FIA confirms Eau Rouge DRS ban at Spa

2011 Belgian Grand Prix

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Drivers can't activate DRS until they've passed through Eau Rouge

The FIA has confirmed drivers will not be allowed to use the Drag Reductions System through Eau Rouge during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.

The teams were told on Monday the use of DRS through the corner will not be allowed at any time on safety grounds.

The DRS zone for the race will be positioned beyond the exit of Eau Rouge.

The FIA previously banned the use of DRS through the tunnel at Monaco.

2011 Belgian 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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    127 comments on “FIA confirms Eau Rouge DRS ban at Spa”

    1. They haven’t banned it at La Source, what if someone uses it there during practice/qualifying and then spins off the exit into the walls? Dangerous!

      The idea of banning DRS at certain corners is ridiculous. It’s application is exactly the same as throttle and anything else associated with driving, and not crashing, or dying in a ball of fire.

      1. Exactly. I fail to see how using DRS through Pouhon or Blanchimont is any less dangerous.

      2. I totally agree.

        They’ve effectively called all of the drivers irresponsible idiots that don’t know the limits of their cars.

        1. In which case Rubens’ mutterings essentially confirm he thinks that of himself.

          1. rubens is one of the drivers who whines like girls and is afraid of pushing to the limit. If it was up to him he would drive a 1.0 v4 because he is afraid of the car. Webber said it right the other day we need the big engines and turbos back and less complaining about racing incidents.

            1. And if it was up to people like you we’d have drivers lifespans lasting like they did in the 70’s.

            2. Not at all. I like watching racing without a constant fear that I’m going to witness a death. I just think that if the other drivers think they can handle it then they should be allowed to.

              It doesn’t help that if spa was a new circuit being designed today then eau rouge wouldn’t be allowed. But it is in F1 and should be treated the same as every other corner. I’d be swayed if we were hearing this as advice from the entire GPDA, but it seems to be only one driver. The others may well have been up to it.

            3. I doubt the FIA acted on the back of just one drivers opinion.

            4. It’s dangerous to keep accelerating at a hairpin too. By and large drivers are sensible enough not to do that though.

              As a driver you are only going to do what will get you around the track quickest. If opening the wing means you are likely to spear off the track, then you’re not going to do that.

          2. Considering the Williams is one of worst cars on the grid and would lose time on everyone except the new teams through Eau Rouge, Raidillion and Hemmel Straight I think it’s in Rubens’ best interests to have DRS banned.

            If 5 or 6 drivers all said the same thing, fair enough, because they know best but Rubens comments have come before he has driven it. DRS is a new system and Eau Rouge is a unique corner, at the very least a decision should be made once the drivers have had the opportunity to evaluate it after FP1 & FP2.

            They’ve raced Eau Rouge in the wet as recently as last year so I’m not buying the whole down force argument. Perhaps there is a case for an unbalanced car but F1 is all about compromise so even that shouldn’t be an issue. If a team is having a lot of trouble it’s not an obligation to use DRS.

            Last year guys were driving through with one hand off the wheel activating a F-duct and there wasn’t any trouble.

            1. Exactly. If it does look to be dangerous, or if quite a few other drivers have reservations then fair enough, but if Rubens is in the minority and the other drivers try the corner and find it okay then he just accept that he isn’t up to it and he can drive it how he wants without using DRS and let everybody else race.

              He may be right but he moans like this quite often and it’s hard to take him seriously.

      3. Well, I’d imagine it’s because Eau Rouge is uphill and has limited run off. In terms of safety, its the clear hotspot.

        It wouldn’t take much for a serious incident there.

        1. Indeed, just look at the historic crashes there.

          1. There were historic crashes at virtually every corner in F1, and they were always dangerous because the cars and barriers themselves were dangerous.

            1. Look at Eau Rouge. How much run off is there?

              Very, very little considering the speed the cars are going at that point.

        2. Eau Rouge is not uphill !!
          Eau Rouge is the kink to the left, Raidillion is the uphill part (take a guess what Raidillion means in french) ;)

          So to make it clear, they can not use it in the kink to the left but they can use it if they want in the uphill part

          1. nice observation

          2. Tom M in Australia
            23rd August 2011, 3:26

            Well I never knew that!

          3. O.o

            I never knew that. Always thought Eau Rouge was the name of the whole section.

            1. The “Eau” in the name is named after the water that flows along a little stream… right at the bottom of the valley.

            2. actually the Eau Rouge is the name of the most sold spa water (spa red), thats why it has this name, linking it to that little stream.

