Webber: DRS rules change won’t reduce overtaking

2013 F1 season

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Mark Webber expects the new restrictions introduced on DRS this year will not make it less useful for overtaking.

As of this year drivers no longer have free use of DRS during qualifying. This was originally permitted to encourage teams to run long enough gear ratios for DRS to give a straight-line speed boost that was sufficient to aid overtaking.

Webber believes DRS will still give enough benefit despite the rules change: “I still think the delta between un-stalled and stalled is still attractive to teams to make it work,” he told media at the Circuit de Catalunya last week.

“[Gear] ratios obviously have to be allocated against a stalled wing as well in qualifying so it’s still in your interest to make DRS attractive. And that was one of the things which the teams, the technical guys were quite keen on.”

Several drivers wanted the use of DRS in qualifying to be restricted on safety grounds but engineers were concerned it could reduce the power of DRS.

“Obviously the drivers were not interested in what the technical guys had to say because they’re not driving the car,” said Webber. But he believes the solution is a good compromise: “They feel proud they’ll have a good DRS effect and also the ratios are in the right window. So I think everyone is happy.”

Extra DRS zones may be needed at most tracks to ensure DRS remains effective but Webber admitted there are some venues where this may not be possible: “I think that there will be some tracks we know the effect is a little bit less powerful: like Budapest, obviously, Monaco, it’s not really existing.

“So there is some venues, not many – it’s only probably ten percent of the calendar which is off the curve a little bit in terms of the effect at the rest of the tracks [where] it’s completely in your interest to have a good effect.”

Webber believes that taking DRS out of the equation in qualifying is the right way to go: “DRS was invented for overtaking and we want to keep that there for racing,” he said.

“In general DRS is a very positive intervention for Sunday’s racing. Why we need it for Friday and Saturday qualifying? Finally I think we’ve come to the right solution.

“The drivers were virtually unanimous in agreement that we don’t need to drive with it fully open for the whole lap. Let’s leave the DRS what it’s there for, which is racing on the straights and overtaking. That was the idea and we’re now in a good position.”

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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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23 comments on “Webber: DRS rules change won’t reduce overtaking”

  1. Mark Webber expects the new restrictions introduced on DRS this year will not make it less useful for overtaking.

    Why would it? The use of DRS in races hasn’t changed.

    1. @prisoner-monkeys It says why in the paragraph after the one you’ve quoted.

      1. @keithcollantine Why read the entire article when you can be the first person to leave a comment?

        I don’t know, I quite liked the way DRS was used in qualifying sessions, at least drivers had to have guts to open the rear wing as early as possible. On the other hand, it gave the cars with a lot of downforce like the McLaren and the Red Bull an even bigger advantage than they already had, because they were able to open it a bit sooner than the cars with less downforce. Maybe this will level the field even more? We’ll see! It’s a shame I won’t be impressed as much anymore by drivers opening their rear wings mid-corner though.

      2. I know that. I’m just not sure why Webber is talking about how the DRS changes won’t affect overtaking in races, seeing as how nothing about the use of DRS in races hasn’t been changed.

        1. Because to attain the fastest qualifying time, gear ratios would possibly be selected which would mean the cars would hit the red line before DRS is applied. So DRS used in the race would mean that a car wouldn’t have a higher top speed.

        2. A shorter top gear directly affects the effectiveness of DRS uasge in a race. The optimum configuration for qualifying without DRS will be to use shorter gear ratios than with DRS. Therefore it is more likely that there will be less of a speed delta between cars when one is using DRS and the other is not, and also a greater chance that the car using DRS will hit the limiter and not be able to complete the pass. Hamilton vs Schumacher at Monza 2011 aptly shows this problem due to poor choice of gear ratios.

        3. Because limiting its use to be fast over a lap could have potentially made DRS weakened (say not really counting on it with gear ratios, and not putting as much attention to the flap etc.) to such an extent that it would have hurt its potential for passing during races.

          As that was the original reasoning of why to allow wider use in practice and qualifying – to make it more attractive to actually invest in – its only reasonable that Webber addresses this point.

