Valencia also has DRS zone reduction

2012 European Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

The FIA has reduced the number of DRS zones for the second race in a row.

As in Canada two weeks ago, Valencia’s two DRS zones have been reduced to one.

Last year there were activation points at the exits of turns ten and fourteen. This year drivers will only be allowed to use DRS on the straight following turn ten during the race.

This single DRS zone is slightly longer than that used last year – drivers will be able to activate DRS 70m earlier.

The detection point remains essentially unchanged – it’s still on the approach to turn eight, but two metres earlier than last year.

2012 European Grand Prix

Browse all 2012 European Grand Prix articles

Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

46 comments on “Valencia also has DRS zone reduction”

  1. Apart from Monaco, this is the circuit that needs DRS the most.

    1. @kingshark – I’d say it needs a few layout changes before we talk about DRS.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys I had an attempt at Montréalanizing the track:

        In this config there’s three heavy braking zones after coming out of a traction zone and the rest is fairly quick and not very dependent on downforce, just like Île Notre-Dame. My only concern is the safety in Turn 2, but it seems doable to use the road next to it as runoff and also temporarily remove the parking garages.

        1. I like your idea of a hairpin, this track just needs a classic overtaking spot like Adelaide used to have. I’d just join up turns 12 and 25 and have shorter, faster laps (and a safer pit entry).
          Pity to lose the fast curves (19-25), they have one or two nice camera shots, but that section adds little to the racing.

          Beats me why they keep putting up the same track year after year. At least they tried to improve the layouts in the old US street races (Long Beach, Detroit and Phoenix).

          1. Beats me why they keep putting up the same track year after year.

            Because it is very difficult and very expensive to change the circuit layout – and there is no guarnatee that the changes will make the racing better. And when you make those changes, they need to comply with the FIA’s rules on circuit design. Given the cramped surroundings of the Valencia circuit, there is very little that could be done feasibly. Although you could theoretically extend the circuit beyond turn 2 to connect up with turn 5, the actual road there is really quite narrow. Widening it to meet the minimum FIA standards for circuit width may well be impossible.

        2. @necrodethmortem – That’s pretty much what I had in mind, too. Although I wouldn’t draw out the approach to the bottom hairpin quite so far.

          The other extreames would be to:

          a) Connect turns 12 and 25 so that the cars do half of the current lap. This would reduce the distance of one lap, thereby raising the number of laps and turning the Grand Prix into something of a sprint.

          b) Connect turns 12 and 25, then running the cars backwards through turns 24, 23, 22 and so on until the cars get to turn 13, at which point the circuit links up with the main straight, turning Valencia into a figure-of-eight layout. This would require the construction of a purpose-built flyover in order to work.

          c) Connecting turn 5 to turn 7. This would preserve the overtaking point at turn 2, cut out an unnecessary chicane, and raise the approach speed to turn 8. However, it would require dredging part of the harbour and demolising a building.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys I deliberately made that part after the bridge look like Tamburello-Villeneuve-Tosa for old times sake and to make the approach to the next hairpin longer. I left in 20-24, because it’s the only good part of the current circuit. Turn 6 would be a wink to Blanchimont.

            There is simply no room to pull off your plan B, because to meet FIA standards of undulation, I think the flyover would have to be close to 1km in length. And besides, I doubt it would improve the racing much.

            Your plan C (I think you mean land reclamation instead of dredging btw) would improve the track a bit, but it needs way more substantial changes than that.

        3. I clicked on that link and my office firewall flagged the website up as containing ‘adult’ material. I had no idea people used the internet for such things…

          1. Really, Hairy Palm?

            Oh sorry, Harry.


      2. True. The circuit design is atrocious. It fails to ‘flow’ and in no way is the track identifiable besides the non-straight start-finish straight and the back straight. Unfortunately, it’s very much a high downforce track, and will suit the Red Bull tremendously. Their top speed disadvantage is also very much negligible. Not going to bother this weekend.

        1. I like that you just assume Red Bull will win. If Canada taught us anything, it’s that although the RB8 doesn’t have a narrow temperature range for its optimal performance the way the Mercedes or Sauber does, it does have the highest ‘swtich on’ point. Temperatures have to be very high in order for the RB8 to come alive, which makes it very sensitive to changes in the local climate.

    2. Race stats from 2011 race: Total ‘normal’ overtakes – 5, Total DRS overtakes – 22

      Yes, it definitely needs DRS, but that just shows the layout needs changing.

    3. Much like the other 2008 addition to the calendar, Singapore, Valencia is a track that could be vastly improved by chopping off the latter part of the course and drastically reducing its length. Go straight on (-ish) at turn 13 and head back to the start/finish line.

      It would bring lap times down, get the cars lapping in traffic more and close up the field. That’s a quick-fix way to make it into something almost good enough to deserve a Grand Prix.

