FIA confirms details of Valencia’s two DRS zones

2011 European Grand Prix

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Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Valencia, 2010

The European Grand Prix will be the second race this year to feature two DRS zones per lap.

As in Canada, there will be only only detection point, meaning a driver can continue to use DRS in the second zone even if they complete a pass in the first zone.

The zones are positioned on two of the longest straights on the Valencia street track:

DRS zones for Valencia

Drivers will be able to use DRS at all points on the track during practice and qualifying as usual.

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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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    86 comments on “FIA confirms details of Valencia’s two DRS zones”

    1. Is there any reason why there can’t be 2 detection points?

      1. I heard that the system can’t function properly if the two DRS are too close together, though that could be rubbish.

        1. That and giving the defending driver the chance to simply breeze back past would defeat the whole point of having the DRS in the first place.

          1. But surely it would make sense to disable DRS for a driver who made the overtake on the first straight. Otherwise that’s giving far too much advantage to an already faster car.

            Or have they not figured out how to enforce something like that yet?

            1. It would be and I think they haven’t.

            2. I agree, once you pass once car, you should have your DRS disabled automatically.

          2. The point was to increase overtaking to improve the spectacle. If a defending driver has the chance to regain their position, that’s fair, and a good thing for the sport. At the same time, drivers who are lapped or holding up a faster car may not be able to go for an overtake because they are chasing a car that is faster, and probably won’t be able to gain. Although, in some cases, the overtaken driver would be able to lunge up the inside…again, adding to the spectacle.

        2. No, its like that. I think Whiting said as much, and you can also hear Sam Michael talking about it in the last episode (#26) of The Flying Lap with Peter Windsor (worthwile interview).

      2. No budget for the second computer.

        1. Ooops. Forgot my sunglasses, hopefully no one recognized me.

          1. Sunglasses? I always thought you were meant to be The Stig :)

          2. Your blanked out there, but we are scanning you right now. ;-)

          3. HounslowBusGarage
            23rd June 2011, 21:01

            Lol. Too late, I’ve got your photograph.

    2. I’m interested as to why they decide to have two DRS zones, one being 285m after turn 10.

      Why not just have a single zone for the entire ‘straight’ between turns 10 to 12. If that’s not good enough, why would they place DRS Z1 285m after turn 10? Why have two zones? Is it a sort of compromise that’s supposed to be better than the entire back straight of T10-12?

      I’m not really a fan of the double DRS, nor do I see any logic in it!

      1. Because it’s almost a curve. Not that I think there’s anything wrong with that, adds a bit of skill to it, but you know how paranoid the FIA is about stuff like this

        The reason there’s two zones is in case it doesn’t work first time out, which I could see being a big possibility in Valencia.

      2. Doesn’t really matter, it’s not that effective at lower speeds

      3. You’re right, activation 2 is too far from the detection point!

      4. HounslowBusGarage
        23rd June 2011, 21:06

        The thing is that the DRS switches off (wing gap closes) immediately the driver applies the brakes. So if they want the DRS to cover a straight into a corner and the subsequesnt straight after the corner, they have to have two DRS zones.
        Personally, I’m not over happy with one Detection zone followed by two Activation zones; seems like a double whammy.
        Even more personally, I’m still not convinced by DRS at all. i’d like to see one race without DRS at all to evaluate how much ‘real’ overtaking there is courtesy of the Pirelli tyres.

        1. We have had two races that were essentially non DRS: Australia and Monaco. In Australia the tyres made the race more exciting, and in the case of Monaco would have made the race more exciting had the red flag not been thrown.

          1. In Australia the DRS zone added a lot of overtaking.

            Although of course it will never compete with cars driving past each other at 2 second lap time differnces due to the tyres no.

        2. Well, in Canada probably wouldn’t have breezed past Schumacher in Canada. Which means we wouldn’t have got that great ending to the race.

          But credit where credits due. It’s helped to make for some thrilling racing.

          I am almost a DRS fan. If there was no DRS, and Button did catch Vettel, he’d still be stuck behind.

