Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Hungaroring, 2023

DRS, drivers and McLaren: What has changed our writers’ minds in 2023?

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In a sport as complex as Formula 1, little stays unchanged for long. That’s certainly true of the opinions of our contributors.

Heading into the second phase of the 2023 season after the summer break, it’s natural that many of the expectations and preconceptions that many of us had heading into the season have shifted. And the same is also true for RaceFans writers too.

Here are the F1 opinions that we’ve changed our minds about in 2023 so far.

Perez past his prime

Ten years ago, a very green, very naive young writer had a debut feature article published in print for the very first time in a national F1 magazine. Those 1,500 words or so were an impassioned defence of third-year F1 driver Sergio Perez against a torrent of perceived unjust criticism he was receiving during the first half of his challenging season with McLaren and deriding those who claimed the then-23-year-old lacked the ability to have a seat at one of the biggest teams of the time.

Perez ultimately lost his drive at Woking at the end of that season. But for the following seven seasons, Perez evolved into one of the masters of the midfield. With seven podiums and a famous first win in Sakhir, Perez earned his opportunity with Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen.

His performance in 2021 was excusable – he was new in an unfamiliar car and team and delivered for his team mate when he needed him most. The 2022 season was a disappointment – but perhaps Verstappen had just achieved an enlightened state of driving with the RB18.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Monaco, 2023
Perez has lagged well behind team mate Verstappen
But in 2023, there is no defending Sergio Perez’s performance.

Not only is Perez failing to match his world champion team mate’s results even occasionally – Baku being the sole exception – he’s making a meal out of being the second-placed driver in one of the most successful F1 cars of all time. Even if he remains ahead of everyone else but his team mate in the championship, that’s largely down to what a dominant car the RB19 is.

At 33, Perez has endured one of the most mistake-filled seasons of his career in 2023. That painful run of five race weekends in succession without a single Q3 appearance will surely go down as one of the most infamous statistical anomalies of the era. And even when Verstappen has faced challenges during race weekends this season, Perez has never been one of them himself.

For some of us, Perez has been our generation’s Giancarlo Fisichella – ‘just put him in a top seat, then you’ll see what he can do’. But two-and-a-half seasons in, it’s becoming clear that Perez will never become to Verstappen what Nico Rosberg was to Lewis Hamilton.

Will Wood

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McLaren changed the narrative

This season hasn’t had many twists and turns to write about, but one performance that has turned heads is McLaren and their remarkable change in form.

Lando Norris, McLaren, Red Bull Ring, 2023
McLaren were in the doldrums until their upgrade arrived
After struggling over the past few years, the team were very downbeat during their car launch. And despite an exciting new face alongside Lando Norris, the team felt deflated. Not just that but some big hitters were dropped early into the season, including technical director James Key. Everything seemed a bit all over the place and it looked as though the team had got a bit lost.

Though to their credit, McLaren was adamant that upgrades were coming and a change in form was imminent. Once they unlocked their pace and got the car running as it should – they’d be back on top. I just found that hard to believe.

But the sudden turnaround from Austria has shown all who doubted them that their assessment of their position had been spot-on. They did have a clear direction and now have podiums to prove it. It’s rare teams makes big steps over the course of a few races these days so it was only natural to be sceptical but they silenced all their critics with their recent performances.

The Austria upgrade and at Silverstone in particular convinced me this is a team not only fighting for points anymore, but podiums and – if Red Bull ever slip up – wins.

Claire Cottingham

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Zhou makes his case

Having only twice come home ahead of Valtteri Bottas in races last year where they both finished, I didn’t expect Guanyu Zhou to push his team mate the way he has in 2023.

Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023
Ninth in Spain and Australia are Zhou’s peaks
The Alfa Romeo drivers are less competitive than at this point in 2022, although at the Hungaroring both qualified in the top seven and Zhou topped Q1.

That was the only instance that Zhou has outqualified his team-mate for a grand prix this year, and on average 10-times grand prix winner Bottas has a qualifying advantage of 0.372 seconds over a driver in his second season.

On three occasions Zhou has been within 0.1s of him, but sometimes that has not been enough to get to the next segment of qualifying while Bottas has been able to. And when there are more cars between them on the grid, it leaves the driver ahead far more likely to score.

