FIA bans drivers from using DRS in Monaco tunnel

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: the FIA agrees to a partial DRS ban in Monaco after some drivers objected to it being used.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

FIA agrees to Monaco tunnel DRS ban (Autosport)

“[Charlie] Whiting had said last weekend that he did not believe that safety matters relating to Monaco were enough to justify banning DRS totally at Monaco. However, not all drivers agreed with the decision and had continued to lobby him for a unique DRS ban in the tunnel.”

Kubica out for season, says Renault team owner (Reuters)

“We will probably manage for [Kubica] to do a Friday session at some point in the year but for sure his return this season will not be possible.”

Mark Blundell on Twitter

“Please don’t shoot me as I was just a driver steward for the weekend, if you are unhappy then contact FIA direct, don’t shoot the messenger please.”

Via the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app

Prince’s visit puts Bahrain back on agenda (The Times, subscription required)

“As Bernie Ecclestone, the sport’s commercial rights-holder, seeks ways of shuffling a crowded roster of races, Prince Salman bin Isa Hamad Al Khalifa came and went from the packed paddock barely noticed. He spent much of the afternoon closeted in the McLaren motorhome and was gone as the chequered flag fell.”

The logistical challenge of Monaco (Force India)

“You end up storing some things in the garage, some things in the trucks, and you go and get it when you need it. One will end up in the multi-storey car park – where the GP2 teams are – and another is in an area beyond the far end of the paddock where they reclaimed some land a few years ago. And the fourth is parked outside Monaco, just where you come off the motorway. That will contain things that you’re not going to need in an emergency, because you need time to get up and get back.”

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

TommyB89 is having a hard time picking a Driver of the Weekend:

Vettel drove arguably one of his best races. He didn’t win from pole, had to overtake several cars after his pit stop and resist the huge pressure from Hamilton.

Hamilton drove an incredible race to finish 0.6 seconds off an unbeatable Red Bull on a Red Bull favoured track

Alonso did amazingly well to keep Webber behind him for so long. His incredible start led to him leading many laps in an average car.

Heidfeld, while not making as many places up as Webber in China, drove a great race. He started from last on the grid and remember the Renault isn’t nearly as quick as the Red Bull.

Other shout-outs to Button, Schumacher and the Sauber guys.

All I know is that it definitely wasn’t Felipe Massa.

Cast your vote here: Vote for the best driver of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend

From the forum

Ell – along with many other people – wants to know what happens to Red Bull’s qualifying advantage when the race starts?

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Pete Walker!

On this day in F1

Jenson Button’s accidental visit to the Red Bull garage during the Chinese Grand Prix is not his only example of poor parking.

Two years ago today he won the Monaco Grand Prix – then accidentally pulled up in the wrong place and had to run on foot to the podium.

After Sunday’s race his girlfriend Jessica Michibata taunted him about it on Twitter saying “Yes, honey, remember Monaco in 2009?”

Image © McLaren

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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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79 comments on “FIA bans drivers from using DRS in Monaco tunnel”

  1. Just as I thought would happen, DRS banned in quali. Hopefully that’s one of RBR’s quali advantages gone. Come on Mclaren! ;)

    1. Read the first ‘quali’ as ‘Monaco’

      1. SVettel (@)
        24th May 2011, 7:20

        I reckon that thr Red Bulls, with all the extra downforce, will be faster around Monaco than the McLarens, as in quali, they’ll be able to get their DRS open earlier at Casino, Anthony Noghues, and Tabac. And, they might be able to get it open all the way around the swimming pool chicane.

        1. Monaco is not about downforce, its about mechanical grip.

          1. ^ What Rob said. Although the downforce still plays a big role, driver skill tends to shine through at Monaco. I’m very excited about this year’s Monaco Grand Prix, as it has the potential to be exciting without rain!

  2. Webber went from 18th to 3rd, 15 places. Heidfeld 24th to 8th, 16 places. Go for Heidfeld.

    1. Wow, a great point you bring up there Rob!

    2. If we go by that, then Kobayashi’s feat is greater. He was dead last after the first lap and possibly almost half a lap behind. Yet he finished in 10th place.
      Heidfeld would have made up places at the start. Kobayashi had to first make up the tme deficit, before he could the start getting pst cars.

      1. +1

        Keith mentioned it on the Sauber team review, but other than that Koba didn’t receive a lot of attention (this time). I also thought that his performance was excellent. I was following the race very closely and I didn’t think for a minute that he could come back (ok, he was aided by Massa).

