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Fans react strongly to the Adjustable Rear Wing reality
Fans react strongly to the Adjustable Rear Wing reality
Posted By: James Allen  |  16 Mar 2011   |  7:52 pm GMT  |  204 comments

We’ve had a strong reaction from readers to the story I posted yesterday about the Drag Reduction System (DRS) or adjustable rear wing.

Up until now the DRS has been a concept and more recently an item on the cars during test sessions. But as the racing season comes into view Charlie Whiting’s comments on the way the system will work have drawn many fans to feel negative about the idea. But there are also some who feel that the system should be given a chance.

Photo: Darren Heath

Here are two posts from readers, which I feel articulate the debate and deserve a wider audience.

Tom Mitchell speaks for many when he says,

“If most other fans were in favour of DRS, then fine. But reading here, it seems that practically nobody is. Whitmarsh et al will say that they are listening, like when he said that if it doesn’t work then they will remove it. But what he doesn’t get is that we don’t want it to work – because that would mean they’ve successfully made the racing artificial.

“Now there is a clear distinction between real fans and those they’re aiming to please with DRS. The former are people like those on this website, who have been watching F1 through the good and bad. The latter are people who know nothing about F1 (aka ‘new markets’), and I suspect are those who we all know; “the only good bits are the crashes” type people. Now I have nothing against new people becoming fans, but not at the very clear expense and anger of the loyal fans, who the F1 insiders clearly do not give a damn about and take for granted.”

However Sebee argues that, as with many innovations in F1, it needs to be given time,“I applaud the FIA for at least trying something for 2011. For years we the fans complain that lack of passing is an issue, now we have the DRS, KERS and fragile tires. All the driver aids over the years have resulted in cruise control racing over the years – I’m all for well thought out variables being brought into the mix. You accept automatic paddle shifting gear boxes now, weren’t they a gimmick at some point? Will anyone here seriously argue that their introduction took away from the spectacle, the driver skill, and most importantly passing opportunities? Since manual gear boxes aren’t a realistic option in F1 today – DRS and KERS it is.

Also, James is right that he’s reserving judgment, but perhaps is viewing it with questions and wishes to be proved wrong.

Let’s let a few races take place and see what they came up with. I recall some major UK newspaper declaring that you should put down a layer of paint next to your TV in 2010 because it’s more interesting to watch it dry than F1 will be after Bahrain. We could discuss if it was pure or due to peripherals(as per Fan’s view back a few months), but whatever your conclusion – you can hardly say 2010 was a boring show.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Give 2011 spec a chance. If it doesn’t work, will it really be that hard to remove DRS and KERS from the cars? I think not.

Now, someone please show me photos of F1 hardware arriving in Australia. I’m developing an anxiety twitch.”

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Interesting that they brought KERS to be “green”, when the f-duct last year did a simular task and was as green as you can get :S:S


Smell the coffee, people. F1 is a sport with an audience measured in millions. As with almost anything related to broader popular culture, it’s a mugs game hoping for sophistication and nuance. Popularity regards TV shows, pop songs and the like is usually inversely proportional to quality.

If the adjustable wing delivers more overtaking, making the races superficially more eventful and exciting to the casual viewer, then that will be measured a great success. The concerns of a niche of hardcore supporters can go hang. Anyway, F1 is already hugely artificial in so many ways. Likewise, the technical regs (which have given us these awful cars that can’t run properly in close proximity) are already so awful, it’s hard to argue this makes things any worse.


“Popularity regards TV shows, pop songs and the like is usually inversely proportional to quality.”

Well said and dead on, JJJ!

I find it funny that the DRS is being introduced to a car with a tiny little high rear wing that was introduced to do what? You guessed it – improve overtaking. If they’d simply scrapped the new rear wing rules, then allowed an electronically controlled F-Duct with bespoke design qualities, this thing would never have needed to see the light of day. But tweaks on top of a failed system ignore the two real problems of overtaking – the circuits, and front/rear wings themselves.



We need to give DRS a chance first before deciding. We will see plain and clear if the overtaking generated (if any) is ‘false’ or too easy – especially the more experienced fans. I hope it allows the cars to be able to get closer together and give the possibility while there still being a clear challenge to overtaking. So long as you can tell overtaking is a challenge still I have no issue. It could open up some tense defence/attack battles (imagine Hamilton and Alonso!). If cars are just drafting straight past each other that’s a different story.

Lets suck it and see.

Worst case is really that we can tell one car is faster than an other but still can’t get close enough to even consider a move.


Just wanted to say that Tom Mitchell couldn’t be more wrong in terms of my opinion on this issue.

I am not a “watch F1 for the crashes” type and I do not necessarily think that it will make the racing artificial..

The KERS in 2009 already made it artificial (passing before the braking zone) so.. what do they have to lose.

Let’s wait and see, but it’s telling that he said he doesn’t want it to work..

My team won everything last year and it was STILL almost unwatchable for me. Horrible racing.


But if it works, how can it not be artificial to effectively give the driver in front a boost that the one in front can not use? How is that fair? In football(soccer), they if a team goes 1-0 down, should they make the team winning remove their studs?

That’s why I don’t want it to work, not because I’m being petulant about it. There are plenty of changes in F1 that have happened that I’ve wanted to work, and many times I’ve been disappointed when they didn’t work. But if DRS works as intended then to me, it has successfully changed a fundamental principle of the sport (or in fact, sport itself).

KERS doesn’t produce artificial racing because the defender can defend with it.


Sorry, correction:

“how can it not be artificial to effectively give the driver BEHIND a boost that the one in front can not use”


I object to the comment that says the fans from ‘new market’ are not real fans of F1. I have watched F1 ever since we have had the privilege of watching it (ever since ’97) and I can say there is a huge population of F1 fans here too. We may not be a nerd in the tech aspects of F1 but we know where real entertainment is and do not judge a race with the number of overtakes that has happened in a race like the so called ‘real fans’ do. So jump off the high horse and show us some respect.

The DRS system hasn’t been at place yet and we should atleast be patient enough to judge it after a few races.

Remember what people said after Bahrain last year and how opinions changed at the end of the season? Hope for a great season ahead:-)

I am all for change and if it does bring in some excitement into F1, then I think we should embrace it.


Well, I’ve been used to the idea of the adjustable rear wing for a while now.

But I’ve been really riled up (and kind of astonished) again in the last few days by this announcement that there will be an on-screen graphic when a driver can “use” the system. I thought the whole idea of this system was that it would provide overtaking, which would provide further excitement? Shouldn’t that alone be good enough for the people who came up with it? We don’t need to be specifically told when it’s being used. If you get more overtaking, then that’s your goal achieved isn’t it? Apparently it isn’t enough for whoever came up with this. Apparently we also need to tell everyone when someone’s clever new gimmick is activated. For the sake of that persons’s ego, I guess. And also seemingly based on the er, “school of thought” that “We should have as many flashing lights on screen as possible! Yaaay!”

Really it’s so stupid. At first I thought… it’s as though they’re announcing “for those of you who thought this was too artificial, we’ve decided to come up with a graphic that will rub your nose in it!”

F1 *IS* rapidly becoming like a vision of a “half-baked videogame fantasy” that would have been only considered an absurd parody 3, 4 or 5 years ago. People used to joke about things like “maybe they should have sprinklers to liven up dull races”, and now Bernie is seriously talking about it. The approach by the “powers that be” (i.e. crotchety old men like Charlie Whiting and Bernie Ecclestone) is to just throw as many half-arsed gimmicks into the mix as possible, and label anyone who objects a “stuffy traditionalist”. Why? It’s so insulting to a sophisticated sporting audience. He’s rapidly turning F1 into something that will make the the McDonalds of world sport, NASCAR, look classy by comparison.

I think Bernie seriously has a vision in his mind that F1 fans everywhere are going to wear those big foam finger/glove things and start waving them and cheering when the “DRS activated!” sign comes up on the screen. Of all the stupid things F1 has done in the last 10 or so years, this is a serious, serious milestone. I don’t know how this kind of crap is going to be stopped. Surely there must be more sane people in the pitlane other than just Mark Webber (who rubbished the sprinkler idea). Why can’t they just stop and take stock for a moment and ask “really, how far away are those sprinklers?” It doesn’t seem far to me.

After Bahrain last year every F1 fan and his dog had an opinion on how to improve the show. Actually, I found the sheer amount of public navel-gazing by the F1 teams and personalities embarrassing. But what they need to do is come up with serious proposals for improving the spectacle, not this kind of crap. They are the only ones who can do it, fans can only watch in astonishment from afar (or, just stop watching).


I dislike the notion of “DRS” pretty intensely.

Having said that, it is a technical attempt to deal with a technical problem, which becomes a racing problem: how do you deal with “dirty air” (mentioned at least once in the comments above)?

I recall some working party a few years back (Ross Brawn was on it?) which even considered split rear wings (IIRC). I suppose that didn’t work, but the tactic strikes me as the preferred route: clean up the dirty air by some stable means, so that the faster “following” cars can actually make good their advantage.

This DRS thing is too fickle, too “interventionist”, too non-driver-ish, too … too!

Patrick S. Hunter

Can DRS affect degradation of the tyres?

Patrick S. Hunter

Another question for me is, after you got overtaken, when can you start using DRS to regain the position?


Complete rubbish.

F1 should mean more than a cheap pc game that has turbo zones for little children to play.



Thanks for a great forum for debate.

It’s good to see such passion from the fan base, whichever side of the argument you sit on. Long may it continue. Roll on Melbourne…


I don’t have time to read all comments, so sorry if any of this is duplicated! Have read a few though…

Ok time to set myself up. Been an F1 fan for 20 years, so I don’t remember the great innovations of the 70s and 80s. But I have seen how F1 has changed, from cars that could race wheel to wheel, to ones which find it hard to even get close.

Firstly, KERS. I don’t know. It certainly helped some in 2009, but then it took away from great racing too – look at Belgium. Fisichella had a faster car in the Force India, but because Kimi had the KERS, he could keep the Ferrari in front. I firmly believe Fisi would have won that race.

DRS – simply I don’t know, and I won’t until the first few races. the difference between this, and other innovations mentioned, is that the FIA came up with DRS, not the teams. Semi auto flappy panel gearboxes etc were developed and copied, not handed out to every team by the FIA. So is it the FIA looking to create artificial racing?

No. At the end of the day, the system still needs to be used. The driver needs to get within a second, and hold on into a position to pass to use the device. the driver in front, however, can pick his line, still make it difficult. Yes there’s a speed advantage, but only until the driver behind is blocked.

Got to wait and see, but I would prefer passing than processions. If they can’t amend the aerodynamics to get the cars closer, then this is the next best thing.


Would it not be better to have two or even three zones where the wing can be used on the track, but only limit the driver to one use per lap? This would at least make it less predictable for the defending driver. At the moment it seems like all the leading driver will need to do is set the car up to be better in sector 3 to ensure he has a gap of over a second before they enter the zone. Say in Melbourne if there was zones going into turn 3 and on the back straight (turn 13? where Webber pranged Hamilton last year) – it would increase the options the chasing driver had.

