After 50 races, DRS is killing my passion for F1


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Giedo van der Garde, Caterham, Spa-Francorchamps, 2013The Drag Reduction System was introduced to Formula one 50 races ago. But we shouldn’t necessarily think of it as something that was imposed on the sport.

Like hybrid engines, moveable aerodynamics is something teams experimented with many years earlier before bring outlawed by the sport’s governing body. Just as hybrid engines were introduced to F1 in a rigidly-controlled fashion as KERS, a similarly narrow definition of moveable aerodynamics was legalised in 2011 as DRS.

Imagine, for a moment, that moveable aerodynamics had never been banned. I find it fascinating to consider how moving wings might look after more than four decades of development. Would slender cars slip like darts down the straight before blooming with wings to maximise downforce as they reach a braking zone?

At a push, I could perhaps persuade myself that had F1 car evolution been untouched by the rule makers, a kind of ‘natural DRS’ could have developed. Drivers might have such control over their cars’ wings that they could ‘turn up the downforce’ in corners to counteract the turbulence produced by a car in front. Of course, the leading driver would have had just as much control over their own wings to fight back.

We never got the chance to see what might have been. Instead we have DRS: a bastardised version of the moveable aerodynamics concept in which the chasing driver is given a huge straight-line speed boost which the leading driver is denied. This gimmick has diminished the art of real racing and traded it for the cheap facsimile of push-button passing.

Artificial racing

That DRS would compromise the integrity of F1 racing was obvious from the moment it was announced. The first reader to comment on the first article about DRS on F1 Fanatic realised as much:

Very stupid idea, this will make artificial racing.

I would like to see overtaking in F1 but from driver skill, not one driver lucking out because of a adjustment to their rear wing when their rival can’t.

Three years on, the viewpoint has been completely vindicated. DRS’s contribution to the stated aim of increasing overtaking has largely been achieved by making it too easy.

Tyres making the difference

Another change introduced to Formula One the same year DRS arrived has played a more important role in increasing overtaking and has done so without the patent unfairness and artificiality of DRS.

The most significant contributor to increased overtaking in the last 50 races has been the variation in tyre performance between cars. That has come about because of the more aggressive tyre compounds which Pirelli were asked to supply from 2011.

Again, this much was clear soon after the change had been implemented. Rubens Barrichello, Formula One’s most experienced driver of all time and therefore well-placed to comment, said in 2011: “All the overtaking taking place this year is more to do with the tyres than the actual DRS.”

Tyre degradation, he argued, created the opportunity for overtaking in the first place: “The DRS only comes into play because of the tyres.”

Outside of the DRS zones tyre degradation has created the circumstances for some spectacular passes which have showcased driving of the highest calibre, such as Mark Webber’s celebrated move on Fernando Alonso during the Belgian Grand Prix two years ago:

But when a driver makes a pass on a rival in a DRS zone there is little more skill to behold than a driver pressing a button. Is this really what we are to expect from the supposed pinnacle of motor racing?

The ‘sweet spot’ fallacy

In the early days of DRS there was much talk of the necessity to ‘fine tune’ the system so that passing would never be too easy or too hard. After 50 races this has proved a vain and unrealistic hope. DRS may occasionally allow two drivers to head into a braking zone side-by-side but more often than not one will blast past the other on a straight with all the drama of a sportscar passing a tractor on a dual carriageway.

The ‘DRS sweet spot’ is a fallacy. Given the variation in performance between cars in terms of drag and straight-line speed, differences in how efficiently each team’s DRS operates and how car performance varies during a race, it is and will always be impossible for the rule makers to make DRS work the way they’d hoped.

It was clear during Sunday’s race that hopes of hitting the ‘DRS sweet spot’ are as far from being realised now as they were at the beginning of 2011. While some cars were able to blast past their rivals in DRS zones with no difficulty, others gained little advantage.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2013In the closing stages of the race the variation in tyre strategy gave us two interesting battles to look out for: the two-stopping Felipe Massa and Daniel Ricciardo were respectively catching Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez.

In both cases the outcome was inevitable. There was no tension, no battle and no doubt the driver with the benefit of DRS would get ahead. This is not motor racing.

Today the concept of a battle for position only exists outside of DRS zones. In Canada Lewis Hamilton fought to repel Fernando Alonso until the pair arrived at the DRS detection line – whereupon both tried to slow down to be the second man across it to gain the benefit of an easy DRS pass.

This year has seen a rise in the encroachment of DRS zones on F1 tracks. The number of DRS zones has more than doubled with a correspondingly poor effect on the racing.

Depressingly, the DRS contagion has infected other motor sports as well, such as the DTM. But other series show how F1 could retain the technology and ditch the artificiality.

In Formula Renault 3.5, drivers may use DRS for a set amount of time per race, allowing them to use it to attack or defend. Giving the leading driver equal opportunity to use DRS defensively would obviously make it more acceptable. Surveys on this site have shown most fans preferred that solution both before and after DRS was introduced.

Quantity over quality

As F1 increasingly fails to fulfil my appetite for real racing, DRS-free series like IndyCar and GP2 have become more attractive to me. Though not without flaws, they at least realise that just because one driver has closed to within a second of his rival shouldn’t earn him the right to jab a button and blast past easily.

It was a GP2 driver, free of his F1 peers’ obligation to only make positive comments about the sport, who best articulated how DRS overtaking is a matter of quantity over quality:

Jolyon Palmer, Felipe Nasr, GP2, Spa-Francorchamps, 2013“I stayed to watch some of the F1 on Sunday but left halfway through to beat the traffic back to Calais,” said Jolyon Palmer.

“I don’t think I missed much in the race though, most of the passes were done on the straight using DRS, instead of through exciting GP2 style race craft, and I don’t find that at all entertaining to watch.

“DRS on tracks like Spa isn’t good for racing and it sums it up when Hamilton let Fernando Alonso pass him on purpose at La Source just so he could have DRS up the hill out of Eau Rouge. On some tracks DRS can be helpful but I think with Pirelli tyres you don’t always need DRS to improve the racing.”

I agree with every word of that, but above all this: “I would much rather see fewer overtakes but more wheel-to-wheel scrapping and drivers having to work harder to overtake.”

Great overtaking moves are part of what makes motor racing special. Moments like Dijon ’79 and Mexico ’90 stand out in our memories for their sheer drama. Today these moments can only exist outside of DRS zones. And, as with Webber’s heroic pass on Alonso, we know the next DRS zone can immediately erase a hard-won advantage.

After 50 races, I’m done giving DRS the benefit of the doubt. There has been enough time to field-test and fine-tune it and I have no confidence it’s ever going to produce anything better than a sham parody of motor racing.

I profoundly hope DRS isn’t here to stay. I’m afraid it probably is.


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Image ?? Caterham/LAT, Daimler/HochZwei, GP2/LAT

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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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235 comments on “After 50 races, DRS is killing my passion for F1”

  1. We gave it enough time, right? In my humble opinion, it is simply time to retire DRS. 2014 and beyond should be a different era not needing easy passes and artificial spots.

    1. Yep, a more efficient and powerful KERS will be enough, like the Push-To-Pass in IndyCar. All we want is equality between the drivers for these devices.
      The Belgian GP showed the world DRS is more annoying than entertaining. This year, FIA placed 2 zones on almost every circuit and it’s still not working: Next year, will they allow DRS all time or just remove it?

      1. I don’t think you can get rid of DRS entirely, I can’t stomach the idea of watching Barcelona without it. Get rid of the detection points, get rid of the activation zones, and 1 sec gap requirements.

        Keep DRS, and the drivers should be alotted 10 actuations of the rear wing for up to “x” seconds at ANY point in the race, whenever and whereever they deem necesary. After the 10 actuations, the wing locks down. To me it trumps the Indy car push to pass variant beacuse the spectators can at least see when it the event happens. Only disadvantage is the fans at the track won’t know how many each driver has left, but that would easily be communicated on television.

        Regarding increasing KERS, I don’t recall the system in its first year (2009) creating passing opportunities as much as preventing them. However, I do think KERS limitations should be lifted in some controlled way (limited only by investment, not by energy capacities and outputs). The potential development of increased hybridization of powertrains is an intriguing technology area and can bring advancements to road cars, which helps the manufacturer teams and suppliers sell the investment of their F1 powertrain programs to their management.

        Regarding tires, unless the tire manufacturer is continually changing the compounds — passing created by teams figuring out the tires only seems to last 6-10 races before they all find parity.

      2. DRS needs to go, it’s an abomination in the sport. I agree that a more advanced KERS system would make more sense and also more relevent to road cars, that relevence being a stated aim of F1. I tried a simulator with DRS a while back and I hated it and what it did to the handling. It creates a reactive component when the driver is on the limit curtailing his ability to balance the car in the corners. Banning movable aerodynamic devices and then introducing one as a solution makes no sense at all and never will IMHO.

    2. I’m surprised people are strongly against DRS. I agree it isnt perfect but surely a lot better than the processions from only 3+ years ago?

      Aerodynamics was such a factor in a cars inability to overtake another (dirty air) that DRS came in as the solution. We could not go back to cars without advanced aerodynamics – that would have been too much of a backward step.

      1. But like Keith mentioned, the problem of the procession has been largely solved by the tyres. DRS just makes it too easy to pass.

        1. Fair point Andy

    3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      30th August 2013, 14:45

      I think 2011 was very important for DRS where Hamilton literally had his whole season ruined by trying to pass Massa in the non-DRS zones. That was a turning point for every driver on the paddock as they realized that if Hamilton is better suited to pass in the DRS zone then that would also apply to them.

      As Keith pointed out, I think the tyres have exacerbated this problem because trying to pass outside of the DRS zones costs a lot of rubber lowering the risk to benefit ration unless there is a huge difference in performance with the car ahead and you must pass immediately and have extra speed to do so.

      It’s actually interesting because some cars cannot pass other cars in the DRS zone because of the speed superiority of the other car:-) Essentially, it is a weapon that benefits some cars more so than others…

      1. But he also went from 5th to 1st at the Chinese GP that year with four passes outside the DRS zone, IIRC.

    4. AS LEWIS HAMILTON said with Martin Brundle during the 2013 Canadian GP.. First:

      Brundle: “What do you think Ayrton Senna would say/ think about DRS?”
      Lewis: No, I don’t think he will like it, I think he will be very upset about it towards racing”
      Lewis: It should be balanced out at least..

      Drs should be balanced out… ON some circuits.. it’s to overpowered. DRS on CHINA, SPA, CANADA it was too much… It should be minimized on some circuits… I’ll be surprised if they put 2 DRS zones at Suzuka… Even more at BRAZIL…

    5. What the hell does artificial racing mean anyway.Bin watching races since i can remember,still don’t know what that is,so please …Let’s get one thing straight,i would be watching F1 if it was Trulli train kind of boring,because there so much more to F1 to follow and to love.It’s fascinating to me how fast people forget how it use to be in F1 before DRS,basically if you got stuck behind a slower car,your race was ruined.And to people saying that we don’t need DRS because there is some overtaking outside DRS zones,the only reason that is posible is because chasing car closes up in the DRS zone,and forces a defending car to use up KERS or drive defensively or both,leaving him vulnerable outside the zone.Vettel couldn’t overtake Raikkonen and vice versa with two drs zones,and we are on about how we don’t need DRS all together.Like i said i could watch regardless of DRS,as im a die hard fan of the sport,butt this is not enough,not everybody shares our enthusiasm.Long story short DRS is cheap,effective and simple way to make F1 more interesting and appealing to casual viewer.

      1. DRS takes the challenge out of passing and once the ‘casual viewer’ catches on they will leave F1 because they were only ‘casual’ to begin with. Nor will the casual viewer delve into F1 enough to realize it’s other attractions. And the alternative does not HAVE to be processions. F1 could use their imagination and find many ways so that we don’t have phony meaningless passes, or processions.

        1. Each year I hope that this unequal overtaking nonsense will be removed so that I can start to follow F1 again. I really miss the real racing.
          I still enjoy the qualifying and the first lap, but at the first DRS pass I switch off.
          Has anybody noticed that the commentators have stopped saying “well there’s nothing that the lead car can do about being passed, now we are in the DRS zone”?…..Yawn!
          I’d love to see unedited comments on the subject by real overtakers such as Nigel Mansell, Sterling Moss, Eddie Irvine et al!

      2. But with the tyres used now would you get a Trulli train for very long?

      3. I’m a casual viewer of football. Should they introduce multi-balls for 5 minutes at random during every match to keep me better entertained? I’d watch more often, so it must be justified.

    6. oh oh, tears are falling, Its anti-DRS killing my enjoyment of F1Fanatic, Im not going to write a tear filled essay about this but its the anti-DRS dictators want F1 to go back to borefests, Collintine says that it in a round about way. You anti-DRS dictators still get your whole 1 or 2 magical moments a year, DRS has not taken that away from anti DRS dictators, DRS has provided more action, than you can poke a stick at. If it is so bad just watch some other form of racing.

      1. What action has DRS actually provided?

        1. I don’t know,passing,wheel to wheel racing,ability to run different strategies,all the interesting bits that make motorsport so lovely …

        2. Matt90 : What action has DRS actually provided?

          Because i realized that this post is against DRS and because i need to give an answer to the question, I will mention just one comment i hear watching last year f1.

          34 overtakes in a single race
          34 overtakes in 2008 in all year

          Is that meaning something… do you that you are against DRS?

          1. And if we move the goal posts in football to the sidelines there would probably be an average of 30 or more goals in every match.

            But what would be the point of it all if a football goal was no longer a hard thing to achieve? If you could just lob it over the backline as soon you got within 50 meters or less…

            Those stats are meaningless when its not real overtakes.

          2. There was 260 overtakes in 2008 actually :)

  2. I agree. With every race that goes by i am tempted more and more to stop watching F1 and start watching GP2. Its like the football in england. The Championship is better than the Premier League. I miss 2005 till 2008. It was proper racing with 2 teams challenging for the title. Nowadays, admit it red bull are the best and they only win because no one can challenge them. There might not have been many overtakes but those overtakes were worth watching and they required ‘skill’. No more gravel traps anymore either. The skill factor is being taken out of the sport. I am going to follow the GP2 until the end of the season and then start watching GP2 from 2014 onwards. These drivers have something to prove and will do almost anything to impress the F1 teams. I hate to say it but when I started watching F1 in 2005. I was in awe with every overtake and every race. Now sometimes I couldn’t care less. I no longer have that passion for F1

    1. Fancy starting GP2Fanatic?

      1. Next season for sure

    2. ‘red bull are the best and they only win because no one can challenge them’

      Isn’t that how it has always been when a team has enjoyed a period of domination?

