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DRS spectacle divides fans: What’s your view?
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Nov 2011   |  1:32 pm GMT  |  232 comments

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?

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I think DRS is just there to put on good show for spectators. F1 should be about racecraft.

Give all drivers 1 set of qualifying tyres that can be used in Q1/Q2 and another set for those who make it to Q3. Every driver should be able to start on fresh tyres of their choice. Teams should be allowed 1000km’s of private testing per season by a driver of their choice (main driver or test driver). Finally, I think the freeze on engine devolopment should be removed. However, teams should be allowed only 1 major engine upgrade per season to be taken at their discretion.


Ok… Here’s my take, loose the fancy material brake disks, and put steel ones on. Lose the silly automatic flappy paddle gear boxes, and give them manual boxes, ditch the silly aero dependant front and rear wings, make them much simpler, apply more emphasis on mechanical grip, or to make life simpler give them cars from the 80s but with HANS and seatbelts but make the tubs out of whatever to make them safe!

Sorted. Can I have a cheque now? I’ve saved F1….


whether or not DRS does the job or not is surely not the point

as we all know the real problem is aero , stops cars overtaking as they cannot get close enough in the vortex principally due to effect on the front wing

so , a standard simple front wing ; the big teams spend a fortune on front wings , the smaller teams simply cannot keep up with them

so a standard simple front wing would

help overtaking

help the smaller teams become more competitive

both of which would improve the racing …isn’t that what we all want ?

we have standard tyres , standard engines , standard ECU’s …why not standard front wings ?


Need to lower downforce to reasonable levels. Need to see four wheel drifts through turns. :=))


Sorry to say, but the more they stuff with F1, the more and more boring it will get.

What ever happened to racers being, well, racers? Give the damn drivers a car, and engine, 4 wheels and tell them to GO!


Although its good to see some more overtaking with not just DRS but with kers also. I say remove them off the cars. I say it is FALSE racing. It is not the driver being good at racing, its not even about the car being good. Its about opening a rear wing which gives you more speed. FALSE.

Conclusion. Leave F1 alone, let the cars be standard and let the damn drivers to THEIR jobs.


DRS creates false racing. How is it that the car behind gets a speed advantage over the other. You don’t see that in any sport.

In addition the zones are just picked to create however many passes the organisers want to see.

Passes now seem really contrived, not earnt wheel to wheel, you just feel the driver looking in his mirrors knowing a faster car is coming through.

Surely they can come up with something else, that is not just a leg up for the car behind and can’t be defended from.


Hey hie James..

If we see now the Pirelli tyres are more or less behaving the same way as the bridgestone tyres did in the last year…if we take the abudabi GP..then the 1st pit stop window was in between 17-20 laps and it was the same case this yr…so it is making racing again boring…according to me the supersofts should last for 7-10 laps max the soft 13-16 medium 19-21 and hard 23-25 this will make racing more fascinating because there will be more pitstops as we did see during the start of the 2011 season…


as ever , the teams have learned how to best use the tyres and we are almost back to the bridgestones which did no favours to F1

but at the last race pirelli were testing a new version of the soft tyre …to make it just a touch more durable …..bad news ? exactly the opposite … year this tyre will become the medium !!! 2 softer tyres slotted in under them

new rear tyres are already designed and coming up for testing


We are a long way from Bridgestones, these tyres behave completely differently


To complete my thoughts with changes on these two rules I do not care what happens to DRS , KERS, etc.


For me there are two rules that must be changed to make the sport more competitive from the drivers point of view:THE BLUE FLAG RULE , it is not logicall that you have Hamilton or Alonso going behind somebody wiht a car that has enough power to gain distance on straights ,even though that driver is taking 2 or 3 seconds more on each lap. In that situation the blue flag should automatic.THE EMERGENCY CAR ON A RED FLAG for me the approximate distances that there were between cars before the red flag should be kept on restarting the race.With all the electronic we have nowadays these two points should not be hard to put in practice.¨Please excuse my English if I made some mistakes ,I am from Venezuela and Spanisn is my mother tongue.


