Should DRS be removed from Formula 1?

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What are your thoughts on DRS?


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With two races out of the way, we have experienced the new 2022 regulations and how the cars race. Should the Drag Reduction System (DRS) be removed from Formula 1 or be kept?

The 2022 regulations were a massive overhaul of the car regulations. The 2022 regulations which were originally slated for 2021 but were delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and have one major principle to allow cars to race closer.

With previous regulations, a following car would lose 35% of their downforce when racing within 20 metres of the car ahead. That loss of downforce could increase to 47% if the following car got within 10 metres of the car ahead.

The new regulations are meant to reduce the downforce lost and from what we have seen so far, the new regulations appear to work.

So now that we know cars are able to drive closer to each other, should we remove DRS?

Drag Reduction System (DRS) was introduced to F1 in 2011. DRS was implemented as a tool to allow cars to overtake. It is essentially an adjustable rear wing that is operated by the driver. DRS has strict conditions where the racing conditions must be safe and the pursuing car must be within a one second gap of the car in front as it crosses the DRS detection zone.

When it was introduced, it was met with a mixed reaction. Some thought it to be the solution to a lack of overtaking, whilst others thought it made overtaking too easy. Now that we appear to have cars that can drive closer to each other, surely this makes overtaking even easier?

Bahrain 2022​

During the first race of the season, we saw Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen battling for the lead - before Max had to retire. During this race we appeared to see the immense advantage Max had over Charles along the start/finish straight. At times, Max was just within the one second gap that is required to activate DRS, yet was able to get to T1 first. However, DRS wasn’t quite as powerful as it first appeared here. After the race Charles Leclerc stated that he allowed Max to close the gap along the start/finish straight, so that he had DRS immediately after - which allowed him to hold onto the lead.

Bahrain DRS.jpg


Saudi Arabia 2022​

The second race of the season was at Jeddah and this is where we say a very peculiar thing indeed. Whilst battling for the lead, we saw Charles and Max both hit the brakes hard before entering the DRS detection zone for the start/finish straight. It would appear that whoever entered the final corner first would be at a massive disadvantage and could be easily overtaken. So the result saw both drivers braking heavily, trying to be the second car to enter the final corner. But, this race was more than just the DRS zones, it showed how well these cars can follow each other. Both the Ferrari and Red Bull were able to follow each other closely through most of the lap, which was not so easy in 2021 with the previous F1 regulations.

Jeddah DRS.jpg


Calls for a change to DRS​

Many fans have started to call for a change to the DRS rules and those calls for a change could be amplified further with this week’s race at Albert Park. The Australian GP has an unprecedented 4 DRS zones, one along the main straight, another between turns 2 and 3, the third between turns 8 and 9, and the fourth between turns 10 and 11.

Australia DRS.jpg


Here are our thoughts on some potential options for 2022.

Remove DRS completely. If DRS were to be removed completely, then there will be one certainty - less overtaking. DRS is there to help overtaking, so completely removing it will have an impact on the amount of overtakes that are seen during a race. Also, removing DRS will expose how well the F1 2022 regulation cars actually follow each other. There is also the cost to take into account as each team has a budget cap.

If DRS were to be removed, the rear wings may have to keep the DRS function for the remainder of the season. It also may not be as simple as removing the adjustable flap, as these wings will most definitely have been designed to optimise DRS in some way and so may need a complete redesign.
  • Pros - Real overtaking
  • Cons - Less overtaking and potential cost implication
Restrict the use of DRS. The main disadvantage of DRS is that it gives the driver behind an advantage over the driver ahead. However, this could be eradicated if the DRS detection zones were removed and drivers were allowed to use DRS whenever they liked - still with designated DRS zones. This would provide the driver ahead to have a way to defend from an overtaking car. It could also be used by drivers who are attempting to complete an over or undercut, by using DRS to put in a fast lap whilst other drivers are pitting.