But on Sundays that’s not often been the case. Bottas has finished ahead seven times, and both drivers have scored twice. Zhou also set fastest lap in the Bahrain Grand Prix, repeating his feat from 2022’s Japanese Grand Prix. Before that, the last time a Sauber-run driver took a fastest lap was May 2013.

In qualifying for sprint races, Bottas has been faster on average by 0.025s, and Zhou finished ahead in two of them while at Spa-Francorchamps he followed his team mate up the order as both started low down.

If Alfa Romeo don’t become a regular contender for points hereon, it could take one strong result for Zhou to be their lead driver in the standings.

Pre-season, I wouldn’t have thought the argument for Zhou to be retained for 2024 could be made on results alone – given the backing he brings – but at this rate he could eliminate the threat of Sauber’s Formula 2 points-leading protege Theo Pourchaire taking his place next year.

Ida Wood

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New cars won’t lead to better racing

I never expected that the technical regulations introduced last year would transform the quality of racing overnight. But I did hope they would be the first step towards fixing a problem F1 has grappled with for years.

Sadly, halfway through the second season since they were introduced, I doubt they have. Worse, I no longer think F1 is serious about encouraging real racing.

During the long build-up to the rules’ introduction, which was delayed by a year due to the pandemic, F1 repeatedly stressed that by simplifying the upper surfaces of the cars and instead generating more downforce using the floors, drivers would be able to run closer together. This does appear to have worked to a degree, especially in high-speed corners. However drivers have also reported a lessening of the beneficial slipstream effect on straights.

It was hoped that if overtaking became easier the sticking plaster solution F1 introduced 13 years ago – the Drag Reduction System – would be done away with. But F1 is clearly too afraid that switching off push-button passes might result in some processional races.

At the beginning of this year the FIA experimented with slightly shortening the DRS zones at some tracks. This prompted complaints from drivers who said this would make overtaking too difficult. However we have still seen no end of easy and unremarkable DRS passes being made on straights. Nonetheless, the drivers had their way, and since the opening six races the DRS zones have been left largely unchanged.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Spa-Francorchamps, 2023
DRS makes many overtaking moves predictable
Worse, some drivers such as Alexander Albon have even called for DRS zones to be extended.

“The cars are closing up now, that’s a great thing, and once the cars start to close up, and more and more happens every year, then we might actually need to consider making the DRS zones even bigger, to then start to promote overtaking again,” he said ahead of the last race at Spa. “I think it’s getting quite tough now to overtake cars. I think it’s getting harder and harder.”

The race which followed featured a string of unremarkable DRS passes. Yet we also saw superb overtakes outside the DRS zones, such as Pierre Gasly’s on Albon at Fagnes. Therein lies the problem: The new technical regulations may have helped, but as long as F1 remains hooked on its old solution, and DRS zones continue to occupy all the best overtaking opportunities on the calendar, we may never know.

But F1 doesn’t seem to be bothered. Drivers in other series may cast disparaging looks at its “DRS crap that makes [overtaking] easy”, but insular F1 shows no interest in returning to the days when any driver trying to defend their position wasn’t automatically put at a disadvantage to the rival behind. Instead it’s trialling earlier activation of DRS in sprint races with a view to introducing the same at grands prix next year.

Keith Collantine

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Over to you

What have you changed your mind about since the start of the 2023 season? Have your say in the comments.

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Author information

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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49 comments on “DRS, drivers and McLaren: What has changed our writers’ minds in 2023?”

  1. I heard recently the idea of perhaps allowing DRS in any part of the track and giving drivers a limit in uses (number or seconds) which could introduce a strategic aspect to it but I am not sure if it would help or just give faster cars/drivers a further advantage.

    The problem is that with DRS, and generally on the subject of improving on track battles, I believe that things that would improve the situation are things that increase unpredictability, that reduce driver consistency and promote minor mistakes but this would come hand in hand with a reduction in safety so I doubt that F1 would ever start going in that direction.

