Massa: DRS already an “automatic reflex”

2011 Australian Grand Prix

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Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Barcelona, 2011

Felipe Massa says he is already so comfortable with the Drag Reduction System he hardly thinks about it.

Writing on the Ferrari website he said: “Before I drove the car for the first time in testing, I was really concerned about what it would be like having all these systems to control and buttons to press, with the wing, with KERS and so on.

“Then, after the first few days of testing it started to become automatic and, together with the engineers, we came up with some good methods to be able to operate these systems without affecting your concentration and your visibility of the track without taking your eyes off the road.”

He said using the system was now like an “automatic reflex” for him after using it extensively intesting:

“Actually in terms of running the adjustable rear wing, we did thousands of laps using it, so we are fully aware of how to run it – you press a button, the wing moves and drag is reduced and I would estimate the car goes between 12 and 15 kph quicker than before on the straight.

“In practice and in qualifying, you can use the wing as much as you want, even on the shortest straights. This is something we concentrated on a lot during the winter, so that it becomes an automatic reflex for the driver as you drive the car.

“That means we have a good understanding of how to use it to improve performance and lap times, but when it comes to using it in the race, when you cannot use it all the time and it is simply an aid to overtaking, then in this situation, we do not have a clear picture of how effective it will be. I am sure it can help, but we must wait and see what is the true situation in a race.”

He added that the change of tyre supplied would be a bigger change for the drivers to come to terms with than DRS.

He said he no longer has the tyre warm-up problems he had last year: “While KERS and the rear wing will have an impact on the races, the biggest change of all in terms of its influence on the character of the race weekend is perhaps also the simplest, which means the arrival of Pirelli as the tyre supplier.

“Getting to understand the new tyres has been one of the most interesting aspects of the winter tests and for my part, it’s true I don’t have any difficulty warming up the tyres which was a big problem for me last year.”

2011 Australian Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    30 comments on “Massa: DRS already an “automatic reflex””

    1. I suppose the drivers who used KERS in 2009 probably found it slightly easier to get used to the combination of KERS and DRS in 2011.

      1. I second that.

      2. Although Ferraris system had a pretty bad effect on brake balance they had to ofset, and Massa had only half the season to use it.

        Still he will be better prepared than a driver not using it at all. And they he had over 700 laps of running to test it during the winter.

        I hope Massa gets going fine right from the start to make it a 2 horse team this year.

      3. In principle it should be an advantage for the teams using it in 2009 and for the drivers having experience with it.

        Especially for Kimi, Lewis, and Heikki who had it working on the car all year and less so for Nick Heidfeld, Fernando, Fisi, Robert, and Massa who experienced only some races using it (crossed out the drivers who have experience but will not be able to use it this much year).

        And Ferrari’s system was pretty awkward with its influence on the brake balance, that will be a bit different with the updated system.

      4. In autosport i read that Ferrari is using a clutch pedal for shifting DRS and KERS. and thus they are able to gain advantage in using DRS and KERS.

    2. Does anyone think that this could disadvantage McLaren for Australia? They have exceptional drivers but if Massa thinks it will take a few hours to get up to speed, that McLaren may not have, will practice be sufficient to help them qualify well? Obviously, I do not know the McLaren updates throughly but I believe they are better over a single lap, so no testing may hit them even harder.

      1. Hey i dont think this could mean disadvantage for Mac caz they can still practice this in their simulator….. so………

      2. The disadvantage comes from their car and not from their drivers having to press a few buttons. :-)

    3. I remember reading somewhere that Ferrari were using a pedal to operate the DRS rather than a button on the steering wheel. Does anyone know if this is confirmed?

      1. I’m a little surprised it isn’t the standard method, to be honest.

        1. There was a life-size picture of the Red Bull’s steering wheel in a german tabloid.
          The KERS and DRS buttons were left and right, so you can use both thumbs to “boost” the car.

          It looks like Fast & Furious… But it seems easy to use. And easier (also less weight) than having an additional pedal in my opinion.


        In this video they had a pretty good way of it as well for buttons for KERS and DRS. Looks like it would feel pretty natural quickly. But a pedal might be much more clever actually! When you get the coordination right.. Or it would feel just like taking the left foot off the brake and putting it on a rest beside the brake.. Should feel very natural and would be very easy on concentration as well! Since it’d be nothing to think about at all on straights. Just natural.

    4. I still say it’s a bad thing to let them use it at all in testing and qualifying.

      But good news for Massa, it would be a shame to see him lag behind for another year. I say he might even get a few victories this year, who knows what else?

      1. The start of the season is the key – if he can get an early win or two, maybe Turkey, who knows what he can do after that.

        Having said that, he got poor starts to 2007 and 2008 and had a good year, and got a good start to 2010 and had a poor year, so there is always an exception to every rule!

    5. Tom, Dick & Harry
      21st March 2011, 15:52

      Sorry if it’s already been mentioned (i may have missed it) but are the drivers allowed to use the DRS in conjunction with KERS?

      1. Yes.

        1. Doesn’t Keith get a “message too short” notification?

    6. Just glad to hear him sounding confident and a bit more upbeat about things!

      1. Indeed! Although he’s just thrown the gauntlet down to himself saying he has no tyre heating issues ;)

    7. Replace ‘DRS’ with ‘being a supporting role to Fernando’ and it reads just aswell..

    8. I’m sure Massa will use the DRS a great deal when un-lapping himself.

    9. Imagine, if we had had the DRS last year, the most controversial moment of the season would never have happened and team orders wouldn’t have come back.

      1. Unless Massa had been defiant enough to get his own back one lap later ;)

        This of course also depends on where they can actually use it.

      2. Great point Icthyes!!

    10. That a boy Felipe! I like that sound of confidence in his tone. I think we will see a much more competitive Massa this season boys.

      1. I hope so… otherwise we will hear the “FELIPE ALONSO HAS A BETTER TIRE THAN YOU DO YOU UNDERSTAND?” Then Felipe answered: I just get out from pitlane one lap ago! No Felipe, I repeat do you understand?

    11. Seems like he has done his homework for the winter very well? He isn’t complaining about anything.So will we see a new improve Massa for this season?

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