I only live a few miles from Silverstone but won’t be booking tickets for the GP until I’ve seen how this affects the racing. If it’s too gimmicky I won’t bother.


It’s going to be rather amusing watching cars stacked up behind Jarno Trulli again. With his car setup to be undriveable in sectors one and two and lightning quick in sector three. 🙂

You hit the nail on the head Ben.


bernie said something very interesting at today. He is against 4 cyl turbo engines, because he thinks it is not what the fans want, and it’s going to be negative for f1.

I totaly agree with bernie. And i agree with james, on the fact that true racing fans feel have been taken for granted. I do.

I don’t go to race tracks anymore, because i think the spectacle i get is not worth it, but i am easy to get back as a fan, because i have the bug. But not with those ridiculous small engines.


I guess a lot will depend on how they present this to the viewer. Its going to look a lot like a Playstation game in my view.

P.S James the Codemasters Birmingham team won a BAFTA last night for their F1 2010 game. They deserve a shout out so well done lads!

Oh and Happy St Patricks Day from Dublin.


A large portion of the teams on the grid will not be running KERS because they can’t afford it. Which is rather convenient for the wealthier teams.

The DRS will prescribe exactly where overtaking will occur. Drivers will wait for the zone and all the other circuits overtaking opportunities will be ignored.

Getting rid of refuelling was the best move the F1 regulators have made in so many years. Now leave the teams to work out how they are going to design their cars to get in front of the competition. It gave us the F-Duct and will give us loads of other innovative ways of overtaking. They don’t need this prescriptive idiocy, it is a knee jerk reaction to Bahrain. Creativity abhors a vacuum it also wilts when you stick it in a cage or tell it what to do.


Hi James,

Controversy always brings out fan’s passionate opinions which has to be a good thing. I applaud the fact the FIA are trying solutions my only concern, and let’s remember this is after a phenomenal season, is that we are introducing too many variables to improve the racing all at once. Kers, DRS and the new tyres introduces a lot of variables that potentially could spread the field out. I hope we don’t miss out in understanding which innovation is effecting the racing. If a car is kind on it’s tyres, then using kers and drs becomes trivial I would suspect. A car’s ability to have traction out of the corner sets it up for a stronger top speed. Will we lose the ability to acknowledge that with DRS? Hope not.


I can’t read this much discussion. Congrats on it staying civil.

DRS is stupid. Requires externalities to actuate. Who is going to protest that his wing was noot activated by Bernie, and he lost the race – Alonso? We do have some whiners.

But hey, plese try and remember one of the stated reasons FIA has for F1 – to advance road-going technology.

DRS does not do so. KERS does.

But I shall solve this problem for you.

No Wings.

Maybe we’ll allow a pop-up spoiler of limited size. Now Adrian will be beavering away, like a lot of others, making new aero discoveries. That may actually transfer to road cars.

And we get spectacle. At least until someone makes tires of rubber cement…


If you want ovetaking and proper racing watch Endurance racing – Le Mans, ALMS. Tyres can now manage 4 stints – in some cases that is more than a Grand Prix race.

Sebring 12 hours this weekend – and yes they also race in the night (without street lights!!).

I stiil watch FI races – but record them first so that I can fast forward until/if anything interesting happens.


I’m happy to wait and see.

The DRS system has been thought through with the input of the teams. Theyre there to race, not qualify in a position and hold it. They know better than we do what theyre doing, so I think it justifies giving the benefit of the doubt.

Let come back to it in 6 races or so, like James said.


Any body thought that the DRS can actually be used to save fuel when chasing another car? Makes me wonder if this season will be more about cars saving their tyres by heavily under fueling the car for the start and driving smoothly using the DRS when following another car.

It could possably save a pitstop by starting with a light car which would naturally lap faster and be kinder on the tyres


I think we are all getting a bit worked up over this because we are itching for the season to get going. I wonder what we would be saying if Bahrain had gone ahead rather than still waiting for Australia.

There is no substitute for real racing and seeing how the season develops.

However this forum is the next best thing for a F1 fan and I always admire the intelligent debates that rarely fall below excellent and James should be congratulated on the way it has developed.


Thanks for that


James & other posters….what are your thoughts on the innovations being brought into F1 in comparison to the Le Mans Series? LMS racing is often plagued with big disadvantages between cars but they don’t seem to meddle with the rules nowhere near as much as F1 and to be blunt…there’s a whole heap more of ontrack action. Personally I’ll reserve judgement re DRS, I’d like to see it work to prove the technology works but I would like to see a stop to the constant interfering with the rules before each season. When was the last time teams were simply left to it for 2 seasons in a row with no big rule changes placed on them? James… when do you feel it goes to far?


I’m reserving judgement too. I dont mind Kers as an idea but limit it to a number of times per race.

Reducing the reliance on wing based aero in favour of ground effect is the way I’d rather they went.


is it true that Byrne and Head are working on developing the concept around the rules for 2013? I’d heard less wing based and more ground effect/shaped floors based downforce?


That is true, yes


I’m not a big fan of the rear wing but I’m willing to see if it works.

I actually like the idea of kers, but believe they should be given 10-15 boosts per race (depending on laps) and if someone is a complete nimrod and uses them too quickly, that’s their fault.

I think the tyres will result in more driving on tge edge and that will be better racing.


Ultimately the changes were surely implemented to get fans interested. Its generating plenty of discussion, so seems to be working. I’m really looking forward to the racing now, just as always but, also to see how all these theories play out in practice.

Not that there’s not plenty to look forward to anyway – can schui get back up front and mix it with the new guys? can some new teams join the lead pack (how fast are sauber really)? and, as an Aussie, can webber take it up to vettel? and if he can, will red bull practice what they preach this year?

I’ll be happy to praise or bag the new regs once i’ve watched a few races.

Bring on the action!


Its certainly given us all something to talk about for a couple of months 😉

I remember the reactions just after bahrain last year, when everyone predicted a boring processional year, and we got quite the opposite.

On Mark Webber, hes knows hes sitting in the best car on the grid and I know he’ll be pushing himself next year.

He proved last year he can mix it with vettel, and he only just came up short (Korea comes to mind).

I’ll be glad for us to be talking about racing soon enough.


My gut feelings for 2011 will be as exciting as 2010 and there will be more dramas for the first few races.

Applying KERS and DRS together sounds like an unstoppable rocket ship but that’s where the skill pays off. It’s certainly not a game of blackjacks.

Then halfway through the season leaders will be jumbled up for the championships until the last race, that’s what I’m hoping for!

An improvement from 2010 will be enough for me. Don’t need countless overtaking, that’s not F1.


“Artificial vs authentic” arguments aside, I still believe they are over-thinking the problem of increasing passing WAY too much, and that’s what happens when you allow too many engineering geeks make decisions. F1 needs to take the engineers out of the equation more, and put the drivers back in and the easiest, cheapest, quickest way to achieve that is with randomly timed sprinklers on the tracks. Cars pass more, F1 saves a lot of money not normally spent on developing silly gadgets and the fans get exciting racing. Everyone wins.


I am not so much in favour of moving wings at all. The movable front flaps were totally useless in 2010.

Will the FIA please leave the cars alone. The tracks are a bigger problem than the cars. They should add more space to the tracks for passing. It’s driving 101. A three lane road is easier to pass on than a one lane road. That’s why there is so much passing in MotoGP, the racing line can fit two or three bikes abreast.

Changing the tracks keeps the costs down for teams making the resource restrictions work better.


We know the front wing effort didn’t work because they tried it, right?

At this point let’s say FIA agrees that the tracks are an issue. What’s easier to try -wings that cost a few millions or track redesigns that costs hundreds of millions.
Don’t think for a moment the decisions aren’t based around money too.



Typically how many corners (or how much force on the brake pedal) is required to charge the KERS back-up.

Does it also depend upon different designs: flywheel based or battery based?

We all know that McLaren KERS was the best in 2009. How was it rated as the best?




It charges over a lap. Somewhere like Melbourne has 8 braking events. No-one uses flywheel KERS in F1
Mercedes system in McLaren was the best for low weight, efficiency and reliability.


Personally I believe we are in for an exciting year in Formula One. Just like the previous 3 years.
Does this justify changing the sport again. I’m not sure. There was however changes to the sport in these previous 3 years and the championship went down to the last race. The benefits these changes have done is bring other teams into the mix. Hopefully we will see the same thing this year.
This to me is exciting and what the sport requires. Not just Ferrari/Mclaren dominance. Red Bull and Mercedes winning championships has been good for the sport and most importantly the fans. More passion is added when more teams are competitive.

I’m not a fan of artificial racing, but to me artificial means one team has a technology advantage that other teams do not. At least everyone will have these devices at the season launch in Melbourne.

It’s almost impossible for a car to overtake on certain tracks. I really don’t see this changing that much this year, even with the new technology. You must remember the car in front can still defend and force the overtaking car to go wide or overtake around the outside. I can’t see any driver just jumping out of the way. The front car just won’t be able to cruise and hold up the pack anymore. We will see as much great defending as we will see easy overtaking.

I think the driver in front will also have to push so that they don’t fall into the 1 second barrier. Possibly bringing mistakes on tyres that are becoming worn. I like Formula One when it has variables and uncertainty. Remember everyone bar Schuey fans screaming when Ferrari were winning by just turning up. Wet races bring variables and uncertainty and hopefully this year these new rules will bring the same uncertainty and more exciting racing. If your team is using the new rules to win races I’m sure you will like them, and if you lose you will hate them.

One thing is for sure, Formula One loves change and the fans love the sport for the racing, technology, fanfare and the politics that bring a good hard debate.

Let 2011 begin start so we can talk about the racing!!!!


Good article James. I think we might see the return of driver mistakes like the old missed shift.. Imagine a driver trying to do the following & not get tangled up:

* Brake bias adjustment

* Differential adjustment


* Front wing adjustment


* Radio \ pumps \ etc

Thats lots of activity in the cockpit & we may well see overtaking from drivers missing a trick.

Fingers crossed!


Up next: alliterative nicknames for the drivers….

E.g. Dick Dastardly or Penelope Pitstop


Who is DD in F1?


Thats funny! DD has to be MS, given his track recored, no?


I think he is talking about Schumacher. Alonso is the donkey boy according to my friends. I have no idea why.


In my view the use of KERS and DRS trivialise the sport and the skill of the drivers. Surely a few more tracks with mutliple lines through corners would encourage over taking? Then the drivers skill would be put to the test, both attacking and defending.

I think the tires will have a much more positive affect and will really show the wheat from the chaff. Those drivers that can manage thier tires and have a smoother driving style deserve to be rewarded for doing being able to do so. I am thinking the likes of the older drivers here, the Buttons, the Webber and the Barrichellos of the grid. (Might be coincidence, but they were all around when the tire wars were going on.)

Sure you may argue that this is an unfair disadvantage to those drivers who have a more abrupt style (Hamilton and Vettel), but being a racing driver is not solely about going fast. They must also consider strategy, on track car maintenance etc. In my view the Bridgestones reduced the skills required by drivers while in the cockpit on race day.