    1. I think I saw the same idea. What I found interesting was that in the reversed-DRS scheme they proposed where you could use DRS anywhere on the track, if you got within one second of an opponent neither of you could use DRS. So that would, in theory, tighten up the field but make overtaking attempts more difficult and less Mickey Mouse. It’s an interesting idea. I’m not sure how well it would work in real life though.

      1. What I found interesting was that in the reversed-DRS scheme they proposed where you could use DRS anywhere on the track, if you got within one second of an opponent neither of you could use DRS.

        Great idea, and my first response/suggestion would be: let’s try it!
        But does that mean that all drivers, except the leader, could use DRS (when outside the 1s)? Thus the lead between #1 & #2 might reduce (a bit artificially), but there is no relative benefit for drivers in position 3-20.

        1. As Konstantinos noted above, there would be a maximum amount of DRS that could be used per race so drivers/teams would have to be strategic with their deployment of it. There is a similar system in IndyCar with their Push to Pass system and it works well in that the drivers have to be strategic with their deployment throughout the race and you don’t see just a train of cars using Push to Pass throughout the race keeping the deltas relatively constant.

          1. I misunderstood your proposal then, thus: let’s try it!.
            It wouldn’t reduce gaps though as all drivers have the same amount of DRS usages, thus over the length of the race no real impact.

          2. Coventry Climax
            23rd August 2023, 15:39

            As long as there’s limitations to it’s use, I will consider it a gimmick, and it won’t change my opinion of it.
            Racing should be about optimum car and driver properties, not about gimmicks to get the field closer.
            You might as well introduce penalty seconds, or reduced power output for every lap a driver was in the lead. Going down that slope you could also apply a percentage of braking without the driver controlling it, or limited steering or any such idiocy.
            It’s not DRS itself but the way it’s implemented that makes it an anomaly in racing.

          3. @Coventry Climax Racing is all about compromises made to deal with limitations.

          4. the primary difference being that push-to-pass makes the engine more powerful. DRS reduces downforce, and makes the car inherently less stable.

          5. Coventry Climax
            23rd August 2023, 19:38

            @g-funk: As far as compromises with regard to limitations of the driver and the designed car are concerned, yes; which is why I said ‘optimum’.

            However, when the ‘rules’ start to interfere just to cater to those that think it looks prettier or more exciting that way, we’re talking ‘artificial’, ‘gimmick’ and ‘show’.

          6. @g-funk This the the best use of DRS a certain amount where a driver can use DRS where he wants to use it. You have to think when you are going to use it (attacking, defending or just to drive away)

    2. Coventry Climax
      23rd August 2023, 15:32

      If anything, it’s allowing the drivers to chose whether to use DRS, any part of the track, anytime, anyplace, that introduces the chances of slip ups, as some will undoubtedly overestimate their ability to use it further into, earlier out of or indeed all the way through corners.

      1. I would like to see them allow DSR from 10 seconds to 2 seconds behind. It would allow a driver to cool tires, charge batteries and then close up and attack.

        Not sure if it would work but I know a bunch of the RF crew and commenters are awesome number crunchers. What do you think?

    3. WRT DRS, it was always a flawed concept really. Following in F1 had become difficult, but mainly on the twisty bits, not on the straight. On the straights, following another car gave an advantage already due to slipstreaming, but the loss of downforce was a greater disadvantage in the corners. They tried to make up for a disadvantage in one area by giving an advantage in different one.

      It might have been better to allow increased downforce in the corners when close to the car in front. Basically a reverse DRS, adding extra wing in an attempt to make up for the loss in downforce. That could have allowed the cars to be closer together when they arrived at the straights, but left a similar amount of skill needed to pass (late braking, positioning etc) instead of breezing past before the braking zone.

      As things stand now, the simplest change I think they could make to improve DRS is reduce the activation interval, so that cars need to be within e.g. 0.5s to gain use of it. We’ve seen that it’s much easier for them to get within a second now than it was before the regulation change, and it seems on average to be around as easy to get within 0.7 – 0.5s as it was to get within a second previously. I wouldn’t even mind too much if they increased the length and quantity of DRS zones if they did this, although I don’t think it needs it.

