Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Albert Park, 2022

New DRS zone which FIA removed was “much safer than Jeddah” – Verstappen

2022 Australian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen criticised the FIA’s decision to remove the new DRS zone from the Albert Park circuit on safety grounds.

A new, fourth DRS zone was added to the remodelled track for the first time this weekend on the approach to turn nine. However it was removed following Friday practice by FIA Formula 1 race director Niels Wittich, who said the change had been made “for safety reasons”.

Verstappen said he disagreed with the change, claiming the original track layout was no more dangerous than at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit which F1 raced at two weeks ago.

“Of course, with taking away one DRS zone, it’s going to be harder [to pass],” he said.

“I don’t really understand why they took it away, because it was much safer than what we do in Jeddah, for example. So it’s a bit of a mystery to me why that happened.”

He suggested the change was made because one of Red Bull’s rivals objected to it.

“There was only one team who complained about it and it got removed this morning,” he said. “So I don’t really understand because for me, it was way easier than doing it in, for example, in Jeddah because there was way more corners.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Australian Grand Prix qualifying in pictures
“For me there was never any issue with driving there with the DRS open. You have to ask the FIA why they took it away. It’s a shame because it would have helped the racing.”

Charles Leclerc said the extra DRS zone had aggravated the ‘porpoising’ Ferrari have suffered during the race weekend.

“I haven’t spoken about it yesterday or at the drivers’ briefing,” he said. “On our side with the heavy bouncing that we have with a DRS it was quite tricky sometimes. But with or without it’s not a big difference for us.”

The change to the zone was announced shortly before the start of final practice. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff revealed he was unaware of it until the session had begun.

“I found out about it in the session,” he said. “The guys knew, the engineers knew it. I don’t know why it was changed and it made life difficult for everybody. But it is what it is.”

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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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8 comments on “New DRS zone which FIA removed was “much safer than Jeddah” – Verstappen”

  1. Who went to the FIA to get it removed?

    1. Alonso and Alpine did the trick. Initiated in the drivers meeting and then voted by teams. Mclaren was happy with it also. Removal of this DRS zone benefits cars with no porpoising.

    2. Alpine did and apparently profited from it.

      1. Thanks, @silfen and AlexS! 👍

      2. Actually makes a lot of sense in bahrain testing they found they could negate porpoising with a shallow rear wing, also their car is low drag. I thought the fia had stopped catering to the highest bidder. The changes to the track are a bust in my view I much prefered tge way the track wasvespecially the removed chicane that was a real time gainer, also the increased speeds over blind corners has now become a problem on this track. Jeddah should have never been approved nor these changes at Albert Park. New fia new race direction is not interested in correcting their own flaws. Max is right Jeddah was more dangerous and that was okay lets assume race dorection is now valuing safety more then why are we racing here, the new layout is more dangerous there are sections of barrier that were removed at the last minute. What is new fia doing?

    3. Alpine if what Marko’s Red Bull said to German Sky TV is correct – reported on GPblog

  2. How? The following corners in Jeddah aren’t high-speed featuring mere lifting.
    Melbourne’s continued full-throttle section should’ve never got a zone in the first place.

  3. Who writes the titles for this website these days 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️

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