          It’s only because the DRS makes passing easier that it pressures the guy in front to push on. We have seen this several times this year.

    3. McLarenFanJamm
      23rd June 2011, 18:32

      Keith, where you get this information from?

      1. It’s part of an FOM press release or something, either way it’s official.

      2. McLarenFanJamm
        23rd June 2011, 18:36

        Sorry, that should say where DO you get this information from?

        1. The FIA.

          1. McLarenFanJamm
            23rd June 2011, 18:42

            Thanks, that’s really helpful

            1. It’s up every on the FIA website under the F1 Media Centre.

    4. Can you still activate DRS if you are upside down and in the air?

      1. To infinity and beyond!

      2. Driver Reduction System ;)

        1. Driver Redundancy System ;)

      3. What a random question! However, we have heard before that F1 cars generate enough downforce to drive on the top of tunnels, so maybe you can…

        1. Has this theory been tested? (and no I’m not talking about the SLS ad)

          1. Not sure if has been tested or not, but I remember Martin Brundle saying it, therefore it must be true!

            1. It’s true in theory. F1 cars produce more than enough down force (or lift in this case) to over come the forces acting to pull them back down. So in terms of physics, there is nothing to say it can’t be done.

              However… No one has actually tried it out. -.-

        2. What a random question!

          It’s obviously a reference to Webber/Kovalainen last year.

      4. Can you still activate DRS if you are upside down and in the air?

        Only if you’re within one second of the car in front and in the designated DRS zone … and only if you have the most tenuous grip on reality. If you’re upside down and your biggest concern is whether or not you can use the DRS, you probably shouldn’t be a racing driver. Or allowed out in public unsupervised.

    5. Elliot Horwood
      23rd June 2011, 18:52

      Really dont like DRS. Skill drove Schumachers car to 2nd and DRS Demoted him to 4th.

      1. Luck and judgement got him up the 2nd, skill kept him there for a while, then DRS and a slower car eventually allowed 2 faster cars to pass him, then skill+DRS kept him right behind Webber at the finish in a slower car. Sounds right to me.

        1. to 2nd*

          I don’t see how 2 faster cars being able to get past a slower one is unfair. Schumacher re-overtaking Webber in a slower car would have been unfair, but he couldn’t.

          1. So it’s unfair for a slower car to overtake a quicker one?

            1. I would be if DRS did that yes.

        2. disagree completely, drs is a disgrace.

          its stupid to give such a large advantage to the car behind just because he is behind. as montreal the non-drs cars were completely defenceless & could do nothing to defend against the car behind which was using drs.

          its not racing, its ridiculous.

          1. It is not giving an advantage just because they are behind, it is giving an advantage because it is a quicker car being hampered by the dirty air of the slower car in front.

            However, I do agree that DRS is giving too big an advantage to cars behind. I would like to see a return to the one DRS zones of Malaysia and China, which seemed to have the zones placed just so, so that faster cars can get alongside slower cars.

          2. This will sound argumentative, but there’s nothing I can do about it on the internet:

            Schumacher defended against Webber for… what was it, 4/5 laps?

            And Schumacher, Webber and Button all stuck in dead procession for 10 laps because of turbulence IMO isn’t racing, it’s ridiculous.

            I don’t think that being stuck behind a moderately-to-slightly slower car for 20 laps because of aero-loss is some sort of respectable or ancient part of racing. If a driver infront keeps it on the island there’s nothing much you can do but stay a fixed distance behind him, unable to get closer without understeering off the track (not even God could add downforce or widen the tyres while sat in the cockpit). DRS gives someone a chance to overcome that and, if they really are faster, get away so that the other guy doesn’t do the same. The faster you are, the higher you finish. Very fair to me.

            Without DRS in Montreal, none of the top four would have had to have any driving skill or speed to merit their places. Just trundle around and you never get challenged by anyone, and you never get close enough to the guy infront to pass. Just drive round and round and round.
            As it was, Schumi defended excellently, Webber went deep into the chicane and lost a place to Button, and Button’s DRS-induced overtake threat pressured Vettel into a mistake. Better racing IMO.