            3. @topdowntoedown below:
              Its called Eau Rouge because the stream has that color

            4. Yeah I’m pretty sure the stream is called eau rouge and it means ‘red stream,’ eau meaning stream or running water or something very similar.

        3. If someone were to crash, they certainly wouldn’t be injured by hitting the tyre barriers, considering how safe the cars and walls are supposed to be compared with 1999, and it’s not likely that the debris will block a significant portion of the track, as was the case with the Monaco tunnel. The FIA should have allowed drivers the choice of whether to use DRS at Eau Rouge or not.

      4. Actually they have banned it from the entry to La Source to the top of the hill past Eau Rouge.

        1. Thanks for telling. That’s quite a long section, though.

      5. Well given that F1 cars are the only vehicles in the world that can take that corner flat out it would suggest that downforce is a huge contributing factor. You lose drag by dropping the wing, you also lose downforce. You lose downforce, you lose grip.

        1. Sorry, not buying it. Eau rouge used to be the domain of the brave. Now everyone takes it flat. This would have been THE talking point of qualifying. Instead we get the watered down safety first shtick. There was a well written article on this very site recently which talked about Villeneuve and Zonta daring each other to take it flat, both crashing, and having a laugh over it. Safety is well and good, but it gets taken too far.

          1. So, I should want to watch drivers take unnecessary risks?

            1. Motorsport is an unnecessary risk.

            2. Isn’t that what they do all the time? In every corner?

              Racing to me is the never ending battle of balance; not brake to late nor brake to early, not carry too much speed into a corner nor too little.

              I think without the DRS at Eau Rough, that section will just be a dull full throttle thing.

              I wonder what Sir Stirling Moss thinks about all this :-)

            3. I think it’s important to remember that even with DRS allowed, all the cars will be taking Eau Rouge full throttle; those without enough grip will take it full throttle, with DRS closed. those with enough grip will take it with DRS opened.

              It’s just a question of how much grip you have. Drivers will only ever deploy DRS when they have more than enough grip.

              It’s faster to go full throttle with DRS closed than part throttle with DRS open

            4. Seriously? The cars are as safe as ever. If Webber can land on his head, Kubica can have a crash like in Montreal 2007 and Massa can take a high speed inpact to the head from a heavy spring. Then ***! Why can’t the FIA just let the drivers get on with it. The entire Monaco circuit is more dangerous than Eau Rouge! The drivers should be trusted to know what the car’s limits are. For the ones with the bottle to try and use DRS there, good luck! If your wrong, you score no points. Play safe, maybe you only score 5th or lower. Maybe you only use it on lower fuel loads and fresher tyres late in the race, and you take the win as a result.

              Little details and driver decisions like these are the reason i tune in. You can go on and on about safety, but when it is dragging down the core characteristics of a sport then STOP, please! Said characteristics, being (IMO) Speed, Guts, Race skills and a cool head. If you have those four traits and a competitive car then you are gonna do well.

              Stop watering it down!

            5. @Nick.UK – All the examples of accidents you mentioned were results of freak accidents. The difference here is that DRS is something specifically sanctioned by the FIA and as a result they have a responsibility to ensure its deployment is as safe as possible.

    2. This is disappointing.

    3. Whats next? Are they going to ban throttles because if too much is applied on certain corners it could be dangerous?

    4. Just get rid of DRS already. If it works it makes overtaking contrived, if it doesn’t work there’s no reason to have it. Incidents like this one and Monaco just make the system even less credible as a viable F1 solution.

      I’m wondering though, how this is regulated. Will the DRS feature be disabled in the same way it is enabled during the race (presumably GPS-based or a detection point) or will the drivers simply have to abstain from using it themselves?

      1. If the lack of a second detection point in cases when they’ve had a second DRS zone is anything to go by, I doubt the technology behind it is any more advanced than apes using sticks as basic foraging tools.

    5. Incredibly disappointing. These are supposed to be the best drivers in the world, they know the risks associated with motor racing. Eau Rouge has been taken flat out for years, not that that’s not challenging anyway, but give them another challenge, like it used to be.

    6. It’s not about taking Radillion flat. It’s about the difference that the DRS makes to the ‘balance’ of the car.
      One half of the car has got vastly more down-force than the other half has, and that’s not something that any driver wants when he’s least expecting it. It’ll break away without warning. Chances are that it’ll be faster through there without the DRS being deployed anyway.

      1. One half of the car has got vastly more down-force than the other half has, and that’s not something that any driver wants when he’s least expecting it.

