F1 Winter Break
The FOTA take on the adjustable rear wing debate
The FOTA take on the adjustable rear wing debate
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Mar 2011   |  3:14 pm GMT  |  180 comments

Following on from the FIA take on the Drag Reduction System, ahead of its racing introduction next week and the point of view of the fans, FOTA have been looking with interest at the debate here on the site over the last 24 hours. One source within FOTA made the following point to me this morning, which I wanted to post as part of the ongoing discussion,

“The introduction of the moveable rear wing (Drag Reduction System – DRS) should be at least given a chance. Using an extreme logic, everything on a car could be considered to be “artificial”.

“The effort that resulted in the introduction of the DRS followed requests from a very wide audience to increase overtaking opportunities, however it is meant not to make overtaking “too easy” since it still requires the skills of the drivers to be close to the car in front at the right time/place and it doesn’t alter dramatically the balance (cars performance factors, tyres, KERS and pure racing abilities will continue to play a relevant role as well).

“The Teams, together with the FIA, have an “experimental” approach to this technology. If it works well, fine; if it doesn’t it, will be easy to adjust or to reconsider its usage.”

This last line gives an indication that the teams are quite open minded on DRS. If it doesn’t work or is massively unpopular, then it sounds like they won’t necessarily cling to it. As I understand it, DRS isn’t yet a firm part of the 2013 rules package.

Thanks to all the fans for such an interesting discussion. We will find out more how the system works over the first few races.

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I think it should be given a chance and although I'm sceptical about the movable rear wing, I am really looking forward to see what happens in Melbourne and how it effects the racing.

It's too easy for people to dismiss the idea without actually seeing it in action. Plus as mentioned many a time by FOTA, they will be keeping an eye on how it goes and adjust it if needed going forward.


For me it's artificial simply because the rules are not consistent between all drivers.

When you say it can be used by the driver behind but not the driver in front, it becomes artifical.


Won't the teams have to run a compromised top gear ratio in order to achieve the higher top speeds when the wing is off and won't this slow the cars down in normal running. Also, if a team tactically decides before a race not to bother using their rear wing device in the race, will they not have an advantage by choosing a more optimal top gear ratio for use in normal running thus making it harder for a "wing" car to get within the necessary 1 second?


that's a very good point. the wing can be used at any time in qualifying though so I would imagine all the teams will set the gearbox so it maxes out top gear when the wing is being used. it will be interesting to see though if anyone tries a different approach. with nothing to back this up at all I would say over the course of a race, running a closer ratio gearbox would be quicker than running suboptimal and using the wing a couple of times. it will be a case of whether the team goes for total race time or for "track position is king". very interesting!


If I'd seen your post about this I would have replied directly too it (so my post about this subject is further down, 50odd or something) but I agree entirely.


Whilst I am of the group that 'it should be given a chance' we are at this stage in the cars development because the rules prior to this year have given us cars which requires a large difference in speed to over take.

The Ferrari dilemmas last year with the Massa moving aside and Alonso stuck behind the Renault (final race) whilst exciting for the first half a dozen laps becomes boring as we realise that overtaking is not possible.

So we are now more dependant on driver skills to manage the technology, using precision timing, having to be in the right place at the right time and courage to complete the move in 600 metres before having to reset the car to go around a corner.

This is F1 and I cannot every remember a season when it was easy... moveable wings will not make it any easier and remember that the car in front will be behind the next time the drivers pass through the same section of track with an advantage and another opertunity to make a mistake.


"Using an extreme logic, everything on a car could be considered to be “artificial”." This isn't just extreme logic it's contrived, spirious and vaguely insulting. It's not the DRS device that people are claiming is artifical (as to do so would be too obvious for words) but the specific, unique circumstances it will DELIBERATELY create.


Except that, as you well know, the turbulence created by F1 cars which has made overtaking so difficult is also "artificial", creating a situation where often even a driver's superior ability, or the superior speed of his car, is insufficient to produce overtaking opportunities. I'm not saying that two wrongs necessarily make a right, but if the DRS can counterbalance this systemic handicap, we should be happy.


No. The car infront is benefitting from the position it has (race intrigues aside)earnt. How has the chase car earnt this atificial advantage? It has not. There are many benefits to being infront which is why teams and drivers try so hard to be in that position.


Very true. I wonder if FOTA could use their extreme logic to point out which other "artifical" part of the car is only allowed to be used in a specific zone on the track, and only if you're within 1 second of the car in front, but not in the first 3 laps of the race or after a safety car.



And using the "DRS followed requests from a very wide audience to increase overtaking opportunities" card is just plain wrong in the case of DRS, and borders on dishonest.

If it follows wide audience requests to increase overtaking by giving the driver behind an advantage that the driver in front can not defend with, then I stand corrected. But in any FOTA questionnaire that I have completed this has never been suggested. To me, before DRS was suggested, it would have been a fair assumption of any fan who said there should be more overtaking to assume that it would always be on the basis that it would be equal for both drivers attacking and defending. If FOTA now say that this assumption was wrong, then they should have been clear on it, and should now hold another consultation before going against what seems like a significant majority against this.

FOTA are just like politicians manipulating the results of a referendum to infer things that are just not inferable by the results.


Agree 100%. These guys are now trying to retrospectively 'prop up' an appalling idea. As you quite rightly say, I bet no fan of F1 ever asked for one driver to be given an artificial advantage over another or I'll eat my hat and yours too. I still maintain that DRS is loose loose. If it doesn't work everyone gets to say "well I could have told you that 6 months ago" and if it does work we now have artificial overtaking in F1. No one benefits from this.


You couldn't have said it better!

Really sums it up.


I'm not sure Melbourne is that great a place to see how it works. I think places like China and Malaysia and Turkey, with the longer straights would see DRS being more effective.Somehow Melbourne always throws us a great race, even though I don't think there are that many natural overtaking places on the circuit (Where Lewis overtook Rosberg last year was NOT natural!)and the effect of DRS won't be strong enough to counter that.


Honestly, considered under the harsh light of reality, this DRS system sounds like something a school boy drew up on the back of his maths book. Certainly does not sound like something worthy of FOTA and F1 in general.


Agreed, and saying that everything on a car is artificial just shows that FOTA are being petulant. Of course a car is artificial, it's not a tree or a bird is it.

Football boots are artificial equipment, just like an F1 car. Removing the studs from the football boots of a winning team is manipulation. DRS is equivalent to the latter.

So perhaps FOTA would prefer the term 'manipulation' if they wish to engage in semantics.


erm - everything on the car artificial? I think the problem people have is not that th drivers are surrounded by a chassis, (otherwise we would all watch athletics instead) but the fact that DRS is available only to the following driver. Some people have a problem with KERS but less so because it is available to all, whether you are in front or behind.


Aaron -

You miss the point that having a constant defence of dirty air behind you IS available to the car in front and NOT to the guy behind.

DRS is intended as a leveller and only in the circumstances where a the car behind is significantly faster, so would in all likelihood be ahead if it wasn't for the aero-dependency of modern F1 cars.


why dosent the FOTA work towards reducing the aero dependancy to around the levels found in champcars, which still have pretty close racing and quite a bit of overtaking on their road courses / street circuits, or the grip levels found f1 in the early 1990's? They have changed the rules gradually for the last decade but havent been able to figure this out as yet.


Surely the slipstream is only available to the driver behind so it balances out anyway?



Slipstreaming can only happen if you can first get through the turbulent air the car in front produces. In the recent past drivers have needed a far superior car in order to do this unless the lead driver made a mistake, allowing them to draw near enough.
Now drs will help drivers move in to the slipstream.


As I understand it the problem with the turbulent air for the car behind is it becomes more unstable and loses front end grip.

So how can reducing downforce be a leveller? Seems to me it simply exacerbates the problem for the driver and increases the chances of a collision..?


You don't need "grip" on the straights - you need as little drag as possible until under braking or cornering.
a driver who is unable to get close enough through the corners because of dirty air will be able to counter that problem by deploying drs on the straight - moving him into the slipstream ready for an attempt at overtaking under braking.
At least that's how I understand it.


That's a fair point. However, I would counter that if this were the case - drs being a leveller to counter dirty air, why not allow the following driver the use of drs only until they are beyond the effect of dirty air i.e. within a second of the car in front and then let them fight it out with kers, slipstream and defensive driving.

Besides, I wasn't commenting on the point of drs I was making the point that it is not the artificial element of cars having technological advances that people are bothered about - fota's view - but the fact that one car can use it while the other can't - manufactured overtakes


Yet the car infront is there on merit, it is leading for a reason and has therefore earnt its advantage. Remove Tilke from CVC's gravy train and design some decent circuits. It's not hard to achieve, people managed it 50 years ago!



That is all....

Get someone who can make a Suzuka or a Spa circuit. Then have a bunch of ex drivers like Prost, Hill, Mansell etc.. look over it to make sure it atleast looks great on paper. Then build.


This is how I feel about it. Trying to level the field between leading and trailing car is worth a shot. While I have no idea about how effective it will be I do agree with Goya trying this.


That is where my idea comes in. Just give them 30 uses per race, anywhere on track. It is less artificial as you can defend if you have movements remaining and even the stratergy of deployment might be exciting.


I'd prefer unlimited KERS for everyone and no movable rear wing.

Let drivers bank their KERS power over more than a single lap so they can build it up over several laps for several bursts of trying to overtake.

It would introduce more variability and hopefully promote development of battery technology (the biggest hurdle to any kind of electric car).


My biggest problem with the DRS is that it gives the chasing driver an advantage the leading driver does not have. This idea would level the playing field and I would happily support this kind of proposal.

I reserve my final jusgement until I see DRS used in anger but as a concept it worries me. I do want to see more overtaking in F1 but not in such a way that the leading driver is a sitting duck.

Consider Mark Webber's collision with Heikki's lotus in Valencia last year that launched mark's Red Bull 20ft into the sky. What was the closing speed there..? Are we in for a lot more if a leading driver changes his line to defend going into the corner..?


True, but at the moment the leading driver has an advantage the chasing driver does not have ... Clean air.


This could be very dangerous though. A driver using the wing behind someone else will have no idea if the car infront would also use it and thus could end up flying into the back of him.

I say let them use it as much as they want, when they want. Will be interesting to see how confident drivers would be round certain corners with how early they activated it. I don't know if it would be safe to turn it on/off that much though.


What's your argument that 30 uses would work?

If I'm in a Red Bull, and I pull out a lead in the first two laps, what exact incentive do I have to use up my 30 allocation?

Which means I only use it defensively.