            P.s. Agreed that it’s important to position of the DRS right.

            1. Agreed. I think in time, things like the Turkey debacle will be forgotten and not repeated.

              The problem for the FIA is that this is a very hit and miss thing.

            2. The problem with DRS is that it is a bandaid solution. It doesn’t fundamentally solve the problem, it just provides a patch for the aero problem. A return to ground FX could have been a real solution but they’ve ditched it.

            3. Fully agreed that’s not a permanent solution.

        3. Didn’t Schumacher use DRS to get past Heidfeld?

          I’m guessing that’s different though …

      2. You have to remember that quicker cars were rendered slower behind Schumacher due to driving in dirty air, which allowed him to keep that place. What DRS did in Canada is let two faster cars go past and allow one of them to challenge for the lead. Say what you like about it, but we simply would not have got the thrilling final laps we got with Button and Vettel without DRS.

        1. Just because one car/driver is faster than another does not mean it has a right to be ahead of it.

          Some of the greatest drives in f1 history have been because a driver in an inferior/slower car was able to hold off drivers in faster cars.

          Racing is about defending just as much as its about attacking/passing. If you take away the possibility of a slower car been able to drive defensively to hold off faster cars then its no longer racing.

          Watching Button & Webber simply drive clean past Schumacher because of DRS with Schumi able to do nothing to stop them to me wasnt racing, it was stupid.

          A driver driving the wheels off a slower car to get towards the front should be rewarded & applauded, Yet with DRS there brilliant driving is penalised as soon as they get to the DRS zone & in my opinion that isn’t correct.

          1. spot on mate

          2. There is no defending ‘skill’ on show when your car’s aerodynamics make it impossible for a faster car behind you to pass. I agree with @hey above – people are getting too hung up on DRS being unfair when I think it is more unfair that a faster car and driver cannot do anything because all their front downforce is removed when they are close enough to make a move.

            The system isn’t perfect, but until there are serious revisions made to the aero rules I would rather stick with it.

        2. It was pure luck, not DRS, that gave us a close finish in Canada. If Button had caught Vettel 2 laps sooner he would have breezed past and DRS would be derided for the mistake that it is.

          We have seen good races this year and that has clouded the issue of whether DRS is a good thing. DRS hasn’t resolved the overtaking problem, it’s created artificial position swapping that is no more satisfying than watching one car stuck behind another.

          DRS may equalise the dirty air, but only on part of the circuit. On the rest of the track the same old problem still exists and that’s not good enough. We need a better solution that allows genuine racing throughout the lap.

          1. But without the DRS Button would have caught Vettel and been stuck behind, and F1 would have been derided for how impossible it is to pass.

            (Like it has been in the past)

            We need a better solution that allows genuine racing throughout the lap.

            It’s very easy to say that, and no one will disagree with you.

            But neither you or myself are putting up our hand with ideas so I think it’s a bit rich to expect anyone else to.

            1. without the DRS Button would have caught Vettel and been stuck behind

              That’s why, as a critic of DRS, I want a real solution to the overtaking problem. Nobody is saying that DRS should be scrapped and the problem ignored.

              neither you or myself are putting up our hand with ideas

              I have plenty of ideas. There is/was an overtaking working group that should have sorted this problem long ago. The wide front wings they introduced were a fiasco and DRS is another badly flawed concept. I guarantee I could make a better job of increasing overtaking. See, I’m putting my hand up.

        3. Yes that’s exactly it!!

      3. Skill drove Schumachers car to 2nd and DRS Demoted him to 4th.

        No, better traction than other cars in the wet drove him to second. Worse traction in the dry demoted him to fourth. It was inevitable that Button and Webber would have passed Schumacher. The DRS just meant it happened sooner rather than later.

        1. thats actually not correct.

          schumacher was able to extend the gap under traction exiting the hairpin & he was able to pull a nice gap down the straght. it wasn’t untill webber & button entered the drs zone that they closed the gap by a massive amount.

          if he was passed because of poor traction then the cars behind would have been closer to him exiting the hairpin yet they were not.