      1. That’s partly because DRS wasn’t a blank slate concept. It was a cobbled together agreement midway through 2010 between the teams and the FIA to stop development on the then new J-switch/F-duct, with which driver-operated airflows could stall the rear wing. The DRS proposed for 2011 then also brought back some of the abandoned moveable aero on the front wing that was introduced in 2009. It’s a bit of a hashed together system, and in the style of the leadership of the FIA back then, it also took a lot of power away from the teams.

      2. Coventry Climax
        23rd August 2023, 19:51

        It might have been better to allow increased downforce in the corners when close to the car in front.

        If you had said compensated downforce instead of increased downforce, I would have fully agreed. Maybe you actually meant something like that, but I happen to be a sucker for precise wording, even if I myself make typo’s and such in abundance; I don’t claim to be more catholic than the pope. ;-)

        Be aware though, that that would have involved a system that can actually measure the amount of downforce lost when behind another car.
        Given the amount of money going round in F1, and the cleverness of the engineers, that might very well have been possible.

        Personally? I think the FIA would have prohibited that. They always prefer to have a say in it, their fingers in there, so they have influence on the way things go. They’re addicted to artificial, so to speak.

        1. I did approximately mean compensate. It would be the intent to bring downforce in the corners back up to roughly what they would experience in clean air. It wouldn’t need to be exact, and would probably be enough if it was still a little less than in clean air, but I’d keep it simple and just give a defined increase in angle of attack or similar (probably to both front and rear wing).

          1. Coventry Climax
            24th August 2023, 10:36

            Though not the fully free use I advocate, I could live with your proposal.
            I think it would be a massive step in the right direction, which is ‘away from how it’s used now’. Until today, how F1 thinks about DRS hasn’t changed, and it should.

          2. Until today, how F1 thinks about DRS hasn’t changed, and it should.

            Completely agreed.

            They need to stop thinking of it as an “overtaking aid”, IMHO, because we don’t want drivers being aided/helped in overtaking. Overtaking should come from the skill of the driver.

            I would be happy with it just being another tool available to the driver to use where, when and how they want. I don’t think I’d be happy with the it being limited in time or frequency of use, as that feels even more gimmicky than it currently is to me.

            Personally, I think the first step is to run a few races without DRS and see how it goes. I have a feeling we’d be pleasantly surprised at the effects, and it wouldn’t even take any rule changes: The FIA are free to decide where the DRS zones are, and could easily say that there are none for any race they choose.

            I don’t think it’s going to happen, though. The powers that be are fixated on DRS as the solution to a perceived lack of overtaking.

      3. It might have been better to allow increased downforce in the corners when close to the car in front.

        That was tested during the 2010 season with the moveable front wing. It was designed to increase the front wing angle and allow to follow in corners. It was rarely – if ever – used that way by the teams. Instead, it was a way to compensate for the shift in the car balance as it burned its fuel.

        1. Coventry Climax
          24th August 2023, 10:42

          If you test it, then do so for the area it was intended for. And certainly don’t shoot the results for that area, only because the test allowed teams to use it for other area’s.

          It’s just another example of the FIA being incapable of getting the rules and parameters right.
          It says nothing about whether the idea as such would really work.

          And I say this independent of whether I’m for or against.

    4. Free use was already a thing in practice, qualifying, & test sessions in the first two years but rightly got limited to designated activation zones at all times, so going back on this would be unworthy.

      1. Coventry Climax
        23rd August 2023, 19:53

        but rightly got

        Explain rightly, please.

  2. Zhou has done quite well for himself, indeed, although I wouldn’t immediately discount the possibility that Bottas has entered a less sharp ‘final stage’ of his F1 career and lacks that bit of speed he got from his attempts to challenge Hamilton on his better days. I’m sure he’s still dedicated to his craft, but you can’t fake that extra bit of motivation that often seems necessary for the very best performances. And to be fair on Bottas he is certainly not the only one seemingly not performing at his peak.

    Big thumbs up to Keith for being very clear about F1’s self-obsessed, near delusional faith in DRS. The passing brought about by DRS isn’t just boring, it disincentivizes battles elsewhere on the track and has reduced the art of defending to copies of the style sadly popularized in the early 1990s, to the point where even the head of the GPDA can run someone off and jokingly shrug his shoulders about it afterwards. And good to see the drivers called out too; they should be leading the charge to get rid of DRS, not begging for more. Graham Rahal was certainly right; DRS is not real racing, and getting rid of it is the true test of any future regulation changes. Sadly, the 2022 are thus hard to see as anything other than a failure.

