Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2019

Hamilton hopes F1 won’t need DRS in 2021

2021 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton hopes changes planned to car design for the 2021 F1 season will mean the sport doesn’t have to rely on the Drag Reduction System to assist overtaking.

The championship introduced adjustable rear wings in 2011, which allow drivers to reduce their drag on straights once they get within a second of another car. While it has created more overtaking, several drivers have criticised it as a gimmick.

Hamilton previously described DRS as a “Band Aid” solution to the problem of F1 cars not being able to follow each other closely. However Formula 1 plans to address this with new technical regulations for the 2021 season which will make easier for cars to run close together.

Asked whether this might allow F1 to get rid of DRS, Hamilton said: “There’s nothing I can do about it but I think that it will be a part of Formula 1 for a while, probably.

“I don’t know if they’re going to keep it in 2021. I would imagine they would, but those wings are going to be quite a bit bigger and hopefully will following better, so maybe there won’t need it then.”

Hamilton admitted he finds DRS-assisted overtaking moves less satisfying to perform.

“Some of the overtakes, you’re overtaking halfway down the straight and of course and it’s not as exciting,” he said. “You want to be doing it in a corner, launch it up the inside of another car.

“But that’s just the way it is. It doesn’t bother me, I still have to try and get in the position to be able to utilise it.”

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34 comments on “Hamilton hopes F1 won’t need DRS in 2021”

  1. is there anyone that still share his hopes after the latest news around 2021?

    1. Seeing as the news has been focused upon resistance to cost cutting and part standardisation and not aero, yeh. I do.

    2. I would say so. Surely this is the litmus test for the 2021 regulations: If they still think they need DRS, they’ve failed . Of course, I don’t think they need DRS now, but that’s a whole other argument.

  2. Funny how Mercedes cannot overtake Ferrari now even with DRS and without Ferrari driver making a mistake.

    1. I suppose that must make Hamilton happy, as he now has to do it by forcing a mistake and thus putting himself in a position to launch it up the inside of the corner @jureo!

    2. DRS overspeed – 20kph
      Ferrari straightline advantage – 15kph

      So basically the Ferrari engine negates DRS.

      1. Their engine does not negate DRS. The DRS is more effective on a car that has less drag, which the Ferrari has.

        1. Paul Bertenshaw
          18th October 2019, 12:27

          Surely that would be the other way round? That a car with more drag (Merc) will benefit more from DRS than one with less drag (Ferrari)?

  3. Some of the overtakes, you’re overtaking halfway down the straight and of course and it’s not as exciting

    That has nothing to do with DRS though. If that happens there is a massive delta in laptimes already. So there would not be an “exciting” overtake anyway.

    That’s the point people seem to insist on overlooking.

    What DRS does is allow an overtake between two cars which are reasonably closely matched in performance (ie say the attacking car needs to be “only” a second a lap faster).

    If a car is actually 2 or 3 seconds faster, then yes it doesn’t need DRS, but it’s not like DRS then ruined an exciting overtake. It would be a simple drive-by anyway.

    1. It also should be said that if passes are happening too easily, then they’ve made the DRS zone (or zones) too long.

      DRS shouldn’t make passing easy – it should just enable a car to make up enough ground to be able to execute a pass at the next corner not just breeze by.

      It’s also a bit rich when the person driving one of the fastest cars by a large margin says it’s too easy. I bet the midfield runners aren’t finding it all that easy.

      1. Well he seems to say is that its too easy as a device method, and frankly would fans disagree? Most fans I think we can safely assume hate DRS because it feel a like an easy overtake button.

      2. @dbradock If that were true we would see cars driving past each other and then return again the next lap. Like it was in the days of slip streaming battles.

        It’s also a bit rich when the person driving one of the fastest cars by a large margin says it’s too easy. I bet the midfield runners aren’t finding it all that easy.

        Sigh. This is exactly what DRS is NOT about.

        It’s not about just randomly driving past other cars. That is NEVER what it does. You don’t see Ferrari’s simply driving past a Mercedes (when it’s on the same level tyres) or vice versa.

