What they say about… DRS

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More than five years have passed since Formula One introduced its contentious Drag Reduction System.

The overtaking aid has already spawned imitators in other championships. GP2, Formula V8 3.5 and the DTM already have their own versions of DRS and rumours suggest the World Endurance Championship could adopt it soon as well.

But polls on this site and elsewhere have shown DRS is yet to win over the majority of fans. And the verdict on DRS from many of those within F1 is mixed at best.

While many credit it for increasing the amount of overtaking others see the rise in passing as a matter of quantity over quality. And some question whether certain tracks, such as the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve which hosts this weekend’s race, ever needed DRS in the first place.

I think Formula One needs to shift. I don’t know what the solution is but there’s a lot of good brains here which should be able to come up with a solution to enable us to race through real racing, not through making it fake like DRS or having to do something to weaken another, you know what I mean?
Lewis Hamilton, 2015

DRS is a great thing. In the end, who cares why we are overtaking?
Nico Rosberg, 2011

Palmer: Wants more real overtaking

It’s more fun to pass someone without DRS.
Jenson Button, 2011

On some tracks DRS can be helpful but I think with Pirelli tyres you don’t always need DRS to improve the racing. I would much rather see fewer overtakes but more wheel-to-wheel scrapping and drivers having to work harder to overtake.
Jolyon Palmer, 2013

Purists tend to criticise DRS, but in my view they’re wrong to do so.

Granted, initially, on some circuits, DRS occasionally made overtaking a little easier than is ideal, but on balance the contribution made by DRS has in my opinion been positive.

And, more important, on the vast majority of circuits, even with DRS, overtaking is still sufficiently difficult that it demands that each driver knows how to race, not only how to drive quickly, which isn’t the same thing at all.
Emerson Fittipaldi, 2014

Some of the current rules need tweaking – DRS is a false overtaking aid because it doesn’t give the driver to slipstream and to play a chess game to plan where to pass someone.
Nigel Mansell, 2015

DRS “like giving Picasso Photoshop” – Montoya

It makes a better show because people pass people. But I think overtaking is an art. It’s like giving Picasso Photoshop.
Juan Pablo Montoya, 2014

I really believe the FIA should think about whether F1 needs DRS at all tracks. Places such as Montreal, Spa and Interlagos have always been good for overtaking…
Karun Chandhok, 2015

There are a lot of things that are making F1 a lot less appealing to the public. A bunch of things like DRS.
Jacques Villeneuve, 2016

The fans want close racing, man to man, wheel to wheel, some excitement and drama. They aren’t interested in tyres, DRS, KERS, ERS, or these stupid engine tokens and ridiculous grid penalties.
Gerhard Berger, 2016

Get rid of DRS and use a simple push-to-pass system that would be very easy to program into the ECU of every car. Give the drivers 10 or 20 P2P boosts per race, the fans can follow this on the TV screen so they know how many each driver has left toward the end of the race. This system is used in IndyCar and works very well, but a driver can also use it to defend, unlike the DRS system.
Stefan Johansson, 2016

All the overtaking taking place [in 2011] is more to do with the tyres than the actual DRS.

I think the tyres having some issues on longevity it will end up with teams wearing the tyres more than some others. And that’s the overtaking opportunity. The DRS only comes into play because of the tyres.
Rubens Barrichello, 2011

Seems we are close to the pre-DRS overtaking figures.
Pedro de la Rosa, 2015

More DRS is not the answer.
Tiff Needell, 2015

DRS ist ri-di-cu-lous!
Mauro Forghieri, 2014

Symonds believes drivers would miss DRS

I’m a great fan of it. I know some people are opposed to it and really think it is not pure enough. I completely disagree with that view. It still requires extreme skill from the driver. It is not as if it’s turn on, overtake, go, done.
Charlie Whiting, 2014

A much better idea would be to put it in the bin and then we might just get down to drivers again learning how to overtake another car without outside assistance.
Gary Anderson, 2015

Most drivers found they were aided by DRS as often as they were hindered by it and I suspect most would be sorry if it were ever to be outlawed.
Pat Symonds, 2016

Now hate DRS.
Alex Lynn, 2011

Over to you

DRS: Is it really one of the worst rules ever introduced in Formula One? Or do you welcome the possibility of more powerful DRS in 2017 to counteract a rise in downforce?

And what are your favourite DRS-free overtaking moves? Join in those debates and share your thoughts in the comments.

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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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109 comments on “What they say about… DRS”

  1. Wasn’t keen on it when they announced it & can’t say its ever won me over.

    Yes it generates passing & yes its been partly responsible for the big jump in overtaking figures since 2011, But I just don’t find a lot of what it produces to be all that exciting to watch & feel that it has robbed us of some proper racing duels & some proper exciting overtaking moves.

    I said after the Monaco Gp that it was nice to go back & have a race more reminiscent of the Pre-DRS days where we got to see a proper drawn out fight over a position that went on for many laps where it was all about the driver behind having to be inventive & try different things to find a way past or pressure the guy ahead into making a mistake.
    Yes at the end of the day no overtake was made but we got to see a couple attempts & it was the possibility that Ricciardo may find a way past that created the sort of tension, excitement & unpredictability that I feel DRS all too often robs us of.

    1. This, Riciardo non overtake, was more fun than 20 DRS passes combined.

    2. Without DRS only pitstop strategy would change the outcome of most races. So we could save the time lost watching the race, because you’re even more certain of the result after lap 1 is completed. If Lewis complains today he can’t pass with the aid of DRS, because he can’t get close to Rosberg, what “racing-skill” would he need to invent to make a pass?
      RIC’s move on VET in Spain wouldn’t even be possible without DRS.
      DRS Is a bad solution to an aerodynamic problem, but it is a solution.
      A push to pass wouldn’t help at all in F1, and is even worse than DRS on the credibility-level.
      And if you think that’s bad: what about ‘fan-boost’? How fake is that?