        The one thing I am afraid of is that Ferrari will never look at him as a serious candidate to replace Massa. Perez is a member of the FDA and he has more commercial potential (US is so important for Ferrari).. But ok, they might keep Massa against all odds.

    3. Although the cars between 24th and 18th are going to be somewhat easier to pass than those between 8th and 3rd…

    4. There wasn’t much more Webber could do, and Heidfeld could have passed the two McLarens.

  3. regarding the ban in the tunnel, whilst I’m not sure if its the right choice, it could make for a far more interesting quali as i feel only the RB’s would have got round there with it comfortably open, giving them even more of an edge.

    With regards to what makes them so quick in qualy compared to the race I think its a mix of two factors. Firstly, they can open the DRS in places others couldn’t dream of and secondly, i suspect they have a very agrressive version of these engine maps which are causing such trouble, that keeps 100% of the exhaust gases when off throttle. This would obviously be very hot, which would then give a possible reason for their lack of quali dominance in malaysia where it was very hot and they reported having to make compromises. Perhaps not running this engine map in quali was one of them.

    Im not the most technically minded so this is just vague speculation but it seems to make sense to me.

    1. Makes sense to me too.

    2. Good point I hadn’t thought of a very aggressive overrun engine map – would explain why they aren’t as quick in the race as well as they would have to pare back the throttle map to conserve fuel.

  4. A tunnel ban seems fair. I don’t actually think it will cause them any problems if they could deploy it in the tunnel, but safety is paramount.

    Good insight from Force India too. I knew things were tight, but not that tight! GP2 in a multi-storey car park? Ha!

    Oh and good COTD. Inclined to agree with most of them.

    1. If memory serves, I think the Formula BMW paddock at the 2008 Singapore GP was also located in a repurposed car park near the Singapore Flyer. The other support classes (Aston Vantage Cup, Porsche Cup) were crammed under one of the grandstands.

      Street circuits make for inventive use of existing space!

      1. Yup. This is right. In 2010, the Support Paddock was under the Flyer Carpark, between turn 5 and turn 20. Will probably stay there this year as well

        1. In Monaco, the pitlane is here:

          The paddock is here:

          and that multi-story car park is hidden under here:

    2. Oh and good COTD. Inclined to agree with most of them.

      Congratulations Tommy! (Lucky sod! :P)

    3. Yeah, I agree there Andrew banning the DRS will be fine, it was the one place where it might have caused problems with getting a car out.
      If done here, I guess the Spa ban for Eau Rouge is one on the same theme. Fast swoop not waiting who has the guts and pulls it off totally flat and who gets hurled off thrack daring, but not making it.

      That COTD is a good one as well. Agree 100%, went with Vettel in the end.

  5. Oh and I remember Button having to run all the way back…that seemed to talk him forever but it’s one of the best Formula 1 memories I have. That level of dominance for a driver of Jenson’s history was fantastic to see. He knew it would be short lived and he enjoyed every minute of it. I miss 2009 for that reason.

  6. If safety was paramount they just wouldn’t bother with drs at Monaco at all. I don’t see how the tunnel is any more dangerous than any other part of the no run off nightmare that is Monaco.
    Roll on Thursday

    It Still minds me up that the fool who threw his steering wheel out the car is the one most vocal in his complaints about safety…

    1. You honestly don’t see why the tunnel would be more dangerous?

      1. Because the front of the car would be pulled upwards and start to go into a back flip when DRS is activated in the tunnel because the air pressure is differant inside?


        1. I was thinking the same a while ago but wasn’t sure if I was looking too much into it ;)

      2. You honestly don’t see why the tunnel would be more dangerous?

        You honestly believe the drivers are stupid enough to try it? They know where the limits are. They know that they can get a faster time when they use the DRS, but they also know that you can’t get that faster time if they park it in the armco.

        I still do not understand why people assume that a) there will be a DRS-related incident, and b) it will result in deaths or injuries simply because it’s the DRS and the circuit is Monaco. Sure, it’s a possibility – but most people simply believe it’s an inevitability. I’ve also noticed that msot of these people are from the anti-DRS crowd. Coincidence? I think not.

        1. I’m generally not a fan of the DRS being limited in its use, but on this point I agree with you completely. People are being irrational.

        2. You honestly believe the drivers are stupid enough to try it?

          Yes. F1 drivers are not more intelligent than any other human being, i.e. not at all. If they are offered such an option, they’ll take it whatever comes. So an DRS ban in the tunnel is important.

