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Strategy is more important now, says Massa as DRS is reviewed
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Strategy is more important now, says Massa as DRS is reviewed
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Apr 2011   |  9:38 am GMT  |  112 comments

In Malaysia, observed Felipe Massa, there was “a lot of overtaking in the final laps. That is why the strategy is even more important now, in order to get the tyre change sequence just right, so that you can avoid finding yourself fighting for position in the last few laps, while dealing with tyres that are no longer at their best.”

Massa (Photo: Ferrari)


This weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix takes place on another track where the effects of KERS, the DRS wing and the tyre degradation will be transformative, as they were in Sepang.

Interestingly, the FIA is considering single detection, double activation DRS, whereby once enabled, the wing could be used at two points on the lap instead of just one. Taking Melbourne as an example. The DRS would be enabled if the car were within the one second gap at the penultimate corner, then you have a first activation point on the pit straight and a second one between Turns 2 and 3. It wouldn’t suit some circuits, but it would work in some places, like Istanbul coming up next month, for example.

Many technical people in F1 think it’s a good idea. The only people who would be likely to argue against double activation would be Red Bull, on the basis that if you are the fastest, you don’t want to give anything away and offer the people behind two chances to use the wing to pass you.

Massa highlighted the end of the race, where Lewis Hamilton came a cropper, for example, because he couldn’t get the tyres to last the whole of the final stint. But the start of the race is also critical and has a big bearing on strategy.

Here we have seen an interesting trend already this season with Renault the outstanding starters. In the two Grands Prix to date, the two drivers have made up a total of 14 places. Admittedly some of Nick Heidfeld’s nine places gained were slower cars down the field after he qualified poorly in Melbourne, but in Sepang he shocked the front runners while Vitaly Petrov’s five places gained in two starts are all against the fastest cars in the field. These strong moves from Renault are forcing drivers from McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull to have to rethink their strategy almost as soon as the race has started.

Less obvious, but also impressive, is the start performance of Force India, which has seen Adrian Sutil gain five places at the start and Paul di Resta four.

Interestingly at Ferrari, Massa has gained four places on the opening laps of the first two races while Fernando Alonso has lost six, the same amount as Mark Webber. Only one man has held position in both races at the start and that’s Webber’s team mate Sebastian Vettel.

For more details like these, an in depth look at the strategy considerations and likely race strategies in Shanghai go to myUBS Strategy Preview Click on “Microsite Special” and then click on the map of Shanghai circuit

Additional reporting: Tom Clarkson

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112 Comments
  1. Pranav Haldea says:

    Hi James

    Apologoes for a non-related mail…

    I am a huge F1 fan from India finally making the journey to Silverstone this year for the British GP.

    Needed some help from you. I was about to book my tickets for the race and wanted to know where the DRS zone on the track would be. Would it be the old start finish line (National Pit Straight), the new start finish line (International Pits Straight), the Hangar straight, or any other place?

    I tried to find this information online but was unable to do so. I would really appreciate if you could let me know. It would help me in making the right choice for my tickets.

    Cheers
    Pranav

    1. James Allen says:

      We will look into that, thanks

      1. Quick Nick Rules says:

        Hi James,

        I would argue the above post is anything BUT off topic – with the advent of DRS surely people now attending Grand Prix are only going to want to sit in the DRS zone? This must be a bit of a worry for Circuit organisers looking to sell tickets all round the track, perhaps one of the reasons the FIA are looking to make ensure there is more than one zone ie more than one spot around the track that will be a desirable area to sit in?

      2. James Allen says:

        I’m getting a lot of questions on this, so not off topic as you say!

      3. Dale says:

        Yep, good point. |I still don’t like the whole DRS though as for me one only needs to read Alonso#s quote re how if his ‘DRS’ had been working he’d have been able to overtake Hamilton without the need for aqny risk – that just isn’t F1 and not what I want to see from the so called best drivers in the world.

        Overtaking should be difficult.

      4. Glynn Harrold says:

        But at any circuit there’s always places were overtaking was more likely that at others. If this is what determine where people would rather sit, then these places would already be more popular.

      5. Pranav Haldea says:

        Has the zone not been decided yet then? I would really appreciate a prompt reply as tickets are selling like hot cakes right now! Thanks

      6. Robert McKay says:

        If they’re only deciding Shanghai’s zone a couple of days before the race…

      7. Baktru says:

        It was said before the season that the DRS zones would be decided shortly before every race.