  3. Although it’s a negative, one thing I’ve changed my mind about is George Russell. I previously thought he was a future world champion in the making, especially as he appeared to be the equal to Hamilton in his first season at Mercedes. The consistency of his rapid qualifying for Williams plus his performances against such a tough benchmark in Hamilton suggested he could go toe to toe with Max. However, this season it feels like he’s gone backward. Someone with his experience against a Hamilton that is probably past his best age wise should be doing better. Right now it feels like he’s merely a very good driver who will win a few races in the right car, rather than a future multiple champion. Probably better than Bottas, but not the new Hamilton.

    1. @f1hornet People keep saying Hamilton mist be past his best, but why? 2021 showed the opposite – leave aside some maybe dubious defensive and attacking moves (too passive, too aggressive), depending on interpretation – he was clearly still fast enough and experienced enough to take the title fight to the wire. These past two seasons have been damage limitation. When he applies himself, he beats Russell. Is that Russell fading or Hamilton just showing he’s still more or less the same level, fast and adaptable (no drop significant enough for us mortals to notice)? Give him a title contending car and I’d bet he’d be there competing exactly the same as 2021.

    2. @f1hornet meant to add, I always put Russell somewhere between Rosberg and Hamilton. A bit faster than Ros and a better racer, also capable of putting in really strong quali laps.

    3. A driver as young as George have a flowing performance peaks sometimes good sometimes lesser. When you gets more experienced he became more constant (for example see Max)
      I would not write him off yet :)

  4. I agree with @keithcollantine. The truth of the matter is that the new car design has only improved the racing to a small degree. DRS is still too influential a factor to be removed. I just wish F1 would try some races without it to see what happens. It should certainly not under any circumstances be used more. Albon is talking rubbish just because he suddenly has a car that seem more competitive.

    I think the other truth is that drivers have gotten very used to DRS passes and not having to battle with another car for several laps to make a pass. It’s making it too easy so when the zones have been made shorter, it has become clear how much they rely on it. It’s no wonder some of them don’t want it to go.

    On Perez, I really cannot see him getting any closer to Max. It just depends what Red Bull are looking for. Do they want someone who is fairly reliable who might get the odd podium. Or do they want someone who can win races and finish in the top 3 consistently? This year it’s not really a factor because their car is so dominant.

    1. I just wish F1 would try some races without it to see what happens.

      Completely agree. It’s pretty much a failure of the new regs that DRS is still required, adding even more should be seen as a complete embarrassment, but at least we could experiment and see how far off we are instead of just carrying on down the path of “more DRS”.

    2. Race of the season for me so far (and I really hate to say it) was the Austrian Sprint. No DRS for the majority of it, and it wasn’t needed. As soon as the DRS was activated, the highway passes started, and the race immediately went from a 10 to an 8 for me.

      Granted, new layout Austria has always been great for racing, but without DRS, it was perfect.

    3. @phil-f1-21

      I agree with @keithcollantine.

      Blatant bid for COTD spotted.

      1. Coventry Climax
        24th August 2023, 10:51

        @keithcollantine: I assume that’s accompanied by an invisible smiley, like I hope the actual selection is based on merit of the comment only.
        I may not always agree, but thusfar, in that respect, I still have faith in you guys.

  5. Sadly, halfway through the second season since (the new technical regulations) were introduced, I doubt they have (transformed the quality of racing). Worse, I no longer think F1 is serious about encouraging real racing.

    I disagree:
    1) it’s de delight to see cars being able to closely follow other cars through the turns, rather than complaining about ruining their tyres if within 2 seconds;
    2) As FIA still allows DRS, it is only logical that drivers will use that free gift as their preferred place to overtake. Thus FIA should test a few races without DRS;
    3) and even DRS itself is less powerful (and less determining) now as the current cars drive with less wing, and thus have less of an upside when opening the wing (also the bit that opens seems to be a smaller part than in 2021).

