Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Monza, 2022

Has closer racing in 2022 shown Formula 1 can live without DRS now?

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The major technical regulations overhaul introduced to Formula 1 for the 2022 season was arguably the biggest the sport has ever seen in a single season.

Above all else, the purpose of the radical regulations changes was to transform the level of wheel-to-wheel racing for fans to enjoy during races by drastically reducing the impact of ‘dirty air’ due to how aerodynamically sensitive previous cars were.

For many years, Formula 1 drivers struggled to get close enough to their rivals to attempt overtakes due to how much downforce they lost close behind other cars. Back in 2011, F1 and the FIA introduced the new Drag Reduction System, designed to try and increase overtaking opportunities by allowing drivers to open up a flap in their rear wings and gain additional speed over the cars ahead – but only in specific zones on the circuit when within a second of the car ahead.

Over the 12 seasons in which DRS has been a part of Formula 1, it has had no shortage of critics. Many consider the system inherently unfair, giving a chasing driver an arbitrary advantage over their rival ahead that they cannot use in defence. With the additional speed afforded by DRS, many overtaking moves made with the device are considered too easy, akin to a car passing another on a motorway, robbing the element of skill from pulling off a successful pass.

With the introduction of F1’s second ground effect era, many DRS critics hopes that the new cars would render the overtaking aid obsolete, an unneeded gimmick as drivers would have more opportunities to pass on track without assistance. Before the start of the season, F1 teams had discussed the option of getting rid of DRS should the new cars prove successful. But there are no signs from the FIA, from Formula 1 or the ten teams that there are plans to phase out the controversial system.

But is it time for the sport to consider disposing of DRS?

For

An essential part of F1’s appeal is that its 20 grand prix drivers, in theory, possess the most elite driving skills of any single-seater drivers on the planet. Not just in their ability to drive the quickest racing cars in the world at speeds no others could match, but in their race craft and ability to race side-by-side with their opponents for every position.

Of all the most iconic overtaking moves in F1 history, hardly any involved a DRS zone, be it Nigel Mansell sweeping past Gerhard Berger at Peraltada in Mexico, Fernando Alonso forcing Michael Schumacher to back out at over 320kph at the 130R at Suzuka, or Mark Webber giving Alonso that same treatment entering Eau Rouge years later. With all drivers agreeing that the 2022 regulations do allow them to follow other cars more closely, there’s not been a better time since DRS was introduced to try and see what racing would be like without the system.

There’s also the rise of so called ‘DRS trains’, which have drawn many complaints this season – packs of cars all within a second of the car ahead where each driver with DRS is behind a rival who also has DRS against the car ahead until the car at the head of the train. This leads to cars falling into packs, spreading out the order and helping to increase gaps through the field. F1 could be better off without this trains dictating the race.

Against

With less than one full season complete with the new regulations, it’s still too early to be calling for the complete abolition of DRS. With so many varied tracks still remaining over the final six rounds, it’s only fair to wait until the end of the year to look back with a season’s worth of data to judge whether DRS enhances or takes away from racing.

There’s also an argument to make that drivers are not over-reliant on DRS and that the system only enhances the racing that already takes place during grands prix. In Max Verstappen’s three wins from the middle of the pack in Budapest, Spa and Monza, the world champion made a total of 26 on-track overtakes on his way to victory. Of those, ten were made while DRS was active, while 15 of them were made without DRS with one pass coming when team mate Sergio Perez let him by.

Activating DRS is also in no way a guaranteed overtake as seen many times in 2022. Consider the countless laps over which Alexander Albon led a train of drivers in Spa to take the final point in tenth, with the likes of Daniel Ricciardo and Lance Stroll unable to find a way past despite many laps spent within DRS range of the Williams. Given that the most talented drivers rarely make mistakes, it is inevitable that, sometimes, drivers will simply be unable to get passed each other – and that is true with or without DRS.

I say

Some lifelong Formula 1 fans may scoff at the suggestion, but the last few years of Formula 1 have possibly seen some of the best racing that the sport may have ever seen.

The frequency of overtaking moves has increased so far in 2022. While the quality of passes is important, it is also true that DRS has played a role in growing that figure. You could argue that some of Verstappen’s passes during his recent climbs up the order has been rendered less impressive due to him able to use flip his rear wing and gain a boost in speed over some of his rivals, but the sheer speed he and has Red Bull have shown in recent rounds suggests that Verstappen was always likely to get by with or without DRS.

