Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham, Montreal, 2012

Which races should DRS be used at?

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Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham, Montreal, 2012F1 is almost halfway through its second season using the Drag Reduction System.

DRS remains a bone of contention for many and is a frequent source of debate in our post-race ‘Rate the Race’ features.

F1 teams have indicated they’re willing to listen to fans on devices introduced to improve ‘the show’ such as DRS. With that in mind, is DRS needed at every track on the calendar?

Should F1 try running without DRS at some tracks? Is it not needed anywhere? Or does every F1 circuit need a DRS zone? Cast your vote below.

Which races should DRS be used at?

Take your pick of the current circuits which feature on the F1 calendar which have held at least one race. You can choose as many tracks as you prefer or select ‘none’ if you would rather not see DRS used at all:

Which races should DRS be used at?

  • None (4%)
  • Brazil (Interlagos) (3%)
  • Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina) (7%)
  • India (Buddh) (5%)
  • Korea (KIC) (5%)
  • Japan (Suzuka) (5%)
  • Singapore (Marina Bay) (7%)
  • Italy (Monza) (3%)
  • Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps) (2%)
  • Hungary (Hungaroring) (7%)
  • Germany (Nurburgring) (4%)
  • Germany (Hockenheim) (4%)
  • Britain (Silverstone) (4%)
  • Europe (Valencia) (7%)
  • Canada (Circuit Villeneuve) (3%)
  • Monaco (Monte-Carlo) (5%)
  • Spain (Catalunya) (7%)
  • Bahrain (BIC) (6%)
  • China (Shanghai) (3%)
  • Malaysia (Sepang) (3%)
  • Australia (Albert Park) (6%)

Total Voters: 381

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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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  • 104 comments on “Which races should DRS be used at?”

    1. mattshaw85 (@)
      13th July 2012, 10:06

      It’s a difficult topic, as my understanding was the idea for DRS was to counteract the dirty air coming off the car in front to enable overtaking. It just seems way too easy to get past in a lot of instances. Should more of an effort not be made to simplify the aerodynamics? Maybe less downforce would be a better way to go? But would that have the desired effect?

      1. FIA should establish fixed aerodynamic points for all cars and it should be a lot less than now. They could develop aerodynamics, but just don’t increase downforce.

        1. The point of developing aerodynamics is increasing downforce, but I agree with you to an extent. I think that FIA should release very rigid specification of front and rear wings of the car, thus locking much of the aero development (and saving costs). However they should allow more freedom in other, non-areo areas. I’d love to see open engine development, but sadly this isn’t going to happen.

        2. I completely disagree. And will point out that they already have a huge number of regulations reducing down force. And they introduce more every year.

      2. @mattshaw85

        Should more of an effort not be made to simplify the aerodynamics? Maybe less downforce would be a better way to go?

        That would be ideal, but the teams would shoot it down in a matter of minutes. They know that the more downforce they have, the more competitive they will be, so they will fight any more to minimise downforce levels.

      3. Jayfreese (@)
        13th July 2012, 11:21

        I believe it’s more due to the fact that where the DRS zone is than the DRS itself, F1 fanatics have been used to it now, at least I am, but zones need an improvement to make passings not easy nor impossible. It’s always the same old things with pros and cons, so an average positionning would be fine for zones.
        Just remember F1 has to be difficult and overtaking is part of it.

        1. Agreed with Jay, if the ‘zone’ can put the passing car almost into a position to pass at the next corner, and allows the defending car to defend, that’s great. Make both work at their jobs.

      4. The FIA already tried to simplify the aerodynamics in 2009. It didn’t work, actually you got the contrary: teams started to work much more heavily into detail; in the area’s where development is still possible, they came up with very refined wings and bodywork, as well as taking up old concepts previously dumped for their sensitivity (exhaust blown diffusers). I think everybody can agree that comparing 2008 to 2009, the year where aerodynamics were still relative simple, there weren’t more overtakes. The double diffuser might have something to do with that, but not by a long shot it can explain the failure of those regulations.

        The end result is that these current aerodynamics are so sensitive that when the air is disturbed, you loose alot of downforce in the corners behind an other car. Set up even more stringent regulations and you can assume it’ll only get worse.