Which means it's pointless in the first place because it creates no aggression from drivers in pursuit.


And if you gain no adantage from being behind then it is pointless.

First will use it defensively 30 times

Second will use it defensively 30 times because he can't attack first as they have 30 times left to defend


If something is ont eh car then they can use it anytime they want whenever they want as much as they want.

I wouldn't be so anti DRS if they couold all use it whenever and however they want, but because there is this loop block where they have to be within a set time and then on the following straight they get a mini powerup for a short distance it just makes it sound video gamish.

And I like games, I quite enjoy GT5 and co but on the race track I would prefer if it was racing leaving Mario Kart to the 64 (yes, the wii version is that bad) and Gran Turismo to the playstation.


If you are in the lead, you deserve to be there and should not be punished by someone creeping up on you via an artificial boost button.


That is my point. if your said redbull then well done. The other drivers should not be given an artificial advantage for being behind. My idea does not have complicated timing it painted lines nor is it limited to one area/grandstand of the track.

I don't see your argument....the current proposed rules would also not see the lead driver use the wing so you want to see the leader passed like a sitting duck. good reward for being in first.


Brilliant idea and easy to understand!


i am glad to see that there is comunication between the fans and the fota. But the real problem is the fia. What are they going to do about the turbo engines if the fans don't want them?

We need a good sound and lots of power. Isn't this what f1 should be? Or am i crazy?


I am always uneasy when the FIA changes things too much. I hope the reduction of engine power may not result in F1 resembling GP2. The FIA's demand for rubber that will not last may result in lesser drivers and cars passing the top contenders, not because of driver's skill or a better car. The re-introduction of KERS may require a much longer straight to pass even with the adjustable rear wings. All these FIA innovations should first be tested in lesser forumlas before adopting in F1. We have to be very grateful to all the talented designers, aerodynamists, engineers who help to introduce things that work to keep F1 in the forefront of motor racing and F1 races interesting.


A great point on trying out regulations in lower formulae before doing so in F1. F2 traditionally provided that "technology rehearsal," and had the added benefit of preparing new teams and drivers for F1. See the 1952 -'53 F2/F1 and its slight variation of 1954 to '60; and the '57 to '60 F2 that was directly adopted for the 1961 to 1965 F1 - the period in which Chapman, Lotus and Clark came to prominence.

At least the current F2 uses 1.6 turbos. Going forward, I'd like to see a non-spec F2 (maybe re-designate F3?) and use it in its traditional dress rehearsal role.


I am willing to forgo sound, but not power. Anything under 700hp is not F1 in my opinion. How they get that 700hp is irrelevant in my opinion.

Any combination of chemical, electrical or kinetic energy is fine by me. What I don't like is the current engine freeze and the ridiculous limitations on development.

I say, let them have 2 litres of displacement, maybe a restrictor plate and however much KERS they want. Let them spend their millions developing propulsion technologies instead of wasting it on insignificant loopholes in the aero regulations.


Can I get an "amen"? Well said.


Hear hear!

(although I think it still needs to be loud - that was one of the most unique differences for me between watching on a race on TV and being there in person)


sorry am i missing something here? regardless of the various solutions being implemented to "enable" overtaking(rather than make it easy), was not the key issue close following in dirty air? So whilst i agree that current options should be given a chance, why are the organisers not proposed a driver adjustable increase in downforce whilst 1 second behind a car in front.... anywhere on the circuit. it seems a lot less artificial than just increasing a speed limit on the straight.... i.e. the most boring place to overtake (apart from the last 100 metres into a corner). sorry if this is an article hijack, but it has been a busy week at work 🙂


the adjustable front wing was intending to try and help an attacking driver maintain their car's downforce. It didn't work. It's just very difficult trying to obtain effective downforce from highly turbulent air, especially given that the aerodynamic devices on the car are designed around control a much smoother, more laminar air flow.


This is just one more attempt to improve F1 and if it works, fine, if not, well - nothing ventured. Anything to improve the convoy system of driving that occurs on some tracks.Better still, improve the sterile tracks!


The biggest problem I have with the Adjustable wing rules is the circumstances in which it can be used.

I don't really see why a car ahead should basically be penalised for been ahead by been unable to use the ARW while the car behind can. I'd have less of a problem with it (Although still woudn't be 100% for it) if they allowed everyone to use it at any point they want to like with KERS.

I think the best solution would be to drop the ARW concept & just run KERS like a Push-To-Pass system, 20 presses Per-Race & each Push last's for the 6.5 seconds. At least then everyone has a chance to use it to Attack or defend & you get some sort of strategy when it comes to both.

Would also be less complex & easier to explain to those casual viewers F1 seems so concerned about now.


"I don’t really see why a car ahead should basically be penalised for been ahead by been unable to use the ARW while the car behind can. "

I thought exactly the same thing until someone pointed out that the faster car is being penalized due to aerodynamics effects. Even if you are two secs faster, you can't overtake.And we have a problem here.

General public thinks Alonso couldn't overtake in AD but no one thought he was penalized by the car in front. So we got to give some sort of compensation to the faster car behind. That's where this wing comes in.


I would disagree about a car been held up been penalised because that situation is just a part of racing, Always has been, Always will be.

Besides what if the car ahead ended up ahead because the one behind made a mistake or simply because the car ahead drove a better race or had a better strategy?

Just because a car behind is faster than one ahead doesn't mean they should automatically have a right to pass it.


No I think you missed the point. I am talking about aerodynamic deficiency caused by the car in front. The faster car behind is slowed down due to that which can be considered penalized.
I am all for defensive driving and if you are talking about go kart, it's perfectly ok to be slowed down by the slower car in front because there is no aero.


the complexity shouldn't be an issue. All sports have their complexities and some more than others.

I'm a casual viewer of Rugby and whilst I get the overriding principle of tries and conversions and passing backwards, all of the technicalities about lineouts and scrums escape me, but I still enjoy watching a match.


I really don't understand cricket myself. 🙂

I used the boxing example of 12 rounds of boxing vs. single punch knockout. I think eventually to the seasoned fan and to the new fan it's more exciting to watch a 12 round fight, than a 20 second one punch knockout.

Unfortunately, pulling out a lead at the first lap often ends up being the only confrontation in the race between the leader and pursuers. Some even do the pathetic thing of settling for second or third because they know even if they approach - pressure for the pass won't be possible.

I vividly remember Imola 2005 and 2006, and that was full 12 rounds of Shumi vs. Alonso. I hope this is what DRS produces at more tracks. The more I look at the objections to it, the more I am beginning to believe in the system's potential.

And again I point out - the guy ahead already has the lead perhaps because he's faster, or his tires are better, or he qualified ahead. He has the choice of line, and he's ahead. What more advantage does he need? It's the guy behind that needs to overcome the marbles, dirty air, the closed door, and has to assume the risk. I say if a little less wing gives him the motivation to go for it - I'm ready and willing to watch it happen and I'm OK with having the DRS to make him go for it.

Now artificial rain as Bernie proposed, I'm not sure I would like it. I think I would laugh for a few minutes if I saw it. As someone who's been to wet wet wet races, I'd like to be warm and drinking a beer in the sunny grandstands while it's a wet race. But do I regret getting soaked at any wet race I've been to? Hardly. In the end - rain needs to be rain and it needs to come from above only.

But DRS - lovely idea with plenty of potential. I hope it works as advertised. Smart people and their will to make it work will result in something we will like. If however, they don't put in a collective effort to make it work, it will fail.


wow, I actually feel a little less sick right now. Can't wait till next week!


Then thing I don't like about the DRS that makes it artificial is telling the drivers / teams when / how you are a allowed to use it.

I also dislike the KERS for the same reason. Regulations should not specify the outputs of something, only the inputs. If someone can make a KERS system within some constraints that can either charge quicker, use less power or ouput more power then they should be allowed.

Equally the FIA shouldn't be in control of when / where these DRS can be used.


Why? I think it's simple.

-Don't touch it for first 2 laps (they are exciting anyway)

-Use it if your are in pursuit.

-Use it in a section of track that gives pursuer motivation to attempt a pass.

Read my comment above for point on why I think leading car doesn't need the extra help or ability to defend with DSR.


The 'Proximity Wing' was FOTA's idea, so they're bound to be for it.

Having said that, you've got to at least give it a go, that's the only logical thing to do.

And FOTA are right about artificiality, what's natural about an F1 car circulating around a purpose built circuit, under a set of highly regulated rules ... Nothing.

It's all about change, and some people are uncomfortable with change, but as F1 since its inception has been in a constant state of flux, maybe crown green bowls is more of a sport for those people.

If the wing flops, it'll go, just like the Sunday morning qualifying session, remember how wonderful that was ... Not.


Yeah, I agree with this.

Whilst I too share fears that this could devalue 'genuine' overtaking moves and make overtaking simply too easy ('rocket boost' button in an arcade racing game), it also strikes me that races like Bahrain and others last year were just no fun. At least this could spice things up a bit.

Someone - I think it was Martin Whitmarsh - once said that fans think they want overtaking, but really they want the anticipation of a pass. I tend to agree with this too.

So let's at least give it a try. If it doesn't work out, at least it will put the 'artificial overtaking' debate to bed (for a while at least).

Aside, I wonder how rose-tinted our spectacles are. I'm sure some clever maths person could find some stats as to how many overtakes we've had season-on-season, and where they occurred in the field. My inference being that I don't think there really is an overtaking crisis in F1.




It would devalue genuine overtaking moves (of which we saw several last year). Kobayashi did not have one of those last year and neither did he (even remotely) have the fastest car...

I do see the point about wins being harder, but what about wins secured because of DRS-assisted overtaking?

The anonymous FOTA member did not actually say anything new, or substantial (so I must assume it is its chairman). There is a bit of negative press about it and that's not what anyone wants, 10 days before the season starts. Bar, of course, Bernie's excellent comments today about 1.4 litre turbo engines for 2013...

Lets just accept it as an (expensive and risky) experiment and try to enjoy the racing nonetheless.


Imola 2005 and 2006 proves this point right.

But anticipation has to result in a pass sometimes. And too often we don't get that pass.

Hopefully DSR helps.

It may devalue passing, but I have an inkling feeling it will increase value of a win. All that potential pressure from behind - no more easy wins, I hope. Make they guys earn their retainers!


I'm not down on it as a lot of other people seem to be. I find myself in accord with the FOTA stance on this issue. Give it a chance, if it doesn't quite work, let them tweak it; if it still doesn't work, then you can get rid of it. So long as the rules are the same for everyone, it's 'no harm, no foul'. And better racing is worth taking a chance or two for.