DRS trains are also peculiar phenomenon, as they are also just as possible without the special rear wing being used. Anyone who watched the sport in the mid-2000s will recall the dreaded ‘Trulli trains’ that regularly formed on Sundays, which themselves helped to inspire the creation of the system in the first place. If cars get stuck in small packs unable to pass one another as they all have DRS, then logically there’s no reason to think any of them would have any more chance to pass if none of them had access to it.

There’s also the fact that almost all of the on-track battles and memorable overtakes between Verstappen and Charles Leclerc this season – in Bahrain, Jeddah, Miami, the Red Bull Ring and Paul Ricard – all featured passes for the lead or attempted overtakes involving the use of DRS. And yet, all of those moments still rightly rank among the most thrilling of the year.

It’s also wrong to suggest DRS makes overtaking too easy. Just look at the difficulties Carlos Sainz Jnr had to pass Verstappen for the victory in Montreal despite 13 consecutive laps within DRS range of the Red Bull at the end of the race. Albon and Nyck de Vries also held off rivals for far more laps than Verstappen was made to – DRS not rendering their precious points positions indefensible by any means.

Historically, the first year of any new regulations overhaul is its least competitive. That’s been true so far in 2022 with only two teams taking race wins in this new era. While it would certainly be a welcome sight to see F1 ditch DRS due to it being no longer needed, it still feels too early to discard the device completely.

Right now, it feels wise to let these new regulations continue to provide closer racing and allow teams to naturally converge together in performance over time before the sport considers scrapping DRS. Rather than be hasty, allow Ross Brawn’s brave new vision for Formula 1 to evolve organically before making drastic changes to what has been a successful set of regulations so far.



You say

Should F1 do away with DRS now or does it need to be more patient? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Do you agree that F1 should stop using the Drag Reduction System in races?

  • Strongly agree (38%)
  • Slightly agree (22%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (5%)
  • Slightly disagree (22%)
  • Strongly disagree (12%)
  • No opinion (1%)

Total Voters: 144

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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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  • 84 comments on “Has closer racing in 2022 shown Formula 1 can live without DRS now?”

    1. Too powerful DRS zones should be shortened or scrapped. There are tracks where DRS is necessary to have overtakes.

      What I do not really get is why is there DRS in F2 and F3?

      1. I’ve found Spa so dull for the past 10 or so years, mainly due to the fact the DRS is FAR too long on the Kemmel, yet they’ve never fully fixed it.

      2. Why not ration the DRS usage for 1 year to see how it is or it is not helpful?

        Beyond the Qualifying, for all Races including Sprint Races, the number of times the DRS can be used should be 5% of the total Laps in that race, rounded to the nearest large number. For example, if a race as 50 laps, then in the Race a driver can only use the DRS for 3 times.

    2. Fire me is the second, we need at least one more season at least to get rid of it where the teams will exploit more the underground effect.

      1. “For” me

      2. “under-ground effect”???

      3. I also see it that way @bluechris, surely designs will converge, the worst mistakes in their concepts will be ironed out, further weight saved etc to really see the current design mature. Throwing in a change with elimination of DRS in right now wouldn’t be the right time for this step.

        I do think they could have a new look at some of those DRS zones, some of them were too powerful this year.

    3. I’ve always been against DRS so it’s a hard agree from me. But, to compromise, I’d at the very least suggest it not be used at every race. For tracks like Monza and Spa, it is completely unnecessary; if anything, it is a big detriment as it just ensures that all on-track battles are over before they begin. Take this season for example; both races had mixed up grids but were two of the dullest races of the season, because DRS just ensured the usual pecking order could re-emerge at lightning speed.

      1. @jackysteeg
        Spa’s Kemmel straight, yes, but definitely not the case in Monza as DRS has always been relatively ineffective on this track caused by low drag levels.

        1. @jackysteeg @jerejj Over the years I’ve kind of become ambivalent or used to DRS – so much so I don’t even notice it to be honest. I don’t think DRS bothers me – I’d probably keep it, or not, I don’t care either way.

          But the Kemmel straight zone stuck out like a sore thumb to me. It was completely unnecessary, Les Combes has always been a passing opportunity. The run through Eau Rough / Raidillion / Kemmel has always been a massive advantage for the following car. All that happens with DRS is the following car, rather than being able to go down the inside / outside of the other car, was instead 10-20m ahead.

          It got to the stage where I wondered if some drivers would use La Source as a ‘dummy’ and take a wide line and allow the following car through, just so they could follow them through that section and re-pass.

          1. @bernasaurus My sentiment regarding both views is similar.

          2. We saw this in Bahrain and Saudi already. Hopefully next year they will shorten or remove some DRS zones where they are not necessary and overtaking is too easy. Too often it seems like once a driver can get within 0.7 seconds of the driver in front an overtake is guaranteed with no fighting possible.

