Formula One could tweak the Drag Reduction System to make overtaking easier in the coming races.
The FIA said it would look into whether changes needed to be made following last week’s Chinese Grand Prix.
But while the total number of passes has fallen compared to last year, is it a good thing if overtaking has become more difficult? And is fiddling with DRS the best way to respond?
Although there was more overtaking in China after the almost passing-free Australian Grand Prix, much of this came about because of the variable conditions and Safety Car periods at the start of the race which put faster cars behind slower ones.
DRS helped to create several passes on the approach to the turn 14 hairpin. It also facilitated overtaking elsewhere on the track by bringing cars closer together.
However some drivers spent several laps stuck behind rivals, unable to make a pass. The increased turbulence from the 2017 cars has made it harder for them to follow each other closely.
At present DRS can only be used when one car is within a second of another. Increasing that time delay could make it work more effectively and increase overtaking.
China struck a good balance: overtaking wasn’t too easy but nor was it completely impossible. So instead of rushing into further changes after just two races, F1 should take the time to see how the next rounds unfold.
The role DRS played in creating a good race on Sunday has been exaggerated. Differences between tyre compounds, and particularly the rate at which they warmed up, created plenty of action after the Safety Car period.
DRS had little to no effect on the passes at turn six, including Sebastian Vettel’s celebrated move on Daniel Ricciardo. Therefore we should continue to see good passes at later races without resorting to more DRS changes.
And DRS continues to make some overtaking moves far too easy. For teams like McLaren with their lack of horsepower, DRS turns the difficult task of keeping cars behind into an impossibility.
But I’ve never thought DRS was a good solution to F1’s problems and that hasn’t changed. Nor do I like the panicky, knee-jerk rules changes which have become depressingly familiar in F1 over recent seasons.
I think the full impact of this year’s new rules still isn’t fully understood and may not be for several races. I think now is the time for patience.
The fact that DRS was almost irrelevant for the front runners and with Seb's ability to overtake organically means F1 may get better.
— Jeremy Mahovlich (@Bug_OutKustoms) April 9, 2017
#ChineseGP 🇨🇳 was a big step up from the Australian GP which was a bore 😴. Shows that overtaking & exciting racing is possible this season🏎️
— Ali (@ChocMilkSheikh1) April 9, 2017
F1 has come on so much this season already. All they need to do now is get rid of the Prius engines and get rid of DRS/KERS.
— Dougie (@Spin_Maestro) April 9, 2017
F1 finally good racing, good to see 🏎
— charliewatts (@chazwatts46) April 9, 2017
So the new rules to make F1 more interesting have done the opposite again. Thank God Ecclestones not in the picture anymore
— Heinz Beanz (@Delveyboy) April 9, 2017
New favorite word: DRS-Train #F1
I need to simulate some teammates following each other on track
— THIS IS GAMBI (@thisisgambi) April 9, 2017
— Andrew Whitmore (@AndrewMWhitmore) April 9, 2017
— Peter Dawe (@PJDawe) April 9, 2017
Taken a little while, but DRS is finally working as intended. Making a move possible, not inevitable. The rest is down to the drivers. #F1
— Mike (@MikeAJGriffin) April 9, 2017
— Harjot Singh Mankoo (@harjotmankoo) April 9, 2017
Amazing how little DRS seems to be helping with overtaking. You'd think that this race would have all sorts of DRS passing. #F1
— Steve Murray (@TheSteveMurray) April 9, 2017
— Sean Barron (@SeanShaft) April 9, 2017
— Andy Moakes (@Moakesice84) April 9, 2017
It may not have been a great race but the battling between drivers was good with drivers having to actually work for an overtake #ChineseGP
— Hasnain Aslam (@Hasnain282) April 9, 2017
— Simon Smith (@Sitorimon) April 9, 2017
The false narrative of no overtaking in F1 continues. The first half of that race was pretty incredible if you ask me
— Matt H. (@Indycar_MN) April 9, 2017
F1 fans wanted less DRS passes, more proper overtaking, they get that, and STILL moan. Strewth. Never, ever happy.
— Mike (@MikeAJGriffin) April 9, 2017
— BerMay (@theDeloreon) April 9, 2017
— Jonny Huntridge (@jhuntridge) April 9, 2017
— Brendan McCallion (@brendiano101) April 9, 2017
— Simon Hallows (@HallowsSimon) April 9, 2017
Not bad this @F1. Less overtaking but pilots are making each one count.
— pstraussbr (@pstraussbr) April 9, 2017
This years 54 overtakes in #ChineseGP easily outranked the 161 from last year. DRS should just get you in position and you do the rest 👍🏽
— villan (@VillaFaz) April 10, 2017
Todays Contribution? #f1 problem solved – make more overtaking possible by limiting no. of laps where DRS can be deployed. Simples.
— Seb Matthews (@sebmatthews) April 5, 2017
Somebody explain F1 please – 5 overtaking manoeuvres in an entire race (cf to 35 last year) ?! What is remotely entertaining about that ?
— Lee Brooke-Pearce (@LeftHandLee) April 6, 2017
— Joseph Madden (@Hyper200) April 7, 2017
Has made F1 almost too rigid, too boxed in. That's ultimately why overtaking is now created artificially. Teams can't do much else
— Holly (@hollywn) April 7, 2017
I'm still not convinced there'll be more overtaking even though the cars are faster #F1
— Kwame (@1baako) April 8, 2017
— Hoops (@HooperF1) April 9, 2017
Should F1 make changes to DRS to aid overtaking? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.
Do you agree F1 should tweak DRS to make overtaking easier in 2017?
- Strongly agree (7%)
- Slightly agree (8%)
- Neither agree nor disagree (8%)
- Slightly disagree (18%)
- Strongly disagree (58%)
- No opinion (1%)
Total Voters: 226
An F1 Fanatic account is required in order to vote. If you do not have one, register an account here or read more about registering here. When this poll is closed the result will be displayed in stead of the voting form.
Debates and polls
- Was Alonso right about Palmer’s “joke” penalty?
- Which new drivers belong on the F1 grid in 2018?
- Was Vettel’s ‘dangerous driving’ penalty correct?
- Do F1’s blue flag rules need changing?
- Should McLaren give up on Honda for 2018?