Kevin Magnussen, Stoffel Vandoorne, Formula Renault 3.5, 2013

F1 not considering ‘push-to-pass’-style DRS

2019 F1 season

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New aerodynamic regulations for the 2019 F1 season to aid overtaking do not mean a rethink of the DRS rules is needed, according to FIA race director Charlie Whiting.

The new rules are expected to make it easier for drivers to follow each other closely and enhance the power of DRS. However Whiting does not think it necessary to rethink F1’s contentious proximity-based DRS system, when drivers can only use it when they are within one second of a car ahead.

Some other championships which have DRS, such as the DTM and now-defunct Formula V8 3.5 series (pictured), have used it as a ‘push-to-pass’ device. This involved giving drivers a set number of DRS uses per race, which they can then use to attack or defend with. But this is not a system Whiting thinks F1 should adopt.

“It’s not the way we want the DRS to work,” he said.

“I know there is divided opinion on whether we should even have the DRS but I think it’s worked very well for us. It’s fulfilled a need.

“I don’t understand why we would want to give anyone the opportunity to defend themselves, that would defeat the object, I think. But that’s only my opinion, it’s how it’s always worked.”

Whiting says the impression DRS has made overtaking too easy is wrong.

“It’s not easy to get to within the distance required to actually make a pass. You’ll see it time and time again, it really is not easy. It sometimes looks easy but that’s when there’s an inherent performance difference between the cars.

“If you’ve got cars of equal performance, which you have basically got in the beginning, then a driver has to work quite hard to get past another car. So for me it should remain exactly as it is.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 25 comments on “F1 not considering ‘push-to-pass’-style DRS”

    1. “If you’ve got cars of equal performance, which you have basically got in the beginning, then a driver has to work quite hard to get past another car. So for me it should remain exactly as it is.”

      Maybe it´s just cause english isn´t my native tongue, but i don´t understand. What does he mean with “the beginning” ?

      1. @zad2 I assume ‘the beginning of a season’ although he could be referring to the beginning of a race as well.

        1. @jerejj He’s talking about at the beginning of the race, when tyre wear for everyone is roughly the same.

      2. @zad2 @jerejj @mashiat

        At the racestart all the cars are lined up in performance order from the qualifying.

    2. Just chop all the bargeboards off, ban all attachments to the halo, maximum number of elements in the front wing, reintroduce ground effect.

      Simples.

      1. … and wait for the cars to start piling up on the side of the track.

        Ground effect was great, until it wasn’t, and then people tended to die.

        I’m in favor of more underbody downforce (think large diffuser, rather than true ground effect), and eliminating the outwash wings *will* simplify the front wings and eliminate the need for the complicated barge boards.

        … and no, it isn’t “simples”.

    3. Getting within striking distance should not be the challenging part of overtaking. The actual overtake should be the challenge, defending from such attempts is a challenge.

      1. Hit the nail on the head there FlatSix!

        The FIA still seems to think that the problem is not enough overtaking, when as you point out, the problem is cars not being able to race close enough together.

        Maybe some guys with more technical knowledge than myself could chip in – but wouldn’t a return to the 2016 regs, with 2017 fat tyres and rear wings, and a simpler, smaller front wing, be a much better way of achieving closer racing than what the FIA has planned for 2019?

        1. @abc123 They now have experts studying closer racing like never before, so I would suggest that the guys with the more technical knowledge have surmised that a change such as you are suggesting would be too dramatic and expensive for what they are trying to achieve, which is to deal with these BE era cars as best as possible without taking too much away from the R&D they have invested into these cars, and without favouring the bigger teams who have the resources to react to big changes in short notice, until they do the big overhaul for 2021 once all the teams have ample time for which to gear up.

          1. @robbie Just going on what Christian Horner has said about the changes being rushed and “costing millions”, it sounds like the wider span front and rear wings will actually require a pretty significant overhaul for 2019.

            I fear that making the front wings even wider than they currently are will look very ugly. A simplified version of the current front wings (e.g. a restriction of 2-3 elements), would surely be no more expensive, produce a similar downforce cut, and be considerably less ugly.

