Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Bahrain, 2017

DRS changes planned for three more tracks

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In the round-up: At least three more tracks on the F1 calendar will have their DRS zones changed ahead of this year’s races.

What they’re saying

Following the decision to add a third DRS zone at Albert Park this year FIA race director Charlie Whiting explained which other circuits could see DRS changes:

We can do what we like, within reason. If we think, like in Barcelona last year after the first day of practice, we realised the authority of the DRS wasn’t as great as it had been the previous year so we extended the length of the DRS zone.

We’ll do something in Bahrain, probably in Baku and in Canada. Those are the races we’re thinking about at the moment.

Social media

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Comment of the day

@DieterRencken’s latest column yesterday provoked many fascinating responses on the subject of diversity including this first-hand account from ASN:

My first race was at Silverstone in 2006 and I remember as a 10-year-old back then thinking that my dad and myself might be the only non-white people in the crowd.

Lewis was someone I has heard of, being a McLaren junior, but it wasn’t until seeing him on the podium after winning in GP2 (twice) that thought ‘Oh cool that guy is black!’. He has always been someone I admire in that he is himself and does not feel the need to fit a required F1 driver template.

I have dreamed of working in F1 for as long as I can remember, having graduated last summer I’ve been trying to apply to F1 and motorsport teams as well as the automotive industry. I know I have it better than others who were not born in the UK but my target has always been to be part of the F1 circus regardless if I don’t look like I fit a typical template.
ASN (@Ninefiveasn)

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On this day in F1

  • Mika Hakkinen led team mate David Coulthard to victory at Interlagos today in 1998

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  • 46 comments on “DRS changes planned for three more tracks”

    1. So just because I’m feeling grumpy (got a cold) I ask again, why do you bury the roundup down in the middle the articles I’ve been reading for the last hour?

    2. How about adding three more tracks that WONT allow DRS , the Dumb Racing System ?

      1. Better to have a track that doesn’t need DRS

    3. They better not add a 3rd DRS zone on the straight between turns 3-4 at Bahrain as since DRS was added on the start straight the run down to turn 4 has been where most of the best racing & ‘real’ overtaking has been featured.

      Given that I fear that all making that a DRS zone would do is result in overtaking been too easy & us losing out on seeing some of the great side by side battles down to T4 (And often continuing down to T5/6) that we usually see at Bahrain.

      One of the biggest critisism’s I have with DRS is that they always put DRS where DRS isn’t needed, The places where overtaking was already possible & in some cases already fairly frequent. The long straight in China & Montreal, The kemmel straight at Spa & the start straight in Bahrain. These were all areas where we already saw a good amount of overtaking & all adding DRS to these zones has done is make passing too easy in a lot of cases.

      If your going to use DRS & are going to stick to these stupid & artificial usage regulations (Zones & gaps) then at least put DRS in places to potentially create new overtaking zones rather than sticking them where overtaking was already plenty possible & then wonder why it becomes too easy.

      1. @stefmeister If they were to add a 3rd activation zone in Bahrain, it could very well be put on the back straight (the straight between turns 13 and 14) instead rather than the one you brought up.

        1. We can only pray at this point. If they slap a DRS zone between T3 and T4 i fear for the rest of the season. What you suggest makes more sense, even though my preference would be to leave it alone (i thought last year’s race was very good).

          This has reminded me of a slight oddity with last season in regards to DRS being ineffective during the opening races of the season (which i thought improved the racing). As the season progressed the effectiveness of DRS seemingly returned to normal. Maybe with the new aero package it took the teams a while to get the DRS properly working, or i just imagined the whole thing (quite possible!) Anyway, if i am right then it would be wise to leave the Bahrain DRS zones alone.

      2. It could just be extending the length of the DRS zones, as on all 3 of the tracks mentioned it starts a decent ways down the straight, and they mentioned what they did at Barcelona in the same section.

    4. DRS was supposed to be a temporal solution and that’s not even good enough anymore… but they are still going to push it further…

      It’s like they are “surprised” the cars cannot follow each other a year after introducing a massive change in the aerodinamics… everyone saw it coming, including the drivers… that ridiculous and meaningless target of going round Barcelona 5 seconds faster ruined everything. It wasn’t needed, and it brought more problems to the overtaking issue.