        If they’re not expecting the balance to change when they consciously hit the DRS by this point in the season…

        Besides, the DRS will have been open since La Source – it’s not like everything will suddenly change at the turn-in. The drivers will have ample time to prepare for a situation they’ll have experienced umpteen times before.

        1. If drivers were worried about balance, couldn’t the settings be changed anyway to allow a slightly higher downforce/drag version for when when the DRS is enabled? Over a whole lap it would probably be worth having a higher drag DRS than a low drag one that the drivers weren’t able to use at all through eau rouge (assuming they didn’t have the balls, which I believe most actually do).

          1. I suppose you could do that but the flip side is would you really want to set your car up for one corner which in reality will not provide a lot of potential to gain time on your rivals. Virtually everyone takes this corner flat these days. You may end up quicker here but slower over the whole lap. I agree with you though the drivers are professionals who are capable of deciding whether or not it is safe to use.

    7. Part of the art of going fast is knowing if and when to lift off or brake; part of the art of winning (what the drivers are paid to try and do) is to stay on the track — “to finish first, first you have to finish.”

      This is just another example of the FIA changing the rules mid-season and kowtowing to the crybabies. What a bunch of wimps …

      1. totally agree

    8. Yet another reason why F1 is fake. I thought it was the driver’s job to drive the car, and up to him how to use the throttle, brake, etc. Bring on the sprinklers.

      Kind of makes me glad I won’t be following F1 next season.

      1. Maybe they should take all of the wings off and then have a go? ;)

        1. We have that already and its called Formula Ford :)

    9. i think that in these unique cases safety should be Concern #1, so i agree with FIA decision. We’ve got used to dangerous accidents where the driver goes out of the car unhurt, but taking Eau Rouge flat without downforce on the rear can be quite dangerous.

      1. Totally disagree. Cars, barriers, and general safety has been hugely improved. You’re saying that because a driver error could occur with regards to a driver operated system, that system should be unusable to everyone. Totally ridiculous.

        “oh god, won’t someone please think of the children!”

        This thing has not even happened yet, but someone has divined in their crystal ball that the potential is there. Adrian Sutil spun out IN the drs zone in Australia. Maybe it should have been banned there on safety grounds too.

        1. Adrian Sutil spun out IN the drs zone in Australia. Maybe it should have been banned there on safety grounds too.

          Calling Sutil an ‘it’ is a bit harsh. ;)

          1. Hahahaha. I see what you did there :p

    10. Their seems to be some concern amongst the engineers as well as the drivers, that due to the unique nature of Au Rouge, the DRS may not function correctly again on the rest of the lap after going through there.

    11. They should also put speed limits for all the turns, so that every driver is safe from going too fast and spinning out of the track.

      1. The safest solution is to simply choose the final positions by lottery, followed by a subdued trophy presentation. Careful, though, not to lift the trophy above the head; it could drop!

        On to Monza!

        1. Champagne will also be replaced by Perrier to send a message about responsibility.

          1. And the Perrier will be flat…to avoid the bubbles going up anyone’s nose.

            1. To make it full circle, why not serve them Spa Eau Bleu? Thats flat.

          2. They should just put all the cars inside a zorb ball, because obviously they would all die if they were allowed to do any racing!

    12. So for the second time in the same season F1 has banned something which is actually a safer version of something the drivers had no problem coping with the previous year.

      The logical conclusion then is that they were negligent in allowing the F-Duct to be used at these same places last year.

      Either way you look at it, it’s yet more joke governance. At least in Monaco the drivers made them do it, what excuse do they have now?

      1. Err…there seems to be some concern amongst the engineers that the DRS may not work correctly if deployed before Au Rouge.

        From Autosport:

        “A failsafe system on the cars, which closes the DRS wing on the cars when the driver hits the brakes, would not work at Eau Rouge because of its high-speed nature.”

        1. Yet there are other high-speed corners where the DRS hasn’t been banned.

          1. And that’s before we even consider exactly how big a drop there is in the ability to decelerate when the DRS is still open. The rear wing is only one component of the aerodynamics, let alone all the effort the brakes themselves put into slowing the car down.

            With every justification I hear it seems that the only real problem seems to be that this is Eau Rouge, in which case, DRS is not the issue

            1. To mirror what Keith said, if DRS is too dangerous for Eau Rouge, Spa-Francorchamps is too dangerous for F1.

        2. What about turn 8 in Turkey? And any one of a number of corners at Silverstone, Malaysia etc.

      2. And thinking about it, earlier when I said the only silver lining was a tiny reduction in the effect that allowing the DRS in qualifying has, it really won’t make any difference except between the very top and very bottom teams (Kovalainen said last year it was a struggle for him to go through Eau Rouge flat, but I doubt anyone he’d be directly competing against in qualifying would be able to deploy the DRS and he wouldn’t).

