Fourth DRS zone added for F1’s return to Albert Park circuit

2022 Australian Grand Prix

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The Australian Grand Prix will be the first to feature four separate DRS zones around the lap this weekend as F1 returns to Albert Park.

The Melbourne circuit has undergone major re-profiling since the last Australian Grand Prix held at the venue in 2019, with a number of corners being made wider and faster in a bid to improve racing.

The Albert Park track map on the official Formula 1 website has been updated to show that the circuit now features four DRS zones to aid overtaking. This will be the first time a grand prix has been held with four separate DRS activation points around the circuit.

As well as the three DRS zones present at the circuit the last time the race was held in 2019 – along the pit straight, on the run to turn three and on the run to turn 11 – a fourth zone will be added on the newly-created straight approaching the fast chicane of turns nine and ten.

Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Albert Park, 2019
Feature: Removal of turn nine chicane to cut F1 lap times by five seconds at Albert Park
There will be two DRS detection points around the circuit. The first just after the re-profiled turn six at the start of sector two, which can be activated before and after the high speed chicane at the start of sector three. The second DRS detection point comes before the turn 13 hairpin just before the final corner and will be activated along the pit straight and after turn two on the run down to turn three.

This weekend will be the first time the Australian Grand Prix has been held since 2019. The 2020 event was cancelled on the morning of Friday practice after McLaren withdrew from the race following two of their team members testing positive for Covid-19 during the early phase of the coronavirus pandemic. The race was set to return to the calendar towards the end of the 2021 season, but was cancelled due to logistical reasons because of the Australian government’s Covid restrictions.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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80 comments on “Fourth DRS zone added for F1’s return to Albert Park circuit”

  1. What a yoke…

    1. Coventry Climax
      4th April 2022, 19:14

      No, come on, it’s a step in the right direction!
      All they have to do now is make the rest of the circuit DRS zone as well, get rid of the ‘within 1 second’ rule, and I’m perfectly happy!

      1. I would be more happy with a maximum activations of say 30 times to make it more challenging.

        1. Coventry Climax
          5th April 2022, 11:49

          Why? If they can all use it, anytime, anyplace, with no ativation or restriction rules?

          1. It was like that in early DRS days during qualifing rounds, wasn’t it?
            Required balls of steel, looked epic.

          2. That would cancel out the effect and make it useless in terms of aiding overtaking. Actually the car in the lead would get more of an advantage because they are not in a slipstream, so it would be even harder to overtake than with no DRS at all. Better in that case to just remove it altogether.

  2. Yay /s

  3. I remember the bad old days in 21 when the best drivers would work out how to put themselves behind a car despite the turbulence, and make an attempted pass with or without DRS.
    Now we have a brave new world where anyone can get up the gearbox of the guy in front and sail past with DRS or the tow.

    1. I feel this. Today i’m embarrassed to follow this sport and my excitement for the weekend is all but gone. I have waited my whole life for them to fix the dirty air problem and they actually manage to pull it off and we get 4 DRS zones? No words…

      1. @racectrl I hear you, but I don’t think they have added this 4th zone after seeing the new cars race, but rather had always planned on this zone with the other changes that have been made to the track. I don’t think this added zone should be taken as F1 being so in love with how DRS is working with these new cars that they want more of it. I’m convinced there will be some tweaking to DRS and it’s usage after they have had several races at several different types of tracks so they have more information to go by in determining what changes to make with DRS.

        1. Well we can only hope that will turn out to be the case Robbie. We’ll see what surfaces over the course of the weekend because i suspect many people working within the sport will be asking questions too. I sincerely hope Ferrari are able to overcome the straight-line deficit to Redbull otherwise they may as well hand out the winners trophy now.

        2. Coventry Climax
          4th April 2022, 19:20

          Dream on, happily. You’ve been doing so for a long, long time already. Waking up appears to not be one of your ‘forte’s’.

          Then ‘I hear you’. As if you’re one to have any influence on it at all. In your dreams probably.