The caveat to this is that there would be a limited number of times any one driver could activate DRS during a race.
  • Pros - allows driver ahead to defend and tactical use of DRS
  • Cons - still doesn’t address DRS being potentially overpowered
Leave it as it is. Whilst we are only two races into the season, removing DRS or changing the way it is utilised could be potentially unfair. There were 77 overtakes in Bahrain and 33 overtakes in Saudi Arabia - the majority of these overtakes would have been with the aid of DRS. This means that DRS is already a factor to the amount of points certain drivers have been rewarded and this includes Max Verstappen who may not have won the race at Jeddah without DRS.

Love it or hate it, DRS does provide more opportunities to overtake and without DRS there will be less overtaking. Less overtaking could have an impact on the global audience, especially affecting the audience who have only known F1 with DRS. A result of this could mean an impact on F1 financially - with less fans watching F1 and fewer companies willing to invest in the motorsport.

Finally, leaving DRS as it is allows the FIA to evaluate the entire season and to properly formulate a plan for 2023, if they chose to change DRS in some way in the future.

What are your thoughts about DRS? Should we keep it, change it, or leave it?
About author
Damian Reed
PC geek, gamer, content creator, and passionate sim racer.
I live life a 1/4 mile at a time, it takes me ages to get anywhere!

Comments

Personally, I don't think DRS should go. As a 'younger fan' I've only watched F1 for two years pre DRS, 2009 and 2010. It's clearly not ideal that the sport needs it, but then the flip side is how many races would have been far, far worse, without it?

Some tracks clearly see a bigger DRS effect than others. But I think it's one of those things that even with the new cars, that clearly allow for closer following, is just a necessary evil at the minute. And it can work well. Bahrain this year allowed Max to get closer to pull a pass, but he still had to be late on the brakes a couple of times to actually pull it off. And the DRS tactics in Saudi were, while perhaps a bit silly with the locking up, did add another layer of thinking to the race and both Max and Charles had to play it smart.

And it's not like F1 is the only series with a 'gimmick' when it comes to open-wheelers. IndyCar has push-to-pass and F2 has DRS. F1 isn't the only guilty party when it comes to overtaking gimmicks, and I would actually argue that for all the hype they throw at themselves, IndyCar has had quite poor racing over the last 2 or 3 seasons (possible issue with aeroscreen?).

Anyway, I think personally DRS should stay for now. Maybe as the grid converges as the regulations mature we can get rid of it then. But for now I don't think it should go, and I am pretty sure we'd be asking for it back quicker than we asked for it to go.
 
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Change it, you don't need two in a row and I think the advantage is too big now. They should try to get the advantage down to 'just getting an overlap at the braking zone' by shortening the DRS zone (or decreasing the max opening in the wing) instead of 'having a free overtake on the straight'. Either that or remove it all together. What we've seen this year is too much at least.

Also an idea by (I believe) Driver61 to move the detection point to just after the corner would make things better in avoiding more Charles Max games of chicken.
 
Change it, restrict it or replace it with a push-to-pass system maybe - and do not put multiple zones right next to each other. Makes it almost impossible to defend in some circumstances and if the fight is for the lead like in Jeddah that really takes the fun out of it.
 
It's a bit early to be making those kind of decisions. It's not like DRS gives an unfair advantage to anyone. Let the year play out and see how it goes. Ideally it wouldn't be needed but until they are sure removing it wouldn't kill overtaking then I wouldn't go making any major changes.
 
It should be free to use at all times.

Just like fathers of modern motorsport aerodynamics did it at the very beginning. I speak about Michael May and Jim Hall.

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All these rules just makes motorsport unnecessary complicated and stupid.

Not to mention than downforce ever since late 80s has been used to curb racecars, so that they wouldn't be too fast, and way too many chicanes has been introduced destroying most of the straights and sequences of highspeed curves.

Boomers... They had fun, and then spoiled everything for upcoming generations.
 