      Funny thing is, you mention RBR but in the context of this article it is probably the last fitting team to name. With their short gears and overtake high downforce their top speed, even using DRS, is usually one of the worst in the whole field. I wouldn’t be surprised if they would lead in a “DRS vs non-DRS overtake percentage” statistic.

      1. no its not always been like
        that. Mclaren challenged Renault in 05 and Ferrari and Mclaren were even in 2007 and 2008. They were the best seasons I have seen imo

        1. I mean it’s always been like that in the sense that when all but 1 team fail to challenge, that team will be dominant.

          However, you can look at it another way. Did the MP4/4 just win because the rest failed to challenge? Or the FW14B? Or the F2004? Likewise the RB’s of recent years?
          Or did McLaren, Williams, Ferrari, Red Bull deliver something exceptional and got it all together?

          I think it’s plain wrong to say they “just” win because the others fail. They’ve “just” done exceptionally well.

    3. Nowadays, admit it red bull are the best and they only win because no one can challenge them.

      I don’t understand this statement at all.

    4. Our GP2 commentator bitches about every other race how GP2 should have DRS and I strongly disagree with that. He said that for example in Hungary when Ericsson and Palmer were battling for the lead.

      It took many laps until Palmer got through and went on to win. With DRS he would have probably gone past instantly.

      For a spec series, DRS isn’t needed at all, the manufacturer should be just concentrating that there isn’t much dirty air. However in F1, the teams can find solutions how they can affect the car behind more and more, so DRS could have more use. However, I’m not really liking current rules regarding it. I would like more a set amount of uses or reducing the gap DRS has when it’s open, which would reduce a top speed with DRS open a bit.

  3. While the DRS is a mild annoyance the tyres are still far too much of an impact on the racing. I could tolerate the cars opening wing to pass if it meant they could spend the race driving at near flat out pace. I miss the sight of an F1 car doing 20 race laps in anger, like say, Webber at Hungary in 2010 to take that well earned win. Tyre maintenance is as artificial as F1 comes.

    Ive often wondered what would overtaking be like with Bridgestone tyres and DRS to avoid a situation like Abu Dhabi 2010?

    1. @infi24r that’d just mean the fastest car would win easily every time. You could argue that is the point, but it’d be deadly boring.

      Degradable tyres are fine I think as long as they aren’t too influential, like they have been for a lot of this year. 1-2 stops would be fine and would still potentially allow for flat-out laps of anger such as Webber’s in Hungary 2010: you’d just have to stop once more than another doing a coservation run. Just ditch the rule forcing drivers into using both compounds and we could have drivers running to the end on the harder tyres or doing shorter stints on the softer tyres for an immediate gain.

      Really, the ideal situation would be to kill the problem at it’s roots and ban front wings in tandem with re-introducing a certain element of ground effects. Then you have a severely reduced dirty air problem yet still have aerodynamic development hence preventing team’s investments in wind tunnel equipment from becoming redundant.

      I think DRS and bullet proof tyres is possibly the worst solution imaginable if I’m honest though.

      1. If tyres were made with the best technology available, I still don’t think they would be bullet proof. I think “Anger” driving would be the norm and to be fast you’d have to go ‘Berserk’. DRS is still ridiculous in its current format though.

      2. THANK YOU, Max! I’ve been trying to get people to talk about this, but it keeps falling on deaf ears. DRS was brought in as a way to get encourage more passing. The reason there is not more passing: dirty air!
        If they weren’t so dependent on that front wing, then this would not be a problem.

        As for DRS? I’m against the current implementation, but very much in favor of movable aero parts. That technology is already starting to hit road cars and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be on the best cars in the world.

        Now the whole “1 second rule” and only drivers behind using it….that bit is total rubbish. Why don’t we make a rule that says drivers can’t use full throttle unless they’re behind, but only by a second, too? LOL It sounds silly to even say it so why would they think that is a good idea for DRS?

      3. hmmm, that post somehow got all messed up. What I was thanking Max for, was this:

        the ideal situation would be to kill the problem at it’s roots and ban front wings in tandem with re-introducing a certain element of ground effects

        That is the part I was referring to that could allow for more passing.

  4. In 2010 it was obvious that the refueling ban would be enough to make the races better. DRS was a nice idea if they could get it right, but after 3 years it got worse – so time to scrap it.

  5. I remember when the first announced DRS, I thought it was a great idea, it sounded like it could really work. Unfortunately, that was not the case, and now we see passes being completed as if it’s the norm, rather than it being a spectacle of the sport. DRS really is an artificial gimmick, that had the possibility to work, but has instead killed some of the competitiveness in F1 by taking it the completely wrong way.
    In contrast, I love KERS, as I think it has been a great development for the cars, and I personally wouldn’t call it artificial in the same sense DRS is as everyone has KERS (apart from Webber, of course).

    1. I wouldn’t call KERS artificial in any sense: actually, it’s almost artificial to waste that energy! Not even from a racing perspective but just from a common sense perspective I think it’s ludicrous to not exploit energy recovery.

      1. @vettel1 I guess I didn’t mean artificial, I was more thinking along the lines of it being a driver controlled system that gave a performance boost, so it’s ‘artificial’… Ish, just not to the racing. I really do like KERS.

        1. @philereid only in the sense a driver activates it: however, I’d say it’s almost exactly the same in the sense that a throttle pedal is artificial, or a torque map change!

          1. Indeed. As I say, I really like KERS, it’s one of the better developments we’ve had in F1. The new ERS system for next year sounds fantastic as well.

    2. @philereid I agree completely about KERS. It’s what brings exciting tactical racing, where the following driver has to use their guile to find a way past. In this most recent race, I think it was KERS that brought the best move of the race, out of Les Combes into Bruxelles (forget who on who). I also look forward to a stronger ERS with its increased opportunity for intelligent entertaining racing.

      1. @mrguy037 I believe the move was Raikkonen on Gutierrez, and was indeed a good move. I’ve always been a big fan of the use of greater technology, so KERS is one of my favourite things to be introduced in a long time.

        1. KERS is great because you can use it whenever you want, there’s no stupid ruling for it. Same as DRS if you had just a Time limit per lap/race.

          1. BINGO! There is nothing wrong with DRS….just the silly rules limiting how it’s used. It makes the car go faster….let them use it!!!

    3. Glad to see people supporting KERS here since usually it gets lumped in with DRS as ‘artificial’, which i never understood. The only thing you could say is artificial is the 6 seconds per lap limit, you could allow it to be used as often as there is energy for it. But maybe they were worried the performance difference between teams would be too high – or that it could be saved for a couple of laps and then used for a longer period leaving the defending car ‘defenceless’ (don’t know how many seconds of use can be stored currently).

    4. I personally wouldn’t call it artificial in the same sense DRS is as everyone has KERS (apart from Webber, of course).

      LOL Quote of the week! Thanks for the laugh :-)

  6. Disagree. DRS has rescued the sport from what was a pure truli-train-snore-fest.

    1. @joshua-mesh If DRS hadn’t been introduced, you’d probably be saying exactly the same about the tyres.

      1. I have to agree with Joshua, I was really bored by the lack of passing in the old days. And after the Abu Dabhi race with Alonso/Petrov where the better car could not pass, I was frustrated like hell: that had nothing to do with racing (and no, I’m not an Alonso fan).

        DRS gives us action on track. I don’t care about the artificial part of DRS. In the end the faster cars will be at front of the slower cars. Thats whats racing should be al about. That example above about Hamilton let Alonso passing in La Source so he could pass him back at the DRS zone: did he succeed? No Alonso’s car was faster, so he could stay at front. Just how it suppose to be.

        And don’t forget, everything about racing is artificial. That doesn’t matter. It’s about how much action there is to see on track and about teams and drivers coping with different situations. I wouldn’t mind to neutralize the field once a race randomly (not in the first 15 or the last 15 minutes). An artificial safety-car, nice!

        1. @favomodo

          In the end the faster cars will be at front of the slower cars. Thats whats racing should be al about.

          If that were the case then we could just stop the weekend after quali and be done with it.

          Personally I’d rather see wheel to wheel racing, skillful overtaking and defensive driving.
          Seeing a slower driver skillfully keep a faster one behind, and the faster driver having to get inventive in order to pass is one of the best things about racing and we’ve lost that completely with DRS.

        2. DRS and Abu Dhabi are not my fave things in F1, they both could go.

        3. @favomodo But the tyres are creating overtaking oppurtunities without the need for DRS. The overtaking we’ve seen out of DRS zones is still far more than we’ve had in the past. Get rid of DRS, and those on-the-straight passes will lead to exciting outcomes, no inevitable ones!

          1. Don’t agree about the tyres. If they’re too soft, people don’t defend anymore in fear of ruining them. If they’re too hard, they’ll make no difference. So as with DRS, there’s a fine line to getting it just right and I doubt this would be easier to find than for DRS. Teams learn to work the tyres anyway so they would practically have to evolve each race in order to not establish a situation where everybody can go all out again.

    2. @joshua-mesh @electrolite I agree with Joshua. People blast DRS, but DRS is the system that lets races on these tyres work. If it wasn’t for DRS, on most tracks (excepting maybe Spa or Monza) teams wouldn’t be sure whether their driver would be able to pass slower drivers on older tyres. That means the 3-stop strategy whereby one drives fast the entire race and relies on DRS for overtaking, becomes a very risky one. You get stuck behind someone and your strategy unravels.

      That means strategy variation will diminish and everyone will decide to do a one- or two- stop (depending on the racetrack). Worse, not only will there be no strategy variation but drivers will be forced to drive SLOW to preserve the long-running tyres. With DRS, the drivers can drive faster strategies and are encouraged to overtake. Without DRS, the opposite will be true, and slow consistent going will discourage overtaking (because A: overtaking damages tyres – ie running in dirty air, B: that tyre damage is certain while success of an overtake is not).

      That means, to avoid a total farce, we need to make durable tyres so as to encourage pushing and overtaking, and ban the DRS. The result will be a one artificial pitstop of 2010, and Trulli-trains as everyone is put on the same tyre (in terms of longevity). There will be zero action on-track and drivers won’t be able to do much about it. What’s worse, the system seemed to at least marginally work with refuelling which allowed the possibility of somewhat diversified racing. Without refuelling, you might as well give the win to the pole man, because THEN I will lose my passion for F1.

    3. That’s not what the data shows us @joshua-mesh. Every time I saw it analysed, there were clear indications of the tyres and how teams use them being what did the trick there.

    4. Compare 2010 with 2009. Only major change was refueling was banned. No degrading tires and no DRS and the number of overtakes increased significantly.

      DRS is not needed – degrading tires neither. But if I had the choice I’d do away DRS.

      1. I wish people would stop believing this myth. The number of overtakes increased because of the new teams (Lotus, Virgin, HRT). In 2010, more than half of the total number of overtakes were made on drivers of these teams. Naturally, with more cars and more races, you will get more overtakes, especially if passing them is not much of a challenge. The refuelling ban has little to do with this.

  7. Nice piece of opinion and I totally share it.
    Supress it or allow it anytime for anyone, that should make race interesting. And this year make it two was the “too much” of DRS, most tracks just don’t need 2 DRS zones (Spa doesn’t need any for the matter).

    And they want to force different strategies by forcing drivers to use multiple tyres compounds but that is just cancelled by DRS. Would be interesting to see how a one stopper could defend against 2 stoppers (For example Button at Spa, forced to pit while he could have stayed and battle if there was no DRS).

    Let’s hope they open their eyes soon enough …

  8. DRS needs to go, putting it on straights where was good overtaking beforehand is stupid. If its going to stay put in places where there isn’t much overtaking and create new opportunities. Personally if F1 needs an overtaking add use the Indycar P2P system, i’ve always enjoyed that

    1. *overtaking aid

    2. @f199player
      I agree. I cannot fathom why someone “up there” in the FIA has not realized that overtaking aids aren’t needed, in places where overtaking all ready happens without it.
      It’s like having a dirty car and then spend two hours cleaning the inside of the glovebox and then pretend like the car is now clean. Except that, doing so, doesn’t make your car worse. So in that respect, what FIA is doing is even more idiotic.
      And that they then get paid for it…

    3. +1.

      DRS is fake and DRS-zone makes it even worse, if they want to keep it, let this guys use wherever they can and if they think it’s unsafe kill DRS for good. It will not be missed.

      I like KERS but DRS… no no no!

      1. One argument for DRS going, Michael Schumacher Canada 2011 gets to 2nd place with superb driving only to get denied by being motorway passed in the closing stages

        1. Conveniently forgetting Schumacher made 2 DRS-passes himself to get up to second place?

  9. Wholeheartedly agree – been a fan of F1 for 19 years and for the first time finding myself not caring about the races anymore – DRS has to go!

  10. I have to agree that DRS in it’s current form has been given a fair chance and has failed in the eyes of motorsports fans. As you say, it takes away the most exciting part of motor racing for us: the battle for position.

    The problem is that most people are not motorsports fans. For those with only a casual interest (i.e. the people that Bernie et al want to attract), all they see is lots of overtaking. They do not understand how artificial it is, and do not care. They would not find it exciting if one driver was stuck behind another for many laps, racing wheel to wheel but unable to make the pass stick.

    So I, personally, think it is here to stay, because those who make the decisions don’t care about the real fans. They just want to attract more “spectators”, so will appeal to the lowest common denominator. It doesn’t matter if we all switch to watching another sport eventually, as long as they have more than made up for it with “normal” people.

    1. For me, Comment of the Day.

    2. +1. You’re exactly right – and this same problem affects not only F1 but lots of different sports around the world…. as well as consumer products and musical acts for that matter.

      So anyway, while I agree with @keithcollantine that DRS in its current form has had a completely ruinous effect on races, I don’t think I agree that all experimentation/fine-tuning has been tried. I think there hasn’t been much experimentation/fine-tuning tried at all besides adding more zones. For example I think it could work if at tracks like Monza, Spa or Montreal they cut the entire first half or first 2/3 of each DRS zone, so that drivers only got a small boost as they are about to dive into heavy braking zones. But then at tracks like the Hungaroring a maximum-length DRS zone would probably still be needed.

