Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Sepang, 2010

FIA set DRS zone on pit straight at Sepang

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix

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The FIA have confirmed details of where drivers can use their Drag Reduction Systems during the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Drivers will be able to activate their rear wings coming out of the final corner onto the longest straight on the track, which is over one kilometre long.

They will only be allowed to use it if they are within one second of another car at a line just over 200m before the final turn.

This diagram published by the FIA shows the location of the zones on the track (click to enlarge):

DRS zone for the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix
DRS zone for the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix

Drivers will have free use of the DRS during practice and qualifying.

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Image ?? Mercedes, diagram ?? FIA

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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...

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83 comments on “FIA set DRS zone on pit straight at Sepang”

  1. When is DRS un-activated (so to speak!)?

    1. I wasn’t the only one going to ask that question then…

      1. Of course it should be deactivated! Lol! Is it 600m? But where is that on the map?

        1. It was six hundred metres, but the FIA appear to have adjusted it to incorporate the entire length of the main straight. Since Albert Park’s main straight is eight hundred and sixty-seven metres long and still produced less overtaking than expected, it’s unlikely the FIA will return to the six hundred metre rule.

      2. Steffan Harries
        7th April 2011, 10:23

        Whenever the driver presses/releases the DRS button on their steering wheel or automatically when they break into the next corner.

      3. Whenever you hit the brakes I think..

        1. So that whole near 1km straight. Overtaking will be no contest down there then! lol

    2. I’ve heard that activation zone is sort of 720m. I read an article said it was originally 600m but cannot remember how changed.

  2. What effect do we think this might have had in a fight like Petrov and Hamilton had last year?

    Would it make it easier for Petrov to get back the place on the pit straight, or stay close for another lap?
    Maybe with Hamilton waiting with the pass for the hairpin, he could then streak away with DRS activated?
    Or would he rather wait and make it easier to pass on the main straight?

    1. Might be a case of use DRS to overtake on the straight, save KERS for getting out of T8 and T14 better. This would hopefully make enough of a gap to stop DRS use or be far enough away to keep the inside line to make T1 tricky for the DRS user.

    2. I suspect it would have made it easier for Hamilton to get past Petrov.

      But the effect could be more complex and subtle than that. Hamilton initially passed Petrov going into the final corner – in which case whichever of them was behind 200m before the corner would have had the benefit of DRS on the following straight. So perhaps Petrov could have had the chance to use DRS to re-pass Hamilton.

      And to take the question a step further, would we have seen more of a fight between Hamilton and Sutil later in the race?

      1. Watching my old copy, I think they were pretty much neck-and neck at the 200m point. It’s hard to see with the TV angle and everything.

        Had we had the DRS last year, Hamilton would probably have taken Sutil.

        1. And Petrov would have taken Hamilton as well..

          1. That all depends on who would have been able to use the DRS.

          2. Actually looking at where the DRS timing point really is (and not mistaking the Marshall’s sector for it), Hamilton would have still been behind.

      2. So it might actually have done what it was designed to do here.

        Still, I think that Malaysian GP last year did not really need too much spicing up (And with rain possibly making the question of DRS use a mute point this year, I still think its a shame they did introduce it).

  3. Couldn’t we have had it on *both* straights? Plus, isn’t the detection point at (or in) the overtaking zone into the last corner? Whoever’s behind there could come into the main straight ahead, in which case the car just behind wouldn’t get a speed boost…

    1. Very good point. If a driver overtakes into the final corner, they can then use their DRS to block a counter-attack, thus spoiling the racing.

      1. more likely they will be aware of this, so will use the back straight to get as close as possible without actually going in front into the last corner, saving it for the pit straight…result will be less overtaking on the back straight, traditionally a very good spot. Turns 1 & 2 are harder to make a pass stick on since the driver on the outside for turn 1 then looses track position for turn 2…all the defending driver has to do is cover the inside of the first corner and force the other driver wide on the second…so all in all I think this could be a shame for the circuit. but we will see. I also personally would like to see less commentary about the KERS and DRS, i would rather imagine the drivers are just battling away using all their skill and technology rather than think of them sitting there pushing buttons…as in if Coulthard and Brundle keep so much emphasis on those two devices, you forget that there are drivers behind the wheels!

      2. Why is that spoiling racing? You have both the drivers not use DRS in the back straight, and both drivers using DRS in the main straight. So, they are competing on even terms.

    2. yeah they should put the drs zone on the back straight!!! then we’d have overtaking on both straihts!