I would be interested to see what would happen if they took all of the driver aids off the car, and went back to a manual gear box, ok, maybe still have power steering. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but the majority of production cars are still a conventional gear box ( if they’re not completely automatic) are they not? They certainly aren’t out numbered by paddle shift gear boxed cars. Take all of these buttons off the steering wheel, have one to talk to the pitwall and that’s it. Maybe put the current grid lineup in cars from 20 years ago (as an example) let them do a race like that and see how many overtakes or how exciting the racing is. Yes, the sport does have to progress, but progress should not be detrimental to the sporting integrity. “It’s just not cricket” as some might say, but even so.

Also, on a side note, Bahrain 2010 was criticised heavily for being a parade rather than a race, but I believe it was actually an improvement on 2009, in fact, from the statistics I can remember, it had the most over takes since Bahrain’s inaugural year. We all need to look at the actual facts before jumping on the press bandwagon. Easy as it may be, we cannot judge a book by it’s cover, and clearly from last year’s example we cannot judge a season by it’s first race.

Judging from the progression from the cars of 2010, I believe the 2011 season may be just as, if not more so exciting. We may need to wait a couple races to find out, but even after one cancelation we still have 19 races to go. Let’s hope we can see a British Champion again, and some exciting racing, and LESS POLITICS!


One important benefit of these gearboxes is to protect the engine from over revving on downshift


Last year McLaren surprised everyone with the F duct. That was great for fan interest because it added a new unknown to the competitive situation. There was that great parc ferme shot of a driver (Schumacher?) trying to peek into a McLaren cockpit early in the season. Watching the other teams trying to match McLaren’s innovation made a great ongoing story for much of the season, and revealed things about each team’s engineering skills. F duct didn’t decide a race (I don’t think) or the championship, but it added interest of the right kind — about clever engineering, driver skills (Alonso driving one-handed!), initiative and ingenuity.

F1’s response — to ban the F duct then dream up this Frankenstein’s monster of a contrived entertainment-generator — says much about the shortcomings of the management of our sport.


If I was in 1st position in the final laps and I had number 2 following me close, I would let him pass me and keep close to him.

In the last lap, at the place where I am allowed to use the wing, I would pass him and so win the race without giving him the change to pass me, which would have given him the win with the same artifical advantage.

This is getting rather comical. I wanna see a sport, is that so much to ask?


My opinion is that it’s too restrictive, why only one part of the track.

But anyway, I just had one silly idea on how it could be used strategically. Imagine red bull 1 and 2, far ahead like usual. Could they just stay within a second of each other and constantly use the rear wing?

Of course all teams could do it, just red bull came to mind first. Also not mentioning driver’s willingness in such a strategy obviously.


I might have missed it, but there doesn’t seem to be any one saying it is a great idea and fully backing it.

Either people are saying they hate the idea or “give it time”, then going on to qualify it in some way or cite various other related reasons to worry, like how its implemented, etc. Which, IMHO is a load of cop out nonsense.

Personally, I don’t care if it works or not, I just plain don’t like the artificialness of push to pass, which this is.

Oh, and I regard the idea that there is a lack of overtaking a complete myth in a historical context. Its not worse than is was 30+ years ago. I don’t see what the sudden problem is now.

We now have an artificial complaint with an artificial solution for artificial fans. Might as well watch NASCAR.


As I see it from the perspective of one who has been following Formula One for the last 40 plus years, the major problems could be solved with two changes: One, get somebody else to design the tracks and get somebody to fix the Tilke tracks that exist now. His tracks are pathetic. And two, change the rules to allow for NO WINGS, winglets, or any purely aerodynamic body appendages. Put any engine, any open wheel body shape, whatever. There is far too much emphasis on aero today nothing of which relates to road cars. Lets get rid of the wings and get back to racing.


The problem with the DRS is that the ability to use it is being enabled by race control. KERS usage is entirely up to the strategy of the driver and the team.

It annoys me that the DRS problems are being lumped in with the reintroduction of KERS and it upsets me that people are not complaining about the externalised nature of the DRS implementation.

Unfortunately I think it is this kind of confusing fan response which causes the technical regulations to swing wildly back and forth- of course it’s also difficult for the formula since there are so many changing variables in play.


“someone please show me photos of F1 hardware arriving in Australia” – as long as the freight companies don’t read that as ‘Austria’ we’ll be right.


It’s nice to read through such passionate debate.

However, haven’t those claiming this will be artificial racing forgotten that this only works when the gap is under 1 second?

If you get your car within a second of the car in front then you are faster. Essentially, in most circumstances you are being held up. This device I’d purely aimed at stopping the ARTIFICIAL defence of a position due to the aerodynamic limitations of modern F1 cars.

I’m reserving judgement until I have seen it in action but this is definitely not an inherently bad idea.

However, once we have a tried and tested system, I don’t think we should see it in use during qualifying. I believe the spirit of the introduction is to prevent what we saw in Abu Dhabi with Alonso losing a title because he couldn’t get past a car several seconds a lap slower, not as a measure of randomising the grid based on metronomic accuracy of button pushing.


Actually that is a very good point. I hated the idea but when you pointed that out, it makes a lot of sense. In a go-kart competition, drivers are able to pass because no aero etc.. obviously. Now the car behind seems to have a massive disadvantage due to that. So yeah I think the faster driver should be able to overtake which have been a problem for a long time.

I changed my mind already. Thanks for that.


Exactly, so why not get rid of the wings on F1 cars? They have no practical application to road cars, they ruin the racing, now gimmicky wings are being added to compensate for the original wings. Just get rid of them. What do they add?


Well, I actually thought it would be better if they build a larger version of karts and make it look like f1 cars. The idea may sound dumb surely it would be more exciting to watch.
But the problem here is that, f1 is all about constructor competition, drivers are just part of show in order to make it sound more interesting. Without aerodynamics means without constructor, there won’t be f1.


An excellent point, thanks


Hi James,

Following on from this, it might be useful for you write a piece explaining a bit about the practical scenarios in which the DRS could deployed in ‘real life’.

My personal opinion is that there has been some complete rubbish being written about the DRS, with some ill-thought-out reasoning. I’ve read some fans wildly prophesizing that the DRS could frequently enable cars to be passed and then for that car to use its own DRS to re-pass the following lap. The chances of this happening are ridiculously remote.

If a car is able to use its DRS then it must be within 1 second of the car it is following. This means that it must be quicker than the car in front, otherwise it wouldn’t be able to follow it so closely in the turbulent air in the first place. With this in mind, if it deploys its DRS and passes successfully, the car now behind won’t be able to stay within a second of it, so there’s no way the DRS will enable it to take the position back.

We can say that with a high degree of certainty.

I’ve also read some theories about drivers deliberately holding back until the final lap to take a position because being second may be perceived as an advantage. This doesn’t quite add up.

Firstly, how many races have we seen in the last 5 years where the winning car has been separated from second place by < 1 second under racing conditions? Very, very few. So, the chances of DRS deciding a race win in the final laps are statistically remote anyway.

However, positions further down the order are often closer, so how would those battles be affected? Well again, if a car was able to get to within 1 second of the car in front then it must be faster, so holding back is of no advantage because as soon as it was past it could simply drive away, without worry of a DRS riposte.

I’d also suggest that with the sharp drop-off in tyre performance we’re expecting, a driver would be ill-advised to hang around to find out whether he could stay within a second of the car ahead 5-laps down the line!

I think it needs to be underlined to many worried fans that the chances of 2 cars being so evenly matched that they can stay within 1 second of one another with their orders swapped are unbelievably remote. People need to understand that before panicking. History tells us that to get to within a second of the car in front, you have to be not just faster but significantly faster, so to hypothesize a DRS-derived Arnoux-Villeneuve dog-fight is very wishful thinking!

If those circumstances do occur, then perhaps we should applaud the DRS because there would be no hope of such an event under the previous rules and the ability to to-and-fro would be evidence that neither had an unfair advantage.

Beyond anything else, those arguing that the DRS is ‘artificial’ must remember, as several people have pointed out already, that the current ability of a car running several seconds a lap slower than its pursuer to defend itself is, without question, artificial. A driver need do nothing more than lap consistently slowly on the racing line and there’s nothing for him to fear – surely no-one wishes for this to continue?


I disagree with both the comments above. The DRS does not make the racing artificial. All the teams have the same opportunity to use the system and the rules for its use are clear to the teams using it. One might also argue that team orders or disparity in budgets make the racing artificial but these too are false arguments. Team orders are acceptable because this is a team sport not an individual endeavour (despite the driver’s championship) and the disparity in budgets is due to the success of better performing teams attracting greater investment (all part of the sport). In short, it’s a level playing field for all. People just have to bare in mind that F1 is a combination of commercial, sporting and technical competition.

Where I disagree with the second comment, is when Sebee says that “For years we the fans complain that lack of passing is an issue”. I think rather that non-fans say that there is not enough overtaking. To my mind, it boils down to personal preference. If overtaking is made too easy then you won’t see the spectacular and memorable overtakes that we have seen in the past. I for one would not trade a hundred mundane overtakes for the move of Alonso on Schumacher at 130R (and I’m not a fan of either).

I am content to wait and see what happens with the DRS and agree with others that the tyres and KERS will probably make much more difference.


If F1 wants to be totally genius and green, why not say – look, the only thing you need to do is produce a car that is X wide, Y long and uses Z amount of fuel that passes safety testing for drivers and public within a specific budget. The rest is up to you. then we’d see truly imaginative designs that are screaming fast and ideas that can be sold on to car manufacturers. false rules spoil it. make it unlimited!!

CJ the 2cnd, probably...

This idea appeals to me and I’m sure it will to many others. The notion of a simple formula that encourages innovation and competition. I suspect the problem is that it would produce cars that are too fast to be safe on existing circuits, and that would lead to more Mickey Mouse sections and chicanes being added to once-great venues. And who wants that? There is no easy fix.


Bit early to build the gallows. Need to see what effect it will have during a race.

The sport has listened to the fans; and the technical boffins involved in Formula 1 have developed what could be a workable solution.

There was a similar hoo-hah when wings were fitted for the first time at the end of the 60s.

Please, at least give this idea a chance before before rushing back to the drawing board.


Thank you for reminding us that wings were once a “gimmick” too in F1.


I would seriously argue that paddle shifting DID take away from the spectacle, driver skill, and passing opportunities in F1. Its hard to balance technical progress with good racing, most technical progress has diminished the racing. The wing does nothing for either, IMO.


I just want to reinforce that I have no problem with this idea. I think it is simple and if you were watching F1 for the first time you would still see 2 cars racing with no idea that one is adjusting there wing. It is the same principle as KERS.

There does seem to be a traditionalist supporter who harks back to the wonderful 60’s 70’s and 80’s where all was good in the world. Personnally, I watch those races and I wonder what all the fuss was about? I accept the cars are amazing in there own way but the fact is the racing was dull. Why? It was more about endurance, the time difference between teams was huge and while I accept when racing happened overtakes happened but alot of the time it was because one had a significant performance advantage. ie Mansell/Piquet 87 Silverstone! Which ironically is exactly what they are doing with Pirelli at the moment and everyone is moaning.

