Spa DRS zone to be shortened for race

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: The DRS zone at Spa-Francorchamps will be shortened by 50 metres.



Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Back to work at Spa-Francorchamps (Ferrari)

Head of engines and electronics Luca Marmorini: “We are always trying to reduce the inevitable performance drop that can affect engines as they are used, because some engines having to complete two or three races, therefore it?s important to try and maintain the same performance level throughout. If you consider that an engine can lose five horsepower per race, then by the third race it can have lost a total of 15 horsepower, which is a significant figure.”

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes’ Managing Director Jonathan Neale chats ahead of Spa (YouTube)

McLaren’s future ‘never brighter’ (Autosport)

Martin Whitmarsh: “People will and have taken pot shots at us to say, ‘you are distracted because of the vision of Ron [Dennis] for MTC [the McLaren Technology Centre] and other businesses’, but I think people would now say that industrially and economically we are stronger by being more diverse.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011Belgian Grand Prix View (Caterham)

“We have not scored our first point yet, and we have much more work to do to chip away at that gap to the pack ahead, which is now less than one second, but it is fair to say we are disappointed with where we are, as I am sure many people who follow us are.”

Why Caterham?s Leafield move is more than just bricks and mortar (James Allen on F1)

“The Leafield site has a long-established history in F1, dating back to Arrows’ purchase of it in 1993, since Super Aguri’s demise in early 2008 no F1 team has occupied the building. Webb says the passing of teams means some refurbishment has been inevitable ?ǣ with the process expected to be completed by mid-late October.”

No outcome in Verstappen vandalism case (GPUpdate)

“Magistrates in Roermond will not be ruling over a case of vandalism involving former Formula 1 driver Jos Verstappen. The situation has been declared inadmissible after an error was made by the public prosecutor.”

Formula 1 Ross Brawn (Replay Motorsport)

“I don?t normally blub but at Brazil 2009 I did, such was the enormity of what we achieved.”

Formel 1 ??berholstatistik (exklusiv): Mehr echte ??berholman??ver als 2011 (Auto Motor und Sport)

Gallery of great overtaking moves.

Comment of the day

@Melkurion sees greatness in Fernando Alonso’s title bid:

I am seriously not an Alonso fan, but I have to respect his driving, and if he does win the title this year, with a clearly inferior car, it will go down in the books as one of the greatest achievements.

Best comparison I can think of is Alain Prost in 1986 when [Nigel] Mansell and [Nelson] Piquet in the Williams were clearly faster, but he still took the title. And that was only against two better cars, Alonso will have beaten three superior teams if he pulls it off.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Jelle van der Meer, Metrium and f199player!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

It all came together for Keke Rosberg in the Swiss Grand Prix, held at Dijon in France, 30 years ago today.

He scored his first Grand Prix victory and with it took the lead of the world championship.

Rosberg passed Alain Prost – leading for Renault on home ground – with two laps to go. Niki Lauda claimed third for McLaren.

Here are highlights from the race:

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

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  • 59 comments on “Spa DRS zone to be shortened for race”

    1. Sorry Nikki, but I thought you were Johnny Rotten in a butter commercial.

      “Its not about great butter, its about great prizes!”

      1. @keithcollantine, Whatever happened to Dijon?

        1. @splittimes It held one more F1 race in 1984 but then Paul Ricard took over. Then that too was replaced by Magny-Cours.

          Dijon is still going, though I’m pretty sure it’s no longer has a high enough FIA grade to hold F1 races (I expect it’s considered too short, if nothing else, though I’d love to see F1 cars racing on a track with a sub-60s lap).

          It did hold a DTM race in 2009 but they didn’t go back. Quite a few drivers had tyre problems, as I recall.

          Interestingly, Dijon saw the shortest ever lap seen in F1 when Niki Lauda took pole position for the 1974 race (on a slightly shorter version of the track) with a lap of 58.79s. There’s a little more on it here:

          F1 circuits history part 7: 1971-4

    2. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
      29th August 2012, 0:21

      I did 2 ross it was magic.