I think that's a good approach. I don't like the fact that the DRS can be activated only on a certain point of the track (I feel that in F1 there are way too many limitations ranging from DRS to Kers to parc ferme that limit talent and creativity!), but I'll have to wait and see to fairly judge it.


Right, [positions soap box . . . ]

i get that the introduction of KERS was environmentally minded, and the introduction of the DRS was to help spice up the racing but i think both were decided before Pirelli turned up with the 2011 spec tyres. Did someone forget that they'd asked Pirelli to liven up the racing by producing the tyres that they have? The DRS and KERS seem proposals to employ if the tyres were to remain as consistant as 2010 spec bridgestones. i get the impression that the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing with decisions have been acted on before they were all aspects could be run together.

I think the tyres alone will spice the racing up enough, if an environmental approach was to be taken, shorten the races by 10 laps or 30mins to a 1hr 30min max? the tyres would still give you the unpredictability over both scenarios.

i get the feeling that progression in F1 is never taken at a steady step its always a raft of changes, dropped in at one go and then everyone holds their breaths to see what happens. As a fan for over 15 years i would have preferred that they dropped DRS and KERS and let pirelli have a season with their tyres producing the challenges teams had to adapt too, then see if there was any need for improvement.

All i want to see is pure driving, that too much to ask?


Yep yep, I agree. Regarding the 'green' aspect, I posted this comment elsewhere about the new engine formula:

Changing the engine forumla is going to make hardly a spec of difference to how environmentally (un)friendly F1 is; it’s all about how the teams and spectators get to the race. THAT’s the real carbon footprint of F1. So, my solution to making it more green would be to have smaller capacity circuits, and to make sure races that are geographically close together are also close together on the calendar. That would be far greener than tinkering with 24 individual engines.


Hi Jason, how do you put a quote in your comment? Is it [quote]quote[/quote]? (testing)


Spot on. Agree with this entirely, the tyres will make the difference this year.

DRS has been brought in simply because a quick car behind a slow one is unable to overtake due to the loss of downforce when they get close. The tyres and different strategies will level this out, DRS is just a gimmick.

F1 is about the best drivers in the fastest cars being put to the test against eachother and it always has been. People look back to the 80's and early 90's and say it was different, like there was overtaking every other corner but there wasn't, it was pretty much as it is now but back then the tyre technology wasn't so good and the difference in tyre strategies added to the excitement as it will now with these Pirelli's.

One step at a time please FOTA, remember what F1 is and what it is about - Change can be good but not 20 changes a year which mostly come from knee-jerk reactions to the casual viewer's lack of understanding. F1, as far as I remember (and I've been a fan for more than 20 yrs) has never had several overtaking moves per lap. It's the suspense that gets us on the edge of our seats, watching one driver catch another over a series of laps and then feel the excitement build as they attempt a skillful pass. It's no good if they turn up behind the car then push a button on the straight to get the job done.


The powers that be seem to understand the DIEHARD FAN ASPECT of this site which is good, I hope we have a louder voice than the CRASH & BURN followers, it seems strange though that such a technologiacl sport now appears quite flimsy in terms of its rule making structure, rule making (I think) used to be very rare = problematic pre-2006? and mainly surrounded taking off advantages found by clever teams, but the last few seasons seem very sensative to every little public nuance and I do not think this is good. I am surprised at the wait and see of FOTA but glad they are trying to do the right thing by FANS IN GENERAL.


The site is for a much wider audience than the diehard fans, you'll find. Many read and consider but don't post a comment


This is my first post here but I have enjoyed reading the dialogues here for a while. It is a place for F1 fans to agree to disagree in mature fashion. I Truly enjoy this place and will keep on reading. Marc


I read/check this site twice a day (I live in the US). I am a diehard fan for more the 20 years, I have posted a comment only a hand full of times. The DRS is just under my skin! Change the tracks, put smaller wing on the cars. James great site, thank you.


David C you could be my twin; I too am in USA, (a Brit) and love following this site and only make the occasional comment.

As for this 'new gimmick', My, how quickly so many people can turn on it, after bleating so strongly last year "Improve Overtaking!".

So let's give it a chance - and, for goodness sake, over more than one race too - before making judgement! We all know how one race can seem boring but then others make up for it!

David R.


I simply find the opinions here better thought out, other sites the comments are one liners and I suppose like mine a bit, I LIKE, I DO NOT LIKE and that is it. Here you get back and forth and a higher quality of dialogue :<)


Someone said to me that its "the online hub for in depth reporting and objective comment on F1' - I like that description


I'm a die hard fan but I rarely post.. My wife has become a casual fan (thanks to me) and is on her way on becoming a die hard fan and she never posts... my one-yr old already watches all the races with me so she's a die hard fan in the making and she can't post yet... we all read and enjoy the articles and comments on this site.. well, my one-yr old will be reading them soon..


I've been a fan since the Jackie Stewart days. Rarely comment but always enjoy the high level of discussion. Very much looking forward to seeing how this season unfolds. Don't want it to look like a PS3 game but don't want coma-inducing processions either. Keep up the good work James.


I have to say, I agree with the FOTA comments. What part of 2009 wasn't artificial when the diffuser only 3 teams had was declared legal, and therefore a team that didn't necessarily have the credentials to win the championship did.

Take that as you like, as a good or bad thing, cause if you call the wing device artificial but loved Brawn beating the best of F1, then that's a bit on the hypocritical side.

I've watched F1 since 94, and I expect overtaking to be easier, but never easy. I personally feel that tyres are to blame mostly, as they really have just gotten too good. The braking technology hasn't changed much over the years, its always been amazing, but yet the passing has dwindled. Watching Alonso sitting behind Petrov lap after lap last season robbing us of an interesting race, was the last straw. Would the overtaking wing have helped, of course, so its good for the sport.

I know what I would rather see, exciting racing, over tactical BS where the car that could qualify on pole will win...

Give it a chance, its definitely better than the A1GP's and Indy's silly push to pass button, at least F1 is trying something a bit more natural, and thank goodness not listening to Bernies sanity-questioning overtaking lanes!


Your point about the double diffuser is pretty bad to be fair. F1 is about innovation and the diffuser was within the guidelines although it was pushing the boundaries. Nothing unfair.

Would you say RBR cheated in 2010 with their flexi wings and trick exhausts? I'm guessing not. What about Renault's exhaust this year? Cheats or innovators?? The boundaries are there to be tested by the very best engineers on the planet.


Fair point Liam, however I think you have read into what my point was.

I was implying that I like the innovation, in fact its 90% of what fascinates me about F1. What I said about 2009, was the FIA provided a set of rules that had loop holes that were closed when asked for clarification by some, and not for others who didn't ask... they had a chance to make sure all teams were on a level playing field off the bat, they didn't and essentially (and this is my opinion), opened up an artificial pecking order... ie. it happens. Another perhaps less controversial example, 2003, michelin were dominating, and out of nowhere a rule change required a redesign for michelin, and bridgestone caught up/passed their level in a race weekend...

So I am on the fence saying, innovation be it 'artificial', lets have it. In the end of the day its a sport, and many sports have had to change and tweak a few rules (think cricket), to improve the show, often to the old guards displeasure.

Brawn dominating early 2009, was great... Red Bull's flexi wings, brilliant... If Reno go out and win all 19/20 races due to their exhaust... well done to them, you won't find me complaining, its for the others to catch up. Love the underdog!


Can't say I disagree with anything you've said here although I dislike DRS and loved Brawn winning in '09!

I think they are two different things. DRS has been brought in by the powers that be and not cleverly designed by some cheeky genius at some F1 team HQ.

In my mind the rules should be as they are and the engineers get left to do what they do best. DRS is a bit of a gimmick, I mean, F1 never had that much passing but has always been exciting - I feel it's a bit of a knee jerk reaction to a problem that isn't really there and if the action does need to be spiced up then it's the tyres they should look to and not something that gives an advantage to only one driver.

As someone else has pointed out... Pirelli have done what was asked of them and we should have waited to see the result of that before trying anything else.

Ultimately though I can't wait for Melbourne - This season is going to be epic, DRS or no DRS!


Whilst the very car itself, could on some level, be said to be artificial, that rather negates the purpose of us all being here.

There is a huge difference between striving for engineering excellence/innovation and introducing a petty rule to restrict the use of a device.

There is no overtaking nowadays because it is impossible to follow closely enough to slipstream and because going off line to overtake is suicidal if that part of the track is covered in marbles.

The greatest innovations are always stamped upon by the FIA, the F duct was brilliant and far safer than the DRS, while the Mass damper was genius, the Lotus developed active suspension together with ground effect was a revolution.

KERS is a great concept but entirely false in its environmental message and until it actually does derive its energy from the braking effort it will remain false.

KERS should be developed, energy levels increased tenfold and supercooling be allowed. Four wheel generation and electrical drive should be allowed, as per the proposed published rules for budget capped teams.

If we really want overtaking we need to remove the turbulence from the wake, a reduction of 50% on total aerofoil surface and 60% on the rear could do that, of course the tyres would then need to be much softer and to wear to dust not to marbles.


That definitely is extreme logic. Every other device on the cars is the same for everybody. And as for the deployment distance and all the other details of the implementation, I think that it will make F1 the joke of the motor-sport world.

F1 may be in trouble if it doesn't do something but interfering with proper racing undermines the whole premise of the sport. It's now not that far away from a video game.

With the recent advancements in CFD I don't understand why the FIA just don't set limits on wake and turbulence of pre-supplied CAD designs.

This would also allow the FIA open up the currently very restrictive rules on car design, using these limits to adjust downforce and hence speeds.


I would add that the F duct is not in itself banned, only driver operated devices (which apparently does not include the DRS although this has been the source of complaint by several drivers)

Now if I am correct and because of the pneumatic fluid dynamic switching used in the F duct it should be possible to have an automatic version which is operated by air pressure diffrential alone. Again this would be far safer than the DRS, having no moving parts.


Interesting. Automation.

But wouldn't a driver find it unsettling if it came on unexpectedly? When it's driver controlled at least you know when to expect less down force.


I'm not sure the adjustable wing will work, but I've always liked F1 for the innovation and the fact that they try everything within (or at least close to) the rules to get an extra micro second advantage. I see the wing as one of these elements. Perhaps one of the teams will have a slightly better design (quicker to deploy, smoother transition, that sort of thing), this could give them the advantage till the others understand it and copy it. This is what F1 means to me. My worry is that the tyre degradation leaving more marbles on the track will do more to discourage overtakes as going off line will be like driving onto ice.



it's artificial because the driver doesn't govern when it can be deployed. It's like comparing the DRS to the throttle and calling that artificial! I can see why the FOTA representative has said what's he has said but I can't help but think that the attitude is a little disrespectful to the fans.