        I think it is much better actually to loosen the regulations in area’s that aren’t that sensitive to disturbed air and/or that don’t create huge amounts of drag. That way cars will have the downforce necessarily to keep close to the other car in the corner. I for one am huge supporter for return of ground effect. To reduce speed you could go back to grooved tyres.

        The government body of F1 should take its lessons out of past experiences on this one. Attempt to remove downforce, and teams will only be more fanatic to claw it back. And they are VERY creative at doing that, curtesy to the EBD’s which are getting ever nearer to the downforce output of last year.

        As a side note; decreasing aerodynamics increases costs. As I said teams will want to claw downforce back. It must have cost Red Bull and Ferrari tuns of money for their several iterations of the sidepods on development, crashtest and implementation.

        1. I would love to see ground effect back!

          1. You are right.
            The wind these days just have way too many flaps, winglets and things hanging around. This kind of fine detail only makes the wings more sensitive to air pressure changes. Just look at those front wings!

            They should impose a 2 flap front wing and let teams get creative.

    2. For me, DRS should only be used on tracks where overtaking is potentially difficult or where races have always been dull. For example most of recent additions to the calendar but also a few old ones like Spain or Hungary. On High Speed tracks like Montréal, Silverstone, both German tracks, Spa and Monza there’s absolutely no need for DRS because these tracks always produces some great racing in the past. Same for Malaysia and Brazil. Suzuka is a great track but unless you have a mixed up grid like 2005, there won´t be much action on track and one has to say that DRS worked pretty well last year.

      1. exactly why use a DRS zone at a track that produces good racing anyway. This would just make it too easy. A very short DRS zone could work at some tracks so that it allows the car to get into the slipstream of the car ahead and then it wouldn’t be as artificial.

        1. it would good if it had a pre-defined zone in which it could be used that wasn’t ended by the braking zone ie. you flip it open coming off a corner to get into the slip stream but can’t keep it open for the whole of the straight. that way the following car would get into a position to pass but wouldn’t necessarily be able to breeze past as they often do now.

          however, i think we would still end up with too many motorway style passes, which i really hate. i thought one of the best races this year was monaco because it was tense, much like barcelona last year (though admittedly that did involve DRS – i’ve said before that an exciting race is more down to specific circumstance than general factors).

          silverstone and canada were both rubbish because it became obvious that the following driver would have no trouble getting past as soon as they got to the DRS zone. boring, no tension.

          i voted ‘none’ – we didn’t have it in 2009 and there were dozens of overtakes.

      2. I agree. I think DRS should be used almost everywhere, bar Montreal and Spa.

        I understand and agree with the concept of the DRS, but sometimes it goes too far and there seems to be like an “obligation” to use it everywhere. At Spa and Montreal it’s really not needed.

        Specially if they set the DRS zone in the best overtaking spot on the circuit. If they want to use it at those circuits famous for giving good opportunities of overtaking, then they should set the DRS zone at an unusual place. For example, at Spa, they could put the DRS area in the pit straight, leading to the harpin. Or at Montreal, in that bit of straigh before the harpin.

      3. Did you watch Monza last year? DRS barely did anything.

    3. DRS is just a video-game gimmick. It’s too artificial. So I voted “none”

    4. I have the perfect solution to the dirty air.
      What you do is you get the teams to design and develop tgheir individual laminar flow ‘hoses’ coming off the cars diffusers and rear wings.
      It won’t necessarily be pretty, but it means that theorhetically the dirty air will no longer be an issue, so the cars can follow each other very closely through increibly fast, aero-dependant corners.
      Then, to make sure they’re playing ball, each car can be the subject of scrutineering so that the stewards check that it does actually work to a certain tolerance.
      Good idea?

      1. Drop Valencia!
        13th July 2012, 11:01

        I have suggested a mandatory “Grid” at the rear of the car, would take some getting used to but would work.

      2. Or just make the aerodynamics of the cars simpler and clutter free. That will make the air behind much cleaner.

        1. But that would decrease the overall downforce and therefore speed of the cars, nd right now, it’s captivating to see cars going round copse with only the slightest lift in qualy

      3. You don’t need to have the teams develop together. If they regulate the aerodynamic wake in a sane way, the result would be the same without sacrificing competition.