    3. Don’t think shortening the DRS zone by 50m will be enough to ensure we don’t get the sort of ridiculously easy drive-by’s we saw last year.
      If DRS works as it did a year ago I can see myself turning off the race before lap 20 as I have at other races where DRS has just been stupid.

      Im seriously starting to lose intrest in F1 because of the artificial ** its introduced recently.

      1. Indeed, the DRS zone on the Kemmel straight should’ve been 370m shorter than last year.

        I think it would have been a nice feature on the start/finish though, as we barely ever get to see any overtaking attempts at La Source anymore, because the new Bus Stop is far too slow.

        1. THANK YOU ! Put the damn thing at a weird place if you want overtaking, not the longest straight of them all !

          It could even make it a greater challenge. They’d not wait till the only and easiest spot to inevitably pass the car ahead if they had two easy-ish spots to try and overtake right there.

        2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          29th August 2012, 11:35

          Man! So much hate for DRS on this site ahah. There were almost double the amount of non-DRS overtakes than DRS overtakes last year.
          However I do think they probably should have shortened it at least 100m for this year.

          1. @tophercheese21 …I don’t think you can simply segregate DRS passes from non-DRS and claim DRS is therefore not nearly the factor that it’s detractors would claim. For me, even if the race(s) is influenced by even fewer DRS passes than you state, it still has changed the face of the race negatively. The easy DRS passes that nobody seems to have any appreciation for whatsoever, completely change the flavour of the race and therefore the setup for the non-DRS passes, compared to racing pre-DRS where all passes are done ‘legitimately,’ or shall we say without the assistance of a gadget that leaves the defending driver helpless.

          2. @tophercheese21 My hate was directed at whoever is in charge with determining where the DRS zones will be.

            Not saying that I think DRS is a good solution though. Letting the car behind have an advantage on a straight, because he has a disadvantage in the turns is utterly stupid. I strongly advocate cutting down heavily on aero, sure the cars will be much slower because of that, but it can be compensated by more powerful engines, bigger tyres, … basically undoing everything the FIA has decided since the 80s. Why they chose to cut down on power and mechanical grip because “cornering speeds got too high”, while at the same time allowing cars that can pull 5 Gs through corners will forever be beyond my comprehension. No excuses for this level of incompetence.

      2. As if 50 metres matters on such a long straight at such speeds. Why ruin Spa…?

      3. I share the same feelings as you, Roger_E. I still enjoy it, but not as much as before 2011. I can’t understand why they had to introduce DRS in the same year they brought KERS back, banned double diffusers and changed tyre supplier. Logical thing would be waiting to see if these changes brought more ovetaking and I’m sure they would, as I’m sure banning complex blown diffusers this year would bring even more excitment. But no, they introduced DRS whch produce fake racing and takes away the challenge of overtaking someone, as for me it should be always a challenge.

        1. Sviatoslav Andrushko (@)
          29th August 2012, 9:17

          I believe, everyone got what they wanted. Folks started complaining because there were 3 or 4 tedious races out of 18. Now you have show and you’re not satisfied again. Perhaps, you shouldn’t have moaned? PS: honestly, as a fan, I am nervous from start to end of any race. I’m curious, how racing could be boring?

          1. @ibis I do not agree the majority of fans wanted to see more overtaking in F1 at any price.

            When DRS was first announced the majority of readers here opposed the mechanism by which it was to be used, i.e. that the driver behind can use it but the driver in front cannot.

            1. …and that’s the trouble with market research. I guess most people ticked the “more overtaking” box in the FIA fans’ survey, and it’s as if that was read as “…at any price”.

            2. Yeah, but, I think this is very selective of what is fair and what is not fair.

              I know a lot of people who would say about 2011 ‘ oh, why does that kid Vettel get the good car and all the rest get crap cars.’

              That not really fair, is it?

              ‘That kid Vettel can’t be that much better than Schumacher, he won all those titles, must be just his car.’

            3. @mattynotwo Sorry I don’t follow your point.