      The problem is that each track will have its own unique optimal solution, and only going to each track once a year means we may not find that solution for a long while. Plus I don’t think the ones in position to make these decisions are the most creative or adventurous people, and the only real measurable output for viewer satisfaction we have are perhaps this site’s “Rate the Race” pages!

      1. I just don’t think the alternative to DRS HAS to be the ‘Trulli train.’ I think there are many things they can do, like lessening the amount of aero dependancy such that cars in dirty air are far less negatively affected when behind another. I hate DRS and I appreciate many fans not wanting processions either, but if I had to choose between the two I’d take processions because at least they’re not phony. But as I say, we don’t HAVE to have either. There is plenty of middle ground and I think it starts with lessening F1’s cars’ dependancy on downforce.

        1. Yeah I agree with you here – reducing aero dependency would help a ton, and not just because the cars could follow each other. If you look at what F1 looked like when it was less dependent on downforce, and what sports car series look like nowadays which have no dependency on downforce, every corner is exciting because you can see the drivers sliding the cars around constantly, keeping the tires right on the knife-edge of their grip limit. Every F1 driver has the capability to do this too as they’re the best in the world, but we can’t see it because the handling characteristics of a car dependent on aerodynamics make that kind of driving unproductive. Plus we can’t see much in terms of drivers’ personalities – even if we had a modern-day Gilles Villeneuve in the field, we would have no idea, because nobody slides the cars anymore.

          Personally, I love seeing that kind of driving. You can see the cars dancing around on the asphalt all through the braking zone, mid-corner and corner exit under acceleration. I’ve taken to watching lots of more grassroots-type sports car racing such as the Continental Tire series and the Pirelli World Challenge series here in the US, as well as Australian V8 Supercars which are always a hoot, just to see more of this. The Aussie guys specifically really love to lay the rubber down…

          I’m not saying we should go back to the 50’s and 60’s when everyone drifted the cars all the time, but just a little more of it would be nice!

    3. this problem affects not only Formula 1 but most of the worlds problems: its all about the money

  11. Great article @keithcollantine I completely agree. It’s as if some people believe that just because one car is faster than the one in front he automatically has a right to get in front. As if there’s something wrong if a faster car can’t pass a slower car.
    It’s definitely affected my passion and interest in F1 too. I no longer look forward to a race weekend with the same excitement as in the past.

    I hope it’s not killing your passion for F1F because this site has become an integral part of my interest in F1. The great articles and comments made by the readers make this site special.

    Could we possibly somehow start an F1F campaign to get rid of DRS? I find it surprising how easily leading figures in F1 dismiss criticism of DRS.

    1. Down With DRS!
      Sign me up for that campaign.
      Keith Collantine rallies the troops again.

    2. @metallion wholly agreed: Keith, are you listening? I think we should definitely start a “down with DRS” campaign for it’s immediate banning to come into affect for the 2015 season (since it’d be slightly unfair on the teams to ban it now as it’s an integral part of the 2014 regulations).

    3. @metallion @ferrox-glideh @vettel1 As long as I don’t have to abseil down the podium holding a “down with DRS” banner…

      1. @keithcollantine I’m sure we could find somebody else to do that particular stunt ;) A poll to send to the FIA would be nice though – unlikely to do anything I’d imagine but hopefully they’d at least pay some attention!

      2. Could we just campaign to get them to do away with the silly DRS rules instead? I find nothing wrong with allowing the cars to go faster (and save fuel by reducing drag) on the straights. The problem is with the silly “1 second rule” and only allowing the drivers behind to use it and only on one or two places on the track.
        They don’t put in a rule saying “the cars in front can only use 95% of throttle and the car chasing can only use 100% of throttle if it’s within 1 second of the car in front”. Think about how silly that sounds. So, why would we limit DRS that way? It makes the cars faster and more efficient…so why do we tell them where and when they can use it? Shouldn’t the driver decide when to put down full throttle and when to use DRS???

  12. Agree, 100%.

    It’s not even as if casual fans I’ve watched F! races with think it’s good, or entertaining. Infact, it is frankly embarrassing for me to have to explain to people what it is and why it’s there.

    What I want to know is, do the drivers like it? If I’m not mistaken, no one seems to have made any strong enough, or public expression of disagreement with it. Do they quite like the fact they can have half of the overtake done for them? Is it the drivers at the front who are more likely to hate it?

  13. As F1 increasingly fails to fulfil my appetite for real racing, DRS-free series like IndyCar and GP2 have become more attractive to me.

    Amen to that Keith! @keithcollantine

  14. It’s boring with DRS, but now that slipstreaming is out of the equation, they don’t have much choice, do they? It’s one of those “Between a rock and a hard place” kind of situation, I think. Without DRS, we’d probably have some horrible traffic jams led by a Button or a Rosberg, while Vettel builds up those vintage 45+ second leads.

    1. but now that slipstreaming is out of the equation

      People often say that but from everything i’ve seen from OnBoard’s etc… slipstreaming still works just as well as it always has.

      Vettel used a good slipstream to pass Lewis at Spa & We saw plenty of slipstreaming lead to overtakes into the final chicane.

      You also hear the revs shoot up & see the slipstream working in this OnBoard from Bottas at Montreal this year:

      The only thing that hindered the slipstream Pre-DRS was the 18,000Rpm Rev-Limit, Drivers would get a good tow but hit the limiter too early which would kill there momentum. But we still see that problem occur with DRS if a team has got gear ratio’s wrong.

      1. Well, maybe there is the occasional miraculous slipstream action, but not nearly as much as ‘in the old days’. Being behind another car is just a huge disadvantage nowadays, though I don’t know the specifics about loss of downforce, air disturbance, etc.

        1. @flig
          It is true that being behind another driver results in a very significant loss in downforce. But that is what slipstreaming is. DRS isn’t a way to solve that. The solution is to move the downforce away from the body of the car and onto the floor and give them wider tyres to compensate for what could be loss of overall downforce due to simple wings etc.
          That will mean that the total amount of grip the car has, is less effected when you loose, say, 10% of downforce by driving close to another car.

    2. +1
      I’m not missing those bad old vintage 45+ leads

  15. Completely agree.

    I’d rather see some good racing with less overtaking than average racing with a shed load of ‘passing’.

    I think the problem with the whole DRS concept is that its presumed that a lot of passing regardless of how its done or how easy it is = great racing.

    Like Keith I have also found DRS taking away my passion & love for F1, Im no longer as interested in F1 as I used to be & Have instead found myself growing more interested in other forms of racing at the expense of F1, The series that got me hooked on the sport back in 1989.
    There was a time when the thought of missing an F1 session irritated me, Yet recently I’ve found myself not been bothered about potentially missing a qualifying session or having to go do something else during the race, Especially when the early laps have shown DRS to be overly effective.

    Seeing the typical easy DRS pass does nothing for me, I find it unexciting, dis-interesting & frankly boring. Its not what I enjoy watching & if anything takes excitement away from the race rather than adding to it.

    The biggest problem with DRS for me however is that it hasn’t solved any of the underlying problems regarding turbulent air, Or more precisely the cars over-reliance on aerodynamics. We saw at Spa that cars would still drop back sector 2 due to that problem a problem that has no chance of been improved as long as DRS is around because DRS is “Working”.

    Pre-DRS we had people looking at real solutions, Aero changes were proposed & adopted, Circuits like Abu-Dhabi were talking of making alterations yet all these things were killed the second DRS was introduced because as Paddy Lowe (Who I think was the guy who came up with DRS?) said, DRS is easier & cheaper.

  16. DRS was introduced because overtaking wqa practically impossible on most tracks due mainly to their layout (city streets, Abu Dabhi, etc) and to modern aerodynamics. 2009 was a boring season, cars needed to be at least 2 seconds faster in order to overtake. (Conclusions of FIA study). That meant that on most tracks the frontrunners could only pass the back markers. DRS was introduced to remedy this situation, as neither the tracks nor the design of the cars could be changed. But it has come to the point where we are not watching racing any more. I do not believe DRS will be dumped, but some changes, making its use more difficult, may make it tolerable. For example, activation should be set at half a second. No DRS use during the last ten laps of a race. Let the frontrunners fight it out. If there are two zones a driver can use DRS in one zone only during a lap, etc.

  17. I feel the same as Keith. I don’t look forward to races and ever more I’m becoming attracted by series such as GP2 and le mans.

  18. Never liked the idea of DRS, hated it when it was first introduced and I’m increasingly less interested in watching F1. The tyres haven’t done the sport much good, but DRS overtakes are plain pathetic. All they do is promote the ‘natural order’ of cars to finish in, rather than encourage actual fights.

    2010 was an epic season. No DRS, long lasting Bridgestones and we were just relieved of refueling. We probably saw little overtakes, but the ones we did were at least special.

    1. By the way, perhaps it’s time for another poll on the issue of DRS and perhaps a serparate one on tyres as well?

  19. DRS is a nonsence. And the thought of F1 in 2014 makes me shiver. If you had told me in 1995, when I started watching F1, that in 2014 we would go from glorious 3ltr V10’s and wide pretty cars, to the skinny DRS pathetic 1.4 V’6s we will soon have, I would have thought you were mad.
    Consider this, Montoya was lapping about 2 to 3 seconds a lap on most tracks in the 2000’s. Add this deficit on to the fact that next years cars will be a further 2 to 3 seconds slower and you begin to realise that an old F3000 car will soon be quicker than a current F1 mule.
    I used to laugh at A1GP with their ‘push to pass button’ , now F1 has it too!
    If you want to see real racing these days you need to watch MOTO GP.
    The F1 I loved is gone…
    Hello Kitty very sad.

  20. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    30th August 2013, 13:28

    I agree with Rubens, Pirelli’s tyres are enough to generate passing, let alone being allowed a drag reducing speed boost.
    I was one of the people defending DRS and hoping they they could “fine tune” it, so that it created the opportunity for a possible pass, but not so easy that you just breeze past.

    My stance on it at the moment is that it should only be implemented only on tracks where it is really needed. In my opinion, there are only a few tracks that do not need it at all because passing opportunities come thick and fast. Some that need 1 zone, and a couple that need 2.

    This is how I would implement DRS if I ran Formula 1:

    No Zones:
    – Montreal
    – Belgium
    – Italy
    – Brazil

    Single Zone:
    – Malaysia (After T14)
    – China (Pit straight)
    – Bahrain (Pit straight)
    – Spain (After T9)
    – Monaco (Pit straight)
    – Silverstone (Wellington Straight)
    – Hockenheim (Immediately after T1)
    – Korea (Pit straight)
    – Suzuka (Pit straight)
    – COTA (Back straight)

    2 Zones:
    – Australia (Pit straight and second straight), This is one of the few zones that the FIA have actually gotten right!
    – Nurburgring (Pit straight and Back straight)
    – Budapest (Pit straight and after T1)
    – Singapore (Pit straight and main straight)
    – India (Pit straight and after T4)
    – Abu Dhabi (After T7 and after T9)

    1. It’s not just about the multiple zones, its the detection zones too.

      Wasn’t it terrible in Australia because whoever activated it on the first straight just scampered off into the distance on the second?

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        30th August 2013, 13:56

        Personally I think there should be dual detection points when two zones are used, regardless of the track. Like you say, if the attacking driver gets ahead in the first zone, its not great racing if he can scamper off in the second.

        Having the second dection point, means that whoever is behind prior to the second activation zone will get the benefit of DRS. This would have been particularly useful at Canada.

        Off the top of my head I cant remember vast amounts of overtakes in Australia with DRS assisted. Certainly there were some, but not to the same degree that Montreal or Spa throw up.

    2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      30th August 2013, 14:08

      For some tracks, DRS has been an absolute god-send. Monaco, Budapest and Abu Dhabi come to mind, because overtaking and getting along side the car ahead is extremely difficult. Watching those races without DRS (pre-2011) were extremely boring (even though i love Monaco).

      At others, it has been a curse, because there’s already a surplus of overtaking anyway. (Montreal, Spa, Italy & Brazil). So it really isn’t needed there.

      1. Hm, at monaco the onl DRS zone is on the curved straight. IT really doesn’t do much to change the results at all @tophercheese21.

        1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          30th August 2013, 14:12

          Paul Di Resta and Kimi Raikkonen certainly made good use of it at this years race.

  21. Imagine, for a moment, that moveable aerodynamics had never been banned. I find it fascinating to consider how moving wings might look after more than four decades of development. Would slender cars slip like darts down the straight before blooming with wings to maximise downforce as they reach a braking zone?

    @keithcollantine I was imagining that while I was reading your paragraph. Well I must say I am amazed with your creative thought. Cars like this would be one heck of a thrill in places like Monza, Spa and Montreal … Wow…. Pure Sci Fi Stuff based on today’s cars. Imagine how creative newey would have become with this!!!

    An BTW i am personally not thrilled with the DRS stuff. it did not make the racing any more interesting for me. Well the Tires did for that matter…..

    1. It’s not really science fiction when you consider the McLaren Merc SLR and Bugatti Veyron already use pretty ostentatious airbrakes.

      1. @optimaximal add the Pagani Huayra to that list: I love the adjustable flaps in the corners!

        F1 I imagine would be far more extreme though: I visualise a kind of mechanical flying dragon lizard which would expand lots of wings in braking zones and through corners. It’d be horribly dangerous though likely!

  22. An article well written Keith.

    I also think that with the best engineers, aerodynamicists, technicans etc in the world competing at the pinnacle of Motorsport, that an innovation not disimillar to DRS would have eventually come to existent but the playing field would’ve been level unlike DRS. I remember writing a long post on TwitLonger (because it was lengthy obviously) on whether innovation as a whole was being killed in F1 and therefore diminishing the intelligence of the creator. I think this article answers that question again.

    Gone are the moments of Villeneuve holding off a train of cars in Spain 81 and Senna making his car as wide as ever to apprehend Mansell in Monaco 92. This is my first year watching GP2 and I’ve found it as a way to prevent myself from turning my back on racing as a whole.

  23. Agree 100%. DRS kills racing.

  24. F1 is a shambles, there have been some silly people who have made some ridiculous decisions. If f1 wants to know what fans want, they should read some comments on hear. There is only so long before drivers and fans alike will leave f1, I make a prediction that before 2020 f1 will not exist.

  25. The problem with DRS is that it’s an easy solution to a problem that teams don’t want to fix – the over-reliance on aerodynamic grip. They know that the more downforce they pile into the cars, the faster they will go. And they don’t want to give that advantage up. So they find a purely cosmetic solution, one that appears to address the issue, but which allows them to keep the dominant design principles in place.