      2. I agree pretty much. Certainly at Spa it’s not needed and if it’s ineffective at Monza, why have it at all? There may be others.

        I don’t think DRS should be scrapped yet but I definitely think there is a case for FIA to experiment now. Remove some DRS zones maybe or at one or two circuits take it away completely. Just see what happens as there’s nothing much to lose.

      3. José Lopes da Silva
        25th September 2022, 13:50

        Did you watched Monza 1997?

        1. Monza 1997; Yeah, I note that I sort of forgot about it, actively ;)

          But having said that, for several of the commenters here it might be a case of ‘not yet born’, and to be honest the cars of that time, with refueling as the easy strategy choice too, looked pretty good but certainly weren’t the best for overtaking. We tend to recall the good races from the time, not races like that one.

    4. Strongly disagree for now.
      I ultimately started agreeing with both the ‘Against’ & ‘I Say’ portions, hence, the vote choice.

    5. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
      25th September 2022, 8:22

      In regards to getting rid of DRS (and we should if possible) it could be done by limiting its use gradually over time to see the effects.

      Drivers should only be allowed to use it a limited number of times. Reducing this amount bit by bit.

      1. @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk I agree with you on getting rid of DRS by phasing out gradually over time.

    6. DRS was originally introduced in order to aid overtaking, and was designed as a temporary fix for the turbulent air issue that makes it so difficult for the cars to get close enough to those in front to make an overtake. Although DRS was intended to be powerful enough to get the driver behind alongside the driver in front, but force them to still get the move done in the braking zone, it has rarely worked like that and usually has caused overtakes to be too easy as the driver behind just caught up and sailed past on the straight, or if they couldn’t do it would drop away in the next few laps due to overheating from following another car too closely.

      Whilst I believe that, in the last decade, DRS has been absolutely necessary to aid the excitement of Formula 1, particularly between 2017 and 2021, because otherwise the dirty air effect would just lead to no battling or overtaking at all and many processional races, I think the new cars for 2022 have been shown to be a considerable improvement in this area over the old cars, as they can really follow closely through the corners, and can then power past on the straight with DRS more easily than before. Many fans dislike the system because it creates ‘artificial racing,’ and I agree that this is something that should be avoided and thus only used when absolutely necessary, with a vision to be eliminated in the future. And I believe the 2022 cars are good enough that the time has now come to scrap DRS for 2023.

      It cannot be scrapped right now because the cars have been built to run with DRS so it probably would lead to races being too processional this year, and would also be too big a change to be introduced mid-season and could give unfair advantages to some teams over others, but if it was announced today that cars would not be allowed to use DRS in 2023, it would give the teams an entire year to make adjustments to their cars so that they could overtake without DRS, as well as a few minor improvements to the regulations to aid overtaking without it, perhaps to do with altering the rear wings to increase the slipstream effect (which is similar to DRS but less powerful and also is an inherent feature of physics rather than an artificial button, and also reduces as soon as the car behind pulls out rather than them keeping it to the DRS line), that would probably be enough for the 2023 cars to be able to produce exciting racing without DRS.

      Despite these changes, there is no doubt that there would be less overtaking in Formula 1 next year if DRS was scrapped, but I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing. Firstly, we saw in Imola when DRS took a long time to activate that drivers were looking for different places to make an overtake instead of just waiting for the main straight and DRS, and as a result we got more exciting and skilful overtakes than usual. It is also worth noting that Imola has always been renowned for being a difficult track to overtake on, and yet we still got quite a few overtakes before DRS was activated. While there would be fewer overtakes without DRS, there would probably be more fantastic ones, and these are worth far more than easy DRS passes on the straights.

      Secondly, scrapping DRS would make it easier for the car in front to defend, and often a great defence can be as exciting as an overtake, and certainly more exciting than an easy overtake. One of the most famous Formula 1 races of all time is the 1981 Spanish GP, where Gilles Villeneuve held off a long train of faster cars for many laps to win the race. With DRS, they would have driven past him immediately, and with no DRS, we could see battles where the car behind is slightly faster but unable to overtake due to the lack of DRS, and thanks to the new cars being better at following the battle could last many laps, and may eventually get past or may be stuck for the rest of the race, or have to try another pitstop. This was slightly evidenced in Spain as Verstappen’s DRS wasn’t working properly and George Russell defended exceptionally well against him for quite a few laps.