              I’m saying the claim that fans wanted overtaking and didn’t care how it was achieved is wrong. I don’t see how that relates to ‘fairness’?

            4. Yeah, I just read into the statement ‘ i.e. that the driver behind can use it but the driver in front cannot.’ as being that it’s unfair for the driver in front that cant use DRS as well.

          2. @ibis
            Its not that there is more overtaking that is the problem. Its the way its done.
            Its not like DRS is the ONLY solution to this problem. They simply picked (for a lot of people) the wrong one.

            1. Sviatoslav Andrushko (@)
              29th August 2012, 13:15

              to Keith. (difficult to express what I think in English)
              I am totally agree with you. But the problem (roots) is that fans started complaining. We forgot that we don’t rule F1. That’s why the FIA thought about the situation and suggested such kind of solution (which is inappropriate for many of us). Maybe, problem is that it was started by fans? We brought this idea to FIA: “We want more manoeuvres”. PS: if you want make more money with any product (F1 in our case) you should make a show of it. Now we see lots of meaningless overtakings (show), because this brings more people to F1. Personnaly, I expect DRS killed in 2014.

        2. How dare you apply logic to our favourite sport!

          1. @ibis …I’m not sure if it is the meaningless overtakings that might bring more people to F1 (it might turn as many people off as it adds), or if it is stability in the rules vs. last year which has tighten the field up, along with cliffy, narrow-performance-window tires that have created unpredictability from one race to the next not just for the fans but for the teams themselves as they struggle to figure the tires out.

            I agree with Keith that it is unlikely most fans who wanted to see more overtaking wanted it at any cost. What surprises me is that I thought F1 always had the philosophy that being the pinnacle of racing means passes should be rare and hard fought and therefore are memorable and get talked about ad infinitum for decades, as some passes from the past do.

            I reject all arguments that if you hate DRS you must love processions. I think there is plenty of room for compromise and I think F1, in order to keep passes rare but perhaps a little less so than in the past while convincing us that they are hard fought and done so by driver skill and not gadgetry, needs to maintain mechanical grip through the tires and greatly reduce the amounts of downforce (ie. aero dependancy) the cars have. Mechanical grip + cars much less affected in dirty air = seat of the pants passing by the drivers on defenders that are not helpless to defend.

            1. Sviatoslav Andrushko (@)
              29th August 2012, 15:45

              We may suggest that there two group of people: those who loved racing and didn’t see any problems with overtaking and another fans who wanted more fun (and they love racing too). Presumably, such situation erected from almoust nothing (I mean second group is very small). Yet, opinion of the second group was more authoritative or influential. I don’t know how you say in Britain, but in Ukraine we could say “making an elefant from a fly”. It’s like avalanche: someone said and 10 people repeted after him.

              What I want to say is that nowadays you just have to accept DRS. Okay, you have an idea how to improve racing. But, in order to get it to F1, you should be FIA representative, and not only a fan. We can only wait for some kind of survey organized by FIA. So, I see no point in moaning.

            2. Sviatoslav Andrushko (@)
              29th August 2012, 15:47

              sorry for mistakes: there are two groups etc.

            3. @ibis

              What I want to say is that nowadays you just have to accept DRS. Okay, you have an idea how to improve racing. But, in order to get it to F1, you should be FIA representative, and not only a fan. We can only wait for some kind of survey organized by FIA. So, I see no point in moaning.

              I disagree with every word of that.

              Fans’ complaints about the lack of overtaking motivated changes in the rules to increase overtaking. So there is no reason why those in charge should not also acknowledge complaints about how DRS has taken things too far and made the racing artificial.

              We have FOTA Forums, we have Twitter, we have many ways of getting the message across. So use them.

            4. While I agree that often there is no point in moaning when one cannot do much to affect change it is at least fun and interesting to banty about different ideas, and hope for change. Personally I will never accept DRS and will always think it has no place in racing.