Is this not unprecedented in F1? Having a system that can only be deployed by the car behind under certain conditions? I don't remember having anything like this in the sport before.

This is why so many of us don't like it.


Like a lot of people I am not a huge fan of the DRS, but if it does work then that's fine by me. It's just as 'artificial' as the f-duct was last year in that it reduces drag and makes a car faster in a straight line. Nobody complained when Button and Hamilton were using that method to overtake people last year, so let's give it a chance. It's not going to be like the Handford wing from Indycars a few years ago, which made it all too easy for cars to pass each other. Driver skill will still play a huge part, so expect to see people like Vettel and Schumi banging wheels with other drivers in order to pass. The main factors that make a significant number of grands prix nothing more than processions are the interplay between circuit design and the cars' aerodynamics. If the DRS makes Barcelona and Abu Dhabi anything other than their traditional snooze-fests, I will be the first to congratulate FOTA for this innovation. Until then, let's wait and see.


still think its a gimmick and still absolutely hate it.

i don't care if it works or not, to me thats isnt the issue. the issue to me is that if it does work the racing will suffer.

i dont want to see passes only happen on straghts because of kers or the drs. i want to see drivers have to work hard to make a pass happen.

to me passes like raikkonen round the outside of fisichella at suzuka in 2005 was far more intresting/entertaining to watch than raikkonens kers assisted pass on fisichella at spa 2009.

the kers and drs are more likely to produce more of the latter which to me makes the racing worse and not better.


I have changed my view on this already since someone pointed out the car behind the slower car is "artificially" slowed down by the aerodynamics effects which makes it almost impossible to pass even if its 2 secs faster.

In order to compensate this the faster car behind should get some sort of compensation. That's where DRS comes in.

I think we really should give it a chance.

While, it is always a treat to hear that f1 listens to its fans, I hope it doesn't over commit. Because most of us are merely armchair experts and we can't possibly judge well without seeing the actual game. So I'd say why not give it a try.


It would have been simpler / cheaper to limit the lead cars top speed on the straight (but that would have been too obviously artificial...).


You see, these FOTA/FIA guys are in the sport. they live it. We think we know, but they know better usually. They think about this all day, some are paid a lot of money to do so.

There are no easy answers to some issues, passing being one.

Again, the more I think about it, the more I hope that the DRS delivers on the promise, because it's so much better than some of the other ideas that have been thrown around.

Think about it? Challenge yourself to find a solution to more on-track action, then take the against stance and see how many objections there are to nearly every idea.

Now this DSR, I think is pretty fair - everyone has it, it pushes for action and gives the guy behind extra motivation to go for it. It has just the right balance overall and is simple enough overall in concept. Just the will power of everyone on the grid will be needed to really make it work.


Would DRS in 2010 have enabled Alonso to pass Petrov, Kubica and Rosberg to finish 4th in the last race of 2010, and thus win the title?

Would that be recognised as a fair result?

This assumption excludes the possibilities of all other variables throughout the year and considers the last race in isolation.


Hi James,

In light of the ongoing debate, it might be useful for you to 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 written about the DRS, without a great deal of consideration. I’ve read some fans wildly prophesizing that the DRS could frequently enable a car to be passed and then for that car to use its own DRS to re-pass the following lap. The chances of this happening seem extremely 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 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.

I think 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 the 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?

The experimental approach, as outlined by FOTA, sounds like a we have some pragmatists driving this and if DRS doesn't benefit F1 then we won't see it for long.

I for one, am reassured.

Roll-on Melbourne.



i think that in the season overall... the DRS might produce faster racing but will not separate the best cars/ drivers/ circuits from the remainders.


Andrew C.


Let me set out my stall. I've been opposed to DRS from the day I heard the suggestion. Whether you perceive it as artificial or not, as a 30 year F1 fan I perceive it as artificial and don't want it. I'm sorry, I know I should give it a chance but I'd rather have sprinklers than DRS... maybe that's going too far, but I put them in the same category. Conversely I think KERS has been completely underexploited and was disappointed when it disappeared for last year.

Back on topic, aero wash has been an issue for a significant period. It was the elephant in the room for some time before it began to be tackled, and the answers so far have been giant ugly front wings and Playstation technology in the rear wing. How about cutting to the chase and banning wings front and back? Would certainly shift the balance back in favor of mechanical versus aero grip and resolve the issues with aero wash from the car in front. I'd rather that and make it a mechanical engineering challenge rather than an aerodynamic engineering challenge that reduces the entertainment element of the racing.

On a tangent, another longtime elephant is poor circuit design. It amazes me that in recent months F1 as a whole is finally acting on the talk about something that's been obvious for years. All the new circuits and even the changes to sanitize historic tracks either lack overtaking opportunities or eliminate old ones. When the FIA publicly stated that going forward overtaking opportunities would be part of assessing a new circuit design I about fell off my chair. It seemed inconceivable that they hadn't to this point.

Addressing this and too much aero reliance would go further towards creating a challenging but level playing field for us to watch and enjoy in my opinion.

...and yes I know it's F1 and the idea of a level playing field is hilarious.

...I love this sport.


The new tracks arent the problem. Monaco, Silverstone and Monza are hard to overtake too, except 1 spot and the driver in front has to make a mistake, or the car in the back must be 1 second a lap faster. Let's get rid of those tracks too?

Someone on a forum (I dont know if I am allowed to post the link to it) actually counted all the overtakes per track in 2010 and what surprised most is the newer tracks everyone whines about had more overtaking than the 'classics'.

Needless to say on that forum nobody talks about the new tracks being 'un-passable' anymore. Hehe.

It is the cars. How is it that other leagues of motorsport have no trouble overtaking in Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Turkey, etc.?

Unfortunately FIA is looking at it the wrong way. Giving the car following a mechanical advantage the one in front doesn't have, IS artificial.

This year, the Pirelli tires alone would have given more overtaking than last year. Now FIA will use this as 'proof' the rear wing nonsense works, while it was the new tryes that fall off fast.


I agree but would actually PREFER sprinklers (don't get me wrong I would hate that as well) but at least the driver has full control all the time and it's the same for everyone.

I agree with the (lack of) tyre durability this year is likely to not put much use to drs but it's a distraction we should not have... Lets hope it's not "activated" much and dies a fast death.

Conrad M. Sathirweth

The main reservation I have of the DRS is any effects it has on driver's mentality towards overtaking, because if they have closed up with the 1 second will they then go for the overtake if they have a bit of an opportunity or will they just wait until the straight to use their DRS. Another thing is if a car that is trailing the lead car in the last few laps of a race and are again with 1 second will they just wait until the last lap to use their DRS to take the lead and win?

I also do not buy this 'they still have to be within 1 second to use the DRS so it still takes skill' thing because as Vettel showed last season it is one thing to catch up to a car but another thing to actually overtake them.

I am hoping as well that the DRS does not spell the death for the art of driving defensively because I like watching a car keeping a faster car behind them which Kubica was very good at or like Button at Monza.


James, it is a credit to you that FOTA takes a look at what your readers have to say. I think its wise that they're saying 'lets give it a go' and see what happens.

We fans can be a fickle bunch, we complain for years about processions, not races, and then F-1 establishes the OTW, they implement their ideas and now we complain that we don't want that either. Lets see what the DRS does. It's certainly no more artificial than the F-duct was, and the effect is basically the same (and the reason it's limited to certain parts of the track is that it hasn't been used in a race yet).

We've had moveable front wing elements for two seasons, and we hardly know that they're being used, and I never heard any 'this is artifical' talk about that.

I lost count of how many fans didn't want refueling during the race because it artificially allowed teams to run lighter and it caused an advantage through strategy rather than racing; but once it was gone, what happened? It made the processional more likely not less.

As we saw in 2009 KERS is no substitute for a great car, for the money time and effort expended it really didn't make that much of a difference in the final results, and that too was limited as to when and where it could be used. The KERS guys were harder to pass, but KERS but it was no substitute for an engine producing that much extra horsepower, or a chassis that worked. Which leads us to 2011 and the new Pirellis, that somehow this is also an artificial way to scramble the race results. I think the teams will get it all sorted out and the cream will rise to the top as it always does. Sit back enjoy the race, stop worring about things you have no control over, and see how it all works out.


> It’s certainly no more artificial than the F-duct was

I'm amazed you think this. The F-duct was entirely under the control of the driver and could be used as the driver saw fit. With KERS and now DRS we're seeing something entirely new: the regulations determine when a performance feature can be used. It's a slippery slope. In the future will drivers be prevented from steering so as to block an overtake? Prevented from using full-throttle?



Once again, last year, the movable front wing flaps, instead of being creative aids to later braking, increased front downforce when needed and turning in aids, were instead restricted to only 6 degree movement and to be used only twice per lap, together not independently. Thus rendering them only useful for trimming as fuel load changed or tyres wore, this is another example of the FIA stomping on any device which could be interesting and useful.

It seems that the FIA are currently dead set against the engineering innovation and invention, that used to be the very driving force of F1. vis

Tech Regs

2.5 New systems or technologies :

Any new system, procedure or technology not specifically covered by these regulations, but which is deemed permissible by the FIA Formula One Technical Department, will only be admitted until the end of the Championship during which it is introduced. Following this the Formula One Commission will be asked

to review the technology concerned and, if they feel it adds no value to Formula One in general, it will be specifically prohibited.

Any team whose technology is prohibited in this way will then be required to publish full technical details of the relevant system or procedure.

NOT a great incentive to innovate is it?

Andrew Woodruff

Hi James

I think it's great that FOTA representatives are reading the fans' comments on this website. It makes the debate genuinely interactive, which is fantastic.

I come down on the "let's wait and see after a few races" side of the fence on this issue. I think it's a shame that drivers will only be able to use it at one designated corner during the race, which is likely to mean that overtaking will only ever happen at that point on the track. I presume that this is a necessity resulting from the 1 second gap needing to be accurately timed as cars enter the "overtaking zone".

I wonder if a simpler rule would be that the car behind needs to be within 1 second over the start/finish line, which would then allow him to use DRS on any section of track on the following lap.

Apologies if this has already been suggested, considered and spat out by the debate. I have read many, but not all of the comments people have made.

Keep up the good work Mr Allen!