      I think these battles would be far more exciting to watch than the car behind going past easily on the straight with DRS immediately and then disappearing up the road. For a more recent example, Hungary 2021 is one which happens very rarely because it required Hamilton to be significantly faster than Alonso, enough that he could catch back up without overheating, and Alonso to be fully determined to use everything to defend, and also a good enough driver to do so. With no DRS and less turbulent air, this could happen far more often. The Pierre Gasly and Lewis Hamilton battle in Imola was effectively an example of this too, but where the overtake didn’t happen, as both drivers had DRS due to Gasly being close to Albon, so cancelled each other out.

      And as well as these two things making the races more exciting, they would also massively increase the amount of skill required to win in Formula 1. While raw speed is the most important skill needed to be the best F1 driver, race-craft should also be important and currently, DRS makes it less important than usual as any driver can overtake any driver by opening the rear wing on the longest straight and blasting past. By scrapping DRS, it would require real skill to make any overtake, and would also be possible for slower drivers to defend, so someone like Alonso, Verstappen or Hamilton would have more of an advantage because they would be able to win these kind of battles due to better race-craft being more important. It could also lead to instances where a two-stop strategy is faster than a one-stop but only if the driver can make the overtakes quickly enough and strategists would have to gamble on whether their driver was good enough at overtaking. This happens already, of course, but would be more common without DRS. An interesting fact is that Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso are the only current drivers who have raced in Formula 1 without DRS.

      I think all these factors make it very clear that racing without DRS is far better than racing with it, but the big enemy of Formula 1 is the effect of turbulent air, and the question is whether these aforementioned battles would be able to happen with the turbulent air slowing the car behind down. It may be that the effect of turbulent air would still be too much that these battles couldn’t happen and DRS is required to keep us with a lesser version of them, in which case F1 should still be looking to improve the cars sufficiently to reduce this effect to the point that DRS can be scrapped in the future, but I think, on the evidence of the first sixteen races, the current cars are possibly already good enough and 2023 is the year to finally scrap DRS.

      It is also worth noting the longer we keep it, the harder it will become to get rid of DRS because all the drivers and teams will be so used to it. I think that, at the very least, DRS should be removed on half the tracks, the ones where it is less important, for 2023, with the view of getting rid of them on all the tracks with a few more adjustments to the cars to make them easier to overtake.

      1. I agree (with the bit that I did read)

      2. @f1frog Overall, good points, but I’d like to point out that your claim about DRS ‘usually’ causing easy passes has been the opposite, i.e., rare as such passes or easy-looking passes have mostly got limited to Kemmel straight.
        However, I’m sure scrapping DRS altogether is the ultimate plan over time by perhaps phasing out little by little, reducing use at places, etc.

      3. José Lopes da Silva
        25th September 2022, 13:57

        I can clearly recall Damon Hill complaining that he could not follow Gerhard Berger in Hockenheim 1996 so he could not get past; even more remote; Hakkinen saying that following Alesi in Estoril 1993 was quite hard.

    7. DRS merely decreases the pace advantage needed to successfully overtake a slower competitor.

      Why would you ever want to increase that? What’s so great about allowing slower drivers and cars to stay ahead of faster drivers and cars thanks to the peculiarities of the Formula 1 rules and regulations and the circuits they race on?

      1. The thing that’s great about that is the same reason the race gives points and qualifying doesn’t. It’s about more than just the optimal theoretical performance. If a fast car is behind a slow car, something led to that situation; a bungled strategy, a mistake, poor qualifying, a penalty, etc. DRS allows an easy fix, which leads to boring races where everyone is in their “proper” place by the half way mark. Without DRS, or with Indycar’s time limited push to pass boost, there is much more strategy and racecraft involved.

        When Verstappen won from 10th and 14th, that sounded interesting, but it was actually rather dull because nobody bothered defending their position. And why would they, the DRS makes defending pointless.

      2. @proesterchen because others don’t seem to have a problem with the concept that drivers in a slower car still have the right to compete for a better position with somebody in a faster car, and that they can show skill in being able to maximise the limited advantages that they might have at their disposal to overcome the odds?

        1. Would have been nice if you’d actually read what I wrote.

          DRS doesn’t remove the ability for a slower driver to keep a quicker driver behind, it just moves the window of performance difference where that is effectively possible.

          Somehow, critics of DRS seem to believe that drivers that are significantly slower per lap than their competitors have earned the right not to be overtaken thanks to how the Formula 1 rules are written and Formula 1 cars perform as a result.

          With DRS, you merely have to be slower, rather than significantly slower, to be in the window to fight the overtake.

          Quite frankly, I find this whole arguing in support of slower drivers line of reasoning tedious. These drivers should work on improving themselves and their cars.

