Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Imola, 2020

DRS zone extended at Imola for Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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The DRS detection and activation zones at Imola have both been slightly adjusted, to be further around the lap from the start/finish line than at last year’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

There will still only be one zone each for DRS detection and activation, both at the end of a lap but adjusted slightly to allow drivers to open DRS ahead of the finish line.

The DRS detection point has moved back from 40 metres after turn 18, where cars are heading towards the start/finish line, to 20 metres before turn 17. The DRS activation zone has also moved back, shifting from the finish line to 60 metres before turn 19.

Turn 19 being a flat-out kink in the start/finish straight means that cars activating DRS before it will be able to have an advantage earlier on the way through turn one and ahead of the harder braking zone of turns two and three.

Moving the activation zone back extends the DRS zone, hoped to aid overtaking after a relative lack of on-track action during the race held at Imola in 2020, especially in comparison to the race preceding it at Portimao, where DRS played a significant part in driver’s passing each other on the start/finish straight.

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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19 comments on “DRS zone extended at Imola for Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix”

  1. Still, no DRS zone on the back straight despite its length – the slight right curve before Rivazza shouldn’t be a problem with DRS activated alongside another car, especially as it’s slighter than, for example, the right-hand kink on Nurburgring’s back straight.
    I wish FIA would explain the lack of a second zone on this track (and Algarve).
    No need for explaining how they choose every single activation zone, only those that aren’t clear-cut.

    1. In my opinion, there is no DRS zone on the back straight due to the elevation difference and downslope between Variante Alta and Rivazza, maybe it would be thought as too dangerous to open DRS in there.

      But I understand your point and agree your wish about the explanations of DRS zone decisions for every circuits. Always there are not any explanations about the decisions and criteria of DRS zones for the circuits, the criteria are unknown by the fans, and it seems that the DRS zones are decided based on the personal wishes of FIA/F1 commisers, race marshals, and GP organizers.

      Even I can predict the reason of only 1 DRS zones for Imola; I did not understand why was not any DRS zone put on the back straight of Portimao (between T4-T5) like you. And also in my opinion, there should be DRS zones put on the back straight of Suzuka, start-finish straight of Abu Dhabi, and T11-T12 straight of Hungaroring like the back straight of Portimao.

      1. @bengibaris Suzuka’s back straight DRS activated would be unnecessarily risky in an overtaking situation into 130R (as would Spa’s Blanchimont).
        I’m more okay with two zones in Abu Dhabi than one in Imola and Algarve.
        Hungaroring’s T11-T12 straight is very short, so not much time for DRS.
        Re your view as the possible reason for Imola: If that was the case, neither would Portugal’s S/F straight have a zone as it also has elevation difference and a downslope towards the approaching corner.
        Everything would be entirely clear, though, if the DRS zone selection criteria weren’t unknown.

        1. After writing this comment, I realized that Suzuka’s back straight would be too dangerous with the DRS like Blanchimont or Monaco Tunnel. For Hungaroring, the T1-T2 straight is also not long, but if there is a distance limitation for the DRS straights; that would be understandable, too.

          If Sakhir, Albert Park, Mexico, Montreal, RB Ring, Singapore, and Hockenheim has 3 DRS zones; why would not Abu Dhabi have 3 zones? And since it is the rubbish circuit, most of the fans and drivers can be positive about putting extra DRS zone for Abu Dhabi.

          For Imola&Portimao; I am not sure but it seems that Imola’s back straight has more downslope than the Portimao’s S/F straight. But maybe it can be also related to the width of run-off areas. Just, I am trying to predict the reason of these decisions; I would be wrong. It is better for fans to know about the DRS zone selection criteria, it should be the best situation to understand the rationale for these decisions.

  2. I hope they don’t let this make for easy DRS overtaking. I loved last year race due to the difficulty to make an overtake compared to DRS Tilke circuits.

    1. @mmertens This zone extension probably won’t make a difference as staying close behind through Rivazzas will still be difficult.

    2. The main reason this track was so interesting last year was because it was one of the few tracks were DRS wasn’t that powerful, let’s hope they didn’t ruin it for this year

  3. We might not even see whether it makes any difference, due to the weather conditions. At the moment the risk of rain for the race is arorund 70-80% (though things can change) and temperatures are not likely to exceed 15°C.
    Speeking of the weather, I can’t think of a wet or rain-affected race in Imola. That would make the race more unpredictable and could spice up the racing as well (but only if it’s more than a few drops).

    1. @srga91 Rain aside, the weekend for now indeed appears to be abnormally cool, with only 13 and 12 C forecasted as the daytime highs. The highs last year were 19 for QLF and 18 for race day, but Imola (and the Mediterranean zone) usually is at least low-20s in April.

      1. @jerejj
        It depends. Temperatures in April can vary a lot, also in the Mediterranean regions of Europe. You can get anything between sunshine and 30°C to rain and 15°C. But I agree, temperatures this week seem to be unexpectedly low.

    2. @srga91 the answer is that, out of the 28 races held there, 3 have been impacted by wet weather – those would be the 1981, 1991 and 1993 races. 1991 and 1993 both saw the race start with a wet track due to showers shortly before the start time, but both of those races saw the track dry up pretty quickly – only the 1981 race saw wet conditions for the full race distance.

      1. Thanks, anon! Now I know why I don’t remember them, they were a little bit ahead of my time =D

      2. Just looked up the ’81 race and even that dried quite a bit throughout the race it seems. https://youtu.be/1LKQyOXO6hk

      3. I remember Prost went off on the formation lap in ’91. Was a really wet race.

    3. Wet Imola sounds interesting.

  4. I hope one day we will see a headline like: “DRS zones removed; drivers eager to showcase true talent”.

  5. Let’s hope this does not make it so easy that some will overtake when they aren’t trying to.

  6. I think they should consider mandating 2 stops for the super hard to overtake race tracks. Barcelona, Imola, Monaco. Those type of tracks.

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