Just think, if DRS existed in 2000 we would never have seen Hakkinen’s mega overtake of Schumi at Spa. He would have just pushed his button instead and sailed past easily. DRS is actually depriving us of great moves. Should be got rid of as it is bad enough to make me stop watching


Schumacher was set up for wet and so had more wing than Häkkinen. So in fact it was a bit like a DRS overtake.

Also, he was going to make the pass sooner or later anyway. And the kind of blocking Schumi did to prevent a pass earlier would not go unpenalized these days.


from what I understand the DRS and KERS are there to aid overtaking because the cars aerodynamics won’t really allow drivers to get close enough to pass

I know it seems artifical but do we really want go back to the days when cars can’t pass each other, unless they can come up with other ways I think this is the best way to go



Why should one driver be given an advantage over another? How does this concept creep into any part of racing? If you can get yourself into the one second zone, why can’t you get into the slipstreaming zone and pass in a normal, racing fashion? On the other hand, if you can’t make a pass when you are that close, do you deserve to be given a lift? If we’d had DRS last season, we would almost certainly have had a different World Champion. Is it right that the title should be decided by a gimmick? No, the fact is, that as good as Fernando undoubtedly is, or Webber, they couldn’t overtake, they couldn’t solve the problem. Why should either of them, unable to pass as they were, be gifted the championship over Vettel?

The way this supposedly pure racing formula is going, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the races being stopped every 15 laps or so and the cars put back on the grid, so TV can have another sprint race. Of course, the safety car is there to do this at the moment, but it will need to be spiced up a bit more in the future to keep the increasingly jaded viewers engaged.

Another year or two and the distinction between racing and entertainment will be more and more blurred and those fools like me who are happy watching 55 laps of relentless pursuit and equally tenacious defence will have to look elsewhere to see actual racing.


when the fans wanted more interesting races,the teams from F1 heard there voices and came up with thisgizmo called DRS and suddnely it was more overtaking in F1!Now its to much and to easy!Well,make up your minds once and for all!!!!

You dont like this,you dont like that,it sounds to meall of you are womens!!!


Thank you for using the comments that I made in that previous post James. It is great to know that you read them all.

Another idea about how to improve DRS would be to allow it at any point on the circuit for say 5 seconds like with KERS whilst within 1 second trying to overtake a car. Obviously you would need to have certain safety features like not allowing it be deployed whilst braking which could be programmed into the on-board computer controlling the DRS. This would re-enter some skill in the use of DRS in a similar manner to KERS to put the onus back on the driver to use it to their advantage rather than as a kind of reflex. I think this combined with the use of variable DRS which I mentioned in my previous post (varying the degree to which the DRS opens per circuit to optimise its use) would be a good compromise with this new wave of driver passing aids.

I’m not anti-change in F1. F1 has always been constantly evolving – whether that be from rear-engined to front-engined cars, with ground effects, turbo engines, launch control or DRS. However, what we cannot loose sight of is that F1 is a unique mix of entertainment, technology and sport. It is important that we get a gripping mix of these and not one over the other.


Some excitement was maintained in the race because of DRS, (not just the random passing further down the field)

1. Alonso would have had a chance of passing Lewis if he could have caught him. This made the chase exciting, without the chance to pass we would know the chase was futile and the interest is lost at a much earlier point in the race.

2. Webber was able to try a 3 stop as he knew it was possible to pass Button and Rosberg to make the strategy work. Without the chance to pass he would have just sat behind Massa to the flag.

So the DRS may make passing “fake” but at least it is possible, and that is essential to maintain excitement in the final outcome. “Real” processions are about as dull as it gets, and the “realness” doesn’t add to the racing one little bit.


alonso did well to hang on to hamilton , fine drive ; I know hamilton was nursing his car , but still credit to alonso ,even though personally I don’t find a driver hanging on very exciting

as alonso said after the race , even if he could have passed hamilton in the pits he could not have stayed ahead , hamilton just had too much in hand , especially on the prime tyre


I agree that DRS is maybe artificial however I don’t think the fact that in some cases it is a straight forward overtake is due to DRS. By saying that you are ignoring different aero set ups, more powerful engines and of course variations in the effect of KERS.

add all those things together and you have a straight forward overtake with or wthout DRS.

