Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Albert Park, 2019

Verstappen and Hamilton want F1 to remove DRS “Band-Aid”

2019 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton want Formula 1 to stop relying on the Drag Reduction System to enable overtaking.

This year’s F1 cars feature revised front and rear wings which were intended to help cars run more closely together. However following the first race of the season Verstappen said the increased power of DRS was the only change which had made a difference.

Speaking to media including RaceFans in Bahrain today, Verstappen said F1 should stop relying on DRS to help drivers pass each other.

“In a way maybe you don’t want the DRS overtakes,” he said. “I would be a fan of trying to go away from DRS overtaking.

“But at the moment that is a good solution I guess on some tracks where you can’t really normally get by.”

A third DRS zone has been added to the Bahrain International Circuit ahead of this weekend’s race to encourage more passing. Verstappen thinks the trend should be reversed due to the increased power of DRS this year.

“You can always make it shorter, the zones,” he said. “I think over the years we’ve made it longer so maybe now you can make it shorter.”

Hamilton echoed his rivals’ words but said F1 cars would need significant changes in order for them to be able to race closely without DRS.

“Ultimately DRS is a “Band-Aid” for the poor quality of racing that we get with the cars that are designed,” said the Mercedes driver. “But it is what it is, you can’t change the fundamental structure of how these cars are and the wake that they create so they’ve got to find a way of making racing easier.”

He predicted the extra DRS zone will make this weekend’s race “more exciting.”

“It’s going to be more tactical, makes it closer. Here there’s always such a big delta time you have to the car in front to be able to have a chance of overtaking. DRS reduces that per lap which I think is a positive thing.”

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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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38 comments on “Verstappen and Hamilton want F1 to remove DRS “Band-Aid””

  1. The title doesn’t even remotely cover the message given by the drivers.

    1. Yeah exactly! Its not as if the drivers want it gone today because they know the cars need to change first.

      Practically everybody wants it gone, but anyone reasonable can see how it’s useful in the short term.

      1. Perhaps Keith and Dieter are being cute? Remove the band-aid? That’s how I took it. Sheesh, after all, as explained, both drivers obviously fully understand these cars have to have it, but 2021 cars should not, as the need won’t be there. But too bad they couldn’t just rip the band-aid off, anyway;)

      2. @skipgamer But isn’t that just sad? The headline should have been something like “Drivers understand the need for DRS” or even “Drivers expect more excitement due to extra DRS zone in Bahrain”, but instead we get some propaganda headline for their cause.

    2. Maybe you want the title to be the same length as the article, then?

      1. Someone needs to lighten up.

  2. Through all those years I’ve learned to live with DRS. But they should get rid of ‘DRS ZONES’ and let the drives use it where they want…but limit the use to no more than three times per race and 50 times per season. Then it would serve as sort of strategy tactic rather than free pass.

    1. Wes (@flashofsilver)
      28th March 2019, 20:05

      Why restrict it at all or have a select number of times it could be used. Let the drivers use it whenever they want. If the leader is using it to get away from the pack then they risk spinning if it is deployed too soon or left open too late. Maybe a driver or two will be brave enough to keep there DRS deployed while taking a fast corner or fast section of track, while the leader runs a more cautious strategy.

      They tested this at Silverstone last year with a DRS zone through turn 1. Charlie Whiting said, “once they activate it after Turn 18, on the exit of the last corner, it only closes when they either brake or back off. They could potentially go through Turns One and Two with it open. Let’s see.” Now spread that risk vs reward across the whole length of the track.

      I’m sure exciting racing will be had and some real masters or car control might surprisingly come from mid field or back marker teams.

      1. I do agree, limiting the use would be much more interesting. The big unsaid here is Pirelli tires sucks and as an Italian is pretty painful. I had a very poor opinion about the road performance and even worse about racing. I preferred the other end of the issue with Bridgestone that never wore up. At least they could push all the time.

      2. Lifting all restrictions would just mean that all drivers would use it on every straight, every lap. Limiting the use would at least force them to think about it. The way it is today results in situation where given their position on track, some drivers may be using DRS repeatedly many times, while others not at all.

        1. Wes (@flashofsilver)
          30th March 2019, 14:30

          Having drivers use it at all times means everyone must push because the threat of someone using DRS more then you to catch is real.

          I don’t want drivers thinking should I possibly use DRS or save it for another race. I want drivers on maximum attack. That is where mistakes happen and races become exciting.

      3. @flashofsilver ”it only closes when they either brake or back off.”
        – Not quite. It’s either by applying the brakes or manually by pressing the activation/deactivation button on the steering wheel. To my knowledge, those are the only ways to deactivate the DRS.

        1. Wes (@flashofsilver)
          30th March 2019, 14:37

          See my post where I quoted the late Charlie Whiting as saying that. I believe the man knew how DRS worked. I assume the backing off comment was referring to deactivating the DRS by hitting the button.

  3. Actually I think DRS does NOT make for closer racing at the front. Seems the strategy is to run away from the pack and hide, Instead having a calculated race. And when the leaders start overtaking the back markers, there is no hinderance so the traffic does not help to close the gaps between the leaders.

  4. My problem with DRS is I can write down the list of tracks where it’s needed and the list of tracks where it spoils everything and noone at the FIA ever thinks “maybe we could be smarter about this system and only use it where it’s really needed”.