  4. Me wishing for DRS to Disappear and FIA adding a fourth DRS zone, what a s…

  5. Please tell me this was released on April 1st…

    1. Nope – part of the justification for the new layout was to create room for the that fourth zone. Irrespective of whether the new rules were judged a success or not, they were already committing themselves to that decision.

  6. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
    4th April 2022, 15:38

    Alright. by the time we hit the summer break, whole tracks will be DRS zones

    1. @justarandomdutchguy I’m starting to wonder why not…

      1. Always remember: We have limits on DRS use because Mark Webber got shown up by his younger team mate and so he lobbied to declare the use of DRS “dangerous.” (and limit it to places where he felt comfortable enough to use it)

        1. It was always limited in the race. It’s just a shame you can no longer use it whenever and wherever you’d like to in qualifying, which is what got limited

          1. True, though the F-duct, which DRS was meant to replace, didn’t know any limits in qualy or the race.

    2. Coventry Climax
      4th April 2022, 19:25

      Actually, I’ve been saying that for a long time already. Together with getting rid of ALL the usage limitations around it. That would make DRS just another driver tool, like brake bias, or diff settings. Just as it should.
      Not that that will happen though.

      1. Initially it was like that in qualifying, but then concerns were raised around people trying to be too brave and using it in the tunnel at Monaco. I remember a Force India (Sutil?) using it too early as he came out of the last corner at Melbourne and found the inside wall. Soon after that we came up with the ‘only used in permitted zones rule’. I remember Lewis saying he thought it was dangerous.

        1. Coventry Climax
          5th April 2022, 12:02

          Lewis complaining about things being dangerous is default.
          Before Lewis, did anyone ever complain about it being dangerous when, for example, the engines reached a new level of performance?
          If they’d all be allowed to use DRS anytime, anyplace, then it’s just another driver tool / car feature to master. Those unable to get it right must learn or leave F1, just like with ANY other tool/feature of a racing car.
          But I’ll come your way a bit: I’d be happy to see DRS restricted in F2, and have it’s usage free in F1, when you’ve graduated to drive among what’s supposed to be the top level skilled drivers.

          1. Coventry Climax
            5th April 2022, 12:39

            P.S. @bernasaurus: You (also?) miss the point that those cars were dependent on clean air, whereas this season, they supposedly aren’t or at least not to the same degree.
            Not that this matters to my line of thinking, but it does matter to how people feel about the FIA – and the promises they make.

  7. You would have thought a new straight would have been the perfect test of whether the aero changes were going towork without the need for DRS…

    oh well.

  8. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    4th April 2022, 15:45

    I’m not even that against DRS, I think it has its places. Could do with some tweaking, but it’s a decent system that helps on some tracks that need it. This track sometimes could use the assistance. I don’t believe this track needs four of them though. The danger you have of just adding more and more DRS zones is that races and championships are going to be won and lost on who games the DRS detection point best.

    1. Sam (@undercut677)
      4th April 2022, 16:46

      All sports are won by who games the rules better so that, by itself, is not a criticism. The changes this year have moved the needle more towards the skill of the drivers and less to the skill of the engineers while still making design and development of the cars extremely important. I find it hard to complain with the current product on the track.

    2. Coventry Climax
      4th April 2022, 19:36

      “but it’s a decent system that helps on some tracks that need it.”
      Such tracks do not exist, not in F1 nor in any other formulas.
      Any form of ‘push the button to pass’ is inherently fake. Should a circuit deliver downright boring races year after year, then don’t go racing there with that formula or change the track. But even then, such tracks apparently have the accent on decent qualifying. And some drivers will always find a way to pass, which is as it should.

  9. Literally makes no sense. Can we have a couple of races without DRS this season to check how the cars run without it.

    1. I couldn’t agree more! Circuits with long straighta like Monza, Spa, Baku to name a few. Slipstream+DRS effect there would be immense and pure racing will suffer as always! Why not remove the later to test the new regs…?

      1. *straights.
        Btw I reposted my own comment by mistake.