        I don’t think any of them for races post China have been decided yet. I had actually expected that they would have the longest straight used for DRS, i.e. the one leading up to the sharp hairpin at the end of the lap.

        B.

  2. seifenkistler says:

    Was Heidfeld the first to overtake 3 former F1-champions in a race?
    If not in a race, but perhaps in less than a half round?

    1. Quick Nick Rules says:

      Not the first time he’s schooled a couple of world champions either – who could forget Silverstone ’08 where he TWICE overtook two cars at once on the exit of woodcote, and the guys he overtook weren’t exactly slouches – Alonso, Glock, Kovalainen, Raikkonen. What a guy.

  3. Thomas says:

    We’ve seen these strong starts from Felipe quite often, havnt we? Glad to see some of the magic is still there…

    1. Declan says:

      I know this is a conspiracy theory. But I was very suspicious of the Malaysian GP pitstop that put Massa behind Alonso.

      Team orders are now legal but geez, if there was a manual on how to crush the spirit of one of your drivers, Ferrari definitely wrote it.

      I’d like to see Massa reclaim a bit of the old magic at a couple of the races this year. He deserves it (but F1 is littered with drivers who deserved better!)

      1. Galapago555 says:

        Sorry but… where in the FIA Sporting Regulations did you read that team orders are forbidden?

        In fact this is what you can read @ http://www.f1.com, when explaining the Regs changes for 2011 season:

        “Team orders
        The clause in the sporting regulations banning team orders has been removed.”

        http://bit.ly/XQUZK

      2. Galapago555 says:

        Sorry, but… where in Declan’s comment did I read that team orders are forbidden?

        May I suggest [Mod] to simply delete my previous comment ;-)

      3. Milton says:

        I don’t agree with your conspiration theory, but I do think that Massa should win a couple of races this season… that would relive his former self.

      4. Krishchar says:

        Massa to reclaim a bit of old magic ?

        Are you joking declan ?

        Felipe massa peforming better then alonso (Sound very funny and impossible)

        No team orders at all, Alonso is the best driver in F1 i have ever seen thus far, on the contrary Felipe massa is the worst driver in F1 and a discgrace for ferrari

        In 2010 when alonso came into the team, everyone said he cannot handle a fast teammate

        He has made (anti-alonso) fans to eat up their words 15:4 he thrashed massa, iam expecting him to totally pulverize massa in 2011 as well

      5. declan says:

        results speak for themselves, and massa is proving to be racy and quick thus far in the first 3 races.

        “massa is the worst driver in f1″… think you’re in a solo boat with that view. coming second in the championship shows he’s no chump.

        saying all that though, I never suggested that massa was going to beat alonso, simply that their gap last year was not truly reflective.

    2. Satish says:

      Conversely, Alonso’s starts leave a LOT to be desired. He seems to get swallowed up consistently in races, even last season, as if he’s afraid of getting tangled up in a mess at the first corner.

      I sometimes feel this might be a paranoia on his part due to the messed up starts from some races last season where he lost many places, and so he tries to keep it clean but ends up being quite conservative perhaps?

  4. Jo Torrent says:

    Vettel’s race craft is well known. If he starts on pole and takes the 1st corner 1st then he’ll disappear and win whether it’s dry or whether it rains water, stones or meteorites. Put him 2nd after that 1st corner or worse and the boy is in big big trouble…

    As for Felipe Massa, I can’t disagree more with what he said. Last year, if you make a bad strategy move and you find yourself behind a midfield car in that single pit stop you’re stuck there for the whole race while this year you can overtake if you have a decent speed advantage over the guy ahead. Only the Renault of Heidfled is hard to overtake with its exceptional traction that ruined Hamilton 1st stint.

    That traction is what makes Renault starts so lethal. It’s as if when they qualify they had their grid postion minus 3 or 4 positions. What a comfortable situation to be in !

    You didn’t mention Schumacher starts which have been exceptional both last and this year. The problem is that he tends to go back during the races. The exact opposite of Alonso who manages to find himself blocked by someone on every occasion (Button in Australia and Webber/Heidfeld in Malaysia)

    1. Dale says:

      Totally agree with your observations on Vettel, leading from the front with the fastest car beneath him he’s uncatatchable (surprise that isn’t it)? Put him behind the likes of Hamilton or Alonso in cars slower but not that much slower and there’s no way he’ll pass safely, the best he ain’t!To hear so many of the ‘so called’ experts (Coulthard, Jordon etc) saying that Vettel is the best. I rate Hamilton, Alonso & Kubica above him and given equal equipment they’d all show it and let’s be honest had it not been for the stupid raceless Tilke designed track at the last race of 2010 Vettel would not be world champion (yes I know he had breakdowns etc but he was also responsible for the collision with Webber where the team showed their true colours in blaming Webber).

