Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Baku City Circuit, 2023

FIA right to shorten F1’s DRS zones in Miami and Baku – Alonso

2023 Miami Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso has backed the FIA’s decision to cut the length of the DRS zones at the Miami International Circuit this year.

Some drivers criticised the shortening of a DRS zone last weekend at the Baku City Circuit, saying it made overtaking too difficult. But Alonso said the Baku and Miami tracks saw some of the easiest passes last year, and how successfully cars could pass varied between teams.

“It was the easiest [overtaking] here, last year, apparently,” Alonso told media including RaceFans in Miami. “So that’s why I think FIA shortened the DRS.

“In Baku it also was one of the easiest last year, so they shortened the DRS. I heard Lewis [Hamilton] was saying that this year it was too short. Which I think for them, with the high downforce it was too short.

“For Red Bull it was too long because at the start/finish line they overtook Leclerc and he was opening to braking on the outside for turn one. So if you take one car it was too long, if you take another car it was too short.

“I guess it was about the calculation that the FIA do after have seeing last year’s races. Baku and Miami they were on the high side in terms of overtaking and how easy it was so that’s why they shortened it. Let’s see this year.

“But it is difficult to predict. Even if it’s true that this year it seems a bit more difficult to follow cars, that’s 100% correct, Red Bull seems that the DRS zones are too long. So it depends which car you take.”

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Some drivers have said the new technical regulations introduced last year to aid overtaking have proved less successful in the second season since their introduction. Alonso is not sure.

“I think there were high expectations on following cars and maybe having the grid a little bit closer together,” he said. “But I don’t know. I think we need to give a little bit more time.

“If we didn’t have Red Bull that much ahead I think it was a very interesting fight with three or four teams within one or two tenths and maybe we were saying that the rules were a success. So maybe this is the history in a few years’ time or whatever, when we have some stability in the rules, then maybe 2026 [when new rules will be introduced] everything changes again.”

The fact several teams are close in terms of performance makes overtaking tricky, said Alonso, as well as other characteristics of today’s F1 cars.

“If you remove the Red Bull, sometimes within six-tenths you are from P3 to P16 in Q1 to go out of the next session. Then eventually you finish qualifying in the order that you deserve. Then in the race, how will you overtake a car that in front of you is just half a tenth quicker than you? So it’s more or less your natural order.

“So I think that’s the main reason. And then it could be the tyres as well. They still get overheated quite heavily if you follow cars. So you need to decide wisely when you want to be too close to a car in front of you.”

The weight of the current cars is another factor, said Alonso. “They are too heavy, for sure, but I think the cars are nice to drive.”

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2023 Miami Grand Prix

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Author information

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...
RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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9 comments on “FIA right to shorten F1’s DRS zones in Miami and Baku – Alonso”

  1. Alonso gives back the love to FIA since they give him also.
    I wasn’t expecting a day after all this year’s were we had o super moaner like Alonso, to have him now as a super hagger to his team mate, how team, to FIA and finally to all three other drivers and teams.

    Happy days :)

    1. Typo: to all the other drivers and teams

    2. Difficult to understand the points you are trying to make in your post with the gibberish that you have written there. Try reading your post and correcting it before you press the post comment button.

      1. someone or something
        5th May 2023, 12:46

        I somehow doubt that this comment could be salvaged with better spelling.

    3. Alonso is simply right. There was tons of good, non-DRS over taking in most of the seasons leading up to the intro of DRS. More importantly, DRS used to not be nearly as powerful as it has become over the last five season or so. It used to be just an extra boost to get you by a car only staying ahead of turbulence. It wouldn’t let you easily sail by a car just because you were close. That’s partly because their wings were so much narrower while today’s wing are enormous. Beyond that, the new aero regs generation was the first to focus on not just making the fastest package aero package, but to incorporate DRS itself into the aero concept itself and how to further stall the rear wing when open. So, between the bigger size of the rear wings, more advanced DRS aero concepts and too powerful zones, the whole thing has become a bit of a joke.

  2. Based on what data? Yes, Baku’s S/F straight has occasionally featured easy-looking passes, but only occasionally, so while shortening had some justification, 100 meters was overkill, as both sprint & race demonstrated.
    On the other hand, DRS didn’t prove overpowered on Miami’s two relevant full-throttle sections, so shortening is unjustified & added to following being harder, DRS trains are only more likely.
    I don’t know where he gets the idea that Red Bull thought the length was too long as their drivers’ views have been rather the opposite, which is in line with the general consensus.
    Therefore, I share their views (& Russell’s) than his.

    1. @jerejj I agree shortening DRS was a must but the 100m was just too much and Miami they should try 50m first. Red Bull drivers were of the opinion that the DRS just was too short.
      So it had to done but why so much it looks almost the FIA doesn’t listen to their drivers.

      1. The driver in front wants the DRS shorter to make overtaking more difficult.
        The driver behind wants the DRS longer to make overtaking easier.
        F1 wants the DRS in such a way that it improves the show.
        FIA makes the rules and they are caught between a rock and a hard place.
        The drivers opinion will change during the race depending on what position they are in.
        The fans want long DRS so that there is more overtaking and at the same time hate DRS.
        This is a win win lose lose situation depending on what you want from the race.

        1. @macleod – 50 or even 25, if at all, but yes, FIA indeed seemingly doesn’t listen to drivers.
          @Patrick – Yes, FIA is indeed in a difficult situation with somewhat varying views & situations.

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