That's what we are here for


the f-duct of mclaren or brawn's diffuser, did give these teams an incredible advantage over others. yet they came forth from innovation, clever interpretation by engineers. the race on and off the track between teams. one team built a better version than the other. exciting.

f1 gets spoiled when artificial things enter racing.. imposed by the regulator

that influencing the competition:

*budget caps

*weight penalties (not yet imposed)

*mandatory number of pitstops

*reversed grids (not yet imposed)

so.. anything that cuts competition is in essence not welcomed by the fans.

the adjustable wing only available to the following car is not a form of pure competition.. it's artificial.

fans want to witness brilliance.. a driver who distinguishes himself from the rest by daring more.. outsmarting the other guy. the adjustable wing reduces this brilliance.

johnpierre rivera

it seems to me the at the "artificial part" is the fact that someone else in race control will be pushing a button, and all of a sudden we will have a past that prier to the DRS, may or may not have exsisted. i am all for the effort to increase passing, but at what expense. i, like most of this post am willing to give it a try, but quite frankly racing is about racing not worrying about what fans think, or the sponsors, or what the car companies want, i.e. turbos. has anyone asked the drivers what they want? one has to really take into consideration the drivers. it must be very frustration to have to race, deal with the pressure, risk your life, although there has not been a serious accident in some time, (that potential is always present), do all the sponsor activities, et el., learn all the mapping, figure out the KERS process, adjust this, use the knee for that, pull this cable, look in the mirrors, watch for the breaking point, hit my apex right. at what point where will it end, just to have a pass. hamilton does not seem to have a problem with it. nico didn't have a problem with it a few years back in sigapore, jenson got it done to clinch his championship, alsonso finally make it stick on petrov in the final laps earlier in the season, but in final race couldn't not because he is a bad passer, or because of some esoteric, weird, aero concept that only an engineer understands (although they do understand that stuffs better than most). it seems to me that alonso couldn't pass because of two simple facts, the renault was better by the end of the year because of its fduct and the track was such that it didn's favor the ferrari. however that same senario played into alons's hands in hungey when seb was behind him and couldn't get by for the last half of the race, advantage alonso. with so many factors, aero set up, type of track, car's overall performance, driver skill, weather conditions, it should naturally be hard to pass and that is what makes F1 so damn good and the pinnical of motor racing. that is what makes the alonso's, hamiltons, schumacher's, senna's, vettel's, (sorry for not listing them all) so exciting to watch when all of those points come together it is increadible. one only has to youtube the mika pass on micheal with ricardo zonta in front on a drying track to or alonso on massa a few years back to illustrate this point. if there would of been a movable wings would it have the same relevance?


even if successful in it's goal it will have damaged the integrity of the formula.


Like everyone else I can't wait for the green lights.

I am so looking forward to the sight of watching world champions, in front of other world champions, defending their place.

KERS for the car in front, Kers and DRS but also potential marbles for the car behind. With both cars fighting the wear on their tyres.

Intelligence and application of thought and mind is now another massive requirement needed to become a world champion in formula 1.

I simply cannot wait for battle to commence.


Sounds like Whitmarsh, haha.

But the point is, intentionally by race control the driver following is being given a mechanical advantage the one in front won't have. The one in front will be handicapped by this.

That is surely artifical racing, I don't see how anyone can defend that.


What is really artificial is giving one car a performance advantage over another just because he's one second behind. It sounds crazy just saying it out loud.

I'm not sure where all of this 'we must have more overtaking in F1' keeps coming from. Moving to a formula of no refueling and a single tyre supplier has been the reason we're are in this situation. Cars were overtaking when the tyres where different and they were carrying different fuel loads. Last season everyone pretty much followed the leaders in terms of strategy since it was the best choice. Put the variables back in; I never had a problem with overtaking in the pits. Wondering how much longer a driver could go without having to stop was part of the enjoyment.

Also the two compound rule did nothing for the sport either, it's just an unnecessary complication.


Hot debate.

Every coin has two sides. You just have to pick the lesser evil.

Full tanks took away fuel strategy and pit passing. These highly paid drivers have to do it on track now. This is one heck of a rabbit hole too. I don't want to start a debate about passing in the pitlane. Personally, I don't like it. I wouldn't challenge anyone about the artificiality of it. 😉

Interesting point on the compounds. With these more delicate tires do we need it?


People have used the word artificial to describe the DRS but it cannot be taken as a definition. Perhaps the word contrived is more apt or maybe ersatz.

I have a problem with the DRS and it is not because of Luddite tendencies. It seems to me to be a way of overcoming a problem which can be solved in a much more straightforward way.

If the reason for lack of overtaking is the poor airlfow behind the leading car then sort that out. Make it a requirement to have clean air behind the car. I remember Peter Gethin’s only GP win at Monza. In the last lap few laps there were a number of overtakes due to tows and clean(ish) air.

It was exciting and honest. And it certainly wasn’t artificial, affected, forced, glossy, hollow, insincere, laboured, mock, phoney, quasi-, sham: all synonyms which do not suggest man made.

That said, now we have it we’ll have to run with it. Maybe it will be fun and add some excitement. Let's hope so. But please, sort out the root cause in future. It is basic problem solving.

Dare I suggest it is a typical engineers’ solution.

Role on next weekend. I'm getting twitchy.


How about adding a 2 square metre lamina flow grid to the back of every car from 2012?


Thanks for taking the trouble to reply.

I see that you are not all that big on aesthetics but it is a solution. So we have an engineer's solution, let's get an artist to make it look acceptable and then discard the DRS.


Firstly, thanks so much for providing a platform where fans can interact and have their voices heard by those who make the decisions.

Here's a question for everybody: What is a greatest common aspect in great overtaking maneuvers?

Here's what I think: In every good pass that becomes memorable, the following driver outfoxes the leading driver.

This is what makes the ARW artificial as the leading driver isn't allowed to use his wing for defending. I'm on the fence with KERS, F-duct and the ilk but at least with those devices, both the chasing and leading drivers have the same tools to attack and defend. I am all for tires that degrade faster as it does involve huge amounts of driver skill in finding the limit of pushing the car to the edge and still putting in consistent lap times.

A relatively inexpensive change would be to make changes to the tracks first before suggesting technical changes to the cars.


I think the argument that the DRS simply evens out the massive advantage the leading car has is a clincher: once you're in a situation where a car several seconds a lap slower can hold up the car behind then in general track position has become too influential (other than in Monaco: Coulthard still isn't passing that Arrows, DRS or no, although I guess a KERS system might have helped then). DRS is less "artificial" (as if that means anything in a sport as tightly regulated as F1) than KERS, because it doesn't provide the user with an advantage over the car in front, it merely equalises the advantage the car in front has. The days of cars getting a tow in a leading car's wake have gone, and are never coming back, so this is probably the best way to deal with an advantage that leading cars have slowly acquired over the past decade or so.


I for one am looking forward to see how it works. The dirty air behind cars clearly has a significant impact upon the ability of another car to make a passing attempt.

As long as the system gives the driver behind the opportunity to make a decent attempt to pass, I'm happy. Is there anything more frustrating in Formula 1 than a driver who is clearly faster, but it is completely unable, through no fault of their own, to make even an attempt to pass? I think not.


Law of unintended consequences?

Like so many other changes in F1 to try and encourage overtaking, there will be consequences that will nullify the intention.

The only soution is to ditch Valencia, SingaBORE, HungargorBORING, BORE-ain and Abu Dhabi.


On how many occasions over the last two decades has there been a memorable race at Silverstone which wasn't articifially enhanced? e.g. torrential rain, on-track intruder, penalties.

Since the track was modified after the 1985 race, the races have generally been processional. The amount of time that some people still devote to discussing stewarding decisions at the 1998 event is a testament to the lack of on-track action.

I understand that races in new markets may not be to everybody's liking, but let us take a close look at the quality of on-track action on the so-called traditional circuits before labelling other tracks boring.

The DRS may work, it may not. The scepticism is most likely justified. It is not an ideal solution, but is it really any more contrived than the 'boost button' option that many teams enjoyed during the turbo years? eg. Prost's battle with Capelli at Suzuka in 1988.

A couple of years ago many of the naysayers were deriding KERS, now it seems to have widespread support. Last year, many people with a track record of bemoaning refuelling were calling for it to be permitted again, etc.


Nice to see you behaving - three posts and no moderation required. Is that the new standard for 2011?


[MODS: please post this grammar correct one instead of the above if you can!]

I have a different view on the adjustable rear wing, which I so far haven't seen mentioned (including from Sire James himself)!

Most people appear to be of the view that the fact the defending driver cannot use the DRS, whereas the attacker can, is artificial and unfair. Now taken in isolation this is unquestionably true. However, looking at things on a broader and deeper level I come to a less critical conclusion.

As we all know only too well, the reason Formula 1 cars find it so difficult to overtake is due to the turbulent wake of the cars, which adversely affect the performance of an car when just behind another (within 1 second say). Now in terms of artificiality, one could argue that the racing is already artificial since the attacking driver is receiving an unfair handicap (not unfair from any contrived sporting rules but just the ‘cruel’ laws of nature!) and it is the defending driver who is receiving an advantage, which ideally shouldn’t exist (and in less aerodynamic-dependent forms of motor racing doesn’t – to such an extent anyway).

Of course the perfect engineering solution would be to find a way to not let a following car be affected by the wake of the car ahead, so that they receive equal levels of energy from the air (i.e. each car’s downforce level is maintained as when in clean air). Then conditions would be equal for each car and everything would be fair regarding overtaking/defending opportunity. (The fact a following car is able to get a tow advantage on a straight from the car in front is of course different and totally fair – just in case someone wanted to somehow counter with that!)

Now this is not currently possible with the designs of today’s cars, so for me I see the use of the DRS for the attacking driver only as a means of helping to neutralise the disadvantage that driver gets from being in the wake of the car just ahead. Thus ideally the advantage the DRS provides the attacking car will be balanced by the advantage the defending car has from not losing their aerodynamic performance. And this in my opinion yields to fairer as opposed to artificial racing. It’s definitely not a perfect solution but lets see its effect first I say.

The caveat of the above of course is, can the use of the DRS be optimised (through the sporting regulations) to ensure a balance between the differing performance advantages of a leading and following car? I think it will be extremely difficult in truth and certainly track dependent. Right now it’s a guessing of parameters game (via the sporting rules of the DRS). But in this I’m glad the FIA are taking an open and flexible view and intend a trial and error approach to the system, adjusting its effectiveness if need be. In other words they’re willing to be scientific about it, and employing the scientific method is good – because it works!

