Jolyon Palmer, Renault, Spa, 2017

F1 won’t drop DRS any time soon, says Brawn

2018 F1 season

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Formula One will not replace the Drag Reduction System until it has found another way to aid overtaking, says managing director for motorsport Ross Brawn.

Brawn told Business Life magazine that DRS will “continue in the short term”.

“My hope is that when we identify how the cars should evolve in the future, that may be a feature we can turn off. But I don’t see it disappearing in the near future. Its a necessary Band-Aid because of the nature of the cars at the moment.”

Formula One has begun studying how to improve the quality of racing by allowing the cars to run together more closely. Brawn says he wants to find a way to increase overtaking without using artificial devices like DRS.

“That’s our objective. And unlike the DRS, it won’t be a switch we turn on overnight, it will be an evolution of the cars. Each step we make has got to be in that direction.”

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“In other words we create a model, and that model means as you plug features in, you can see whether the raceability of the cars improves or deteriorates. And that model won’t only be an aerodynamic model, it will be a model that will have to include the tyre characteristics and engine characteristics and other factors on the car, where we put different elements in to help us understand whether what we are doing is making the racing better or worse.”

“And that’s something we’ve lacked. We’ve been using our intuition, and that’s not good enough now with the complexity of these cars.”

According to Pirelli there were 47% fewer overtaking moves last season compared to the year before following the introduction of higher-downforce cars.

The decrease in overtaking was accompanied by a fall in lap time, but Brawn said he’d be happy to see lower speeds if it meant better racing.

“The speed of the cars is important – these are the fastest racing cars in the world, and the fans want to feel that Formula One is the pinnacle. But tomorrow if I could trade five miles an hour from the top speed for better racing, I’d do it.”

2018 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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34 comments on “F1 won’t drop DRS any time soon, says Brawn”

  1. Let’s just stop for a second and enjoy how beautiful, aggresive and menacing that 2017 Renault looks in that picture.

    1. Too bad the 2017 Renault was often stopped for more than a second…

    2. @damon Renault before the Halo.

  2. You were the Chosen One! You were supposed to destroy the gimmicks, not join them. You were supposed to bring balance to the formula, not leave it in darkness.

    You were our brother, we loved you Brawn

    But you are going down a path I cannot follow

    1. So…he was supposed to just snap his fingers and make it all right?

    2. Surely you didn’t expect DRS to be gone before 2021? Such a change is going to require a major overhaul in the aero regulations that needs to be researched and tested first.

      1. @pastaman you mean like the ones we had in 2017? That was a major overhaul of the aero rules, and a perfect opportunity to get rid of DRS. Yet they still kept the “band aid”. Dont get your hopes up for 2021.

        1. Yes, except the objective for the latest aero regulations were to make the car faster, not to address DRS. This objective was already in place before Ross Brawn was in any position to change it.

        2. @vjanik I think (well I know) you are missing some things here. 2017’s changes was not a perfect opportunity, as Liberty was not in charge yet and so there wasn’t the motivation to get rid of Drs. The cars have been designed for it, so the concern over suddenly yanking it would be that the larger teams would adapt more quickly and the smaller teams would be caught out with the sudden extra expense and effort needed to adapt.

          So there is every reason to have high hopes for 2021, as it is now Brawn in charge of this file, and he has put together a team to research closer racing that didn’t exist before, and this will give the teams plenty of advance notice so that no one team is caught out struggling for time and money to do their due diligence with said changes.

          I predict we will see for 2021 less complex wings that will be differently shaped, as in, different than we have seen before, along with more floor and diffuser work for ground effects downforce. It will be a combination of things that will get them to ridding themselves of drs. I suggest the new wings and floor work will be designed not just for efficient downforce, but also less wake created behind them. As it is teams are able to design things to create wake and make the air as dirty as possible for the car behind. That will change.

      2. DRS should have been dropped 30minutes after its first usage years ago. Figuring out a way to pass should be left to those driving and not to a poorly planned and certainly not a bit popular systems like DRS currently is.
        Just dropping DRS as we know it would solve Brauns concerns of what would improve passing. Let those driving at speed figure it out

    3. @robbie @pastaman you have failed me for the last time

      I find your lack of faith disturbing

      1. Enter the bureaucrats, the true rulers of the Sport. And on the payroll of the manufacturers, I might add.

      2. Scraping DRS now, without over hauling the aero of these cars would be a disaster. These cars can hardly follow each other now because of dirty air from the cars in front. (Think about that for a second, F1 racing cars cannot follow each other, how can this sport even be called racing anymore. This just crazy) Races would just be processional, more so than now. Like it or not drs is going to be with us for years to come.

      3. Dammit, I got trolled! Lol

    4. @johnmilk Great SW-reference, LOL.

    5. Revenge of the Brawn

    6. Like the obi wan kenobi reference 😉

  3. Sensible words from RB, consistent with what he has said going back to last year. It is a work in progress and he will not make sudden knee-jerk decisions that will only catch smaller teams out and advantage the big teams that can adapt more quickly.

    I expect Brawn and team to do much good work in the area of closer racing over the next 2 or 3 years and that the 2021 cars will not have drs. He does not want a gimmick to create closer racing. Sounds great to me.