          1. But like I said, they know where the limits are. If they feel things are getting out of hand, all they have to do is take the DRS off. They may not be smarter than other people, but they do know racecraft better than us.

          2. But PM – it’s not like pressing the accelerator a bit more, a bit harder, getting braver, until you can go flat around Eau Rouge.

            You go round once or twice, think “yeah, I’ve got good grip”. The natural racing instinct is to say “OK, lets see if I can get the flap down then.” (If and?) when you land in the wall, you’ll look a bit of a plonker, but sooner or later someone would have got it wrong…

        3. I agree with PM. It’s like saying that if the drivers had the option to remove both the front and rear wing in order to obtain a great straight-line speed, they would blindly do so. They know when to make compromises, and they know when to accept the limit, so banning the DRS in the tunnel won’t change anything as far as I am concerned.

          1. Actually, a better example; it’s like banning the throttle pedal. No-one’s silly enough to take Loews hairpin flat. :P

        4. I guess they would try it out carefully during FP sessions and come qualifying all of them would know it’ll be possible only for the Red Bull cars and possibly one or two others, as you say.

          I file this under the FIA going with the drivers to avoid discontent, and it helps a bit with keeping Red Bull from absolute dominance, so thats not too bad as well.

          In reality it was not needed to ban it there as it would not be for Spa (drivers test how far they can go there each year, don’t they).
          But its their Call really and it will keep the drivers from complaining I hope.

        5. I would think that likely only Vettel would try it successfully, as his car would allow him to do it safely. So the drivers lobbying for a ban there might have another agenda as well ;)

        6. I’m in the anti-DRS crowd, but if we’re going to have the DRS, then I think its application should be more uniform. This just sets a weird precedent, and I dont necessarily think its unsafe here. Yeah the DRS itself is an on/off switch, but I imagine the drivers would just try going all the way through the tunnel with it on at first, just not at full throttle, and then gradually feed in more throttle to feel it out lap by lap in practice.

    2. If safety was paramount they just wouldn’t bother with Monaco at all

      Fixed that for you.

    3. If safety was paramount, they would park the cars and host a 10K fun run.

      This arbitrary application of DRS is a joke.

    4. If the drivers think it’s better not to allow it in the tunnel, I completely agree with that. There’s a thing called ‘risk’ and it may be bigger or lower, according to circumstances. And I strongly believe it’s somewhat bigger doing over 250 kph in a TUNNEL. We were warned last year.

      If some of you have this all-or-nothing attitude to DRS (and other things), you should also agree that there really shouldn’t be a Monaco GP race at all. But if we assume this is a special race then it requires special treatment and selective applying of some rules will always be a part of it.

  7. I think DRS is going to be less than effective in Monaco. I always opposed the idea of using it during practices and qualifying because I didn’t see a point in it. (Makes overtaking easier but who wants to compete for position in practices and qualifying – well sometimes one wants to, but it’s available to everyone so ‘argument is invalid’.)

    Anyway I think it’s going to be ineffective because the only point where there’s a slight chances of making a move in Monaco is right after the tunnel – and the DRS zone is going to be elsewhere. So there’s only going to be the ‘usual’ amount of overtakings in that area – from which Alonso showcased some last year after he arguably thrown away the WDC in Massenet in hindsight.

    The layout of the Ste. Devote since 1976 doesn’t make it possible to make a move there. It’s not easy however to make it right because the original Ste. Devote would hardly need a lift nowadays, and there’s a compromise when placing the apex: make it too tight and secure a line for only one car, or make it to ‘wide’ and the brake zone won’t be long enough.

    Anyway time to go back to a race where careful planning worth more than reactive strategy.

    1. I always opposed the idea of using it during practices and qualifying because I didn’t see a point in it.

      Qualifying is compeltely different to the race. On the one hand, qualifying is about pace over a single lap, with fresh tyres and super-lght fuel load. On the other, the race is all about managing fuel levels and tyre wear over long distances. They’re so completely different that they could easily be treated as separate disciplines.

    2. I think DRS is going to be less than effective in Monaco. I always opposed the idea of using it during practices and qualifying because I didn’t see a point in it. (Makes overtaking easier but who wants to compete for position in practices and qualifying – well sometimes one wants to, but it’s available to everyone so ‘argument is invalid’.)

      The idea is to force the teams to change their gearing so they would not run into the limiter when applying the DRS in the race.