            That said, the fact that Ross Brawn’s team and Nikolas Tombazis are dedicating significant time to this problem is great to see.

            1. @abc123 There will be a cost to the changes for next year, but they were already going to be spending millions anyway, as teams are constantly evolving their wings.

              As to wider front wings, I haven’t understood that to be the case. The front wings won’t be designed at their ends to outwash airflow, but where has it been said the front wings will be wider?

            2. @abc123 Sorry I looked into it a little deeper and sure enough you’re right that the front wings will have a larger span. Hadn’t understood that to be the case until you mentioned it. So I assume they’ll span right out to be as wide as the front of the car, but will have end plate work that will wash the air inward, still deflecting air from hitting the front tires head on.

      2. Well said. Such a simple concept lost in F1

      3. While chasing in the corners, you lose time to the car ahead because you have no front downforce. He hits the straight well ahead of you, and unless you’ve got at least 10% more straightline speed, you’ll never get close enough to pass.

        Why do people not grok this?

    4. “It’s not easy to get to within the distance required to actually make a pass. You’ll see it time and time again, it really is not easy. It sometimes looks easy but that’s when there’s an inherent performance difference between the cars.
      “If you’ve got cars of equal performance, which you have basically got in the beginning, then a driver has to work quite hard to get past another car. So for me it should remain exactly as it is.”
      – I couldn’t agree more with him on this particular aspect of the topic.

    5. Robert McKay
      18th May 2018, 19:13

      Why is it every time Charlie Whiting opines on anything nowadays I get very annoyed? I seem to find myself on the exact opposite side of every opinion he voices.

    6. Vettel fan 17 (@)
      18th May 2018, 20:53

      It’s isn’t easy to get within one second of a car, but why make a system where when you get within one second you effectively get a chance of a free overtake? Basically rewarding someone for doing half the work (closing in).

      1. @vettelfan17 But you dont get a free overtake, just ask Bottas.

    7. Of course F1 isn’t considering push to pass DRS. It’s a good idea.

    8. I don’t understand why we would want to give anyone the opportunity to defend themselves

      Sums up F1

    9. Mark in Florida
      19th May 2018, 0:39

      Push to pass sounds too american, can’t have that it might tarnish F1 s reputation. Push to pass in Indy car is a horsepower increase not an aerodynamic decrease in drag.

    10. GtisBetter (@)
      19th May 2018, 12:18

      I think push to pass is a great system. If you are in front and drive around the same speed as the guy behind you, DRS gives you a disadvantage. Think about how little sense that makes. You are being punished for being in front.

    11. For goodness’ sake, Whiting, if you’re going to keep this gimmick, at least give it some strategical value.

    12. ” I don’t understand why we would want to give anyone the opportunity to defend themselves ”
      Can you believe that anyone charged with oversight of a sporting activity would say such a thing ?
      For years I have struggled with the questions surrounding F1’s failure to rise to the heights that it should have reached .
      Where one has such a high level of engineering and where there is so much money made available to those who are developing the cars and the tracks raced upon are virtual marvels of creativity and where there are figurative mountains of cash driving the participants forward ( pun intended ) how can an enterprise fail to soar to the pinnacle not only of auto sport but of all sport ?
      How ? Just think about what Charlie said and ask the obvious question . What kind of interactive sport would use its rule making authority to eliminate defense by the participants ? This is not golf or bowling is it ?
      Then , to make the source of the problem even more clear examine the rest of his statement :”..it’s how it’s always worked . ”
      That is a reason to do something ? Try this : why use video replay mistakes are part of the game – it’s how it’s always worked ..or on a more important note : only men should be permitted to make important decisions -it’s how it’s always worked .
      I used to think that F1 was the best and on its way to heights that no other form of motor sport dared dream of but, something kept holding it back making it fall just short . I ,however, could not figure out why .
      It is clear now ,it is not the sporting concept that is lacking it is the people running it . They simply have no common sense but, it will just have to remain that way because….-it’s how it’s always worked …or should I say ..NOT worked .

    13. I think the most natural way would be to simply allow the car who is within 2s on track to deploy 100bhp more electric power out of all corners while being within 2s of the car infront.

      Then let the drivers do their thing.

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