      3. The same, its by request from (some) drivers.

        I agree with you. Monaco at least had the extra argument, that the tunnel would be bad for access (supporting Keiths argument that in that case the track should not be used at all). Here its just “not being sure” and doing something they did in the past as well – trying to go Eau Rouge flat out with little downforce.

        1. Yeh I read, but in Monaco it was all but Schumacher and Hamilton who wanted it banned. We already have had Liuzzi say he didn’t want it banned here, precisely for the reasons you just mentioned.

        2. Radillion is not so much a corner as a dip in a roller coaster. Apparently the DRS wing cannot return to its full down-force position if the driver should require the use of his brakes in that area. This may then lead to other problems with the wing not returning to full down-force position during the rest of the lap. IT IS A TECHNICAL ISSUE.

          1. I don’t understand this. On many straights DRS is used and the cars go 200mph+ and as soon as they touch the brakes the wing returns to normal. What is so special about eau rouge?

            1. It’s because of the unique nature of Eau Rouge. You get a lot of down force taken off the car as it settles into the dip and then loads put back on it as you come out of the dip. It’s in that area, if the driver needs to use the brakes, that the wing could malfunction.

            2. I expect the chance of it malfunctioning isn’t for all the teams. I imagine some of the engineers are a bit miffed after actually going to the effort to design a competent system. I can understand that difficulties might be caused, but if a team hasn’t designed their wing well enough why should all teams be banned from using it? If a team haven’t done their job they should instruct their drivers no to use it for safety concerns and let the other teams race as it was intended.

            3. because you don’t use the brakes entering Eau Rouge

            4. @raymondu999 I don’t understand your point.

          2. Agreeing with Matt90 on this one.
            If DRS didn’t exist, and Mclaren wasn’t able to take Eau Rouge flat because their diffuser sucked (or didn’t suck enough as it were), would it be fair for the FIA to force Redbull to remove their diffuser because it was well engineered?

            In case your wondering the answer to my question is NO, it wouldn’t be fair. A diffuser is a specific part of the car while the FIA has now proved that the DRS is simply a ‘for the show’ gadget.

          3. Its not that the DRS cannot return to its base position.

            The DRS has basically 2 ways of doing that.
            1st is the default shutting it when hitting the brakes. This doesn’t apply (what you call cannot return …), as its a fast corner where they do not brake.

            2nd is by using the button to oparate it (either letting go of it or pushing it a second time, depending on the system used). This will work, but apparently some drivers are not sure this one works immediately and without problems. If so, these teams should just ditch DRS or redesign it to work properly.

            1. Having now read the BBC piece on it, I have to say:

              Even in a relatively recent case where the majority of the teams couldn’t safely take the fastest corner flat out without risking their tyres, the FIA didn’t change things for safety, resulting in that farcical indianapolis race.

              This is the same, but with a lot less impact, not guaranteed lack of safety, just a worry that some teams might not have gotten the device designed well enough.

              Tough luck for those teams, they aren’t required to use it, just like Williams didn’t use KERS for a few races, and Red Bull had to shut off their KERS at quite a few races. I am sure they would have liked a KERS ban for those too, but did it happen, was it even discussed? Of course not.

            2. Indy was ridiculous- at the least they should have come up with an alternative but only allowed the 3 teams to be eligible for points. To some degree they were right to say to the Michelin teams ‘well it’s you’re fault, if you can’t race it’s up to you.’ They should have intervened for the fans sake, but it was right that those teams were at fault and had to accept that race being a write-off for them. It should have happened in a different way, but it is right that they left the circuit without points.

              In this case if a team is unsure of the safety of their system then they shouldn’t get a dispensation in the rules, they should just not use what could be dangerous and face that if their system had been designed properly then they might have actually had a chance at scoring points. The other teams- and I’m sure there are some who are fully confident that they made a competent job of designing their DRS- shouldn’t be penalised.

    13. can we just get rid of it altogether please?

      1. That’s where this discussion is leading, I think. If an FIA-mandated moveable aerodynamic device (oh, the irony) is deemed unsafe for certain tracks, or certain parts of a track, you’re left with the only logical conclusion: that it’s an unsafe technology and inappropriate for F1.