I am firmly in the camp that things are very good as they are and that the idea of going back to manual gears, no wings and front engines fills me with dred. Anyone who has been and seen the current crop of cars cannot tell me that returning to the old days would be better, the cars today are incredible. Ok I accept you don’t see a car power sliding and cars bunched up and my response to that is go and watch FFord and Nascar (which I do).


One question on one of the comments. Why are manual gear boxes not a realistic option? Is there not meant to be a driver’s championship hidden in there somewhere? Let’s see them do some driving!


Surely someone at Silverstone has driven manual shifting era car and can tell us how lap time compares to the F1 record.

Also, if F1 is the pinnicle – how is it that I could drop 30k on a sports car and have it with more advanced transmission technology than an F1 car. Hardly worth spending 3 hours of my week in today’s high tech environment. I’d take my budget racer to the track fo some high tech racing instead.


Sebee, you can spend much less than 30 grand to get a much more advance braking system, (no ABS, not even vac assist on an F1 car!) You will get a more advanced engine in many ways too, such as multi valves. Maybe you should go drive a Kia for some real racing instead.


Maybe not a Kia(although I don’t doubt you could make one racy on a budget), but you could hardly question the value of an Atom, as a 20 year younger looking facelifted Clarkson clearly demonstrated in his test drive – viewable on youtube. Compare the price of an Atom to the price of current vintage F1 car and you can see the value/performance is hard to beat.

I’m an avid motorcyclist, so when it comes to going fast I find it the cheapest way to get your thrills at a track. And very involving – no ABS, traction control, all limbs busy doing something. You could get your speed fix for less than $10K with ease. In a straight line good bikes will probably accelerate evenly with an F1 car up to 200km. Even Schumi tried it and got his kicks from it if you recall. That is until his need for cornering Gs was too much for even for his will power to overcome.

But back to your ABS point, ABS may be advanced, but it can hardly outperform the insane exotic breaks on an F1 car. I’d like to see a Kia pull 4Gs under braking – without the radio loosing reception. And I beg to differ on the F1 engine point too. You can’t really go out and buy cheaply the displacement/performance/weight ratio an F1 engine possesses. And that makes it extreme and worthy of our admiration and interest. You ever stand next to an F1 engine at a car show? You can look at that thing for hours. And yes, they always bolt it down, because it’s almost light enough to carry out form the show under your arm.


Nobody has said anything about circuit design. As I think was sam Michael said looking at Abu dhabi long staight into a chicane isn’t going to work because driver can defend and still get good exit. If it was me I’d get rid of the rear wing joke and kers and look at circuit designs. Also more power less aero and worse brakes


Here’s an observation about Sebee’s post: The DRS criticism is not about whether the DRS will work, it’s about whether if it does work it’s good for the sport. And many of us say no.

I think it would have been better if it were the case that the rear wing adjustment could be activated anytime and anywhere by all the drivers. Rather than creating a false overtaking move it could at least give the drivers more input and more chance of making mistakes which might add something REAL to the show rather than a gimmick.

We will know from the TV that any driver who uses it in the allocated zone performed a false overtake.


What’s the point if you can use it defensively? 1-1=0

I said it in another comment – would you rather a boxing fight with 12 rounds of combat or a first round single punch knockout?

They’re paid enough, let them battle till the last lap, last turn. Survive and win. Don’t put a wheel wrong!


Comparing paddle shifting with the DRS is not a fair comparison. It would be if when that new system was introduced the drivers were told they could only use it at certain points on track.

The problem is not the device, or thechnology, it’s the fact that the best drivers in the world are told when and where they can do something. If in a competition some participants can do things that others in the same competition can’t, can we still call it a competition or would it not be more accurate to call it a demonstration? A number of years ago two-way telemetry was banned for the reason that the operation of the car should only be done by the driver, not someone in the pits or back at the factory.

It will be interesting to see how TV commentators explain all this.


Last season was pretty good, why does the sport need these changes?

At what point was it decided that only innovations initiated by the FIA & TWG were valid? (see banning of F-Ducts, DDDs, KERS circa 1999 etc)

Automatic transmissions were invented and developed by talented individuals and their teams trying to gain a sporting advantage not committees and boards trying to “improve the show”.

When you strip away the influence of the technical regulations what is actually left for designers to design as opposed to interpret?


My issue with the DRS is not the system itself, but the way in which it will be used.

If the drivers were free to use it where and when they chose (as was the case with the F-Duct last year) then I would be quite happy with that.

Fact is though, the FiA will be mandating an “overtaking zone” and have predetermined conditions that must be met before the DRS can be activated in that preset zone. This is what I, and I think many other fans, have a problem with.


Yes indeed James, lets get on with the season and see how everything works!


I just can’t fathom how the idea became reality. F1 it seems has been so against movable aerodynamic parts and now this happens. The DRS and the KRS would be less gimmicky if they were unlimited usage. The DRS is like telling the lead jockey he can’t use his whip.

If the advantage is that significant the will we see races won on the last lap? Will we see team mates draft each other? Will we see more collisions?


When Tony says “If most other fans were in favour of DRS, then fine. But reading here, it seems that practically nobody is.” he is catching half the argument.

The DRS itself, is not the problem, though, as an aero innovation it is not a revolution in original thought, it does the same as the F duct last year, though rather less elegantly (clunch as we say in Lincs) and with an inbuilt potential for mechanical or electrical/electronic failure.

The problem is the interference in it’s usage by the rule makers, and the subsequent artificial conditions created.

However it will all be to no avail if the off-line is a carpet of marbles. 2011 is all about tyres and pit stops.

Paul from Green Bay

Tom pretty much nails it.

In a nutshell, don’t we want to see the fastest cars, at the bleeding limit of technology development flying around on tracks that let slightly faster cars pass? It doesn’t hurt that they’re damn noisy (the sound goes right through you!) but I’d give up noise for giving young engineering minds the chance to develop relevant automotive technology, while giving us a show.

So, boo the bad tracks and the KERS/DRS skirts you’re hiding under – and lets get the aerodynamic tow back in!


I think the second post does not address the concern of making the racing artifical. The way the DRS works, only the pursuing car may use it, while the leading car will be at a disadvantage. I think comparing the paddle-shifters or KERS to DRS is flawed. If trailing cars were allowed to use paddle shifters while the leading cars would have to do it the old fashion way with three pedals, then that would be a fair comparison…but I am sure most would agree it would idiotic (not to mention a nightmare from an engineering perspective). Same for KERS.

If F1 cars are “un-passable” from an aerodynamic perspective under the current rules, fix the rules…but don’t come up with a half assed solution that does not address the key problem.

Sometimes I wonder if some of these issues would have been addressed in the alternative F1 (i.e. if the breakaway was succesful).


In another comment above the point is covered by other readers. Many things in an F1 car and sport can be called artificial. What counts is fairness, and this tool is available to all – which you have to say is fair. Compared to whatever Red Bull figured out to go faster in Q3.


Honestly with the tyre management issues, the multiple pit stops strategies and so on, it looks like we are heading for much easier overtaking than we used to without the DRS. If a driver is much quicker, he can look after his tyres and wait for the guy in front to kill his and then get him or stay a bit longer.

One thing is sure though races in circuits such as Monaco, Hungary and Abu Dhabi are dull ones. The race is a procession where only mistakes can lead to overtaking moves so the DRS might help those low overtaking circuits.

On the contrary, the system should be banned in Spa, Monza and Sao Paulo where a quicker car usually finds a way to overtake.

Anyway, only after being tested can a system be judged, not before. One thing I’m convinced of though is that the quality of a season doesn’t depend of the rules as much as it depends on how close are the teams challenging for the victories and titles. If we go back to the Schumi/Ferrari dictatorship no matter what the rules and the systems are, the season would’ve been dull.


Nothing wrong with the idea of a DRS — except that it should be available to all cars all the time. Then it might improve the spectacle by requiring drivers to deploy it for maximum effect. It would thus test skill and create the opportunity for mistakes, such as we saw at one time when drivers missed a gear.

I agree with the consensus; as it stands DRS is contrived.


But then you can use it defensively. They are trying to create agression. The driver in front already hold an advantage, and likely has choice of line. Give him DRS for defence and what’s the point of it?


He might make a mistake in using it — that’s the point. If he keeps the flap open too late into a corner because he’s being pushed (metaphorically) by the driver behind, he loses grip and spins out.

In effect the DRS gives him something else to operate and increases the chance he’ll make mistakes. The more skilled the driver the fewer mistakes he makes. The big problem with both cars and circuits now is that they’re too forgiving for a skilled F1 driver.


What concerns me is not only that the racing will be more artificial (a.k.a. “wacky races”), but that the FIA will perhaps be able to…ahem…’adjust’ the outcome – or at least progression – of the championship as the season progresses. By which I mean that I recall comments by the FIA which suggest that the rules to enforce the DRS activation may be tweaked as the season progresses. This, at least to me, reminds me of Bernie’s legendary predictions about the title outcomes in years gone by. The thing that I don’t understand is that (Bahrain excepted) last year was a cracker. If it ain’t broke…..?


Like if the rules are changed mid season in a way that will stop RB’s dominance, in favour of the Fez?

I Like the DRS but it limited use will allow the fastest cars to the front for every race, a guy like Hulk in Brazil ’10 would have no chance of maintaining a good race finish position, and that is sad.


Exactly. After the mid-season point it will probably become clear which cars perform best, and on which type of tracks (e.g. last year McLarent with F-duct suitable tracks, Red Bull suited other tracks etc..). To keep the ‘excitement’ of the title battle going it would be fairly easy to the FIA/Bernie to adjust the DRS straight lengths, trigger points and timing areas to ensure that the title race bubbles along until the last race. I think this is what the fans mean about the artificial nature of DRS: they are not necessarily against the technology itself, but the seemingly arbitrary application of the parameters which govern its use. I am worried (without even considering the safety implications…) that the title in 2011 will prove to be meaningless and the only suggestion which would work is one which others have mentioned here – either scrap it or allow its use at any point on the track and in the race.


It is a gimmick and, in the end, most gimmicks fail.

Gareth Chambers

It’s simple really. Modern F1’s aero has made slipstreaming and overtaking very difficult. DRS helps take us back to the good old days of proper overtaking.

The true fix is to re-introduce ground effect, but it’s a decent substitute until then.


I think it’s too much too soon. KERS would have helped, Pirelli tyres would have helped, no Double Diffuser would have helped.

All of that adds up to a significantly improved chance of over taking, it seemed a bit rash to go for something so drastic.

Not that I won’t enjoy the DRS, once it’s tuned correctly to slightly help drivers. But it’s a shame not to have seen how good F1 could be without the gimmick.


Agreed. The 3 things you listed should on their own “improve” things over the last, already exciting, season. Adding in DRS this season will add another level of complexity and I’m not sure it’s even needed yet.