      1. . says:

        So who won in Suzuka again, back to back? The track everyone considers to be for the purest racers only?

        Fact is , Vettel never was behind Alonso or Hamilton to pass them….because they are too slow to be in front of him.

        And then you can say, faster car blahblah, well Alonso and Hamilton also won their championships because they were in the faster car on average. They also overtake because they have a faster car, that’s the way it works.

        These anti-Vettel arguments are all invalid, because it would apply to 99% of all champions, including your own favorite.

      2. C says:

        Alonso won both championships on reliability: The first one against Kimi, who had 4 DNFs when he was ahead of Alonso, including a dramatic loss of a tire with a couple of laps to go.

        In 2006, he was clearly in the back foot against the Ferrari when a Schumi DNF in suzuka and a problem in qualifying in Brazil left him with pretty much no chances, when just the previous week was clearly leading and had a faster car.

        Also, one could argue that Hamilton and Alonso did have the fastest car overall in 2007, when neither of them managed to get the championship.

      3. Declan says:

        Think the point is missed that DESPITE the current rules handicapping the driver at the front … Vettel was unstoppable.

        That shows his raw pace, ability to strategize and to look after the tyres – all the rounded qualities that makes him the current world champion.

        You mentioned Vettel’s questionable racecraft by bringing up his incident in Turkey. But let’s not forget Hamilton tripping up in Monza and Singapore, and Alonso failing in the last race.

        I am not by any stretch a Vettel fan. I honestly think we are in a period where there are 3 “once-in-a-generation” drivers out there (Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel) with another 3 who can be as quick on their day (Webber, Kubica, Button).

        All I want is for the cars to be as even as possible so that we can definitely say that it was pure speed that won this year’s championship … and for the FIA to stand aside to not politicize what happens on track (Their decision for Alonso and Hamilton was beyond absurd. Alonso was already punished by his own mistake, and Hamilton’s ‘weaving’ did not impend Alonso at one of the widest tracks).

      4. Dale says:

        I agree with what you’ve said except I’d put Kubica with Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso (I wonder if we’ll ever see hin back at his best, I fear not).
        You are right about Jenson, on his day if his car is balanced he is as fast and possibly faster than anyone (only if his car is perfect though).
        For sure to have several genuine top drivers racing at the same time is great, shame we still have to go to so many rubbish racing tracks though and I just hope the current advantage RedBull have is pegged back so we can see the best against the best.

      5. Mozelo says:

        By that logic, the much vaunted Alonso should have overtaken Petrov, who was in a much slower car, in Abu Dhabi last year.

    2. Stevie P says:

      According to the Strategy Report – on the UBS site, referred to at the end of the article above – Schumi has lost 8 places (a combined figure for both Aus and Malaysia) at the starts this season.

      I feel there is more strategy involved so far this season, much more in fact… the big unknown is precisely when the tyres are gonna hit the cliff-edge – which I love. The racing becomes a lot less predictable so decisions are made on the fly :-)

      1. Noelinho says:

        I think Schumacher’s figure is skewed by an incident on lap one in Australia, so it’a probably a little unfair on him. His start in Malaysia was pretty good, I seem to remember, and last year, he was probably the best starter of everyone – gained more than 30 positions over the course of the first two laps of Grands Prix, didn’t he?

      2. Stevie P says:

        I won’t reply to you all (tank and John; Jo T too) – but you’re right. I was puzzled by the figure after his positive start in Malaysia, so I had a little review of the Aussie GP start.

      3. tank says:

        I may be wrong, but that number may be number of position changes after the first lap, not the only the start. Schumacher made several places off the line in Oz, only to be baulked out of the first corner, and then driven into later in the lap (for which he required a pit stop for a puncture).

      4. John Butcher says:

        Schumi had a first lap incident in Aus which didnt help him, thus the -8 positions for the season.

    3. azac21 says:

      I think Alonso tends to be over cautious at the start of the races. However I believe it is because he knows (strategicaly) that a “coming together” in the first lap can ruin the whole race.