          1. If you’re faster than the car in front, @proesterchen, then you will, by definition, overtake them.

            The fact that you would theoretically be faster than the car in front in clear air is irrelevant. You’re not in clear air, and you have no pre-ordained right to be so. These drivers should work on improving their ability to race in traffic.

            1. So your great argument boils down to boldly denying reality.

              Have fun with that.

    8. BLS (@brightlampshade)
      25th September 2022, 8:49

      I’d like to see its use changed to a push to pass option. Allow drivers x amount of seconds use per race.

      If they dropped it outright I’d be worried they’d see the result as a failure and bring it back. I feel it needs to be phased out rather than a hard drop.

      1. @brightlampshade Push-to-pass style/x sec amount per race a la WSR 3.5 would be decently okay, but generally, phasing out over time towards ultimate abolishment would be good, & I assume this is indeed the intention.

    9. We need DRS, even with ground effect cars. This season it has worked well, which is expected as the FIA learns about what work where with the data accumulated over the years. It has given the cars an opportunity to get close without making it too easy.
      Racing has been entertaining this season as it was last year, F1 is in good shape. No need for change on that front in my opinion. I for one am very happy.

      1. @pmccarthy_is_a_legend, Same, as things have generally been good racing & DRS-wise, so not much point in changing for the sake of changing.

    10. If you got rid of the DRS 99% of races with no pit stops would be a huge procession. The current cars don’t disturb the air as much by by the same amount they don’t provide the same ability to slipstream as there is a much smaller wake for following car to benefit.

      It needs fine tuned at certain GPs and the problem comes down to cars. The article sights Verstappen passing in spa and Hungary but he has a car 0.7-1.4 seconds a lap quicker at points during these gps and one of the fastest cars in a straight line. Flip side Merc struggle to pass at Dutch GP within 0.6 seconds behind Ferrari onto main straight with drs. By flip side RBR could pass from 0.9 seconds back with little stress

      Drs trains start with 1 car being unable to pass a car which is faster in a straight line, then using drs every lap to keep other cars behind. A better rule would be to limit drs use numbers so there is a more tactical element.

      The article fails by using the fastest car on most tracks and a car which is also the fastest in a straight line as example of why drs isn’t needed. Flip side Ferrari chasing RBR in canada again within 0.5 seconds couldn’t get close.

    11. The question itself is misleading IMHO. The real question is whether it is OK to allow DRS to be used automatically, instead of strategically. iRacing has a wonderful concept that could easily be adopted in F1: give each driver a limited number of DRS’s for each race, to be used either for attack or defence – the rest will sort itself out.

    12. To whose standards? To racefans F1 can always live without drs. To Liberty probably not.

    13. So many other things need to change in F1.
      Removing DRS, by itself, does not lead directly to a superior product. Not even close.

      Right now, F1 can’t do without it.
      And if they did eliminate it for next year, all the teams would flip out and cry about having to make a new car from the ground up because DRS is a fundamental element in how they design it and the compromises they make.

      1. all the teams would flip out and cry

        Wouldn’t that be fun and enough reason to do it immediately?

      2. Nonsense, none of the teams would ‘flip out’. They’d probably be relieved their car was more consistent and stable without needing to account for the flappy wing.

        DRS now only rewards poor drivers with an easy pass. Good drivers can defend for 90% of the lap only to be overtaken. Racing skill is basically gone while DRS remains.

        1. It’s completely backwards to claim that the slower, about to be overtaken driver is “good” while the faster, about to overtake driver is “poor.”

          1. Not really. My point is the following driver can be the poorer driver, by not needing any racecraft other than following close enough to press a button for an easy overtake. The leading driver can defend for most of the lap only to be overtaken with no defense against DRS.

            Get rid of DRS and drivers would once again actually have to create opportunities to overtake, wearing down and forcing competitors into mistakes.

            We’ll never have that racing back as long as drivers can rely on lazily pressing a button.

    14. It’s a difficult one… F1 insists on racing in bad circuits and at times, DRS is a necessity that actually enables good racing. On other tracks, it destroys it by making it too easy.

      They also need to change the rules with DRS. As soon as you are in front of the car that activated your DRS, it should deactivate immediately. You shouldn’t ever get DRS to drive away from a car you have just overtaken as that makes no sense. Canada is an example where you overtake down the back straight and then get DRS again on the pit straight to create a gap…

      They should also go back to changing the DRS zones around like they used to instead of just using the same setup as last year. Maybe try and use DRS more into turns where passing is tough instead of using it on the best overtaking spot on the track…

      1. @petebaldwin The issue with deactivation once fully past the driver ahead is that automatic deactivation requires brake application, so easier said than done.
        Perhaps wireless deactivation in such situations might work, but I don’t know how.

