Lance Stroll, Williams, Bahrain International Circuit, 2017

No DRS changes planned for rest of 2017 despite overtaking fall

2017 F1 season

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The FIA does not plan to make any changes to how Formula One’s Drag Reduction System operates during 2017.

The sport’s governing body had considered altering how DRS functions in response to F1’s new aerodynamic regulations for 2017. However it informed Formula One teams last week there will be no need for changes.

Lance Stroll, Williams, Bahrain International Circuit, 2017
2017 Bahrain GP in pictures
Several drivers had warned overtaking would become much more difficult in 2017 due to the increase levels of downforce generated by the car. Although the amount of overtaking has fallen this year, teams have not opposed the FIA’s decision to leave DRS unchanged.

Increasing the DRS detection time to more than one second and increasing the length of DRS zones were among the options the FIA might have considered to make the devise more powerful. The layout of the DRS detection points and activation zones has been unchanged from last year over the first three races of this season.

The first race of 2017 seemed to justify concerns overtaking had become harder with the new cars. Lewis Hamilton was one of many drivers to report how difficult it had been to pass other cars.

“I hope that doesn’t mean that for the rest of the year it’s more of a train,” said Hamilton. “I don’t know if it was more exciting for you guys to watch but for me personally I want to be closer up with cars and more close wheel-to-wheel battling.”

The amount of overtaking has been higher in recent races. However while 308 passes were recorded at the same events last seasons, just 116 were this year.

Data: Mercedes

2017 F1 season

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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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  • 37 comments on “No DRS changes planned for rest of 2017 despite overtaking fall”

    1. Fantastic news! It’s all been pretty bang on this year, to be honest. I’d rather see it go completely, but it hasn’t offended me and taken away from the race enjoyment like it has done in previous years, so it’s fine!

      1. +1 – i quted martin brundel after the china race – its giving way to fewer but more organic overtaking. and plus we are seing some very clever use of the electric motors

        1. doesnt this just prove – less is more??

    2. The overtakes this year have been absolutely amazing. Quality > Quantity.

      DRS has been doing its job: getting cars closer to each other to allow overtakes later on in the track.

      1. yes, most of the overtakes so far have been outside drs zone and its been great for entertainment.

      2. Yes I agree, I think DRS is at its best balance for this year. It should be just that, bring the cars close enough for a fight and then let them fight it out in the following corners. May the best one lead out of that !

        1. agreed with all above

    3. Good. The one thing I hate more than DRS is changing the rules mid-season when they don’t have to. I appreciate if it’s a health & safety issue that they have to to react to it but this isn’t the case here.

      If they don’t like current DRS, they have a great opportunity to change it for 2018. GP3 is currently testing limited DRS uses per race. GP2 is currently testing overpowered, boring DRS. F1 is currently testing unlimited but much less effective DRS.

      1. GP2 isn’t really testing anything, just using F1’s DRS from 2013(?)-2016

    4. There are fewer cars also this year(no Marussia) which explains a small bit of the decline.

      1. Good point. Werhlein would usually make up a few places at the start, only to fall back on ultimate pace after the field had levelled out (generally speaking), so there’s a few overtakes there.

        1. Hes doing the opposite this year.

    5. There is one big reason why there were less overtakes. There were less situations where a faster car got trapped behind a slower one than last years first 3 races. You cannot overtake when the car in front is gradually pulling away…

      In China and Bahrain there was a bit of a mixup; then we did see some overtaking. There were hardly any trains, and even those got resolved within 10 laps or so.

      I’m not sure there is a problem to be solved. Overtaking does happen when it is expected. If we want more of it we need to mix up the field more.

      1. Ricciardo, Vettel, Raikkonen and Hamilton were out of position in China, and most had to come trough the field twice. So 4 out of the 6 fastest cars were at the back of the pack after just a couple of laps. Almost entirely unprecedented situation, which can not be expected to repeat anytime soon.

        1. Hamilton led every lap in China, you might mean Bottas.

          1. He might actually mean 2016, when there were so many more overtakes. That exaggerated the numbers a lot. This year it didn’t happen nearly as much. And without toffee tyres, the performance differential is a lot smaller between fresh vs. old rubber, which is also nice.

      2. This yes… How are the Mercs gonna overtake Vettel when he is pulling away…

        But when Ferrari is stuck behind RBR overtake will happen.

        Bottas poor tire setup gave us an entertaining train where overtakes could happen.

    6. good. This will force drivers to be more creative and actually learn to drive like they should in the pinnacle of
      motorsport. I expect a few mores silly mistakes before improvement though…

    7. Even if there’s been less overtaking, there’s been more quality overtakes, as people are no longer able to just stick behind them knowing that they’ll get past with DRS

    8. Ferrari, Seb fan
      24th April 2017, 16:04

      Overtaking hasn’t been bad. In China there were some great overtakes and in Bahrain the DRS helped drivers pass their opponents into turn 1. So, in my view, overtaking has been good so far, not to little (excluding Australia, which doesn’t have much overtaking) and quality is there in the overtakes. So far, so good.

    9. As others have pointed out, one reason for the high overtakes of 2016 was definitely Hamilton’s and Mercedes’ horrible starts.