        DRS is about bringing down the necessary speed delta to be able to think of an overtake. So they don’t need to be 2 to 3 seconds faster, but being that “only” 1 or 1.5 seconds a lap faster can lead to an overtake.

        1. DRS is about giving faster cars an unfair advantage when trying to regain their ‘rightful’ position. How did they get ‘out of position’ in the first place? Whether it was an error or some performance problem, they shouldn’t be given a simple free pass back to the front and that is what DRS ensures.

          DRS assumes that a faster car somehow has the right to be in front of a slower car. You find yourself behind a slower car? You must have made some kind of error to get there and there should be a price for that error. DRS negates that price.

          DRS amplifies the already major performance advantage of the bigger teams. This is both the reason it should be banned but also the reason it probably never will be.

        2. Sorry @f1osaurus – I probably didn’t express that quite right.

          I agree that DRS shouldn’t allow passing to be easy, and in the case of closely matched cars it shouldn’t be and generally isn’t.

          What it should have done is make some allowance to get closer and into the slipstream of the car in front after a few laps providing the driver behind has the skills to keep his car within range, so we do get to see some of the classic overtakes that we’ve seen from the likes of Ricciardo, Verstappen, etc but it should never be a case of being within 1 sec means you just blast past with no effort.

          What I was suggesting about Hamilton’s car is that his speed differential in most cases (except for Ferrari ) has been so great for so long that DRS really wasn’t necessary for him to blast past cars on straights anyway so he was hardly in a position to comment.

          To me DRS is not really the answer, but has been of use. It’s been poorly managed at some races where the zones have led to easy overtakes even for midfield cars which is not the fault of DRS ( or movable wing technology which should have been on the table ages ago) but more the fault of those that set the zones.

          I’d prefer to see it go/replaced, but only if there still remains a possibility for cars to chase down the car in front if the driver/car is good enough, not just because there’s a massively long DRS zone.

    2. I think the point you are overlooking is that what DRS does is ‘allow’ an overtake between two cars which are reasonably closely matched in performance. The drivers should have to earn it, not have a device allow the pass. The boring and unremarkable pass that is instantly forgotten. Nobody ever relied on passes between cars with 2 or 3 seconds difference for their excitement anyway. It should be and needs to be about cars closely matched and drivers making the difference, not a device due to cars too clean air dependent.

      1. @robbie Difference is that without DRS, the delta required to overtake a car is over 2 seconds at most tracks, so the only kind of overtakes you would ever see would be someone on new tyres vs someone on old tyres. DRS is a necessary evil currently, let’s just hope it can be demoted to the status of “unnecessary” soon enough.

        1. @mashiat It’s not entirely about new vs old tires as we do see non-drs passes as well. Unfortunately even non-drs passes may have been influenced by a driver having been able to drs his way around the track to get to the point of a non-drs pass, but…

          As to it being a ‘necessary’ evil, ya I get your point but it is only due to F1’s foolish addiction to aero and in most recent years the power that BE gave to the top 4 teams to continue on this path, that it is ‘necessary’ or I would rather say, one option.

          Of course I fully agree with you and fully believe DRS will not be necessary in 2021.

        2. Yeah let’s hope so.

      2. @robbie I didn’t overlook anything. Like Mashiat also explained, DRS simple brings down how much faster the attacking car needs to be to have any hope of even attacking the car in front.

        What you still overlook is that in those cases it still is the driver who makes the difference. Not when a car is 3 seconds faster, but it does when its “only” one second faster.

        1. @f1osaurus Then perhaps explain why drs passes are immediately forgotten and will never go down in the annals of F1 history as any kind of driver moment or feat that we will discuss/debate for decades to come. DRS aids the driver so I fail to see how it is still up to the driver. The driver has been handed a 15-20 kph advantage and left the leading driver defenceless, no matter how much you want to glorify it as a device that closes the cars up.

          1. @robbie I already did. You just don’t understand.