        1. @jerejj – As you say, it may not be possible to do it immediately but it should certainly apply for re-activating your DRS. Where they have one detection zone for two DRS straights (eg Canada), you shouldn’t be able to activate DRS if you are already in front of the relevant car.

    15. I’d just try it one year without DRS (I don’t even mind it if they trial it for the rest of the season).

      Yes, maybe overtaking on track becomes a bit too difficult, but then teams should work on their strategy to progress. On those tracks it would be helpful to reduce the time lost in the pit (can they shorten the length of the speed limit area during the race?).

      1. @jff Interlagos Sprint would be a good session for a DRS-free experiment.

        1. @jerejj That’d almost be setting the experiment up to fail. Basically every car in a sprint is on the same compound and starts on new tyres. That takes away one of, if not the, biggest differentiators in race pace. Add to that a much smaller incentive to take risks, and the conclusions some would draw would be along the lines of ‘Boring sprint proves DRS still required’.

          1. @MichaelN Admittedly, I agree, even if I intend that a shorter race-like session on a generally racing & overtaking-friendly circuit would be a good & better choice for such an experiment than an actual race regardless of specific-circuit racing quality.
            Nevertheless, I agree with you on the failing risk, given Sprint-specific aspects such as most drivers using the same compound & entirely fresh or only slightly used, automatically minimizing the pace differentiation effect.

    16. How about tweaking the concept? When you pull alongside your opponent, then DRS is deactivated automatically

      1. @matthijs Easier said than done. See my reply above for an explanation.

    17. I would not mind DRS if it was not typically placed on the long straights. Use it to open up new corners for overtaking. If it allows one car to pass another before both start braking for the corner then it is being misused, whereas if DRS simply means both cars are roughly side by side when they start braking then that seems fine to me.

    18. I wouldn’t abolish DRS all together, but the system is in need of reform. It’s too blunt of an instrument in its current form. Formula One doesn’t seem to account for the nuances of tracks when it comes to assigning DRS zones. As pointed out already, the Kemmel straight at Spa would produce overtaking without DRS and my sense is that the Red Bull Ring would too without its three zones. The sport should assess whether a straight on a circuit needs a DRS zone rather than automatically slapping one on.

      In the years preceding the introduction of DRS, you really got a sense of who the great overtakers were. Now, the overspeed is so great at times, that anyone can pull a pass without much difficulty. Isn’t a major part of Formula 1 about determining who the best drivers are? That isn’t to say that we haven’t seen great DRS assisted overtakes, but there is something a bit less memorable about them in my view.

      I think if all involved want to keep the system for the long term, they could resort to a push to pass style system used in Indycar, where a driver gets only a limited number of uses of DRS per race. Rather than being the blunt instrument it currently is, it could become a tactical tool, used to overtake, defend, set the fastest lap, push on an out/in lap before/after the pitstops.

    19. Cars are too big (particularly on some circuits) to get rid of it completely but as a start I’d like to see it reduced by 50% effectiveness.

      1. Yes, that’s the first thing to try.

    20. You could have asked me this in 2011 and my answer would have been the same. Strongly agree. The art of defensive driving largely died due to DRS. Overtaking for overtaking’s sake has never appealed to me. Drivers really having to work for passes and the anticipation of a potential pass is what makes great racing. I can’t really think of a single pass made with DRS that was particularly exciting. I can think of plenty without it that were though.

      1. A very good point. It’s a really tricky balance though between allowing there to be a proper battle and allowing a slower car to block a whole string of cars.

        DRS in it’s current form is probably not the best answer but we probably need time for the new rules to bed down before making radical changes.

      2. Good point and on top off that I think the top teams benefit the most from DRS when they start from the back of the grid. DRS makes adefensive driving against a faster car useless while fe. it was great to watch Alesi defend against Senna in USA 1990

      3. 100% agree and this has been my position since it’s introduction. It’s the build up to the overtake that is exciting, not just the overtake itself. Hakkinen v Schumacher at Spa would have meant far less if it weren’t for the half dozen attempts by Hakkinen earlier in the race.

    21. A reluctant strongly disagree.

      There are a small handful of examples where DRS isn’t necessary, but on the vast majority of circuits DRS (or a big tyre advantage) is needed for anything remotely resembling ‘racing’ to happen. And by ‘racing’ I mean cars circulating with some possibility of one being able to make a safe and realistic attempt to overtake the other one.

      Never liked DRS, but I’d rather have slightly fake racing than dreary, 30-lap processions.