      1. Yep, I forgot about this. In fact I just realized this is the only way for it to work. My bad.

    3. Thing is, if the teams can’t use it during qualifying and its not really effective for a 300m “straight”, how many teams will bring special Monaco wings without it even installed to get better downforce and possibly weight distribution?

  8. Isn’t Barrichello’s Birthday today?

  9. The performance gain from DRS in Monaco is miniscule anyway, so it’s banning doesn’t really matter.

    1. it’s not banned, just banned in the tunnel.
      elsewhere on track it will be permitted, and also the DRS zone has been set around 300m of the main start/finish straight.

  10. The banning of using DRS in the tunnel was unnecessary in my book, but it is another fine example of the over-regulation that is going on in F1 today. Could the FIA not have accepted that these are not only the best racing drivers in the world, but grown men who are capable of making decisions for themselves. I firmly believe that if a driver thought it was unsafe to deploy DRS in the tunnel, he wouldn’t have deployed it. You only have to have watched 15 minutes of F1 this season to know that the drivers only deploy DRS in areas they think its safe, and only when the car isn’t heavily relying on its aerodynamics, the tunnel in Monaco would have been no different.

    1. I guess the argument here was, the drivers did choose for themselves as they were lobbying for this ban all the way.

      Only point they have is, it might otherwise have got to a situation where a team pushes its inexperienced driver to use the DRS there, even if he feels he is not up to it.

      1. precisely. And if i’m correct, it was Barrichello, head of the drivers union group thing, who is also the MOST experienced of all drivers, who was most opposed to it.
        Yes, we should trust them to put their own lives in their own hands, but why allow something risky, when the drivers themselves agree that if none of them can use it there, they’ll all be happy. It places an unfair choice in the hands of inexperienced drivers, and those of less aerodynamically efficient cars, if Red Bull can get away with it, and to some extent Ferrari, Renault, Mclaren etc, the do or die likes of Kobayashi, Perez and co might give it a go, put their own lives at risk, as well as potentially risk the entire running of the grand prix whose safety concerns are already enough for people to begin voicing that it should be dropped for being too dangerous for 21st century spec open wheel racing (that includes GP2/GP3 who are as fast as F1 were years ago).

  11. JamieFranklinF1
    24th May 2011, 7:48

    I agree. These drivers DO know what their limits are; and if they didn’t think that they could use the DRS in the tunnel, then they wouldn’t. Especially as the penalty for getting it wrong in Monaco is pretty high.

  12. “Please don’t shoot me as I was just a driver steward for the weekend, if you are unhappy then contact FIA direct, don’t shoot the messenger please.”

    See Mark Blundell, internet F1 fans dislike you that much that they are willing to put their differences aside with regards to the rules/the FIA/ Team Orders/ Artificial Racing just to throw bile at you.

    Jonny Herbert doesn’t have this problem when he’s a steward.

    1. Why was Blundell criticised? Nobody has been unfairly penalised all year. Indeed, the McLarens did not get penalised for not slowing under yellows in Barcelona – they jsut got a reprimand. So what the hell did Blundell do wrong? Or is this just a case of Spain being upset that everyone who beat Alonso did not get a two-lap penalty?

      1. Not entirely sure but the BBC team tried to interview him post-race and he said he couldn’t say anything about the decision because the FIA wouldn’t let him.

      2. Nah, people are just throwing bile at him for no reason, thats kinda my point really.

      3. Ask Keith writes, he reacted to questions put to him on Twitter about giving more information after the BBC interview got him lost for words, because of this ban on information.

        Keith even asked him to give a tip whom at the FIA to contact to get more info.

  13. If DRS in the tunnel is too dangerous to use why don’t they not use DRS in the tunnle rather than banning it?

    I think its because the redbulls could use it in the tunnel, maybe some other teams and Barrichello is too scared.

  14. Hurray for COTD.

    As for DRS, I haven’t a clue what it’s going to be like in Monaco.

    1. Well done! What’s your grand total now? Icthyes and Steph were bragging the other day on Twitter about how many they had! :P

    2. That was a very good one at it as well. I had trouble choosing for the sheer quality of driving (save Massa) in Spain as well.

    3. And a well-deserved one too!

  15. HounslowBusGarage
    24th May 2011, 8:50

    if it’s been decided that DRS should not be used in the tunnel, and you said “If DRS is unsafe for Monaco, then Monaco is unsafe for F1”, do you now believe the tunnel is unsafe for F1?