  4. Ditch it anyway, If overtaking drops then so what! At least what we would see would be more exciting & meaningful.

    Every time I see a DRS pass rather than get excited I just get sad & angry & am reminded what the primary reason for my drop in passion for F1 since 2011 has been. I still love F1 more than anything else but I just don’t feel the excitement for it than I used to because I just don’t like how contrived the racing feels now with DRS & (While less so than they were a few years ago) gimmickey tyres & other silly rules designed ‘for show’.

    The focus shouldn’t be on how many overtakes there were, The focus should be on how hard fought, Skillful & exciting the overtaking seen was. As has been said on here before, Quality over quantity!

    1. @stefmeister DRS is rather ineffective on most circuits these days, i.e., on most circuits, it doesn’t really aid overtaking these days, and that applies to even the ones where it used to be a bit too effective at times during its early seasons (before the current V6 turbos came in).

    2. @stefmeister I don’t disagree with your sentiment, but the cars simply are designed for DRS, so they can’t just ‘ditch it anyway’ without harming the smaller teams even more than they already have been trying to keep up with the new pu’s and their complexity.

      I think if you want excitement and meaningfulness, then try to be patient that soon enough F1 might be better than any of us can remember. Quality over quantity will happen, I’m convinced. And I’m also convinced it will happen and in the right way that is sustainable.

    3. I get tired of race commentators who try to motivate me to get excited about someone getting agitated in a well disciplined train of cars. At least having the occasional overtake, even if DRS assisted, does make their excitment seem justified.

    4. Can’t we immediately ditch it from some tracks and keep it for some? Some tracks work well with it and some are horrible with it.

      For example keep it in Budapest and ditch it in Spa.

  5. Agreed. It has to stay at least as long as following another car is as difficult as it is due to how the cars are designed aerodynamically.

    1. Agree. I think it’s the logical approach to have something until they find a better solution in the future.

  6. Is it logical to assume if the FIA is closely studying Indycars implementation of its visor in 2018 that it is also watching that series’ new aero specifications of reducing downforce emphasis by front and rear wings(by moving it to the Venturi tunnels) to allow their cars to run closer together?

    1. I think it is logical to assume that they will look at Indycar in general, but I’m not convinced there’s a ton they can take away from it. F1 has an aero addiction and they aren’t about to do away with that which all their billions spent over the years have taught them about the science. They know that they could simply mandate very simplistic front and rear wings, but I don’t think they have to do that necessarily, and they can’t unlearn what they already know. I think we will see them continue having much more aero downforce than Indycar has, but they will learn how to make it more efficient while having what I presume to be will be differently shaped front and rear wings, along with floor and diffuser work, that will make the cars much less negatively affected in dirty air. I see F1 keeping the science of aerodynamics alive and well, but the regs will change how they think about and implement it. The motivation simply hasn’t been there, but I firmly believe the knowledge is there and will flourish, but with regs that limit them to how dirty they can make the air behind them to intentionally disturb the trailing car, as has been the case for years.

  7. As expected… I don’t like DRS, but it’s obviously a necessity with the way modern cars are. Take DRS off the cars we have at the moment and we might as well stop referring to F1 as ‘racing’ – unless the tyres decided to go all crazy, it’d be nothing more than dismal, suspense-free processions. Natural slipstreams aren’t effective enough to close the cornering gaps between two healthy cars on healthy tyres.

    Brawn knows that, even though he probably dislikes the situation just as much as the rest of us…

    1. Unless you can find another way to make sure cars can race in each others slipstream in corners. Like ground-effect for example. No need for DRS then.
      Like IndyCars do with Venturi tunnels for years. And F1 planned for 2014, until the teams stopped that.

      F1 should take away the power of the teams (i.e. dismantle the Strategy Group) and give the power to where it belongs. Rules = FIA, Commercial side = Liberty and let the teams decide if they want to compete with those rules.

  8. What they could do with Drs is to research via video and telemetry data all the drs overtakes for each circuit and try to shorten the drs activation zone for the circuits where the overtake were too easy. I think it’s possible to do it in a way that a driver needs to do a ballsy move and brake in the limit to overtake the car in front. Sometimes the overtakes with DRS are only a formality, I’m sure this can be fine tuned in every circuit at almost no cost. This might work better until we get rid of this on next Gen cars.

    1. Exactly,

      It surely couldn’t be all that hard.
      Last year, in the main, they did have it about right. A lot of the passes, even with DRS had to be pretty ballsy, some even went wrong.

      We seem to be well past the days of cars just driving by under DRS, and more to them being able to put themselves into a position to potentially make a pass. A bit more tweaking as you suggest should keep it manageable and not necessarily destroy races.

  9. If they remove DRS then we might see back in F1 properly good, edge of your seat, exciting racing again. But if there is no overtaking and complete processions, and spectator/viewing numbers plummet as a result, then they (FIA, FOM, the teams) will have absolutely no choice but to agree to make serious changes to the aerodynamic designs of the cars to improve the racing. It really is just as simple as this.

  10. Surely the wake off the rear wing is the main thing preventing one car from overtaking another – ? Looking back to 2009/2010 the blown/double diffusers were generating serious downforce in their own right before they were outlawed. I would like to see the rear wings minimised (or dare I say removed altogether) but with the rule book opened up to maximise the downforce developed by blown/double-diffusers to make up the deficit.

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