    DRS at Hungaroring – yes, works well there
    DRS at Spa – no, not needed, too easy to drive by on the Kemmel Straight

  5. Unbelievable that they have added a third DRS zone to this track. Last year they extended the DRS zone on the start/finish straight which lead to too many easy overtakes. Now with an even more powerful DRS they add a third DRS zone where it is not needed? Can someone explain the logic to what is happening here? This sport really gets under my skin sometimes. Sure, it might lead to more action but not necessarily the action the sport needs. If there is no challenge in an overtake what is the point?

    1. DRS = the Destroying Racing System.

      DRS simply allows the fastest cars to move to the front more quickly. It is at the core of everything that is wrong with the sport, and, I believe, the main reason behind the nagging dissatisfaction that so many viewers have.

      How many surprise podiums/race wins since DRS was introduced? And how this compares to the period previous?
      Anyone?

      1. Exactly. DRS equals: the car in front must step on the break a little to let the car behind overtake. How exciting!

      2. “DRS simply allows the fastest cars to move to the front more quickly”

        Spot on. I realised this during the 2015 season when the field wasn’t competitive. It was the reason i was so profoundly bored and uninterested. However, when the field is tight and competitive it’s not so apparent and i actually enjoyed most of 2016/17/18. The problem with introducing an even more powerful DRS, and going overboard on the DRS zones, is it no longer matters how competitive the field is. If you make it too easy to pass then the drivers will simply organise themselves in the order of the fastest to slowest during the first third of the race, leaving us with nothing interesting to watch. It is absolutely vital the DRS balance is correct to ensure on track battles, which i think we can universally agree is what we all like.

    2. @racectrl ”Last year they extended the DRS zone on the start/finish straight which lead to too many easy overtakes.”
      – No, it didn’t. The best example: Bottas never got past Vettel despite having a chance to activate the DRS 100 meters earlier than in the previous seasons.

      1. @jerejj to be fair Bottas was criticised for not having a go. Also you are providing one example at the very end of the race between the front two. How about the rest of the race where most of the action took place? We just discounting that entirely because bottas struggled to pass Vettel? Okay buddy.

        1. @racectrl That wasn’t the case in the remainder of the field either except perhaps for Hamilton’s double pass early in the race although it despite featuring the usage of DRS isn’t entirely comparable since it wasn’t a common passing move usually done on one car at a time rather than two, and also since the driver ahead of him used DRS as well. Other than that there wasn’t really any ‘easy-looking’ passing moves taking place on the S/F straight. Bahrain isn’t one of those venues were easy-looking passing moves regardless of whether DRS would be the main culprit or not have tended to happen like in Canada and or Belgium, for example.

          1. @jerejj I think we have a different definition of what constitutes an easy pass. If i car gets alongside another car before the braking zone it is an easy pass and non-event as far as i’m concerned. I distinctly remember many easy passes and infact Martin Brundle commented on it during the race saying “DRS is too effective today” (or something along those lines). Anyway, i’m not going back to watch the race and count easy passes. Just have to accept that we formed two different opinions from the same event.

  6. Just wait until 2021 when the new cars will still have about 80% downforce behind another car instead of the 30% now. No DRS needed anymore.

    According to Auto Motor und Sport (AMuS) these are the numbers presented by Liberty to the teams past Tuesday

    1. The cars dont have 30% of the downforce behind another car now, that would make it impossible for a Mercedes to follow a Williams even.

      1. Yeah I thought Brawn said the other day it was a 50% loss in downforce for the trailing car and they want to reduce that to a 20% loss.

  7. Maybe make it available at every straight EXCEPT the main straight. That’d give some leverage to the follower but not make it plain straightforward…

    1. Exactly!

      Like for example in Bahrain; on the back-straight (as it is today) and the last straight up to the last corner.
      This way, the car behind will be close enough on the main straight to use the slipstream of the car instead to to really fight for a pass.

  8. I have mostly stopped watching the races because of Blue flags and DRS. What they are doing today is not F1 racing.

    1. Nonsense.

    2. @jjfrazz Nothing really wrong with DRS, though, as it has really aided overtaking in the recent past anyway, and definitely nothing wrong with the blue flags.

      1. Aided overtaking if you like your overtakes to be fake that is.

        1. It’s not so much the overtaking thats fake as the inability to pass a much slower car.

      2. @jjfrazz @robbie I, of course, meant ‘it hasn’t.’ I only notice my typo now, LOL.

  9. Since open wheels are one of the main causes of turbulent air, and the lift generated by the rotating wheels is such that aerodynamic means need to be employed that counters that lift, which again is a cause of turbulence, why not allow for wheels to be covered in such a way as to present a similar longitudinal drag as an open wheel has, but the covering is so shaped as to minimise turbulence and aerodynamic lift. The reduced turbulence would allow cars to follow closer, and the reduced lifting effect from the wheels would mean less downforce is required to achieve the same grip as cars now have, which again reduces turbulence, which again encourages closer driving.

  10. We all want this, and most of us begrudingly admit it is still needed.

    Not sure what would happen without it. It is easy to wonder.

  11. ”Here there’s always such a big delta time you have to the car in front to be able to have a chance of overtaking.”
    – The delta needed to have a realistic chance to pass the driver in front on merit isn’t so great on this circuit, though, as the Bahrain venue is one of the easier tracks to pass (on paper at least.)

  12. I’ve often thought about inverse DRS…. Let drivers P2 and below use it freely anywhere but it cancels when they get say within half a second of the position in front? Meaning they have to do the last bit without assistance. Race leader doesn’t get it because he’s not behind anyone. I’m thinking this will close the field up and hopefully create chances for overtaking.

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