      1. So, you’re kinda down playing every proposed solution there.
        No DRS = no RIC overtake, No other aids = still no overtake

        What would your solution be?

        1. The answer is so obvious but nobody seems to like it.

          Much more power and much less down-force is the answer.

          The cars could get closer in the corners and slipstream down the straights.

          It would be closer to driving in the rain so it would also level the playing field. Win – Win.

  2. As someone against DRS it surprises me that anyone would think that it is good for any level of racing. While some who are far more expert than me may have good arguments for it, I think the best argument overall is that series’ should rid themselves of their addiction to so much aero downforce that handcuffs cars in dirty air, and then bandage ‘fixes’ like DRS would not even be considered. DRS is an attempt at a quick fix to processions, but does not fool anyone. No DRS pass will ever go down in the history books as remarkable for years to come. They are the opposite of remarkable and diminish the feat of racing an F1 car.

    1. @robbie What I find odd is that when DRS is almost negligible in certain races and we get a glimpse back into F1 pre-2011, those races tend to be lower rated than races where we see hundreds of overtakes all of which were with the aid of DRS. What people need to realize is that DRS has been last few races more exciting than just simply providing overtakes. Having DRS means that overtaking is easier, and so teams are more willing to attempt doing aggressive strategies. Without DRS, we would see even more tyre conservation than we do now. The Pirelli tyres are one of the key factors in the rapid rise of the overtakes and the so called “highway passes”. When was the last time DRS was overpowered on a circuit with little to no degredation? I believe that DRS is wrongly blamed for the lot of things such as that. Moreover, people need to realize that DRS doesn’t make racing unfair; rather, it is there to make it fairer. The losses that the car behind gets from the dirty air effect is great, and all DRS does is ensure overall, it is a fair fight and the quicker car can get past if indeed it is quicker. The solution to this would be to reduce the dirty air effect, but I don’t think it’ll be as effective as DRS, simply because then both cars have the exact same strengths and weaknesses. Now, car ahead is faster in corners, car behind in faster on straights. This creates more overtaking than if both cars are at similar speeds in straights and corners. This is precisely why it is said that overtaking your teammate is harder than overtaking anyone else (ceteris paribus) as you both possess the same strengths and weaknesses. And to those who might say that DRS is turning off new viewers, let me ask you this: as someone watching a new sport, which would you prefer, watching lots of overtaking, or watching cars follow each other lap after lap? Some of my family starting watching F1 after I had left the 2014 Bahrain GP on television. They never really got into it after watching the other races like Spain and Monaco. Shows it all really. Now most of the petrolheads who repeatedly talk about “back in my day” and so on, will disagree with almost all, if not all of my points, but this is why I think DRS has been good for F1, and why F1 might just be worse without it

      1. @mashiat Firstly I question your hypothesis that less powerful DRS races get lower ratings because of the less powerful DRS, or that DRS allows teams more aggressive strategies.

        Secondly, you are trying to make excuses for DRS while they are also on gadget tires, and without considering a reduction in dirty air effect…you dismiss that claiming that would just make the cars have the exact same strengths and weaknesses? Even if that were somehow so, then great, that would mean that without the negative dirty air effect, and with cars quite equal, we’d actually get to see driver vs driver action rather than driver be disadvantaged driver due to DRS or vastly different tire states.

        To be clear I think DRS should be eliminated, as should the types of tires they’re on, as should aero dependency be reduced in favour of a bit more mechanical grip, for a real show that can get them back to sussing out the real greats. It is no great feat right now to run around conserving, afraid to push, waiting for a DRS zone for the easy pass that won’t ruin the tires and the day’s strategy.

        1. @robbie Firstly, my post was not exactly as a reply to you, but as a independent one. I guess I got too carried away :p But surely races such as Bahrain, Hungary, Canada have improved as a result of DRS. Even races like Spa (dry) have become more exciting despite having possibly the most powerful DRS zone. I’m not saying that reducing the dirty air effect is what I’m against. I want it, but I think it might just not be as good as DRS in creating overtaking, and frankly, it’s not really going to happen.

          1. @mashiat I’d simply rather the overtaking be ‘created’ more naturally by the drivers through driver skill, not simply by pressing a button. I perceive there being far less skill to passing via this gadget, and the testament to that is that DRS passes are immediately forgettable and will never be memorable in the history books. My hope is that the new tires will provide more mechanical grip. If that doesn’t happen immediately then they surely can tweek these wider cars with bigger tires if the racing is processional, which it is anyway even with DRS. DRS has not helped increase viewership, and has not helped processions, and has only tarnished F1. It needs to go way before it needs bolstering.

      2. Jimmy Price
        7th June 2016, 16:42

        So you don’t think the slower car in front is entitled to defend its position?

        DRS is why we don’t have more upsets and new drivers on podium. We only have the fastest cars on podium.

        We could have many more “Perez/Monaco” celebrations of DRS was removed.

        1. We could have more Perez/Monaco celebrations if cars are less reliable. If racing needs to become a lottery, they should organise it inside a casino. The way sports should go is: The best wins.

          1. Jimmy Price
            8th June 2016, 0:57

            So you prefer a race that when a driver at the front, let’s use Lewis in this case, makes a mistake and drops back 10 places, he should be gifted those 10 positions back within half a dozen laps because his car is superior?

            You’re saying the best car should win btw, not best driver.

            You must really love racing.

  3. Is it really one of the worst rules ever introduced in Formula One?
    Yes! next question…

    But seriously I pray to the lord on high that they’ll at the very least see how the new designs affect the racing before making it even more prominent. Certainly it’s here to stay as long as the current regime is in place.

  4. I don’t like it, and I do believe F1 would be more challenging without it. However, that is my (and a lot of F1Fanatic readers) opinion. I also strongly believe F1 would have lost more fans since 2010 had it not introduced DRS. We too often forget F1Fanatic readers is a very small percentage of all viewers, and many of those don’t even see the difference between a DRS overtake and a regular one.