              I’m not sure how much influence the fans had in ultimately causing DRS to be instigated. If fans had influence I don’t think we would have witnessed the processional racing of the MS/Ferrari era for as long as we had to. I think it comes down to the motivation of F1 or the FIA as to what direction they want to take things. I wonder if it was the domination of SV and the anticlimactic nature of a Championship being sealed up with 6 races to go (ie. presumably less viewership after that) that harkened folks back to the parades of the MS/Ferrari era, and that caused F1 to make what I would call a knee-jerk reaction of instigating DRS for fear of losing audience to more seasons of the WDC being decided with 6 races to go. I’m sure that is really the biggest factor for the FIA…not how do we make it more exciting for the fans by adding false passing, but how do we get the seasons to be decided with 1 or 2 races to go and a few drivers in the running, not 6 races to go and only one stand-alone winner with no close competitor, and thereby injecting excitement (but more importantly to them sustained audience) that way.

            5. @Keith …it goes without saying I appreciate your knowledge of F1, the energy you put into it, and the fact you are way more engrained in F1, way more ‘inside’ F1 than most of us armchair fans including myself, so I take heart that you consider we have some say via social media etc.

              Perhaps the proof that you are right is in how they have tweeked the DRS zones this year which has proved them to be less a factor than last year. To me even one DRS pass affects a race too much in an artificial manner, and I think I am far from alone with that thinking, so perhaps there is hope that soon DRS will no longer exist at all.

              I still say though that social media or not, if the FIA or F1 wants to take their racing in a certain direction they have proved in the past to do that no matter what the fans want. They don’t generally listen to what the drivers want either. But I acknowledge too that on many things the teams get to vote as to the direction things go in F1. Of course, that doesn’t mean they always all agree, and I’m sure often enough several teams are having to accept things they disagree with…that said, at least they had their say.

            6. Thier’s heaps of stuff in F1 that’s artificial, Red Bull contains artificial ingredients,as far as I’m aware, but thier is no war against Red Bull artificial drinks being involved in F1.

              Probably everything in F1 is artificial.

            7. Sviatoslav Andrushko (@)
              30th August 2012, 19:47

              Keith, I took your point into consideration. Okay, perhaps, I am a bit pessimistic but I disagree that twitting/reporting to FOTA would change something. From what we see FIA almost didn’t amended DRS rules though they promised that they would learn from 2011 experience in using it. I believe there won’t be any changes until the end of 2013. So, again, my point is that we must accept it as we can’t do much beyond asking FOTA about it. Let’s wait 2014 and we will see.

    4. Yeah, what is wrong with the FIA!? Why is the DRS in a spot where they overtake anyway!? Start/finish straight would spice it up a bit.

      1. I honestly feel like someone poses some version of this question every other race (if not every race), which doesn’t surprise me. Whether or not you’re OK with DRS (I go back and forth on it myself, but lean more often toward the negative), I don’t think anyone can argue that they rarely seem to actually implement it in places on the track that would at least make some sense. Which may be the biggest problem with it, as long as we’re stuck with it.

        1. I think I tend to be a tad more critical of it even, but I fully agree with you that the placement should be different in many cases @leucocrystal to make more sense and really do what it was supposed to do – i.e. help drivers stay close enough when following to actually be able to pass somewhere on track, not by doing a drive-by pass.

          1. I think ‘drive by’ passes are perfectly legit at some circiuits, like China, which has that 1 km back straight, Ive no problem if one car passes another thier.

      1. I hope they do well, after the history of F1 in USA it will be great that they have a great event…

    5. Re COTD:

      Hard comparison. Today’s gap between top four team is effectively same car back then.

      1. Ferrari was a dog in Melbourne but their car improved throughout the races and I wouldn’t say it’s “clearly an inferior” car. However, what Alonso has done so far is noteworthy and even if he fails to land WDC, my respect for him will be bigger.

    6. Martin Whitmarsh: “People will and have taken pot shots at us to say, ‘you are distracted because of the vision of Ron [Dennis] for MTC [the McLaren Technology Centre] and other businesses’, but I think people would now say that industrially and economically we are stronger by being more diverse.”

