Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Zandvoort, 2021

F1 drivers cautious over Zandvoort’s DRS zone extension, which F2 and F3 won’t use

2022 Dutch Grand Prix

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Formula 1’s experiment with allowing DRS to be used through Zandvoort’s banked final corner has become one of the biggest question marks of the Dutch Grand Prix weekend as drivers speculate on its feasibility.

The activation point for the track’s second DRS zone is now 40 metres after turn 13, having previously been located 30m after Luyendijk, the 14th and final corner of the lap. Its detection point has also moved from 15m before turn 13 (Kumho) to 20m after turn 12.

This will give drivers the opportunity to enter the final corner with the rear wing open, reducing drag and therefore increasing speed as the cars then head onto the pit straight. However the loss of downforce at the rear of the car will also make them more unstable through the corner, meaning drivers could either forgo using DRS until after the corner or choose not to take it flat-out.

“I’m going to let someone try it first,” said McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, aware of the risk of slamming into the outside barriers if opening DRS causes too great a loss of downforce.

“In a way I hope it’s easy because then it means it’s usable, and then we will obviously gain more. So I hope it’s totally fine. But until we do it, we don’t know. I hope it’s fine for racing purposes.”

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez added: “Certainly going there will be interesting for the first time. These cars, they lose less downforce when you’re following. Racing was difficult last year so maybe that’s something that can help this year.”

Only F1 will use the extended DRS zone. The supporting Formula 2 and Formula 3 championships, which both also have DRS, will use the zone in the same form as in 2021, when only F3 was on the support bill.

But Carlin Formula 2 driver and Red Bull reserve Liam Lawson believes the final corner should be “quite easy” flat and suggested F2 could also use the longer DRS zone for their races.

“It will be exciting no doubt from inside the car, and walking it earlier today it’s not until you actually stand on the track and realise how much banking there is,” he said.

F3 drivers were less convinced their cars have enough downforce to repeatedly take the corner flat-out, particularly with DRS open. Alpine junior Victor Martins said drivers in the series would need to watch out for “the wind, [as] we will see how it will be strong and how you will be gaining with the DRS.”

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...
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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18 comments on “F1 drivers cautious over Zandvoort’s DRS zone extension, which F2 and F3 won’t use”

  1. One of the interesting things about the F-duct that inspired DRS was that teams could develop them and drivers could decide when to use them. DRS has lazily been put into restricted zones, which are usually placed on the longest straight of the track, taking all the risk and skill out of using it.

    If F1 needs to keep DRS to make up for the deficiencies of its aerodynamic overhaul, at least adding corners into the DRS zones gives drivers and teams an option to influence how strong its effect is.

    1. I’m not sure how long you’ve been following F1, but unlimited DRS is qualifying is precisely what we had in 2011 and 2012. And it had to be removed because it got to the point where drivers were risking too much trying to get that extra tenth, and teams were allocating a lot of resources into DRS development.

      1. As if the drivers weren’t taking as much risk as they can get away with anyway to be as fast as possible? Also there’s a budget cap now the second point is even less of an issue than previously

        1. @mashiat @Oskari @MichaelN
          Limiting DRS use to designated activation zones in all sessions from 2013 was indeed justified, given the unnecessary danger element involved.

          1. Danger? Go watch tiddlywinks.

    2. Don’t forget Silverstone 2019, when DRS was allowed on the new pit straight into turn 1, until some (slower) cars couldn’t do it and flew off the track.
      DRS immediately removed for the rest of the weekend. No drivers or teams making choices about how to use it, just simply banned for everyone.

      This is exactly how F1 works in the modern era.

      1. @S The S/F straight zone that was used in 2018 didn’t get removed during the weekend, but for the following weekend.

        1. Yes, it was 2018 – regardless, they took away the opportunity for drivers and teams to determine for themselves how much risk they were prepared to take.

          When you consider all the risks MotoGP riders embrace every time they start a race, you can’t help but look at F1 and surmise that the team’s accountants and insurers are making the rules. Or someone’s overbearing and over-protective grandmother.
          Most of us take more risks just driving on public roads to go to work or the supermarket every day than F1 drivers take in an entire race weekend.

    3. Don’t know how that would work from a safety point of view. You’d definitely have more crashes. Drivers are always going to try and push the limits available to them. I only see the top teams actually benefitting from this.

      I think a better solution is to reduce the length of the DRS zones and reduce the slot gap in the wing.

  2. Well, I am curious to see the first guys try and go into the runoff. But its good that they are giving it a try, I guess.

    1. Charlie Racing
      2nd September 2022, 6:29

      What runoff? 😂

  3. Fans: “Get rid of DRS!”
    F1: “Extend the DRS zone?”

    1. Fans – “Nooooo! What a way to spoil the sport”
      F1 – “Yayyy.. what a win for the sport!”

  4. I think its an interesting test, as I recall the corner is good for side by side. Who is going to risk the high line? Will the high line be marbles.

    My 2 cents, the cars (Indy or F1) are relatively the same spec, if you don’t have a gimmick like DRS or Push to Pass you will need to only watch qualifying because passing is going to rare.

  5. @blueruck Without artificial gimmicks like DRS overtaking would be harder and we would likely see a bit less of it but I’d argue that the racing would be better as a result.

    We would see more actual racing, Defending, side by side battling and some real overtaking that would actually be exciting to watch and memorable.

    With DRS yes we see tons of passing but a lot of it actually quite dull to watch as its too easy so the racing ends up been less exciting and less memorable.

    Overtaking should be difficult because it should be more about good race craft and driver skill rather than gaps, lines, zones and buttons creating artificial passes that anyone can do.

    It should be about quality rather than quantity and also let’s not forget that less is often more.

    1. One more thing.

      Something else i hate about DRS is how it puts all of the focus on parts of the track. It’s all about the gap at a detection line and where the activation line is and then we’re looking to see a wing flap open on that specific part of the track.

      Without DRS your not focused just one bits of the track and drivers have to think about other parts of the track because more of it is in play.

      At Imola for instance before DRS was enabled we had drivers looking at overtaking and indeed successfully managing to overtake in different parts of the track and that to me made things far more interesting because we weren’t just focussed on bits of the track that the FIA decide are overtaking zones but the whole track was in play and drivers needed to think about that and we had to pay attention to it. Then as soon as DrS got switched on it was all about just that one straght again.

      Without DRS i feel the racing is more dynamic and drivers have to think moreabout setting up an overtake and trying in different places and that makes the racing more interesting and exciting.

      I think the racing was better before DRS and i think it will be better after it.

      1. Without DRS i feel the racing is more dynamic and drivers have to think moreabout setting up an overtake and trying in different places and that makes the racing more interesting and exciting.

        Indeed, and as various races this year have already demonstrated, some of the best moves were done when DRS wasn’t allowed. Drivers aren’t going to make any clever moves when they know that 20 seconds into the lap they can just fly past with the DRS.

    2. It should be about quality rather than quantity

      You keep saying this, but F1 has rarely had ‘quality’ racing, even before DRS. It’s just simply not designed for it
      And when it does happen it’s usually just a fluke, or a result of some other factors that people argue against (like grid penalties, Safety Cars or a red flag).

      A lot more needs to change in F1 than just DRS to make for (what I would call) ‘quality’ racing.
      It isn’t even specifically DRS that is a problem, as I’ve seen it work perfectly well in other series (that aren’t F1).

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