Red Bull gets it’s advantage due to superior grip and stability-among other things.

Some teams notably Mercedes seem to be finding a little advantage in their use of the above mentioned variables to try limit their lack of cornering speed.

I think it’s just F1 engineers doing what they do best! exploiting rules! Not DRS.


I’m against DRS. Its too artificial. Not a genuine racing at all.

I understand the intention to introduce DRS – to add excitement on F1 via more overtaking.

DRS is one of the ‘solution’ to add more excitement to F1, but too artificial.

To add excitement to F1, the car need to be fragile.

But F1 nowadays lack of technical failure compared to the old days. Still remember on 2001 when Hakkinen’s car blown out on the very last lap?

Just my humble opinion


1) DRS

2) Top 10 starting on tyres they qualified on

3) Two different tyres to be used in the race

4) Penalties for using too many engines / gearbox’s

Q. What do they all have in common?

A. It’s all a bodge isn’t it?

All I want to see is out-and-out racing, a sprint from start to finish.

I’m not interested in who can look after their tyres best, or who can overtake as they are in the 1 second zone.

I feel robbed when a driver is given a 10 place penalty for needing to use a new engine (if any penalty should be applied, surely it should be that the constructor looses points?)

Rant ends!


Off topic.

James, what is your opinion about Raikkonen coming back in a Willaims IF it happens? Thanks.


I think if it happens it will be great. He’s a fantastic character, even though he doesn’t say much. He’s got a massive fan base and he brings something different to the show.

It’s a bit hard to imagine with Williams as they are at the moment, but they’re pushing really hard to get back into the top ten for next year. Will the new technical team get it right first time? It’s a tall order.

But I think the team accepts that if Kimi comes back and flies and then a more competitive team picks him up for 2012 then it would still have been worth it.

There is some scepticism about him and his commitment however, as stories of what he does away from the track are legendary in F1 circles!

So if he comes back he needs to show that he’s back for the right reasons. And it would be good to know what the reasons really are.


Haha I agree his is quite a different character from most F1 drivers. Not sure if Bernie would like him to come back. Bernie & most team principals would prefer a more PR-savy type of driver.

Thanks for your thoughts James.


As a purist I’m not keen on the DRS concept in general, but I have to say that it’s better than having no overtaking at all.

Until F1 decides to concentrate on addressing the one fundamental issue that mitigates against overtaking (the huge aerodynamic sensitivity of the cars to running in another’s wake), they will have to rely on artificial means instead.


It’s tricky to get the length of the zone(s) right. They should ideally set up the drivers so that they’re challenging going into the following corner, then it’s still down to driver skill to make a pass.

Used correctly DRS can overcome the age-old problem of not being able to follow a car because of dirty air, but it should never become a simple “Push-to-Pass” gimmick.

When a car can simply breeze past a rival on a straight that’s too artificial.


Tilke Toy Track entertainment but – waste of space as the one serious attempted ‘user’ (Webber) found out. Petrov would have still been able to spoil Alonso’s day. The only ‘significant’ overtaking was by Alonso in the old fashioned way taking risks at the start. As for the rest, well yes it was fun, but was it motor racing? Maybe we should have randomly timed pit stops (with tyre changes allowed) for each driver to mix the field, it would work just as well.


Thanks to JA for quoting my previous comment on defending the DRS.

It’s really funny reading people’s comments here, I mean c’mon! Lack of overtaking everyone complains, now there is overtaking everyone complains. LOL!! People are hard to please these days!