      As long as you keep Lewis, that said i guess it’s almost official, Lewis is going to stay at Mclaren for some years.

    7. Have you watched German auto sport selection, just notice how many overtakes from 98 until the early 2000 were there, racing was not that bad and don’t start saying that overtakes were good because they were few, the cars at start looked a bit funny in comparison with the 97 spec but some drivers said they liked to drive the 98’s better, and as usual with big rule changes the first year was pretty eventful, 98 was great, 99 was crazy, 2000 was epic, but since the start of the tyre war at 2001 racing become even harder why would tyres be the focusing point when there isnt a championship for them. In the end the cars looked amazing and the engines sound pretty explosive, F1 was at the top as was the world economy but let’s face it, and even i can’t say otherwise, F1 made no sense, F1’s main focus shouldn’t be to sell, F1 started as gentleman’s affair, meant to prove who’s best and have some fun, it’s about wining the championship, not spend all you can because your racing for sponsors first and after for yourself, that’s unfair competition. All kinds of marketing including tyre war changed F1 beyond it’s recognition, on and off the track, I fear that F1 isn’t ever going to be able to separate itself from marketing, now they are trying to show us that they are returning to basics while maintaining a fine balance between marketing and racing but they are just making us look like fouls. As ever i’m enjoying watching F1, now that i’m all grown up i cant hide from myself the fact that F1 since before i was born is ruled behind the public eye and it never will, sport is not sport if it is professional, right?

      1. Not sure if I entirely grasp your point because I think it has been decades since the more innocent times in sport when sponsorship wasn’t a factor. I think in early F1 days, even if it wasn’t rife with sponsors it wasn’t just about being a gentleman’s affair to prove who’s best and to have some fun either. It was also about what car manufacturer won as well. For sure big money has changed the face of all sports, but realistically, I think for decades now in all sport it takes the money from sponsors to keep the ball rolling. Who else would be willing to throw many dollars into a sport, let along hundreds of millions into car racing, without some sort of return for their investment? I think if we depended on people just having the money to build teams (in whatever the sport) with no expectation of their being something in it for them, then sport wouldn’t exist. It’s capitalism, it’s business, it’s marketing, and it’s inevitable, but to me that doesn’t mean it all doesn’t start with a love for the sport by the participants as well as the sponsors, and the fans who support it all (sponsors wouldn’t advertise if it didn’t work). Usually, be it for the drivers (or runners, or ball players, or team owners and managers in all sports etc etc) it all stems from a love for the sport, a love that is needed (and is usually there from childhood or youth at the latest) for anyone to be able to get that good, and be that commited to it.

        I think what I am trying to say is that in spite of the overwhelming need now for marketing and money in sport, there still needs to be and still exists a basic love and drive to succeed and be the best, that has to come first and foremost far before the money is even talked about and the sponsor sought out. You can’t get to the professional level, however who want to describe what that looks like these days or how it has changed over the years, without that innate love for it to begin with.

    8. 50 doesn’t sound like a lot, but its better then nothing.
      I hope they keep up this progress in the following years. Then we will be down to no DRS zone by just 2019. Or maybe they could just have learned from last year at put the zone on the S/F straight.

    9. Would be nice if someone could come up with the data on this, but I am pretty sure that 2/3rds of the difference in first row changes of position Bild mentions is because Mark Webber is not losing as many positions in his getaway from the grid as last year!

      And its good that DRS passes are down and real passing is stable, but one does have to wonder how long it will take the FIA to really find the right places (are they looking at alternatives at all?) and lengths of those zones.

    10. To support what Neil says about targeting consistently fast pitstops, another AMS article about pit-stop standstill times ( based on Mercedes supplied data from filming the stops shows that McLaren is only 6th fastest with them in average this season, losing them about 0,75 seconds to Ferrari (fastest on average). Losing a lot of time in many stops earlier in the year really counts.