    5. I voted none, but if DRS is here to stay, then it surely can’t hurt to try a race without it.

      Also, the placements for DRS have been silly. Why do they put DRS at places where overtaking will happen anyway? The only races where DRS wasn’t placed on a part of the track where there would have been overtaking anyway were Monaco and Valencia. That’s only because those two tracks have little overtaking to begin with at any part.

      1. I don’t mind DRS so much but I agree it’s silly to put it in places where overtaking is likely to happen anyway…surely it would be better where possible to put it onto a section in advance of these areas to encourage the cars to be close to each other. So for Silverstone put it on the new start/finish straight, allow cars to close up before Abbey and if they can hold it through the Arena they get their chance down the National(?) straight where the DRS zone was this year

      2. I agree. I have been saying since the introduction of drs that it should be put in places where overtaking never usually occurs. This way it will create opportunities, rather than just making easy passes, or at allow the following driver to close in a bit, giving them more of an opportunity when they get to the standard overtaking spot.

        Take Hockenheim for example, no doubt they will put the drs zone on the long straight up to the hairpin, but I would suggest they put it on the short straight between turns 1+2. This will either create a new overtaking opportunity, or put the following car a little closer going onto the long straight so we can see more moves there.

    6. I’ve always had this theory that DRS as an idea was concocted by FOTA, Bernie and the FIA as a way to make racing better at the particularly crappily desgned Tilke-Dromes. Tilke designed monstrosities like Yas Marina and Valencia lend themselves well to DRS. Because that’s the only way to overtake. By going a lot faster than your opponents in a straight line — there’s no other option. But on the other hand the few “legacy” circuits we have left on the calendar- Monaco, Silverstone etc. create their own overtaking opportunities by good course layout and demanding driver skill. DRS makes a race at Valencia better, but it can never make the perfection of Suzuka or Spa better.
      P.S– I’ve always liked the idea of limiting the times of DRS can be used during a race to around 12 times per race. I hate it but not as much as some others on here.

      1. (@dz06) Couldn’t agree more. I think they should extent the potential for KERS somehow, get rid of the majority of Tilke tracks and DRS altogether. KERS can be deployed more tactically, and STILL give one driver a potential advantage on a straight. The amount of times I’ve heard the commentators enjoying a good battle until the driver behind opens up the DRS and they say ‘and there’s nothing he can do’, in a rather resigned and dissapointed way.

        If they want to keep DRS (which ruins almost my favourite track on the calendar, Spa), then perhaps allow drivers to make more than one move in defence? Maybe dangerous, but I’m utterly fed up of the many of the drivers infront simply giving up once the other has DRS, because there really is precious little they can do.

        (Plus the other reason I want DRS banned is I’m a Vettel loather and it’s the only way he can overtake and I’m sick of him winning undeserved championships).

    7. I voted none, simply because I would rather see them do something to actually solve the problem, instead of fixing it like I fix my phones rear cover. With duct tape. Yeah it sort of solves the issue, but its not right is it?
      What about actually fixing F1? I know it wont be easy, and I know it can’t be done overnight. Maybe 5 years? Maybe 10. But it can be done if they really wanted to.
      So far, I think Pirelli can do the job. F1 would still be more exciting to casual fans then it has been in many years, and be much more enjoyable to the more “purist” viewers.

      1. (@mads) how would you suggest fixing it?

        1. @sgt-pepper
          Simply start to reduce the wing size on the cars, slowly replace that with either better tyres, and a shaped floor instead the dead straight one they use now.
          It would make it easier for the cars to run closer to each other and thereby make it easier to overtake everywhere without the use of DRS.
          It will take time and to reduce costs has to be done in steps. But it is possible. I don’t think that DRS is necessary as a stop-gap solution. We should simply live with fewer, but better overtakes and slowly get more close racing without using artificial means like the DRS.

          1. @(mads) I’m afraid I don’t know enough about ground effects to comment on whether I feel it’s wise or not (maybe Keith, or someone who does can). And when you say reduce wing size, would that entail less downforce? Please excuse my relative ignorance on this particular subject.

            Absolutely agree with you about living with fewer, but better overtakes.