        4. @prisoner-monkeys Red Bull factor: you could see them hitting the rev limit very early and having trouble overtaking others because they always went to fully qualy setup. I mean, they setted the car up to be as fast as possible in qualy, and they suffered from that with the DRS in the races.

        5. Because someone asked him, that’s why.

    2. Because the drivers had unlimited use of it in quali they would gear for it to improve grid position. Without unlimited use there will be less point in gearing for it so everyone will use a lower top gear which will reduce the effect in the race. That’s how I see it anyway :)

  2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    25th February 2013, 10:15

    Even though the drivers won’t be quite as much on the edge with restricted DRS in qually, I’m still really looking forward to this year (even more than last year), what with new driver lineups, more closely competitive cars (allegedly), and new tire compounds for some of the races, I think it’s going to make for some really really exciting racing.

    Can’t wait!

  3. the drivers were not interested in what the technical guys had to say because they’re not driving the car

    Very pleased to read that. I wonder how many drivers just accept what their engineers tell them and swallow the lot? (particularly the younger/paying ones).

    It just made the engineers look stupid having the cars screaming along on the rev limiter during the race – which, after all, is when everyone’s watching – and the driver moaning over the radio. And there’ll still be the option of gearing a car for acceleration rather than top-end power.

    1. You haven’t understood the article. Which is not surprising as it isn’t the best bit of explanation Keith’s done ever.

      Prior to this year there was more incentive for the teams to gear the cars “long”, to maximize top speed with the DRS wing open, since it would not only improve passing ability in the DRS zones during the race but also help qualifying performance where DRS could be used on all the straights. From this year onwards there’ll be less usage of the DRS in qualifying, so the incentive to gear the car to take advantage of DRS is reduced.

      So there’ll be *more* cars bouncing off the rev limiter in the DRS zone.

      1. I understood it perfectly, thank you. Why don’t you go and start your own blog?

      2. Which is not surprising as it isn’t the best bit of explanation Keith’s done ever.

        Have you actually read the article?

  4. Why can’t they just allow them to change the gear ratios for the race?

    1. because then you get back towards qualifying specials Jack.

  5. Webber having the best engineer in house, I would hope he and Adrian sat down over this (and with Vettel, who obviously was very good at maximising its use) and had a good look at how to do it “right”

    Am I wrong in expecting there to be a change towards bigger flaps again?

    I remember that when they first used DRS the likes of McLaren an Mercedes had big flaps for maximum effect (esp. Mercedes) while Red Bull used a shorter top flap. The bigger flaps giving more drag reduction, but the shorter flaps allowing their drivers to have them open for a larger part of the track (open mid corner, close very late) because it sheds less downforce, and airflow attaches again more easily.

  6. Damn, Was hoping it would make the stupid thing less effective :(

  7. i heard a while back that these changes would hurt the slower-in-a-straight-line Red Bull more than the other teams. Why is this?

    1. Because they had such great rear end grip/stability that in qualifying they were often able to open DRS earlier than others & in some cases keep it open in places others had to close it.
      It was a bigger advantage to them in 2011 than it was in 2012 as they had the most advanced off throttle blown diffuser.

      Red Bull always tended to set there cars up to maximize DRS use in qualifying where they could use it everywhere, Its why they had to pull Vettel’s car out of parc ferme to change the setup after he was DQ’d from Abu-Dhabi qualifying. They swapped the setup for something more suited to qualifying for something better suited to race DRS use.

  8. Actually, come to think of it, it would be good if the DRS effect became less potent due to teams no longer optimising the gear ratios for maximum DRS efficiency. It would still obviously provide a benefit, but perhaps we wouldn’t simply see cars being +15km/h faster and breezing by. I agree with Webber though that I don’t think that would be the case – after all, 7th gear is only really used on the straights where DRS will likely still be in use in qualifying.

    1. Also, as Webber suggested, if cars are being set up so that the DRS is less effective then the zones will probably be lengthened or added to…

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