Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Imola, 2021

F1 alters configuration of Imola’s DRS zone again

2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Formula 1 has changed the configuration of the single DRS zone at Imola for the third year running since the track returned to the calendar.

The high-speed circuit offers few locations where a DRS zone of significant length could be incorporated safely. It is, therefore, one of a handful of venues on the calendar which has just one DRS zone.

The zone runs from the start/finish line towards the braking zone for Tamburello, which is officially known as turn two. As was the case last year the activation point will be 60 metres before turn 19, the final corner on the track.

However the detection point for the corner has been moved. It was previously situated 20 metres before Rivazza 1 (turn 17) but is now some 385 metres before the corner instead. The new detection point is therefore around halfway between the Variante Alta chicane and Rivazza 1.

The DRS zone was extended following F1’s return to the track in 2020. The activation point was originally situated at the finishing line, after turn 19, and the detection point was first positioned 40 metres after turn 18.

Last year race winner Max Verstappen said F1 should add a second DRS zone on the run from Variante Alta to Rivazza 1. “That would help a lot because then you get a bit closer for the last two corners,” he said. “Because you lose so much time in the last two corners that even when you put the DRS a bit earlier, you will not arrive in time for turn one.”

Imola circuit map, 2021
Imola circuit map, 2021

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2022 Emilia-Romagna 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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28 comments on “F1 alters configuration of Imola’s DRS zone again”

  1. I still share Max’s view. The short back straight into Rivazza 1 should indeed have an activation since arriving into that corner with DRS activated isn’t risky.
    Surprising how FIA is willing to put a zone on Silverstone’s S/F straight & Melbourne’s new longest full-throttle section in the first place but not even try Imola’s back straight, even though that section is perfectly safe for DRS use.

    1. @jerejj
      I think the FIA is afraid of the right-hand kink just before Rivazza 1, because it’s pretty narrow down there in the braking zone. If you have drivers defending their position in the braking zone, who often move under braking (like Stroll or KMag), then this is too dangerous for a DRS zone. There doesn’t even need to be any contact, just the car behind getting an oversteer moment with the DRS open could be enough for the driver to lose the rear and end up in the barriers of Rivazza 1. There isn’t even that much gravel there to properly decelerate the cars.
      Unfortunately it seems impossible to straighten out the kink, because there is a road or a path crossing the circuit right on the apex and there are houses close by.
      The only way I can see the FIA setting a DRS zone before Rivazza 1, is to start it on the exit of Variante Alta and end it right before the apex of the right-hand kink.

      1. @srga91 That slight kink isn’t really any riskier than Nurburgring’s back straight’s kink, though, & even less so than Abbey or Melbourne’s renumbered T9.
        Nevertheless, I see what you mean about possibly losing the rear with DRS activated, especially in a side-by-side situation, but unfortunately, ending a zone before the kink is off since an automatic deactivation requires brake application.

        1. @jerejj It’s not so much about the angle of the kink or risk a driver could lose the car going through it as it is indeed not so different from the turn 12 kink at the Nurburgring as well as other similar sweepers that have a DRS zone through them.

          The difference here is how narrow the circuit is as well as how close to the corner/braking zone it is as well as how the track falls away through it.

          It’s just felt that the nature of the track there would make it harder to judge what the car you are racing with is doing which with a larger closing speed with DRS makes misunderstandings more likely & more dangerous.

          If the closing rate isn’t too great (Like with a normal slipstream) or if you can get alongside before the kink it’s no problem. But if you have significant closing speeds which you usually do with DRS then through a part of track like that it just creates a lot of potential for misunderstandings to occur with no time or room for either driver to avoid it.

    2. @jerejj if the whole point of creating the current cars, as was repeatedly insisted, about making it easier for the cars to follow each other, then the reason given for having that DRS zone – that it’s supposed to be too difficult to follow another car through those two corners – should have already been negated by those changes. Your argument is therefore obsolete, because the problem you’re complaining about has already been solved by other means.

