Two DRS zones ‘may not help overtaking’ – Lowe

2011 Canadian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, McLaren, Istanbul, 2011

McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe says having two DRS zones in Canada may not increase overtaking.

The zones are expected to be situated on the final straight and the pit straight on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Speaking on a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Phone-in, Lowe said: “It’s something the FIA have developed as a solution. This is the first race at which they’ve had the system fully commissioned in order to run two sectors.

“They clearly feel that will assist overtaking since that’s the point of the DRS.

“Whether it does or not remains to be seen. Our own analysis – which hasn’t been extensive, I must admit – seems to say that it may not particularly help.

“The role of DRS will play out mostly in the initial straight from the hairpin and the second straight may just aid with performance.

“In theory, if you’ve overtaken on the first straight, ironically the guy ahead will be able to continue to use his DRS on the second straight, even though he’s already overtaken, and open out a bigger gap.

“So we’ll have to see how that pans out”.

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    58 comments on “Two DRS zones ‘may not help overtaking’ – Lowe”

    1. Unless they use two detection zones? Is that the case?

      1. Robert McKay
        8th June 2011, 11:35

        I think they should use two detection zones, but I don’t think they are using two.

        Anyway this is Canada! We’ve never had much problems with overtaking there in recent seasons, and with Pirelli it should be pretty dramatic anyway, regardless of DRS.

        1. You are correct on all counts. I just hope it doesn’t make the race utter chaos and confusion, especially for the average fan.

        2. I think they should use two detection zones, but I don’t think they are using two.

          Surely that could lead to a situation where one driver overtakes in the first zone, but cannot keep the position because the car he has overtaken suddenly gets to use his DRS and takes straight back

          1. yeah, double the excitement!

          2. And you make this sound like a bad thing why?

        3. I think they should use two detection zones, but I don’t think they are using two.

          That sucks then.

          1. Yea, they should use two.

            That said, i’ve been wrong before regarding DRS so I will wait and see.

            I missed Canada last year so looking forward to it especially.

      2. No, DRS is a ‘dumb’ system, in the sense that there is only one detection point, meaning that the zones are either consecutive or contiguous. If your within one second, you qualify for a double dose of drag dumping.

        The problem with a system such as DRS is that if there are favourable conditions – which DRS doesn’t take into account, hence dumb system – such as a tailwind on the back straight or the tyres rubbering in and working better than expected, we’re going to see farcical overtakes à la Turkey.

      3. But they are currently not able to do so.

    2. They should try a race without DRS at all. I would suggest try it on a track were DRS would be more effective, just to see how overtaking is affected.

      1. If it rains, as is currently forecast with a 60% chance currently, then we’ll definitely see a DRS free race!

        1. Whoops, that read as though it were written by the repetitive department of redundancies bureau…

    3. There’s no harm in trying.

      Besides, this might be the FIA’s response to claims that overtaking is too easy: two DRS zones, but one activation point. This will allow Driver A to pass Driver B down the back straight with his rear wing open, and then use it a second time down the pit straight to open up a bit of a lead, making it harder for Driver B to catch him.

      1. why is that good? so he has been able to pass easy, then pull away easy….that cant be right

        if driver A got DRS to pass driver B in first zone and the Driver B got DRS in the second zone to have an attempt back, that would be far more fair.

      2. graham228221
        8th June 2011, 12:02

        How does that make overtaking harder?

        1. How does that make overtaking harder?

          Because it makes it harder for Driver B to catch Driver A straight away. A lot of the passes we have seen have involved one driver making a pass on one lap, and then the person he passed taking the place back a lap or two later.

          1. I haven´t seen that

            1. artificial racer
              8th June 2011, 23:48

              Me neither.

              Having one activation point for both straights will give drivers a big incentive to “game the system” by staying behind backmarkers until the strategic point. It sounds too lucky.