            1. woops, meant (@mads)

            2. @sgt-pepper
              Basically ground effects produce downforce regardless of the air ‘quality’ it sucks in. So the turbulence coming off the wings of the car in front wont affect the downforce generated on the floor of the car behind.
              The problem is that if the car lifts slightly, or if the nose dives / hits a bump etc. which blocks the airflow going under the car, it looses all its effect and that can be incredibly dangerous at high speeds.
              which is why I don’t support side skirts and that kind of extreme measures. Just allow the designers to make better use of the diffuser and floor.
              And yes reducing the size of the wings will reduce the downforce. The wings will be similarly affected by the turbulence, but with smaller wings a smaller proportion of the cars performance and downforce is generated by then so the loss of overall time will be reduced.
              Say that, with today’s cars, (I don’t have any idea about the real figures) 50 percent downforce is generated by the floor. The last 50 from the wings on top.
              So if the wings loose 30% of their performance within 0.5 of a second off the car in front, while the floor remains the same, the total downforce level of the car behind will have 85% left of its normal downforce.
              So if you changed the floor/wing ratio to 70% floor generated downforce and just 30% wing generated downforce with the same loss of 30% wing downforce within 0.5 seconds, the downforce will remain at 91% downforce.
              How significant the loss actually is, I don’t know. The floor downforce will likely still suffer a bit, but not nearly as much as the wings.
              So reducing wing generated downforce and increasing floor generating downforce will allow the cars the maintain a larger portion of their performance when they are running close to each other.
              So that’s the theory behind my view at least. : )

    8. I’ve voted for none. What should really be done is that tracks where overtaking is very difficult should be looked at with the goal of modifying the track to make the racing better. Some tracks this will never be possible, like Monaco, but that race has its own appeal and has never needed lots of overtaking to make for an exciting and fascinating race.

      F1 needs to accept that sometimes you do have dull races. That’s a fact in all forms of motorsport, and something you can’t get away from. Making Whacky Races might seem appealing but it spoils the purity of the competition for me.

      Fact is, there’s close racing with good wheel to wheel combat on some tracks and not others. This to me suggests that the problem is not aerodynamics, but rather the layouts of the tracks. You can point at a track layout and universally everyone will say you can overtake at the same corners. Why can’t the new tilkedromes be built with corners like this? Austin has been built with this philosophy in mind, so let’s see how that works out.

    9. It’s been good in the last couple of races, setting moves up but not making them too easy. I like the way Silverstone doesn’t have it on the main (Hangar) straight, but encourages passing somewhere else too.
      I voted for five or six tracks that don’t have a long straight, and maybe need a helping hand.

    10. All or none.
      DRS is a half baked solution to a problem which still exists – the cars not being able to pass due to loss of downforce in the wake of a car.
      I think the solution needs to be far more radical than DRS.

      My solution is:
      Give the drivers the ability to toggle between preset wing setups as they go around the track. This should be available at all times by all drivers.
      Bring back the ability for engineers to adjust most of the other settings on the car (mix levels, revs etc). This frees up the driver to concentrate on using their aero. This sort of stuff is boring (yet important), so why not let the engineers do it, instead of burdening the driver. Plus, the teams inability to change settings on the car remotely is incongruous with modern technology. Having to radio the driver and ask them to physically turn a dial is so 1998.

      The number of aero settings allowed will be dictated by regulations and the ability to change the settings will be governed by parc ferme regulations. An idea of what the settings will be is: High Downforce/High Drag = following car in corners; Optimal Downforce/Drag = clear running in corners; Low Downforce/Low Drag = straights; Option = free setting for teams to use at their discretion, be it favouring front or back to deal with tyre wear, or a specific rain setup if they think it will rain.

      This will let drivers follow other cars without losing too much downforce in the corners, and also allow drafting on straights.

      1. F1 is already getting away from the concept of a single person operating the car, this would simply take it further into the realms of multiple people ‘driving’ the cars.

    11. Should it not also be added, How many times a driver could enable his/her DRS per race Distance!!

    12. DRS should be used at all of the circuits, or none of them.

      1. why?

        Do you think teams would start designing their cars differently (i.e. optimized to run without DRS or something) if not used everywhere?

