Red Bull Ring, 2018

Drivers concerned over “Mario Kart” DRS as Red Bull Ring adds third zone

2018 Austrian Grand Prix

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Some Formula 1 drivers have expressed concerns DRS is making races “artificial” as the Red Bull Ring has become the latest circuit to introduce a third zone this year.

However some of their rivals predicted overtaking will remain difficult in the Austrian Grand Prix despite the addition of the new zone.

Sebastian Vettel suggested F1 may be over-reacting to criticism of processional races by adding too many DRS zones.

“I’m a bit puzzled on this,” he told media including RaceFans today. “We’ve had in the past a race that is boring and it’s ‘F1 is a disaster’, we have a race where it’s exciting and it’s ‘Formula 1 is great and healthy and it’s never been [this] good.’.”

“But I don’t know if it’s a solution to put DRS zones… I mean don’t get me wrong there’s maybe a lot of people that like the idea of Mario Kart including myself, I played it when I was young, then again I think it should get artificial.”

The Red Bull Ring has joined Albert Park and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as the third venue this year to feature three DRS zones. The new one runs from turn one to turn three (pictured).

“We’ll see how it works out,” Vettel continued. “Maybe it helps overtaking and so on but obviously if you just end up driving past another car it’s not very exciting either. I think [there’s] more tension or more exciting if the car is behind and maybe there’s a move happening rather than just sailing past.

“But then again it’s what we, all of us sometimes collectively ask for, and then who do we blame afterwards?”

Vettel’s team mate Kimi Raikkonen pointed out “half of the track is DRS” at the Red Bull Ring now, “so it should make [overtaking] pretty easy.”

“I don’t know if it’s too easy or not. Obviously we want overtaking but there must be a point where it’s kind-of artificial overtaking. But let’s see.”

Kevin Magnussen also expects it won’t be difficult to pass in Sunday’s race.

“It wasn’t the worst circuit for overtaking already, so I think the longest straight on the track, which is already a pretty long straight, with DRS is probably going to be fairly easy to overtake here.”

However Sergio Perez does not think the third DRS zone will make a significant difference.

“It’s going to be hard here to overtake,” he said. “Hopefully the third DRS will help us a bit but I expect it to be quite hard.”

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Author information

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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  • 29 comments on “Drivers concerned over “Mario Kart” DRS as Red Bull Ring adds third zone”

    1. Robert McKay
      28th June 2018, 21:58

      Is it not just easier to list the bits of the circuit that aren’t covered by DRS now? The pits and a couple of corners?

    2. The cars should have red and blue shells as weapons. Or at least a mushroom boost.

      1. Vettel should do a Super Mario shell or mushroom helmet!

      2. Instead of depositing banana skins, it’s fist sized pieces of debris

      3. Vettel needs to borrow Raikkonen’s gorilla suit.

        Hamilton could borrow the princess dress from his nephew. It’s a good fit, Peach seems to be the fastest.

        Chase Carey can wear the Mario overalls.

        Gosjean can drive the Stroller-mobile.

        I’ll stop there

    3. Baby steps, Vettel. Baby steps.
      You first have to go Mario Kart in the run up to Wipeout’s inevitable Anti-Gravity Racing Championship. But that isn’t until 2048, sadly, so we’re stuck with Mario Kart for now.
      But hey, at least it’s better than ping-pong, right?

    4. And if you get “Too good of a start ” here, and take more people out, you can just press the 5 second “Reset” button …. all is forgiven and forgotten … or was that your rookie year sneaking back at you … no … Max will back you up, Kvyat and Grosjean too. Maybe Lewis can get his seagull or vermine friends to get out there so you and Romain can practice hitting something other than carbon-fibre.

    5. as ‘artificial’ as overtaking someone on lesser tyres? or catching then overtaking someone due to a safety car? as artificial as using software to tell the drivers how to drive?

    6. Here me out on this one idea I’ve just had: what about a DRS that’s exactly the same as now up until the point when the following car goes for the overtake and then deactivates. Say for example, have sensors at the front of the front wing and the back of the rear wing: when they are in line between the two cars, DRS automatically deactivates. You should have wheel to wheel for the whole straight if engine performance is similar enough. You still favour overtaking but get rid of the “sailing past the car in front” problem. Of course it would need fine tuning to work properly but you get the general idea. Opinions on that one?

      1. My preferred DRS solution has always been DRS for all, just like qualifying. You still get a tow and reduced drag, it’s just even. Keep the zones so there is no issue of people trying to maximize the use. The number becomes irrelevant then from a competition standpoint.

        Ideally they would also allow for the front wing to be stalled as well but I don’t think that will occur. It would allow teams to run even more wing at all tracks which could help passing provided the new changes to outwash do reduce dirty air.

      2. A real life rubber band effect? No thank you

    7. Kimi couldn’t overtake a tortoise these days even with DRS!

      1. You’re old news, mate. He actually overtook a couple of cars for position last Sunday.

        After a year or two of that not happening at all.

    8. If two cars are close enough in performance that DRS is needed for the pass to occur, then why is it we don’t see the reverse pass occurring on the following lap.? I suspect we should, but I don’t recall seeing one.
      Since this doesn’t happen, then the DRS is only making the inevitable pass easier and much quicker. Exactly the opposite of what the goal is.
      Either give everyone DRS all the time (I believe it is called moveable aero) or dump it.