    1. @xtwl Even looking outside of this community I don’t know anywhere where DRS is popular among the majority.

      In fact look at the 2 fan survey’s from last year, Both had the majority of those who took part against DRS. One of the conclusions from the GPDA survey was that fans didn’t want artificial racing or gimmicks.

      And as i’ve said before the German broadcasters sent out survey’s to viewers a few years ago to try & figure out the reasons for the fall in viewership in that region (That has remained fully on FTA TV via RTL) & the 2 top things that came back were that fans didn’t like DRS or high degredation tyres.

      1. @gt-racer I have watched races trackside across Europe and even in Dubai and it baffles me every time how many people are not at all against DRS. Again I believe you’re mistaken in thinking that survey was a big percentage of the fans. I believe more than 70% of the F1 fans is in no way involved with the sport bar watching on sunday.

    2. @xtwl – I don’t like it either, but my displeasure comes more at it’s implementation than the technology itself. Why not allow everyone to have DRS at all times, like in qualifying? It then becomes a challenge for the driver to implement it as early as he dares. DRS is after all no less an innovation than, for example, KERS.

  5. I don’t mind DRS as a car design, it’s a good idea, but I’m not a fan of having zones for it set up at circuits. I think all elements of the car should be under the drivers control.

    1. @glynh

      That is exactly what I think, remove the zones, and let the cars have a dynamic system, when throttle is applied it opens, and drivers brake it closes. I don’t mind aero systems to be dynamic, some road cars already have, they just don’t call it DRS, they call them aero brakes.

      If you want to extract the best possible lap time the cars has to adapt itself for the different sections of the circuit. That will also allow engineers to easily find a better compromise for the setup.

      1. Or let the drivers choose where to use DRS, Wouldn’t it make for interesting scraps; if you hold your DRS open into a corner you can carry more speed in, but it’ll affect your traction on the way out. I’d definitely watch that.

    2. American F1
      7th June 2016, 18:57

      Agreed. Do away with the artificial “DRS Zones” and allow the drivers a specified number of DRS activations per race to use anywhere on the circuit. Indy does this with “push-to-pass”. Drivers are allowed a specified time of p2p each race to use as they see fit, to attack, defend, extend, or catch up. It’s still artificial, but at least there’s racecraft involved in when and where to deploy.

      1. Push 2 pass is just as bad as DRS, and the limited usage makes it a lottery. Racing shouldn’t be a lottery.

    3. Duncan Snowden
      8th June 2016, 16:29

      Absolutely. Let’s not forget that some of the first cars to be fitted with wings had a form of “DRS”, in that the wings could be trimmed by the driver. In those early days though, that was found to be dangerous, leading to the ban on “moveable aerodynamic devices”. Had they been able to build moveable wings that were safe back in the ’60s, by now they’d be considered an integral part of downforce-producing cars and we wouldn’t be having this argument at all.

      So now that we’ve had DRS for a few years without serious incident, I don’t see why it couldn’t be used more freely. As I’ve said before, the existing rules could be tweaked to prevent anyone less than a second in front of a following car from using it, if we’re still worried about overtaking.

      As it stands, though, I suppose I’m somewhere around the Palmer/Fittipaldi/Mansell camp. It certainly aids overtaking, and therefore the spectacle, but it does feel a bit like papering over the cracks under the current rules.

  6. Trying to reignite the DRS controversy I see. Done and dusted, lads. Let it go.

  7. Gary Anderson, you’re so right!

    I don’t count DRS overtake as a real F1 pass. It’s just driving past opponent when you have significant speed advantage like casual cars passing each other in roads and highways. DRS definitely removes all charm of real F1 overtake and excitement of waching when drivers try to construct, plan and go for it.

  8. Uzair Syed (@ultimateuzair)
    7th June 2016, 12:59

    Nico Rosberg and Charlie Whiting are talking rubbish.

    1. Agreed, especially Whiting, but I would like to hear a more current assessment from Nico that isn’t from right when DRS was introduced. Most of the comments are from us having lived with DRS for 4 or 5 years.

    2. d.r.s. is a joke. on us.
      Why leave all of the Aero bits but add d.r.s? Reduce the wake the cars produce. I bet they design the cars specifically to produce MAXIMUM down force AND dirty air.

    3. So is Montoya – Picasso would do amazing stuff with Photoshop! I guess he meant “it’s like giving Picasso paint by numbers” (where each number has it’s own color, so you don’t have to know painting to make a ‘great’ painting)

  9. DRS would have been a good thing in the pre-Pirelli era, but now it’s not needed anymore. It’s the tires that create the overtaking opportunities and DRS only makes those (inevitable) overtakes uninteresting.

    1. Without DRS track position would become more important, so strategy would be adapted to fewer stops. I found the RIC-VET situation in Spain rather entertaining, and that was due to DRS being there… Without DRS, RIC would’ve followed VET with a 2 sec gap…

      1. Exactly. Ricciardo would not even have been able to attack at all.

        If people just stop to think which overtakes were “ruined” by DRS. They’d quickly realise that those were never proper overtakes, but rather a drive by from a much faster car passing a slower car (usually causes by worn tyres and/or slower compound)

  10. Ben (@scuderia29)
    7th June 2016, 13:03

    It makes overtaking too easy and defending far too difficult, I remember being on the edge of my seat watching a car sit in the slipstream of another and slingshout out and watch them go side by side, nowadays you know judging by how close they are going around the final corner that they’ll open drs and cruise past on the straight, they’re 5 car lengths clear entering the next corner so it negates any possible fight into the bend as well, its taken away all the excitement, i’d rather see 1 real overtake per race than 20 false DRS ones.

  11. I’m firmly against DRS. I shall admit, that this year it has not been quite so bad but because the differences between the outright power of the power units last year were so drastic (and to a degree this applies to 2014 as well), we saw far too many overtakes which were complete well before the braking zone. That is not an art. That is just ridiculous and unnecessary. We have seen some great races which featured drivers not being able to get past another even with DRS – just look at the last two races. There is nothing wrong with races where cars cannot make an overtake, but there is a problem with cars not being able to follow each other.