        1. If people think that DRS should be used at every circuit, shouldn’t it always be the same number of zones, of the same length, coming off the back of a corner of the same speed? I don’t understand why it should be used at every circuit when it can’t be used in a uniform manner at those circuits anyway.

          1. The same for me @matt90, If its used at all (I prefer not to have it, at least not as its now with the 1second gap and zones) I would say not to use it at many tracks, at some use it on one place, some on 2 or even 3, dependent on the track’s layout

      2. Exactly. With the same reasoning, I also think DRS should be either “liberalised” – same regulations in the race as in qualifying – or removed altogether. The best, I think, would be if they instead try and fix the problem DRS was made to fix, instead of fixing DRS. Regulating the aero wake would be a good start, for example.

    13. 3 DRS polls vs. one tyre one.

      Are we going to keep having DRS polls until the punters give the “right” result?

      Reminds me of the Lisbon Treaty….

      1. I notice there is a “None” option, but not an “All” option.

        Will the data be aggregated out when the results are presented, so that those who voted for “all” circuits will be accurately represented?

        Again, the accurate way to present this data is:
        Some (sub-poll for which ones)

        That’s not what we’ve got, however.

        1. I notice there is a “None” option, but not an “All” option.

          I’m sure this doesn’t need to be pointed out but you just tick all the tracks.

          A ‘none’ option is required because there is no other way of registering that voting intention.

          What you’re suggesting would offer multiple ways of registering the same voting intention, which would obviously bias the poll in favour of one side of the debate.

          1. On the contrary, the way the poll is presented, and the language of the question posed, the natural assumption for the default voting state is “some”. Only at the end does the “None” option appear. The Title states “Which” tracks, which also leads to a strong cognitive bias, before the poll is even displayed, towards the “Some” choice.

            Voting “All” requires the polled person to separately select every option except the last one, a far more lengthy and error-prone task. Furthermore, as the user goes down the list, intending to select every single one, every choice leads to the opportunity for them to change their mind and go for “some”. It takes 20 times as long for someone to choose “All” as it does “None”, and at every point, they are effectively being asked to validate that choice again.

            The bias in the poll, therefore is twofold: one of cognition and one of effort. The “none” option requires a single selection and a single decision.

            1. the natural assumption for the default voting state is “some”

              Clearly it isn’t. Readers can select whichever point on the spectrum of opinion best reflects their point of view – anywhere between ‘all’ or ‘none’ – while also allowing them to show which particular tracks are most in need of DRS, if that is what their view is.

              As I already pointed out, your suggestion would give people the ability to vote for the same option twice, which is a far more blatant example of the kind of “bias” you accuse me of.

            2. The “none” option requires a single selection and a single decision.

              Which is easily made by anyone who rejects DRS.

            3. @mike, I think that is exactly what @hairs is getting at. To vote not to have DRS you give only one selection. To say all tracks is more work (ticking all boxes). Alhough its easy enough to just tick one of those boxes, and they are above the “none” option.

              Funny thing is, you can even click all tracks AND the none option at once, they are not mutually exclusive!

            4. @bascb I thought that he was saying that the “none” option was hidden in the sea of which one’s to pick. To be honest, either way, I don’t think it’s of significance.

            5. @keithcollantine

              Readers *can* select, in the same way that if I created the same poll, and when someone selected “no”, I flashed 20 popups at them asking them if they’re sure they want to select no.

              And as @bascb points out, you can tick “None” and also “Some” or “All”. This situation shouldn’t be possible, the poll’s structure is badly flawed, and its data cannot be relied upon. A exclusive “All / Some / None” with a sub-poll would prevent that.

              The situation you describe would require someone to intentionally game the results. While that’s entirely likely on the internet (and I have found the “rate the race” results to be increasingly out of kilter with what I’m watching), this poll could have been structured in such a way as to make that difficult. I’m not suggesting that when you created this poll, you deliberately set out to game the results. I’m suggesting that your own extremely strong opinion of DRS is subconsciously colouring your view of the subject, just as if I were asked to write a column on Grosjean or Maldonado, while I may attempt to be neutral, my subconscious would natter at me in the background, and that would mean that it is entirely likely that the tone would lean towards betraying my dislike for the former and contempt for the latter. It’s human nature.