Esteban Ocon, Monza, 2018

Longer DRS zones planned for Monza, Sochi, COTA, Interlagos and Yas Marina

2018 Belgian Grand Prix

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The FIA will expand the DRS zones at five of the remaining eight venues on this year’s Formula 1 calendar, beginning with this weekend’s race at Monza.

Sochi in Russia, the Circuit of the Americas in the USA, Interlagos in Brazil and Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi will also have longer DRS zones.

FIA race director Charlie Whiting said the DRS zone leading from Lesmo 2 to the Ascari chicane at Monza will be extended to aid overtaking at the Italian track.

“In Russia we’re extending the main DRS which starts on the pit straight going to turn one,” he said. “At Austin we’ll extend one, which is on the back straight between turns 11 and 12. The one on the pit straight in Austin is as long as it could be.”

“In Brazil we will extend the main one on the straight, about another 100 metres, just after turn 14. And both of them will be lengthened in Abu Dhabi.”

However Whiting said there’s “no real hope” for a longer DRS zone at Singapore. Suzuka in Japan and the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico will also be unchanged.

Whiting said he wasn’t concerned the longer DRS zone at Spa made overtaking too easy in yesterday’s race.

“Spa’s different,” he said. “You saw in a lot of cases… Seb got past Lewis without DRS. It’ll be different on other circuits.”

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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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36 comments on “Longer DRS zones planned for Monza, Sochi, COTA, Interlagos and Yas Marina”

  1. You have to love the way F1 always manages to ignore the blatantly obvious and just doubles down on the terrible ideas. Please stop this nonsense.

    1. This is a temporary solution until new aero regs. Chill.

  2. Seb passing Lewis was the only case, and it was at the start of the race. Completely different conditions.

    Besides, it’s been a constant at Spa since DRS was introduced, the zone makes it way too easy for drivers to overtake and there’s no point risking it anywhere else. You think about that overtake Webber did on Alonso and then you remember that Alonso easily went past Mark using the DRS…

    Ban the thing altogether please!

    1. Also, the headwind played a role in making the difference bigger too. That’s not something the FIA can easily react to (also the case in France, though there it might have just meant something happened in the race), but, it does mean (to me) they have to take such effects into account.

      So, like most people here, I am a bit sceptical of this being a good idea.

  3. More DRS at Monza? How can this end up different than the kemmel straight?
    I could see Bottas waiting for the straight to overtake, it was the smart choice to play it safe.

    1. @notacop DRS is actually rather ineffective (and always has been) around Monza due to the low-drag nature of the circuit, so, therefore, lengthening an activation zone there isn’t going to make any difference whatsoever in aiding overtaking especially since the two corners preceding the zone in question are medium-speed corners, meaning that following another car closely through those corners isn’t that easy. The same applies to Parabolica as well although the activation zone of the S/F straight is set to remain unaltered. The same applies to Mexico as well for the same reason. Less drag = less effective DRS.

  4. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
    27th August 2018, 8:47

    Why would they use a longer zone in Monza? In Sochi and Yas Marina it will help overtaking since overtaking is rare to non existent in those tracks. Interlagos won’t be hurt I reckon. COTA though should stay as it is.

    1. @panagiotism-papatheodorou lengthening an activation zone in Monza isn’t going to make a difference in aiding overtaking, though, due to the low-drag nature of the circuit, though, which is why DRS has always been relatively ineffective there. Less drag = less effective DRS. For a more detailed explanation see my replies to @notacop above or @jeff1s below.

  5. I won’t say DRS is good or bad in general, but in Spa it is definitively bad. Spa is a great track with lots of passing oportunities, and DRS spoils the whole circuit

  6. Longer DRS zones in Monza: Facepalm.

    I am sure that decision has been made prior to the Belgian Grand Prix, but considering what we have seen yesterday, and from a couple of years now, the decision-makers should (have) switch(ed) their minds over extending DRS zones.
    I thought they once wanted to fit DRS zones to circuit layout.

    1. Higher top speeds are always welcome.

    2. @jeff1s DRS is actually rather ineffective (and always has been) around Monza due to the low-drag nature of the circuit, so, therefore, lengthening an activation zone there isn’t going to make any difference whatsoever in aiding overtaking especially since the two corners preceding the zone in question are medium-speed corners, meaning that following another car closely through those corners isn’t that easy. The same applies to Parabolica as well although the activation zone of the S/F straight is set to remain unaltered. The same applies to Mexico as well for the same reason. Less drag = less effective DRS.

  7. „Whiting said he wasn’t concerned the longer DRS zone at Spa made overtaking too easy in yesterday’s race.“

    Great. This man is incompetence in person.

    DRS ruins the racing in Spa year in year out.
    We could have seen the Force Indias put up a fight.
    We could have seen HAM overtaking VET into Bus Stop at the restart.
    We could have seen Bottas actually having to work to get through the field.

    But Whiting obviously didn‘t bother to watch the race.

    1. Seriously, how do we go about getting this man removed from his position? It’s very rare to see incompetence in such pure form. The length of the DRS zone on the Kemmel straight completely ruined yesterdays race. I mean, there’s even a case that a DRS zone wasn’t needed at all. With DRS being more powerful next year i have all but lost hope for this sport. 2021 is the light at the tunnel but what evidence have we seen that they will even get that right?

  8. Why not have DRS everywhere if they are 1sec away. That would be fun. Or just get rid and make the drivers work to overtake. And get rid of the rules that says if you hit em overtakein. U don’t get shot. That way drivers will not be scared to have a go……..

