Bahrain’s main DRS zone shortened for 2023 grand prix

2023 F1 season

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The FIA has shorted one of the three DRS zones at the Bahrain International Circuit for this year’s season-opening grand prix.

The first DRS zone of the lap between turns three and four and the second one on the straight between turns 10 and 11 remain unchanged. However the longest of the DRS zones on the pit straight has been shortened as its activation point has been repositioned 80 metres further away from the final corner.

The activation point was previously situated 170m after turn 15, the final corner of the lap. It is now 250m after the corner, but still before the pit lane entry. The shortening of the DRS zone indicates the FIA believes that this year’s technical regulations have made it easier to overtake at the track.

The FIA and F1 previously announced there will be an adjustment of the DRS zones for the following four grand prix at Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Albert Park in Melbourne, Baku and Miami. They aim to make overtaking more or less difficult at the tracks, based on last year’s races. This will be done by altering the position of “detection and activation zones” at the tracks and include the reintroduction of a fourth DRS zone in Melbourne.

Aside from the DRS zones, no major changes have been made to the configuration of the Bahrain circuit, which has already been the venue of pre-season testing for the F1 teams. The same DRS zones are also used for the Formula 2 and Formula 3 support races at the track.

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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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13 comments on “Bahrain’s main DRS zone shortened for 2023 grand prix”

  1. I couldn’t quite tell the difference of 80 meters in testing, but a redundant 80-meter reduction as Bahrain’s S/F straight has never really featured easy-looking passing in the DRS era, so wrong area for focus.
    Moving the second straight detection further away from T1 was the only change justifiable to any extent (given Leclerc’s tactics) & that ultimately didn’t happen.

    1. someone or something
      1st March 2023, 13:57

      Bahrain’s S/F straight has never really featured easy-looking passing in the DRS era

      I beg your pardon?
      And subsequently, to differ.

      1. @someone or something
        Kemmel straight is the only circuit section where easy-looking passing has happened regularly since DRS introduction & thus is an issue per se, followed by Baku’s & Montreal’s respective longest full-throttle sections to a lesser extent, with Interlagos’ equivalent occasionally.
        These should be the focus rather than ones where activation zone lengths or their existence in the first place have never been problematic.
        As Spa, Baku, & interlagos feature the Sprint format, DRS could be entirely off from their respective longer straight zones in the Sprint for experimental purposes.

        1. the only reason why Leclerc’s strategy worked where he could re-overtake in the second part was because of Verstappen starting the run up to turn 4 off line. Well by shortening first drs zone on S/F straight will make it less likely for people to overtake and go wheel to wheel there and nobody will be offline in turn 1 and then therefore perhaps get wheel to wheel on second straight. That is probably what they are thinking. It also makes it more likely that id they overtake at turn 1 that they would overtake after the DRS detection for the second straight so Leclerc’s strategy won’t work anymore this way. These are the things that will be more likely to occur.

  2. I’m disappointed to see they haven’t added one before the final corner – it’s a viable overtaking spot, but no one goes for it because of the start-finish DRS…

    1. @ecwdanselby You just said it. If you add DRS in that straight, nobody would want to overtake unless you have the detection point at least 150m before the last corner.

      1. Make it 0 meters. Or perhaps 0 feet …

    2. @ecwdanselby I think if they added DRS on that straight you would probably just end up with the sort of artificial and unexciting passing/repassing you sometimes see at Abu Dhabi which just ends up putting people off wanting to have a go in the 1st zone.

      I often think that Abu Dhabi is the proof that DRS passing doesn’t make for good racing or a good race as DRS tends to produce a reasonable amount of passing in Abu Dhabi (Usually between 30-40 or more) yet despite that it’s always viewed as a boring race where we don’t see good racing or much overtaking. It’s probably because the only realistic overtaking spots are very long DRS zones with most of the passing that occurs in them been boringly easy highway passes.

      Coming back to Bahrain I don’t think there needs to be 3 DRS zones because even without DRS we often saw good racing and overtaking into T1 & the same was true on the run to T4 which without DRS tended to be where some of the best bits of racing took place.

      1. @PeterG I agree that Bahrain could perhaps do with one less activation zone like pre-2018 & I also agree about Abu Dhabi concerning its consecutive zones generally, albeit hardly any passes in the Abu Dhabi GPs get concluded before the braking zones, like on the Kemmel straight every season since 2011.

  3. It is baby steps but it is nice to see F1 taking steps in the right direction for a change.

  4. Adis Selman
    2nd March 2023, 0:10

    Why not remove DRS altogether on the main straight and have on the last straight towards the last corner? This would probably result in either a pass before the last corner and then the car behind has a better exit and we see a non DRS battle to the first corner OR if the car behind doesn’t make the pass on the last corner is at least close and can line up a better corner exit and attack towards the first corner.

    Just a thought

  5. The Dolphins
    2nd March 2023, 3:28

    Keep reducing it, all the way to 0. I wasn’t a fan of the back-and-forth artificial passes between Charles and Max last year.

  6. That’s a good adjustment. There were far too many DRS passes going in to turn 1, and if the car behind had even a slight straight line speed advantage, it was a given that that driver would be in front. I’m not entirely convinced just 80 metres will do the trick, but its a step in the right direction.

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