        1. It’s not mandatory but only a fool wouldn’t fit it.

    14. This made me sad. If its not safe through the Monaco tunnel or Eau Rouge, then it’s not safe for F1. Personally I would have enjoyed watching the drivers fighting the car through Eau Rouge with the DRS, whoever could have done it would have been in with the chance of a better grid slot. Could have been a chance for a Petrov or Di Resta maybe to get in the front 3 rows and shake up the grid. I was willing to give DRS a chance and it does make the racing look more exciting, but this is the final straw for me, DRS should go unless you can use it everywhere in practice and qualifying.

    15. The decision to use DRS or not should be in the hands of the driver. Fortune favors the brave!

      1. But not the stupid.

        1. How on earth can you say it’s stupid?
          These drivers are the best in the world, they race within 10th’s of seconds of each other, they are fully aware of what will stick and what won’t. It’s called finding the limits. the limit of Eau Rouge has been outdone by downforce, hence they have taken it flat out for years. This is supposed to be a challenging sport at the top of it’s game, not a walk in the park. Sad times.

          1. I don’t think he is saying that it is stupid. I think he is saying that there is a fine line between bravery and stupidity. Ironically like genius and insanity it tends to be measured by success.

      2. Unless your first name is Rubens…
        Then fortune favors the Whiny!

        I’m sorry, I had to, I’m sure he wasn’t the only one… :)

        1. If it is as unsafe as he says, why did he drive in the days when F1 was far more unsafe, eau rouge is particular? Surely he would have refused to drive in the past if he had been as whiny as he is now.

      3. plus one!

    16. All this does for me is enforces the need for more testing to be allowed. How can they know if things will work and how if they are not allowed to test them more. That would enable them to know the tendancies of it. then they would not be limited to the little they get each race with free practice!!!
      And as already has been said it questions the capabilities of the drivers, are they not the best of the best in F1???

      1. The entire season is pretty much a test for DRS, that’s why it lacks consistency.

        You couldn’t test DRS anyway, or not in a capacity that wouldn’t be just as dangerous as a race situation. You still need to go flat out to get any benefit from it.

    17. I’m told that going through there with the DRS activated would amount to much the same thing as going through with no rear wing on at all, such would be the change in balance.

      The other thing, of course, is that you would have to set your car up as best you could during practice and qualifying to get through there the best you can. And then come the race you’ve got a car set up for something that isn’t needed any more, since the DRS isn’t activated until after Eau Rouge anyway.

      Apparently there’s a big difference between the soft and medium tyres here, so I’m not too fussed about what happens with regard to the DRS anyway.

    18. Surely this has little to do with safety and more to do with making it a bit of a competition. I agreed with the Monaco decision, this is not so clear cut.

      RBR are likely to be the only ones that could do it, flat and DRS (maybe Mclaren or Ferrari) the rest certainly couldn’t so its no wonder Rubens is beating his drum again, self interest is coming into play IMO.

      One the other side I don’t buy the well the driver should know their limit arguments, even if the car can’t do it there are some brave or stupid enough to try it. Remember the article the other day?

    19. Does anyone know if the FIA has actually tested a DRS-equipped car through Eau Rouge, or is this based on theoretical knowledge, aka guesswork?
      I’d be really disappointed if it hasn’t been tested as the possible danger level will be assumed and not proven. And that’s not a good way to administer a race series.
      In addition, the dependence on DRS and outright speed varies from car to car according to the design, and if the FIA mandated this driver adjustable aerodynamic device as safe at the start of the season, it seems perverse to ban it for one section of one track without prior warning.
      We don’t know for example, that Designer A didn’t sit down and formulate his car’s DRS system based entirely on the performance required at Eau Rouge, only to learn now that his design has been compromised by the very late FIA ban.
      Or did the FIA always intend to exclude this section of Spa, but just neglect to tell anyone?
      Either way, I feel there’s a court case coming.

    20. So DRS can’t be used freely on a Sunday, it now can’t be used freely at all on some parts of a track, it can only be used on a Sunday when it’s by the car behind and that’s only when it’s within a specific distance of the car in front…what on earth is the point in DRS at all? Could they make it any more complicated?

      This has got my goat a bit. Racing for me is about drivers exploring the limits but this has taken away another chance for them to do just that. F1 drivers make decisions how much speed to carry into a corner ever single time they want to turn the wheel. If a car can’t hack it through Eau Rouge then they should use their own judgement and not use it. This isn’t like a fixed car part it’s movable the drivers have the choice to use it or not.

      1. I disagree with you, Steph. I think it’s important to remember that DRS is primarily an overtaking aid, not a tool to assist in making cars produce faster laptimes. The FIA could just as easily have said ‘no DRS throughout all practice and qualifying this year’ but they didn’t. So the fact that they are restricting its use around one corner isn’t really that big of a deal.