    1. No, because I’m not Charlie Whiting!

      1. LOL, although it seems even Whiting does not think it unsafe, just giving in to the demands by the GPDA.

  16. This Monaco DRS issue is just noise.
    If a driver doesn’t feel comfortable using DRS he won’t use it. Case in point, Barcelona, Redbull could deploy their DRS before even getting into the start finish straight, during qualifying, Mclaren didn’t have the downforce to get away with it, thus they didn’t deploy it until they were level with the pit straight.

    The same will apply in Monaco. During free practice, drivers wille explore the limits, and then decide. You don’t need to be a genius to conclude that there is very little space available for deploying the DRS effectively.

    1. Not quite as simple because making a mistake while ‘exploring the limits’ in the Monaco is far more riskier, and not only to the driver.

      1. How many crashes have we seen due to DRS so far? Sutil span his car in qualifying in Melbourne arguably due to the DRS. After that we have seen no spins and no accidents while the drivers exploit the limits. We have seen other crashes in the Monaco tunnel in race condition. DRS is only going to make them go a little bit quicker, it is not going to make the difference. It might make them spin, but then they have to deal with it. That is a part of their job. If they don’t want to risk crashing they should just not use it. The drivers know the limits, and if someone makes a mess of it he has to deal with it. Just like he would have if he locked his front wheels into the chicane after the tunnel.
        The DRS is a button on the wheel. The driver have the choice whether to use it or not. Just like he can choose to turn left when he should turn right, or go full throttle when he actually should be standing on the breaks. They have control of their own car. They are racing drivers and they take risks, but they are not stupid.

  17. Can wait to see Kubica in that LRGP, even though it could be only on friday. Unfortunately it won’t happen at Monaco where he was always mighty.

    1. Yeah, back to friday drives befor getting itno a race winning car next year!

  18. Does anyone know which drivers were against using DRS in the tunnel? If they were from some of the top teams could it be a tactical move to slow the Red Bulls down knowing there was a high probability of it being banned.

  19. Correct decision about DRS, the drivers decided, that is good enough for me.
    As said before we don’t need an additional risk no matter how small.

    1. Some drivers – not all.

      1. Yes, very true, I guess the RBR drivers didn’t for a start, they would want it. Maybe a bit of game play in some peoples view, granted.

        On another note, Hamilton: “We have something good coming for Monaco.”

        Must be something in the pipeline that they only just couldn’t get on the car for Spain, unless its Monaco specific. Not exactly much extra time to get something on the car between the two races, the development race is fascinating.

        1. Agreed. You have to take the drivers view with a pinch of salt like we saw in Korea last year. Hamilton was itching to race in the rain, probably because he knew he had a good wet set-up and backs himself in the wet. Other drivers were saying it was too dangerous, probably as they didn’t have such a good wet package, ie redbulls would much prefer a dry uncomplicated race.

          Cynical yes but at this level of sport everyone has their own interests firmly at the top of the agenda.

          1. Is there any such thing as a good setup for rain?
            Rain can be unpredictable, and can surprise even the most capable driver. Hamilton probably just believes he can control a wayward car with his reflexes while others probably didn’t feel very comfortable.
            Likewise, some drivers feel comfortable having to wait for a delayed start, while others get more tensed up.

  20. This might not be a popular question, but where have all the drivers’ gonads gone? There has not been a single F1 driver killed in nearly twenty years – before that, only one at Monaco compared to three at Silverstone, three at Brands Hatch (and seven at Indy, but that is a bit different), etc.

    I’m not saying that safety is not important, nor that an accident can’t happen. The good side is that cockpit cells are much stronger, fire risk is way down, and so on; on the other hand really good tracks have been closed (Charade, Nurburgring) in favour of artificially wide run off areas – and still some of the GPDA members are whining.

    I’ve been following F1 for sixty years, I personally knew quite a few of the drivers in the “old” days, I was a marshal at Monaco in 1967 the year Bandini died, Patrick Dépailler was a close friend, I respect Jackie Stewart for 99% of his safety work, but motor sport is dangerous by definition yet F1 is probably the safest formula.

    If these drivers want a walk in the park, they should get a pet poodle, not a 700hp open wheel car attached to a mega-buck contract. There’s no glory without gonads.

  21. Anyone think this will be a problem?

    “Pick up truck caught fire and burned brand new Tarmac at turn in point to Monaco St Devote, first corner. Urgent repairs

    Taken from Martin Brundle’s twitter.

  22. How are they going to police the use of DRS in the tunnel? Driver agreement or sensory-nonsense?

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