I’d be interested in hearing other people’s thoughts. I should point out that I am a hardcore fan (with a strong technical interest as well) and not some casual, anti-purist – who only cares about constant onscreen action, overtakes, crashes, etc – muppet!


"Everything on a car is artifical" erm, no... In a simple form, the tyres are there to grip and direct, the engine is there to drive the car forward, the brakes to stop it effectively. These things are there for a reason. The adjustable wing is only there to allow an F1 car to pass another F1 car... FWIW I think it will be far too complicated for it to be effective. As many have said, less aero grip, more mechanical grip please and worse brakes. If not these three points, then circuits that can handle a modern F1 car adequately. It seems like there is too much change this season.


Dear James

I have no objection in principal to the notion of a moveable rear wing, however what really bothers me is that its use is controlled from outside the car. That is what seems so contrived. They disallowed teams from controlling and fine tuning the engine management systems etc from the pits many years ago. What am I going to be watching on TV. Red flashing light next to driver's names periodically on the screen. Watching F1 will be almost as complicated as driving one pretty soon. Think about it. You will be looking for who is driving on what tires, how many seconds are being made up per lap due to strategy, how many pit stops everybody is making, plus flashing lights and who is allowed to pass and when. At the end of all this figuring you have missed the on track action. So now the FIA are going to determine when and where a great passing move can be made... unexpectedly. Throw in the artificial rain, and I will switch to nascar. After I grow bored of that maybe WWE.


I agree that this is a step into new territory

Markin Brundell

There is no difference, whether it makes overtaking super easy or remains unnoticeable. It is against principles of sport. Why help drivers that underperformed at some stage of the event(F up qualifing for example or start of the race)? For me the ARW problem seems to be a choice between sport and the show.

“The effort that resulted in the introduction of the..." says FOTA. Hmm.

Im quite sure wingless formula fords have no problem following up each other at the last corner of Estoril or Barcelona. F1 drivers have complained for ages about turbulence. All we have seen is small tweaks to the technical regulations over the years.

The tyers too. What did the drivers say about making the fronts narrower again for 2010? Not good for overtaking, or my memory is playing a prank here.

Just a few examples, but still, nobody seems to be willing to make essential steps. With the currnet rule setting, the ARW(or DRS) is just a gadget to lead fans attention away from the problem. Just like the FOTA statement:

"Using an extreme logic, everything on a car could be considered to be “artificial”."

Lets leave jokes aside perhaps? Formula one used to be a great series with great history, therefore it should be handled respectively.

If overtaking is really so important, use sprinklers and shortcuts as well. But change the name of the game too. F1 should still remain a racing series.

Via youtube, I have seen many races from late eighties or early nineties. The latter was not an overtaking paradise either. But were there everyday complaints about how boring the races are back then too? Could someone that eye witnessed that era give comment?

Maybe F1 has just wrong followers, unable to understand the logic that faster cars/drivers pull away and there can not be so much overtaking as a result. Even if the races are not exciting, for true fans, they are always interesting.


I like the FOTA approach to try out new things without listening too much to the naysayers.

There is such an uproar in the press and online everytime we end up with a processional race (Bahrain, Valencia and Abu Dhabi last year) that someone had to do something to solve this issue.

With new regulations only coming in 2013, FOTA's willingness to experiement and keep an open mind about the DRS is refreshing; compared to what happened in the Mosley years.

Until we see how drivers use it in the race, it is hard to form an opinion about it.

In my eyes, it is no more artificial or gimmiky than KERS, a system which helped Kimi win the Belgian grand prix when the most deserving driver on the day was Fisichella.

Personally, I believe this system should be made available to the driver being under one second behind another one. To have this available just on one part of the circuit make it 'sound' more gimmiky than it should.

I can't wait for the season to start.


its funny how a much slower car holding up much faster one's over a race is now considered artificial and wrong.

it used to be that a driver in a slower car able to hold his place over a much faster one was applauded for driving a brilliant race.

gilles villeneuve's win at jarama in 1981 is still applauded as a brilliant drive despite the fact his ferrari was a couple seconds slower than the 4 cars he held back for much of the race.


those 2 races at imola in 2005/2006 equally saw alonso in 05 and schumacher in 06 applauded for driving brilliantly under immense pressure in holding the faster driver back.

people seem to think the dirty air is a new issue, it isn't, the problem of dirty/turbulant air has been around since the 1970s.

even in the 80s and early 90s drivers complained about the difficulty in following a car within less than 1 second.

the problem today isnt the dirty/turbulant air, the problem with overtaking today is that the braking zones are so small that outbraking has become harder.

Andrew Woodruff

I think the difference, and the reason they are remembered fondly, is that Villeneuve '81, Boutsen '90, and Alonso/Schumacher '05/'06 were all scraps for the win. Bernoldi/DC and Alonso/Petrov are examples of slower cars, not in any sort of contention for the race win or championship, getting in the way of the main event.

Some will say that that is just tough luck and part of racing. I think that if DRS can remove the high speed road blocks from the race, then there is more chance of genuine scraps for the win developing, which is what all fans (new or old) love to see.


i don't think it matters where in the field it is, just because one driver may be faster doesnt mean he should be given an easier job of it to get to the front by having the drs help him pass some slower cars.

i recall at monaco last year where alonso ended up at the back after that practice crash, he didnt have an easy time passing all the backmarkers and they were applauded by many for putting up a fight and it was great to watch fernando have to fight his way by.

if a faster guy ends up behind a slower car because of a mistake he made or a mistake his team made and they then get stuck behind someone who doesnt want to make it easy for them then tough.

going back to abu-dhabi last year, alonso ended up behind petrov because ferrari messed up with the strategy. renault ran a better strategy and petrov drove a nice race under pressure to keep alonso back.

if we had the drs in 2010 i dont see why alonso/ferrari should be rewarded for making a mistake and petrov/renault punished for getting it right because its deemed alonso is faster and should be 'helped' by via the drs.


I think that had to do with it being Gilles. Boutsen did something similar in a Williams and no-one ever talks about that!!


Look at the flack Bernoldi got after Monaco 2001!


so are we now saying that some drivers are allowed to hold up others and some are not?

i personally found hungary 1990 with boutson just as exciting to watch as jarama 81 with gilles. senna did have several goes at passing boutson but boutsen held him off.


also senna managed plenty of passing before he got to boutsen. he made a tyre stop while others did not and had to work his way from 10th to 2nd by passing several cars.

i also found the bernoldi/dc scrap at monaco 2001 exciting to watch. i thought that was great to watch and it wasnt as though dc never got any opportunities to pass bernoldi either. dc tried to dive up the inside a couple times but bernoldi defended his position nicely to prevent the move sticking.

was also imola 05/06, i thought both those races were fantastic (and james and martin certainly sounded excited commentating on them).

a driver should have to fight hard to make a pass happen, having it made easier with boost buttons and the like just dumbs down the sport and for me takes away some of the excitement of watching a pure battle for position with no idea of what the eventual outcome will be.


Quite possibly true... my perception of Boutsen was that he was boring; whereas anyone who drives around Zandvoort on 3 wheels (he'd be seriously fined these days!!!) gets my vote 🙂

What I liked about Jarama '81, as compared with Boutsen in Hungary (I think that's the race JA's referring to) was that you could see Gilles working away, planning his defence, in different corners. The car was a dog on that tight twisty track and you can see Gilles having to work hard to hold them off. The followers had a go too. My memory of Boutsens victory in Hungary is that is was the most turgid and boring race I've ever seen - no-one seemed to even attempt a pass. I still watched it though because even a boring and turgid race has merit to an F1 nut 🙂


Use the wing when ever you want. If not, ban wings entirely and go total ground effect next year and on out. I feel that some af the nobs and button should be eliminated as well. Isn't this pirmarily a "Drivers Championship"? The constructors championship is secondary, historically at least. DeLa Rosa's comments are spot on, and I feel more responsibility shoiuld be in the drivers hands. This would reduce the bought seats as well. I want qualified aspiring drivers in Formula 1, not just the connected.



great season ahead!

having read the pros/ cons to the introduction of adjustable rear wings -- I say go for it.

the key to its' successful adoption has to be legibility. that means we -- the race watchers -- have to be able to visualize where the activation points are on the track. it cannot be seen as black magic.

so, provided we are given some kind of graphic that layers race track w/ sectors, on/ off points for DRS (as simple as re-colouring the active section on the track a discernably different colour) then viewers will get it. really well painted lines and/ or on track side markers that both drivers and viewers can see will help.

it reminds me of a small bone of contention... the 300,200,100metre braking points are usually well marked from the driver's viewpoint but the on-screen maps never show it. how difficult would it be to add a small dash to indicate the marker placement.

so, best of luck to all teams and drivers for 2011. good luck to the broadcasters to convey this additional information.

if it works the wings will just be the next step in fundamental car/ speed downforce. and frankly, to all the complainers, my view is that it isn't a great deal different than a driver having adjustable front/ rear bias to adjust braking load. except that we rarely get to see this feature.

thanks again James.


Andrew C.


James, your source inside the FOTA has made an excellent point. We need to give this a chance. It is disingenuous to expect the perfect formula for overtaking and exciting racing to be created overnight.

There are many things in F1 that could be argued against in the name of purism (control tyres, testing limits, points system etc), but change is necessary. I would rather see things like DRS be given a go then just do nothing and complain that the racing is still boring.

I am sure this year will be a cracker.

matthew cheshire

True. Its the mixture of outside control (not just influence) and contriving the overtaking that is the issue

Others here have noted the inequality of an advantage to the trailing car but the same is true for slipstreaming. Or the reverse for the effect of dirty air. Inequality is not the issue.

It would be far better to affect outcomes by regularly adjusting tracks to create more challenge. Obstacles that are inert and equal to all. A greater variey of tracks would challenge drivers and engineers. It would also be a leveler to blunt dominance by one team.

Every modern track should provide a budget for alterations for each season. It could be a fraction of the F1 fee and would be a far greater investment for the sport than filling BE's bottomless pockets.


Agreed. Every time we see a track with a dip or a few bumps the drivers start complaining and the organizers scramble to repave the area. Meanwhile they plow over the curbs so we know the cars can handle a few lumps in the track.

The new tracks all look like parking lots. No trees, no shade and no uneven drying after the rain to leave some wet areas to catch out inexperienced drivers on slicks and to provide cooling for a skilled driver to go a bit longer on inters.

No narrow sections, no gravel or grass, just acres of grippy run-off areas. They are building a new track in Austin right now... do you think it will be a classic beauty like Montreal or Spa or the old Hockenheimring carving through forests and hills or will it be another vast, flat desert with few grandstands sprinkled around?


