Carlos Sainz Jr, Ferrari, Miami International Autodrome, 2022

FIA shortens F1’s two longest DRS zones on Miami Grand Prix track

2023 Miami Grand Prix

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The FIA has reduced the length of two DRS zones at the Miami International Autodrome, despite some drivers criticising a similar change at the previous race.

The 5.412-kilometre circuit which plays host to this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix has three separate DRS zones, each situated on its longest full-throttle sections.

After its inaugural race last May, the circuit will again see each of the three detection points remain in the same location for 2023 – the first on the exit of turn eight, the second exiting turn 16 onto the longest straight on the circuit and the final exiting turn 17.

However, the first and second activation zones have both been moved 75 metres further down the straights than they were in 2022, reducing the overall length of the DRS zones in both cases. The third and final DRS zone that runs along the pit straight remains unchanged.

It is the second successive round in which the FIA has reduced DRS zones, following a similar move in last weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku. While the Baku race weekend saw passes for the lead in the longest DRS zones in both the sprint race and the grand prix, there were no overtakes for position inside the top eight positions over the final 31 laps.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix winner Sergio Perez said after the race that he disagreed with the decision to reduce the DRS zone over the Baku race weekend.

“I feel these cars are generating a bit more downforce and, by generating that little more downforce, the car behind struggles a little bit more to follow,” Perez explained. “So in my opinion, it wasn’t the right thing to shorten up the DRS, because it’s getting harder to overtake than last year already in itself so it’s something we should review.”

Miami International Autodrome track map, 2021
Miami International Autodrome track map

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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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    21 comments on “FIA shortens F1’s two longest DRS zones on Miami Grand Prix track”

    1. Martin Elliott
      4th May 2023, 16:54

      So yet again its a drivers comments.
      The FIA/F1 present NO reasons or explanation WHY the DRS is reduced. Is it linked to the car specs not being as expected ??

      1. @Martin Elliott Beats me but shouldn’t be about car specs not being as expected, given following is harder, meaning easy-looking passes are more unlikely from the get-go.
        FIA should indeed be (more) transparent with their activation zone length choices, not only in these cases, but generally.
        The worst thing is that they seemingly ignore the general consensus among drivers that following is harder than last season despite being told about that in the Baku briefing.

      2. Maybe to scrape off some of the advantage a certain team has with drs?

    2. Just by rewatching last year’s race, and then you see cars being passed already before the braking area of turn 11. I like this DRS shortening, make overtaking less easy.

      1. @nmgn Except no easy-looking passes happened last season, neither into T17 & even less so T11.

    3. Drivers have said following is harder than last season, not only in the media but also in briefings, yet FIA still proceeds with unnecessary & justified activation zone shortenings, even though easy-looking passes didn’t occur on the back straight in the inaugural race, & even less so on the slightly curvy straight leading to T11.
      From the zone length reductions thus far, only Baku S/F straight had any justification based on historical data, which is that easy-looking passed had occurred occasionally, albeit 50 meters would’ve probably sufficed in this case.
      The Miami GP debut last season clearly didn’t feature any Kemmel straight-style flyby passes on either activation zone (nor did Sakhir’s S/F straight feature similar passes last season or before in less racing-friendly aero eras), so I don’t know where FIA bases the historical data reference in rechoosing these activation zone lengths for this season.

      1. I meant ‘unjustified’ alongside unnecessary to avoid misunderstanding.

    4. So in my opinion, it wasn’t the right thing to shorten up the DRS, because it’s getting harder to overtake than last year already in itself so it’s something we should review.

      Has Checo considered that you can actually overtake *without* DRS? We even saw some of it in Baku.

      1. Only on restarts.

      2. Leave real overtakes to other series. Let F1 drivers have it as easy as possible. That’s what they – and reading the comment also some fans – want.

    5. Why can’t every race be like Monaco?
      – heard in a FIA meeting room

    6. Any update on the track surface? It was a bit of an issue last year.

    7. Would be better if we could get rid of the silly artificial gimmick completely snd get back to real racing and genuine overtaking thats actually exciting to watch and memorable.

      DRS just makes things too easy, Sure it provides quantity but there’s very little quality which is why 99% of DRS passes are completely forgettable.

      1. Even when it is not forgettable it just does not feel right. The simply get a boost for not being that much behind the other driver.