        I honestly don’t feel like we’ll be missing out on anything because drivers will still be taking Eau Rouge at incredible speeds regardless. And anyway, how do we know anyone would be able to take Eau Rouge with the DRS active in the first place? I’d imagine you’d need the rear to be as stable as possible if you want to take such a daunting corner flat.

        1. Thanks for the replies Mag and Bullfrog. In love how a fish and a frog have replied to my comments where is Hare when you need him? :):P
          Sorry for that, I’ll get back to the topic now…

          I understand where you’re coming from Mag even if I have disagreed with your stance on DRS since the beginning. I just feel like this is yet another complication and this one isn’t at all necessary. I don’t think we’ll miss out anything but the drivers will. They should be allowed to explore the limits with this like they have at every other track and back off when they feel they have to. I just don’t see why this is suddenly so different especially when last year we had them using the F-duct one handed through the same corner.

          Bullfrog I agree we’ll never know now which is a shame as I’d have liked to see the difference. I think it might have been better before the chicane too but DRS hasn’t really dominated the overtaking and I doubt it will now. I still think we’ll get an exciting race.

          1. Steph:

            I understand where you’re coming from Mag even if I have disagreed with your stance on DRS since the beginning. I just feel like this is yet another complication and this one isn’t at all necessary. I don’t think we’ll miss out anything but the drivers will. They should be allowed to explore the limits with this like they have at every other track and back off when they feel they have to. I just don’t see why this is suddenly so different especially when last year we had them using the F-duct one handed through the same corner.

            Again, I have to disagree with you mate.

            What I’m picturing in my mind is that on Friday, the first driver to really attack Eau Rouge with the DRS active may suddenly lose the back end and ‘do a Villeneuve’. With the speed they’ll undoubtedly be doing, as soon as that happens it’s not a case of ‘will there be an accident’ but ‘how huge will this accident be’. You’re not going to know how the car’s going to handle until you’re already heading up the hill and if it snaps away from you, it’s going to be one hell of a shunt. I honestly am sceptical as to whether drivers would keep the DRS active through Eau Rouge even if they weren’t barred from doing so. But this is all pure speculation at this point and to be honest, I’m not that massively upset that we’ll never know the answer, personally.

            As for the F-Duct, I agree that that was dangerous in its own right but I also realise that the drag reduction from the aptly named ‘Drag Reduction System’ is considerably more than from the F-Duct. So I don’t think it’s fair to compare the two when the DRS works like the F-Duct did but on steroids.

            As everyone knows, I am a fan of the DRS. However, I do share people’s concern about the positioning of the DRS activation zone here. I think drivers have managed to overtake just fine into Les Combes over the years and they don’t ‘need’ the DRS to help them overtake there. If it was me, I’d place it immediately after Les Combes heading into Bruxelles or maybe along the S/F straight as the run to the Bus Stop has produced plenty of overtaking over the years as well.

            1. I’m not sure the DRS has that much of a greater effect than the F-Duct did. I believe the F-duct gave you about 6mph, which is almost 10kph. I’ve seen a figure (on this very site) that says KERS + DRS gives 15kph, so the difference between the two probably isn’t that great, as we didn’t have KERS last year.

              Note also that last year not everyone who had an F-Duct used it through Radillon either.

              And I do think the actual placing for the race is woeful indeed.

        2. But shouldn’t it be up to the drivers to determine for themselves if they can do it/have the balls to try it? I agree that Eau Rouge will still be fantastic, but I agree with Steph that the tweaking of the DRS rules is getting nerve wracking and bordering on comical.

          1. But shouldn’t it be up to the drivers to determine for themselves if they can do it/have the balls to try it? I agree that Eau Rouge will still be fantastic, but I agree with Steph that the tweaking of the DRS rules is getting nerve wracking and bordering on comical.

            I don’t quite see how it’s bordering on ‘comical’ at all. I actually think the FIA have done a great job so far of learning from the DRS experiments they’ve made and are constantly tweaking it as they learn more about it. It would’ve been a very FIA-ish thing for them to say, “right, we’re having two zones for every race until the end of the season to be consistent and that’s that”, but they haven’t. They’ve realised what’s worked and what hasn’t worked and they’ve done a good job of changing things accordingly, in my opinion.