    1. I think your 4 lines are likely a very accurate way of summing up the DRS issue. I can only add that hopefully, and certainly if they went by a survey from this site, they would see that it is not a solution at all…not if it turns more fans off than it invites to F1, post-procession-era.

      I totally get you regarding the teams ‘wants’ yet F1 managed to claw back the use of hot blown diffusers by forcing the teams to limit what they can and can’t do with their exhaust exits, and so I only hope that they continue to limit what the teams can do with respect to aero grip dependancy. eg. they could be limited to no more rake in their wings than that which they do for high speed tracks like Monza. ie. I know you said the more downforce the better for the teams but we know that is not always the case or else they would always run the most wing possible. We know that at times too much wing kills straight-line speed and so they run less wing. I think it is within F1’s ability, in spite of the teams’ addiction to downforce, to limit the teams aero capabilities.

      1. Sometimes, I wonder if Formula 1 isn’t totally backwards. There are tight restrictions on what teams can do with the engine and drivetrain, but designers get a whole lot of freedom when it comes to aerodynamics. Maybe that should be the other way around.

        There was some talk about a year ago that KERS could be adapted to fit the role DRS currently fills. Drivers would be free to use KERS as they liked, but if they chose not to use it for a lap, then the unused charge would be carried over to the next lap, and they would get twice as much KERS. This would be followed by a cooling off period where a driver would not be able to use the double-charge for a lap or two. I thought this was a clever solution that solved the problem of DRS, but removed the arbitrary rules that goverened its use and instead promoted a strategic element to racing.

        I wonder if next year’s ERS-T unit won’t do this next year and make DRS redundant. Where KERS (which will be known as ERS-K next year) gives a driver 60bhp for six seconds a lap, the thermal system will give them 120bhp for thirty-three seconds per lap.

        Having said all that, there is one thing DRS has done for the good of the sport: it has made racing cars look like racing cars. Personally, I think the old shark fins looked ghastly, even moreso than the stepped noses.

  26. @keithcollantine surely there’s an outside change that the formula changes next year (more powerful ERS, fuel-flow limits etc.) will make DRS pointless, because the cars will be relying less on the grunt of the ICE and strategically deploying the ERS where possible to blip past rivals?

  27. I’ve said it before and I’ll no doubt say it again but DRS is one of the worst things that has ever been introduced into F1. Possibly the worst bar none. It is a blatant attempt to get the playstation generation interested in the sport by dumbing it down and compromising the racing all in the interests of bumping up the viewing figures with manufactured ‘excitement'(sic).

    If we’ve really decided to go down the route of artificial excitement then I would honestly prefer to go with Bernie’s sprinkler system.

  28. Formula 1 is like testing for the future, so we all must be aware of the fact that in some, perhaps, 50 years, will be watching F1 where the cars would eventually float on the ground! Just saying, anyway, i support these DR Systems but the point is, its not equal to everyone. I understand you need to work your way to get to someone within 1 second and then make the pass, and then the ease think in passing someone, etc. DRS should exist because the technology is going forward and the sport is losing its hard battles and so on, so DRS is okay once again, but when the one behind can use it, the one in the front needs to use it either, this way is just like a child game

  29. Maybe if the could make it so DRS closes when the drivers are side by side, or create 0.2s-1s window, instead of 0-1s to the car ahead.

  30. Retire DRS. Bring back refueling and gravel traps, durable tires with multiple manufacturers.Boring maybe but we like it that way. I used to leave everything for F1 races, now i need good company to watch them. And yup one more thing,send Seb to Marussia or Caterham.

    1. @f1rollout refuelling is a horrible idea in any case if you want on-track action. Gravel traps although nice just wouldn’t be viable from a safety perspective I don’t think (what we really need to happen is more deterrents from going off track: maybe grass immediately bordering the track and much more rigid penalty application). Durable tyres I wouldn’t mind as long as the cars were less sensitive to dirty air so until then I think semi-degradable tyres are a good solution. Absolutely agreed on bringing back more manufacturers – I wouldn’t however want them simply outspending any privateer outfits so cost caps would be necessary.

      And on the last point, I’d love to see all the top drivers trading cars for a couple of races (maybe if we ditched pre-season testing in favour of non-championship Grand Prix as it’d never happen during a championship race) but I just don’t see it happening if I’m honest! Would be nice though.

      1. If you’d bring durable tyres, it will make racing hell boring. There has to be some strategic option and that could be refueling. It will be extremely hard to overtake with durable tyres and no DRS.. I have no problem with a race won purely on strategy and an occasional overtake. I always thought F1 as a combination of good engineering and driving skills in putting in consistent fast laps. I don’t know why people want more overtaking. If they want more overtaking they should watch some other series.

  31. I’ve watched for more than 30 years its the evolution of the sport that now seems to be less natural and more forced by Tv who thinks over taking is the be all and end all of F1 its good to see a well executed pass remember shumy cleaning a part of the track to later use to pass truly a mark of genius driver, you missed the best days and what we have now is what they think you want, vote with your feet if you buy sky then complain with the fact that you pay will inevitably mean some one will listen to you for fear of loosing your cash.

  32. I know how you feel Keith. DRS is doing what several years of tedious races never could and is killing my interest in F1. The line between sport and entertainment is a thin one, and I think F1 has crossed it.

    It may be here to stay, but let’s hope the teams and the FIA come to their senses and make it a fairer tactical device which can be used by both attacking and defending drivers.

  33. Michael Brown (@)
    30th August 2013, 14:02

    From what I gathered from the Speed commentators back in 2011, DRS was meant to allow both cars alongside in the braking zone. That obviously hasn’t happened.

    The ban on in race refueling in 2010 was a step in the right direction; I would never want to go back to the era with refueling. Of course there were boring races in 2010, because some tracks weren’t designed well.

    I also agree on your point about hard won advantages being lost easily by DRS. We barely see any passes outside the DRS zone because it’s much more advantageous to wait until the DRS zone.

    After waiting a few seasons for F1 to fine tune DRS, they simply increase its effectiveness as if they think that more passes makes a better race.

  34. This article says it perfectly, and DRS is one of the things that’s been putting me off F1 recently (although not the only one).

    DRS is an artificial solution to the problem of lack of overtaking that doesn’t actually solve the underlying problem. The thing is that everyone knows what the problem is – over-reliance on aerodynamics – but instead of addressing this they engineered a solution that just bypassed the issue by giving the following car a massive speed boost.

    Watching the race at Silverstone earlier in the year I became bored by the number of easy passes being made. Yes there was a fair amount of overtaking but it just doesn’t have the same effect on you as a viewer when you know how easy it is.

    Likewise we’re now denied the chance of seeing great defensive driving. By thinking that passing = excitement they’ve forgotten that it can be just as ejoyable to watch a driver in a slower car skilfully defend their position. I think back to the last 3 laps of Imola ’05 with Schumacher unable to pass Alonso – a great battle and excellent driving by both, very exciting to watch but not one single overtake. In these instances, it feels like an injustice to the defending driver for their position to be lost so easily with DRS.

    I hope DRS doesn’t stay and that they seriously look at other ways to create overtaking opportunities in a less artificial manner, but sadly I think it’s here to stay.

  35. Why not make DRS activation zones shorter giving just enough time for the car behind to get alongside or into a better position to make an overtaking move going into corners rather than being able to fly past on the straight?

  36. Agreed, but not just DRS, the whole sport in general. Going to a live race is not an option, it’s a waste of far too much time, money and energy to be enjoyable. Watching on TV has become a juggle of HD BBC coverage with a coverage team that I’m not overly keen on, or a Sky Go stream which often crawls to a jpeg slideshow.

    The racing isn’t all that great, the cars are irrelevant and ever-converging, the drivers are little more than mannequins with pull-string voiceboxes, the tracks are becoming increasingly vast and grey, in places with no real right to be holding such an event, and the politics becomes the main story most weekend.

    But all of this is ok, because there are tens and dozens and scores of cheaper, better, more interesting motor racing series out there with a myriad of different and wonderful cars and drivers with personalities. And they’re all racing. Side by side, Nose to tail. All the time. From lights to flag.

  37. I’m not a fan of fake overtaking moves whilst the lead driver has one arm tied behind his back. Its just not racing.

    That said if DRS is to live on then the rules should change. IMO each driver should be allocated a set amount of DRS time per race then they are free to use it both offensively and defensively. Drop the zones and watch the driver strategy unfold…

  38. I think DRS is a necessary evil but, like everything else in F1, teams have found ways to maximise its use. This has resulted in strategy built around it because it is a known quantity every lap.

    Like challenges in tennis, referrals in hockey, time-outs in NFL, I would much rather see a set number of uses given to a driver for a race weekend. That way he (or she) can either use most/all of them in qualifying to go for pole, then defend on Sunday, or use them tactically during the weekend when needed – think getting past a car/overcoming race aero setup in qualifying, or using them to maximise an undercut for in/out laps in a race.

    I think DRS should be more of a thinking driver’s tool, rather than a guarantee of passing when following a car down a straight.

  39. If DRS is truly here to stay for the long term, without a substantial overhaul in how it is implemented, then F1 needs Pirelli to stay as tyre supplier. If Pirelli were to walk away (and you couldn’t blame them for how they’ve been treated) then the next tyre manufacturer may revert to creating hard, durable compounds like the woeful Bridgestones in 2010. Gone would be the divergent strategies that led to such classic battles such as Canada 2012, or even Australia this year. I fear any manufacturer other than Pirelli would have a conservative outlook, resulting in even more DRS passes and undermining the racing further.

  40. Not much to add. I quite like the idea of DRS in Formula Renault 3.5, it could work well on F1 as well.

  41. Excellent article . I share your opinion. Defensive driving is dead and gone.

  42. In Formula Renault 3.5, drivers may use DRS for a set amount of time per race, allowing them to use it to attack or defend. Giving the leading driver equal opportunity to use DRS defensively would obviously make it more acceptable. Surveys on this site have shown most fans preferred that solution both before and after DRS was introduced.

    I want this so bad. For years. It’s so simple and obvious.

  43. I dont think this argument can be made without addressing the entire aspect of overtaking. If you look at F1 until DRS came into the picture, cars couldn’t pass each other because they relied too much on aerodynamics. DRS comes in and helps that issue slightly. As Keith mentioned, the tyres have been the biggest factor in overtaking, yet all we have seen in the headlines this year are complaints about tyres. I think the high degradation tyres need to stay and only then can you consider getting rid of DRS.

  44. Great article, completly agree with Keith.

    The best part of any pass in racing is the battle itself, wether the pass comes off or not is irrelevent Thats all it needs to be exciting.

  45. You know what almost killed my passion for F1? Multi-billion dollar parades.

    DRS does one thing and it does it well: it eliminates (part of) the negative effects that a front-running car has on the downforce available to an approaching car. If it were nothing more than a gimmick, we’d see car B overtake car A in the first DRS zone, car A overtaking car B again in the second DRS zone, et cetera. Which is something that rarely happens.

    So what DRS does, is save a faster car — this part is essential! — approaching a slower opponent from being held up. The opposite happened all the time in the not too distant past; anyone remember the Trulli trains or Ferrari’s 2010 Abu Dhabi debacle?

    DRS is an artificial measure, of course, but it’s something that the FIA had to create because the teams couldn’t agree on a more thourough solution to the problem of turbulent air. The original proposal for 2014 was to exchange parts of the aerodynamic advantages gained from wings for underbody aero.

    I am very happy with DRS — as well as with Pirelli’s high-degradation tyres as a matter of fact — but I do agree that DRS should (have) be(en) a stop-gap measure until the problem of turbulent air disturbing the airflow over the following car is fixed in a more thorough manner.

    1. @lustigson

      but it’s something that the FIA had to create because the teams couldn’t agree on a more thourough solution to the problem of turbulent air.

      Well the solution to that is therefore to prevent the teams from having so much political power and influence over how the sport is run. Every team is obviously going to vote in their own interests, so you will never have a unanimous agreement. It’s a committee essentially, and if you tell a committee to design a horse they’ll come back with a camel as the phrase goes…

  46. The biggest issue for me are the circuit layouts. Monza, Spa and Interlagos have been providing us with good racing for years. I reckon a new circuit like Austin can also provide the same thing. Bad circuits like Yas Marina, Valencia and Monaco are the real problems.

    1. Alonso wouldn’t have overtaken Hamilton without DRS in SPA. An overtake on Kemmel straight is always breadth-taking. It wasn’t this time around.

  47. I don’t think DRS is a problem, I consider it a useful device and it could benefit racing. THe problem is how the DRS is used. There are multiple problems I would say :

    The main problem is that it create only one way of overtaking moves. Drivers can pass all the way they like in the DRS zone, where it’s often easy, and don’t take any risks at the other places. Besides, a risky move can get you a harsh and unfair penalty, so why try it somewhere else. Fortunately, some drivers are still trying to attack without the DRS, but we see less and less risky moves like that.

    Another problem is that DRS is trying to fix a problem that doesn’t need fixing, or that is already fixed. In 2010, the problem was that at some tracks it was difficult to pass, and it sometimes created boring races. The FIA has brought not one 1 but 3 solutions! The ban of double diffusers, the fast degrading Pirellis tyres and the DRS. I am not sure F1 needed that third solution, I think the ban of double-diffusers was enough. Moreover, some races were still quite interesting in 2010 without the DRS and with the double diffuser and the Bridgestone tyres. These didn’t need fixing.

    The use of DRS is problematic : it is used in every dry races, at minimum two places, and the drivers can only use it when close to another driver. Moreover, the detection points are sometimes not very well located. Sometimes it helps not only to pass, but to get even further from the driver which has been passed.

    But the DRS is not that bad, it has sometimes helped creating great racing. In these cases, the DRS made an overtaking possible by allowing a driver to get close to another, but it didn’t make the pass automatic, because there was still some skill required to make the actual pass. Often, it was because the DRS zone was quite short.

    Personally, my ideal solution wouldn’t be completely banning the DRS, but to restrict it. It should be used only in races where it’s difficult to pass, and only at places where it’s difficult to get close to a car with the slipstream. Moreover, I really like the solution used in F3.5, where the use of DRS is much more strategic (the indycar has the same system with a restricted amount of push-to-pass buttons), and it doesn’t necessarily help overtaking : for example it could be used to push even harder before a pitstop to get the undercut. I don’t think it’s a good idea to simply ban DRS, because when used right, it can produce more interesting racing, especially when a driver has to use his head when he pushes a button.