        I still cannot understand why F1 does not implement a push-to-pass style system. That would be equal to everyone and the difference would be due to the different use. But that’s all right, that is like using tires or fuel differently during the race. But they start on equal conditions.

      2. I doubt dumping DRS would give us much “real” racing, except during the first few laps. Someone like Alonso wouldn’t be able to manage tires waiting to attack because he couldn’t be sure that after pulling up through the slipstream he’d still be able to get by. Better to strike at the beginning with fresh tires. After that the field stretches out and you have boring racing.

        People need to remember that F1 is not a drivers race, it’s a race between engineers. Go back to the Merc era and remember that races ended most times M-M, RB-RB, F-F except for the seasons that Ferrari was in second Red Bull in third, with the rest of the field mixing and sorting. Engineering is why RB is winning going away so far this season.

        Individual drivers matter only at the margins. Max or Lewis or Chas couldn’t win a race without a superior car. Likewise, I think Gunter would be happy with literally any driver on the grid in his car as long as they keep their personal liability for multiple rapid unscheduled disassembles under half-a-million pounds or so.

        DRS, tire deg and mandatory pit stops are just attempts to throw a bit of spice into the mix, ways to make races about driving and strategy too, rather than just who can build the fastest car.

        1. I doubt dumping DRS would give us much “real” racing

          As someone thats been watching F1 for 45 years. Yes dumping DRS would see a return of real racing because real racing is what we had before DRS and F1 was a better sport for it.

          And the thing that irritates me more is that F1 having is has resulted in things like F2 & F3 adopting it which were 2 categories that never needed DRS or the comedy tyres as the racing in those categories in the pre-gimmick era was some of the best pure racing around. Now it just all feels as artificial and contrived as F1 with far too many boringly easy, forgettable passing.

          That for me is the biggest issue with these gimmicks. It’s all quantity over quality and very little (If any) of the ‘racing’ that they produce ends up been especially memorable. I mean what DRS or tyre created pass is one that made people go ‘wow’ & which are fondly remembered years after they occurred?

          All of the most exciting bits of racing, overtaking & memorable moments come from bits of racing when cars don’t have DRS and are on fairly even tyres & strategy because that is when we see the real racing and hard fought for, driver skill based real overtaking.

          1. I’m not a fan of the gimmicks either. Although, I saw one of the most gimmicky races ever – F1 v Formula A in Ontario, CA, 1971. Andretti v. Stewart. I was eight, it was fabulous.

            And perhaps I phrased that wrong, by “real” I meant not “honest, pure”, but something more like “cars actually passing each other”. I have no problem going back to pure racing, but I just think it will be way different from when tires were customer items and every man for himself. Maybe more tire manufactures would (re)-enter the sport, and perhaps that would make it interesting. But I imagine that everyone on the same tires from the start, taking the strategy and accompanying error element out of it, would make for more processional racing, not less, overall.

            Maybe that’s fine. Like I said, I’m not defending the gimmicks. I just watch the races, awe at the speed and root for my fav’s.

            1. Last thought: I think its underestimated how much team orders has also contributed to the loss of “memorable” passes. Back in the eighties remember, the teams with the best car also often had the two best drivers and they would battle it out to the wire. That all changed when Ferrari started protecting Schumacher, and thereafter top teams were content with one ace driver and one support teammate.

          2. Sorry mate, but not with even these ground effect cars. The only way overtaking as we understood it can happen without drs is to completely redraw these F1 cars from the ground up. Essentially the reason for introduxing ground effect cars was to allows cars to follow and race closer together. If Baku is anything to go by that wish last just one year.

          3. Someone of your experience should know better than to think that simply disabling or removing an overtaking aid designed specifically to make up for other car design (ie technical regulation) failures is not going to improve the racing product at all.
            It would do the exact opposite, leaving not just a lower quantity of racing/overtaking but also a substantially lower quality.

            As noted, the cars are not good racing cars by design. That is what needs to change – not just switching off some feature you don’t like.

    8. I remember allowing my company Chairman’s kid to draw all over my laptop(the screen too) with a Whiteboard Marker Pen. It was one of those bring-your-kid-to-work days.

      One of the easiest things I had ever done to appease an employer in this life. Best of luck, Alonso.

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