    2. Don’t remember who said it but it was brilliant. We are stuck with those cra ppy sprint races (or qualis or whatever) they at least should use them to try racing without the Dumb no-Racing Sheeet

  10. I thought we weren’t going to need the DRS gimmick with the new car designs?

    Thank goodness we live in the modern era and don’t have to watch drivers trying to think for themselves anymore.

  11. RandomMallard
    4th April 2022, 15:50

    Now that’s just unnecessary

  12. Not what I wanted to hear, but I will leave some leeway for judgement depending on how it works at this track. Particularly I’m interested in what has been said so far about DRS from the drivers and teams which is that it looks like it needs tweaking with these cars, but I’m not sure if that was track specific, and specifically from Leclerc he said that DRS shouldn’t be so powerful that the trailing car blows past the leading car before they have even gotten to the braking point at the end of the DRS straight. As he said, the delta is too big between the two cars involved.

    So if the delta is too big in Australia then I think they really need to start addressing this for future venues as it will have been 3 races in a row in which DRS passes are just too easy and are happening very early in the zones. I do not find myself looking forward to more of Max and Charles (et al) racing up to the DRS line to then slam on their brakes to make sure they’re in second place at the line. As Horner said, if they are doing that then the DRS usage needs to be tweaked.

    1. @robbie Melbourne’s detection point locations don’t give scope for such cat-&-mouse tactics.
      As for overtakes completed by the braking point, MV’s moves on CL into Bahrain T1 were more about ERS than DRS alone, while the effect was slightly lower in Jeddah.
      Most moves didn’t get completed very early into the zones, so only isolated individual cases.
      I doubt delta will be considerable in Melbourne, given what corner types preceded activation zones & full-throttle section lengths besides the one from 6 to 9, but we’ll see.

      1. @jerejj Fair comment. If that is the case then so be it and as you say, we’ll see. It will be a third race for us and F1 to judge what DRS is doing with these new cars, good, bad, or indifferent.

      2. ‘precede’

    2. I agree, first though is the same – not what we want to hear.

      Do we know “who” makes the decisions about the number and scope of the zones – is it the FIA race director/FIA or is it Liberty or is it both working together?

      I’m reluctant to say that Liberty are driving this but I do have concerns that there is this pervasive impression that overtaking is great for the fans and the show when I think most regular fans don’t necessarily see it that way if overtakes are just easy DRS ones.

      Like you say – I’m prepared to give it time but I’m not really liking what we’re currently seeing. Hopefully at some point someone will announce an intention to trial a race or two without DRS, particularly when it was said that DRS was being retained more as a fall back option with the new designs in case the desired outcome of those designs wasn’t as large as hoped. It seems that the desired outcome (i.e. cars being able to follow more closely) has been achieved but there’s been no commentary yet from Ross etc. (as far as I can tell) about reducing/removing the reliance on DRS, so I can only assume they’re still gathering data.

      1. @dbradock FIA is & has always been responsible for DRS matters.

  13. Urgh. I’ve never been DRS’s biggest critic, i fact it is only the implementation I have ever had a problem with: a simple way to reduce drag when the downforce is unneeded is a good idea IMHO, but it’s the way it was used to try to “fix” the dirty air problem rather than addressing the real issues which I hated.

    However, DRS is needed far less with the new cars for that purpose than before. Keeping it as it was, not reducing it, has been bad enough so far this year. It’s discouraged “real” racing which I am certain would have occurred, and been very exciting, without it. But actually adding more is beyond ridiculous!

    1. @drmouse I don’t disagree, and I remain hopeful that they want to see how the cars race at a number of different venues before they make any decisions. I am hopeful that at some point they at least address the delta that Leclerc has spoken of, in that the DRS’ing trailing car is well past the leading car before they have even come to a braking zone. That’s ridiculous.

      I would like to see them try a race without DRS, and I would also like them to address the issue Horner spoke of which is that a sure sign that DRS needs tweaking is when we have two blokes slamming on their brakes to ensure they are in second place at a DRS line. That’s ridiculous.

      I’m taking some comfort in what anon has said which is that this fourth zone in Australia was always planned, so it is not like Liberty looked at how DRS has been so far this season and has decided yeah let’s have more of that. I’m very hopeful and fully expect that they are still evaluating DRS and it’s usage and that it will be tweaked or re-purposed.

