By the time Formula 1’s new car regulations arrive in 2021, the Drag Reduction System will have been part of the sport for 10 years.
The adjustable rear wing was originally introduced in 2011 as a means of helping cars get closer to each other in order to overtake. It has divided opinion between those who consider it a unfair gimmick, and those who believe overtaking would be almost impossible without it.
DRS has been described as a sticking plaster solution to the difficulty of overtaking in F1. As the new 2021 regulations are intended to make it much easier for cars to follow each other closely, will that be the time to ‘rip off the Band Aid’?
F1 believes its 2021 car designs will allow drivers to race each other much more closely. The changes are much more drastic than the alterations to front wings made this year.
Currently a car running two car-lengths behind another loses around 50% of its downforce, which is why drivers find it so hard to stay close. This figure is expected to fall to 5-10% in 2021.
This is the very problem DRS is designed to mitigate. It shouldn’t be needed any more in two years’ time, so why keep it on the cars?
Past attempts to improve the quality of racing in Formula 1 have not always been successful. The 2009 Overtaking Working Group-inspired changes made some gains, but these were cancelled out as teams developed their designs in pursuit of performance. The same situation could happen again in 2021.
DRS currently provides an easy means to adjust how closely cars can race each other. Leaving it on the car would allow F1 to ensure the racing remains close even if the 2021 regulations don’t produce the intended results.
Toto Wolff once said he wanted to take a chainsaw to the Halo. That’s basically how I feel about DRS.
DRS is fundamentally unfair: it hands a significant advantage to a driver following another car closely. I wouldn’t have put it on the cars in the first place. Forget 2021, I’d take it off tomorrow.
Because DRS creates easy, push-button passing, it weakens the incentive to improve how closely cars can follow each other by other ways. The exhaustively-research 2021 proposal looks by far the best chance yet of fixing this problem properly. To give it its best chance of success, DRS has simply got to go.
Do you think Formula 1 should scrap DRS in 2021? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.
Should Formula 1 get rid of DRS in 2021?
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- Neither agree nor disagree (7%)
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