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I have been watching racing since the late 70s & DRS,push to pass,BOP or success weight make racing much more entertaining.I dislike all these artificial measures but I can remember watching F1 where there would be 1 pass in an entire race at Barcelona in F1,BTCC dominated by one make because they had a special wing kit & Porsche dominating endurance racing so much nobody could compete.
All these measures exist to make racing entertaining & the result is the same.The best funded teams,with the best cars & drivers win most of the races & championships.DRS is one component of why F1 is so popular now.It just needs tweeking at some tracks.
 
My opinion is that they should kill it with fire. I don't care if by deleting the DRS the number of overtakes would get reduced by a 60%. To me it is fake racing, a gimmick, and it shouldn't have ever existed in the first place. I cringe every time that Crofty starts screaming as if it where the definitive ultimate display of skill after one of those "overtakes" in middle of a straight with the attacking car returning to the racing line before of the braking zone, and then he hypes it.

No dude, this wasn't exciting, this hasn't been even fair. One driver has a faster paced car (because if not that attacking car shouldn't be at less than 1 second from the defending car), there is a rule that ties one hand of the defending car to his back because the defending car only can make a single devensive move while the attacking car can make as many changes of direction as he whishes in and outside of the braking zone and a magic button on his steering wheel gives him 15+km/h advantage turning the defending car into a sitting duck.

No longer a driver with a slower car can have a chance to fight and come out of it victorious after a long battle, no longer we presence defensive drives outside of monaco, hungary and maybe imola, and only because on those tracks is almost impossible to pass.

No longer a driver can beat a faster car by nailing his exits, positioning the car properly and outsmarting the other driver without the help of DRS. The DRS gives to an already faster car even more advantage and sends the defending driver to the WWIII armed with just a knife.

The excuse for the implantation of the DRS back in 2009 was that the turburent wake of the cars rendered the cars unable to follow each other close, they sweared to us the it was only going to be a "temporary" patch until the problem with dirty air was solved. Guess what?, now the cars can follow each other without any problem but the FIA and FOM don't even care, heck, in australia we are going to have 4 DRS zones.

Now we must face reality: Why should FOM care?, a complete new generation of fans has never known non DRS racing and have grown accustomized to instant gratification in the form of a plethora of overtakes that would never happened before.

No way they are going to convince the new generation of fans that a great defensive drive it is as good racing as the stupid festival of fake DRS overtakes on Bahrein or Saudi Arabia this season.
DRS has come to stay, even if it is unfair and fake, it makes for good tv, and tv ratings gives FOM money.

This new generation of fans has grow in the DRS era and don't even appreciate overtakes made in the old school way: when 2 drivers get together to the braking zone and this turns into the classic fight for outbrake the opponent this new fans scream that this is a dive bombing, when a driver takes control of the line of the defending car they scream that the driver is a bully that only gives the other the chance of back of or crash, if a driver try to overtake outside of a DRS zone they call it stupid because it is too risky and he should have waited untill a DRS zone, and if 2 cars have a very slight touch without consecuences they call it overagressive and ask for penalties.

This is the new reality, the fans demand lots of push to pass overtakes in the middle of a straight and FOM is going to give them whatever they want in order to earn more money.
 
Remove all DRS zones and allow using it whenever and wherever drivers want, no matter which session, defending or chasing, then they can keep it. :rolleyes:
 
I think people are knee jerking to what has happened so far.

I'd like to see a few more races to see how it pans out first, but I will admit that at this early stage of the game DRS does appear to be somewhat overpowered.

However there's no sense in making any changes until a clearer picture emerges.
 
Indycar doesnt need DRS.

Super Formula doesn't need DRS.

We had cars with as much downforce as these in the 90s and 80s, and they didnt need DRS.

DRS is now a "thing", that started as a knee jerk reaction to Alonso losing the 2010 championship stuck behind petrov. Is a posterchild example of how the FIA is scared of copying other better solutions, or just tell the teams that all the money they wasted on wind tunnels would be useless overnight, if they enforced proper aero rules.

So yes, i think it should go away, together with a revised rules package.
 

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