Have to wait and see how they work,don’t like being limited to one spot on track,puts a strange twist on last lap position in close race we’ll see.Adjustable front wing had no effect that I saw.Haven’t heard does it still exist this year?


No – no adjustable front wing this year.

Can anyone tell me (James?) if there was as much discussion last year regarding the adjustable front wing? In the end, as Brian says, it didn’t make a difference.

Which brings me to my opinion – I don’t really think DRS will make much difference. If it only gives a 10Km/h difference and you’re 1 second behind when you use it, how much will you actually gain? 10Km/h is 2.8m/s, say you’ve got it on for 10s, that’s only a 28m gain (and that’s not even allowing for the time to accellerate to the 10Km/h difference). So you close the gap a little bit and then you’re in the dirty air again where it counts – around the bends – and you have to drop back. I may be wildly wrong about the 10Km/h difference but the 10s is probably optimistic (600m at 300Km/h is only 7.2 seconds). 1 second behind is 28m at 100Km/h so if the bend preceding the DRS zone is a 100Km/h bend then you might just catch him but you’ll need more than 600m to do it. Or you need to be a lot closer than 1s behind before you deploy it.

Anyway, it’s only another week to go before we kick off and actually see what happens. I think the Pirelli’s will make more of a difference than DRS and tactics will make a much bigger difference this year.


Thanks James,

That is very balanced and I’m glad there is a healthy and intelligent discussion going on.

But I think it is naive for so called “real” F1 fans to belittle people who think “the only good bits are the crashes”.

Quite honestly the prospect of watching another boring procession at the Barcelona track (or indeed Valencia) is not exciting… and a crash or two might be most welcome!

I have watched F1 for almost 20 years now and I find the introduction of moving wings all part of how F1 evolves, I find it no more false than grooved tyres or any other regulation resulting in physical changes on the cars.

F1 for me has always had the potential to inspire people to think about technology and sport, the two have been bonded together since the formula was invented.

The situation is this: We want more overtaking.

The Solution: Unknown, but lets try different ideas until we get the balance right. Seems reasonable to me.

That is exactly what Charlie Whiting is trying to do, so lets give it a chance and see what happens.


It’s not the adjustable rear rings that will make the racing artificial, it’s the rules governing their use that will.


Regarding the “artificial” argument:

I appreciate the concern, I really do. And I fully agree that F1 should avoid certain artificial factors. However, it is terribly hard to define what “artificial” really means (read the Autosport forums if you want to see the ugly details), and what kinds of “artificial” are ok and which are not.

For the purposes of this discussion I will avoid the broader questions (“they are racing on purpose-built race tracks, how is that not artificial to begin with?”), but want to pose the IMHO most interesting one:

Isn’t it actually the current situation that is artificial, when following cars are so reliant on aerodynamics, and leading cars produce such an ugly wake, that it is impossible to even try an overtaking attempt even if the following car is 2 seconds per lap faster?

We should not easily accept the current situation as a “natural” one, just because it is the current fact. It came about because of a very specific set or rules and regulations, economic interests, personal preferences, and other influences, all of which can reasonably be argued to be artificial. I don’t have a link ready, but I distinctly remember an interview with some aerodynamicist (from Toyota?) a few years back, who said that the current regulations favor immunity against overtaking, and therefore current cars are purposefully built to produce an ugly wake in order to force following cars to keep a gap.

So, while I would oppose it if the DRS made overtaking so easy that it becomes a push-to-pass, the FIA does not plan it that way. If the DRS does just enough to help the following, faster car overcome the artificial wake of the leading car so that a passing attempt is even possible, does this not in a way reduce the artificiality? (Though I would have preferred if the advantage offered by the DRS was smaller, and the FIA would have instead done away with all the silly rules surrounding it, and allowed deployment at will)

Oh, and in order to not be pigeonholed as a new recruit, I’ve been following F1 since ’74 🙂

CJ the 2cnd, probably...

If ‘ugly wake’ is the problem why not legislate to reduce that, rather than introduce yet another level of complexity?

I do agree though that ‘artificial’ is difficult to define in this context, and therefore the wrong criteria to use. F1 is a contest that is simultaneously between drivers and constructors, with all the compexity that that involves. I think what fans want to see, be they newbies, seasoned observers, long in the tooth or lost their teeth, is competitive racing with the possibility to debate whether it was car design or driver skill (or more likely both) that resulted in victory.


I agree very much, but as I wrote in another comment there *will* be a new aerodynamic and engine formula in 2013, and there’s talk of banning front wings and allowing limited ground effect. The DRS is intended as a stopgap measure until then. And yeah, I think that it was a panicky and misguided decision, the racing was fine for my taste in the recent years.


I think you hit the proverbial nail on it’s head. 🙂



Very well said. Sometimes I wish there was a thumbs up option so people like me wouldn’t leave a comment of agreement.


I am not sure why all the fans are getting so wound up by this???

Think of it like this for a minute:

A driver in a car in front has an “artificial” advantage due to all the cars inherent designs kicking out a turbulent air flow wake behind it.

This means that even the best drivers in the best cars cannot overtake a car in front I.E Alonso vs Petrov in Abudabi last year.

The movable wing just compensates for this and removes the car in fronts artificial advantage.

to give theo following driver a chance t overtake.


The driver in front doesn’t have an artificial advantage. That advantage of being in front was earned when he qualified or passed you earlier. that’s how I see that advantage.


I disagree! If they were both driving formula fords or go-carts Alonso would have been able to pass however Petrov had an artificial advantage due to the turbulent wake that the car in front produces and couldn’t get close!


You are confused. Petrov’s advantage was that his team got a better strategy then Alonso. Alonso started the race in front of Petrov, but Renault had a better stragegy. That’s why Petrov was in front of Alonso.

So imo, Petrov deserved that advantage of turbulent air..because he earned his place in front of Alonso. Fact!


Agree with that


I agree. I hope this is not overused, but is applied on tracks where it is currently almost impossible to overtake.


Why shouldn’t the guy in front have an advantage though? He’s in front due to good race or qualifying strategy on the whole. I didn’t have a problem at all with Petrov holding off Alonso for the whole race, it was fascinating. In that instance Alonso may well have been one of ‘the best drivers in one of the best cars’ but he clearly wasn’t in one of the best teams because they dropped it on the strategy front, so fair game to Petrov and Renault.


There is no right or wrong answer. However, I would have much rather have seen Alonso try to charge by some cars instead of being stuck out of the running for the championship.

The point of racing is more than just qualifying and pit stop strategy. The ability of the driver during the race should come into play as some point, shouldn’t it? Otherwise race slot cars.


It’s to avoid a slow car holding up a faster one, that is wrong. You need too big a speed advantage to pass with rules as they were


Is DRS and KERS really going to do much? I’m not so sure?

The real test will be in the tyre management, is it not? Pirelli looks to have produced a type that will add to the racing. You won’t need any artificial aids to help overtaking when cars are going to be diving into the pits every few laps for a fresh set of boots.

Good on Pirelli I say, I look forward to the car behind on fresher rubber closing down on the car in front. Will he or won’t he catch and overtake time be for the checkered flag?


James, good to see you are listening to fans view on this subject.

I wonder if you could tell me if anything along the lines of my idea have been looked at…

Get rid of the zones, lines and the artificial aspect of not being allowed to defend. Just limit the ECU to say 20/30 uses of the ARW per race. Thats it really, simple! Have the number of uses left by their name on the TV. Drivers can tactically deploy it however they like.

One of my biggest concerns is fans (like myself) who have paid a a lot of money for race tickets at track areas that are not the overtaking zone will be less likely than ever to see overtaking. Why will the driver risk it on my corner when he can cut that risk by passing with a button in the zone. My idea would not rule out 95% of overtaking at other areas of the circuit.



Sounds like the system they use in Indy car. More interesting from a racing perspective if nobody except the driver knows how many uses he has left.


I’ve been thinking about this since the post yesterday.

As you cannot defend with the device, are two cars that are very close together (Ferrari Red Bull) not going to simply be able to pass each other on alternate laps?

Yes, that’s passing but it’s like saying the leader has a 5 km /h speed limit to the resst. It’s not racing.

Also, let’s say there are going to be 4 stops in a race – or three it doesn’t matter.

If I was P2 I’d be very tempted to simply sit 3 seconds behind P1 until either the final stop or using the DRS the final lap.

This assumes there is little speed advantage between either car, F F, RB RB, or F RB for example.

Why risk a crash, engine, drive strain stress passing early when you know that the variables make it certain they’ll come back at you at the next stop or with the DRS.

I could be completly wrong, but I’m not totally convinced drivers will just go on a passing frenzy knowing next time around they’ll be passed, or crash into.


We should not be afraid of change, but, by the same token, change for the sake of change is a waste of resources.

This is yet another attempt to increase overtaking, which is currently difficult because of the high aerodynamic efficiency of the cars, generating turbulent and upwardly air in their wake. The most important elements that create this are the outward washing front wings and the diffuser. Numerous attemts by the FIA to reduce downforce have been invariably circumvented by the teams, since the rules were based on restrictions on structures and not downforce measurements. In the case on the double diffuser, even the restrictions on structure were circumvented. Furtnermore, the FIA did attempt to aleviate this by increasing the size of the front wing and reducing that of the rear – but to no avail.

All things considered, the FIA and overtaking working group had ran out of options. Unless they were going to completely revise the way they implement their restrictions on aerodynamic development (i.e. by imposing a limit on aerodynamic downforce), they were never going to make a difference. But they went too far. I would actually attach the system to the KERS and forget about the wing. As a best compromise, the KERS will only be armed and available for use within one second of a leading car.

Frankly, the whole of F1 seems to be chasing its own tail and attempting to solve problems that should not be there in the first place.

Personally, I have no option than to watch the races, no matter what they do. I do wonder, however, how much do the (now annual) changes in regulation cost the teams?

One final comment: if we all want more overtaking, why don’t more of us actually watch the junior formulae (as there’s always more crashes and overtaking there)?


Do not forget: there will be a completely new aerodynamic formula from 2013, which presumably will take these things into account. The DRS is just a stopgap measure until then.


So we’ll be having similar discussions for years to come..!

I think that this is the issue at the core of this discussion. Very constant regulation changes that i) make the sport very expensive, ii) make car development a bit of a lottery every year and iii) allienates fans that want to see the best driver in the best car win and not the best driver in the team that best interpreted this year’s regulation change.

I don’t like complaining all the time, but thank God for having place like this blog where we can learn, discuss (sometimes complain) and understand the implications that each year’s changes have on the sport.


Well, if the BBC had taken up their option to show GP2 and GP3, many of us would…..

I’m damned if I am going to subscribe to Sky just to get Eurosport!