    9. Seriously, what are we doing here!

    10. Have ’em pull over every 10 laps and solve a Rubix cube.

      Any side not completed in 30 seconds will give the driver a 5 place grid penalty for the next race.

      Engineers are free to modify the Rubix cube to improve areo. T Wings are banned.

      There will also be a token system where the teams can use a token to change 1 square on 1 side. Max 2 tokens per 5 years.

      …I’m beginning to think I’d fit in very well working with the FIA.

    11. I’m at the point with DRS now where I just really don’t care anymore.

      They can do what they want with the stupid thing, If we have a situation where DRS makes things far too easy I just zone out & start doing other things with the race just on in the background, Once it’s over I turn off & just forget about it.

      Too much focus on overtaking alone & not enough on actual racing. Seeing an overtake occur is great but when it comes across as an artificial push of a button thing that’s too easy I just don’t find that all that fun or exciting to watch. I like seeing good battling, I like seeing good defending & I like seeing overtaking that’s down to the skill & bravery of the drivers as that is the stuff thats actually exciting to watch & memorable years after the fact.

      Yes overtaking is hard but to be honest I think it should be hard because that is what differentiates those with good racecraft from those with great racecraft. If overtaking becomes so easy that everyone can do it then it starts to lose it’s meaning.

      Gosh I dread to think what a 25% more effective DRS next year (With cars they say will be able to follow closer) is going to be like if there aiming to have the stupid thing on practically every straight.

      1. DRS zones can be shorten and lenghten. So, take a look at the Canada 2011 and you will see what it means when the length is wrong.

        1. To me the length at Canada is still wrong tbh. It’s straights like that, the Kemmel straight, the China and Baku straights and some more, that don’t need DRS at all imho. Slipstream is strong enough there. It’s just the shorter straights like the one into the hairpin at Canada that might need a bit of assistance to induce more overtaking there.

          Or we could just significantly lower the maximum aerodynamically created downforce loads altogether and put the cars on much softer rubber. That would increase the ability to fight by leaps and bounds I think.

    12. They should be able to use DRS whenever they want. Balls win, boys spin.

    13. Most people here commenting even before cars have taken to the track. Agreed, half the track is under DRS now but what if it does contribute to a race with some good overtakes ? What if the top three are simply fighting for the lead with one behind the other and we see changes even during the final laps?
      For the average fan, it doesnt matter whether it is w/wo DRS. He wants to see cars move past each other multiple times and of course a fight for positions.
      For the traditional F1 fan, who has been watching for decades, “oh, he used DRS to win”
      All other categories- that fan is going to enjoy watching the race on Sunday “its DRS, so what, it is still exciting”; (this fan will moan about DRS aided overtakes on Monday though…)

      As Vettel said, perhaps F1 is overreacting by adding more DRS zones. It is fine as long as it serves the purpose…

    14. “I think [there’s] more tension or more exciting if the car is behind and maybe there’s a move happening rather than just sailing past.”

      This was very well said by Vettel.

    15. Why not pander to the me generation and just hand the controls over to the viewers.

      Press the red button, the car you’re watching spins, press the yellow, it has a PU problem, press the green it’s gets a power boost.

      We could call it fanboost! Oh wait……….

      1. @dbradock, there seems to be a quite sizeable contingent of older viewers who constantly moan about there not being enough action on track – in fact, if the surveys of the fan base are anything to go by, it’s middle aged to older men who make up most of F1’s current fan base. If anything, it’s to people like yourself that the sport has been trying to pander to, such as yielding to those of your generation complaining about noise levels.

        1. Interesting that you make assumptions about that.

          I personally don’t care about noise or whether it’s a v6,v8 or v10. What I do care about is fiddling with artificial means of trying to make F1 mere interesting and ultimately making it even more of a mess.

          Theres no need to pander to us oldies – just let the racing continue without having a panic attack any time someone says it was processional and making knee jerk changes “to make it more interesting”

          Personally I don’t mind the concept of DRS, I’d just rather they allow all drivers to use it at any time at any point on the track – then we’d see who has the skills to attack and or defend.

    16. I doubt the addition of a third DRS activation zone is really going to make a difference in aiding overtaking into turn 2 (yes, I still count the tight-ish right-hander as T2 as FIA’s logic when it comes to numbering corners is a bit questionable) as this circuit, as Lewis touches, isn’t particularly one of the easiest tracks to follow on, and it has never really been that effective there either.

      1. It might help to bring cars closer together though, so that they can then fight into T3.

    17. The irony is the drivers are the ones who asked for DRS in the first place, as they didn’t like being unable to cleanly overtake slower cars for position. So it’s a case of ‘we want it, but not that much’. I can somewhat understand the delicate balancing act Liberty have here. Let’s just say the sooner the aero rules are ‘fixed’ to allow close running and proper slipstreaming, the sooner we can consign the dreadful DRS to the history books, and the better the sport will be.

    18. MrF1GuyV12POWAHHH (@)
      29th June 2018, 15:41

      They do have a point, too much DRS is pointless and makes the racing more fake.

    Comments are closed.