    I would not mind having DRS if it is implemented in the way it exists in Formula 3.5 V8. It would be yet another strategic element which can make or break a race for a driver. I also would not mind having other push-to-pass systems considered too. They work well in IndyCar, but without having drivers several car lengths before they’ve even made the corner.

    One thing which is concerning me, is that five years is a long time and I do see more and more people thinking that DRS in F1 in the way it is currently is okay. Before we know it, we will have gone through an entire generation of drivers and fans who have known nothing but races completely ruined by unnecessary gimmickry.

  12. It’s funny hearing people say DRS passing is too easy, until i see a Merc overtaking another Merc on a regular basis DRS doesn’t go far enough.

    1. But what would help equal cars get by each other is cars less dependent on clean air, so that we are seeing a driver vs driver duel, and some on-track combat, rather than either one car stuck behind the other, or one car blasting by having waited specifically for the DRS zone. More driver assistance is not the answer. How great are the Greats if they have an easy out to get by a rival, simply because they were slightly faster. If they’re slightly faster that should not just automatically mean a get-out-of-jail-free card is issued to them. They should still have to confirm their extra pace by having to get by a bloke that has a reasonable chance to defend, thus making for the entertainment that comes from sport.

      1. Agreed, lets hope the 2017 reg’s make overtaking more enjoyable.

      2. The whole notion of overtakes happening everywhere on the circuit is just nonsense. That never happened more so than now.

        Overtakes have always happened at the end pf a large straight going into a tight corner. The fact that DRS zones are positioned in those places there to make these overtakes possible at all doesn’t ruin them

  13. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    7th June 2016, 13:21

    I must say that the past six years in F1 would have been much less interesting had we not had DRS. Does that mean DRS is a good thing? It is merely a symptom, a sticking-plaster even, for F1’s aerodynamic affliction.

    Hamilton’s first two victories at COTA, Webber’s final win at Silverstone, Vettel’s drive from pits to podium in Abu Dhabi, and the infamous duel of the Silver Arrows in Bahrain in 2014: arguably, none of these landmark moments of the past five year would have happened without DRS. But that is not sufficient to distinctly justify DRS, and rather affirms the potential of a more mechanical formula; as does all of the enthralling rain-affected races F1 has hosted in the past five years.

    In turning an impossible overtake into a possible overtake, DRS has brought the viability of passing into strategic and sporting consideration, and has in turn opened up the driver’s eyes to passing opportunities. So imagine how good it would be if it wasn’t necessary, as it wasn’t in the early-to-mid 90s, or in GP2 (until it was bemusingly introduced in 2015). However as F1 veers ever further in the wrong direction for 2017, F1 will accordingly need to remain a sport of sticking-plasters.

    1. @william-brierty I’m not convinced F1 is going the wrong direction for 2017, and remain hopeful that the bigger tires will also have a different way of degrading so they can be pushed and so that indeed there will be a bit of a swaying toward mechanical grip. Or, I at least like to imagine that if by this time next year drivers are still complaining about an inability to get by an equal car due to dirty air, F1 will at least have wider cars and bigger tires to then tweek the aero regs and more easily achieve a better balance of mechanical grip to aero than they can now.

  14. I support DRS on tracks where overtaking is generally close to impossible – Monaco, Circuit de Catalunya, Hungaroring. I don’t want to see it at Spa, Montreal, Beijing, or other tracks where overtakes are clearly doable anyway.

    I want a more powerful DRS for 2017, but the ability to scale it up or down. On tracks like Monaco, a massive DRS to enable overtakes on the start/finish straight. In Montreal, little to no DRS should be available. From track to track, they should be able to finetune the DRS over the first season and then run it perfectly in the next.

    1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      7th June 2016, 14:38

      @chrischrill I wasn’t aware that there was a Grand Prix in Beijing.

      1. @william-brierty me neither. I meant Shanghai. Sorry about that! =)

      2. @william-brierty The new European round, you heard it here first.

  15. I hate DRS. It makes overtaking too easy, and it makes defending impossible. But I’m also a firm believer that FIA not only is overfixing the problem, but also trying it the wrong way.

    DRS is unnecesary, specially with these tyres and even more so this year with the huge variation in compounds available. But also, some tracks don’t need DRS at all (Montreal a prime example, and they fit TWO DRS zones…) while at all the other places, it should be used differently.

    I don’t see why DRS zones necessarily have to be positioned at the longest straight at every circuit, converting the best spot for overtaking in normal circumstances into a motorway, where the leading guy seems to be struck behind a truck and the follower blast past him halfway through.

    If you’re going to use DRS, then why not placing it somewhere else, where overtakings don’t normally happen and could make cars get closer without effectively giving the position? For instance, at Spa, they put it in the Kemmel straight, instead of the little straight before the harpin. That would give the guy behind a chance to get close before the harpin, but he’d have to fight for an overtake from there all the way to Les Combes.

    Same in Montreal. Why put it after the harpin? put it BEFORE. So they get close before and it’s a fight of traction and speed, in normal circumstances, up to the chicane.

    But no, they have been as conservative as they’ve always been since day 1 with DRS. They never adjusted it, they were never creative with it, they never tried 1 races without it, just to see what would happen. That’s the “special edition” you want, not double points at a certain race.

    In the end, we all want F1 to get rid of DRS. But we could have a lot more real arguments about why it fails if they even bothered to try different things with it, or completely avoided it once or twice during a season.

  16. In my opinion I think DRS is one of the most stupid rules to come out if f1. Yes there are more over takes but they are boring overtakes. Stay in the 1 second zone wait a few corners pass on straight. There is no strategy. I would rather have a driver think of a pass on the fly and have more strategy instead of waiting for a straight. These are supposed to be the best drivers in the world and if they can’t pass without DRS then they need to rethink their career.