  4. Poor choice. The main straight generally sees a lot of overtaking because of the proceeding corners. It should have been done on the back straight, it might have created some counter-attacks too, like Petrov and Hamilton last year.

    1. Agreed. But if Australia is anything to go by, the FIA will change their mind again by tomorrow anyhow.

      1. Here’s an idea: why didn’t they make Turn 2 the activation point? Turn 3 is pretty much of an acceleration zone but its curved nature makes it hard to get a slipstream and tends top spread the cars out. then they could have the advantage going into 4, creating a new overtaking zone. The first and final turns see plenty of action already.

        1. That’s what I would have preferred. Have more overtaking opportunities, not more overtaking at established overtaking points.

          1. That’s what I would have preferred. Have more overtaking opportunities, not more overtaking at established overtaking points.

            But what happens when the standard overtaking zones don’t produce any overtaking and the DRS zone can’t?

          2. Well the “standard” overtaking spots have, since the race began, produced more than enough opportunities to keep me happy if I’m honest. A quick flick through the Malaysian GP highlights of the last few years shows more than enough passes into the first and last turns (including a Button on Hamilton non-KERS v KERS move if I’m not mistaken).

          3. GeeMac I believe that was Bahrain.

        2. Less rear wing through an acceleration zone on a corner? Not sure I like the idea of that.

          1. Make them work for their money! ;)

        3. That’s a fantastic idea. Enhance other sections, not make the established sections easier :)

        4. great idea! didn’t even think of that

        5. I hope you’re not being serious. In the words of Peter Griffin “that plan is so stupid it’s retarded”.

          DRS reduces downforce, which is why it cannoy be used during wet weather and corners. The system wouldnt get used. Those stupid enough to use it would see their back end swap with the front of the car.

          1. Not necessarily. In Qauli in melbourne the ywo Sauber drivers were deploying DRS while exiting just about every corner, they got a bit ove oversteer, but nothing they couldn’t handle. They should be able to go though turn three just fine with DRS deployed. I guess we’ll find out in the morning if that’s true.

          2. It’s an acceleration zone, not a corner. It just bends enough to be called one.

            Although to be fair with my original comment, we do see some passing into 4, but usually only on the first few laps.

    2. Agree totally. FIA have been listening to Massa, bad choice! The real excitement in F1 comes not from over-taking but re-overtaking soon after, i.e. a battle for the position. Would have been much better to have over-taking opportunities in two places, one after the other.

      1. Would have been much better to have over-taking opportunities in two places, one after the other.

        They still do. You’re acting as if the DRS is the be-all and end-all. It’s not. Drivers are still capable of passing one another under their own power without the DRS.

        1. Well obviously. I should have said ‘more opportunities,’ i.e. more chance for those who need a little bit of extra help overtaking on track. I’m not actually a fan of DRS, I just think if you’re going to have it, make effective use of it. Icthyes point seems valid.

      2. Well, IRC Massa said he preferred to have it on the back straight, not the pit straight.

        But I liked the concept of having DRS as a way of creating new potential passing zones…

  5. What happens if the cars are within 1 second in the detection zone and then the leading car pits – can the following car still use the DRS on the clear track?

    1. Yes. It happened in Melbourne.

      1. Shows how stupid the system is then . . .

  6. I don’t get why the detection point and the activation point can’t be at the same spot?!?! Are their computers seriously that slow or are they just dumb?

    1. It gives the drivers time to look at their steering wheel and then plan their attack.

    2. It’s to give the drivers time to recognise that their DRS is available. If they were detected and activated at the same time, the driver would be halfway down the straight before he activated it. The system works in such a way that when the driver crosses the detection line, he is told that his DRS will become active when he enters the DRS zone. It has nothing to do with the system calculating the difference between two cars.

      1. that’s a bit meeh but alright. At least it wasn’t a whole sector away like at Melbourne.

  7. They don’t have to press the button the minute it’s activated, do they? Just at any point along the straight… I’d think most drivers would have a pretty good idea of what “1 second” looked like, anyway!

    1. It’s not for the drivers. It’s for the spectators. In order to show how the DRS works, the lines were added to the circuits so that fans could see when one second between cars looks like.

    2. The driver can activate the DRS any point between the activation line and the first time the brakes are touched following the activation zone. Yes, this means if a driver’s foot slips 5 metres after the activation line, their DRS is lost at that point.