  2. Drs detection point in the middle of the straight then.

    So if Max or Charles start playing the DRS cat and mouse game, they would have to brake in the middle of the straight. Sounds purposefully dangerous. Something Masi would have done.

    They should have listened to Max. His suggestion seems better.

    1. Isn’t the idea that no driver will brake or lift off there? I think they’re trying to avoid the issues from playing cat and mouse when the detection point is just before a corner.

    2. If a car brakes on a (semi) straight, the other car would fly by at full speed and be too far ahead for the DRS to make a comeback possible I think. So maybe it’s a good way of eliminating the Drs-chicken-game.

      1. Hamilton disagrees – or at least he did at Saudi Arabia last year.

    3. @sumedhvidwans The cat-&-mouse game didn’t occur with the previous location either, but having a detection point halfway through a straight is nevertheless better than shortly before a corner.

  3. No amount of DRS (or lack thereof) can fix Imola. It is, and has been at least since 1995, a fundamentally broken track for F1 racing.

    1. Honestly I find DRS too powerful and don’t like that kind of overtakes, imola, hungary etc. are good tracks to have, where you actually have a bit of a chance to defend, see what alonso did last year vs hamilton.

  4. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have it right after turn 18 heading out on the main straight? You’d get rid of the “cat and mouse” game (which admittedly was thrilling) and nobody could overtake after DRS detection but before DRS activation, thus stopping them from defending with DRS.

    1. @chrischrill Unnecessarily close to activation zone starting point.
      Having detection point halfway through a straight definitely eliminates such tactics, not that anything such happened with the previous detection location anyway.

  5. Why not have a DRS zone on the straight between Variante Alta and Rivazza and move the detection point for S/F straight to the exit of turn 18?

    1. @Axel Detection point past the final corner would be unnecessary close to activation point, but I agree on having a zone on the back straight.

  6. The only DRS zone needed (if any) is on the run down to Rivazza. Leave the main straight for goodness sake. I don’t want to watch motorway style passes!!!

    1. @cduk_mugello Such passes haven’t happened on the main straight anyway. Mostly only on Spa’s Kemmel straight.

  7. How about a wild and crazy idea …. take the DRS out all together.??
    I know that some would feel like being naked in public, but trust me, you can and will get used to it.

    1. Or, as they all have it, let them use it whenever they want.
      It takes out the artificial advantage given to some drivers, and adds a bit of challenge to driving these cars.

    2. @rekibsn Too soon for that.

    3. Of course, there had to be at least one yoker coming out suggesting that removing DRS from a track unsuitable for racing is going to magically improve things.

  8. Why not set a DRS zone which goes from the exit of Variante Alta to slightly before the apex of the right-hand kink on the run down to Rivazza 1 or another one between the exit of Acque Minerali and Variante Alta?!
    Anything else wouldn’t be safe enough, I think. The last thing you wanna see, is drivers losing the rear in the braking zone of Rivazza 1, resulting in a massive shunt.

    1. @srga91 Acque Minerali-Variante Alta interval straight is too short for an activation zone.

    2. @srga91 Problem with having the DRS zone end before or at the kink is that DRS doesn’t close automatically until the driver lifts off the throttle or hits the brakes so it would be reliant on drivers closing it manually.

      And while they can manually close DRS expecting them to do so just creates potential problems & controversies that probably aren’t worth it.

  9. Simple. Get rid of DRS and Sprint races, and we can spend less time fiddling and explaining things to people.

    1. @vjanik Funny you should raise that as my daughters boyfriend has started watching F1 with her a bit over the past year & he was saying that having to look at gaps at certain parts of the tracks so see if some cars could get “a pretty artificial and unfair speed advantage” (His words) to create overtaking that is easier in pre-determined parts of the circuit was something he has a new fan had a difficult time understanding or following.

      He did also get a bit confused by the sprint format & said that as a new fan it’s difficult to understand why there are different formats for some races or why the starting order for the race is determined by another race on those weekends.

      1. Your daughter’s boyfriend sounds like a perceptive guy!

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