      This year he has also been unlucky in both races, either pushed out by JB or held back by MW. Having the Renaults just behind him on the grid made things a lot worse.

      Somehow, I think who ever starts behind the Renaults can take advantage of the “space” they “create” by starting so well.

  5. Dale says:

    F1 is loosing it’s soul with all this fakery and gimmicks.
    What’s really needed is nothing more than good race tracks like we have here in England and the likes of Japan and Brazil.
    WE also need the FIA to reward those drivers that have fair and can overtake others rather than penalize them as we’re all seen so often (remember Lewis overtaking Kimi – sheer magic for those that watched it only for ………… mmmmmmmm – better keep my thoughts to myself!!!!

    1. Matt H says:

      How is it losing its soul? Remember the extra boost button in the 80′s?

      Racing was allegedly its best then?

      American racing is oft touted as the best and with all the flags etc its as contrived as they get yet its very popular.

      F1 hasnt been so exciting for ages and the natural order of finishers hasnt been artificially altered, its still vettel, hammy, button, alonso etc finishing up front so whats the problem?

      1. . says:

        You always bring up the 80s and American racing while no one ever talked about that.

        What’s your point?

      2. Matt H says:

        The point is obvious

        Teams and indeed circuits have always had ‘gimmicks’ as you call them and some of these periods are referred to as the best times or ‘golden era’

        It puts your point about losing soul and gimmicks into perspective as they’ve always been around ( albeit in some times less visible – TC/LC, mass dampers etc and the racing has been no less enjoyable and nobody previously questioned the integrity of the sport.

        So, what is YOUR point?

    2. Red5 says:

      The racing is certainly more exciting.

      If you didn’t know the cars utilized KERs and DRS technology would you still bemoan Malaysia?

      Surely that’s the ultimate litmus test for the changes.

    3. Jo Torrent says:

      Silverstone isn’t a circuit where overtaking is easy contrarily to what you think. Is it a great track yes as is Suzuka. Is it great for overtaking no.

  6. **Paul** says:

    The double DRS zone would be a real bonus for Renault as they’ve got good straightline speed and a good starting speed, thus in the first 5 laps of a race they can be a real threat.

    I think double DRS would be too much, it was bordering on too easy to overtake on the straight in Malaysia thanks to it. The tyres are more than doing enough to aid overtaking without the need for double DRS IMO.

    1. hutch says:

      I think I’d be okay with double DRS on tracks without long straights. Somewhere like Malaysia where there are two long straights back-to-back would be overkill.

  7. Baghetti says:

    When reading the post-Malaysia and pre-China articles, it seems to me that it is mainly Renault that is advocating to limit the use of DRS. In a way this is logic because they clearly have the best KERS and it makes sense for them to try to limit the use of other tools that facilitate overtaking, but on the other hand they shouldn’t be too concerned since their KERS has already proven that it a quite an effective ‘DRS-blocker’. Of course the lesser places at which DRS can be used, the more flexibility Renault has to use their KERS at other places than towards the end of the DRS zone…

  8. terryshep says:

    +1

    By the way, as well as the remarkable traction, has anybody noticed that the Lotus-Renault was the fastest car through the speedtrap despite all the crying from Mr Horner about the Renault engine being under-powered?

    1. Matt H says:

      Mclaren said they were running more ‘wing’ than others so to be honest, unless you know the ‘wing’ that everyone ran and the gearing then speedtrap data is fairly useless in guessing an engines power

    2. I would imagine that all the engines are producing roughly the same power now. Perhaps the Renault is down on power slightly which, when combined with the development freeze on engines, provides a legitimate gripe for those not using Mercedes or Ferrari power.

      I think the issue may be particularly worrying for Newey because more power equals more downforce, and if anyone can squeeze more downforce out of a car, he can. Maybe nobody else complains because they can’t “see” the effect that a 1-2% increase in power would provide? Surely they can though, it is F1 after all.

      The relation between power and top speed is a balancing act with aero, if Renault give up a bit of downforce for straight line speed then they can be the fastest down the straights. Perhaps with the reintroduction of KERS and the new for 2011 DRS this is a very good strategy. By giving up a small amount of downforce you can perhaps exponentially gain on the straights allowing you to pass other cars with greater ease?

      As for Horner’s insistence that they are down on power, perhaps it is just a ploy to help Renault’s case for making some modifications to the engine to get more power? If you don’t ask/complain then nobody will ever respond?

      It has been an interesting season thus far!