      1. @fer-no65 +1.

        F1: Solving problems no one thought needed solving – but Bernie & Jean.

      2. Question: Was there a lot of overtaking in the past? Like 20 years ago? How? What changed now?

        1. Dirty air has always been a problem, so when the 2017 season came along, the solution was to make it worse.

        2. @hatebreeder, I’m glad that you are prepared to ask rather than, as most do here, simply rush to bash without remembering what it was like in the past – there are in fact sites that do compile overtaking statistics, and they show that perhaps some here are guilty of only remembering the better races from the past.

          The period from 1985 to 1995 saw the number of overtaking moves consistently fall each season to a quarter of what it had been in 1985. The period from 1995 to 2009 was the worst period of time for overtaking on track, with some of those races recording no passing moves on track at all after the start (I think the 1999 Spanish GP holds that particular record).

          That was the era that saw people throwing around complaints about the “Trulli train”, given Trulli’s ability to pull out some remarkable qualifying laps but then struggle to match that in race trim, holding up a line of cars behind him. We saw refuelling thrown in as a gimmick in order to try and “spice things up”: instead, that trend pushed teams to rely on pit strategy to overtake their rivals where they could and, if anything, discouraging attempts to overtake on track.

          We had cars that apparently featured far simpler aerodynamics than the cars do today, and overtaking still kept on falling until it collapsed to that trough in the late 1990’s to late 2000’s. Tyre wars – overtaking still kept on falling. Different types of engines – overtaking still kept on falling. For all the nostalgia and supposed “cures” that people keep on proposing, most of which basically boil down to the sport regressing about 20 years, those proposals seem to be based on an idealised memory of the past instead of an objective appraisal of what was actually happening at the time.

          1. i remember a report of the 1999 spanish gp and eddie irvine saying he wished he’d had some music in the car because he was so bored. there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth and then the next race in canada was an absolute belter.

            sometimes races are just dull, it’s more circumstantial than anything else. it’s when they are consistently dull that you have a problem (e.g. pretty much all of the abu dhabi races have been rubbish)

        3. @hatebreeder Statistically there was more overtaking in the past, However while it’s very easy to look just at the figures & say well this race in 1982 featured 40 overtakes, We need to see that today. But the stat of 40 changes of position don’t tell the full story.
          Actually one of the things i’m really interested in seeing with the arrival of F1TV is how people react to watching the older races because I can see many who think the past was better in terms of track action/overtaking been very surprised at how similar in a lot of ways races from the past actually were.

          In the past there was a lot of car management so at times you got overtaking due to one driver pushing harder at that period of the race than the person he was passing. In the 80’s with the turbo’s you also had a lot of fuel management so at times you had a car running higher boost passing cars that were saving some fuel & running lower boost.

          You had more unreliability which also accounted for some of the overtaking stats.

          You also had passing due to things like missed gears back when they still had H-Pattern boxes & clutch pedals.

          And you also had significant differences in terms of how the cars handled in qualifying & races because back then the qualifying car was very different to the race car. You sometimes saw drivers qualify a bit further back but have a much better race car & come through the field.

          And you also had more strategy freedom. It wasn’t uncommon pre-94 to see drivers run the whole race non-stop while others pitted so you often had performance differences & surprise results created by that.

      3. The problem lies with people happily accepting DRS when it was introduced back in 2011. Now it has become the norm and there is only a small minority that are vocal about how it has all but destroyed the quality of racing. Without DRS they never would’ve considered making the cars 5 seconds faster. Suddenly a temporary solution is now part of the DNA of the sport.

        This news to further tweak and add DRS zones is pretty bleak (i did not like the decision to extend the DRS zone in Barcelona last year and imo it ruined the race by giving Lewis a fairly easy pass in the end) Now is the time to speak up and make sure the FIA are fully aware that this is not good enough. I’d rather have a race with few quality passes than a race filled with DRS assisted ones.