      1. Much like the other 2008 addition to the calendar, Singapore

        I actually kind of like Singapore. Yes, it’s chicaney in the back half, but it’s also murder on the brakes and it’s a proper street circuit with bumpy roads (rather than the smooth circuit in Valencia), so it really pushes the mechanical limits of the car. Maybe the cars could go the long way around the War Memorial, and skip the section under the grandstand (or even become a figure-eight to deal with the nasty bottom chicane), but I think circuits that take a lot out of the cars and drivers give them a little extra character. Singapore is perhaps the closest thing Formula 1 has to an endurance race, and I don’t think that’s necessarily something that should be given up lightly.

        1. Agreed, I think Singapore is a good track. I think if Keith’s idea for shortening Valencia actually happened, the best part of the circuit would be gone which is sector 3.

          1. For me, sector 3 is one of the most pointless sectors on the calendar (with the exception of the final turn, a lot of people run wide there). There is nowhere to overtake, it is not very challenging for the drivers, and it is overall very boring.

      2. Seems you’re not alone in thinking that…
        Just been looking at all the pictures from the Williams track walk, and by the end they’re complaining about the heat and the length of the lap!!/WilliamsF1Team

        Good luck to all the nutters who try and run a lap of the track in that heat.

    4. The 2 DRS was definitly the best part of last year Valencia with the pass and pass back at the next DRS zone, that was quite something to make a pass stick and putt some movement into the race. Don’t know what we will have this time around, probably another procession, They should all putt the same color helmet for this venue, it would be like a group of tourists following the guide …

  2. I called it first: it’ll still be impossible to overtake.

    1. Exactly. With or without DRS, that doesn’t make much of a difference here anyway. It’s 100% a strategy and tyre wear affair.
      Valencia – one of those places where quali is more interesting than the race itself.

  3. With 2 DRS zones last year it was one of the most boring races of the season and I don’t expect anything better this year, though the idea to get rid of second DRS zone and lenghten first DRS zone makes more sense. But if the race turns to be interesting (it’ll be a surprise) it will be because of tyres. High temperatures will play into Lotus and Sauber hands, and I hope they are in the mix for win this weekend.

  4. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
    21st June 2012, 10:46

    It’s funny how DRS zones are shrinking. I think that tells us something. We don’t need ’em!

    1. It tells us that the tyres are making the race more interesting than the DRS zones

    2. @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk

      It’s funny how DRS zones are shrinking.

      Really? Because the article makes it pretty clear that this year’s DRS zone has been extended by seventy metres. I’d hardly call that “shrinking”.

      Sure, the second DRS zone has been removed, but the two-zones-with-one-activaition-point concept was unpopular from the moment it was announced, and the experiment of it largely failed.

      1. It says right in the article that there were 2 detection points at Valencia last year…

        1. Are you sure?

          Last year there were activation points at the exits of turns ten and fourteen.

          If you follow the link to the article from last year, there is an image – like the one posted in this article – that clearly shows a single detection point on the approach to Turn 8, and activation points before Turn 11 and after Turn 14.

          1. Me fail English? That’s unpossible!


      2. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        22nd June 2012, 8:59

        I based my ‘shrinking’ observation on the assumption there seem to be less DRS zones than last year and if even the existing ones are slightly bigger the total metres of DRS would have shrunk 2011 v 2012.

        However to be sure I guess we need someone to do the maths. For the GP’s (so far) 2011 v 2012 DRS total metres…. I can’t find the figures anywhere. Anyone know?

  5. Still one of my less favourite tracks on the calendar. It’s just another circuit really, nothing special and very little character. You can never beat the classics like Spa, Monza, etc.

    1. “Like racing in a supermarket car park” – M Webber

    2. You can never beat the classics like Spa, Monza, etc.

      I think you can. You just need to stop trying to break circuit design down into a mathematical equation (ie long straight plus sharp corner equals overtaking) and take a more holisitic design. People mistakenly point to elevation being the defining factor in a circuit’s value, citing Spa as an example of this. But in a past life, Silverstone was a World War II runway, and as a result, it is actually very flat, which contradicts this “elevation is king” idea. Similarly, Abu Dhabi has thirty metres of elevation in the first sector (by comparison, Eau Rouge has forty-two), so by popular theory, it should be a good circuit – but it’s not.

      The reason why Spa and Silverstone co-exist as excellent circuits despite contradicting the theory that more elevation will always equal a better circuit is that they were both designed with a holistic approach. Every single corner subtley affects the way a driver must approch every other corner. Silverstone works because a driver does not simply set his car up for Copse. He must set it up for Copse and for the Vale. Likewise, a driver must consider both Pouhon and Les Combes when setting the car up for Spa.