  48. By the way, this sentence says enough: “While some cars were able to blast past their rivals in DRS zones with no difficulty, others gained little advantage.”

    DRS is no gimmick, it is a tool. An artificial one, yes, but all tools are exactly that. If it were a gimmick, we’d see Marussias overtake McLarens and Force Indias overtake Red Bull all the time.

    1. But it’s a tool that addresses the symptom, rather than the root cause – too much aero, too little grip. And as anything that attacks symptoms rather than causes, it can only every be a tacked-on, stop-gap measure.

      1. Agreed. Is said as much in my previous post.

  49. I also agree with DRS needing to go or be limited. I would say give the drivers about 1/3 the total laps use of DRS. To be used anytime. If its a 60 lap race, they get 20 shots of DRS. That way their is strategy, equality, and no more boring freeway passes.

  50. Vettel not using much DRS to overtake as I see it.

    1. @ialtair I never said he did.

  51. shame you used the webber eau rouge over take as a example of a non drs pass.

    Why did he pass there and not in the DRS zone? Well he tried that on previous laps and Alonso was too fast on the stright to make it work.
    So then he tried into the first corner, but then Alonso had DRS and good get him back.
    His last option was to be behind in the DRS detection zone, over take before the DRS zone and use the DRS zone to get away.

    Epic over take, because of the DRS zone.

    1. Its also often forgotten that the lap after Webber overtook Alonso at Eau Rouge, Alonso very easily re-took the place in the DRS zone rendering that awesome overtake at Eau Rouge a pointless risk.

  52. The headline sums up my thoughts in a nutshell (though I was done after 40 races, easy). Where is the excitement – indeed, where is the racing – when a flap stands in for overtaking abilities and negates nearly any and all defensive skills?

  53. Jack (@jackisthestig)
    30th August 2013, 15:12

    Overtaking itself isn’t all that exciting. If it was, motorways would be lined with spectators. A good close scrap like we saw between Vettel and Webber in Malaysia is what is exciting to watch. You don’t even need to see a pass, think Mansell and Senna at Monaco in ’92, the closing laps at Imola in ’05 and ’06 and whenever Maldonado or Perez are anywhere near another car.

    DRS just ruins good battles by giving the faster car a free pass before they go sailing off into the distance.

    1. Exactly.

      Excitement comes from the anticipation of something happening. Whether or not an overtake is something you’d want depends entirely on your support for the driver charging, or the driver defending. What makes it exciting for both is the possibility of either outcome without predictability.

  54. Didn’t like the idea in the first place. Didn’t like the introduction and if anything its just got worse and worse through continue misuse. I think I’ve probably written hundreds of comments on F1F relating to my frustration with DRS. Those few that still talk about Trulli trains seem to think DRS solved this – the fact that many other changes occured at the same time seems to be lost on them.

    F1 is now turning into a time trial where mixed strategies can’t prosper (note the comment on page 1 about Button opting for a 2 stop). This means teams are optimising strategy before the race and not during it. The use of DRS also means the backmarkers even if they qualify well have absolutely no chance of getting any points… and don’t even get me started on Hamilton letting a car through for fear of having absolutely no means to defend.

    I 100% agree with everything on this article @keithcollantine . It’s gradually eroding away at my passion that was born in the 90s too, as you can probably gather from this comment!

  55. You make a valid point here Keith. After 50 races, I myself have been more drawn to the likes of GP2 and Indycar, where proper wheel-arch banging, side-by-side action is created through the sheer skill of the driver. Formula 1 has started to gloss over that type of racing with DRS. Whilst I will continue to give it the benefit of the doubt, I think the issue therein lies with the stewarding of races.

    The standard of stewarding is not something I want to go into great detail about, but I think it somewhat contributes to the DRS controversy. Take Romain Grosjean’s move on Felipe Massa in Hungary for instance. For me that was a perfectly executed overtaking manoeuvre that probably would have been accepted in any other series, but the stewards in F1 penalised him for having all four wheels off of the track. A similar incident happened at Spa last weekend, when Gutierrez put two wheels on the outside of the track as he went side-by-side through the exit of Blanchmont with Maldonado. He was penalised for track limits, but as was the case with Grosjean, I think it was due to the nature of the track and the situation that he was in with both Force India’s behind him, that stopped him from reacting within the rule book.

    The rules say the white lines define the race track and no advantage can be gained through cutting corners or going outside of the line. But I think circumstances need to be looked at before judged. Vettel’s move on Button in Germany last year was a prime example of abusing of this rule, but both Grosjean’s and Gutierrez’s moves were not. And its interesting that the stewards clamped down on these two incidents, because both of these overtaking maneuverers were made without using DRS.

    I think the stewards have started to recognise overtaking as ‘DRS moves’ more than the type of side-by-side action that is present in the likes of GP2 and Indycar. With DRS, because of its simplicity of being on a straight and the press of a button, the stewards have been somewhat blinded into thinking all overtaking maneuverers should take place there where it causes less controversy. And in turn, its lead to some really bad calls on penalties.

    Then there is the FIA. DRS is supposed to be an experiment, yet I don’t see it being experimented with. The FIA needed to look at different ways of using DRS ever since the first couple of races in 2011 [Turkey in particular], when they saw it was too easy for drivers to overtake one-another on straights. Whilst the drivers have said it can be challenging to get within a second of the car in front, like you point out in this article, it shouldn’t just be a case of that one second gap disappearing with the flick of a button. Drivers should fight for positions, and I believe with enough experimentation, DRS can contribute to great battles on track.

    That ‘DRS sweet-spot’ can be achieved, but the FIA need to experiment. Adding in an extra DRS zone per-race that is in close proximity to the last isn’t enough. There needs to be some sort of look at limiting the uses, allowing the driver in-front to defend with DRS, and also the use of DRS in corners. Whilst its purpose is to dump aero, it could be interesting to see whether teams compromise on running high downforce in order to compensate for what might be lost in the corners using it.

    DRS will always be artificial, but the racing can still be real. Whilst I think the racing on track today is mostly good, it can be better. But in order to do that, the FIA need to look at the bigger picture. They need to listen to fans and drivers alike and put forward new concepts and ideas, to ensure F1 stays appealing to the true racing fans at heart, and maintains its race craft heritage.

  56. I have held and stated this view of DRS right from its inception, to me it seems obvious but I see there are still a number of F1fans. defending DRS, so please count me as opposed. Excellent article @keithcollantine.
    My preferred solution, a big reduction in aerodynamic foil area.

  57. This article was well done, thanks for your writing efforts @keithcollantine.

    The one thing I don’t agree with completely is your comparison to GP2. Half the drivers there go for the impossible overtakes and wonder afterwards, why they touched or crashed. If you put grown-ups into the GP2 cars (like the current F1 cadre), then you’d see much less overtakes.

    One thing I like about the system in GP2, is that there’s a good chance for different tyre/pit strategies to be successful. In Formula 1 that’s actually a very rare thing and has been, as far as I can remember anyway, done successfully only once this season. I’m talking of the Australian GP, where Lotus seemed to be able to set the pace, even with one less pit stop.

    I have been a regular follower of Indy Car for a while now and their so called “push to pass” system, while technically completely different, works on the same basis as you described for Formula Renault 3.5. Drivers can use it a finite number of times during the race, whenever and wherever they want, both offensively and defensively. I miss something like that in Formula 1, but maybe with KERS gaining more power per lap next season, its defensive influence could grow stronger.

  58. I agree with the problem fundamentally, but not necessarily the solution.
    We need DRS (or a far more complicated rules change) to help break the aero-inflicted 1.5s-0.2s force-field that has existed since the mid-90s. No-one was over-taking on-track before – it sucked.
    Don’t forget the drivers do ‘deserve’ it largely by virtue of getting to within a second.
    DRS needs a minor tweak, that’s all. I would propose that instead of the free-use to blast past that it is enabled much like now, but it switches off once a car is able to get a decent ‘tow’ or when it can pull alongside in time for a braking pass. I don’t know exactly where this would fall, but it could be distance or time-dependent.

    1. @webbo82 if the systems became more reliable and more accurate, with a quicker update period, why not use the car’s GPS? Using that you’ll be able to tell exactly where each car is and deactivate the DRS when they’re within 5m of each other say.

  59. DRS: a bastardised version


  60. I don’t want to repeat what so many others have said in four pages of comments.
    Just want to say that I would unable to agree more with Keith on this. In my view, artificial racing is NOT racing. The pinnacle of car racing should ban DRS, KERS, melting tires and ridiculous rules like the one that FORCES each driver to use two different compounds during a race.
    As Keith says, is time to stop this nonsense. DRS is a failure. On Youtube you can clearly see the video showing Alonso chasing Hamilton in Monza, and how they both brake (reducing the speed in almost 100km/h in few dozen meters) as they cross the line indicating the DRS zone: either of them wanted to arrive to the end on the straight ahead, knowing that the other, coming closely behind, would overtake like if driving on the M25. That is a complete joke. And is a joke that instead of bringing new public to F1 is taking them away.

    1. The pinnacle of car racing should ban DRS, KERS, melting tires and ridiculous rules

      Has Formula 1 ever been the pinnacle of ‘racing’?

      If you want to see the pinnacle of racing, watch one make series, were there are less variables, such as V8SC, NASCAR and go kart races are a blast too.

  61. While I principally agree with Keith (and I guess he, like me, understands why DRS is around in the first place, namely because of the perception that the wider audience, i. e. not the fanatics, prefers quantity to quality), Webber on Alonso in Spa 2011 is not the best example to bring up in an argument style article such as this (twice): after all Alonso exited the pits that time, it was not two drivers with no major advantage or disadvantage to either of them.

    But certainly there are many fine examples, such as the Perez v. Button in Sakhir, Sutil on Gutiérrez in Spa this year – if we want to stay at zhe venue of the last race. Obviously, the Webber pass was more memorable.

    I also turned towards other types of racing, which allows fairer competition (no DRS, but refuelling allowed for more varied strategies) and more versatile men in terms of expressing views more freely, not just erring on the positive side. I found NASCAR has the approach, which is right for me.

  62. petebaldwin (@)
    30th August 2013, 16:37

    For me, overtaking has always been a problem. There have been times where it is impossible (the obvious point would be Alonso vs Petrov) and we’ve often seen cars catch up at over a second a lap and then get stuck 1s behind and become unable to do anything.

    To solve the problem of it sometimes being impossible to pass is to now make it always impossible to defend! To then improve the situation, they change it to 2 DRS zones per track!!? WHY!?

    With cars unable to pass, whilst it was frustrating at times, atleast there was suspense and excitement but with DRS as it is now, the excitement of F1 has dropped off.

    I don’t think simply removing DRS will improve things as you’d go back to the original problem so we need an alternative. The idea to limit the use of DRS to a certain amount of times per race could work if it was a low enough amount or perhaps limiting the DRS zones so they don’t allow an overtake but allow cars make up for running in the dirty air….

    It’s not an easy answer but something has to change because the current DRS regs aren’t working.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      30th August 2013, 16:41

      As another suggestion – why not have a end point for the DRS zone rather than when the driver touches the breaks. This would allow drivers the boost to make a move but would then cut out before it allowed them to gain enough speed to blast past?

  63. I liked the idea of DRS, but the idea and its implementation are vastly different things.
    I had envisioned the idea that Coulthard may have had an oportunity to pass Bernoldi in the early 2000s rather than be stuck due to circuit conditions. Maybe Alonso may have had an opportunity in Abu Dhabi in 2010. That’s an opportunity only, not a guarantee.
    Its implementation has been terrible. Too often they’ve introduced the zones to already overtaking conducive straights and reduced overtaking into who gets to the line second.
    Like other posters I’ve reverted to watching MotoGP for my hard racing fix, while watching F1 purely out of my love of the sport. I’d love to say it won’t wane but I can’t promise.

  64. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    30th August 2013, 16:49

    DRS should be something like the DRS, let’s say, be allowed to be used for 30 seconds in a lap, or for some fixed time (let’s say, 10 minutes) during the whole race, being the driver who decides when. That could be more interesting.
    I mean, what really makes DRS bad is the prohibition to the driver ahead. If all of them could use it equally (as Kers is) it would be a gimmick, but race would remain fair and no artificial

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      30th August 2013, 16:50

      it would NOT be a gimmick, but race would remain fair and no artificial

  65. Tell me about it, i feel more for GP2, GP3 and even the pretty gimmick-laden BTCC over F1 these days. For all the ballast, boost adjustment and tyre choices, you still dont see many overtakes done-an-dusted half way down a straight.

    Even at Spa, the best track on the calendar, i found myself perusing the net with it on in the background, and after 3/4 race distance i went and watched the Ginettas and the touring cars on ITV4.

    Its a sorry affair.

    1. Even at Spa, the best track on the calendar, i found myself perusing the net with it on in the background, and after 3/4 race distance i went and watched the Ginettas and the touring cars on ITV4.

      Yeah it’s quite depressing. But it’s because they use DRS as if all circuits are bad to overtake on, which means the worst circuits for wheel to wheel racing, ends up with the only decent races. The tracks which allows for overtaking naturally ends up having every single duel ruined after half a lap.

  66. Completely agree. I’ve been very vocal about F1’s lack of creativity with the technology. Not only DRS is supposed to be a temporal solution which isn’t needed anymore, but they didn’t even try to be creative with it.

    They never tried to run a race without DRS, yet they tried in Canada in 2011 with 2 consecutive DRS zones and only 1 activation point. And then again, 2 DRS zones, 2 activation points. And now, they banned DRS except within the 2 zones we get as standard. They didn’t even try to put the DRS zone at weird places, no the most obvious place in the world.

    I used to wake up every other sunday, grab my cup of coffee and enjoy what I waited for every single week: the race. Not now tho. It annoys me madly that I cannot watch a proper race without constantly thinking: “why have they ruined this so much?”

    A rule never annoyed me like this one. I used to see people writing “this is a farce, I’m not watching F1 anymore” and I’d laugh. How bad something has to be for you to stop doing what you always do? How bad something has to change for your passion to dissapear, your hopes of watching a stunning spectacle nullified?

    But DRS has put those words in my mouth. I have switched off the telly a couple of times. And, no, I didn’t enjoy the snore fests we had in the latter part of last decade. I hated them. But it was part of the game. This isn’t a game, is a rulebook for cheaters. An overtake in the middle of the longest straights in the calendar because you can push a button isn’t an overtake in heart.