    10. In the words of Nick Damon: “Hooraaaaaaay!”

    11. Good! Now the drivers have to work hard on their overtaking skills rather than rely on some mechanical gizmo. After the apparent lack of overtaking in Oz, there has been a steady improvement as the drivers come to grips with their new spec cars and newer manoeuvres. The Bahrain race had more overtaking this year than the processional events of the previous two.

    12. Hallelujah. Quality over quantity. DRS has finally started to do what it was designed for, keeping cars close to one another, not simply allowing them to breeze past.

    13. Ludicrous to say there won’t be any changes to DRS as a blanket rule. They need to assess each track individually. If drivers found it almost impossible to overtake in China then we are going to be in for a boring ride when we get to many of the other tracks – I suspect this weekend will be one of them!

    14. MrF1GuyV12POWAHHH (@)
      25th April 2017, 1:57

      I’d rather watch 15 awe inspiring, ballsy, and epic overtaking moves than 150 meaningless DRS-assisted flybys

    15. Looking at that graph and having watched the first 3 races, I don’t think many of us even noticed such a stark difference between 2016 and 2017 for overtaking. The quality of racing is still just as high, if not higher imo.

      It should be noted that, whilst it’s not going to make a huge amount of difference to the numbers, there are 2 less cars on the grid this year. There have also been 18 DNF/DNS’s this year as opposed to last year’s 11 after 3 races, reducing the scope for overtaking.

      Good decision from the FIA. I lost count of how many times I’d read the term “knee-jerk” over the past decade.

    16. Small correction, overtaking increased, passing decreased.

      Small but notable difference. We now get around 2-3 overtakes for each DRS pass. Last year it was the otherway around…

      Based on my thumb estimate, we get 50-100% more memorable overtakes.

      1. This is not correct.

        First of all, I don’t know where Keith Collantine gets his stats, but according to my race notes (which I checked against the official lapchart) there were 30-something overtakes in Bahrain (excluding lap 1).

        Still the vast majority of overtakes is DRS-assisted, probably around 90% of them. Which leaves a handfull of non-DRS passes per race.
        We haven’t had any very memorable passes yet, the most exciting one was probably Ocon, Hulkenberg and Alonso going three abreast in Melbourne; and that one was with DRS.

        Actually the 2017-season is very much alike last year, just with a lot less on-track action. The major (positive) difference is that the two title contenders are from two different teams, but everything else is pretty much the same. There are a couple of minor changes in the running order, but the gaps are actually bigger.
        The severe drop in on-track action is mainly caused by the long-life tyres. And the fact that DRS is not powerful enough. It’s no longer interesting to gamble on an alternative strategy (as for example Haas did early 2016), because it’s rather impossible to navigate the traffic. We’ve been quite fortunate so far that both China and Bahrain had extraordinary circumstances (the weather and ill-timed safety car respectively), but without those events races will more and more resemble Australia.

        1. @ Leo B

          “We haven’t had any very memorable passes yet, the most exciting one was probably Ocon, Hulkenberg and Alonso going three abreast in Melbourne; and that one was with DRS”

          lol wut? So you making your own race notes and didn’t notice non-drs state of the art overtake by Vettel or great one by Grosjean? Then you’re officially denying poetry of racing my man…

    17. Before the season I was afraid that drs would be even more powerful. I’m super happy that I was totally wrong about it. Quality > quantity and this season we have got just that. The excitement is back. Overtaking is not longer just a button on the steering wheel but takes effort and planning and doesn’t work all the time every single time. The car in front can defend and the car behind needs to put it all on the table to show he is faster. In previous years the drs has been anti-climatic, boring and predictable. Now the passes are exciting, unpredictable and require skill.

    18. Everybody agreeing that F1 has the right amount and quality of overtakes..?!?! That’s a first!
      Which is great news for the rest of the season and the future of F1 :)
      It gets a bit tirinng every season to see people complain about too little or too many overtakes. I hope we have the most enjoyable season in recent memory ;)

    19. Yes happy to be wrong. I was in favour of DRS but the ‘motorway’ overtakes wouldn’t thrill my Grandma. Some of the dives inside on the brakes have been great and maybe teams need to employ different drivers if the some of the current crop cant do it. LH I mean you disappointingly. King of the dive pah – I might even scrub out the ‘Hammertime’ on my flag and replace it with some Dutch Courage

    20. Ismael Basalah
      25th April 2017, 17:13

      Oooh, without DRS and the aerodynamics of this year, there’ll be no overtaking… The DRS keep the drivers close to overtake later, the last Bahrain Grand Prix is the example. The DRS had been removed last year, no this year

    21. A lifelong F1 fan
      30th April 2017, 14:42

      F1 is the most boring its been since 2002. You guys must just love processions and having a nap in front of the TV, because that’s all you are going to get with these regulations. They need to tweak DRS to save the series as the rules are now so terrible that one car just getting within DRS range is the most exciting thing that can happen in a race.

      I’m afraid that the demands of hard core fans have ruined the show. Its like Jeremy Corbyn supporters. A small group of diehards that love to be bored stupid and can’t think of any good new ideas are spoiling it for the majority of normal fans.

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