(L to R): Sergio Perez, Red Bull; Lando Norris, McLaren; Imola, 2022

DRS and new F1 car rules made overtaking “pretty easy” in sprint race – drivers

2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Formula 1 drivers said the combination of the sport’s new rules for the 2022 season and the Drag Reduction System made overtaking easier than usual at Imola, a track where passing has often been difficult.

Carlos Sainz Jnr, who rose six places to finish fourth in Saturday’s 21-lap opening race, said passing had been “pretty easy”.

“I must say these cars are making a huge difference to make the overtaking possible,” the Ferrari driver remarked. “So from here, another test that, I would praise Formula 1 for the changes that they’ve done with these cars.”

Sergio Perez, who finished one place ahead of Sainz after moving up four positions, said drivers “were able to follow closer” thanks to the new cars.

“I think with the older generation of cars you could not follow, and to reach the tyre deg and the delta to overtake was just too long so nothing was happening.”

Sixth-placed Daniel Ricciardo also found passing easier than expected. “There was probably more overtakes than I thought,” he said. “This is normally a tricky one in terms of circuits we come to..

Some of the moves which were made were potentially too easy, he admitted, though Ricciardo said: “I can’t say I don’t like it.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Imola, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Emilia-Romagna sprint race in pictures
“Obviously, when the car makes it really easy, okay, it’s nicer when it happens in a braking zone. But at least there were some overtakes.

“I think naturally the quicker cars ended up coming through. Whether it’s DRS or not, I still feel that we’re quick enough to find a way, somehow.

“So I think generally I’m happy with the racing. Having a little bit more overtaking and wheel-to-wheel and being able to follow is typically a bit better so I’m happy with where it’s at.”

However other drivers, such as Fernando Alonso, said they only lost places, to quicker cars they had no chance to keep behind. Ricciardo’s team mate Lando Norris echoed that view. “I just got overtaken,” he said. “I didn’t overtake anyone.”

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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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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15 comments on “DRS and new F1 car rules made overtaking “pretty easy” in sprint race – drivers”

  1. I think the sprint race proved it’s time to either get rid of, or (a probably more realistic option) decrease the power of DRS.

    Had we had DRS in 2005, the now classic Alonso defense against Schumacher would’ve been over in 3 laps.

    1. I think we can say the new formula is working, the cars can follow very closely, so there really is no reason to keep this artificial advantage. Time to get rid of DRS.

      1. Think reducing its power is the better option, then if it looks like it still gives too easy passes, could look into removing it, I feel like at some tracks it might be good to have at least at a 50% effectiveness.

  2. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
    24th April 2022, 8:20

    The problem with playing around with the power (and placement of DRS) is it’s easy to get wrong.

    My preference would be to get rid of DRS all together, but its now become a tool in F1’s locker. Maybe there’s no need to un-invent it, just refine it further.

    DRS trains seem worse to me this year. I may be wrong.


    Is it easier to overtake when both cars have DRS or neither car has DRS?

    Is there less of a tow from a car using DRS?

    Maybe we should limit the number of DRS uses to say 1 in every 3 laps?

    Would this break up those DRS trains?

    1. Answers:
      It’s easier to overtake when neither car has DRS, compared to when both have it.
      DRS reduces drag, therefore reducing the tow.
      Maybe. They certainly need a way to alter DRS’ effectiveness regardless of how often it’s available.
      Not necessarily. They could all still synchronise their use of it, as all the teams will know who is using it and when.

  3. Was there any doubt? Last year, Hamilton had no issues recovering from P7 to P2 in the last laps of the race. There is a long straight that makes overtaking easy with DRS.
    The solution would be to shorten the drs activation zone

  4. Let’s decrease the length of the DRS zone by 5 percent with each subsequent race, so 5 percent at the next race, 10 percent the one after, 15 percent after that. This would allow us to see if next year we should get rid of at (my strong desire) or if a shorter length means it is not overpowered. Plus as the season continues this would gradually stop it ruining close fighting.

    1. But likely make races more processional…

      I assume that’s actually what you want though, right?

    2. I like this idea actually, 5% is a very gradual decrease, should be pretty easy to see what is the sweet spot which makes drs helpful for passing without making it motorway passes.

  5. RocketTankski
    24th April 2022, 9:05

    “lost places, to quicker cars.”
    That’s not proper racing! We want cars held up unfairly due to dirty air and comedy tyres.

    1. The problem is they are not overtaking because they are faster. They are overtaking because the rules allow them to reduce their drag along the straight. The best overtake was Bottas on Alonso because both had DRS. Bottas made a good exit from the last turn while Alonso made a bad one. With no DRS advantage they ran side by side along the whole straight with Bottas completing the move on the brakes. That was real racing in the DRS train. This gives an indication of what racing would look like without DRS – though without DRS the cars would take longer to complete the straights making overtaking marginally more achievable.

      DRS in this race was more powerful than a blue flag for a lapped car. DRS should help a driver get alongside at the end of the straight if they have made a good exit from the preceding turn, not clearly ahead before the braking zone after an average exit onto the straight and being 0.6 seconds behind at the start of the straight. It was pretty good in Melbourne but not at Imola.

      1. True, forgot about that, that was a great move, reminds me of one of the overtakes by verstappen in the brazil 2016 recovery, it rained all race, so there was no drs, it was probably on perez, they were alongside for a few corners.

  6. It kind of ruined the sprint for me. There was a number of points where cars were passed way before the braking zone, which genuinely gives them no chance to defend. Sure you need to set up the move but the actual overtake doesn’t take as much skill as it should do.
    The other issue is it’s hurting the midfield battles. If you get into a situation where a car has poor pace but strong straight line speed they can protect against DRS. Where the cars can now follow each other, everyone behind gets within one second. By all having DRS they all hit the top speeds of their car quicker so there is actually less chance for overtakes, so you just end up with trains of cars

  7. Idea to make DRS better now that cars can follow closer and improve racing in DRS trains:

    You only get DRS if you are 1 seconds behind the car in front AND (are closer than you were compared to that DRS activation point on the previous lap OR have been overtaken on the previous kap).

    What this means is:

    – The driver ahead benefits from a successful defence.
    – The gaming of DRS activation ends (although a more strategic form may emerge)
    – In a DRS train different cars get DRS at different times as they fight to take tenths and hundreds out of each other
    – Drivers can still fight back if overtaken

    1. I like the fighting back aspect, just like I liked the comebacks leclerc did on verstappen in the first couple of races.

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