Praise be to Channel 4 for showing the British F3 series each year, and ITV for the various series they show in the early hours of the morning, as well as including the full program of supporting events along with the BTCC


Its good that there trying it, but why do they always have introduce something and regulate so much that it is either useless “kers 2009” or make it to hard for the fans to understand what is going on. Its good that they are putting something up on the tv to show when it is going to be used or not. I am sure the average person watching the race will not appreciate it at all. Or what about the people actually at the race? Why not just let the teams use it how they please. I understand they are probally worried that a team might find a huge advantage, but that is okay with me let the engineering be the showcase of f


I have to seriously dispute Tom’s point that only new fans – who he distinguishes from “real” fans for some reason – are the ones who are interested in more action on the track. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve been a huge F1 fan for 15 years; I watch every race, I actively follow all of the F1 teams on Twitter, I eagerly read up on all of the new technical innovations introduced by the teams, and I defend F1 against all of the naysayers who complain that it’s too boring. I’m also sure my sentiments speak for an appreciable percentage of your website’s audience.

All of that said, I absolutely cannot stand races where virtually nothing happens, where the only action on the track is at the start and during pit stops. I am extremely excited to see the impact these wings make on the on-track action. Do I unconditionally believe they will work? No, but I’m willing to give them a chance rather than simply writing them off as an attempt to pander to new F1 fans.


Hi Aaron W

Sorry if it sounded like I think that only new fans are those interested in more action on track – I don’t. It’s the method of DRS that I don’t like – that the person behind gains an advantage that the one in front can not likewise defend with. This is completely different to KERS, which I have nothing against. I also have nothing against using different tyres, removing certain aero appendages, etc. etc.

I completely respect your pov, and that you want to give DRS a go, and I did say in my post that if most fans want it then fine. But if the people writing on this site are anything to go by then you probably have to admit that you appear to be in a minority amongst your fellow die-hard F1 fans. That doesn’t make you wrong, but it does mean that F1 should probably listen to a (seemingly) clear majority, shouldn’t they?


Tom Mitchell is spot on when talking about “new fans”. So many of my friends ask me how I can stand watching F1, “it’s so boring!” they more often than not say. They are very much of the opinion that crashes make it exciting! A few weeks ago Murray Walker made some comments on the Five Live F1 preview show with Jake Humphrey. He rightly said that F1 is always exciting and dramatic but you do have to have a fair amount of background knowledge to see it.

On the same radio programme, Jake Humphrey interviewed Bernie Ecclestone who was seriously suggesting that they introduce sprinkler systems at races to simulate rain. I think it’s a ridiculous idea and I hope that it never gets to the point where the sport we love is deemed “boring” enough to warrant such an artificial attempt to make it more exciting!

Real fans want real racing!


I agree with Tom Mitchell’s response. I am a die-hard F1 fan and haven been for more than 17 years. The direction F1 is moving, it’s adopting more of a “fast-food” type racing approach. It’s a people-pleasing, artificial, unhealthy diet! Give it a few more years, and F1 will be nothing more than Nascar or Indycar Racing…a generic cookie cutter racing league.


Just for the record, I too have been a fan since just befor Senna’s death. I’ve traveled to 9 GPs on the circuit – many repeatedly.

Didn’t we have cars with clear advantage over the years? McLarens with brake steering, Benettons with traction control. Reb Bulls with flexiwings. Brawns with defusers. Teams come up with what we could say are unsporting advantages. Here is a sporting one that all drivers have in their “tool box”. Remember, you still have to make the pass.

I ask you this. What’s better – a boxing fight where boxers trade blows for 12 rounds or a single punch knock out?


Just thought about it – none of the GPs I’ve gone to had tracks designed by Tilke – I think.
Been to Montreal, Monaco, Silverstone. Monza, Spa, Hungary, Interlagos, Suzuka, Indianapolis. Funny how that worked out. It wasn’t intentional, but is funny now that I think about it.


i cannot believe people are criticising this rear wing, they really haven’t thought it through at all.

Drivers haven’t been able to overtake. Why? Because the FIA rules have set parameters which have made it difficult for cars to follow each other closely – make that impossible.

We can’t reduce tyre grip, we can’t take away wings, we can’t take away diffusers otherwise F1 cars will become GP2 cars.

The FIA have done the next best alternative – given a device that the driver can use to give him that chance to overtake.

This changes everything – now we have drivers pushing to get within that 1 second, because they now KNOW they can overtake a slower car infront.

WE now have drivers who can play with race strategy – where track position isn’t everything – where they don’t have to sit back and wait until the pitstops.

How is it artificial? The driver still has to do the hard work. He still has to get within a second of the car infront for the wing to be activated. Now finally, the faster driver can overtake (we hope).

Isn’t that wonderful?


hiohaa, I absolutely agree. In the past drivers were running in a well spaced row, one after another.

And why?

Because the closer you got to the car in front, the more you were blocked by its wake. You only had a chance to overtake if the car in front would make a mistake or you were able to be not just a little bit but a whole lot faster than the car in front.

See, there was a disadvantage resulting from the wake. Now you add a little advantage with DRS. That results in what? Balance.

Well, depends on how well the FIA is able to adapt the system to create this balance.


I just saw a clip on youtube of Villneuve and another close @ eau rouge. Surely they need aero downforce there (about 1:04 or so in the clip).

If they can get that close then why not now?


Ah, but whatever people say about Jacques, he was a great racer and risk taker. He would try to make things happen on the track, not just wait until he had a clear mechanical advantage.


Again, it is artificial because the one in the back gets a mechanical advantage. The one in front will be handicapped not having the same mechanical setting as the one following.

It is like in a marathon, giving the guy following a push in the back to make him go faster than the one in front. It would actually be called cheating.


Again, currently the leading car has an artificial advantage because of the huge wake. How can you argue the opposite when progress of a car that is 2 seconds a lap faster regularly gets stalled as soon as it enters the wake of the leading car. Obviously there is an unfair advantage.

Marathon racing is a very poor comparison because there is no such obstacle to the trailing runner.


Super answer!!!! Your statement really needs to be bolded out for all to read.


I have to agree that the artificial nature of the rear wing is going to be about as popular with the hard core fans as a push to pass button. Still it’ll be interesting to watch.

However what worries me and hasn’t seemingly been discussed, is will these new more fragile tyres leave even more marbles on the circuit, only to collect off the racing line and ensure that there is only one (even-more) narrow line?


The article did not get much traction at the time, but last year I read an interview with a leading F1 engineer (off the record, but it might have been Frank Dernie, judging by some hints in the interview preamble), where he expressed the opinion that the right course of action to improve overtaking was to move to a really really hard tyre, one that produces next to no “marbles” during the course of a race. This would allow drivers to use multiple racing lines into and out of corners, and increase overtaking opportunities. Grip levels would be lower, which would increase lap times, and braking distances would increase, which would further help overtaking.

This idea sounded perfectly sensible to me at the time, which explains why F1 is no nearer to implementing it…



You’ve got it, F1 has no use for simplicity…


Paul Hembery of Pirelli said that they expect much less marbles if the temperature reaches the usual ranges, and that they will work on the compounds should this not be the case, because they don’t want marbles either.

Given that Pirelli seem to actually care for the interest of the sport as a whole (as opposed to Bridgestone these last years), I trust that they will do this.


Knuckles – thanks for reporting Paul Hembery’s comments. I hadn’t read that and am hopeful that Pirelli do work to combat marbles. This though from Vettel suggests they may need to work hard, if testing is anything to go by:


I thought I’d dig out the actual quote I had in mind to say thanks for your friendly reply 🙂 It’s not the only one I have read, but the one I actually could find again. It’s from the last day of the first Barcelona test:

“14:58 Martin Nash in Wales asked: If the tyres are degrading more quickly than last year’s tyres, but the track isn’t rubbering in like it did last year, where is the rubber going? Are there more marbles off-line? Was the track not rubbering in planned, or is it just a side-effect of your remit to increase tyre degradation?

Paul Hembery: You have to be careful about making judgements about the tests so far, they’ve all been in cold conditions. The tyres aren’t in their working conditions, there aren’t any races that run in under 15 degrees. From our testing we’ve done so far elsewhere, the tracks do get rubberised. So we expect to see the tracks get rubberised more and less marbles.”

There was another one somewhere in which he specifically said that they want to have few marbles in order to allow cars to go off line without too much of a penalty, and that they would change the compound to make it so if marbles prove problematic still in warmer temperatures. I think it was in the Autosport News section, but I cannot find it right now.


I said it before and say it again. Why should tires last so long? In a 2 hour race 30 min per set is more than enough.


Why would the line be narrower?


Absolutely agree. I too worry that the benefit of fast degrading tyres (in terms of the racing) is going to be negated by the track becoming the width of one car. Afterall, there’s no point in the regulations being altered to help cars drive closer behind each other if there isn’t the track surface for them to also drive side by side.

Gavin Pendergrast

Good points on both sides of the fence, but by giving the trailing car the advantage it is creating artificial racing. This would be simply solved by giving each driver an specific amount of times the device can be activated. This then turns it into a strategic option rather than a push to pass gimic. Pure F1 fans will accept this just like they accept the tyre rules. Everyone has the same equipment/opportunities and it comes down to who is the most effective at using them. It could still be restricted to specific areas of the track due to ensure safety. I am all for new ideas to be tried and good on the FIA & teams for sticking their neck out with this one but it has to be done with fairness at the heart of it and the current regs do not do that. Give the guy in front the opportunity to resist the pass by using up one of his allotted DRS activations. If handicapping is the only way to achieve exciting racing then why not have a sail on the car in front so at least the sponsors will have a large area to advertise on!


What you are suggesting Gavin would mean, we would never have a car starting from the back of the grid to come through to finish the podium or win a race. If thats what you want then so be it, I’m just glad the FIA aren’t listening to you 🙂 Cheers

Gavin Pendergrast

Fast cars will always get through the pack and probably more so now with more pitstops involved in a race. I do understand that if you are 2s a lap faster than the guy in front of you then it sucks that you couldn’t get past purely because of aerodynamics. I just don’t believe handicapping is the way forward for what is promoted as the pinnacle of motorsport.


On the contrary I think its great when a slower car is able to defend its position from a faster car no matter even if the diff between the two is 2 sec or more. That’s what makes a recipe for a great race. What we see nowadays is that most cars are not even able to try and attack the car in front. FOTA is clearly thinking about its loyal F1 fans hence DRS is allowed for only 600 metres. They dont really want an easy overtaking move, what they want is cars to arrive at a corner a whole lot more closer to each other. You know kinda givin a stimulus for the car behind to attach a bit harder. Its still gonna be very difficult to overtake when a car is defending a corner through the inside line.


I put this point to you.

Could wins be worth more now? Just think of what a winner will have to go through to get there? They are paid enough that I’m ok with the extra preassure from the rear. Hopefully no more wins by 40 seconds.


Thanks to all for this stimulating debate. Some very good points


No, what you suggest should never ever be done. Have you watched A1 racing? The leaders manage to save their boosts until the end whereas the ones fighting from behind exhaust all of theirs fighting their way to the front.

Gavin Pendergrast

If you have to use all your boosts or DRS to get to the front then you don’t deserve to win! If a driver can fend off others that are using the device while saving his own then that shows that he is a better driver with a better car set up. Even more so in A1 as all the cars were the same.(R.I.P)Would a rule be accepted in football whereas the team leading the scoring had to play with 10 players? It is not a level playing field.


