In the world of Formula 1, where precision and strategy reign supreme, the Singapore Grand Prix has always been a unique and challenging event. However, this year, multiple F1 drivers are putting pressure on the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) to introduce a fourth Drag Reduction System (DRS) zone at the Marina Bay circuit. Their concerns stem from recent track alterations that have transformed the iconic 90-degree corners of Turns 16-19 into a kinked back straight. The drivers’ worry? That these changes might limit overtaking opportunities, and they’re seeking solutions.
Track Alterations and DRS Concerns
The heart of the matter lies in the modifications made to the Marina Bay circuit. Traditionally, the 90-degree corners at Turns 16-19 provided a prime opportunity for drivers to engage their DRS, allowing them to gain an edge in overtaking maneuvers. However, due to construction activities in the vicinity, these iconic corners have been replaced, leaving drivers with a challenging kinked back straight.
Despite these significant changes, the FIA has maintained only three DRS zones on the track. This decision has caused considerable concern among Formula 1 drivers who were anticipating the introduction of a fourth DRS zone to counterbalance the revised circuit layout.
Driver Insights and Recommendations
Valtteri Bottas, representing Alfa Romeo, and Esteban Ocon from Alpine, have shared their insights on the altered track and the potential impact on racing.
Bottas emphasized the challenges of overtaking on the revised track. He voiced the collective sentiment of his fellow drivers, suggesting that the alterations might not necessarily enhance overtaking opportunities. Bottas made it clear that the need for a fourth DRS zone would be a prominent topic of discussion during the upcoming drivers’ briefing.
Esteban Ocon, on the other hand, offered a unique perspective. He hinted at possible discrepancies between simulator scans and real-life track conditions, particularly regarding the severity of the kink and the presence of surface bumps. Ocon has proposed a trial during Free Practice 1 (FP1) to evaluate the actual on-track situation.
“It’s going to be better but if it’s actually going to make a difference in terms of ‘Will it be a race that you can overtake easily?’ I don’t think so,” stated Bottas.
As reported by Motorsport.com, Formula 1 drivers are currently urging the FIA to introduce an additional DRS zone for the Singapore Grand Prix. Their primary concern revolves around the recent alterations to the Marina Bay circuit, which have replaced the familiar 90-degree corners with a kinked back straight. Valtteri Bottas expressed concerns about the overtaking potential of the modified track and anticipated discussing the need for a fourth DRS zone with his fellow drivers. Esteban Ocon, taking a slightly different angle, pointed out the possibility of disparities between simulator data and real-world conditions. He advocated for a trial during FP1 to ascertain the true challenges posed by the revised circuit.
“We are all pushing at the moment to give [another DRS zone] a try… We are pushing at the moment to be able to try it at least in FP1, see how it feels and if it’s OK, potentially keep it.”
While the drivers’ plea for a new DRS zone is clear, it remains uncertain whether the FIA will grant their request, as safety always takes precedence in motorsports.