          2. Mark Hitchcock
            9th June 2011, 13:10

            I wish that was how it’s happened, that would be great.
            Sadly that hasn’t been the case at all.

            Is that you Sir Jackie?

      3. yeah that is awful! they shouldn;t have 1 detection zone and 2 activation zones 1 after the other.
        who thought up these stupid locations? ridiculous.

      4. But in most situations where the DRS have led to an overtake driver A have been faster then driver B anyway, which means that if he is given another DRS shot to open the gap he will just use it and say goodbye and the duel will be gone.
        Isn’t a lap after lap duel what we want or do we want drivers to swap places on the straight and then never see each other again? I know it wont be that bad, but helping the faster driver building the gap certainly wont help to give us more close duels for position.

      5. Laguna Seca
        8th June 2011, 21:17

        Besides, this might be the FIA’s response to claims that overtaking is too easy

        …OR they could change the rules on “aggressive driving” instead of changing the cars.

    4. There was 60 years of F1 without DRS.

      1. true.. but for about 55 of those years there wasn’t crazy aerodynamics, making it hard for a following car to overtake..

        1. Yeah, because high-level aerodynamics was first used in F1 in 2006.

          1. I sense sarcasm? I’m not saying that. I’m saying the way they’ve developed in the last few years results in turbulent air directly behind a car. Because the cars are so reliant on downforce now, if they hit turbulent air, they are a hell of a lot less efficient, thus finding it hard to pull close and overtake.
            My point was that at some point in the last 5 years the aerodynamics went in a direction as to cause this.

            1. But this problem has been in F1 for way longer than 5 years. In the 80s and 90s people said it was hard to overtake (I wasn’t born for half of that, just what I’ve read/seen etc) even though one could argue there was more overtaking back then. Turbulent air has been around as long as the use of aerodynamics in F1 to some extent, even if not as large, so it isn’t exactly a brand new thing.

            2. timi, I agree it has become ever more of a problem.

              But if you look at a lot of races where Hunt and Murray do the commentary they mention just as often how its hard to follow and get past.

      2. 61 to be precise :)

        1. You can blame Colin Chapman for it ;)

    5. As is F1 needs an increase in overtaking at the moment, 1 DRS zone is enough

    6. Overtake and Re-Overtake?

    7. “In theory, if you’ve overtaken on the first straight, ironically the guy ahead will be able to continue to use his DRS on the second straight, even though he’s already overtaken, and open out a bigger gap.

      How awful is that. This will ruin close battles,

    8. Of all the tracks were you might need either big or two DRS zones Canada is not one of them. Valencia yes, Barca yes, here, why? It one of the most exciting races on the grid period. As well as being one of the most conducive to overtaking. Very odd decision indeed by the FIA and one that might have a material effect on the worth of the race, in a negative sense.

      1. although 2007 was a bit processional. am i right?

        1. I think the number of saftey cars didn’t help. Still, in retrospect, it was gripping, if not what you’d want to call entertaining.

          I seem to remember 2007 being something of a nadir for racing, depite the facinaiting championship.

      2. MuzzleFlash
        8th June 2011, 13:01

        That chicance isn’t as good an overtaking opportunity as the other tracks we’ve been to though, so they probably just expect drivers to get close out of there and get alongside into the more overtaking-friendly 1st corner, even though Vmax is before that chicance.

      1. Good point Sato!

      2. Now this would be an awesome place to have our first wet race of the season.

        1. Certainly would. Monaco first SC (and first red flag), now have Canada for the first Wet race? Nice.

          1. Isnt DRS banned during wet races?

            1. It is.

    9. I think we’re all being too quick to judge. At the beginning of the season everyone said it was ridiculous. The after Melbourne they said it wasn’t enough. Then after Turkey it was too much!

      Surely this proves that it is too dificult to predict how it will work. So lets just wait and see!