        1. ”(i did not like the decision to extend the DRS zone in Barcelona last year and imo it ruined the race by giving Lewis a fairly easy pass in the end)”
          – I doubt the extension of the activation zone of the S/F straight really made a difference to the outcome of the race. In the end, Circuit de Catalunya is one of those circuits where DRS is at its weakest effectiveness-wise, i.e., one of the weakest circuits for DRS effectiveness-wise along with the likes of Monaco, Hungaroring, Albert Park, Singapore, and Suzuka just to name a few.

          1. @jerejj It probably didn’t change the outcome of the race but it did make it that little bit easier for Lewis to sail past Vettel. If the length of the DRS had remained unchanged Vettel may have been able to hold of Lewis for another 5-10 laps, make it a proper scrap. In the end it felt anti-climatic.

    5. They are going to ruin the #1 race, Canada (as rated by F1Fanatic/RaceFans), by adding a DRS zone?
      What’s wrong with the way it is now?

    6. Why not put a third DRS activation zone on the straight between turns 13 and 14 in Singapore and the S/F straight in Abu Dhabi, for example.

    7. Another DRS zone in Montreal is ludicrous. What the heck is telling them they need this? Surely not the drivers?

      And also, how exactly was the Haas quicker than the Red Bull? Didn’t seem that way looking at the Q3 times or the race for that matter.

    8. DRS helps to clear blockages and that’s a good thing. DRS does not help a bad driver or car progress.

      1. @blik How dare these bad drivers hold up the better ones!

        Idea: Blue flags are shown to everyone, except the leader, throughout the race. Even if things get a little messy at the start or a “better” driver doesn’t qualify well, the blue flags mean that the natural order is restored quickly and in a polite, gentlemanly manner so that everyone can run unopposed and at their own pace to the checkered flag. What do you think?

      2. Then we can as well classify the drivers based on their long-run pace in practice sessions and hand out the trophies already on Friday.

        1. Or use their simulators, they same to be extremely realistic, and get the season over in 1 weekend.
          Imagine all the travel cost we save, and happy technician families we create.

        2. @girts Better would be to use racefans’ prediction championship. Winner drivers would even get memento exclusives!

    9. Am I the only one who cannot find the radio transcripts? I miss them a lot!

      1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
        29th March 2018, 8:09

        I don’t think they have been posted yet, Keith said some things will come out a bit late.

    10. Reduce front wing complexity, abolish DRS.
      Now to whom do I take this revolutionary and genius idea?

      1. Because there was a ton of overtaking when we had simpler front wings.

        1. @hugh11 if you’re referring to the time without wide slicks then that’s not comparing apples with apples. What years do you mean?

          We have more mechanical grip these days, but even more aero. That is the problem.

    11. Please say the change they’re thinking of for Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is shortening or a full removal of the DRS zone on the long straight…

    12. My first thoughts when I looked at the Haas car was whether it was really their car, or did they just paint last year’s Ferrari in Haas’ livery. Haas claim that they studied Ferrari’s designs from what was available to the public and replicated it for their 2018 design, as Gunther claimed in the article. If there’s any exchange of information between the two teams, it can be buried easily, so no point in even trying to investigate it. Plus, there’s no way the FIA would want to cause any discomfort to Ferrari.

      1. If there’s any exchange of information between the two teams, it can be buried easily, so no point in even trying to investigate it.

        ‘Spygate’ and ‘Crashgate’ would also have never become public if everyone involved in them was smart, happy with their situation and stayed silent. Yet the illegal actions came to light.

        there’s no way the FIA would want to cause any discomfort to Ferrari.

        Jean Todt has said that Ferrari can leave F1 if they want to. This was even retweeted by the FIA’s official Twitter account. For sure, you can say that this is just rhetoric but nothing suggests that ‘FIA’ still stands for ‘Ferrari international assistance’ although someone still claims this every time when the FIA do not properly reward their favourite [non-Ferrari] driver and Ferrari is somehow involved in the incident (e.g. Azerbaijan & USA last year).

        1. @girts

          ‘Spygate’ and ‘Crashgate’ would also have never become public if everyone involved in them was smart, happy with their situation and stayed silent.