      The good news is that in recent years, we have seen a trend towards experimental circuit designs. Korea has three very distinct sectors, with the design of each taken to extremes. The end result was that in 2011, we were seeing cars set very similar qualifying times, but wildly different sector times – for the most part, they were strong in two sectors, but weak in a third because the circuit design encourages drivers to focus on the strengths of their cars. In India, the first half of the Buddh circuit is all long straights and heavy braking zones, but the second half is made up of sweepers, undulations and quick chicanes. It’s almost as if two halves of two separate circuits have been fused together with the minimal amount of work to create a new circuit, and judging by reactions last year, the drivers really do like it (sure, they said nice things about Abu Dhabi, but when they got out of their cars in India, they were grinning – they clearly had fun). And Austin is perhaps the most experimental (and the riskiest) of all, taking “all the good bits” from other circuits and melding them into one, then adding varied elevation for good measure.

  6. Ken (@myxomatosis)
    21st June 2012, 11:31

    The rules state that DRS can only be used if the driver is 1 second, or less, behind another driver at the DRS detection zone. Okay, my question is, how does the driver know he is within that 1 second gap? Is it information he gets from the team over radio? Is there telemetry info he is able to garner while in the cockpit?

    Inquiring minds would like to know.

    1. I think they hear a beep when they pass the detection point within one second of the car in front.

      1. Actually a cheesy American voice comes over the radio saying “Turbo!”

        Bernie is a big Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 fan.

      2. Ken (@myxomatosis)
        21st June 2012, 12:58

        Thanks @keithcollantine

        That strikes me as an unreliable way of doing it though. Unless it comes through their headsets.

        1. @myxomatosis They do, it’s a beep that comes through the ear piece, plus, if F1 2011 is anything to go by, a light appears on the steering wheel.

    2. McLaren probably employ a manager whose job is to say “OK Lewis, you may deploy DRS” in a calming voice, every lap.

      1. Or a Smedley-esque “Keep calm baby, you’re in the zone”

        1. *Keep calm sunshine

  7. Just an idea, would it be possible for a system to be created so that the drs gets switched off when the two cars are level? Instead of the overtaking car simply accelerating past. Should give a similar effect slip streaming used too and hopefully get rid of the far too easy overtaking seen at montreal.

  8. Good news. After removing a zone and shortening the remaining one in Montreal and now removing a zone but lengthening the remaining one it does at least show that the FIA are trying to tweak it. Of course, it will be impossible to measure against last years race but nevertheless, good to see change.

  9. I think this is a bad idea, the first zone is too long and we will see too many ‘freeway’ passes. They should have kept both zones (with separate detection points), and shortened the main zone.

  10. I’ve kind of resigned to DRS but I’ve been watching that cracking battle between Lapierre and Treluyer at Le Mans at it was like a blast of fresh country air after the somewhat stale palor of DRS passes at Canada. That was two cars, battling tooth and nail, relying only on positioning and relative car abilities to pass and defend. It was only a few minutes of a 24 hour race but that sort of thing makes a race. It’s like how one amazing run and goal can make a 90 minute football match.

  11. Rather like the concept that Prisoner Monkey proposed as the modifications to the existing overall layout make sense and could be done easily with the exception of the R turn just after the bridge (not certain what roadway is there as I write). PM’s ideas would certainly pick up the pace of each lap and give us what we want more speed and the need for more balls when passes are attempted. Nice concept…

    Then Keith’s suggestion of just shortening the circuit also has merit. It seems to me that the area he suggests be elimonated has virtually no one there at all. I could be mistaken but there aren’t any grandstands at that end of the track so why not make the changes noted and have a shorter race where fans see more laps and the reinvented track gets a reprieve from the the Axe as it seems likely to.

    It does seem like this DRS nonsense is starting to lose it grip on why it benefits Formula One ( which it doesn’t ) as a number of tracks are reducing or modifying how it is used. We are moving in the right direction…keep the momentum going.

    Although not a fan of DRS, KERS or Pirelli tires I think F1 is quite strong at the moment. The cars look superb, the challenge to win has been the surprise of the last few seasons and with several new tracks now on the horizon Grand Prix Racing is better than ever and the teams and drivers are making the best out of what they have to work with. For Formula One to grow I feel that the gimics presently being used to enhance the racing need replacing by some major rule changes that will allow more freedom of radical design, less emphasis on aero downforce, bigger tires and more mechanical grip and most certainly a reasonable amount of testing during the season to improve performance and elimonate the gimics.

    Formula One has always been about the interaction of man and machine, figuring out ways to be faster or quicker than your opposition. For its own future F1 must make changes in its course and seek to regain what it once was, presently is and will remain in the future, the ultimate challenge of racing.

    1. Can’t agree with everything, but I totally agree with the spirit!

Comments are closed.