Completely agree with Tom Mitchell.
F1’s dividing their market with the DRS


KERS, adjustable wing, all well but what I do not like is the artificial way of restraining this.

Let’s ahve KERS, not capped at specific power level, let us have the wing and let drivers use it whenever they want, not by creating more confusion by adding doubtful rules.

This comes from a long time F1 fan.

CJ the 2cnd, probably...

As it seems to be becoming de rigeur to establish one’s credentials as a fan let me first say that I am 108 and I’ve been watching motor racing since long before I was born! (‘That’s nothing..’ I hear a distant Python fan cry!) Right, nonsense out of the way, a few thoughts.

F1 is many things to many folk, but it should be the premier motor racing series (the clue’s in the name) and the pinacle of technical excellence. So I would like to suggest a different criteria for rule changes. Relevance. Flappy paddles, disc brakes, KERS and doubless many other technologies have found their way onto consumer production cars after development in F1. Doubtless someone will prove me wrong but I don’t see much relevance to DRS in this context, and how did we arrive at engineering fragile tyres? Which tyres would you like on your pride and joy sir, these fragile ones or some that might get you home at least? What nonsense, we should be engineering the best tyre possible.

If we must have DRS then at least leave the drivers in control of it, rationed if deemed neccessary, but not externally controlled. After all this is a DRIVERS World Championship amongst other things.

I have deliberately avoided using the artificiality argument as it is not possible to define at which point in the development of modern racing cars things were still natural, or real, if indeed that has any meaning at all. DRS is a patch, not a fix. If turbulence is what makes overtaking difficult let’s reduce turbulence, not apply another layer of complexity to work around the problem.

The concept of relevance could encourage the development of fuel efficiency, safer, more durable, (narrower?)tyres and probably a host of other things but also better racing.


I second that.

Actually, if I had my perfect world, I’d tell those designers four things:

1) Safety: minimum survival cell resistance requirements and if something comes loose from your car and hits someone, you’re banned forever.

2) History: the wheels and the driver’s helmet must be exposed.

3) Cost control: you can have x fresh engines per year (racing and testing) and y fresh gearboxes also (racing and testing).

4) Challenge: you have z litres of this road-spec fuel to use per year. Make do.

Now, GO! ¦¬)


Best idea I have seen for a while. It encourages innovation, its green, cost effective, it should be safe and I bet it would be entertaining!

I think for the first few years there would possibly be dominance by someone who gets it right but hopefully we would see teams sticking to a concept and trying to make it work, like Ferrari sticking with a V12 that drinks too much and blows up all the time :D.

The fuel limit for the whole season I think is a great idea. It makes it about extracting the most performance out of a small amount of fuel.

Only problem is, I think we underestimate the F1 engineers. We could end up with some truly hideous creations with the most ridiculous wings and appendages ever seen. Do you regulate that and if so where do you draw the line?


Oh, didn’t notice your interesting safety regulation. OK, that may help 🙂


I wrote it in another comment already: I LOVE this idea, but the problem is that a few years later everyone would be dead and F1 off TV.


I guess the word we are looking for is fairness.

But those of us who have seen the arms race in F1 can hardly say it’s fair. If this DRS isn’t “fair” how is spending more to have a faster car fair – to those who don’t have the budget?


Having Adrian Newey design the car can also almost be constituted unfair…? 🙂

Patrick S. Hunter

Can you use DRS at the start of the race and what about a sandwich type of situation?


Can’t use it for first two laps in the race


Good question – what would happen if three or four cars were following each other each within a second of the car in front? The car attempting to overtake the lead car wouldn’t be able to use DRS because there is a car trying to overtake him! Would the car at the rear be the only one allowed to use it, or would everyone apart from the lead car?


This raises another issue, multiple cars passing one another. Tyres, balls, fast cars and braking.

If “balls” of rubber are to be everywhere on the track except the racing line, a driving attempting to over take another will run over the “balls”, the issue is how badly will the braking distance be affected by the lack of grip from running over the “balls”


Huge oppurtunity for the driver at the back after he sees all the drivers make their inital moves across the track. Odds on Kobayashi to attempt the first three-car overtake.


This introduces the possibility of tag team passing, like in cycling, to catch a leader. Interesting


They can all use it except the leader..


Two comments, that show the contrast of the audience’s opinion on DRS and KERS.

However I see one thing very different to the first post. It says the innovations will create “artificial racing”. Not at all! The drivers with the strongest ability to use the new systems for their own good will prove their racing skills are the best and they will be rewarded with success!


Not really. Concerning the wing, the one in the back will get a mechanical advantage the one in front won’t have at the same time. It will gain him between 7-13 km/h.

No skill involved. Artifical advantage it is.

KERS is same for everyone always, so that is about drivers adapting to it, but the rear wing thing is only an advantage for the one who following. Artifical racing.


Advantage in speed, but not in judgement. The car in front can still dictate the line into, and out of a corner. All they need to do is make it harder for the faster car to get a good drive in. There may be a speed advantage, but how far they are allowed to carry that speed depends on the space available for a pass.



And while I completely respect Sebee’s point of view, he/she wrongly inferred from my post that I am against KERS, even though I didn’t mention it. I’m not, and infact many times on here I’ve defended it. As you say, it is the same for everyone, so is not an artificial advantage. DRS is.


I wonder, did you miss or do you not believe when the FIA says that DRS deployment will be regulated in a way that this won’t happen? Because what they are saying is that their intention is NOT to allow easy overtaking, but just to give the following car so much advantage that it has at least a chance to overcome the (artificial) wake of the leading car.


What is artificial in F1? I think we should have an explanation of this criteria. AlhatEhat is “natural” or “organic” about F1?
Is it the 700hp feather light paddle shifting 4G+ capable heart stopping breaking carbon fibre transmission, “car”?
I can hardly compare anything about it to a Honda Civic – although those have paddle shifting too now.

F1 is supposed to be extreme, on the limit.

If anyone here thinks adjustable wings are extreme may I say a few words? Veyron. Carrera GT. 911. Many others.

Anyone here who thinks KERS is extreme and artificial – may I point out the fleet of hybrids in the market?


I agree. The only thing that ISN’T artificial about F1 racing is that the cars burn regular fuel, and there has to be a real live person onboard piloting the vehicle. And even then, the driver isn’t the only one monitoring all the gauges.


But, Keno, is it their “racing skills” that will win races, or will it be the guy/car that looks after it’s tyres the best? (ie drives slowly)?



If he drives to slow he will have a car within one second behind him… It has always been in the interest of the drivers to look after their given hardware. Tyres are not always the only thing that has to be looked after, the rest of the car needs looking after as well. IMO


The thing about this car ‘care’ issue and the traditional concept surrounding it is that classic era drivers absolutely had to look after their machinery because there really was no alternative. Tyres, turbos, gearboxes, suspension etc were as good as they could be given a level of performance necessary.

Taking the tyre issue of today, we know that tyres can be manufactured to last an entire race giving reasonable performance and grip. Introducing deliberately weak tyres (that don’t even provide a huge advantage in grip, for any time) is no more ‘genuine’ than having a DRS/KERS/F-duct or other driving aid.


Looking after your tyres is a fundamental racing skill. Read any race driving text book. In F1 this only stopped being so in the late 90ies.


Exactly that. The following driver still has to use his skills to try to catch up to be within 1 second and then, once he has made the pass he still has to work to get a further second in front so that he himself won’t be passed on the next lap. There is more to this than just the wing going up and down and the real racers will show their skills using everything including the new devices and tires etc.


Some people simply don’t like change, they’re more used to sports that have remained static for decades.

However F1 is in a constant state of change, it has to be otherwise it’d just be a single make series and be watched by … err, almost no one, like the other single make series.

Michael Roberts

If it was left to the teams and drivers then we’d have cars producing insane amounts of downforce and more processional races.


That’s right – It’s on permanent auto-refresh


Hi James. I think fans have always accepted [sometimes with slight exasperation!]that F1 rules and regulations are constantly changing.

What I don’t recall ever in the history of F1 though [and please correct me if not the case] is that at no time have we ever seen such a conscious effort to handicap cars.

1. Top 10 qualifiers had to race with same fuel load [prior years]

2. Top 10 qualifiers had to race with same tyres

And now DRS?


I think FIA should make a virtue of the fact that the rules have to keep changing because the technology moves so fast- rather than always be reactive. That’s why 2013 is such a massive opportunity


It’s more like a wound that’s not being allowed to heal, a while ago it was doing quite nicely without much interference but now the scab is being picked all the time and it’s never allowed to recover alone.

F1 would change and evolve naturally and more innovatively if it was left to the teams and designers.

When you think about the history of the sport different eras are characterised by the trends and innovations of great engineers and mechanics and the drivers who were brave enough to explore the limits of those innovations. Even the Schumacher era was characterised by a growing trend in reliability that was born of analytical, manufacturing and engineering innovations. And was there ever a driver as reliably fast as Schumacher?

The current era of the sport is characterised by regulatory interference, uncertainty and hegemony. Last year seemed like an improvement but before the 2010 had even began the only certainty was uncertainty. Before we had even seen the 2010 regulations implemented in anger the changes for 2011 were agreed. No one knew if they were even any good in the first place.

In DDDs and F-Ducts two major individual team/designer initiated innovations have been shelved in favour of prescriptive tightly regulated committee approved technologies that give no one team an intrinsic advantage. Regulation is so prescriptive the drivers can’t even use them freely. DDDs and F-Ducts fit into a tradition as old as the sport of engineers/mechanics innovating to gain an advantage. The excessive regulations governing KERS & DRS and the manor of their introduction(s) go against that tradition to the detriment of the sport.


to punish drivers for going off track why aren’t “stingers” used – as per the Police who use them on cars they are chasing – place a few of them at the edge of the track, if a driver runs over them, his tyres slowly deflate – a trip off track means a trip back to the pits.


I don’t necessarily disagreee, but it’s all down to cost, isn’t it?

The teams with the money can afford to innovate, and hence they end up dominating. A lot of the regulations are related to limiting costs, probably even more so than safety. Without those limits though, we’d end up with three or four teams because that’s all that could afford to stay in the arms race.


Very well articulated, and I agree 100%.


The only reason we see excessive regulations in the sport is because without technical limitations the F1 cars would’ve been unsafe for the drivers and the spectators and even more F1 cars would’ve been underivable by human beings with excess of G forces.

In other sports rules barely change for decades because there’s no safety concerns. The culture of constant rule changes is the direct result of the safety conerns. Afterwards, as with everything else politics, team own selfishness and other factors play a role too as with everything in life but the main target is safety.

I’ll take an example concerning circuits. The best circuit in my view today is Suzuka why is that ? Because the risk is there not only are there nice high speed corners but they are extremely unforgiving. Drivers who make mistakes not only are out of the race (which is unlikely in many circuits) but will feel the physical pain as well which leads to psychological pain too and that might play a role in the way drivers tackle those corners.