      I think the biggest issue with DRS is that it doesn’t help everyone equally because the cars and engines are not equal. It’s often overpowered on certain cars (the 14-15 Mercedes engined cars, then the Ferraris with their special engine, now the Red Bull this year), and passing incidents involving dominant cars/engines are often held up as examples of ‘look, we don’t need DRS’. But for the average car on the grid, I do still think it’s needed.

    22. Keeping DRS for even one race this year shows the various powers that be have no faith in neither their own rulemakers, nor the current regulations.

      All these debates are fruitless however; whole swathes of “new generation” fans have flocked to F1 in the years since its inception, and as has been shown previously when it comes to eyes-on numbers both the FIA and Liberty are more than willing to crowbar anything in as a reason for having more viewers, on the proviso that it’s something they themselves have invented.

      The very fact there was ever the intention to keep DRS even for this season alone across a huge regulation shift shows there is no intent whatsoever to remove it at any point.

      IMO it should have been scrapped with the 2017 rule changes, a change brought about to make the cars faster and frankly less weirdly disproportionate. A good time for a clean break from the later Ecclestone era gimmicks that wasn’t fully embraced.

      As things stand, as others have said DRS is either far too effective or not effective at all at certain tracks, so why not remove it in these races if indeed it is only an aid of sorts and not just a crutch for “the show”? I suspect we will never hear anything like the truth on this subject.

    23. Should never have existed. Just another chance to give everyone a prize, like in American kindergarten!

    24. There has long been an obsession both from fans and those inside F1 about the frequency of overtakes. But I feel the quality of overtaking is more important. Too often now a car just breezes by another, the other car barely defending because they know there is no point. (Norris is particular example of this, any time one of the top 3 teams comes behind him, he basically just waves them through)

      I would much rather have less overtakes if it meant that those memorable battles between Leclerc and Verstappen earlier in the season lasted longer than a lap or two. If it wasnt just a foregone conclusion that the car behind would just breeze by on the next DRS zone.

      If DRS is to stay then it needs to be open to all to use with skill, both in offense and defence, instead of just a free overtake button.

    25. I think young viewers have never experienced the thrill of a real overtake. It is an experience akin to watching boxing or a really really important football final or the last lap of an motogp race. Sporting wise there is no other thrill like it.

      1. As evidenced today by the ELMS race at Spa-Francorchamps, which saw a last lap – heck, last corner – pass for the (sub)class win in LMP2 ProAm. That was a proper, long battle – with a great racing result.

        It probably won’t be talked about much because, aside from it being one of the lower classes, it happened in the ELMS and it just doesn’t have that big of an audience. That’s one of the challenges F1 has; it’s ridiculously more popular than other racing series – by magnitudes – but it often seems as though the people in charge don’t actually understand why.

    26. I’m against removing it now altogether, for the same reasons described in the article.
      But it is true that DRS in its current implementation is unfair and it’s the main issue.

      But I don’t know why they don’t try various ideas that have already been largely discussed:
      – Remove or adapt zones where it is too powerful
      – Try races without it, maybe even sprint races
      – Disallow DRS in the first half of the race
      – Alter the rule so that it works like a push to pass, with only X times allowed per car (the most fair compromise imo)

      There are also other things that could be tried
      – Improve track layouts to provide different racing lines and overtaking opportunities
      – Making the cars harder to drive so that drivers are not racing inch-perfect for 50+ laps
      – Sprinklers (/s)

      1. Making the cars harder to drive so that drivers are not racing inch-perfect for 50+ laps

        I wonder how the drivers feel about this point. Not so much purposefully making it harder, but the fact that F1 cars are so much slower in the races due to poor tyres and high fuel loads, and how that changes their handling and the drivers’ required effort.

        For example, at Monza, the last in qualifying set a 1:23.005 and the fastest lap in the race was a 1:24.030. At Zandvoort, 1:13.353 and 1:13.652. At Spa-Francorchamps, 1:47.866 and 1:49.354. At the Hungaroring, 1:19.570 and 1:21.386. At Paul Ricard, 1:33.794 and 1:35.781. And so on.

        Driving high fuel cars on older tyres no doubt presents its own set of challenges, but I wonder to which degree drivers feel that the cars – in race trim – are currently too slow. Or rather, are driven too far within their own limits.

        1. Not having DRS in the race and not having full ERS also explain some of the difference, as well as tire management. It is sad that these cars are so fast over one lap, yet so slow in the race. It is, however, not all bad as different levels of tire management may actually induce overtaking.