    Overall, I am very happy with the aerodynamics part of the new regulations, but they now need to follow up by eliminating DRS and making the cars lighter/smaller.

  6. But two-and-a-half seasons in, it’s becoming clear that Perez will never become to Verstappen what Nico Rosberg was to Lewis Hamilton.

    Sadly, I don’t even think he will become to Verstappen what Bottas was to Hamilton.

  7. People not driving the car: DRS gives us “unremarkable passes”
    People driving the car: “I think it’s getting quite tough now to overtake cars. I think it’s getting harder and harder”

    Also the notion that the car being overtaken is at an immediate disadvantage is something I respectfully disagree with.
    Apart from the fact the prey car has battery deployment that the hunter car has no idea of it’s current SOC thus generating some excitement (Jeddah 2021 last lap Ocon/Bottas), the prey car is more than free to employ their honed skills to make their car as wide as possible and play with the rules of the racing line and the steward’s interpretation of the rulebook (I mean all of 2021 Max/Lewis or Checo/Lewis in AD). I’d also argue especially when it looked like Chuck may have been a headache to Max in the beginning of 2022, that ‘DRS Chicken’ is a fantastic eye opening tool of gamesmanship the prey and hunter cars have available that I’ve come to enjoy. High risk, equally high reward (Hamilton and Alonso 2013 @ Canada if memory serves me right)

    I guess my point is it’s not all doom and gloom – don’t get me wrong for sure this needs a bit more scrutiny, cough cough DRS trains.

    Oh also while I still have your attention, for the love of whatever you adore stop comparing spec racing with non spec racing! They have different goals, abide by different rules and aim for different objectives, Rahal has zero formula one experience, I don’t know why DRS detractors are parroting his take like his carries the necessary credibility to validate anything. IF you insist on going down that path, there are drivers who actually drive the car and thus hold all the necessary credibility who will disagree that those in favor or DRS will point to and no one will be happy and we’d have made no headway.

    Thanks for coming to my TEDx talk, the burnt coffee and biscuits are in the back. Pls be nice I’m fragile right now!

    1. Ha, you expect everyone to be nice when you offer burnt coffee?!
      Good point about the DRS cat-and-mouse, Leclerc made that interesting back in the olden times (early 2022). The problem is that the Red Bull DRS button is even more special Mario boost and there’s no point even trying that again now.

      1. I could offer tea but watch me somehow find a way to burn it; my culinary skills – they frighten me
        My personal light at the end of the tunnel is some form of convergence a la 2021 where all the secrets are out and the teams have reached the end of their respective tech trees. That way everyone has their Mario boost. RB has their DRS, Merc maybe has straight line speed, McLaren is high speed corners, Aston is medium speed, Williams actually weaponizes their slippery drag defying car, Haas doesn’t cook their tires every other race and so on and so forth.

        1. Sounds fantastic, so it won’t happen obviously! They’d have to leave the design specifications unchanged for how many years to achieve something like that?

          1. It needs the intervention of the FIA. We got 2021 because the FIA changed the specifications of the floor, nerfing Mercedes in the process (voluntarily or as a side effect, the result was the same). If you leave the rules as is, you’ll have Verstappen champion until the next change in said rules.

          2. McLaren’s immediate jump to podium contenders and Aston’s initial rise as well as the determined yet temperamental Mercedes and their upcoming correlation corrected upgrades next year give me hope – not a lot but just enough that mid 2024 early 2025, will be the beginning of the convergence before the slate is wipe clean again for 2026

    2. DRS cat-and-mouse and clever use of it (choosing where and when to pass etc) are interesting, but they are very rare. On most tracks and in most situations there is little opportunity to do so. Where we get passes, 9 times out of 10 they are highway passes, ones where they could probably have got past without DRS with a bit of skill in the braking zone. Either that, or we get DRS trains where nobody can pass even with DRS until the car at the front’s tyres start to go off, at which point they could have passed anyway.