    Greatness is irrelevant to numbers. Many people that shaped our sport are remembered because of what they did on and off the track, regardless of the points they amassed or the titles they won. Ask Moss or Gilles.

    And imagine Gilles in a DRS zone… this is not only ruining the sport, it’s also ruining the reputation of the drivers involved. It’s making them look as if they need no skill at all.

    Because no one would remember Mika’s overtake on Schumi at Spa if he had DRS…

    1. Sir, I agree with you completely.

  67. One of the things i do not like about DRS is that its removed 2 core skill’s, The skill of overtaking & the skill of defending.

    Overtaking has always been a skill & some drivers have always been better at it than others. One of the things which made guys like Hamilton, Montoya, Kobayashi among others stand out is the fact that they could overtake even when everyone said overtaking was impossible.

    Likewise the art of defending does actually take skill, Some drivers were always brilliant at holding onto a place while others were not so good.
    Ayrton Senna was always considered one of the best at been able to place his car to prevent faster cars behind been able to pass him easily. Look at Silverstone 1993, Prost & Schumacher were a few seconds a lap faster than he was yet he was able to hold them off for several laps & that resulted in a thrilling battle for 2nd & then 3rd position.
    Fisichella showed how not to defend your place at Suzuka 2005, The way he was over-defending into the final corner was a great example of how to play into the car behinds hands.

    With the DRS, Overtaking has been made too easy & now everybody can overtake with ease.
    The guys that were great at overtaking now look no better at it than the guys who before were not that good at overtaking.

    Fans were disappointing when Kamui Kobayashi was left out of F1 this season. Well remember what drew attention to him to begin with, Those 2 races he did at the end of 2009 where he not only showed great defensive driving but also pulled off some brilliant overtaking. He then continued this into 2010 & became a fan favorite as a result.
    Juan Pablo Montoya became a fan-favorite for the same reason, He came into F1 in 2001 & showed that overtaking was possible even on circuits where overtaking was ‘impossible’-

    With DRS in the primary overtaking zones, You don’t see these sort of super late braking moves anymore because there’s often no need for them-

  68. DRS has my vote every minute of the day –
    just because of the utter sillyness of the the term “real racing”.

    1. Well you can never really argue with those who “remember the good ‘ol days when you had to fight for your place” because apparently pushing a button is easy.

  69. I concur with your well thought out article @keithcollantine . DRS has been given a chance, but is not the best solution for more overtaking in F1. I like that DRS helps to eliminate some of the undesirable processional racing. But, eliminating some of the root cause of the processional racing would be better. Better aero regs with less turbulence to allow for closer racing would be much more desirable than the current DRS. Finally, one of the least logical things about DRS is that the rule makers are essentially telling the drivers where passes should take place and also where passing is not as favorable because of the DRS regs. That is ridiculous. Racing is all about opportunity, creating opportunities and taking advantage where you can. That is what makes for exciting racing, not merely waiting until the regs tell you it is a better place and time to pass. Some of the best passes ever happen when least expected, not in a zone where everybody knows it will happen. So, please F1, clean up the aero regs and eliminate DRS!

  70. @keith, I liked the comment of imagine what could have been if the rules were never implemented, but then I imagine that’s why people went to CanAm racing. Too bad Porsche essentially killed CanAm with the 917 or we may have seen some tremendous innovation come from that series.

  71. I think this article has a key flaw that essentially derails the whole “Out with DRS” argument, an it is right at the beginning when it says :
    “The Drag Reduction System was introduced to Formula one 50 races ago. But we shouldn’t necessarily think of it as something that was imposed on the sport”.

    It is very subtle so not a lot of people realise, but DRS absolutely WAS imposed on the sport. It was imposed by the advent of aerodynamics. Intricate and highly sophisticated aerodynamics ruined close racing. Not long ago F1 was a constant procession of million dollars racing cars. Often races would go without a single overtaking manoeuvre, cars behind unable to overtake as the dirty air from the car in front robbed its grip making getting close enough an impossible task. Added to that bullet proof tyres designed to last two racing distances without losing performance, and there you have it a recipe for boring racing. And boring racing isn’t good for anybody. Not the fans, not the teams (well, maybe with the exception of one team doing the winning), not the sponsors. It is easy to criticise DRS. Taking an stance, “hey look at me I want pure racing!”. But taking it away isn’t the solution either.I have no idea what the solution is, but the one thing sure fire to -and I quote the article writer- “kill my passion for racing” is boring racing. Since the teams cannot unlearn aerodynamics, there has to be a solution to give cars behind a chance to overtake. Do I like DRS? No. Is it perfect? No. But since teams cannot unlearn aerodynamics, what are the alternatives? That is what people should be trying to work out, not trying to simply be purists and criticise it without offering any alternatives. Before a better solution is found, I am glad DRS is here and I hope it is here to stay.

  72. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    30th August 2013, 19:15

    @keithcollantine I see here a classic example of the “F1 purist”. It is a school of thought that has always rather baffled me, as it proceeds from the assumption that by being “the pinnacle of motorsport” F1 is somehow on a higher moral plane than other championships that utilize abhorrent overtaking aids or championship ballast all in the name of something as trivial as entertainment. However, it has always been my perspective that F1 is not just a fancy technical research operation dressed in commercial extravagance, and that its first and foremost purpose as a spectator sport, is to be spectacular, to be entertaining. Now you can argue whether F1 is entertaining at the present, but as a veteran of the late 1990s and the dark “Schumi years” I don’t see how the disappointment of an easy overtake can compare to the depressing knowledge that although one car was faster that another, an overtake was unlikely. You can also use the argument that Brundle commonly uses too, that the use of DRS closes the field up and the knowledge that overtaking in F1 is possible opens the drivers’ minds up to overtaking throughout the lap. Great races, those rated as some of the very best of the last 100 races found their entertainment value with DRS. Would the 2012 US GP have been as exciting without DRS? What about the 2012 European GP? Or the 2011 Chinese GP? How would Button have carved his way through field in the 2011 Canadian GP had he not had DRS to help him in the second half of the race? I think F1 should reward excellence, and by allowing faster cars through, thus freeing up their strategy and allowing for an intense fight at the front, we get a) a better spectacle and b) a more representative result. Whilst it is debatable, I think that second point is important if F1 is to retain the integrity that many feel DRS demeans. It’s a complex thing to apply, and I would agree that there have been races where the DRS’s application has been flawed, but there is doubt in my mind that it has been a positive addition for F1 and that its long-term role in F1 is secured.

  73. DRS should stay, but restricted to overtake back markers only, and be available at any point on the circuit. Then the front runners have to think about risk and reward before deploying and the back markers do not impact the race result.

  74. Scrapping DRS would be throwing out the baby with the bathwater. It has it’s uses, namely on certain circuits like Monaco, Yas Marina, the Hungaroring, perhaps even the Nürburgring. If I was dictator of F1 I’d keep DRS for circuits like those (perhaps while slightly reducing its effectiveness) and scrap it everywhere else. A skilled driver should be able to overtake at places like Spa without resorting to DRS. In fact we saw a number of fine non-DRS overtakes in the recent GP.

    One current obstacle to exciting overtakes in corners is the arbitrary and inconsistent application of the modern rules on passing. The prudent thing for the modern F1 driver is to do as little “real” overtaking (with its attendant risk of a drive-through penalty) as possible and instead to wait for the next DRS zone and an effortless overtake on a straight. The Perez move on Grosjean which resulted in a penalty was no worse than other similar incidents in the same race, and a good deal less egregious than Hamilton’s forcing Webber off the track in Hungary. I believe that simple, clear rules consistently applied would lead to more exciting overtakes.

  75. I completely disagree. F1 desperately needs drs. And you cannot use Indy car or gp2 for comparison. Its apples and oranges. Have you seen both the front and rear wings of Indy car? The aero levels are massively different. If F1 cars had Indy car levels of aero and down force, there would be no need for drs. So please make up your minds. Do you want to simplify f1 cars and slow them down or keep the device that gives the drivers a fighting chance?

  76. I agree completely with this article, when I see a DRS pass it just doesn’t excite me like overtakes used to a few years ago.

    I remember someone saying an overtake in F1 should be like a goal in football rather than a basket in basketball in terms of how often they should happen. I probably wouldn’t go that far as it if you had a lot of quality overtakes I wouldn’t complain, it is just that DRS passes seem meaningless to me.

    I suppose you could argue that all the rules in F1 are too artificial but DRS just seems completely artificial to me, you have to be within 1 second of any car in front even if it is a lapped car, the location and length of the DRS zones etc.

    DRS also negatively affects the rest of a lap as well as drivers will hold off attempting an overtake elsewhere as they do not want to be behind at the detection zone.

    You could make a case for DRS at some circuits but the fact that every circuit has to have two DRS zones no matter what the circuit it like for overtaking.

    With no refuelling, the designed to degrade Pirelli tyres and KERS I feel that there is no need to have DRS anyway.

  77. i’m starting to get fed up with it aswell. gp2 and gp3 prove that overtaking is possible without the adjustable rear-wings.

    i hope they get rid of it, but i doubt it

  78. Nothing to add to this article and it is absolutely SPOT ON! Could not agree more. Just hope some powers that be see and act on this.

    For me its been quite sudden I was happy giving it a go and quite enjoying my F1 as usual then almost as quickly as a DRS opens I cant stand DRS and have lost a huge interest in the sport I once loved

  79. Anyone here watches australian V8 supercars races? For me they are the best kind of racing happening in this day and age…
    They have power (almost as much as a F1 car), they are quick, they look good, not some airplanes with production car headlights, and they have very healthy and fair racing… No stupid gymicks like KERS or DRS…
    They have a similar tire degradation as F1 (althought they cna push a lot more), and they have TONES of overtakes and excitement… seeing 3 or 4 a breast for overtaking is very common.

    Not only DRS has made overtakes stupid, but KERS despite being introduced to help overtake, I have seen most of the time KERS being a weapon to avoid being overtaken…

    F1 should follow V8 supercars formula:
    -Lots of power (to make the driver technique and setup to decide corner speed exit)
    -Degrading tires that allow you to push
    -More mechanical grip, less aero grip…

    DTM is F1 of touring cars… it’s starting to suck… Watch a V8 supercars race… They probably aren’t, but they look so much faster than DTM on TV (in straight line, V8 should be a lot faster actualy)… And despite the low downforce, they have a lot of grip in the corners…

    1. And the best part… they don’t look stupid, they are custom frame chassis but that look prety much like the road car…
      They go 300kph, they spit flames, they sound great, they drift at the exit of the corners… and they are allowed to have fun when they win a race, they don’t get fined for doing donuts or burnouts… (wich they do every time they win a race). No wonder that V8’s in australia are even more popular than F1 (and F1 is super popular)

    2. I Like V8 Supercars,

      However, if Formula 1 were to follow the V8SC formula, removing aero from F1’s, standardising the downforce levels, and giving Ferrari and McLaren pretty much the same chassis with two different coloured body shells? I couldn’t think of better way to ruin what Formula 1 stands for.

      1. You’re going to far mate…

        I didn’t say give up the downforce… I say, reduce downforce, and increment mechanical grip… that way, drivers wont strungle no near as much close following another car.

        Chassis in V8’s are the same only in 2013, but they weren’t in the previous years, and it worked as good as it is working in 2013, close and pure racing…<

        But I don't want to standardise anything… I'm just refering to make it simple… There is no need for DRS or KERS… Just add mechanical grip, less downforce, and make the cars simple…

        What I found completely stupid, is F1 always talking about reducing costs, and every year they introduce new rubish like DRS and KERS that take a bunch of money to develop and are breaking down all the time, needed to be replaced all the time…

        1. I’m just refering to make it simple

          Has F1 ever been about close and pure racing?
          F1 is more about technological advancements pushing engineering limits to the extremities of the rules than the racing aspect.

          But with that said, the constant tightening of rules is resulting in F1 having less great engineering breakthroughs.

          So now we are left with a category of motorsport that doesn’t provide close wheel to wheel racing, or much technical advancements (LeMans cars have really taken over in that department)

  80. I don’t think that Formula Renault 3.5 DRS is really the solution. I mean, we already have something that is limited and any driver can use, kers. I have to say that I find kers management quite interesting. For instance, Vettel’s overtaking on Hamilton at Spa. It was not the most exciting pass because there was no wheel to wheel action, but knowing that Vettel saved his kers at the start to attack Hamilton on the following straight makes it more interesting.
    Also Alonso on Grosjean was a kers-assisted pass. Alonso used kers out of Malmedy, which isn’t usually the best place to use it. But Alonso saw the chance and he used it.

    As for DRS: I don’t like it. It doesn’t seem fair to me. I love seeing driver defending and it’s a shame that in many cases the drivers can’t do a thing to prevent being passed. But it was the easiest solution to the problem of overtakings in F1. Sometimes it worked well, sometimes it was a disaster, but I don’t see the past few years as catastrophically as some of you here. Formula 1 tried DRS for a few years and it’s clear that it’s almost impossible to get it to work the way the fans want.

    I say: get rid of the DRS, make kers more effective and see what happens.

  81. I sincerely hope the FIA does not only read your fantastic article, Keith, but also the five page of comments: not one soul disagreed with your statement. Please FIA, have mercy!

  82. hm maybe other way to make F1 better show is to make DRS otherwise. Alllow drivers to use DRS till they are 1 sec behind someone, then they need to use their skills to fight. To be fair, any driver with 1 sec distance behind or in front will have banned DRS. The F1 show will bring much more overtaking opportunities instead of easy passing by.

  83. Why don’t think bring back refueling? Surely cars on different strategies, and therefore different fuel loads at different points in the race, would aid overtaking?

    With the pit stop also taking longer, drivers dropped further down the field after a stop, therefore increasing the incentive/need to do some overtaking.

    1. Why don’t think bring back refueling?

      Because that would kill on-track racing just like it did the last time we had it.

      When refueling was introduced in 1994 on-track overtaking declined, When it was banned in 2010 the levels of on-track overtaking shot back upto pre-refueling levels.

      The one thing I don’t get with the DRS supporters argument is how they talk about 2010 & claim there was no overtaking because of rock hard tyres etc… & this is why we need DRS (And rubbish Pirellis).
      Well 2010 featured more on-track overtaking than any season since 1989, It featured a very competitive title fight with 5 drivers contending for the championship upto the final 2-3 races & a title fight that wasn’t decided until the last race.