  9. I’m sure Charlie Whiting has vast knowledge about every aspect of Formula 1 but most times he says anything, particularly relating to the DRS, he seems completely out of touch with what those who follow the sport actually want to see.

    1. It’s bewildering why they are so keen on DRS. has someone got shares in it?? he says vettel overtook hamilton without it – well that just proves that it was unnecessarily powerful. if you can pass without it, then adding it is going to make it too easy to pass in almost all situations.

      I felt sorry for ericsson who made one of the few interesting passes down into la source (albeit DRS assisted but at least he still had to out brake Hartley) only to be monstered by a slower car on the following straight. it was laughable. it will reinforce the problem seen at montreal where people were not making moves into the hairpin so they could make the most of the DRS zone on the following long straight – this meant a prime action spot was nullified. I wonder if we could have seen more action into la source but savvier drivers where waiting (i.e. making it boring for all the fans spectating at one of the sport’s classic corners).

  10. I still say DRS should be used like the ‘push to pass’ boost in IndyCar, in that drivers have a limited number of uses or a time limit for use during a race.

    1. A time limit would work. Say when you activate DRS it stays activated for 5-10 seconds, hopefully deactivating well before the braking zone. Having DRS deactivate half-way down a straight would stop many of the highway passes we see so often OR just adopt the Indycar system and have a small power boost. I’ve always found the Indycar system very subtle and effective.

  11. I went to Monza last year and was in the grandstand at the first chicane, hoping to see some overtaking. Almost every manoeuvre was over before the cars even came into view thanks to the DRS down the main straight. Disappointing, and I can’t believe they’re making it worse!

    1. @dave-m Firstly, not true, and secondly, DRS is and has always been relatively ineffective around Monza due to the low-drag nature of the circuit. Less drag = less effective DRS. For a more detailed explanation see my earlier replies to a couple of others above.

    2. @dave-m I went to Monza in 2015 and had exactly the same impression.

      1. @girts Then you also got a false impression of how it actually is. See my reply above for more info in case you didn’t notice it before.

        1. @jerejj I read all your comments and I am not sure why you are so desperately trying to prove that you are right and everyone else is wrong. It is enough if you state your view once or twice, there is no need to repeat “you’re all wrong, I’m the only one, who knows how DRS works” a million times.

          That said, it is always good to hear alternative opinions. As for this particular case, if you are right, then it does not make look F1 very bright – why set DRS zones that are ineffective anyway? Keith has often expressed his dislike for DRS and there are many, who share that opinion. If DRS is not what makes passes look boring, then why make people believe that it is the culprit?

          1. @girts Because more and more people seem to not realize the fact about Monza’s low-drag nature and its impact on the effectiveness of DRS, but instead, rather just question its usage around Monza as if it was one of those circuits where the ‘motorway-style’ passes would be the norm despite the reality being far from that there.

            ”why set DRS zones that are ineffective anyway?”
            – Well, it’s a bit difficult to answer. Yes, one could ask why to put an activation zone on a circuit or at a part of a track where it’s ineffective anyway, but then again, no harm done if/when this particular approach is applied. Ironically, it’s actually something that many during the early seasons of the existence of DRS have asked.

            ”If DRS is not what makes passes look boring, then why make people believe that it is the culprit?”
            – Good question as well. I think that’s because people are just too eager to blame DRS solely for nearly every easy-looking pass even though there could very well be other factors behind them that could very well have a more significant impact on making an overtaking move look easy than DRS alone. For example, the slipstream/tow effect, a substantial difference in car and or PU performance, tyres, ERS/MGU-K boost, etc.

          2. @jerejj Thank you for the response!

            Personally, I would be happy if they got rid of a few DRS zones (and Monza’s main straight is one of such zones) that existed before, at least temporarily. Then I could try to make a fair comparison – still hard to do because there are a lot of other factors involved. For instance, this year’s Canadian GP lacked overtaking and tension in general, compared to the previous years, despite 3 DRS zones. If the zones had been removed, it would not have changed anything but many would say ‘See, that’s what you get without DRS.’ But I would still feel better knowing that Bottas flies past Ocon because of one of the factors you mentioned (tyres, car etc.), not thinking ‘that DRS thing again…’.

            I do not think I will ever become a fan of the DRS, at least not in its current form – albeit I admit that it has most probably given us some exciting battles that would otherwise have not been possible. But more expert analysis would still be interesting to read. For instance, the defending driver’s attitude plays a huge role. Why does he choose not to defend his position as hard as he potentially could (that often seems to be the case) – is it just because he knows that the guy behind has opened the wing and therefore resistance is futile or are there other factors at play?

          3. @girts Interesting points especially the last part. Yes, sometimes, it indeed does seem that the defending driver just moves over for the driver behind to pass rather than attempt to defend till the upcoming corner, but whether it’s about a thought that resistance would be futile anyway or something else, it’s difficult to guess. It could be either way.

  12. ”Seb got past Lewis without DRS”
    – Yes, he indeed did, and he’s precisely spot on there concerning whether DRS should be blamed solely for ‘easy-looking passes’ or not. BTW, I was expecting an addition of a 3rd activation zone at YMC (on the S/F straight), and a 2nd in Suzuka (the full-throttle stretch between the hairpin and Spoon.)

  13. digitalrurouni
    27th August 2018, 13:29

    I wonder if these track DRS changes will end up being added to the F1 2018 game in an update or something.

  14. How the FIA thinks:

    “Hey, you know that thin, watery, nearly flavorless soup we’ve been force-feeding you to cover up how bland and boring the rest of the meal is? You know, the one you don’t like? Well, great news! Now you’ll get even MORE of it!”

  15. How does this guy still have a job. What a tool.

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