  8. Coventry Climax
    23rd August 2023, 16:01

    While I hear drivers have gotten used to being lazy and press the activate DRS button on the straights and lost race craft as a result, I think there’s another, related aspect to that:
    It’s not necessarily they wouldn’t want to fight for positions over several laps, but the way things stand now, if they did, they would compromise the lifetime of their tyres and hence the outcome of their entire race. For that reason alone, it’s beneficial to just wait for the straight, activate DRS and save your tyres in the process. For that exact same reason, I believe we frequently witness drivers not even making an attempt to defend; apart from it being -mostly- useless anyway, it compromises your tyre life.
    It’s only in the last stages of the race and when there’s points at stake, that we see drivers really attack or defend. Albon’s P7 defending -and the uninspired attempts to overtake him- being the example this season.
    Unfortunately, it’s therefor also the tyre and DRS situation that promotes sprint races.
    Just another FIA created problem.

    1. I agree. A very good point about the tyres which perhaps is overlooked. I will add this to the FIA agenda 1. Reduce the use of or get rid of DRS. 2. Require better tyres from suppliers 3. Make cars smaller, lighter and more nimble.

      It would all be so easy if we all collectively were in charge ;-)

      1. Coventry Climax
        23rd August 2023, 19:55

        We would do just fine, you and I! ;-)

  9. One for people with a little knowledge of fluid dynamics…

    Is it actually possible, realistically within the shape of an F1 car and without using active aero parts, to create a car that creates less dirty air in the corners but an unchanged slipstream on a straight?

    I’m sat here thinking a wake is a wake, and if a car kicks off less dirty air in a corner it must also follow that the car would provide less of a slipstream to a car behind, so the reduced slipstream affect from the new cars would have been entirely expected… but then I don’t really know anything about physics so I don’t know if I’m thinking right. Happy to be educated!

    1. Coventry Climax
      23rd August 2023, 21:48

      One for people with a little knowledge of fluid dynamics…

      Most of those here know a little, and would therefor qualify. You would be better off asking for those with a lot of knowledge about it. ;-)

      I’ll give it a go though:

      create less dirty air = leave behind a more laminar flow, with the aim of compromising the ability to create downforce for the car following, to a lesser extent.
      provide slipstream = leave behind a measure of vacuum, diminishing the air resistance for the car following.

      I’d say the two are quite exclusive of one another.
      But, with active aero, that’s a different story. Basically, forcing DRS to be enabled in the corners instead of on the straights, would get you there, to an extent.

  10. Regarding Checo: Whether he’s past his prime is debatable, but I definitely agree that he won’t become like Rosberg or perhaps even Bottas comparatively.

    Mclaren: Definitely & I hope they’ll start next season in similarly competitive form rather than towards the back like they’ve started two consecutive seasons.

    Zhou: Definitely & while his form is unfortunate news for Pouchaire, that’s how racing works sometimes.

    I agree that while the most recent technical regulation changes improved following as intended, the situation still isn’t as good as it could & following became harder for this season versus last & might again be harder next season versus this season.
    As I’ve already made my points about DRS generally many times, I’ll try to be a bit different by pointing out that FIA was right to stop shortening for the sake of shortening based on outdated data, & while Albon has a point, I’m largely okay with the current activation zone lengths, although while Belgian GP again featured easy-looking passing on the Kemmel straight as has been the annually since 2011, the ones that featured DRS activation weren’t any easier than the Red Bull ones without activation (Max in the sprint & Checo on the opening lap), so blaming DRS alone is perhaps a bit too easy in the end & easy-looking passing move is easy-looking regardless of whether DRS is activated or not.
    I assume the small image choice was deliberate, but that straight is an extreme case.
    About 95% of track sections featuring an activation zone at least once since 2011 have never had easy-looking passing/never under normal circumstances without other magnifying factors, such as Rosberg’s power loss in the 2014 Abu Dhabi GP, which ofc, made passing him easy for everyone with or without DRS.

  11. Well you see I did order the omelette at first…

  12. DRS is mostly why ive lot most of my interest in this sport. Its just too easy. The driver in front cant defend the overtake. The thing that makes overtaking exciting is not the actual change of position, its the battle, the suspense, the potential of some action. Now if a driver is faster and gets within 1 second of the car in front you know 99 times out of 100 what is going to happen, it takes away any interest, any suspense or excitement.

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