  17. Why do people keep using this analogy of giving Photoshop to Picasa? Juan Pablo Montoya is an idiot for he saying this. What do you people think, you just turn Photoshop on and the picture is just automatically made? It is a tool to create art if you do not understand how to use the tool you cannot create art there is no “make art” button in Photoshop. You have to work hours and hours and years to understand all the ins and outs of Photoshop just like any artist needs to spend to learn the tool he chooses to use. There is no comparison to photoshop and DRS.

  18. DRS needs to drop the zone system and move to a time-per-lap system like KERS was pre-2014. Let drivers use it when they want to, even if it means they can screw up and dump all their rear down force mid-corner.

    I still remember when Sutil (I think) opened it mid-last corner during its first outing in Australia 2012. That was a tank-slapper!

  19. Hate DRS, Think its by far the worst thing that F1 has ever introduced & its also been one of the biggest reasons my love of F1 & enjoyment of the races has declined.

    DRS is nothing more than quantity over quality & most of the ‘passes’ (I refuse to see them as overtakes) it produces are utterly devoid of any skill, excitement or fun!

    1. Agreed…name one DRS pass that will go down in the history books as notable and memorable.

      1. @robbie I agree it is bad but Lewis on Nico in the wet at Suzuka it took bravery as lap before it nearly put Ham in a spin. How about drs only when behind a teammate?. That is not unfair atall both get the benefit remember.

  20. Following cars suffer from loss of downforce from dirty air. The loss of downforce is a disadvantage when cornering, but an advantage on straights (slipstreaming). DRS does nothing to fix the disadvantages, but it only adds to the advantages.
    A proper DRS should add extra wings in the corner to compensate for the loss of downforce, rather than reducing the wings on the straights.

  21. Optimaximal (above) has pre-emptied a question I (newbie here) was going to ask – if they must have DRS, why limit it to zones and times? Why not (genuine question) allow drivers to vary the downforce as and when they see fit, according to their own judgement?

    1. For safety reasons.

      When DRS was first introduced drivers could use it anywhere on the track during qualifying. However the FIA first decided that was too unsafe for certain corners (first the Monaco tunnel, then Eau Rouge), then decided it was too unsafe in any corners and from 2013 restricted its use to the designated overtaking zones.

      1. Fair enough.

        I’ve always assumed DRS to be either on or off; if that’s correct, would it be possible to have an incrementally adjustable, variable-geometry rear wing, like aircraft speed brakes?

        1. Yeah that was sad, but ultimately necessary. The qualifying battles Hamilton and Vettel had in 2012 with few limits on their DRS were pretty epic, I’ll give it that.

  22. That’s probably the first time I do agree with Gerhard Berger. I also find JPM comparison to a photohoped Picasso quite true. I just hate it when a DRS pass is over on the straight line long before the corner…

  23. DRS doesn’t seem capable of finding a sweet spot. It’s either too powerful, utterly worthless or makes little real difference. Perhaps push to pass would be worth trying as it has more potential for strategic use.

  24. The one thing I truly hate about F1 presently: drag reduction system. With slight modifications of specs and rules, it could be eliminated and dumped on the trash heap of other bad F1 concepts like grooved tires.

  25. I don’t mind DRS. I’ve seen a lot of DRS assisted passes lately, where the actual pass happens at the end of a DRS straight, one driver outbreaking the other, and that one driver getting close enough to do this because of DRS. I’ve seen many passes where “slower” engines get past “faster engines” because they have something like DRS.

    Drivers work hard to get into DRS range. We should appreciate their skill in doing that. Using DRS to get close enough to actually make the pass fixes the aerowake problems.

    I would like to see what happens with a Manor car on low downforce and others trying to overtake them without DRS.

    Another fine example to look at: Spain with VES and RAI, VET and RIC. Were these battles of tyre management, of getting within DRS range, of engine power, of driver skills, of strategy? Who cares? It was great fun to watch. The more means a driver has to get into overtaking position, the better.

    DRS may not be THE best solution, but it certainly helps in my viewing pleasure and that is why I like DRS.

  26. Utterly hate DRS. Always have done, always will do. It’s come very close to turning me off F1 on many occasions, and I feel it’s a case of ‘if’ and not ‘when’ I do eventually start letting races slip by if FOM double-down on artificial overtaking aids.

  27. Tony Mansell
    7th June 2016, 16:23

    Well DRS is the answer if you don’t reduce the aero and its not required if you increase mechanical grip significantly over aero. It has therefore been a good thing.

    But its a bit like trying to get a horse to push a wheelbarrow rather than pull it, unless you grasp the fundamental problem, whatever your solution, its going to be a compromise.

  28. DRS, as implemented is wrong because it is inherently unfair. The driver behind gets a boost which the driver in front CANNOT respond to. If F1 had Indycar style push to pass, then the drivers would all get 10 uses of it and use it as and when they feel its right, to attack or defend. Once they are used, they are used. Its equal, its fair. DRS, as implemented is simply not fair. If the drivers all had a set number of uses of DRS, it would be fair.

    DRS is not the problem, its implementation is.

  29. The DRS… I´ve found myself defending DRS on this site more than once, and I don´t even like it. It´s just not the thing “destroying” F1, but rather a little side-topic. The recent changes in nose-regulations were far worse for the racing, and made following each other (and thus, close racing in corners and bends) much more difficult again.
    Now, a car passing by another car on the straight long before a braking zone isn´t exactly more exciting than a car following another car on said straight. It´s not less exciting, either. It seems to me the only track where they get the length of DRS-zones right is the Hungaroring, and that´s just because the track naturally restricts that length. If they´d made DRS on most other tracks shorter, and put it in short/middle-lenght straights instead of those where they could overtake without, DRS would be okayish… and we could concentrate on the real issue (aerodynamics, following each other, getting noses higher, more air under the car, less important front wings) again.

