Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

New rules have made DRS more powerful which will aid overtaking – Bottas

2022 F1 season

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Formula 1’s new technical rules have increased the power of the Drag Reduction System, says Valtteri Bottas, who expects it will make overtaking easier.

The series introduced a drastic change to its technical regulations this year aimed at allowing cars to run together more closely. Bottas said some improvement was noticeable in corners, but also that the benefit of following another car on the straight has been reduced.

However he believes another consequence of the changes to this year’s cars is that drivers get a larger increase in straight-line speed from their DRS. Bottas believes this will make up for the reduced slipstream effect on straights that multiple drivers reported during the first test in Barcelona.

Bottas admitted he “didn’t get that much experience” of running close to other cars, having covered the lowest mileage of any race driver in the test. “I didn’t get super-close to other cars,” he said.

“The only thing I could feel was once I was maybe four seconds away, in the previous generation of cars you would already feel a deficit in the corners and you could feel the turbulent air, but in that distance with the new cars it definitely felt like less effect. But that’s pretty much as close as I got.

“I did chat with some other drivers, they say they got close, they said they had less slipstream effect. We’ll see, we’ll find out in Bahrain. But also I think it’s an important point that the DRS effect is bigger this year because of the wider wing so maybe that will compensate the small loss of the slipstream.”

His team mate Guanyu Zhou, who is graduating from Formula 2 this year, hopes the new F1 cars will be able to race as closely as those in the junior series.

“In terms of the car feeling it’s very similar, but it’s a bit easier to follow. Hopefully that [means] we can see more exciting races like we have in Formula 2 that are always entertaining for the fans watching.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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25 comments on “New rules have made DRS more powerful which will aid overtaking – Bottas”

  1. Less drag = more ineffective DRS, so the opposite actually.

    1. I think he’s got more experience with these cars than us, albeit they only did first drives. But maybe he doesn’t have any idea.

      1. @Dex I just pointed out a general fact.

        1. someone or something
          27th February 2022, 14:15

          In a context that makes it exceedingly clear you simply had a major Dunning-Kruger moment.

          1. Us valley dwellers resent that … I think. Well, yes, I am sure, almost.

    2. The movable wing part is as big this year as it was last year, if not bigger. So it produces more drag.

  2. I had hoped the new less aero, more drag would see DRS disappear immediately. There is a risk the group of people wanting F1 to become more entertainment than sport will get addicted to all the overtaking without distinguishing overtaking on merit vs the artificially ‘for the sake of the show’ kind. Worrying stuff.

    1. These regs have less drag but more aero – it’s weird like that. They’re faster down straights.

  3. Unintended consequences. The new rules were suppose to rid us of DRS although SD was talking of repurposing DRS. F1 is addicted to gimmicks. It acts like an alcoholic that has given up Vodka and moved to Gin.

    1. New rules was made so that DRS would no longer be needed but taking it out before the first season was never on the cards.

  4. It makes perfect sense. Less turbulence will improve the ability to follow closer but will also reduce the natural slipstream effect.

    Whilst following another car with the previous generation of cars was terrible, conversely the natural slipstream was as powerful as we’ve ever seen.

    An extra powerful DRS does not excite me at all though…

    1. @aussierod I only hope that if DRS does prove to be too powerful in combination with the cars’ natural ability to follow each other better, that they will be quick to adjust the length and maybe number of DRS zones to compensate. Obviously the ideal would be if they can remove DRS entirely, but I don’t think anyone in the paddock is optimistic that the new regulations will be effective enough to do that (while still allowing the levels of overtaking they are targeting).

  5. Wait until SPA and it will be already like F1 esports, trade of leads every lap because of DRS.

  6. What holds the race director on a race to give command for DRS to stay closed in all the race? is there a rule or anything?

    1. Nobody will know for sure until after a few races how these cars will react. Ideally there won’t be a need for DRS in future but we might have to make do with a less powerful version that gets tested and tweaked to counter the lack of slipstreaming. We all want to see overtaking on track and either way it will be the same for everyone. MotoGP can have bikes trading position at the front on consecutive laps so why can’t F1? I can’t understand why people would rather be purist and watch the hybrid era rubbish where nothing happens. The years up to 2020 were killing the sport.

    2. If the FIA doesn’t define any DRS zones for the weekend, then nobody is allowed to enable it.

  7. As long as you start a race, as has been the case for decades – with the slowest at the back and the quickest at the front – you’re always going to be in a position where overtaking is difficult, if not impossible.

  8. I have a simple solution. Just don’t use it and hope for the best. Isn’t that the case in most sports. Do what you can with the tools you are given and hope for the best.

    1. I think the sprint races would be a good opportunity to try a race without DRS and see what happens.

  9. Maybe it’s more powerful to compensate for the reduction of the slipstream effect? I forget where I saw it but I think it was Leclerc that reported its easier to follow but less slipstream could make overtaking harder.

  10. Unpopular opinion, I’d like to see them try flipping DRS on its head. Instead of being available when within a second of car in front, make it available when Over 2 seconds from the car in front. Could keep the pack closer together.

  11. IfImnotverymuchmistaken
    28th February 2022, 9:50

    DRS as a concept isn’t bad, just it’s implementation. Why not just make it available whenever for everybody?

    We get higher straight line speeds, longer braking zones and both the attacking and defending car are in equal position. And if some drivers feel more confident, and open the DRS earlier than others, let them. We’ll se both more and better overtaking, and more spins when the driver misjudge the situation.

    Win-win as far as I can see.

    1. someone or something
      28th February 2022, 12:14

      Why not just make it available whenever for everybody?

      Because that’d be a terrible idea. DRS trains are a thing, you hardly ever see an overtake between two cars using DRS. Even less so than between two cars NOT using DRS.
      Why? Because DRS (obviously) reduces the leading car’s drag, which results in a weaker slipstream for the following car. And (also obviously) because higher top speeds shorten the time spent on the straights. Not by a lot, but since slipstream overtakes become increasingly likely the longer a car follows another car on a straight, less time spent on a straight means less of a chance of an overtake happening. Which is, quintessentially, a concern for the new, less draggy, generation of F1 cars even before DRS comes into the equation.

      Long story short: Using DRS without limitations is worse than using no DRS at all for more than one reason.

      1. Hopefully the aim is to get rid of DRS entirely, since the cars are no longer going to be clean air dependent. Or if they do keep DRS I hope it is used such that in the 2 or 3 designated DRS zones per venue all drivers can open their wings no matter their proximity to other cars, simply for the sake of fuel saving, as they don’t need downforce on straights anyway.

        To me a DRS train would be the same as a non-DRS train as it means equality between cars, and the hope with these new cars is that there will be no trains because the cars will no longer be hampered in a leading car’s air. It should be moreso about who has the better faster car along with which driver is having the better day with his car/team in terms of actual driving and strategizing etc. And as well less about who is or isn’t struggling just to get tires to work in the first place.

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