Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Baku, 2021

DRS zones changing at first five F1 tracks to make passing easier – and harder

2023 F1 season

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Formula 1 will change the DRS zones at five tracks the championship visits this year to make passing easier at some venues and more difficult at others.

Other revisions to five circuits on the calendar were also agreed during the Formula 1 Commission’s first meeting of 2023 today.

The FIA and F1 said in a joint statement they have “analysed DRS zones for 2022 and made some changes for 2023 in order to either facilitate overtaking, or make it harder in certain circuits where it was deemed not to be enough of a challenge.”

The first five grands prix of the year in Bahrain, Jeddah, Melbourne, Baku and Miami will all be affected by the change. It will involve “the adjustment of detection and activation zones”, and the reintroduction of the fourth DRS zone at Melbourne’s Albert Park track which was used during practice only last year.

Five tracks will also be altered in order to improve the F1 events they hold.

Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Corniche Circuit will benefit from “significant changes” that have been made “to improve visibility on corner entry wherever possible”. Some revisions, including the tightening of corner, were announced in November.

The Baku and Miami street circuits will both be completely resurfaced before their grands prix take place. Several drivers complained about poor grip during last year’s inaugural event at the Miami International Autodrome.

Zandvoort is increasing the “space between the pit stop positions” by 1.5 metres, and F1’s return to Qatar will not be run from the same garages as when the country’s inaugural grand prix took place in 2021 as a “new pit building and paddock infrastructure will be built” at Losail International Circuit.

The F1 Commission’s changes are subject to the approval of the FIA World Motor Sport Council.

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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...

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15 comments on “DRS zones changing at first five F1 tracks to make passing easier – and harder”

  1. Focusing on the activation zone starting points is the wrong approach, as zone lengths are generally a non-issue, with mostly only Kemmel straight being an issue.
    From the first four circuits, only Baku’s S/F straight has occasionally featured similarly easy-looking passes, but Sakhir or Jeddah never really.
    Reintroducing the fourth zone for Albert Park contradicts the whole point of removing that zone in the first place, so this decision could (but hopefully won’t) backfire.
    Miami’s complete resurfacing work was already known, but Baku getting the same treatment is even more surprising, considering this has to get done with regular traffic using the same roads.
    Losail’s new pit building & paddock infrastructure have been under construction for some time already, albeit this factor is why the Qatar GP return occurs in October rather than the early-season phase based on what I read from Joe Saward’s Green Notebook at one point last year.

    1. I forgot Miami in the same context with Sakhir & Jeddah.

  2. The DRS “Detection” line should be MUCH closer to the DRS “Activation” line.

    1. Coventry Climax
      21st February 2023, 23:17

      My favorite position for both the detection and activation line, on all circuits, would be behind the deactivation line.

  3. Just get rid. Theres simply no need for DRS now with the new regs working well.

  4. Stephen Higgins
    21st February 2023, 19:11

    I’ve always said that DRS should have a number of activations per driver, per race, like Indycar does with its push to pass system.

    If they can add a genuine tactical element to it then it still might be worth hanging onto for now.

    1. Agree. Seeing cars with a straight line advantage carving through an entire field isn’t fun at all. But if they had a limited number of cars they can try DRS on, would make it much more interesting and tactical. It would be interesting to see if Verstappen could win from P14 on the grid, if he had only 5 DRS activations for the entire race.

    2. Yep totally agree with this. Maybe give them a third of a race worth to work with. Would be fun seeing them juggle when to make it a priority and when not to and maybe have cases where a driver has had to use a lot earlier on but then comes under pressure near the end and vice versa.

      Seems like such an obvious way to add entertainment value and strategy and F1 really should be trying to reduce DRS as a whole given these new cars can follow much closer. That was sort of the proposal they put forth with the new regs!

    3. I agree, or at the very least – trial it. I really don’t see what they have to lose. It would be less controversial than sprint races, less objectionable to the purists who already dislike DRS, and I’m sure would be widely accepted by those in favour of keeping DRS.

      The same could be said of trialing races with no DRS at all with the new cars, at say Spa for instance, but I think the circuit owners would be too scared of it producing one dull race and would be reluctant to sign up to it. A race with a different DRS format however would be a selling point for promoters, with less chance of backfiring by producing a processional race.

  5. Was the 4th Melbourne zone removed because of Fernando Alonso? I guess we’ll find out.

    1. @bullfrog Yes, although ultimately on safety grounds argued by him.

  6. So we’re still needing this? I guess we can admit that Ross Brawn’s masturbatory passing working group didn’t work now?

  7. So they are adding zones to help overtaking and even changes the tracks to suit more for this kind of racing. Albert Park will soon be over 50% of DRS.

    Why did F1 get rid of free DRS in quali? Safety reasons. So are we going to that same route again. More DRS – more overtaking opportunities – more speed – more chance of crashing.

    I liked the free DRS as it was for the drivers to choose and take the risk when they wanted.

  8. That’s one way to confirm that the new regulations failed.

    F1 is so addicted to passing metrics that it has forgotten what a battle for position looks like. No wonder F1 drivers have come to consider running people off, cutting them off, or straight up bumping into them to be acceptable. Sadly, the FIA and its questionable officials have allowed this to become such a joke that misbehaving drivers in Indycar and other series are openly accused of “F1 driving”.

    It’s so easy to fix this; get rid of DRS, and enforce the FIA Code on driving conduct.

  9. In all the time we’ve had DRS I cant think of one memorable overtake using it, for me it totally removes any sought of skill in overtaking and makes defensive driving pointless.
    As Murray Walker would say, “catching is one thing, passing is another” …well not anymore…

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