      1. C says:

        Last year, the back makers were often among the fastest in the speed traps with cosworth engines, if just because they didn’t know how to add more downforce with the limited development resources. All that extra advantage in the straights went away in the turns, and then some.

        Also remember how in the last race last year, Petrov’s Renault was pretty much impossible to pass by an otherwise faster Ferrari, because the only serious overtaking point in the track was at the end of a straight, and the ferrari had so much more downforce than the Renault that Alonso couldn’t keep up at all.

      2. Exactly, so if Renault are maximizing their straight line speed in exchange for some downforce then perhaps they are maximizing their ability to overtake.

      3. Alex W says:

        more power does not equal more downforce, more exhaust gases equals more downforce, and the Renault, while down on power, is more economical, therefore can use more fuel under braking and cornering to produce more downforce, 10% more fuel according to Renault. I am guessing this is why Newey wanted the Reanault, he sure didn’t want it for its power.

  9. Alex W says:

    Strategy is more important now, because it is much more complex. There are so many different ways the race can be driven this year.

    The DRS’s is the same for everyone, but does make the effect of traffic not as bad as it used to be. Another big influence may be in the gearing selection, if a team optimised the car for qualifying rather than racing, they could easily snatch P1 (on high speed tracks), but this would slow them down in the race.

    The tyres allow racers to go fast and pit more, or slower and pit less. The latter is more effective on tracks where the pitstop is slow, or if you are in clean air.

    The teams are also pretty evenly matched again this year, RB are way ahead but will split their wins(here’s hoping), Maccas will put their best man foward, RLGP may split their podiums, and though Ferrari are slow now, Fernando will likely get all their wins, so matching it with the big guns of ’11.

    Ofcourse all this could be totally wrong, very complex compared to last years strategy of – go fast, stay out infront.

  10. ethone says:

    From the first two races I thought the single DRS activation worked well enough to allow a pass. It didn’t make it a certainty but it sure was enough to pull it off if you still had a working KERS.

    Having two activation zones would only be needed if one is too short to have an effect. If that were the case though, I’d say the single activation zone has been chosen wrongly.

    What happens with two zones?
    The driver initially behind makes the pass in the first zone. Does he still get the DRS activation for the second zone? What use would it be? To give him enough of a boost to get away from the other driver?
    The driver initially behind doesn’t make the pass in the first zone. He was closely behind to being with or it wouldn’t have been activated. Likely the driver will make an attempt and likely his corner exit for the second activation zone would be compromised, making be doubt if the second activation zone will actually provide a second passing chance.

    I could see this making sense if the two activation zones are further apart from one another than just one corner in between, like in your example for Melbourne. That would truly give a second chance.
    Or if the two straights in question are relatively short and the success of a pass from just one of those straights is doubtful. Monaco springs to mind. With long straights like those at Shanghai or even that at Istanbul that one activation zone should be enough to make a pass, shouldn’t it?

  11. Jo Torrent says:

    Why on earth would the FIA make it double activation DRS ??!!!

    First we need 6 races at least to evaluate the current DRS. As far as I noticed, it helped overtaking in Australia and made it easy and sometimes ridiculously easy in Malaysia.

    Then DRS is there to help overtaking not to make it compulsory. Already many contributors on this blog criticize DRS. What would they say if it is more prominent in races. If the FIA wants more overtaking there is an easier and less costly solution THE BLUE FLAGS. Whenever someone is 1s behind, you have to let him through.

  12. jude says:

    This article sums up Massa’s mentality; Alonso and/or Lewis would be thinking of attacking those on worn out tyres rather thank thinking of defence.

  13. goferet says:

    Renault do remind me why I dislike the likes of Kubica – They aren’t in the title fight but what they’re good at doing all day long is ruining other title contenders’ races.

    The way things are looking with the strategy, the more stops one can make for new rubber, the better their chances of scoring points ahem Webber & Alonso in Malaysia

    So yes, we’re looking at 3 pit stops plus from here on out.

    1. Bill Day says:

      Can you really assume that Kubica wouldn’t be “in the title fight” if he were around to drive the 2011 Renault?

    2. Guy says:

      What exactly should the ‘likes of Kubica’ do? Wave any title contenders past before getting on with the race?

    3. Andy c says:

      Have you completely missed the fact that Robert is not actually driving this year? Maybe a subconscious slip?

      And if you’re referring to last year, I think we watched different races….

    4. Mario says:

      Some people seem to live on another planet, eh?

