The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was always going to be the acid test for the new concepts introduced this year to promote overtaking; Pirelli short life tyres and DRS.
After all it was at this track last year that Fernando Alonso lost the world championship because he couldn’t pass Vitaly Petrov’s Renault after a bad Race Strategy call.
For this year’s race the FIA went for a double DRS zone, as it has done a few times this year, on Yas Marina’s two straights.
The result was a lot more overtaking and plenty of examples of drivers overtaking in the first zone and then being overtaken again in the second zone. This happened with Paul di Resta and Sebastien Buemi as well as Mark Webber and Felipe Massa.
We’ve had plenty of comment on this from readers. Here are some examples:
Ayron writes: “I’m starting to lose my regard for the DRS, having now seen a number of tracks where cars have made overtakes just prior to the DRS zone only to be overtaken by the passed car in the following DRS zone.
Webber is a notable sufferer having lost taken positions in Korea and Abu Dhabi. He wasn’t the only one tonight, however and this is something that needs to be looked at.
A car built for optimal cornering (or a driver jumping on another driver’s mistake) gets ahead of an opponent through pure racecraft, only to lose the position on the following straight primarily to an artificially applied speed diferential (DRS). It doesn’t seem fair to me.”
Wayne agreed: “There was very liittle of the fantastic overtaking that James mentions. There WAS a lot of swapping about in the DRS zones however which is an entirely different thing. This track is inherrently poor, so they overcompensated with massive DRS availability. The result, as Coulthard said during the race, was artifical overtaking.”
And Simon Donald said: “Completely agree. This is not real overtaking. This is just a farce. DRS was supposed to be a technology to assist in overtaking by getting you into a slipstreaming position not gifting you a position by being 10 to 15 km/h faster than the car in front. Totally artificial. The driver in front has no chance to defend.
The circuit looks nice and all that kind of stuff, but Id rather spend a season of weekends at Spa, Silverstone and Montreal. The circuit needs a revamp for 2012!”
I think they should make some changes to the Yas Marina Circuit, but Richard Cregan the CEO of Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management and his team have to analyse very carefully what happened yesterday. They know that the track could do with some tweaks but it won’t be easy to persuade those who don’t understand the sport so well but who hold the purse strings to release some budget to make changes when yesterday’s race featured plenty of passing.
K stepped in to defend the use of DRS. He said: “The original idea of DRS is to “aid” overtaking, not to guarantee a complete overtake. The drivers still have to do the work.”
Dave Deacon pointed out: : “The idea was to use the first DRS to get close and the second to overtake… Button referred to this indirectly in an interview. Drivers were also using the DRS zones to decrease their lap times and so catch other drivers. Typically, these were back markers being overtaken.”
And the final word for DRS supporters goes to Chapor who said: “I see a lot of negative arguments against the double DRS zone this past race, but I think it had it’s merit simply because it wasn’t just a push to pass zone, but it was also a tactical tool to use in the race. Were as we hear a lot of complaining that slower cars couldn’t defend like we have seen in races were a single DRS zone was used, but here we had the faster car come up and pass, but the second zone served as a possibility to re-take that position, evening out the playing field somewhat. We got to see some very nice wheel to wheel racing in the corners following the DRS zones because of it. After last years bore fest we demanded more overtaking and we got it. So let’s stop complaining ok.”
So give us your opinion in our poll. Did the DRS improve the racing at Abu Dhabi?