Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020

Second DRS zone added at Algarve circuit

2021 F1 Season

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A second DRS zone has been added to Autodromo do Algarve for this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix.

The length of the previous zone on the pit straight has also been reduced.

At last year’s Portuguese Grand Prix, F1’s first race at the venue near Portimao, a single DRS zone was used. The detection point was placed 65 metres after turn 14 and drivers could open DRS 125 metres after turn 15, the final corner, as they headed up the pit straight.

That zone has been reconfigured for this year’s race. The detection now lies 65 metres after the start of turn 15, as cars accelerate onto the straight, and the length of the zone has been cut by 120 metres.

Algarve International Circuit, Portugal, 2020
Algarve International Circuit, Portugal, 2020
A second DRS zone has been added at the other end of the circuit, going onto the shorter back straight. The detection point is 35 metres before turn four and drivers can activate DRS 180 metres after the same corner.

The DRS zone had a significant effect on overtaking at last year’s event. Adding a second zone could therefore make overtaking easier, while also leading to a quicker lap times in qualifying when drivers have free use of DRS.

F1’s visit to the track last year came shortly after it had been resurfaced. Six months on, uncertainty about grip and tyre durability should be less of a concern this weekend.

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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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14 comments on “Second DRS zone added at Algarve circuit”

  1. Rarely do I praise what they are doing with DRS, but after watching the highlights from last year again it’s pleasing to see they are reducing the zone on the main straight. Of course, it would be better with no DRS at all on that straight, but at least they are willing to reduce the zones – just watch Hamilton breeze past Bottas last year to see why it’s necessary.

    1. They keep messing with the distance. I don’t get the criteria, Imola was a joke. Someone can benefit with these changes.
      I wonder if anybody is going to pronounce Portimão right this time around.

      1. @peartree How was Imola a joke? Overtaking into Tamburello 1 still wasn’t a given. I don’t see how some could benefit from changing a DRS zone length, shortening, or extending.

        1. @jerejj open your eyes then. some cars can’t overtake even with the drs while some can easily overtake with drs. If the drs is too big anyone can overtake but if it is on the small side only some will benefit from it.

  2. Reducing the main zone is a positive but I don’t see the need to add the 2nd as we did see a couple good overtakes into T5 last year without it.

    They don’t need to have a DRS zone on every viable straight or before every realistic overtaking opportunity. Yes fine doing so virtually guarantee’s a lot of passing but it also often rob’s us of seeing some actual racing (Which is what i’m more interested in) where the overtaking is as a result of driver skill rather than a driver pressing a button when he hears a beep after crossing a line that signals the start of the pre-defined passing zone.

    I just can’t stand the thing, I find no excitement or value in any of the passing it produces & I cannot wait for the day it’s finally taken off the cars completely so we don’t have to worry that they may turn it on if we go a few laps without an overtake happening.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. Not only did we see ‘DRS-free’ overtakes into T5, but also fights that went on a couple of corners further.
      DRS just kills all the racing! As a fan, I want to see overtakes, not motorway-style passes! As you say, there is no joy in seeing a car pass another, because the driver simply pressed a button.
      We can only hope the days of DRS are numbered soon.

    2. @stefmeister @srga91
      The second straight is short (500+ meters, similar to Montmelo’s T9-T10 straight), so DRS probably won’t make a difference in overtaking anyway, but at least allows to get closer.

      1. Yeah, I guess that one is to help keep cars being able to follow close enough to keep the fight going and give several laps where they might go for overtakes on the main straight, as @jerejj mentions.

  3. Excellent choice of picture, Kimi. He as well as Norris, finished just out of the points in Portimao last year IIRC. Fingers crossed for both and Max to have a good race.

    1. No comment on Mercedes rocket ship or Hamilton? A glitch in the matrix maybe?

      1. Stay glued JohnH, …. :))

  4. The second straight should’ve had an activation zone last time already, but better later than never.
    I don’t think overtaking into the hairpin will necessarily improve, though, given the length. Montmelo’s second-longest straight rarely features passing despite DRS, so most likely the same outcome.
    I doubt even more so about lap times. Track surface and associated grip levels will probably impact lap times, if anything, compared to last time.

  5. Nice to see a reduction in DRS for the first time since…?? I’d have cut it by 220m. Let’s see how it goes.

  6. Even without that 2nd DRS Zone last year there was excellent wheel to wheel racing end of turn 5.

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