  14. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    Please get rid of DRS – it just devalues an overtaking move. Every time that we see someone pass on the first corner we will say “oh, but he did that with DRS”.

  15. Kevin says:

    Single Detection and Double Activation? What happens if the car behind makes a successful pass in the first of the two DRS zones? Does that mean it becomes even easier to pull away in the second zone since there is not a second detection zone to decide if the use of DRS is even necessary again?

  16. Red5 says:

    DRS may become a more important overtaking aid but at the moment looks like managing tyres is the key to winning strategy.

    Whereas the only talk about KERs is when it’s not working.

  17. Dale says:

    Off topic, I wonder if this will be published!

    All F1 fans AND those that make the decisions should take note of this article as published by Pitpass.

    http://www.pitpass.com/fes_php/pitpass_news_item.php?fes_art_id=43353

    Comment James!

    1. Not the best piece of journalism I’ve ever read, to be honest. Yes, bad things are happening everywhere, including Europe.

      That particular part of the world is not suited to the Western culture, so we shouldn’t really look at it from “McDonalds & Coca-Cola + freedom fries” point of view. I’ve been through enough not to trust all these human rights activists and politicians (or news channels that need to boost their fading audiences), I think the sport should be above it. It’s not safe in Bahrain, so let’s stay away from it. The rest is up to the UN or whatever ogranization that takes care of these issues.

      Let’s focus on racing instead.

      1. Jo Torrent says:

        I am from Tunisia which is an African, Arabic and Muslim country and Coca-Cola is the Bernie Ecclestone of drinks as is the case everywhere I suppose.

      2. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        Absolutely agree with your comment. This article seems like a rant pandering to the anti Middle-East crowd.

        This is merely about safety for the teams and avoiding F1 to be the cause of further political tension during this fragile time.

        if you were concerned about civil rights you would have been protesting against China holding a grand prix a long time ago.

    2. Rich C says:

      Well you can stop wondering because obviously it *has been published or you wouldn’t have seen it.

      And I only believe half of what I read, and almost *nothing on some blog full of unsubstantiated bs.

      Like Iberian says if its not safe, dont go, its not that charming a place anyway.

      [mod]

      1. Dale says:

        In my opinion, if the Saudi tanks are still in the country then F1 should not step a single foot in Bahrain and I fail to see how any right minded person would think otherwise.Any country that needs anothers countries tanks on it’s streets to keep oredr is in seriou trouble and F1 sould not be going to such places, F1 isn’t that important!

      2. Rich C says:

        I would repeat my description of how little I care but I would get mod’ed again.

        Get a new soapbox.

      3. Rich C says:

        LOL I got mod’ed, and prolly a good thing, too!

        My remark had to do with the depth of my concern and why we needed to discuss it in a racing forum!

  18. João Hornburg says:

    Why double DRS? Why not FREE DRS? Let the drivers choose when to use it…

    1. C says:

      Because then it’s just like an F-duct. When everyone has it, it provides no advantage for anyone, so you might as well remove it. It’d not help overtaking, and only create another point of failure without making the show any better.

      1. tom says:

        true, but in my opinion it’s the relatively comvoluted rules surrounding it that make it a gimmick, rather than just its existence

    2. The other Ian says:

      Agreed. If you allow FREE DRS in qualifying, just do the same for the race. At least make it consistent.

    3. Rich C says:

      The problem with “double DRS” will turn out to be that once someone passes a car using the 1st DRS Zone they will *still be able to use it in the *2nd zone and thus just steam away from the guy they just passed.

  19. Robert McKay says:

    Rightly or wrongly DRS is not proving popular with a pretty large swathe of fans, so double-DRS is not likely to do down very well.

    I personally still favour limited-DRS: give ‘em say 25 pushes per race regardless of time ahead to next car. Car in front can use it to defend but if they’re both limited in how often it can be used it won’t always cancel each other out, like two KERS cars could.

    Adds extra variable to manage but removes the unfair “deliberately knobble car in front” aspect.

    Don’t suppose anyone in a position of authority is talking about this…?

    1. Dale says:

      I like your suggestion of 25 DRS activations per race that way it could be used as the driver sees fit be it for overtaking or defending when needs be.

  20. BMG says:

    Sorry guy’s I love DRS. The more passing the better. I do have a problem with KERs. I just don’t think we see real driving skills, I think it makes a OK driver look better than they really are.

    1. Rich C says:

      Not really. It just gives them a few more HP and speed on the straights which has nothing to do with driver skills anyway.