A point that has got me confused. How is the DRS going to affect the choice of gearing? Last season we had cars bouncing off the rev-limiter.


I Haven't really contributed to the DRS debate up until now, but I feel positive about it and the return of KERS.

The DRS really is being brought it as a way to re-introduce slip streaming, which is something that the cars can no longer do because of the wake created by the current aero packages. So I see it as a way of reducing and cancelling out an artificial effect which is spoiling the racing.

KERS could be used tactically, which I think will be fascinating. For example the leading car could be deploying KERS to keep the gap at over a second at certain points during the lap. The following car will be using it to get closer.

I understand the idea that we should have pure racing, but where do we stop? Single make chassis with the same fuel loads, no pitstops etc etc? I like the innovation in both the cars and the rules. I say we should all give it a go.


I'd don't reay understand the "if it doesn't work well just get rid of it" argument. The costs involved of implementing the systems is too great to just scrap it. What about the smaller teams? Can they afford to just scrap it? There needs to be a more long term objective and not a short term fly on the wall approach.

It's absurd that the FIA did not allow extra testing or race simulations to get accurate and important data from the teams running the new systems. Right now no one appears to have a clue what's going to happen in Australia.

It could be a stroke or genius or it could be a total mess leaving the viewers confused


Sure, FOTA, I'm very happy to see how it goes but -- just so you see where I'm coming from -- I've nothing at all against a driver-operated, drag-reducing flap in principle. The 'artificiality' that I and, I think, others are complaining about, is in the terribly contrived circumstances surrounding how it will be used.

Glad to see you're willing to experiment with it. I'm sure we'll see changes in the way it is used, though as I said previously I think we'll end up -- indeed should end up -- allowing the drivers to use it when and wherever they like without limitation.

Of course, being an F1 fan, trying to predict what will happen -- and having a pop at those in charge -- is all part of my harmless fun! Don't take it to heart, FOTA!


Born 1950 - I suspect you've seen this before, but note the discussion of aerodynamics here, especially the driver controlled rear wing (and what they didn't call an F-duct, but is essentially the same thing in modern lingo):



Thanks for that. Those were the days! In 1966 I spent most of my time at school designing racing cars when I should have been revising for my O levels! I still contend I was the first person to come up with the idea of a rear diffuser -- as drawn in the back of my school notebook around 1964.


Spot on.


My issue with the whole DRS concept is that we may only see over-taking in one place on a lap now... I don't feel that we'll see people trying passes in other places. Ok, let me try to define that better. Sure a lot of tracks only have certain places to overtake, take Brazil for example, it really has only one spot for over-taking - at the end of the pit-straight into senna * [* - although yes someone might try at the end of the "back" straight too]. With DRS we may see drivers trying to close in (to a car in-front) only when approaching this "DRS zone". Ok, so that still isn't precisely what I'm getting at. Hamilton, in Australia, went around the outside of Rosberg at a place no-one thought you could over-take; Alonso went around the outside of Schumi at 130R - again, who would have thought a pass was possible there. Schumi got his own back at Monaco last year between Rascasse and Noges (ok, so it was revoked on a technical issue) but I was still whopping with joy at the audacity of the move - not because I like or dislike a driver etc. - and because I'd never seen a move there before.

That's what I feel we'll miss... the attacks at non-obvious places, because now we may simply have a designated over-taking area. This is my big concern - people won't try to pass where they can, they'll wait until the "zone".


Well guys (and gals) if F1 is getting too artificial, the MotoGP season starts this weekend in Qatar. Having lost Bahrain (possibly for good now) This is serving as my first fix, of the year, with intriguing situations to start the season. Read our Suzi. who I declare as the MotoGP equivalent of James. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/columnists/suziperry/8381337/Moto-GP-Qatar-preview.html


Suzi looks far better in a pair of leather trousers than Mr Allen ever would! 😉

Yep, I like a bit of MotoGP too and it will be an intriguing season 🙂


Yeah, well if it didn't work we are going to abolish the concept! Teams already spent a lot of money for development and manufacture, and then they will spend some more to change it! Yet everybody will always speak about the need to make F1 more affordable. Ideas like this, that are leading to artificial solutions, are the result of the fact that nobody really wants to make the right decisions and return to the fundamentals of F1. Just look what Alonso said the other day: the best car will win! I wish we could all say the best driver will win!!! That would be the F1 back at its right track.


I'm ready to give it a go - but its a stupid idea.

This all cost lots of money for the teams to develop = teams spend more money = teams need more sponsors to keep alive = teams with more money win races = higher ticket prices for fans = a few people getting very rich.

Its fake racing.

As has been said before its the track layout that is the problem - and before you start bashing Trike - its the regs he has to design within that makes the tracks crap.


The funniest part of the entire debate is that the element of fairness. In other sports, athletes are penalized for using performance enhancement drugs which give them slight advantage. And it doesnt work like that in f1. Cars are never equal in the first place. Finding and utilizing the advantage is the name of the game anyway.

Andrew Woodruff

I posted earlier (#30) but have had a few more thoughts.

Some people seem genuinely outraged that DRS will give the driver in pursuit an artificial advantage (see Wayne in chain #1!). I don't necessarily see this as a problem though, for one simple reason.

One of the most frustrating things in Formula 1 over the last 10 years and more has been the sight of a car and driver that would be seconds faster in clear air being held up by a slower car. Witness Jonathan Legard referring endlessly to the "Trulli train" effect (even after the offending Toyota car had disappeared from the grid).

The way I look at DRS isn't that it will necessarily increase overtaking generally (although it will, and I will come back to that) but that it will eradicate situations as I have described above. This in my view is a good thing, as it will mean more genuine on track battles between the championship contenders for podium positions, of which we have all too often been robbed.

Then there is the question of what will happen with two evenly matched cars, let's say Alonso and Vettel, fighting for first place. People seem to be worried that the car behind will simply overtake without incident and run away. I'm not so sure this is going to happen as a matter of course (although concede that it could). Hopefully what will happen is that two evenly matched cars will be able to stay close to each other (whoever is in front) and then pass and re-pass a number of times. There is still skill involved in getting to within a second, the shame is that DRS will only be available at one corner during the race (see my argument in #30, above).


I'm not against using this new technology in the sport. I'm against the way it is being implemented. Allowing an driver to overtake using a drag reduction 'boost' is only fair if the defending driver can use it as well.

My suggestion would be to scrap these designated 'zones' and allow the drivers to use it when they want to.


The DRS will be interesting I think. What we'll see is people perhaps struggling to optimise their cars for a race.

With KERS and DRS enabled a car will need a top gear ratio perhaps 15-20kph longer than would be used otherwise. Without DRS enabled though the car will essentially have a top gear that's too long comprimising it's acceleration.

In the recent past I've numerous times seen a car which struggled to pass another because it was on it's limiter in 7th gear (as when your car isn't in the slipstream the ratios are optimised).

Given the area of DRS is only 600m prior to the end of a straight (?) I think we might see the system have significantly less impact than many people are concerned about. In fact I can see teams like RBR optimising their cars ratios for when the car doesn't have DRS enabled as they are likely to be at the front (and thus it'll not get activated). That should give them slightly superior acceleration in 5th, 6th and 7th (as you'd spread the ratio change) and make them marginally faster over the course of a lap.

I haven't seen the above mentioned anywhere, many people are making the presumption that DRS = higher top speed, but the top speed is governed by gear ratios as the cars are only allowed to rev to 18,000rpm. Thus the engine/gearbox speed won't allow the car to go quicker.

I would guess that one of the reasons why cars are allowed to use DRS in qualifying is to ensure that running it encourages teams to go with the longer ratios?. I question if the accleration difference from running optimised ratios for a car unlikely to use DRS in the race would outweight the benefit DRS would give a car in qualifying? E.g. Save 3 tenths in Q3 vs a car thats half a tenth quicker a lap with the ratios set differently.

@James, any change you could put the above (roughly) to one of the engineers?

Andrew Woodruff

Hi Paul

I'm not an engineer, but I'm not convinced by all this talk of gear ratios. Surely if you keep all other factors constant but reduce drag, the same revs/power output etc will result in a higher top speed regardless.

Gear ratios therefore a red herring?


Nope not a Red Herring at all 🙂

Reducing drag will make it easier to drive a car forward (less drag means less power required to push the car forward), but it will not increase a cars top speed unless the gear ratios and engine speed allow it to do so. F1 cars Gear ratios are normally set so the engine speed (RPM) is nearing the rev on the limiter at the end of the longest straight. As the engine speed in F1 is limited to 18,000rpm engines cannot and will not increase speed with DRS enabled. All that would happen is that a car would bounce of the revlimiter more easily. We've seen this happen when one car slipstreams another, drag is reduced, the car speeds up but then hits it's rev limiter and is limited to how fast it can go.



Today the FIA have increased the distance of the length of track cars can activate the rear wing system to 860m (although part of that is on a corner so they'll only use ~750m).

Christian Horners Response:

“I only found out today,”

“It’s a pain because it screws up our simulations and affects gear ratios.”

Gear Ratios see 😉

Andrew Woodruff

I hear what you're saying, and maybe you are right. But if it's so elementary then why have all the boffins within the FIA and FOTA not thought of this?

What you're saying, effectively, is that DRS will have no effect at all on the cars' performance at the top end. I just can't believe that is right. If you pedal a bike at a constant rate without changing gear, you will go faster downhill than than you will going up. Surely the principle is the same?


James as you probably no longer check the comments thread regarding the tyres, do you think that this year, the driver qualifying 11th has a bigger advantage than ever... they can stick on a fresh pair of hards where as the 10 in front will no doubt be on softs which have more than seen their best and have a very fast performance drop off...

Could this possibly save them a whole pit-stop over the course of the race?

And do you think that every car should start with the tyres it qualified fastest on? It does seem a little unfair that this rule still exists given the introduction of the new tyre supplier.


Hi all,

long time lurker and v occasional poster.

I'm actually rather intrigued by the movable wing idea. I think it's going to introduce a number of variables that will be of differing importance during a race.

As others have mentioned - how will the teams set up the gearing?

What happens at the end of the passing zone when the wing reapplies downforce?

How will that feed into the braking point/force?

With the condition of the tires at that point?

I think these are all conducive to presenting an opportunity to pass without making it a straightforward 'press to pass' type arrangement. It's only an overtake if the driver makes it stick.