          1. If Schumacher had such phenomenal traction out of the corners, so much so that Button and Webber could only catch him with the DRS, then please answer me this: why couldn’t Schumacher catch back up with them?

            The answer is simple – the Mercedes had better traction in the wet. Once the dry line appeared, the advatnage was quashed. The problem is that the Red Bull had the worst traction out of the corners, so Webber naturally slowed Button down a little bit, which is why Button needed the DRS. If Button had the chance to catch Schumacher on his own terms, the McLaren would have been clearly faster.

            1. he couldnt catch them back up because of the pointless 2nd DRS activation zone.

              meaning there was no chance of michael being within a second of mark the lap later.

              and of course the red bull is much quicker car.

        2. It was inevitable that Button and Webber would have passed Schumacher. The DRS just meant it happened sooner rather than later.

          And you’re happy with that? Happy that drivers can use artificial assistance to easily gain a place instead of having to fight for it. Button turned down an opportunity for a classic pass on Schumacher into the hairpin because he knew the DRS zone was on the following straight. It is beyond me that anyone who enjoys F1 can find that acceptable. A better solution than DRS is sorely needed.

    6. i like DRS but 2 zones and 1 detection point is just plain silly

      they fu@#d Michael last race and it is not funny

    7. At least in mario cart you got different power ups each time through the “detection point”. Like the single mushroom, triple mushroom, patch of oil, banana, red shell, green shell. Schumacher was a sitting duck in Montreal, and they were both going through the detection point so I don’t get it! How come Micheal couldn’t plop a banana out the back of his Mercedes? Leave it to the FIA to not even get a video game crossover right… Maybe Nintendo threatened legal action?

      Sarcasm aside, things are getting a bit out of hand.

      1. If we are to use crude Mario Kart analogies, lets say that for arguments sake all karts have the same speed, but faster karts are recognised by having the more shells it has. Old F1 was like drivers in front continuously having lots of banana peels. No matter whatever a faster driver did behind them, short of blowing up the car in front or waiting for a mistake, the car will stay in front because the amount of shells was less than the bananas that the guy in front has (or in real terms, the speed of a car behind was being neutered by the dirty air).

        What DRS should do is give more shells to a driver, in order to cancel out the banana peels the driver in front has, letting the faster driver use one shell to get nearer to the driver in front and overtake. Although, DRS arguably can now be seen as giving so much shells to a driver behind that they can blast the driver ahead out of the way.

        1. The end of your comment is the point my sarcasm was trying to get at. Micheal was sans-bananes in montréal. In the past, overtaking was not absent at many circuits. Silverstone, Monza, Montréal, Spa, Japan, Brazil. These are good tracks where driver skill could make up for aero wake issues and make a pass stick. One could argue that it’s a circuit problem, not a car problem.

          Also, to return to the mario cart analogy, both cars receive a limited number of bananas/shells. They get them by driving through a ? labelled “randomiser” and that’s what they get until the next one. I was ok with drs when the distances seemed more towards a conservative helping hand versus the insisting fist of istanbul or the double whamy of Montréal. It should not be an inevitability that the car in front gets passed. It should just be a possibility, and the FiA need to review the idea that at some circuits, it already is, so DRS should be used very very sparingly. And if not, drivers will be required to broadcast radio messages of “yipee!!” every time they press the button.

    8. DRS is over a huge area here, wow!

      Activation point 2 is just after a quick series of corners which should bunch drivers up, more so than the final chicane in Canada.

    9. Something I think tells the story regarding DRS is that I would say that more fans are now turning against it.

      I’ve read a lot of websites, blogs & message boards recently & most of the comments from the fans looks to be Anti-DRS. I’ve also spotted many fans in these places who were Pro-DRS who are now against it.

      1. The main problem has been the point of activation.In Turkey it was too long where in Spain & China the length was perfect.FIA is finding it harder to have a nice balance for it.Another thing that is destroying it is double DRS.After the car behind me passes me there is nothing I can do to attack him in the next corner as he will still have the pleasure of using DRS.I guess with the tyres this year we needed any DRS but if they have it they need to work on the length of it & also they shouldn’t have two DRS that’s just rubbish.