  21. Ed says:

    What will be interesting is the first time there is a late-race SC, whoever has gambled and saved option tyres for the last stint will definitely spring up a surprise.

    1. Trent says:

      Good point – something to look forward to!

  22. Johnny says:

    Hamilton’s tires didn’t last because they were screwed up in some way. Every lap on those tires was slow. Either a defect from Pirelli or screwed up tire pressures.

  23. Bill Day says:

    I have yet to see a good explanation of why Alonso’s starts have been so terrible so far this year. Seems like the places he loses at the start color the whole rest of his race.

  24. GP says:

    Hi James,

    I don’t recall seeing any information regarding the size of rear wing flaps. From what I can see on TV they are all of different sizes. You would think that it would have an effect on the performance gain of the DRS, would it not? And if so, it must be an interesting aerodynamic challenge to determine the best combination of main plane and flap.

    Have you heard anything from team members on this subject?

    1. Rich C says:

      It seems hard to believe that the fia would leave that kind of loophole in the rules.

      They have soooo many niggling rules about soooo many microscopic things they surely wouldn’t overlook something that big and obvious, would they?

  25. Declan says:

    For a non-tech person. Could anyone shed light pls?

    1) Would the amazing traction that Renault seem to have out of corners be a result of the exhaust? Or would it have zero bearing as downforce is on high speed corners and braking?

    2) What is a rake? Is it something to do with the floor? I thought all of these were flat?And what does it have to do with the front wing?

    1. Neil says:

      1) I’d be surprised if it was the exhaust. (But I’ve been surprised before!) I’d imagine it’s more likley the torque curve of the engine. They have tuned the motor to have better low end grunt, and lost a little off the top end. But if you gain at the start, and leave every corner first, you can afford the top end loss.

      2) The floor is flat, but it doesn’t have to be parallel to the ground. If the front is lower than the back, then the front wing is lower to the ground. If your car lifts at the back as you gain speed, then the front wing drops towards the ground. (Which sounds familiar….)

      Neil.

    2. BurgerF1 says:

      1) Renault over-runs the engine into the corner to keep exhaust gases blowing over the diffuser producing downforce and better traction at corner exit. However, most if not all the teams are doing this. It’s likely a combination of this plus a variety of other factors like suspension tuning and engine “driveability” tuning.

      2) the rake of the car is the difference between the height at the rear of the car vs. the height at the front (baring in mind the minimum distance of the floor to the ground). The RB cars have a very prominant rake with the nose of the car lower than the rear (this was nicely pointed out by Brundle in the Malaysia commentary during some side-on footage of the Red Bull going through a corner – it’s very obvious when you take a look). With a lower nose, it appears that the front wing is closer to the ground, however, it also has to maintain a minimum distance to the ground and pass the flex test. RB get around this by having the wing flex while the car is at speed.

    3. C says:

      Yes, the exhaust can have a lot to do with it: Downforce provides traction in exchange for a loss in top end acceleration. It just happens that normally, the exit to a slow corner is a point where the aero performance is usually not all that noticeable. If Renault is really sending gases through the exhaust at all times, they can have a major performance improvement over those that do not in some turns.

      Rake is the angle of the floor of the car. If the floor is parallel to the ground, the distance between the body and the asphalt would be about the same in both axles. In the Red Bull, the car is closer to the ground in the front axle than the rear one. The front wing obviously is further up front of the car than the front axle. So, if two cars have the same ride height at the front axle, but one has a higher height in the real axle, the one with the higher height in the rear than in the front (higher rake), will have the wing closer to the ground. The closer the wing is to the ground, the higher the downforce it can provide, all else being equal.

    4. Andy c says:

      I’m not a techie but on point two. Imagine a flat slice of cheese, where both ends are at the same height.

      Then imagine a triangular piece of cake. The highest point is low at the front and high at the back. Look at some side on pics of the rb7 and you’ll notice it’s relatively high at the back, low at the front (a bit like the dukes of hazard, general Lee)

      1. Andy c says:

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/formula_one/12996753.stm Horner comments.

        Mclaren has lower back end. I believe the challenge on the rake is losing efficiency of the diffuser.

        Perhaps a good article for mr dernies input James?

      2. Trent says:

        Why is the Mclaren diffuser white? A different material?