      1. @robbie I agree with you. I thought it sensible that they kept DRS in place this season, as there was no guarantee that the new regs would work (or work well enough to remove it). So far, though, we’ve seen no effort to assess how they would work without, nor even to play with the lengths of the zones, and one of the biggest discussion points so far has been about drivers playing games with the DRS zones rather than the effect of the new regs. It is starting to look like the current manglement is quite happy to leave the artificial system in place and ignore the benefits of the new regs entirely.

        The one point of optimism I had coming into this season was that the new regs led to better racing. I don’t believe it has, so far. Sure, we have had some good moments, but they have not been due to cars being able to follow, just the shakeup of the pecking order. DRS has so far, IMHO, denied us seeing actual close racing.

        1. @drmouse I hear you but I have no doubt that they are very much assessing things behind closed doors, and if as you say ‘we’ve seen no effort to assess how they would work without it’ I just think it is too early days for that. I honestly think Liberty/Brawn want to see the teams settle in with these cars and tires…get the steepest part of their learning curve past them, and have them race at several different types of venues while that’s going on, such that when they tweak DRS it will have been from some solid data, not to mention the actual visual optics lol of drivers locking up ahead of a line so as to be in second place for the DRS advantage. Surely that is not something that should be encouraged, and surely that will be part of what instigates change, especially if it keeps happening as they get more used to these cars and as we see them at different venues.

          For me, let’s give them half a season with these drastically different cars, and they’ll all know a ton more than they do now about how these cars race at all the various types of tracks, and by then they’ll know a ton more about their cars too, and then let’s see where it goes with DRS.

          1. @robbie I can see that could be the way they are approaching it, although I disagree that’s the right way to go. I believe the races we have seen so far are evidence enough that DRS, as it is currently being used, is no longer as necessary or even helpful. It’s only my personal opinion, but I believe that now is exactly the right time to start reducing the number and/or length of the zones to see the effect it has. Allowing the teams to “settle in”, as you put it, will be fairly meaningless if they then change a large part of it later, as it will alter some very fundamental aspects of how the car behaves and bring everyone back, if not to square one, close to it.

            We will see how they go, though. I fairly confidently predict that these 4 zones will be far too much and this will be even more ridiculous than the first 2 races, but I could be wrong. We’ll see…

    2. Sam (@undercut677)
      4th April 2022, 17:20

      Doesn’t it encourage “real” racing? People throw this around without defining that it means. Some would say that the only real racing is when cars have identical specs and others that only by letting teams have no design restrictions do you get real pure racing. I really have no idea what it means. There are physical limitations and some advantages that will always be present that will put a leading car and following car on an uneven playing field. I see no reason why we shouldn’t implement certain restrictions or allowances to have more overtaking.

      If by “not real racing” you mean that the trailing car will have an advantage then that is true, but that advantage means nothing if they can’t keep the position. Leclerc and Verstappen have both won a race because they raced better and DRS was a part of that and in no way did it make it less “real.”

      1. Coventry Climax
        5th April 2022, 12:27

        It’s not hard to understand at all: Both racing in spec cars and racing in cars with no design restrictions are racing. Or with horses, karts, motorcycles, hare or snails, for that matter. It’s the Formula and the associated rules that differ.
        Or used to differ, maybe, as F1 is on a sliding path down (certainly not up) towards spec cars.

        What you are trying to do is declare the rules of growing grapes applicable to growing apples, saying they’re both fruit.

        Watch a Caterham race. (Which is really adviseable by the way; spectactular racing!) It’s all about the drivers and their skills. In F1 the race is between designs and teams combined with drivers. The better driver may keep a worse driver, but in a faster car, behind him/her for some time. That aspect is lost with DRS, which takes away an aspect of F1 racing that has -until DRS- always been there. Ergo, no real F1 racing anymore.

        So, choose the Formula that’s your cup of tea, and enjoy that the way it is, instead of trying to change any formula to the way you like it. That’s when you’ll encounter others that do not agree with what you’re tyring to do.