    27. Couldn’t F1 just change the size of the gap to something smaller so the effect isn’t so great?

    28. DRS has taken away the thrill of a faster car behind a skilled driver in a slower car.
      It’s a cheat button.
      I’d much sooner like to watch two skilled drivers, one defending furiously and the other trying different approaches, different parts of track to overtake, than just waiting for the straight, pressing a button and sailing past.
      When I see a driver in 5th not even trying to defend from a RB or a Ferrari because “we’re not racing Ver/Lec/Sai/Per” it saddens me.
      If not for DRS, a Norris or an Alonso would have a very good incentive to defend as much as possible, and not just move aside.
      Also, I think the teams would have to compromise their setup, and try different strategies, especially when a top team would start from the back because of engine or other penalty.

      1. Absolutely, was good without drs when they tried different spots.

    29. I hate DRS, but with it and the new cars they’ve reached about the 80’s ease of passing unless you were behind Rene Arnoux. It was pretty easy if you were quicker. You could argue it was too easy, but the end result is that it allows for some great battles once in awhile versus never. I guess now it is a taste thing. I hate the artificiality of DRS, but it kind of makes the results in the end how they should be in my opinion. I would like to see 6 or 8 races next season without DRS.

    30. I would love to see DRS scrapped, but you only have to look back to the Spanish GP and Max couldn’t get past George because his DRS was broke. And that was despite having a much faster package.

      1. But thinking about it a bit more, maybe thats a good thing. As others have said defensive driving is largely dead now because of DRS and there are some epic defensive drives from the past that wouldn’t be possible in the DRS era. And the fight between Max and George was pretty spicy even if Max couldn’t get by now I come to think about it.

        1. Yes, was great racing!

      2. And that is EXACTLY what motor racing is supposed to be like.

        1. Spot on!

          However, Liberty and CVC before them have little interest in actual motor racing. Spectacle and hero myths are what they’re pedaling – for greater shareholder enrichment.

    31. Strongly agree, but it’s got nothing to do with the regulation change.
      DRS should never have been introduced in the first place.

    32. I think they should use 1 or 2 races as a test, with no DRS in the Race.

    33. I don’t understand the argument of a ‘faster’ car being behind a ‘slower’ car. Up to that moment, the car behind has been slower, for whatever REASON, otherwise he wouldn’t be behind the other car.

      In order to overtake, you need to be faster, more awake (or less asleep, remember Trulli?) more clever, more bold (balled?), better at forcing the driver in front into making mistakes, better at creating opportunities, better at using opportunities, have a better car, a superior team strategy or more reliability, or any combination of these.
      If you can’t overtake, there’s a REASON for it, namely you apparently lack one or more of these things, and it is thus only right that you’re still behind the other car.

      The capitalised REASON’s, above, are generally known as the core values of motor racing.

      DRS should never have been there in the very first place. It is a travesty, a cheat option, a fake feature that blindly hacks into that core of motorsports, making the sports itself a travesty.

      It truly saddens me to see one of racefans(?) authors in favor of it as well.
      And it truly saddens me to see so many replies in favor of DRS.

      1. Spot on.

        This year in particular there’s been some great overtakes during periods where DRS was disabled. Once enabled again, things degenerated into easy passes and DRS trains.

        Please F1 – stop it, or at least trial having some races without it so we can see some real racing.

    34. DRS is no longer needed I think. These cars can follow quite easily nowadays, so with DRS a faster car is guaranteed to pass a slower car, which isn’t too exciting. Without DRS the on-track battles will be more exciting to watch and the actual overtakes will be more satisfying. It may lead to less overtaking, but on the other hand we may get more unpredictable results when the top teams are no longer guaranteed to finish in the top 6 no matter what. So, please ditch DRS.

    35. I think they should trial its removal at some of the circuits with easier passing chances in 2023 with a view to increasing that number in 2024. I think just removing it for the season straight away is a mistake.

    36. People will be moaning once again when lack of overtakes, DRS can be powerful sometimes but useless sometimes. We can reduce the number of DRS zones to 1 to make it less gimmicky but without it the massive delta the cars chasing needs to pass would simply mean overtaking on through strategies and less passes on track.

    37. Get rid of it. “Didn’t Race,Sadly” overtakes on an over-long zone like Kemmel, where the guy in front can’t even defend, aren’t even interesting to watch. As a fan I just feel manipulated and cheated, like when the field’s closed up by a Showbiz Car.

      I can’t think of a solution to the trains, so why not get rid of the problem? These cars seem better than before at following each other. Wasn’t it great to watch Sainz attacking on all parts of Monza? You can make progress with new or softer tyres – but Pirelli need to improve them (or get lost) as they still aren’t raceable – too much overheating and the dreaded management.

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