  30. DRS is like plastic surgery, you get the result you wanted but it looks like rubbish anyway, I think it is a lesson that people apparently haven’t taken, perhaps some people do like to live in a pretend world, and we have to respect that even when the fallacies end up ruling the world.

  31. Andy (@andybantam)
    7th June 2016, 17:31

    The only overtaking DRS generates is the same overtake, at the same corner/down the same straight, at the same race, over and over and over… Then forward on to the next race so we can watch the same thing unfold again.

    It’s so predictable and, I suspect, actually counter productive to the ‘show’ that BE bangs on about.

    It’s more boring than no overtaking at all and I’m aching for it to be scrapped so we can have real overtakes again, even if they are fewer…

    Just. Get. Rid. Of. It.

    End. Of.

    1. @andybantam Well said. You’ve highlighted very well why DRS passes are immediately forgettable.

    2. Very true- sometimes I might be happy that the driver I support did already pass the car in front and is trying to build a gap but in the end about one hour after the race I don’t remember how they did swap possitions simply because it (DRS) made me not care… I was disappointed that RIC didn’t overtake HAM at Monaco despite being faster but somehow it made me remember the race even better. For these few laps F1 was finally again exciting. It makes me wonder how great that race would have been if RIC would pass HAM after the chicane or from the outside of the next corner… or just tried… or tried and their both would crash resulting in PER VET ALO podium ceremony… Would the lack of DRS result in processional races? Probably so. Would processional races encourage drivers to get into more wheel to wheel battles after the last series of pitstops? Quite possible- it’s just hard to imagine HAM accepting he will finnish P2 just because he doesn’t have DRS…
      They try to make F1 a greater show these days but in results the audience decreases. Maybe “boring F1” isn’t that dull after all and it can produce some exciting races!

  32. Keep DRS and make it stronger until they rid F1 of Aero, i can not stand to see anymore processions. When a faster car does all the work to get onto another cars rear end and is being kept behind due to Aero it’s not right, it should be able to overtake. DRS is the great equaliser and should stay until something is done about Aero and sometimes DRS dosen’t even work. 2017 can F off. It’s called MOTORSPORT not Aero FTW, im sure there are ways they can make cars fast or faster without the use of Aero. It’s also funny that when you see 2 cars racing together beside each other on a promotion poster for F1, it actually never happens in a actual race. F1 is a joke.

  33. ColdFly F1 (@)
    7th June 2016, 18:15

    Nothing wrong with DRS; just make it available to all drivers all the time.

    1. right said !!! I’m in your side;
      P.S. for details I’m sure they (FIA) will find it.

  34. Charlie and Nico in support and that’s about it. I’m not surprised. As I’ve said many times on this site it’s probably the most wretched thing ever introduced in the history of F1 and it still grates when I think about it or see a flap open. It’s just absolutely awful.

  35. I’m concerned about how the promoters and the people in charge of the regulations view DRS.

    As far as I was aware, DRS was supposed to be a short term solution to dirty air stopping cars behind getting close. After years of watching drivers struggle to get close to the car in front, (regardless of what you thought of the quality of the overtaking) it was astonishing to see such an increase in the number of passes when DRS was introduced (in conjunction with the Pirelli tyres). But with the changes to the regulations not independently aiding the ability to follow as much as was desired, after half a decade, it’s clear that DRS is no longer a stop gap solution.

    I’m worried that the promoters/regulators are addicted to DRS. I’m still hoping that we stumble across regulations that allow the cars to follow more closely, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for 2017. But even if the cars can follow more closely in 2017, will they be brave enough to drop DRS and allow cars to follow each other for lap after lap when someone puts in a great defensive performance? Or will they still be obsessed with quantity, rather than quality?

    What is it going to take for the regulators and promoters to decide that DRS is no longer needed?

  36. DRS produces better races than no DRS, if you insist on having cars that can’t follow through a corner.

    So drop DRS, and fix the actual problem.

    1. @lockup …. Fix the problem, upset Adrian Newey, Red Bull whinge.

      1. That would be a bonus of course @foreverred :)

  37. The combination of Pirelli tyres + DRS is overkill. We should get rid of one of the two.

  38. Wrong idea from the Gitgo
    DRS the Dumb Racing System

  39. I stopped watching F1 some years ago due to the “Trulli trains” that you saw quite often in those times. I got sick of having to wait for a change in race order. Last year I started watchong regilarly again and at least that problem is solved now. Many changes in positions now, even on circuits that used to have virtually no overtakes. As a result getting to the front from the back of the field is far less an achievement it was at the time. Some circuits like Hungary are finally worth watching, just because of DRS to my opinion.
    That said: I would love to see more genuine overtakes, I hate what DRS overtakes have done to Spa. Nobody tries anything special there anymore, because you’re better of waiting fir the next easy DRS overtake zone. Nevertheless I feel that throwing DRS out of the window would do quite some harm as there is simply no real alternative. I just don’t see less dirty air behind a F1 car happening as I haven’t seen it happen in the recent past. DRS could be improved if use would be more limited to say 10-15 per race at the racers discretion. And please: no DRS on tracks where natural overtakes are perfectly possible.

    1. Here’s hoping the wider cars and bigger tires can help in this regard, in spite of the number of people who seem to have already decided next year will be worse for dirty air effect.

  40. Like so many others I hate DRS and for many of the same reasons. I would rather they came up with a movable front wing that would allow the cars to follow closely through corners so they could then use the slip stream on the straight.

    I think the problem was when the FIA/FOM put their survey together they asked a loaded question. Do you want more overtaking? Of course everyone will say yes, however the correct question would have been do you want to see more battles for position. I think most fans wouldn’t care if the overtaking maneuver was actually successful so long as the drivers can attempt them.