      2. I think what many mean by “real racing” is seeing cars fighting through corners, braking late, pressuring their opponent into making mistakes etc. That doesn’t (often) happen with DRS, as all they do is wait for the DRS zone, ignoring any earlier opportunities, and blast past, normally completing the move before they even touch the brakes (a.k.a. highway passes).

  14. Why does FIA suddenly want to play with safety now?
    Didn’t they learn anything from having an activation zone run through Abbey in 2018 that they removed immediately for the following season?
    Additionally, Suzuka’s & Spa-Francorchamps’ back straights (nor straight preceding Eau Rouge-Raidillon) don’t feature an activation zone for a reason, nor does Monaco’s tunnel section, so what’s different here?
    Zero brake application into T11, so arriving into that corner with DRS activated is asking for trouble since DRS & high-speed corners being a bad mix has been well established ever since 2011.
    Equally risky to Abbey, 130R, Blanchimont, etc., so double standard treatment & also gives even more reason to question not having a zone on Imola’s back straight towards Rivazza.
    I can only hope this unnecessary move won’t backfire, but I can see the zone getting removed for the next season, a la Silverstone’s S/F straight for 2019.

    1. T9, not 11 anymore. Previously the quick left-right combination was still 11-12, so I mixed up corner numbers.

    2. Yep I thought this too. I imagine they’ll be arriving there at higher speed given the the old T9/10 combo is no more.

  15. Having “fixed” the dirty air problem, one would think they would go the other way to see what happens with the revised cars and no DRS. I may be wrong, but I see this as Liberty again leaning more toward entertainment rather than sport. Can’t be long before there is a crowd controlled push to pass button.

    1. @velocityboy As I have surmised elsewhere, I think it is too early days and it will not surprise me at all to see tweaks coming to DRS, but I think F1 just wants to see the teams and drivers settle in with these new cars, and see them race at several different types of tracks so they can really see what DRS is doing in it’s current form with these different cars at enough different tracks such that they will know how to tweak it and/or the zones.

  16. They can trial silly sprint races yet somehow cannot bring themselves to try a single race with no DRS.
    Melbourne would have been ideal, but yet again F1 just makes another seemingly thoughtless change for changes sake.

    1. @Superman Melbourne is hardly ideal for a DRS-free experiment since that circuit has never been overtaking-friendly, but perhaps Red Bull Ring & Interlagos Sprints.

  17. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    4th April 2022, 16:57

    Well having just 2 DRS detection points might either reduce the shenanigans of avoiding to cross the detection line first or drastically increase it.

    Do think it is good that the attacker has 2 consecutive DRS zones based on 1 detection giving him greater chance to overtake and have the overtake stick.

    1. @jelle-van-der-meer Melbourne’s detection point locations don’t really give any scope for such tactics, so I’m sure everything will be fine on this front.

  18. Trying to be positive here: correct me if I’m wrong, but Albert Park has been notoriously bad for overtaking. Passing here requires something special. Especially the run into T1 is too short (both the straight and the braking phase), and with the previous cars it required nailing the first chicane to have any chance of overtaking into T3 (and usually something else, like massive tyre difference). And the back section of the track: no overtaking.

    With the addition of the fourth zone, I’d expect these cars to be able to pass both into T3 and into T13. And if the first two races of the season set the scene, we might see some passing and repassing this weekend: someone passes you into T3? No worries, you can follow through the next few corners, get DRS, gain some slipstream, manage to stay close through the fast chicane, and repass them into T13. Rinse and repeat. Artificial? Maybe. Fun? Sure.

    1. A lot of the issues with overtaking at a large number of venues, including Melbourne, is cars struggling to follow each other. Melbourne’s undergone some changes to make it easier to overtake and now the cars can more easily follow each other it’s made it more possible to do so.
      Having so many DRS zones just makes it silly.

  19. So now the front drivers will spend all race playing the Chuckle Brothers with DRS: “To you! No, to you! No, to you!”

    This is not a good plan.

    1. @grat Not really.