      There was nothing wrong with F1 2010, You can’t look at 2 races from that season (Bahrain & Abu-Dhabi) & use those to write off the entire season.

  84. Here I was thinking f1 fans are a smart bunch. How can you compare open wheel formula racing to touring cars? Cause that’s what touring cars are. Big v8 touring cars that can afford to rub paint and bump each other. On what planet do you envisage f1 racing being anything like that? The f1 community is a smart educated lot. But that same lot of people will always find something to complain about.

  85. I have a question for all of you. When have you seen a driver lose a race because the trailing driver has drs? Exactly! Never! All drs does is allow the faster driver at that particular junction in the race to get around a slower driver that would otherwise hold him up. Hold him up not because he is quicker but because the nature of f1 cars(aero) makes it damn near impossible to get around a slower driver without taking a massive risk. Way more risk any touring car racer ever has to take when attempting a overtake. DRS FAVORS NO ONE! If the leading car truily is quicker, well he can now deploy his drs and pass the guy who just went past. But we rarely see that. Why? because they are in fact slower.

  86. The way its being used atm is ruining f1 but I think if it was used properly it would maybe lead to better racing. For instance the following driver gets a one or two second blast of drs just to put them side by side and only in one section not two.

  87. Valid points by and large, and I do rather think the idea of having a pass/defend option of DRS sounds substantially better than the current system. I’m not entirely certain DRS is always horrible as far as the racing goes. Consider narrow and technical circuits such as Monaco and the Hungaroring: the DRS helps keep the racing slightly closer than it would be without it. DRS or no, overtaking at those circuits takes vast skill, so if anything DRS makes the racing a tad more exciting. Though I suppose the modest impact of DRS at smaller circuits could also validly be used as an argument to remove it from there as well. For wide circuits with long straights, the limited push to pass idea could be brilliant and much more fair for the guy defending. I can’t see much reason to complain about that.

    1. Actually its the other way round. DRS is ineffective at slow tight tracks. DRS does not have that much of an effect at tracks like Monaco because the speeds are so low. The speed differential between DRS and non DRS cars is not significant enough. Moncaco is tough for passing because you can drive defensively and never lose your position. Its a one line track.

  88. thanks keith for voicing what many feel , a diminishing interest in F1 because of DRS

    and it is all so simple , scrap these expensive elaborate front wings , the reason cars can’t overtake

    think of the benefits
    DRS no longer required
    vast savings financially
    smaller gap between top and bottom teams

    all in all …BETTER RACING

    ok , there has been a small move in this direction for 2014 , but nowhere near enough

  89. Naive F1 fans would like to keep DRS. My girlfriend is now more interested in F1 because of all the passing..As someone in the comments pointed out, F1 is more of an entertainment than a sport now which is good for new fans i suppose?. I would prefer a boring race with some strategy mix-up and an occasional overtake over a race with 100 passes any day.

    1. You can re watch 2013 Spa, not too many passes, a bit boring and a few strategies to follow.

      And i shall re watch 2012 Valencia, lots of passing, no idea whats happening, excitement throughout! ;)

  90. I think that the real issue is not the use of DRS or the Pirelli tyres, but the tracks on the calendar.

    The races at the classic tracks, such as spa and monza, are slowly being ruined by overtaking aids that are too powerful, and tyres that disintegrate as soon as they meet a corner in which drivers can actually exploit the aerodynamic advantages of their car.

    Watching the ‘classic f1’ clips on the bbc website on the classic f1 tracks such as imola makes me wish I was alive when the racing was at its best. I think that if we brought back some of the classic tracks, we may finally be treated to some classic races.

    I haven’t followed formula 1 for many years, roughly 10-15, but have recently found myself not missing the live coverage of every race on free-to-air tv, something I found unthinkable when it was first announced. I too am losing my passion for formula 1, as I feel it is no longer the pinnacle of Motorsport with pay drivers, and artificial races. I would much rather spend a Sunday watching the btcc and moto gp with support races. It seems to me like all the tracks on the btcc calendar have much more character than 70% of the formula 1 calendar added together!

    Unfortunately, I think that for f1 to progress forward in the future, it needs to look backwards, and bring back classic tracks, and less dependency on aerodynamic grip and more on mechanical grip. Then we would really be able to see the drivers make the difference in the cars and not just the cars themselves.

    Anyone else for a charity event where the f1 boys go up against the btcc boys at brands hatch in some tin top classics? I would pay the entry fee at a modern f1 race just to watch that!

  91. Kudos to you Keith for such a well written article on this. Have always thought the equivalent would be having the car in front having its engine throttled back as someone behind got within the ‘drs’ distance. What’s the difference, and how sporting would that be? Ah, ‘entertainment’ is more important. The most cogent statement is that of driver’s SLOWING to take most advantage of the upcoming gimmick zone. You could not publish what I think of BE but if ‘adding to the show’ with a DRS fits the bill I cannot see any argument against his sprinkler idea.

  92. I miss gravel traps tbh

  93. This is not motor racing.

    Unless you’ve accidentally been watching Golf Tournaments, I’m afraid it is.

  94. DRS DRS DRS …

    I think I have an idea that is worth considering a though.

    Lets keep DRS and at the same time the “old-school” slipstreaming overtakes and the amazing defensive action from the past, BUT HOW?

    Well, allow the car behind use DRS only if hi is 0.5 to 2 seconds behind, doing so will prevent the easy overtakes and allow slipstreaming much more and plus it will benefit to keep the cars closer to eachother.
    If someone is then, lets say 0.495 seconds behind, he is not allowed to use DRS because he is so close that slipstreaming can be used.

    Good idea??

  95. F1 fans are too nostalgic. A very selective form of nostalgia. You can argue the racing was better in the past. BUT WAS IT REALLY?? Are races of attrition better? The cars of the past were so simple compared to today’s aero monsters. They don’t seem to have much room for context either. Just about every serious open wheel form of racing has some kind of passing assistance. Indy has push to pass, kind of like KERS but you can only use it so many times. DTM now has DRS also. GP2 which everyone raves about does not have DRS. So what happens? You have tracks full of broken carbon because drivers get desperate. Part of it is inexperience and part of it is they have no choice. They could either roll the dice or sit in traffic.

    1. F1 fans are too nostalgic.

      Spot on. We are in the golden age of F1 just nobody know it yet ;)

  96. Couple of vague points. Food for thought perhaps.

    Firstly, while I absolutely cannot stand DRS and think it is comprehensively ruining what should otherwise be an absolute golden age for the sport, it’s worth noting that according to the weekly polls on this site, the average rating for races seems to be on an upward trend not downward. While people may complain about DRS, there is certainly a factor there which is making the races better. My opinion is that this is down to the tyres and the uncertainty they create in the races. Though curiously there seems to be as much vitriol thrown their way as well.

    Secondly, the thing that people say over and over, so many times I think it has just been accepted as fact without any deeper consideration, is that it is a strong bias towards aerodynamic downforce from large wings which causes the kind of difficulty we’ve seen in overtaking in the years preceding the introduction of DRS. While to some extent I do think the aerodynamics play a part, I think it’s important to consider that whent he track is wet, the cars still have a large aero dependency, but you then see lots of overtaking. The general mantra seems to be that a reduction in aero dependency combined with an increase in mechanical grip from the tyres would solve the problem. But the best real-world example of improved ‘natural’ overtaking is a wet circuit – exactly the opposite of what many suggest would be the solution. And, coincidentally, a similar situation caused by the high tyre degredation of the rather unpopular Pirelli tyres.

    My conclusion then is not that high downforce from large wings spoils the ability of drivers to overtake one another, but actually that this particular problem more or less went away with ’09-onward rules, and actually what does cause problems for overtaking is simply the very high levels of grip generally in F1. High grip levels meaning that cornering speeds are high, and braking zones are short. Because the grip levels are very similar, and the level so high, it means the driver in front must make a huge mistake to create the window of opportunity for the driver behind to successfully attack. There’s no such thing, really, as a proper late braker these days, because realistically the braking zones are so short that even a really good driver can only make, at best, a couple of metres difference in the braking zones.

    My feeling, really, is that this is just a findamental problem with the level being so high in F1, and that the best possible solution would simply for there to be a lot less grip. And very possibly by banning advanced composite braking systems which don’t suffer any brake degredation. Then just use raw brute horsepower to keep the laptimes roughly level with what they are now. So much slower in the corners, longer in the braking zones, but much faster down the straights.

    As I say, food for thought.

  97. I’ve never seen a “boring” F1 race. Probably because I’m actually a fan of the sport.

    1. @bmwf1 I don’t know who you’re quoting there – I certainly never said anything about F1 being “boring”.

  98. @keithcollantine Nice opinion piece, I always felt as though you should do more of them as you’ve become an authoritative and respected voice in the F1 community.

    I however, disagree with your viewpoint. How is DRS any different than the rule makers forcing the use of chicanes to slow down cars, or the use of the governing body to introduce a tyre company that will produce tyres that are effectively not fit for purpose. There are countless ways that the FIA have stepped into F1 to try and “contrive” scenarios that aren’t predictable. From my point of view, although DRS isn’t by itself a total solution to breaking up predictability in F1, however, it is a small part of it.

    I’m in the minority in this forum, as I believe most people in here want exciting nail biting races and for the drivers and constructors championships to go down to the wire, where I am the opposite, I’m content with seeing the best driver/team package win on the day and at the end of the season I think that combination should be duly rewarded.

    Has DRS changed the outcomes of WDC or WCC? No, it hasn’t, it has given advantage to drivers who are trailing behind another car… And lets face it, in most cases the car behind is faster than the car in front…

    1. DRS is different because it introduces an unfairness in overtaking. Its that simple. The driver in front is left helpless with no defense. It mean a lot less skill is required to over take.

      Remember Mansell at Monaco behind Senna? Did you want that scrap, or a DRS breeze by? Most of the best scraps in F1 history would never have happened.

      1. Not just that but most of the best moments in F1 arn’t actual passes anyway, but the scraps themselves. DRS gave F1 something that F1 didnt need, which was eliminating the fight

  99. Oh thank god, after all this time some one is saying it. I hated it to begin with, and never got used to it. Whitmarsh put it best. Its is not over taking that is exciting, its the anticipation of over taking that is exciting. That is what we have lost. And yes, DRS has killed my passion for F1 too. To the point Im considering cancelling my Sky subscription.

    It boils down to this: One driver is left helpless while the drive behind can just sail by. NOT like push to pass in IRL (a driver has x many uses, and can use them at will), where the driver in-font can defend, if he chooses. Its even. DRS is not ever even. If drivers could use DRS at will, to attack or defend, then at least it would be even.

    Tangent. I’m a Vettel skeptic. While I can see he is fast, I don’t see him as a racer. Im in the “he cant over take” camp. DRS masks this. If we lose DRS we can see either way. Vettel can prove himself. I can be wrong!!!

  100. I havent read all 175 comments to date yet but my stance is this. The cars are going to be very disimilar in 2014. Lots of changes to engines, trans, chassis, aero, weight etc. Leave DRS out for a season and see how it goes. As stated by Keith, DRS was introduced in conjunction with a radical change to the tyres. The tyres alone wouldhave probably been enough to make a huge difference to overtaking performance under the right conditions. ie, new tyres vs old tyres at certain points in the race. Introducing DRS with the tyre changes was like taking a whole bottle of pills instead of 1 at a time. I say lose DRS for 2014 and reassess the situation later. To be fair, they tried something new but it just didnt work out. Ferrari know all about that this year ;)

    1. I respectfully disagree. Fast degrading tires or old vs new has not and will not generate the authentic wheel to wheel racing you crave. The impact the tires have is how hard you can push in a stint. Some teams figured out ways to slow their cars raw pace down so they can sustain a full stint. Some like Mercedes struggled. The only time tires come into play in regards to overtaking is towards the end of the race. Where you have one stoppers trying to go the distance but ultimately lose out to cars with fresher tires. Fine example of this was Button in spa. Had he not pitted in the end, he would have lost more positions. Another thing I don’t like is the oversimplification of drs. Its actually very hard to maximize its full potential because you have to get gearing to match or you bounce off the rev limiter. Monza without drs would be a snooze fest. I don’t understand the hostility towards drs. To me it sounds like people are demanding an unrealistic purity in racing that does not exist anywhere.

  101. What I found completely stupid, is F1 always talking about reducing costs, and every year they introduce new rubish like DRS and KERS that take a bunch of money to develop and are breaking down all the time, needed to be replaced all the time…
    And some people here in the forum seem to like to link those useless systems to road-cars…

    Today, F1 is as far from a road car as it gets… Who the hell wants to see tiny engines doing 600hp, in ugly cars with electric systems that nobody cares or understands what they do, and strugling to reach 300kph… I can see every teenager screaming that their neighboor toyota Supra has twice the power of the F1 car and able to go to 300 kph way better than “the ultimate car” wich is suposed to be the F1….

    Some might say… yeah, but F1 acelerates faster… Well… A F1 car is suposed to do 0-300kph at around 12-13 seconds…. Funny that for example a Koenigsegg Agera does 0-300 in 14 seconds with road tires, in a runway full of dust and bird poo… and it has a 2 years warranty and doesn’t need 8 engines for 1 year and the tires doesn’t blow up doing 200kph…
    This puts into contest how unapealing F1 is at the moment in my opinion….

    In my opinion (this is just me, don’t atack me if I don’t agree) F1 should be more like this, it would be better for public and teams, with better racing, and less cost.

    -Make way bigger engines, something like a 4 or 5 liter engine with up to 1000hp… (Road cars get faster each year… F1 gets slower, doesn’t make sense). That’s why V8 supercars look much better than DTM on TV, they look much faster (because they are going faster), and the croud like those number to go well over 300kph… Because those engines are so much bigger, 2 or 3 engines should be enought for an entire season. No silly things like KERS or DRS that cost a bunch of money and keep braking down

    -Fuel like in motogp. I give you a X amount of liters, now the best team would build the engine that would produce the most amount of power, but still being able to finish the race… That way, FIA would keep down engine stress, and would stimulate manufacturers to engeneer more fuel efficient engines… KERS didn’t help anything in fuel economy in road cars (and not realy much in F1 either)

    -Decrease aerodinamic dependance, increase mechanical grip, either with a bit more suspension development freedom, and bigger tires… suspension is way more relevant to road cars than aerodinamic downforce, because most grip from road cars come from the suspension, not aerodinamic (excpet so exceptional supercars)
    and by the way, start to make lower profile tires and bigger rims in F1… Road cars in this day and age have much bigger rims and smaller profile tires… that way tire manufacturers could relate some knolodge to road tires.