    10. Pablepete80
      8th June 2011, 15:10

      So the situation arrises that driver A is in the DRS zone and overtakes Driver B in the first zone and gets an additional boost in the second zone and pulls out a small lead. Surely if Driver B is quicker than Driver A then he will be able to do the same, back to driver A, next lap or so. Then once past his lead will only extend as he is quicker. Now if Driver A is quicker (hence being in the drs zone in the first place) and pulls out a lead surely as he is quicker he is always going to pull away anyway. So why all the fuss.

      1. it’s making it way too easy for the faster driver. DRS was only meant to make overtaking possible, not easy.

    11. dyslexicbunny
      8th June 2011, 15:34

      Not a fan of it but I suppose we’ll see how it works out. I think it’ll be worse for racing for reasons mentioned above.

    12. Two DRS zones at Montreal could work, but not on two straights separated by a chicane.
      I’d prefer to see one on the straight that leads to the hairpin near the end of the lap, and the other on the pit straight.
      The run from the exit of the hairpin to the last chicane is long enough for a decent tow, without DRS.

      A separate issue, must be the tyres. How long will the Pirelli’s(even their hardest compound) last? If harder Bridgestones got chewed up, will the hardest Pirelli’s only last 10 laps?

    13. Ok, fine. What happens, when driver B has old tires at the end of the race. Driver A comes up from behind with new tires & DRS?

      It’s going to be so silly.

      I like DRS but I don’t think it’s needed at all in Canada. Why must we have it here?

      Also, why when the safety car comes out are lapped cars not allowed to unlap themselves? It’s ruins what could be an exciting restart with cars in order of positions with blue flags being waved.

      1. why when the safety car comes out are lapped cars not allowed to unlap themselves?

        They tried that for a couple of years but it was taking too long. F1 tracks are generally quite long and the time taken for the cars to re-join the queue means it was extending safety car periods by around two laps.

        Indeed, the rule proved so problematic it was even being ignored on some occasions so races could finish under ‘green’ rather than safety car conditions.

        More: Massa wants lapped cars out of the way – do you agree?

        1. A bit of common sense!

          Why don’t just the lapped cars get back to their actual position?

          So if a lapped car is #15, then he move back to being the 15th race car behind the SC.

          So under SC the cars on the lead lap would be allowed to pass the lapped cars which are ahead of them.

          This would be easily and fastly doable.

    14. i wish they would just ditch drs completely, its done nothing but harm my enjoyment of the races all year.

      i hate it when you have the prospect of a good scrap for position only for the car behind to hit drs and simply drive straght past.
      its the same with the tyres as well sadly, when you have a car on new tyres catching one on old were not seeing any good fights over the place, were just seeing the car on fresh tyres catch & almost instantly pass (vettel on Button/webber at barcelona).

    15. I’ll just share my twitter message i sent to the bbc guys during practice at Barcelona:

    16. I rewatched the 2010 GP at Montreal the other day (I rewatched last year’s season over a few weeks in January and now I rewatch, if I want to, last year’s GP before a certain round) and it was last year’s most popular round for a reason. Montreal is a very racy track, that’s nothing new. And we didn’t even have a SC session.

      While rewatching it, I kept thinking about what two DRS zones would do on such a straight/slow corner track, let alone one. DRS will allow most cars to overtake in the first zone, but a second zone immediately following it is pretty lame.

      I think that on tracks like Montreal, there should be NO DRS zones (after all, it adds diversity to the entire DRS concept, a few rounds not using it) and just leaving KERS, being the weaker aid, would be a big strategy for drivers to map out a lap.

      Because with either of these aids, overtaking is quite possible.

      1. without*

    17. The use of two DRS is nothing but stupidity by the FIA.I don’t know why they are doing? Whether to give the car that is overtaken in the first DRS to fight back in the second DRS zone or just to increase the show?

      1. The worst part of it is, both zones have the same detection point (technical constraint for the FIA), so its not even able to do that, just get an even bigger advantage to the following (passing?) car!

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