          You’re right. Haas and Ferrari seem happy. So there will be no whistleblower to spoil this partnership they’ve formed.

          Jean Todt has said that Ferrari can leave F1 if they want to. This was even retweeted by the FIA’s official Twitter account.

          I’ll believe it when I see Ferrari’s ridiculous veto privilege taken. For now, it’s just theatrics on the part of Todt that will eventually lead to nothing. Regarding, the forgiving attitude of FIA towards Ferrari drivers… I’m not making any statements regarding that.

          1. I’ll believe it when I see Ferrari’s ridiculous veto privilege taken

            That has nothing to do with the FIA, the FOM and the all teams were in favor of Ferrari veto power.
            https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/121597/fia-disappointed-by-ferrari-veto

          2. @todfod

            Regarding, the forgiving attitude of FIA towards Ferrari drivers… I’m not making any statements regarding that.

            Yes, sorry, I was not talking about you. Just saying that such accusations appear again and again. Even Jos Verstappen joined the club after Max was stripped of the third place at the U.S. GP.

          3. You’re right. Haas and Ferrari seem happy. So there will be no whistleblower to spoil this partnership they’ve formed.

            That can change in a blink of an eye. Imagine Magnussen had stayed out like Vettel and his wheel nut threaded the right way.

      2. @todfod

        Plus, there’s no way the FIA would want to cause any discomfort to Ferrari.

        You’re absolutely wrong. Jean Todt was sacked from his job at Ferrari by Marchionne himself despite winning both WDC & WCC, when he was Vice-President of the FIAT group, because he overspent and didn’t respect the budget allocated by the group.

        Since he was in charge of the FIA, he has done no favor for Ferrari whatsoever, it was the exact opposite with the exception of Hockenheim 2010 and Baku 2017 were I think Ferrari probably deserved a tougher penalty.There were many situations were the FIA was very strict with Ferrari than other teams.

        Since Marchionne was in charge, Ferrari changed their philosophy and followed the top teams approach in terms of interpreting the rules to the limits, it was the team targeted the most by the FIA, last year alone Ferrari was forced to alter its floor design, removed the second oil tank
        Renault special permissions to evolve their V8 under “reliability purposes” where Ferrari was denied the same request, Mercedes testgate, RBR breaking the rules countless times with flexi wings,EBD,engine mappings,clever suspensions… It’s obvious that the FIA was just more indulgent with the other teams and not with Ferrari.

    13. Red Bull have over 800 people, a wonderful wind tunnel, a great aerodynamicists, one of the best technical directors who is a top aerodynamicist. Haas has a quarter of the people, no big aerodynamicists, no wind tunnel, no Adrian Newey but are faster. How does that happen?

      First of all, they weren’t faster than RedBull, they track position which was vital for that specific race.

      They have no big aerodynamicist? How do they know? Maybe they took a gamble with a young engineer and he/she turned out to be amazing.

      FI has been punching well above its weight the last few years, where they cheating too?

      Yes the car is similar to last year’s ferrari, but there are clear differences. If there is something that needs to be investigated, please do. But it does sound like a bunch of sore losers, because someone that wasn’t supposed to be, is ahead.

    14. Meanwhile in FE: “a reward for the most energy efficient driver will replace the current fastest lap bonus.”

      F1 is lightyears ahead and all drivers are experts in fuel saving :p

    15. Regarding more DRS zones.
      How many times to you have to flog a dead horse to realise that it is useless, and will not work.

    16. Where are you from Tabatha? Metropolis? The graphics, taste aside, simply did not show or showed badly the basic info most of the time. Dallara makes the Haas. It’s a bit different to mercedes where Brackley does the car but it’s called Mercedes..

      1. Botched my english a bit.
        And the phanboi who made the power rankings is a bit salty. That 10th to Vettel, I can assure you that list was made by a fellow country mate. We couldn’t take Vettel in RB any longer, Vettel on Ferrari, that’s a combo, double the trouble, the bad and the ugly.

    17. Vettel in tenth behind Ericsson is a controversial choice.

      Not only controversial, it nullifies the whole list.

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