No changes to three DRS zones at Jeddah for F1’s return with new cars

2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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The FIA has not altered the DRS zones for the second race with Formula 1’s cars designed to its new rules for 2022.

The championship returns to Jeddah Corniche Circuit this weekend for its second race on the Saudi Arabian track, three months on from its first visit.

The FIA has confirmed the same three DRS zones and detection points will be used around the 27-turn course as last year. The first begins at the exit of turn 19, the second is at the entry to turn 25 and the third starts 170 metres after the final corner.

That bend, turn 27, is the only one on the circuit to have been modified since last year. The exit of the corner, where Max Verstappen crashed at the end of qualifying last year, has been slightly widened. However the official length of the circuit remains unchanged at 6.174 kilometres.

The race promoters have made other alterations to the circuit to improve drivers’ sight lines, mostly by reconfiguring barriers.

Last week F1 held the first race for cars designed to rules which were intended to aid overtaking. Drivers gave mixed views on whether DRS had become more or less powerful, and whether it was still needed to facilitate passing.

“You can follow, let’s put it like this, a lot closer than before, and the car is less affected by following another one,” said Esteban Ocon in response to a question from RaceFans. “So that’s going very much in the right direction.

“It still does affect you a little bit but it has reduced the towing effect quite a lot, and the DRS was still powerful, but I didn’t feel as big as the previous years.”

Jeddah Corniche Circuit track map, 2021
Jeddah Corniche Circuit track map

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2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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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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    20 comments on “No changes to three DRS zones at Jeddah for F1’s return with new cars”

    1. The activation zone between 17 & 22 should be longer as beginning halfway through that full-throttle section is ridiculously short & thus useless. Before 18 would be more suitable with detection before 16.

      1. @jerejj Seems like they may as well extend the zones around the entire lap and let a chasing driver effectively use it freely, with the possible exception of T22 on safety grounds to ensure the airflow reattaches. It would be interesting to watch the drivers manage it the whole way round.

    2. Coventry Climax
      23rd March 2022, 15:33

      Be prepared for identical statements on all coming weekends.
      DRS was never going to go, and I seriously doubt it ever will.

      1. @Coventry Climax Too early for such conclusions.

        1. Coventry Climax
          24th March 2022, 9:38

          Sorry @jerejj, but if you read again what I actually said, you’ll see there’s no real conclusion at all. Just a bad premonition.

          1. My hope is that they will examine these cars as they evolve, and examine DRS usage, and make determinations based on that. It is just too early right now. I don’t believe for a second that the majority in F1 love DRS. Brawn certainly doesn’t. And there’s the fact these cars were designed in order to get away from the very reason DRS was brought in with which to begin. If they loved clean air dependent cars that need a gadget wing (and the type of racing that provides) so much, they wouldn’t have changed them to ground effects cars.

            I also hope that one of the reasons DRS was retained on these cars is that it may be used in a different way, for all cars to reduce their drag and save fuel in the designated zones, regardless of proximity to other cars, so, no longer a tool for a trailing car to be advantaged over a leading car.

            1. Coventry Climax
              24th March 2022, 18:39

              “for all cars to reduce their drag and save fuel in the designated zones”

              If fuel saving is the actual goal, why limit that to just the designated zones? That makes zero sense.
              You’re just kidding yourself. Effectively fooled by the narrative they conveniently came up with to explain they were gonna keep DRS all along.

              Brawn may not love DRS (can’t remember him actually saying that btw), but he loves his monthly paycheck more. I distinctly remember the story changing from doing away with DRS to ‘we might still need it a little’. Say this, do that is actually more appropriate to characterise him.

            2. Of course it makes sense unless you think drivers can just do away with that downforce in the turns. As it is, they have their wings closed for the turns and I don’t see that changing no matter what happens with DRS. But sure, if they were to use DRS as a drag reducing fuel saver I suppose they could use it on all straights. As long as it is the same for everyone for every lap.

              As to Brawn and his pay check, I’d suggest we didn’t need to take up a collection for him when he was retired and Liberty hired him out of retirement. Pretty sure there’s a little more to him than that.

    3. Great, now let’s hope nobody will be asked to give their position back.

      1. I don’t think anyone will be asked, at least not by race control. I believe they’ve said it will be up to the competitors to give the place back voluntarily if they need to and, if they don’t when they should have, the stewards will just penalise them.

        1. @drmouse It’s not really an ideal system to leave it as self-policing though. Then the driver can choose whether he rather takes a 5 second penalty or give up the place again. In many cases they will choose to keep track position and gain more than they lose, thus benefiting from an illegal overtake which shouldn’t happen.

          It’s better if race control instructs them to give the place back immediately, then the situation is immediately resolved and the battle can resume, like with Verstappen and Hamilton in Bahrain last year. Of course, I also think they need to tighten up the rules on how you let your rival back past otherwise you get situations like Saudi where neither driver wants to take the lead at an inopportune moment.

          1. @keithedin I agree, giving a place back should usually be binding and issued swiftly to avoid the option of simply taking the time penalty. But I think it would be better if that instruction came from the stewards — let the race director focus on directing the race, and empower the stewards to be the first and final word on matters of fouls and penalties. I think that’s a clearer delineation of roles and avoids the messiness we had last year when Verstappen gave a position back at the race director’s behest and still got a penalty from the stewards. If the call is obvious enough that the race director would be on the radio instructing a team to give a position back, the stewards ought to be able to reach that conclusion just as quickly.

          2. @keithedin

            For one, that’s already the case. See Perez last year (I think): Race control instructed them to give the place back, but RBR decided that a 5s penalty was worth it to keep the position.

            Also, there is nothing to say it must always be a 5s penalty. If the stewards handed out tougher penalties where they thought it appropriate, it makes that judgement much more difficult for the driver/team.

            I think this is a grey area in “penalise the action not the consequences”, TBH. If a driver deliberately leaves the track to gain an advantage, it’s very justified to hand a harsher penalty. The intent is part of the action. But if a driver accidentally leaves the track, gains an advantage, but deliberately refuses to hand the place back…. Well, the original rule which was broken wasn’t intentional, but by refusing to hand it back (whether instructed to or not) they are intentionally gaining the advantage… It’s tricky, but if it’s obvious they are choosing not to hand the place back when they should, I’d call that part of the action, so a harsher penalty to make sure it is not worthwhile is justified IMHO. It’s probably easier to justify if instructed to give the place back, as ignoring the instructions of race control is against the regs itself, but is still justifiable without.

    4. Just here waiting to see who will be the first to blame this on a certain driver

      1. Mazepin!

    5. The exit of the corner, where Max Verstappen crashed at the end of qualifying last year, has been slightly widened.

      The race promoters then went on to describe how it looks like it was widened by blunt force of an F1-shaped wheel.

      1. Aha, that’s a good one.

    6. I feel that porpoising is going to be a even bigger issue for those that haven’t found a fix. Given the amount of time drivers spend on or close to full throttle here, they are going to be porpoising all through the lap. The super high speed direction changes may also be very tricky with a bouncing car.

    7. Disappointing but not surprising.

      I won’t be surprised if they increase the size of the zones given it seems DRS is less powerful on the new cars. Can’t imagine that they’d want overtaking to be done on skill alone.

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