Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Interlagos, 2019

Why stewards didn’t investigate drivers for using DRS under yellow flags

2019 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by and

The FIA stewards decided no investigation was necessary after discovering some drivers activated their Drag Reduction Systems while passing yellow flags during Sunday’s race.

This previously attracted a penalty, but last year the rules interpretation was relaxed. Now drivers are only penalised if they fail to reduce their speed after passing yellow flags, regardless of whether they have DRS activated.

FIA race director Michael Masi confirmed “a couple of them did activate DRS for a relatively short period of time” but the stewards were satisfied no one had failed to reduce their speed.

“The overriding factor with double yellow flags is the requirement to slow and significantly slow,” he said. “That’s what we looked at with all of them and all of them complied with that.”

“So the stewards looked at that and determined that no investigation was necessary,” he added. “The overriding factor of slowing for the double yellows was absolutely complied with.”

Asked whether the rules needed further clarification, Masi said: “It’s one of those things you can’t make a rule to suit every situation.

“It’s the reason why we have stewards to make a determination on things and they said the overriding factor is that they slow, which they all did.”

Don't miss anything new from RaceFans

Follow RaceFans on social media:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season articles

17 comments on “Why stewards didn’t investigate drivers for using DRS under yellow flags”

  1. “Welcome to Whose ̶L̶i̶n̶e̶ F1 is it Anyway, the show where the rules are made up but the points do matter”

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      19th November 2019, 9:55

      The “lines” don’t matter either as the drivers cut corners and ignore them any way half the time :D

    2. Agree that stewarding has not been optimal this season (and late in many critical cases).

      But using DRS under quadruple waved yellow is not prohibited (I think). The rule requires drivers to slow down and be prepared to stop (or somthing like that). If drivers use DRS, go backwards, or hand push the car should not make a difference, @phylyp.
      If the stewards want to disable DRS then they can instruct the teams so.

    3. Yes, slowing down 0.1s is obviously significant slowing in Masi’s book.

      We’ve got ourselves a Whiting here.

  2. GtisBetter (@)
    19th November 2019, 8:54

    Why don’t they just block DRS when yellow flags are out? I actually thought they did.

    1. They used to but I think it’s not possible to deactivate DRS for just one zone.

      1. @bleu

        They used to but I think it’s not possible to deactivate DRS for just one zone.

        Yes that’s correct.

  3. José Lopes da Silva
    19th November 2019, 9:25

    This weekend I learned that Formula 3 also has DRS. Sorry for my ignorance.

    What a nightmare.

    Still, hope is alive for 2021.

  4. Good to get this clarification to make the matter easier to comprehend.

  5. Half the rule book will be ignored at this rate.

  6. This is a common sense ruling that surely no-one can take issue with. DRS doesn’t make you go faster on it’s own – it allows you to go faster if you’re on maximum throttle. But when the drivers are cruising around at reduced speed, it doesn’t really matter if the DRS is open or closed – as long as the speed is acceptable and the car is under control.

    1. DRS is only available if drivers don’t lift off the throttle a certain percent. At Silverstone last year when they had the double section DRS after the corner, drivers could manually disengage DRS and re-deploy as long as they didn’t lift off the throttle. If someone lifted off the throttle for the corner, DRS was unavailable for the remainder of the zone. Hence why Sky F1 mentioned that some drivers adjust their throttle pedal so that even if they lift of psychologically, they adjusted a margin of error in the pedal so that that lift is still full throttle in the engine.

  7. Why doesn’t verifying that the drivers did actually slow significantly count as investigation?
    The poor choice of words invites controversy.

    1. The poor word choice is intentional. They need to leave a bit of room in case Ferrari is the offender. In that case they can say “oh they’re not technically breaking the rule” but then still be able to throw the book at teams they don’t like.

  8. The requirement is that the drivers should be prepared to stop. Braking is less effective if DRS is activated (initially at least).

  9. …some drivers activated their Drag Reduction Systems while passing yellow flags …

    I know this is clutching at straws, but I wondered if activating DRS might be beneficial to a car that has a puncture in a rear tyre, as happened to Vettel, so that the load on the rear tyre is reduced, which might enable the driver to get the car back to the pits without the tyre flailing the car and leaving a trail of debris on the track.

  10. Um, as soon as you lift off to 90% throttle, DRS closes. If the DRS was open during the double yellows, how are they slowing? Even 90% throttle is increasing speed even if not as quickly. If DRS is open, that’s a sign you aren’t slowing.

Comments are closed.