  41. Since F1 has finally begun to admit it is only about entertainment rather than sport, do the casual fans care about real overtaking, once again I think not, to someone who isn’t a real racing fan, overtaking is overtaking, real or not, remember the negativity towards to 2015 because it was as dull as anything fake overtaking or not, I would rather fake overtaking to no overtaking as it is somewhat more interesting, DRS is as always a negative towards us but can are we the right people to ask about is this right, I think not as us purists are in the minority compared to casual fans and I honestly think us purists need to accept that we are in the minority and accept the casuals just want more overtaking (real or not they don’t care as much as us)

    1. some of what I said doesn’t make sense in English terms, but fill in what I missed and it will make more sense haha

      1. I think though that the purists became purists because of the more real passing from the past. I know things change and time marches on, but obviously the presence of DRS has not helped viewership so I think they need to try going back to gladiator vs gladiator out there on the track. It couldn’t hurt to actually try to think of these drivers once again as performing great feats, no matter how society has changed.

  42. As everyone builds their own cars, it’s easy to design the aerodynamics in such way that it harms the driver behind. In this, the designers easily outsmart those making the rules.

    Thus, the basic concept for DRS is OK from my viewpoint. The rules regarding it, however, are not. I would rather have a set amount of openings allowed – let’s say 15 during the race. I think this would reduce fly-pasts as those tend to happen when the driver behind would make the overtake even without DRS.

    Coming to junior formulae, DRS should not be used there. As all cars are usually similar, it is up to manufacturer to design the car with features which allow following the car ahead easily.

  43. If DRS is to stay, it needs to be mixed up. While on some tracks it’s giving a chance where there wasn’t one, in a lot of cases it makes long straights seem like a ridiculously easy place to overtake. For example in Bahrain don’t put the DRS zone on the main straight, put it on the penultimate one. In Monza don’t put it on the main straight, put it before the Parabolica. In Spa don’t put it on the end of the Kemmel, put it before Pouhon, and so on. In some of these cases it could even make a difference ahead of the longest straight, where a driver can get close beforehand and use the slipstream properly.

    But in my view it would be best to use Gary Anderson’s idea to bin them, because I’m very much with Mansell’s and Montoya’s opinion on this.

  44. I watched Moto GP last weekend… No DRS, no aero, just proper motoracing.

    F1 has a lot to do in that department. When I think of Kimi on same track following Max, unable to get anywhere close…

    DRS is a necessity. But racing was poor long before its introduction.

    I think DRS might aswell be removed right away and not much would happen.

    But for sure overtakes would be mote memorable.

    1. Of course in MotoGP it is fine corner speeds diff. A great race though i agree, last 2 been great

  45. Joao Pitol (@)
    7th June 2016, 23:38

    I remember the years, where there were NONE real overtaking done race after race, and words like trulli train were invented. The guy in front after last pitstop always won.

    DRS may be unwanted and does not solve the real problem but at least it creates some racing for position.
    So thumbs up from me.

    About “real” overtaking, I dont think stewards like wheel to wheel racing, too many penalties for brilliant moves.

  46. Michael Brown (@)
    8th June 2016, 0:00

    Although I am against DRS, I’d like to make two suggestions on improving it:

    1. Allow drivers to use it anywhere they want in qualifying, except obvious danger zones. This benefits cars with better DRS and higher top speeds, because they will qualify better. Think Mercedes in 2012: they always went backwards because their strength was their DRS. This will lead to more overtaking in the race because cars with better race pace will start behind those who prioritize qualifying.
    The decision to restrict DRS on the grounds of safety is one I cannot agree with.

    2. In the race, allow it to open for a total of 1-2 seconds in the zone. This gives the speed boost temporarily.

    Now, overall, I am against DRS. It is simply a cheap solution to F1’s aero addiction. The front wings are so sensitive to turbulent air that the whole balance of the car suffers in the slightest turbulence. Combine this with the Pirelli tires, and we get races in which being stuck behind another car will destroy your race.

    DRS continues to exist because the teams can’t agree on new aerodynamic regulations, citing costs. Instead, they want to stay with the regulations as is so they can keep dropping a fortune on these silly front wings.

    The OWG made a good first step with the 2009 regulations, and then things got better with the 2010 refuelling ban. Now the 2017 regulations aim to take us back a step by bringing back the low rear wings and not doing anything about the front wings.

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      8th June 2016, 0:03

      I’d like to make an argument to bring back KERS… or at least something like it. KERS is like push to pass, except the cars generate it, rather than being limited to a set number of uses like FE and IndyCar.
      ERS exists, but it’s a passive effect.

  47. It is a gimmick, it does not belong in Formula 1.

  48. Drivers are the best judges because they are the ones who execute the overtaking. So, perhaps the best description of Drag Reduction System is given by Juan Pablo Montoya (mentioned in this article). It was introduced at a time when the extant 2.4L V8s have probably already reached a stability in terms of development and the pressure was back on chasis builders and aero division of the respective teams to rack their brains for extra speed. And McLaren did the same introducing the F-Duct system. The team did so cleverly by incorporating the design into the monocoque chasis, which made it difficult for other teams (especially Red Bull) to replicate on account of homlogation. Ultimately the F1 authority (in their usual manner) decided to act as enforcer and banned the F-Duct. But the solution was quite successful and FIA needed something for the purpose of entertainment. They took the broad idea and introduced adjustable rear wings. The idea was to come up with a relatively less expensive solution so that every team could have access to it. Then there was again a change in the formula in 2014 (1.6 L V6). But DRS was continued.
    But is it at all required? Like five fingers on the hand are of different length but serves an overall purpose, the effectiveness of DRS is different in different tracks, but it still serves a purpose and that is to bridge the gap and make a pass which is otherwise difficult on today’s aero dependent F1 cars that creates turbulent air in its wake. As I said earlier that drivers can give the best judgement and many of them have spoken in favour of more mechanical grip which allows for close running and overtaking. If something on similar lines can be introduced and if it turns out to be effective, then DRS may be considered for retirement. Till that time the rules can be tweaked (as suggested by fellow commentators here) taking into consideration the racing track and of course safety.

  49. Lots of comments and opinions here. I would limit the amount of presses the driver has in a race. Say 25% of the laps. Then it makes it more tactical. DRS has improved the racing with more drivers willing to have a go on track rather than only using pit stop strategy.