            I know you have trouble understanding most F1 concepts, but try this simple exercise:

            How come during a race there are trains of cars? Why aren’t there constant position changes when cars are following each other? DRS gives such a huge advantage that the drivers should simply drive past another car right? What is it that that doesn’t happen when two cars with similar performance are behind each other (the car behind being slightly faster).

            For reference we actually had that when slip streaming was a big thing. Drivers would swap position every lap.

            And besides there are plenty of overtakes that are talked about for just as much as overtakes without DRS. Not when Hamilton drives past a HAAS car perhaps. But Leclerc and Verstapen duking it out, or Hamilton getting past a spinning Vettel and such are very popular.

          2. @f1osaurus I think the problem is you don’t know how to make a coherent argument, and when you are challenged on your point you turn to insults and condescension. You seem to be fixated on one aspect of drs, that being to close up cars, glorifying it like it is a perfect tool for doing that and no different than drafting, which is ridiculous, and then ignoring what LH is talking about here which is easy passes half way down a straight, claiming what he is saying has nothing to do with drs. Yeah what does he know anyway. All drs does is close cars up and anything else it does is just like slipstreaming, so what’s LH’s (and everyone else’s) problem right?

            If you want to ignore the ridiculous speed advantages and the defencelessness the lead driver is in in many of the drs influenced moves, knock yourself out. You go ahead and keep thinking all it does is close cars up. Yeah that’s why it is soooo popular and why LH is talking about how he loves it and hopes they never change the cars away from this awesome gadget.

            The good news is, once they no longer have drs you’ll be able to see the difference between genuine passes not influenced by a gadget, and actual passes where the lead driver has a chance to defend. Then you’ll get it. You’ll wake up to the fact that far more often than just closing cars up, it made for forgettable free passes. You’ll miss that, but don’t worry, you’ll see a better way soon enough. You’ll have much more than just LH passing a spinning SV to rejoice over. You just can’t see it as perhaps you have only watched F1 in the drs era and therefore feel the need to defend it as you do. But just as with so many drs passes, you’re defenceless on this one. You’ll find most will side with what LH is saying over you from your armchair. But go ahead, condescend away. You’re the expert.

          3. @robbie No really the problem is that you never understand. It’s not just with me.

            You don’t take the time to read and understand something properly, then you knee jerk into some nonsensical reply to something stupid you imagine might have been said. All just such an utter waste of time.

            Besides, you also don’t want understand. For instance what DRS does. There is no “defenseless” person. Yet again you pretend that that is the case. You just want to act dumb and therefore pretend that you are brilliant in some ridiculously sad way.

            Just try to do the exercise. Do you see two cars changing position over and over because of the overwhelming advantage given by DRS? No you do not! It’s really not that difficult to comprehend. IF YOU WOULD ONLY TRY.

          4. @f1osaurus As I said if you want to take what LH said about drs easy passes, which obviously means the one being passed was defenceless, and claim there are no defenceless passes with drs, that’s your illusion. I’m with the majority that wished drs to be gone as the fact that it is a gadget means there is no justifying it such as you want to about closing up two cars. I couldn’t care less about what you are hanging onto with desperation as some good thing, when it is a fake gadget and there is nothing memorable about it’s use. That drs closes up two cars and often results in an easy pass just takes integrity away from the sport. You want to defend it just for the aspect of it closing up cars and then leave it at that and then what? Do you close your eyes when buddy is being passed like he’s standing still because drs buddy has 15-20 kph on him? I think you must. That sometimes drs doesn’t allow that at some tracks with some drs zones, and instead there is the usual procession between two fairly even cars, does not excite me and suddenly make me think drs is good. That we do not see cars changing position over and over due to drs is no justification for drs and is ridiculous to even bring up as a way of selling it as something virtuous. No matter how you look at it it doesn’t belong in F1.

          5. @robbie Again! Those easy passes are NOT because of DRS. They would clearly be just easy passes without DRS as well.