I also like that nobody knows what's going to happen on race day - smarter, better drivers will make it work to overtake, and smarter better drivers will still be able to keep faster cars behind them. And We'll love them all the more for that.


How come nobody told Kamui Kobayashi that it's imposible to overtake in F1? And it's not as if he has the fastest car, either...


I think the problem with the DRS is not the DRS itself, but the fact that it can only be used for a set time during a lap and only when "certain conditions apply".

I would like to see all moveable elements fully under driver control to be deployed as when the driver sees fit for any length of duration, at any point on the track, as many times as the driver sees fit.

The DRS isn't the artificial bit, its the conditions when you are allowed to use them. Its mickey mouse.

I'd like to see skillful drivers changing the DRS into, through and out of a corner to get the extra edge. Just as several years ago you'd see Schuey adjusting his brake bias while in the middle of a corner at InterLagos. Not all the drivers were good enough to do that, but he was. I think we could see some drivers doing that with the DRS, but we won't get to find out with these arbitrary rules.

Mind, you I'd like ground effect to come back, active suspension. The works. Except for automatic gearboxes and launch control. I'd like all of that gone. A driver crunching his gears, or missing a gear, that is skill, or more correctly, lack of skill, or fatigue. The automatic systems take that away. Whereas the ground effect just pushes the edge even more.


A lot of people seem to be commenting that the DRS is overly 'artificial'.

I thought the system was developed because F1 cars cause so much turbulence in their wake that trailing cars cannot draw close enough to attempt to overtake.

Therefore, I see it as a bit of a contrived version of slipstreaming - the car behind can get a 'tow' from the car in front. It's not an artificial device that will lead to 'fake' racing - it just seems a fairly logical plan to remedy an issue inherent in a sport so reliant on aerodynamics.


It's nothing to do with the tow -- it just allows the car using it to go faster because while its DRS is enabled, the car can push itself through the air more easily (reduce its drag) and thus travel faster with a given amount of power.


Think I may have confused you a bit there, Born 1950.

What I'm saying is that in most categories of motorsport, when one car catches another it can continue to gain ground for as long as the driver in front is slower then the driver in pursuit.

In F1, this is clearly not the case - at a certain distance, the air flow becomes turbulent and the car in pursuit is held back and suffers a loss of aerodynamic grip.

The DRS offers a compensatory mechanism; what is lost where the pursuing car hits turbulence can be regained on the long straight, giving the car behind a chance to overcome this invisible hurdle.

The problem is that to me, it's like papering over a crack in a wall. The reliance on aero somewhat limits the competitive aspect of the racing and I don't think giving the pursuing a driver what might be seen as 'an advantage' solves the issue.


Yes, but a car has to be within a second of the car in front before he can use his DRS; and at that point, if he's that close, he's gained enough ground to be in the tow of the vehicle in front anyway, and can overtake by slipstreaming. If the rules allowed him to use his DRS on straights in order to catch a car that was further in front than a second, then the car in front would be using his DRS as well -- because he's also following a car in front of him -- right up to the car at the very front who is a sitting duck because he is the race leader.

As I see it, the way the DRS rule is constructed is more of a penalty on a leading car than it is a benefit to a following car. Two evenly matched cars, in theory, will constantly be overtaking and re-overtaking each other, lap after lap -- the race winner being the car that happens to be leading on the lap when the flag drops. Again in theory, we could see race tactics where the second placed car, rather than overtake, hangs back and waits until the last lap to close up the gap and use his DRS to take the leader -- thus giving the former leader no more opportunities to come back at him.

I suppose in summary what I'm saying is that the odds-on winner will tend to be the driver who hangs back in second place until the last possible lap, before then using DRS to take the lead -- leaving the car that's led up to that point no opportunity to retake his position.

It'll be fascinating to see how this works out in practice when cars are closely matched.


I suppose the GP organisers will be able to charge a premium for seats in the grandstands at the end of the straights where the DRS is enabled!


all this talk of a car following another been 'artificially affected' by the turbulant air is nonsence. its not artificial, its a part of the sport.

i think the entire concept that a car stuck behind another should be given advantages just because he is behind another car is completely ridiculous.

the so called DRS & KERS has already negatively affected my intrest in F1 & the coming season. for the 1st time ever im actually looking more forward to the start of the ALMS & Indycar seasons than F1.


James, off the topic but

why is Bernie opposing the FIA about smaller, more fuel effiecient engines, that are just as powerful! This would directly help consumers in the technology we all need, especially now!

didnt f1 used to have a 1.5L turbo engine, with 750hp - 800hp

sounds to me as if Bernie is trying to keep himself and his rich middle eastern oil buddies in the bling!


Not sure, I'll ask next weekend


Let's not forget that we had even smaller turbo engines in the past, very spectacular they were too. Great pyrotechnics!

No they don't sound like a V8 or a V6 but loud enough to be noticed. (the modern motorbikes don't sound like a rocket or gold star (once per telegraph pole) either but they are not to be ignored either)

To hear a V8 you can go and watch F1Stock cars (UK stocks not USA).

But before we get into a discussion about sound volumes, I will just say that I live down the road from an RAF Typhoon station and we didn't even notice when the Vulcan visited last year.


It's a very simple situation.

The cars have excess aero, and are underpowered.

Overtaking based on driver skill will come from big differences in speed between straights and corners.

Eau Rouge is now usually taken flat out - where is the skill in that? It's only aero...

This is the same problem on all corners of a track... the driver is irrelevant. The speeds are so high in the corners that the following driver cannot get close enough to the car infront without falling foul of the turbulance.

So the real fix is to reduce aero, which will allow true slip-streaming to occur, and not this artificial rubbish, where a driver needs no skill or judgment, beyond pusing a button...

If we also up the power to areo ratio, we will see more twitchy cars, and driver errors as they attempt to laydown the power - this creates great excitement intself, as it gives the following driver opportunites to attack.

And most importantly of all, it's entirely geniune skill based racing, and not driver irrelevant button based passing.

FOTA are proving to be inept as the FIA.


Am I the only person that doesn't want to see too much overtaking?

Think about it, the inevitable consequence of the DRS is that fastest driver/car, in race trim, will have much more chance of winning the race.

GREAT, but think if that had happened last season. When would it have all been over?

How many races did we have the juicy prospect of the fastest car in “race pace” being on the second or third row. The 2nd or 3rd quickest car gradually stretching the lead while the fastest attempted to pick off the cars in between. How many driver mistakes due to frustration finding a way past a slower car? How many times did they fail, extending the excitement of the season by not getting maxiumum points.

My fear this year, in the same scenario, by lap 7, all cars would have been passed by the fastest man, 1 per lap at the designated overtaking zone, and off he goes into the distance. Why bother overtaking anywhere else on the track when you know you have a certain "pass point"?

The only thing that could stop this is the new soft tyre factor, but that would "throw a wild card" without DRS.

My solutions for what they are worth

1) Get rid of the known boring tracks, replace with new better designed - Whats the point of Hungary?

2) Improve ALL tracks to improve overtaking opportunities into braking points - I don't know how, but there are known formulae that can be used to improve. Why are some tracks better than others if not?

3) Bring back refuelling. - I could never see why “passing in the pits” is so looked down on. It takes a certain talent to do 3 or 4 quick laps when released, certain strategic knowledge to work out how it can be done. How much more exiting seeing someone “go for it” at qualifying pace whilst their tyres are on the limit, than trolling round in tyre saving mode waiting for the "pass point" ?

4) Don't limit KERS output or storage. If you can make one, that saves up energy for 3 laps, then give a super burst and also make it weigh nothing then good luck. At least it is natural racing, and has a relevance to the real world of motoring.


I have always agreed on #4 about KERS. Developing this technology was pointless the year it was introduced because no matter how effective you made your regenerative braking the rules limited you to a couple of seconds of boost anyway. All you could do was try to make it a bit lighter... or just scrap it because what's the use of a tiny bit of boost if you have to carry all that extra weight.

Make it unlimited. Let the teams innovate in this area and not just in aero. Let them develop multiple versions, super light for some tracks, super high storage so that they can boost for the whole back straight. All we hear about is wind tunnel and CFD and new wings. And smaller gearboxes to help reduce aero drag. And all for fractions of a percent of improvement. All tech that will never get passed down to a regular vehicle.


Meant to say over the years, not just last season. First time I've posted , didn't realise you can't edit.


You know, A lot of people use the Alonso-Petrov situation from Abu-Dhabi last year to make the point of how the ARW will help. However I don't believe the ARW would have made much difference in that situation.

Alonso struggled to get past because Renault were not only running less downforce but also had a very efficient F-Duct & the Renault engine was very driveable out of slow corners.

Alonso wasn't stuck behind Petrov simply because of the dirty air, He was stuck behind Petrov because Petrov (And Kubica for that matter) had more top end speed because they were running a more efficient setup.


Isn't the rear wing device for all intents and purposes just an electronically controlled F-Duct?

Yes, it might look and function in a different way to the F-Duct but the purpose is exactly the same - stall the rear wing during time spent on a straight.

The DRS IS an F-Duct under a new name it's just an electronic one that can be operated by pressing a button without requiring the driver to perform an impromptu jig in the cockpit for a bit more speed.

It seems like the FIA liked the general concept of the F-Duct but simply wanted a bit more control over how and when it could be used due to the obvious safety issues (one handed driving)and so they introduced the DRS in its place.

Prisoner Monkeys

The problem with the DRS is that it wasn't explained properly when it was first announced. It's only now, six months after the first mention of it came up, that we're starting to get a proper picture of how it will work. In the meantime, people have started formulating their own ideas about what it is and how it will do what it is supposed to do, with the overwhelming - and very wrong - conclusion being that it will somehow render the driver's abilities useless. The DRS was created as an overtaking aid, not an overtaking replacement. Most people, however, have cosntructed their own ideas out of it to justify their argument: that it is bad. They are building facts to fit a case, not a case to fit the facts.


In my view DRS and KERS would be awesome (i.e. not be seen as artificial) if they could be used as much as possible by the drivers at any point in the race. My only rule would be that DRS and KERS could not be used at the same time.

One driver may use DRS in a long straight and another driver (in front or behind) may counter with his own DRS (which may be better) or KERS.

Remember, cars using DRS will most likely hit their rev-limiters; cars using KERS will be able to accelerate past their rev. limiters.


One concern I have with DRS which I don't think has been debated in great depth- what will happen if DRS fails and a car goes into a sweeping curve (still at full speed) after a long straight? Are there any rules in the design to make the rear wings safe in case the DRS fails? Somehow the solution they had last year sound safer to me...

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