A new Suzuka is unlikely to get approved for F1 if the circuit was considered nowadays. Today’s circuits are very costly because of the high safety standards, the stadium wide run off areas, spectators needing a tv set to watch the GrandPrix they’re in. Countries building new circuits would be happy to build a new Suzuka but safety regulations makes it either too hard or too expensive. Suzuka is not only much better it’s much cheaper too. Imagine the 8 corner in Istanbul with little tarmac-less run off, that would’ve been the best corner in the history of motor racing but it’s impossible.

With technical rules, it’s the same. Speed has to be maintained down and more and more restrictive rules are enforced. They change constantly with sometimes odd new rules but one thing I like about this year is that the new technical restrictions led to more technical innovations than previous years : ToroRosso double floor/McLaren T sidepods/Renault forward exhausts/Williams rear end, so in a way technical creativity has been enhanced by those limitations which is the main thing so for me the new restrictions are a success no question about that. In the same way the 4L turbo engine with single exhaust will lead to huge innovations.

To have good racing though, you don’t need new or old rules, fair or unfair ones. All you need is a tight group at the front and many drivers challenging for the WC plus a couple of controversies here and there. As long as you have that, the season will be great. If you don’t, no matter how great and fair are the rules, how challenging are the circuits the season will be dull.



While F1 is always about change like most motorsport, but particularly worldwide sport (WRC, F1 etc…), the current change is not so much about change in technology growth or through stopping suicidal speeds etc… but isntead about the regulatory body controlling


If it was left to the teams and designers, everyone would be dead.


You make a very good point, thanks


There will be more passing this year, not due to the DRS, but rather as a result of rapidly degrading tires. However, I’m worried that the FIA will falsely believe that the increased overtaking will be a result of the DRS. I honestly believe that if KERS and the DRS were removed before the first race in Melbourne, that we would still see increased overtaking in races due solely to the Pirelli tires.


Why not look at tires as a natural wear component that has a life span and a use limit. You don’t see anyone complaining at Le Mans 24 that tires aren’t lasting as long as they should – whatever that period is. Remember an F1 race is 2 hours. You have to fit all the content into that time bracket. In a 2 hour race window is it unreasonable that tires last 30 minutes?


I actually think that the worst thing that could happen is that DRS works and works well. The more effectively it works the more artificial the racing has become and the quicker I will find ‘real’ motor racing to watch elsewhere. If F1 wants to become as American wrestling is to sport in order to attract the ‘cheap thrill masses’ then go ahead but beware just how transient is the attention span of that cohort. Also, go into it knowing that you are going to have to keep inventing more outrageous rules (Sprinklers anyone?) every year to keep those salivating masses engaged, a vicious and ever decreasing cycle of madness and lunacy will surely follow. Soon, you have a circus – who knows maybe that will work for F1 and more people than ever will watch. However, it does not work for me and it probably will not work for the majority of people who consume websites such as this one.

People here have asked for a definition of artificial and I will offer my own: any regulation that presents one driver with an advantage over another, which is a result of a situation contrived by the regulations. For example, the regulations now stipulate that a chase car will always be faster on a particular part of a track than the lead car for a set period of time. The chase car will be faster because the rules say it will be not through any effort on the teams’ behalf. Therefore an utterly unfair and, in my opinion, unjustified and artificial advantage will be simply handed to one driver over another. That is NOT motor racing people, come on! How can you even debate that this is not artificial?

As for the ‘give it a chance’ argument, apart from my claim that the worst thing that could happen is that DRS works I would say – why should DRS be the tech that is given a chance? F1 has a serious case of Attention Deficit Disorder, rules and regulations are rarely given a chance before they are changed. Instead the average viewer is left standing on shifting sand at the start of every season, not sure if they are watching the same sport as they saw the previous year. Why should DRS, the most artificial evolution ever to pollute F1, be the tech that is given a chance? F1 needs to naturally evolve in pace with it’s viewing audience and their expectations – currently it jumps about all over the place like a frog on a hot tin roof. This means that F1 is not a naturally evolving beast in keeping with its times and demands of its environment, rather it is a mutation, a genetically engineered super sport that is likely to burst from over manipulation like a steroid gorged bicep.

As an interesting sideline, Bernie has said this morning that F1 will continue to move East as European countries ‘cannot afford F1’. What Bernie is really saying is that F1 is more and more attractive to countries with Absolute Rule and less so to those with democratically elected governments who have to justify the massive cost to an electorate (i.e. Australia, Belgium, Spain, France and the UK). What does it say about F1’s value for money and it’s future direction that it needs to turn to eastern dictatorships and monarchies to fund its races because democracies simply cannot justify the cost to their people? Obviously (as a trillion dollar economy) the UK government could afford to subsidise a dozen races if it wanted to, Australia can, as a nation, easily afford to keep Albert Park alive and well for the next decade if it chose to do so , so it’s not a case of being able to afford it. Rather it is a case of being able to justify it. Bahrain didn’t have to justify the huge cost to any of its people did it? Look what has happened there. It is now plain to see that the people did not want or need a F1 race and instead the entire event is a single man’s vanity project built at the expense of his people rather than on their behalf! So F1’s future according to Bernie is to exploit those people who do not have the freedom of speech to object to F1’s presence or cost? Bernie is to pander to Governments who do not lest their people choose between hospitals, universities and motor races?

Then of course we have F1’s hypocritical approach to environmentalism whereby we introduce environmentally dubious (to say the least) tech like KERS but continue chase the almighty dollar all over the word to stage shows at empty, dust filled tracks at the cost of massive logistically inspired environmental damage. It’s insulting that Bernie and his ilk expect fans to swallow this hypocrisy when personally the insult sticks in my throat and makes me want to vomit. CVC’s debt is several rungs above environmentalism on the F1 ladder of driving (pun intended) forces.

Bernie’s vision of how F1 is funded and the authenticity and hypocrisy of its racing is terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. The only surprise to me is that more people do not share my huge concern. F1 is becoming a monster and it is time to either break out the pitchforks and flaming torches or try and communicate and persuade it to acknowledge its principles, obligations and reasons for being. F1 continues to leave it’s primary fan base further and further behind, both in terms of geography and principle – how long before it tests its foundations to their limits and collapses under its own weight?


Great news on Spa! But I have to say to Wayne, echoing Darren (and a shout out to Darren as well): Well said.

Even though FOTA didn’t form a breakaway series, Wayne’s and Darren’s analyses should give everyone pause to reconsider the viability of a new series. Maybe not instead of F1, but in addition to. Yes, I know everyone will raise the CART/IRL split (or the USAC/CART split before it).

But think about it: As Wayne points out, Bernie’s “government largesse” business model is not sustainable, and it’s left (and will soon leave more) an awful lot of venues available in Europe and the Americas. This vacuum can be filled, those tracks put to use, with another international series – I think the “FIA Intercontinental Championship” has a nice ring to it – without going for ultimate the luxury infrastructure that F1 seems to need these days. And Darren has the right idea about setting up the schedule to minimize intercontinental travel and the costs, of all kinds, that go with it.

So, here’s a rough version of how an FIA Intercontinental Championship might look.

Assume a (minimum) 20 car grid running a 12 race season, beginning in April – Four races in Asia, take May off. Four races in Europe in June, take July off. Four races in the Americas during August, end of season. Three months packed with racing.

In-season testing? Teams would be allowed to use any two weeks during each “break month.”

Tech regs? Aim for simplicity. Of course, safety regs (rollover protection, crash resistance, materials). No wings. Subject to maximum displacement (say, 1200cc supercharged and 2500cc unsupercharged), any engine, with any number of cylinders, in any configuration (including valve train) and any fuel type permitted. Prohibit the use of ballast to make the minimum vehicle weight. And that’s it.

Tire supply? Anyone who cares to come in. Tire wars are fine; given that there will be specified testing periods during the season, there can only be so much tire testing.

Let’s have a 250 mile race distance, and no refueling – short enough to be TV friendly, long enough to provide a test of both engineering finesse and driver skill.

Points? 20, 19, 18…..1.

Qualifying? Q1, Q2, Q3 is fine. But leave it at that, and let qualifying be qualifying. No parc ferme, no requirement to start with the same fuel load as in qualifying.

Just some wild ideas…


Well said that man.

I am by no means against F1 moving to different countries but have a massive issue about the lack of crowd or atmosphere at most of those venues.

F1 is trying to be a bit greener, again I dont have a problem with this but flying all over the world to far flung places is the biggest waste of resources going. The season should be structured to minimise travel. e.g. start in Asia then spend the summer in Europe before finishing the season in the Americas or whichever order you want that in.

I dont understand the need for all these super circuits like Abu Dhabi, yes the facilities are good but theres no need for them. The teams manage just fine in Sao Paulo and Monaco. The current trend for new tracks has become an arms race, each one bigger, more gimmicky and more obscene than the last. When will this stop? As you rightly say this can only be afforded/justified by the kind of countries that have their populations out on the streets protesting just now.

Why does F1 need to go to new tracks all the time? Take the US for example, there are literally hundreds of race tracks in the states, a few very good ones. Why do we need to have a new one built in Austin just for F1? I can guarantee now it will be the usual flat and bland mixture of hairpins and long straights.

I’m also reserving judgement on the rear wing for the moment. I think KERS and tyre strategy would have been enough to spice up the overtaking without the wing. I dont want it to be too artificial though.

Bernie must be going senile with his ludicrous suggestion of wetting the track and shortcuts or whatever he was on about last year.


Did you see that FOM said today that Spa GP has a title sponsor -Shell – for five years, which presumably means there will be a race there for next five years..good news.


I doubt the FIA will be fooled as the use of DRS is to be closely monitored – as will the degradation of the tyres. i.e. they will know when DRS has been used and how many laps each set of tyres has done.

I’m in favour of DRS actually because it adds another element of strategic thinking to a sport that has that at it’s core.

F1 has never been purely about speed, but about using your brain as well. May the fastest/shrewdest man win!


I see that but I also see that holding up people who are on slightly better conditioned tyres is now more difficult because of the DRS.


I think the tyre degradation differences will be massive, greater than the 12km/h the moveable wing will provide. I think the gentleman mentioning the emerging markets has a good point, it too should be noticed that these new audiences do not have the culture which has a strong link to motor racing and as we have seen unfortunately with Barhain a very poor government stability. Yet it seems that pleasing the newbies is more important than the diehards.

I will be honest, I only get to two races a year and I watch nearly 90% of races recorded, I have a few hobbies, but I could not miss the F1 and have watched every race delayed or not since 1978.

I think common sense loyal opinions should count more than the new view.


I only go back to 1986 but I agree that tyre degradation is going to be exciting. I should have qualified that drivers that have marginally better tyres are the ones that are only 3 or 4 laps newer where the DRS will make the difference required to make a pass. One of my least fav situations in a race is where someone takes a gamble to pit early but then gets held up by a slower car who refuses to pit.

I am not too critical of the demands of the fans to increase the sports flair, but us die-hards understand the significance and brilliance of a passing maneuver, a brilliance that will be reduced if it is made easier.

I also like the fact that the entire world is becoming involved as these “newbies” pay for extra episodes of my fav show each year and also provide the audience that advertisers are keen to sponsor more teams for. This also justifies the term “World Champion.”

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