Getting back to the topic and talk seriously, DRS, racing, artificial overtaking, etc. It’s pretty easy to pin point to the problem here:

Tires – short life, drivers have to nurse and manage them, which means drivers cannot just go out to push and fight. You push, you kill the tires. You fight, you kill the tires. I honestly don’t understand the rationale behind this from the beginning of the season. If I was one of the drivers and I want to race, I don’t want my hands tied by having to nurse something and prevent me from challenging someone, I want to be able to trust my car that can allow me to fight anytime anywhere on track. Why the heck did the teams or Pirelli think it’s a good idea to have short-life tires? It takes a no brainer to conclude that this will sway the game towards a more strategic one than simple pure racing. To be completely honest, at the start of the season when Pirelli announced they were to make short-life tires and set the reason as being the teams’ request, I thought it’s more like Pirellis were unable to create tires as strong and long lasting as the old Bridgestones, and used the teams as excuse to prevent their brand name from being tainted, a reason which the teams happily accepted to take on.

DRS – Personally, I think it’s a good thing. What’s making this artificial is the limited placed by the FIA. Why limit it for goodness sake? Limiting to the use creates a consequence you see now: inability to defend! No problem with this thing, but just let drivers use it!

Problems left from previous decades – restricting mechanical grip which made teams to look at aero more and more. For example, fan car. It was designed to create more mechanical grip, which was re-created with Newey’s Red Bull X2010; other examples are mass dampers, active suspension, these are mechanical stuff which were suppose to help prevent F1 from going too aero dependent. For crying out loud, FIA will you please stop banning something just because one team has a louder voice than the rest?

I think FIA have themselves to blame for the problem we are facing.


the easiest tyres for pirelli to make would be long life tyres , anyone who has been in the tyre industry on the technical side would tell you that

the difficult bit is to make the tyres that have just the required life/grip combination and pirelli have had a pretty good result for their first season

however , the teams have learned how to use these tyres , so pirelli will be making some changes for next year , eg at the last race they tested a slightly improved SOFT tyre , not that is what they needed , but next year that tyre will become the MEDIUM , so the medium will have it’s life CUT next year

get rid of DRS , a combination of pirelli and aero rukle changes will produce the racing we want to see


I do not agree that DRS ruines F1… the thing is that it must be properly adjusted after the season. It was not working at all at some tracks while on others it was clear cut pass with the driver in front like sitting duck… namely Turkey, where we will probably not go next year, and Montreal… honestly, it should aid to overtaking not guarantee and with double RDS zones and counter attacks I think it worked well at Yas Marina… what I definitely don’t want to see is something like last year when Alonso and Webber were not able to overtake much slower cars due nature of the track.


DRS is a dumb, artificial gimmick which has done nothing to make races more exciting this season in my opinion & is coming close to killing my 22 year intrest in F1. I went into this season against the idea of DRS & have just been getting more & more frustrated with the stupid thing as each race has gone by.

Every time I’ve seen a DRS pass I’ve just been angry, I’ve found none of them intresting, extertaining or exciting.

In the 22 years I’ve loved F1 I’ve seen things come in I’ve not liked (Refueling, Driver aids, grooved tyres, Rev-Limits) yet I’ve never hated anything anywhere close to as much I hate the Dumb Racing Solution.


TO add to that I will put forward my proposal.

The way I look at it the current DRS regulations are the worst solution to the problems regarding overtaking. I see the current DRS regs as the laziest option they had avaliable.

So if they do insist in keeping DRS they should run it like the Push-2-Pass system used successfully elsewhere.

Give every driver something like 20 uses during a race, Let them use it anywhere they like & let them use it to attack & defend. This brings in some actual strategy.

Alternatively just remove DRS & run KERS in that way, 20 uses during a race & you get 6 seconds of KERS Per-use.

There are other options avaliable using DRS, KERS & even Rev-Limit increases which brings in driver strategy, allows drivers to defend & makes things less artificial.


I think that they should be able to use DRS for 7.7 seconds per lap, anywhere, like KERS, which would add a greater strategic element to the race. I would imagine people would argue that this would still be artificial.

For many years I have watched cars stuck behind cars for whole races. If I was a designer I would not want to make it easy for the car behind to overtake. KERS and DRS for me make a welcome change.

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