracks in world. A complete waste of time considering there was no genuine racing on display. It’s races like this that make me want to to give up watching this sport. Dreadful.
Jonny Edwards (@racectrl)

DRS made the passing too easy and as a result I simply never got into it as that just isn’t the sort of racing i enjoy.
@Gt-racer

That was just a small selection of the many complaints received about DRS. But that fault notwithstanding many of you were just pleased to have F1 back after the summer break:

I have been desperate for F1 to return and I really enjoyed the race. I don’t understand people suggesting it was boring – there was all sorts happening. I do not think that the rules are perfect – and DRS etc needs to be fixed, but my heart cries to hear the same old complaints whatever the action on track. Yes DRS is rubbish. Yes, track limits needs to be looked at. Yes, yes, yes – but I really don’t understand how anyone who enjoys racing could call that a mediocre race.

It was fun, exciting, scary and the field was all mixed up – I call for more of this, while of course fixing what ails the series.
Caroline Geddes (@lass321)

2016 Rate the Race Results

Race Average score
2016 Spanish Grand Prix 8.706
2016 Austrian Grand Prix 8.097
2016 Chinese Grand Prix 7.853
2016 Australian Grand Prix 7.757
2016 Monaco Grand Prix 7.747
2016 Bahrain Grand Prix 7.382
2016 Belgian Grand Prix 7.249
2016 Canadian Grand Prix 6.583
2016 British Grand Prix 6.478
2016 German Grand Prix 5.814
2016 Russian Grand Prix 5.396
2016 Hungarian Grand Prix 5.052
2016 European Grand Prix 4.728

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2016 Belgian Grand Prix

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26 comments on “DRS blamed as Spa race falls short of expectations”

  1. A seemingly boring Spa got a higher rating than a relatively action-packed-mixed-weather British GP where a British favourite won.

    …and people say this site is biased? :]

    1. Interesting observation. Along the same lines I noticed on the official F1 site Hamilton got the best driver vote for Spa and here at F1Fanatic it was Alonso.

    2. That is funny. But hey Spa is always a good race. Fact of life.

  2. I have to admit the GP was quiet boring, we heard quiet often “my tyres are gone”, because of this we to endure a lot of “castrated” races in this Pirelli era, are the FIA afraid to run F1 cars at full speed or what ? Are they afraid of getting drivers injured? This is just pathetic.

    1. @abdelilah The cars will be faster and the tyres will last much longer next year.

      1. @mike With regards to the tyres, one can only hope that is the case.

        1. @ijw1 this will be a test to pirelli, can they make tyres as durable as the Michelin.

          1. I don’t think they will be able to due to the lack of testing in comparison to Michelin, which is a shame.

          2. Of course they can. They can put bricks on the car that’ll never wear.

            But that won’t help create good racing.

    2. @abdelilah The tyres were made to degrade because the previous construction from Bridgestone which allowed the drivers to push flat out for every lap, were producing very boring processional races. At the time, the only exciting races were either wet, or where the tyres suffered unexpectedly high degradation.

      So the concern is more about having boring races.

      1. @mazdachris Races in 2010 was hardly processional, As has been pointed out in the past that year featured the most amount of overtaking of any season since 1989 with the race average been around 30 per-gp (Up from an average of 10 the year before).

        The only really boring races in 2010 were Bahrain (Caused by the extended loop used that year creating big gaps between the cars) & then Abu-Dhabi (Because its a pretty poor circuit). There were a lot of very good races inbetween that featured a lot of good racing & overtaking, Trouble is that people like to ignore or forget them because all most people seem to remember is Bahrain & Abu-Dhabi.

        1. 2010 was a bit of an exceptional year in terms of rules however. Not sure it’s really a good example.

  3. @mike The FIA/Pirelli/Bernie can’t make a mistake on this one, otherwise GP2 or Indycar will be the new f1, I watched yesterday a qualy session from 2005 and I could clearly see that even with TC the car were tough to drive, today a teenager comes in and start to slap much more experienced drivers with “ease”, we need hard sweating to drive cars and tyres back.

  4. DRS wasn’t the cause of a castrated race: the T1 incident was.
    It took away the pressure on the Mercedes boys and split up the fiercest competitors. Those needing to pass Verstappen didn’t find it that easy to pass under DRS. The easy passes with DRS would’ve happened anyway, and in similar manner but by deploying the ERS differently.

  5. I don’t think it was DRS that ruined Spa’16, but the free pit stops disguised as a red flag.

    And I did see some ‘excellent driving’ (NewDust); it was Alonso this weekend (maybe except for the few metres he should have backed off earlier when next to Hulk in the pitlane)

    1. Alo did a fine job for the show not backing off there…

  6. I don’t blame DRS for a lackluster Spa race. It is the series we watch: a very dominant Mercedes/Benz-AMG team with very little or equal competition across the grid and, to some extent, Pirelli tires that are not very different between adjacent formulations. Lewis Hamilton started in the pit lane and managed to get 3rd place.

  7. Some people are hilarious, we got DRS because of the borefest you people use to complain about in the 2000-2010 because of the lack of overtaking, now those years are looked back on as some type of glory era by the same people with their rose tinted glasses. We now have DRS which increase overtaking and helps the faster drivers pass and now its a problem and their are calls to remove DRS from the same people that asked for it introduction.

    1. @foreverred Problem is, nobody asked for DRS. The cars cannot overtake each other and that’s the complaint. DRS in its implementation is a poor fix for that.

    2. @foreverred – I think it’s completely fair for people to complain about DRS!

      I’m not saying that there weren’t issues previously with following another car in the dirty air being very difficult but DRS as we have it now isn’t the solution. We have gone from overtaking being nearly impossible on several tracks to overtaking being a forgone conclusion providing you have a faster car. Neither solution is perfect and I refuse to believe that there isn’t something else out there that would provide some “middle-ground.”

      I’ve seen it suggested before but if DRS is to stay, why not give a limited amount of uses per race? This would allow DRS to be used for overtaking, defending, to undercut and so on… It would add strategy to it rather than just making overtaking embarrassingly easy and it would stop drivers from deciding not to overtake at other points of the track as they wouldn’t be immediately re-passed in the DRS zone.

  8. If we don’t get another good race, this season’s rating will be going into a total flop.

    1. It’s gotta be the best season for these regulations. I’m not sure exactly because I can hardly be bothered doing the look-up on the stats but I’m pretty sure there’s been a *lot* of 4-5 ratings the last couple years.

  9. Is 7.2 short of expectations? How good a rating a race needs to be considered good?

    7/10 for me is by definition good,
    8/10 would be very good… So its there about.

  10. I enjoyed it. 2nd half was a pretty boring though. Parc-ferme under red flag really has to be brought in. I think that really ruined the race, some lost time by pitting under safety car, and some got essentially a free stop.

    I wonder what people would be scapegoating if not for DRS… Tyres probably. I totally understand calls to look at things practically like DRS lengths and zones, even making sensible cases for its removal. But just crying “another race ruined by DRS” with absolutely no constructive thought constantly as some commenters want to do is simple agenda pushing puerility.

    I’d be surprised if I couldn’t rewrite this headline for every race by pulling quotes from the rate the race threads.

  11. Can we start talking about getting rid of DRS altogether? The idea that it can be optimally tweaked from circuit to circuit seems unrealistic to me.

    I think the 2010 season proved that plenty of real action and overtaking is possible without DRS, with high aero in the front of cars and little in the back. It’s a shame they changed the rules after that year.

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