  8. This is very frustrating. Again we hear that this season is about the “show” and yet the fanatics are treated like idiots by the F.I.A.. Surely, the best place for the DRS to be used is on the back straight so that if an overtake happens at the final corner then there is a chance to re-take the place at turn one. This has been the case for most of the excitement at the Malaysian GP over the years. Now surely, we are going to see gaining by the second car through slipstreaming then they will deploy DRS and the be so far ahead by turn 1 there is no chance for a re-take. This is my opinion is the definition of an artificial pass.

    Let me know what you think.

    1. You have to understand that the FIA are not just catering to the die-hard fans – they want to attract casual fans as well.

      1. But at what cost?

        The fanatics become disillusioned by the forever business-like, green-pursuing, technology-inverting “sport” whilst a few casual fans watch the race in their spare time to see a few overtakes. Then the more the casual fan watches the less of a grasp they have on the complexity of the sport and find that the fanatics are almost united against the technology.

        I am completely against KERS and DRS because I believe they are catering to an unnecessary audience.

        Did the first race you enjoyed feature KERS?

        Did the post 2009 races bore us all to tears that we were crying out for push-to-pass gadgetry?

        Was the 2010 season so boring that we needed a drastic overhaul of the regulations?

        For all three questions I think the answer is no.

        I say we give the fanatics what they want, what is good for the benefit of the sport and see where the casual fan stands.

        I personally think the sport could only prosper.

        1. The DRS is no different to the F-duct. And I didn’t see you complaining half as much about that last year.

          1. The f-duct was a technological advance made by one team of incredible engineers who thought outside of the box and found an ingenuous way around the regulations.

            DRS is a technology invented by the FIA to try to improve a sport which was naturally returning to its peak.

            I just don’t see the point in it.

            I am all for technology in sport, active suspension, even traction control had its day but I think anything added to the sport purely as a ploy should be discouraged.

          2. Show me where it is written where the DRS guarantees that a driver will make a successful pass.

          3. You make a good point here PM but I still feel that racing should be the best team producing the best car with the two best drivers.

            I don’t like the idea of races being won and lost on the push of a button. There was nothing wrong with the racing over the past years and this is a knee-jerk reaction for a problem that never needed addressing. F1 is trying to be cost efficient and then throws this technology into the mix and we wonder why we only have 24 cars trying to make the grid. I’d prefer to see 40. But it just isn’t viable because of DRS and for those two reasons I am against it.

          4. It’s vastly different to the F-duct in the way that it’s implemented. If drivers could use DRS whenever they wanted, it would be far better: more challenging for them, more entertaining for us and clearer for the casual viewers.

          5. we wonder why we only have 24 cars trying to make the grid. I’d prefer to see 40. But it just isn’t viable because of DRS and for those two reasons I am against it.

            Actually, the grid size is limited by the size of the pit facilities. Where circuits like Abu Dhabi and Shanghai could comfortably hold over thirty cars, Monaco can only hold twenty-six at most. There is no space for any more teams – they had to cancel a planned GP3 round there this year because there was simply no room in the expanded paddock alongside the GP2 cars (and before you suggest dropping the support races to make room for more Formula 1 teams, GP2 and GP3 occupy the annexed paddock; the pit lane itself can only fit twenty-six cars).

            The maximum size of the grid will always be dictated by the smallest pit lane.

          6. I did not know that. Shame that, do you know how they did it in the late 80s/ early 90s? Purely out of interest

          7. @RBAlonso: They had two rounds of qualifying in the 80s. Pre-qualifying to weed out the slowest cars. Only the fastest 30 made it to final qualifying on Saturday. And of those 30, only 26 made it onto the grid.

          8. Thanks Burnout, couldn’t remember of the top of my head

          9. the DRS and F-duct is very different! If you haven’t noticed, the F-duct was open for everyone to use at all time. The DRS is for the driver 1 second behind. THAT’s the ridiculous part.

  9. Put the detection zone before the back straight, with the DRS zone being all the way down to the final hairpin. that way a driver could overtake down the back straight and then have to defend from a, closer non-DRS, counter attack down the front straight.

  10. No surprises really, expected that to be the layout.

    PS. Keith I’ve just spent 15 minutes to get this article to open. So I emptied my cache restarted Chrome but I just got the header / menus, a white screen and waiting for
    Shutting Chrome a second time and reopening finally it worked.
    I’m on Chrome 10.0.648.204

  11. Am i right in thinking DRS will be shut off when it rains??? at it looks like it will rain so most of this is really pointless isnt it?