            The thing about Eau Rouge and the tunnel in Monaco is that they are two extremely unique corners. There isn’t anything like those two corners anywhere else on the calendar. The last thing any of us fans want to see is a truly major shunt that endangers the drivers, marshals and fans that can be easily be avoided by simply saying “you can’t use it there”. You can use it anywhere you like on the rest of the circuit during practice and qualifying, so I don’t really see how that’s particularly extraordinary or ‘comical’ at all. And besides, drivers are only allowed to use DRS in the designated areas and in the right conditions during the race, so this really affects practice and qualifying. And as I said above, the FIA could just as easily have prevented teams from using DRS outside of races anyway, so I really don’t understand why so many people are so very upset. But that’s just me.

            1. I actually think the FIA have done a great job so far of learning from the DRS experiments they’ve made and are constantly tweaking it as they learn more about it.

              I don’t agree at all. We saw how powerful putting the DRS on a long straight was in China (so much so that they cut it), Turkey and Canada, yet they’ve put it at the end of another long straight here. If you ask me, the DRS placements have been the greatest contributor to the criticism that it’s a “too easy gimmick” and yet they seem to be persisting down the same course instead of thinking of more novel places to put it.

      2. Yes, a Virgin or HRT couldn’t take Eau Rouge and Raidillon flat out with its wing open, but a Red Bull might have done…we’ll never know.

        I hope this doesn’t spoil the race by making overtaking too easy like in Turkey. That uphill straight doesn’t need any help, it always produces lots of overtaking. I wish they’d put the DRS from Blanchimont to the chicane or something.

      3. Isnt Blanchimont taken flat out? so the drivers wont be touching the brakes the close the DRS there making it as dangerous as Eau Rouge surely?

        oh and make that a fish, frog and rat now replied ;)

        1. I was just about to say what Ratboy said! :D Blanchimont is easily as scary as Eau Rouge, and the run-off area is no bigger. That’s where I think the FIA are wrong. Drivers have been choosing where to use the DRS all season long and we’ve not seen a single accident as a result of it. That wasn’t going to change this weekend because the corner happens to be called “Eau Rouge”.

    21. Not sure this justifies getting rid of the DRS altogether, as some have said. If the FIA had just stuck to it being an anti aero wake device we wouldn’t be having these discussions. I get the feeling they introduced DRS for qualifying to try and further justify its existence in the face of criticisms that it’s a gimmick. They’ve just created problems for themselves to be honest.

      1. I always understood that allowing DRS in qualifying is so teams will be motivated to do their gearing in a way to actally give a speed benefit from using it. Otherwise they might well end up having a completely useless DRS for the race, nullifying what was the target of DRS in the first place.

        In practice its allowed to test where to use it and to be able to decide on the gear ratios.

    22. I guess this is not bad after all… the drivers would still take Eau rouge flat out… but have the DRS enabled for the Kimmel.

    23. Seems fair enough to me.

      Word of advice…remember there is a lump of very fragile flesh in that car before you jump to wild assertions.

    24. I would love to know what buffon decided on the DRS detection point for this weekend. Blanchimonte to the bustop is where it should be-its a no brainer surely?…F1 has become very frustrating this year in more ways than one.

    25. I would like to see DRS through Eau Rouge which should have made the corner spectacular.

    26. How will this thing be policed? Where is the point where you must shut off your DRS, and where is the point you can reactivate it? I assume that once they’re no longer traction limited on the exit of La Source they’ll want to activate it; and similarly on the exit of Raidillon

    27. Accidental Mick
      23rd August 2011, 8:26

      This aplies equally to Rubens (who I like) and to Charlie Whiting.
      It is a fact of life that you get more cautious as you get older. I am pushing 70 but even at 50 I wouldn’t have done some of the things I did at twenty.
      Perhaps Rubens and Charlie should consider handing their respective roles on to younger hands?

    28. I would have thought the DRS zone would go on Blanchimont on the approach to the Bus Stop.

    29. why are they putting the DRS activation zone after Eau Rouge? That long straight was always an overtaking spot. one of the few places we saw overtaking even before Pirelli, DRS and KERS. So why oh why put the DRS zone there? Why not put it on another place on the track that would otherwise not see that much overtaking?

      sometimes I just dont get the FIA.

    30. I havent read every comment, so i dont know if this has already been said ….

      people who say that the DRS is just like the trottle brakes etc are forgetting a key difference, the trottle is effectivly analouge, as in is has a scale of pressure to torque, but the drs doesnt. its “press button lose X amount of drag at the back end.” My point being that its hard to have a little test, you dont know how close to being able to use it you are, whereas the trottle will give feedback, and you know how far you can currently press it.

      i would love to watch the faster cars take the plunge and go through Eau Rouge with the DRS open, i think mclaren, red bull and ferrari (maybe) could do it, but eventually someone lower down is just going to have a go and lose it in the wall.