        1. Count me in the “turned against it” camp. Double DRS is just making things a joke. We shall see how it pans out in Valencia, but in Montreal where defending the narrow dry line should have made defense easy, defense was sort of just postponing the inevitable. The only way I could see 2 mushroom boosts DRS zones working is by spreading them to opposite sides of the track, with separate detection zones. Anything else is just weird.

        2. but even at china (and sepang) wher the drs zone was supposedly ‘perfect’ there was still plenty of cars simply driving by other cars in the middle of the straghts due to the drs.

          even at melbourne where drs was considered to be ineffective we still had cars simply cruising past others because of the drs:

          the one race where we havn’t seen cars simply drive by others due to drs was barcelona and that was more because of the super slow chicane causing the car behind to lose ground under acceleration than the length or placement of the drs zone.

          1. even at melbourne where drs was considered to be ineffective we still had cars simply cruising past others because of the drs

            Where is the evidence that Alonso used his DRS? There is no on-screen graphic to show as much. It’s also fairly obvious that a) the Ferrari had better straight-line speed than Mercedes in Australia, b) Alonso got a better drive off the line than Rosberg, and c) Rosberg went defensive onto the marbles – three factors that all contributed to Alonso coasting straight by Rosberg.

    10. Will the FIA allow to have double DRS zone where ever they want or it is now mandatory for all the races?

      1. They’re still experimenting with it. The future of DRS implementation depends on the results from testing in Montreal and Valencia.

    11. I am two minds on this. I agree with the positives and the negatives.

      Hellfire, Everyone is right! (imo)

      Anyway, Why can’t we have a system where a driver can use DRS like, 10 times in a race for 6 seconds each or something.
      I think that would work better.

      1. Even once a lap? Each driver gets to use it once a lap wherever they want for a maximum of x seconds or some such buisness? What we wanted is to reduce the bottleneck of a faster car behind a much slower car (a la alonso in abu dhabi) but surely we did not want to dispense with longer duels between two drivers in similar machinery? We have gained in number of passes, but lost out in quality of battles.

        1. We have gained in number of passes, but lost out in quality of battles.

          Then you clearly haven’t been watching for the past few races. The only battle that has been “lost” was Vettel-Alonso-Button in Monaco, and that was because of the red flag rules.

    12. Stop the DRS mayhem please !!!

    13. People whinge about the DRS being artificial.

      But I bet that if we had a race without it, they would whinge about how there was no overtaking and how no-one could catch Vettel.

      1. Agreed, DRS is something that could potentialy make this GP ‘entertaining’. A word that you wouldnt normally associate with Valencia.

        The only thing i have a problem with is the length of the DRS zones. I dont like the passing to be too easy, but this is something that obviously the FIA have very little experiance of at each track what with it being DRS’s first year in F1. Hopefully it can be perfected for 2012.

        1. DRS is something that could potentialy make this GP ‘entertaining’

          A better solution to the overtaking problem would make every race entertaining. DRS is currently getting in the way of finding that solution.

      2. People whinge about the DRS being artificial.

        Critics of DRS want a better solution to the overtaking problem. Supporters of DRS are misguided. They credit DRS for the racing this year which has been created by the Pirelli tyres. They ignore the many flaws that DRS has. Supporting DRS is supporting fake racing.

        1. Its a mixture of the 2.

          Both DRS and Pirelli have helped with the increase in overtaking/racing.

          Fake racing or not… its entertaining for the fans and so far has contributed to what i can only call a potentially ‘classic’ season. I mean jesus, we have Vettel that has already pretty much wandered off with the championship but even so the season has been brilliant so far.

          1. Fake racing or not… its entertaining for the fans

            Without DRS we would still be having an entertaining season. If we had a real solution to the overtaking problem then maybe we would have a classic season.
            Why settle for ‘fake’ when we could have the real thing?

          2. if drs is so great then why is it losing fan support?

            here, on forums & on places like james allens blog, the vast majority of drs related comments are negative.

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