    That being said, the effect is sometimes too powerful and the FIA needs to bring back the modifications to the DRS line over the weekend.

    Unfortunately the pirelli tyres came out the same year, so it’s hard to say what’s changed things more.

  50. DRS is basically like breast implants. At first it seems exciting and doesn’t cause any harm. But then after awhile, you realize the natural thing is so much better.

    Seriously, it’s not really needed with the different tyre compounds is it? Just look at GP2 prior to DRS as an example for how darn good the racing was.

  51. Agree with Charlie Whiting. Any driver being overtaken because of DRS has an equal opportunity to take the place back at the next DRS point or lap. If he can’t get it back he is in a different race. Simple.

    1. It’s not simple. Those ‘overtakes’ are rubbish. The problem is drivers now wait until the DRS zones instead of passing elsewhere. For evidence, you will see this happening this weekend.

      1. Nonsense. Outside of DRS zones the cars are equal. Many a driver has surprised another by doing the unexpected in a corner rather than waiting for DRS. Ask the Stewards. They never adjudicate on DRS overtakes and seem quite busy at most races.

  52. I find the DRS tends to increase the predictability of the racing, as it follows a fairly set pattern that permits less deviance, less skill and less strategising than non- or pre-DRS races. It is sufficiently predictable that cars ceding position on occasions where they would otherwise have fought has become prevalent. This artificially increases the overtaking statistics while decreasing the amount of true overtaking – “position swap” would be a better term. It leads to us seeing 24 different races, with any tension between them being coincidental to the button-pressing done before the race, or due to major trouble hitting one of the cars involved (often literally).

    Monaco had low passing, but that’s because drivers have become so rusty at overtaking that without the DRS (and despite two DRS zones, Monaco is as close to DRS-free as a 2016 race is allowed to be when slicks are usable on it) were often making a pig’s ear of the overtakes they were doing. When you don’t have to think through a non-DRS move 16 races of the year, it reduces the ability to overtake without it on the other 4/5. As such, DRS is an impediment to the sort of overtaking that there is a point in a sport possessing.

    Teams being allowed to select their own tyres appears to be having a higher positive effect on overtaking quantity than DRS, and certainly increases the quality. This is because the results of a potential overtaking scenario are less easy to determine, even with DRS making it more likely that the DRS-equipped car will overtake. Further, without being able to lean on artificial tools, drivers will learn how to overtake, a skill that is expected in WEC (that rumour had better be false, as there’s plenty of real overtaking there already) and other series that still want drivers to race at their best.

    A small number of full-skill overtakes is better than a large number of position-swaps, even if the latter results in prettier statistics.

  53. Fudge Ahmed (@)
    8th June 2016, 10:50

    While not a fan and do think he needs every assist he can get, I would hazard that quote from Rosberg was somewhat skewed as it was given when DRS was first introduced. Has he touched upon the subject more recently?

  54. I like DRS because it reduces the chance of a slower car to back up traffic behind it and completely ruin race strategies.

  55. DRS kills defensive driving.

    1. No it doesn’t.

  56. The problem with DRS is the tyres. Two cars on tyres that cause a lap time difference of several seconds will have passing on track with or without DRS. Trouble is that people blame DRS for these farcical overtakes, but in reality it’s the tyres that make the overtaking too easy.

    Put two cars, which are reasonably matched, behind each other and there will be no overtaking without DRS, but there will be a slim chance of at least an overtaking attempt with DRS. Although again the tyres ruin it since they can only attempt a few times and the tyres of the attacking car will have worn out and the battle is dead.

    The problem is always in the tyres which only help in adding to the overtaking statistics, but don’t actually help with any real overtaking at all.

    1. @patrickl Sure, the current tires are problematic, but it is mostly cars too dependent on clean air, and therefore far less capable in dirty air, that is the main problem. Put both drivers on better tires and the rearward driver is still handcuffed by being in dirty air. That’s why there were processions back when there was tire competition that made for tires that could actually be pushed and raced on. So it has already been proven that the problem is not always the tires. The problem continues to be too much dependence on wings that too negatively affect the cars when not in clean air.

  57. I have learned to tolerate it. Maybe some races have been more exciting than they would have been without DRS, I do not know. However, a lot of the ‘highway passes’ are still boring as hell.

    My colleague, who has not followed F1 since the end of nineties, once had accidentally seen a race on TV and he later told me that he was impressed by the new technology like DRS and ERS. Yet it was not enough to make him an F1 fan again. It is just one random person’s opinion / experience but I think it is also the story of DRS in a nutshell. Yes, it is a clever invention and it has changed F1 but ultimately it has failed to make the sport more popular or even keep the existing fans from leaving.

  58. DRS
    The Dumb Racing System

    I called it five years ago as a poor excuse to soften Formula One and is a direct result the FIA overcompensating for the loss of the overated Aryton Senna.

    Most tracks were altered to become safer and Formula One in general became a lesser sport because of death of Senna. Look at the facts he got killed from constantly testing that edge where you live or die. He became a danger to those he raced against because of his mindless pursuit to become the best.

    So he became a legend and in the wake of this the sport changed and poorly thought out things like DRS and others changes came forward. Drivers didnt want four engined race cars either when they first appeared, but it didnt matter it was forced onto them.

    The bulk of racers who committed here about DRS pretty much support what l have said for years. Just let the driver do what he knows best.

    Command a machine meant to pursue unbelievable speeds and brakes that lengthen the human eyes.

    Let them do what they do best, race cars and to the FIA quit changing the sport with really ridiculous ideas such as DRS , the Dumb Racing System

  59. I think that DRS should stay in F1 but the usage should change. DRS should be deployed immediately after the corner and should close at the middle of the straight, so that the car that follows to be able to regain what has lost during the corner due to dirty air. Then after DRS is closed the drivers can fight regularly with the help of slipstreaming for the remaining of the straight

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