    I think this way, cars could look way better, racing would be better (less fake), non-f1 fans would actualy understand the cars, technology would be much closer to real cars, and the costs would be much smaller

    Tell me guys what you think? (this is just a example, I guess there are a lot more cool “future F1” ways…

    1. @oliveiraz33 I don’t agree that F1 needs bigger engines: I find it far more interesting to see how much power engineers can get from small engines as is the trend for road car manufacturers. F1 cars also have never been about going quick in straight lines: I’m pretty sure the McLaren F1 is faster than every F1 cars ever built on a straight (and that was built in 1992). However, through the corners there is nothing faster. A Koenigsegg would be annihilated through the corners compared to an F1 car and I’m sure wouldn’t be anywhere near as quick off the line either (since F1 cars have over 1000 bhp/tonne).

      I also don’t agree that KERS should be banned – in it’s 2014 form it’ll defnetly be worth the weight penalty and F1 is a great developing ground for the technology.

      On the fuel thing, F1 is way ahead of you! They’re only allowed to use 100kg during a race next year.

      1. But big power from smaller engines means more engines per year due to bigger stress, so more cost… Plus, bigger engines means more cilinders, wich is just BETTER for you ears.

        Find me the person that thinks that 2014 engines are more exciting than the 2004 V10? In the end F1 is paid by the viewers, without viewers there is no sponsors, no F1…

        Small shoping cars might have small engines, but the “big boys” of hte supercars still have the big V8’s and V12’s, so making F1 cars V6 is the wrong aproach I think… F1 should be relevant to your sportscar not your renault clio hatchback…

        Of course F1 cars are going to be quicker on corners than a koenigsegg… it doesn’t have the tires, the weight, the downforce, and has to carry Air conditioning, leather seats, etc etc…
        With fuel and driver and driver a F1 and a Koenigsegg should have very close power to weight ratio… I reapeat, F1 car does 0-300 in around 12 seconds, the koenigsegg does it in 14 seconds with road tires and still carring a lot of weight, give him warmed up race tires and it could shed 1 or 2 seconds easly since is only rear wheel drive.
        I’m not talking top speed here, I’m talking Aceleration… The maclaren F1 had the top speed, not the acceleration the the Formula1 cars…

        The problem that F1 is facing is the same problem as rallying… rallying is dying becuase nobody wants to look at a Ford Fiesta drive by… people want to see the porsches and ferraris and cool stuff that they cant afford…

        Nobody wants to see a F1 car that is slower (even if is only in straight line) than a tuned toyota supra of your neighboor or the Honda civic that a teenager has on youtube…

  102. @keithcollantine

    I think this topic warrens a poll.


    Total Ban
    Keep as it is
    Increase it’s use
    Limited by applications per race (eg. you have 20 applications per race to be used in the DRS Zone for attack or defence)

  103. DRS is a video game gimmick wich make racing artificial. It should be banned.

    FIA should work on aerodynamics instead, and give the cars more mechanical grip.
    Why don’t they reduce the wings’ downforce by 75% ? It can be done easily (in order to have Indy 500-type wings).

  104. Keith you deserve COTD for that comment.

  105. It’s a combination of three things this season that have made me fall out of love for the sport.

    DRS – Less overtaking, more ‘come on through, I’m totally powerless to do anything about it’. The driver skill in a wheel to wheel battle had completely disappeared when it was first introduced, somehow they’ve lost even more of that skill this year with extra unnecessary DRS zones.

    Tyres – Pirelli went too far this year, drivers are not racing anymore to get the highest possible position. Spain was the most extreme case of this when Vettel didn’t bother fighting Raikkonen. The rules don’t help either.

    Stewards – In the last two races, I have seen two of the most ridiculous decisions. The Grosjean move on Massa in Hungary was completely brilliant but the stewards decided to give him a penalty for it. You know the stewards have messed up when even Massa thought Grosjean’s penalty was wrong. Worse was Gutierrez’s penalty in Spa. When I saw that come up, I didn’t even know what he did, let alone anything wrong? As far as I’m aware, his penalty was for racing other drivers…

    This has been possibly the worst season I have ever seen and I don’t see it improving in the near future.

  106. Completely agree about DRS if we have to have it, both drivers should be able to use for attack and defence. Have to say though that the tyres aren’t completely free of guilt when it comes to damaging pure racing. Back in say the early 90’s teams may have been minded to “go for it” and hope the tyres would last but these days there are so many simulations and so much analysis that they know almost exactly when a tyre will go off so they “drive to a delta” which is a euphemism for saying “they pootle around the track at 3/4 speed and don’t try to decent their position if challenged on track because its more of an advantage to save tyres than keep track position” throughout history the winner of a motor race has been the one who’s strategy gets them to the line first, but this F1 fan would argue that when the rules both with DRS and rapid degrading tyres promote such strategies as letting cars past to save tyres and not defending a drs overtake because everyone knows its a lost cause then something with the rules needs to change. If you want to see a great overtake see 1998 Italian GP my heart was in my mouth in that moment, modern F1 does not move me in that way

  107. A great piece as always Keith and some great comments (albeit I don’t have the time to read them all) from a technical standpoint I’ll try to make some points on the subject.

    DRS was effectively born out of a requirement to increase overtaking and therefore the ‘show’ enticing new viewers to a sport that had lost many through the dominant Schumacher era (Please don’t berate me, I think what Schumacher did in the sport was fantastic) A survey conducted by FOM in the years leading upto 2009’s regulation changes highlighted the need for this.

    DDD (Double Deck Diffusers) ruled out the initial moveable aerodynamic device trialled by the FIA to increase overtaking in 2009. The adjustable Front Wing flap device that had 6 degrees of movement could be used twice a lap allowing the driver behind to be less effected by the wake of the car they were following. DDD’s however increased the wake created at the rear of the car and nulified the flaps use by the car following.

    After dropping the adjustable Front Wing for 2010 McLaren arrived with their RW80 or F Duct (as the media labeled it) causing controversy but inadvertently paving the way for the driver controlled rear wing drag reduction system we have now.

    2011 and on the face of it most people don’t really see this as a pinnacle year (mainly because of the Red Bull / RB7 dominance) but we had the re-introduction of KERS (more neatly packaged than 2009’s attempts), DRS and Pirelli’s first year in the sport. The latter perhaps had more impact than most are willing to accept, the tyre companies brief to increase overtaking in combination with the technological aspects perhaps making passing too easy on occasions.

    DRS – As with everything in F1 it’s about the margins and this is why we see teams designing intricate Rear Wing’s that compromise both downforce and drag according to the circuits requirements. DRS is no exception with the teams using a variant of flap sizes and shapes to leverage the required effect.
    2011 and 2012 saw the teams be able to use unlimited DRS for practice and qualifying maximising the potential to qualify well and perhaps be hampered a little throughout the race. For 2013 however the teams have been limited to using DRS in the activation zones putting some of the emphasis back onto a more levelled race setup. I detest the fact that the zone is no longer adjusted throughout a race weekend by the FIA race stewards as we had in 2011/12 to trim it’s effectivness and instead we end up with drivers making a pass perhaps 50m before the ‘get alongside zone’ that DRS should have in order to entice drivers into wheel to wheel action.

    2014 – We all know that the rules are changing significantly for next year and although most might not like it I’d suggest there will be perhaps 1 or 2 teams that will run away with the title as they simply got it right whilst others didn’t. In terms of DRS the 50mm aperture currently allowed whilst the top flap is active will be increased to 60mm as the height of the Rear Wing will be increased by 20mm overall. Drag will undoubtedly be a significant factor for 2014 as more cooling should be a standard requirement for the teams and cooling apertures = drag. Moreover Pirelli will likely be very conservative with their initial tyre designs knowing the impact the additional torque will have on the construction of the tyre.

    DRS going forward – The idea was right but it’s implementation alongside 2 compound tyre choices and the re-introduction of KERS only really helped drivers who found themselves out of position find their way back through the field. As a prospect to increase overtaking then the driver defending should really still have an opportunity to fight back and the best option for me then must be a time component either per lap to be used anywhere on circuit or so many activations per GP weekend (FP3, Qualifying and the Race. I say FP3 as this is the point at which the car enters Parc Ferme conditions) This would make DRS another element of strategy rather than a simple push to pass device.
    One other thing to consider going forward however is that DRS’s effectiveness may well be equalized as the component that ultimately decides how fast the car can travel at the end of the straight is the gear ratios. Bar a singular change during the season the ratio’s for 2014 (onwards) are chosen at the start of the season and locked in for the whole season. This in itself will lead to a small disparity between the teams next season. With the introduction of ERS next season the choice to defend from a DRS pass with KERS will also be minimized as the electronic controls will deploy the necessary energy already harvested by the car rather than being a push to use system.

  108. I prefer the idea of something like a more extreme version of the adjustable front wing flaps used a few years ago. If implemented again, like DRS it could only be activated within 1 second of the car in front, act on the front and rear wing, but obviously it would increase rather than decrease the angle of the wing so as to increase downforce. It wouldn’t be limited to any 1 section of track (or if it was, it would be in any corners leading to a reasonable sized straight). This would allow cars to maintain downforce when following another car and stay closer to them during the corners, which is where the loss of downforce is a problem in the first place. Then out of a corner the flaps can revert to their original position, and the driver may be close enough to try an old-fashioned slipstream-and-outbrake overtake. DRS is partly a problem because it tries to give the following driver back their advantage on the straights rather than the corners where they actually get penalised by dirty air. That is part of the reason it is such an inelegant solution.

  109. Sudha S (@cbeSudha)
    31st August 2013, 15:19

    2 DRS zones on all the tracks is just overkill. In Spa, you simply dont need 2 DRS zones. Go back to having 2 zones on very difficult overtaking tracks and 1 DRS zone on the others. It will restore some parity

  110. @keithcollantine

    I don’t know how you can call yourself passionate about F1 and defend those rubbish tires, “Should I defend… NO NO safe the tires” :(

    From your article:
    “In both cases the outcome was inevitable. There was no tension, no battle and no doubt the driver with the benefit of DRS would get ahead. This is not motor racing.”

    Have you not being paying any attention to what happens between lap 2 and the last lap in mordern F1?, there is NO true defending and NO true attacking, just driving the delta and NO tension just mindless drive by’s, DRS or not

    Not that I don’t agree with you on DRS, but I will challenge your right to call yourself passionate while having anything but contempt for those Pirelli tires.

  111. Amen to that.

  112. I haven’t posted much lately. I haven’t watched much F1 lately either despite being a dedicated fan since I saw my first race on TV (Adelaide ’86). But I logged in just to say thank you for this article Keith.

  113. The tyres are rubbish, I’d get rid of that stupid run both tyres rule, all that does is make everybody run the same strategy. I’d also get rid of Vettel and Red Bull as they are killing most of the interest…!

    DRS, well there are examples of it working well; Silverstone for example, and other places where its very hard to pass, Budapest and Abu Dhabi last year. Cicuits like Spa, Shanghai, Montreal, just don’t need it. DRS should just be for the tracks that need it. Shanghai they were passing and getting back on the line beofre the corner! Ridiculous!

  114. I’ve accepted F1 will never be what it was. F1 was the pinnacle of motor vehicle achievement, now you can buy road cars that are just as fast and the skill required by the drivers to drive fast seems much much less. DRS, 1.6ltr (really) engines, limits to designers and engine supplies innovation and a pathological strive for safety has killed the sport I love.

    1. You can not buy road cars just as fast. There are none in existence… nothing is even close to a Formula 1 car as a package: combining acceleration, cornering, and deceleration.

      I would say the skill required is no less than the past, and that you simply require different skills to compete in modern Formula 1, something backed up by guys like Jackie Stewart time and time again.

    2. As Dave rightly pointed out no road cars come close to F1 cars in almost every respect ( one possible exception, 4wd traction off the line but that’s it for the first few metres, oh and maybe fuel consumption :) ) In fact no other type of racing car can touch an F1 car (over a single lap or 200 miles.)

      1. I forgot to mention, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a pathological drive for safety. It has to be, to compete with the pathological desire to win at any cost.

  115. Michael Brown (@)
    2nd September 2013, 15:17

    Get rid of DRS and make KERS more powerful. I think KERS is a much better addition than DRS.

  116. I somewhat disagree. While I don’t think DRS is great for the sport, I think the bigger issues are the tyres and the overall competence of the cars.

    I was watching Mark Webber’s qualifying at Indy in 2003 and was engrossed by the body language of the car ( The combination of tyres which wouldn’t quit and not enough downforce meant the drivers would man handle the cars (the power probably helped as well). Now drivers are all about smoothness like a bunch of middle aged men bragging about how kilometres they got from a set of tyres.

    Even now with DRS drivers are still sitting back and waiting for fear of burning their tyres out prematurely if the DRS zone isn’t a slam-dunk. If they had tyres that lasted, they could keep fighting and we’d see more attempts to pass. Better still, remove a massive amount of downforce from the cars so they can follow closely behind each other and we could do away with DRS without fear or making the racing processional.

    My personal preference would be to bring back refuelling but I know that will never come back onto the menu.

  117. Great article, Keith. Let’s hope things change. But I guess they only will if we all start turning off.

  118. I hate when people are never completely happy about something in F1, before DRS fans complained many years that ”races have never nearly any overtakes” then FIA reacted and invented DRS from 2011 onwards to making better chances for overtaking, but still fans keep always complaining about something, I agree that DRS should not be used for overtaking at places like Spa’s kemmel straight, these over 1km long straights (for example Shanghai’s back straight) S/F Straight of Interlagos and montreal circuit for example, these kind of circuits, where overtaking have never been any problem, should need only 1 zone or not at all, but vice versa circuits like Barcelona, Hungaroring, Yas Marina, Marina Bay for example would have just boring queuing races without it, so you should be happy that in these ”high downforce/low average speed” kind of circuit’s have it, the 2nd zone in these earlier mentioned ”high speed” circuits could/should only be for FP & Qualifying sessions but not for race.

  119. Get rid of DRS.

  120. It just gets worse and worse. A passion killer.

  121. Somebody looks too soft. Tyre change ban was worse than DRS.

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