    11. Petrov’s management still looking to get enough Russian money to back him for another year at Caterham?

      1. Here is the original interview with Kosachenko (Russian – i used a translator to read it) – (thanks to for providing that)

    12. The Leafield site looks great, such a contrast to the MTC. It is fantastic that all three ‘new’ teams have managed to relocated in the past few years with a view to improving their operation, particularly HRT who started completely from scratch and arguably have the smallest budget available. I hope that Caterham manage to really pounce on the midfield from next season on. With being able to install a simulator and asking the council for permission to build a wind tunnel they are surely two parts that will help them.

      1. @andrewtanner The site looks more like a resort hotel, rather than the base of a Formula One team. Then again, that seems to be the way most car manufacturers are going. Bugatti are building their cars near Chateau Saint Jean, Ferrari’s Maranello factory is the best place to work in Europe, and now Caterhams are built in a beautiful countryside resort. It’s Caterham’s investment for the long term, and I hope to see it pay off. More than that, I hope to see at three of the new teams move further forward towards the midfield, especially Caterham (sorry, nationality bias).

        1. @scuderiavincero The teams will probably tell you it’s good for staff morale! I think most people would agree that Caterham should be the ones to attack the midfield. They do seem the better prepated outfit.

          1. @andrewtanner They certainly are the best equipped, and I can’t wait for Heikki to get a car worthy of his talents.; something to vindicate his hard work with the team. As I remember, in a preview of the 2010 season, Eddie Jordan remarked how Lotus Racing looked like a pretty solid team. Certainly, they’ve proven EJ correct! :)

    13. When reading this nice little piece (, I really had a chuckle when Withmarsh mentions the contract lengths for current driver contracts (Gilles Villeneuves was 6 pages in 1977):

      This is our base contract, but depending on who the driver is – and what negotiating power he has – there will be variances, which might run to another 10 pages if it were a difficult person. To put it another way – being blunt about it – if I were signing Heikki Kovalainen it would be 50 pages; if it were Jenson Button it would be 52, if it were Nigel Mansell it would be 57, if it were Lewis Hamilton it would be about 60…”

    14. The Swiss Grand Prix 1982 at Dijon is the last race with no Ferrari at the start on Sunday.

      1. Good stat!

    15. The Pro-DRS people say that F1 only introduced DRS because they were listning to the fans. However the truth is that if they were really listning to the fans they never would have implemented DRS the way they did as when they initially proposed DRS the fan reaction was highly negative as the article Keith posted in a prior comment shows-

      Everything I have seen regarding DRS shows that while opinion on DRS is split reletively evenly, the vast majority of fans hate the way the system has been implemented.

      If F1 was actually listning to the fans then the way DRS is been used would have been changed, In fact if they really were listning it never would have been introduced in the first place.

      I believe that there is enough fan feedback (And enough of it negative) regarding DRS to seriously look at its use beyond this season.

      1. The reality is that the FIA just like Bernie are in the empire building business and the most important person for them is not a fan, the most important person for them is a POTENTIAL fan, Joe/Jane Public the casual viewer with the short attention span, so the FIA are concentrating on the “sizzle” not the “steak”. The FIA know that fans may grumble but will continue to tune in hoping things will improve but the casual viewers come and go, and once they go they are gone for a long time.
        Another reason why Martin Whitmarsh stating that “Bums on seats are not important anymore” was farcically unbelievable.

        1. Completely agree.
          The die-hard fn will watch no matter what.
          It’s the next billion viewers who may watch if it looks exciting that are the true target. It’s the broad masses that will bring the mega-bucks from sponsors and advertisers that are really important.

      2. Make the entire Spa track a DRS zone and see if it makes any difference….

    16. Re COTD: Why do so many people ostensibly feel compelled to state that they are not fans of something/someone before proceeding to compliment them? What’s wrong with being a fan of someone, and at the same time, complimenting them? I am a fan of Alonso, and I am also a fan of his driving. He is the absolute best in the field right now; he is the complete package. If he does win the title this year he has thoroughly earned it with his performances as a driver since his last title in 2006.

      And if he isn’t going to win it, CARRN WEBBER.

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