  20. 3 DRS zones was unnecessary even for last year’s cars, this is just beyond stupid.

  21. I am disgusted. Albert Park is such a great track with nice surroundings. But I am really getting disillusioned.

  22. Liberty literally not giving a single F about what the fans want!!

  23. Now we have two places where the driver following by less than a second can pass their opponent in the first activation zone, then use DRS again in the 2nd zone and disappear off ahead, possibly out of range. It denies the other driver a chance to fight back.

    I can’t believe they’re doubling our exposure to DRS’s lamest, most frustrating feature.

    1. @bullfrog T9 has never been an overtaking spot anyway, so I doubt many passes into that corner unless the DRS effect proves considerable enough given the longer full-throttle run towards that corner.

  24. Just get rid of this stupid awful artificial gimmick already.

    The push of a button highway passing it has consistently produced over the past 11 years now are not fun to watch & it’s use has killed my interest in more races than it’s helped. I want to see some real racing, Some real battling that is down to the skill of the drivers racecraft rather than them been able to push a button in an video game style speed boost zone.

    The Dumb Racing System is nothing but quantity over quality & it’s time for it to go!

    But I have zero faith they will ever get rid of it. They just care more about boringly easy push of a button highway position swapping now rather than actual racing that features real organic exciting overtaking!

  25. I’m getting sickened by what these people are doing for the sport. Their PR is good, numbers are good, but the sport itself is dying.

  26. Meh…. what else do you expect from the money grabbing ‘jump the shark’ merchants

  27. Well the early forecast is for rain to arrive around race time so this may well be moot! Seems unnecessary though…

  28. Reverse it – anyone further than 1 second behind can use it to catch up – or use it like indycar push to pass – 120 seconds of open drs for every driver available in the race, spend it when and wherever you’d like

    1. @Matt +1 sec would make DRS pointless.

  29. We now know that the next new track will be all DRS straights connected by 90° sharp slow corners.

  30. They will be flapping their wings than those local seagulls

  31. Easy solution of you don’t like 4, get rid of the zone on the main straight. It’s useless anyway.

    Honestly though, this year is an entirely new experiment with the track mods likely to make it both faster and theoretically support overtaking at turn 3 and 4, like Villeneuve / Hill in 1996 when the cars were small enough to get through the previous narrower iteration of that corner. It’s substantially wider now so coming on the end of DRS between 2 and 3, if that doesn’t create overtaking, it will be very depressing and surprising.

    The flip flop turns at the end of Lakeside back curve/straight are now going to be even more of an overtaking ‘decider’ punch point than 90 degree heavy braking zone would be. Basically that new DRS zone preceding it is going to be a very high speed run with drivers only lightly lifting off, not even breeding to brake, beforehand from as far back as turn 4. They will then have to complete the overtake at the first braking zone after turn 4, the first flip flop turn going left away from the lake, effectively playing ‘chicken’ to squeeze through that single-line turn, on cooler brakes so a big test of not only the driver’s steering and tactical skills, but their ability to brake effectively on cooler brakes without locking up.

    The loser then gets a brief chance to hit back into turn 13. Therefore, unlike most tracks except yabber dabber and Austria, DRS is not a trivial tool too easily allowing the faster driver through without any overtaking it defending skill required. Instead, the ‘victor’ at the first ‘chicken’ turn will have to defend at the only true 90 degree dive-brake overtaking corner on the circuit: 13.

    If there’s a problem, it’s the lack of a third detection point.

    1. @PD The only zone justified for removal is the new one on safety grounds.

  32. Public: “we don’t want DRS.”

    Dominicali: “it’s a massive success. Let’s have it everywhere.”

    FIA: “the public misunderstand DRS.”

  33. The whinging in this thread is pathetic. Don’t like it, then don’t watch, don’t comment, and don’t visit this site to spread your BS.

  34. It seems too soon for them to be admitting that the new rules are a failure, which is what adding an extra DRS zones to circuits is.

    If the new car designs were achieving their stated aims they would be reducing the number of DRS zones or hopefully getting rid of it altogether.

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