            The horrible Pirelli tyres are what’s making them defenseless. Those cause 2, 3 and up to 6 second laptime delta’s. Those few meters gained on a straight that just help to close a little up don’t make a driver defenseless. All DRS does is even out the game a little since the following car loses half it’s downforce.

            However, without DRS there would be a lot less great overtakes! While of course the tyre related drive-by’s would still stay. So you’d really only lose out if DRS went away.

            Almost half of the current top 10 overtakes for 2019 are the result of DRS. Including the top overtake of the year from Verstappen on Leclerc in Austria. We would have had none of that battle without DRS.

            That we do not see cars changing position over and over due to drs is no justification for drs and is ridiculous

            No it’s not. What is ridiculous that you pretend (lie) DRS is making drivers defenseless and that it’s giving them a 15-20kph speed difference. It’s really a maximum of 10kph and only for a small fraction of the straight. In the end it’s merely a few meters of closing up.

            If your ridiculous claims actually were true and DRS makes other cars indeed defenseless then these constant overtakes would have to happen. The cars are defenseless right? So how could they defend from a car with DRS? Just like it actually did happen in the slip stream years. Cars would often swap position every lap for several laps due to the massive advantage the slip stream gave.

            If you feel overtaking of the top cars should not be par of F1 then sure DRS should be gone. If you actually like some battles for position in the top ten, then DRS is needed to overcome some of the deficit that a following driver has.

          6. Hard to take you seriously when you call me a liar and then go ahead and claim, like you know all the facts, and like every track and zone and circumstance is the same, only a maximum of 10 kph and only for a small fraction of the straight, exactly the opposite of LH’s comment above and why I have challenged you. Suffice it to say we disagree as you have taken great license to shade the reality of drs by only highlighting certain times and aspects of it’s use to support your point. I’ll take LH’s sentiment, which is that of the majority, over yours, any day. I’ll not be checking back on this topic to respond so if you want the last word, knock yourself out…I won’t see it.

    3. @f1osaurus I’m happy to find someone else who gets it.

  4. Keep Drs however allow drivers to use it to attack and defend, Lose the detection zone & 1 second rule for the driver behind and allow it for anyone in the deployment zones at anytime. Losing drag in the straights and gaining downforce in the the corners improves lap times and if the proposed rule changes in aero to allow closer following works out then why should it matter if they get rid of it completely?

  5. Hello,

    When did you get the opportunity to ask Lewis? Is it an eclusive interview?
    Many thanks

  6. The problem with DRS, that it takes away the chance of holding off a slightly faster car.
    Again a thing thats just increasing the probability of the expected results, just like the rules for increasing durability of major car parts.
    Someone said that the DRS adds something like 20kph advantage. I think it’s at least 20.
    They just arrive and pass. Actually the game is very much about keeping someone outside the DRS window, scheduling the lapping of slow cars well to use every advantage, etc, what is exciting to some extent, but not as exciting as it was before the DRS era.
    Ok, having only 3-4 passes / race can be a bit dull sometimes, but with good aero packages, it can be more, and thats enough i think. A 0:0 at football can be thrilling, then race without too much passes can be too.
    Although as I read the older article from the early DRS era, I felt quite similarly by that time, that Alonso vs Hamilton must have been interesting. How frequently are strategies like that applied? I think it can be good sometimes, but if applied too much, thats exploitable.
    And yes, limiting the duration, of aids like DRS or Push to pass are maybe good, and it would be even better to allow the defender to use it occasionally if he feels like.

    1. Wrong

  7. Just make DRS open to use freely. To gain more speed and gain more control in curves.

  8. Drop DRS and bring back the KERS as it was used in 2009. It was much more fun when there was limited use and we got a visual representation of the driver managing it over one lap. I used to love watching that red bar deplete, and of course a driver could save it up and use it to make a pass. I thought it worked very well and give us an extra level of strategy (something severely lacking in today’s F1)

  9. Paul Bertenshaw
    18th October 2019, 12:37

    Hopefully, the 2021 aero rules which concentrate on the flow under car (ground effect) rather than over it, will negate the need for DRS?

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