      (I apologise for the lack of CAPS of “i” and at the start of sentences etc)

    31. Wow, this sucks.

      Eau Rouge is an absolute joke, honestly, in a modern F1 car on low fuel. You can do it easy-flat coming out of the pits for the very first time in practice, but not too many do simply because there is no need to take a risk (in case their is a grip reduction through the corner).

      Using DRS would make it Eau Rouge a bit like it used to. But I think RBR cars could take it easy flat anyway.

      1. and this is a different case to the tunnel in Monaco because the tunnel is easy-flat, but only on lower fuel. And with DRS I’m not sure an RBR could take it flat out except in Q3.

    32. I went to the F1 Calendar on this site and clicked on Spa and looked at the remarks about this track. For Eau Rouge it says…”following the car in front too closely in the famous Eau Rouge means loss of downforce and can spell trouble.”

      So one thought I had reading that is that the drivers have already been accustomed to excercising caution at Eau Rouge, and obviously some have taken it as a personal challenge to not lift when everything in their being tells them to lift.

      I don’t think Eau Rouge is a normal passing spot and so it was never going to be a DRS zone for Sunday…so this is about practice and quali…

      While I can’t knock F1 for being concerned about safety, to me there was already danger at this section, which is the nature of racing and of F1. So to me, to introduce a gadget that is too dangerous at times flies in the face of the direction F1 keeps going…more safety…more run-off areas…dumbed down tracks that many drivers and fans decry as taking away from the way it used to be.

      I’m not a fan of gadgets, I find DRS provides either danger, like the Monaco tunnel or Eau Rouge, or phoney passes making the car being passed look like it is standing still, and this week’s discussion just solidifies to me that they should get rid of it.

      In fact, I am a fan of reduced aero dependancy and more mechanical grip such that a faster car doesn’t get held up for a ridiculous amount of time in a slower car’s dirty air. So if they had less aero dependancy and more mechanical grip, wouldn’t that make Eau Rouge safe without the big debate about whether a gadget should or shouldn’t be used?

      To me it’s bad enough they have this gadget to begin with, but to have to debate it’s use by the race due to it’s dangerous side tells me they’ve made it way too complicated and it needs to go.

      Simplify, stabilize the rules, reduce aero dependancy, keep up the mechanical grip, and we’ll have the famous Eau Rouge showing us which drivers can drive by the seat of the pants and which drivers cannot. The very fact that DRS exists tells me they acknowlege that loss of downforce when behind a car is a problem, and I refer back to the analysis of this track on this site as I quoted in the first paragraph, following a car too closely in Eau Rouge can spell trouble. So if it can spell trouble why don’t they do something about so much aero dependancy rather than intoduce gadgets that the minority of fans agree with and that can be dangerous and make for phoney passing?

      Get rid of DRS, and get rid of so much aero dependancy and we’ll be back to apples to apples racing amongst drivers.

    33. “You can do it easy-flat coming out of the pits for the very first time in practice, but not too many do simply because there is no need to take a risk (in case their is a grip reduction through the corner).”

      Nice to see so many current F1 drivers on here giving us their views.

      1. I’m sure I know more about driving an F1 car than the great majority of F1 Fanatics.

        1. Why do you see lap times reducing by seconds each time round at the beginning of every practice and qualifying session? The grip is not improving by seconds a lap. It’s the confidence a driver has in the track conditions. Once you’ve had a lap around the track you can assess the conditions and on the next lap push towards the limit much more.

          At Spa, this means you have a slight lift through Eau Rouge as you come out of the pits for the first time, and then on your first timed lap, with the confidence in the track conditions at Eau Rouge, they take it easy-flat, without any second-thoughts whatsoever.

    34. If the drivers can handle the DRS at any other corner on the calender, then i don’t see why they would need to ban it from certain corners. The drivers are not stupid. The teams can even simulate before the weekend whether the car would take the corner with the DRS on, i mean, how dangerous can it be? What is next? Speed limits, auto break systems, so the drivers don’t accidentally forget to break into the corner. F1 drivers know what they are doing, and if they think it isn’t safe to do it then they should just just wait with the DRS until after the corner.
      But surely there is a point in them voicing their concerns. If a team that can’t use the DRS through Eau Rouge can get DRS banned there, then that will give them an advantage, or at least evening out their lower overall downforce package disadvantage compared to teams which would be able to take the corner flat out on the DRS.

    35. Thank you Rubens for making F1 less exciting again.

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