      3. Andy c says:

        Trent
        The diffuser in oz was titanium, as they didn’t have chance to get a carbon one ready.
        In Malaysia they put the new one on and preferred to use the titanium one again.
        Not sure which one they’re using in china. Didn’t see fp1

      4. Ajay says:

        Trent, that’s a heat-resistant coating to protect the carbon fibre from the exhaust gases.

      5. Rich C says:

        and btw lets have no more food analogies! Now I’m hingry!

      6. Andy C says:

        LOL. I only wrote it to make me chuckle. Was trying to come up with the analogy and thought of a tom and jerry cartoon.

    5. Rich C says:

      They probably have a lot of Flav’s old hot air stored away which they cleverly blow on the tires to keep them at temp.

      1. Andy C says:

        Now that would last a lifetime.

  26. Richard says:

    Although DRS has brought in some much sought after overtaking, I think we should look at the basic principle of its application.

    In any other sport, if you introduced a mechanism or rule that gave an advantage to one competitor over another in specific circumstances you would be laughed off the park. So why has such a bizarre concept been introduced to F1?

    In Rugby, how about having the player with the ball have jet powered roller skates so that more tries can be scored.

    Or in football the goal posts for the team in the lead widen.

    Or in swimming let the chasing swimmer have flippers.

    Get my point?

    1. Trent says:

      Isn’t it like allowing slipstreaming in cycling? That’s an advantage to the chasers. I think in triathalon they don’t allow it, but in Tour de France they do…what’s your take on that?

      1. Richard says:

        No, it’s not like slipstreaming in cycling as all cyclists have the same equipment and can do it whenever they want. In any case F1 cars do use slipstreaming themselves although its effect is limted by the aerodynamics. which of cousr is where DRS comes in!

      2. Trent says:

        ‘All cyclists can do it whenever they want’ – not quite true, obviously the guy in front can’t. Someone can sit behind and conserve energy, and the fact that this is an advantage is shown by the fact that in some forms of cycling it is not allowed.

        I don’t disagree that DRS is a step further, but my point is that we shouldn’t be under the illusion that things are always equal anyway.

        In fact you may chose to look at DRS redressing the balance – being a chasing car is such a disadvantage due to aero effects in the corners, that DRS is an attempt to make things more equal.

    2. Bayan says:

      so then you would stop the swimming race, let the trailing swimmers put flippers on and then continue only to stop once the swimmers with flippers are ahead and so on… really… you think it’s comparable. Even for Rugby…

      1. Richard says:

        No, I was not suggesting that but trying to illustrate (badly) who artificial the concept of DRS is.

  27. WoZ says:

    Hi James ; will the smoggy dirty air of the China track affect team ‘strategies’ this weekend? If so, which teams are placed better to deal with this problem?

    1. Rich C says:

      Hey, there’s the “Green” angle for next formula!

      The new, hi-tech super-mini-engines will no doubt suck in tons of polluted air and blow clean, rose-scented air out the back!

      Except for the Loti, which will smell like… Lotus blossoms!

  28. Mario says:

    I was very critical of Nick Heidfeld after Melbourne. I wanted him out. He literally shut me up with his performance in the last race. I should thank him for teaching me a lesson.

    1. Andy C says:

      You can tell him yourself on Twitter @NickHeidfeld

  29. Lord Ha Ha says:

    Does anyone remember Trulli’s lightning starts when he was at Renault?

  30. Vic says:

    I’m getting a little bored about this DRS-artificial debate, if it really is artificial racing then:

    High levels of downforce protecting the car in front is artificial

    The high level of grip from the tyres (bridgestones & pirellis) that make it awkward going off the racing line hence protecting the car infront is artificial

    The development ban on the engines, with all of them being roughly similar in terms of power (including the renault) is artificial

    The testing ban which means that the the teams that get it right first time round have an advantage is artificial.

    The sheer amount of buttons on the steering wheel with the ability to change so many settings at will is artificial.

    I think this debate is artificial

    Vic

    1. Rich C says:

      Yep. As I said somewhere else, if you want “natural” get a horse.

  31. Michael T says:

    Just wondering, with the teams running so little rear wing at Monza, will the DRS actually make much difference there? Will it have enough angle to tilt any further? I know its only one track but I was just wondering…..

    1. Rich C says:

      Good point. But by then they will have banned it and the ‘tard that thought it up.

  32. Ruppert says:

    I’ve had enough of this DRS… my time with F1 is over. F1 offers very little value, in terms of geniune racing.

  33. Andrew Myers says:

    Prophetic words in light of how things turned out in China!

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