    1. It’s been confirmed that the DRS will be deactivated by race control in the event of rain.

      1. Sweet thanks dude!!!

  12. Goggles Paisano
    7th April 2011, 13:49

    What if there are 3 cars within 1 second of each other coming into the ‘DRS activation zone’ (this happened in Melbourne)? Example – Vettel is followed by Hamilton, who is .5 seconds behind, followed by Alonso who is .5 seconds behind Hamilton.
    Do Hamilton and Alonso have DRS on the straight? Only Alonso? None?

    1. There is much confusion around DRS but I believe both could use it as they are both “within one second of the car in front”

      1. That’s not very confusing at all. It makes perfect logical sense. It was never presented as having any exceptions based on how many cars were within a second of each other.

        1. If someone overtakes between the detection zone and the activation zone, who is allowed to use DRS?

  13. Seems one of the reasons for Petrovs qualifying in 6th in Australia was agressive use of the DRS:

    The Russian says that he ‘took risks’ in qualifying last time out in Melbourne and does not expect to be able to replicate that performance this weekend.

    from autosport I like gutsy drives and drivers, keep that up Petrov and you can be a star.

  14. the last corner is one of the most common overtaking places.

    so what happens if two cars pass the DRS detection zone (within a second of each other), then the car behind passes the other car at the last corner, and because he was within 1 second at the DRS zone, has his system activated and get get away from the other car more easily having passed him?

    i think this might happen several times druing the race and can make the DRS a defensive tool, rather than what it was designed for.

  15. they have put the DRS in the wrong place, when Hamilton overtook Petrov last year on the last corner he would have behind Petrov in the DRS detection zone, then on the pit straight Hamilton could have used the DRS to pull away down the main straight even though would be in front of Petrov, they should put the DRS zone on the back straight,

  16. terrible idea from the FiA.

    One of two things will happen –

    1) the car behind will get the pass done on the back straight and into the final corner – and then have the benefit of the DRS in the main straight despite being in front


    2) the car behind won’t bother passing into the final corner, knowing that if they can get close enough into the final corner they have an easy pass (the main straight is huge…!)

    The DRS should have been set on the back straight to set up counter attacks on the main straight and maybe even last lap passing (imagine that…!).

  17. Fred Schechter
    7th April 2011, 16:10

    Just ridiculous. So they’ll actually penalize activation in a non sanctioned area, but all those areas,, it’s pointless to activate,,, sooo,, having a penalty,, is @#@# useless!

  18. Why are we ready to measure the DRS by whether a pass that didn’t happen last year, because the chasing driver lacked performance or wherewithal, would happen now? By this analysis, every pass that, spec for spec, would not have happened last year, now gets an asterisk. Statisticians, sharpen your pencils.

    So now, instead of a laps long battle with Hamilton or who ever trying to get by a stubborn FI, Hamilton gets an FIA dispensation, blows by the FI like it’s changed to a post, and goes his merry way. Welcome to the show.

  19. I support the view that DRS point is in the wrong place. In my view any car close behind on any of the 2 straights should be allowed to apply DRS. The measuring point should be on the exit of the turn, not before a turn, where it is possible to overtake on a drivers own merit or the others error.
    That said, the weather forecast indicates we will not see much DRS usage, but an exiting, surprising race anyway.

  20. I would have thought putting the DRS zone on the back straight would be the better option.
    By having it on the pit straight, we’ll probably see drivers not even attempting overtakes on the back straight, to ensure they are ready with the DRS.
    Plus cars with KERs will find it easier defending against the DRS down the pit straight since they get the ‘recharge’ as they cross the start/finish line.

    But then again, this is just a theory.
    I guess the proof will be in the pudding for the FIAs plan.

  21. Interesting that there’s been no announcement (so far) about the drivers/teams being able to run a DRS race simulation. That would give us some real insight to it’s deployment and result prior to the race.

    Just hope it doesn’t rain all weekend so we at least get to see it in use.

  22. I think the fact we have to constantly have a discussion about where the DRS zone is shows how ridiculous the DRS regulaations really are.

    The focus should be on the racing & not some stupid letterbox wing. I got fed up over the Melbourne weekend with the rear facing shots focussing on the wing & with constant talk from commentators focussed on the wing & KERS.

  23. anto the irish
    8th April 2011, 4:46

    its a toy

  24. Why not make BOTH straights DRS zones??? Will be fantastic!! Will be very exciting, because the guy passed in the first DRS zone, might come back and pass again on the second DRS zone. Cmon FIA !

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