DRS has been an excellent system, responsible for making F1 races more spicy and exciting in many ways. However with multiple games being played between drivers, there’s been a lot of talk on whether the DRS is advantageous all the time or, does it sometimes come in the way of the sport itself?
Every system has limitations. We saw the ‘you go first’ game being played between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc at the Jeddah Corniche circuit in Saudi Arabia a few days ago until both their tires locked up while braking before crossing the DRS detection point. Charles then went full speed to catch up with Max.
Thanks to the updated technical regulations this year, the reduction in the amount of dirty air being produced has been a treat to F1 fans who are now able to witness more wheel-to-wheel action, that was otherwise scarce last year.
What do the drivers think?
Not only in Saudi Arabia. The first race in Bahrain too saw both Leclerc and Verstappen come side by side on multiple occasions. While the new rules have aided the drivers, they are of the opinion that DRS is still irreplaceable.
After losing to Verstappen in Jeddah, Leclerc stated: “As much as following has been better from last year to this year, and it’s a very positive step, I still think it’s not enough to get rid of the DRS.”
“It’s part of it and I actually quite enjoy it. It’s part of the strategy for each driver in terms of defending and overtaking, and it’s part of racing for now.”
Has it helped?
Data indicates a higher number of changes in positions this year in comparison to the previous year. Bahrain recorded 55 changes in position this season, compared to last year’s 40. For the race in Jeddah, the number rose by 11, from 20 to 31 changes in positions.
Neither do the numbers denote overtakes nor do they indicate first lap passes. But, what they actually indicate is an improved competitive climate which is very healthy for a sport like F1. It is definitely entertaining to watch the cars get extremely close to each other on the track, especially when the drivers have no issues racing this way.
The important point
But, it does point to important questions that are raised very often. Should the drivers purposely avoid overtaking each other and if this is something that should be encouraged by Formula One? The ethical line is a very thin one in this case. We’re unsure whether the wheel is on the line or if it has crossed it.
“I think the really encouraging thing about these regulations is that in the last two races we’ve seen Charles and Max pass each other about 10 times, which we haven’t seen in previous seasons,” Red Bull F1 chief Christian Horner said when asked by Motorsport.com.
“It’s been great racing, another fantastic race there between the two teams. Of a sample of two, you’d have to say it’s a big tick in the box for the ability to follow closely and race wheel to wheel. It’s been outstanding.”
However, he did add that F1 should look into the placement of DRS detection lines to avoid “cat and mouse games” in the future.
F1 drivers want DRS because it’s just too good fun. The organizers we feel are in two minds. The upcoming races might help clear the fog around DRS and if there’s something that needs to be done about it.
What matters most though, is what you think about it. Should DRS be dumped, or not? Is there another solution to this?
Here’s what people have had to say on Twitter:
This is how you play DRS chicken. 👏 pic.twitter.com/cVTRbrLMNK
— Berkay (@bdotsenol) March 30, 2022
Someone should remind F1 , this sport is about racing , it’s about drivers pace , how good you can manage your tires to catch up to the cars ahead and how to break the DRS , not turning classic circuit to a DRS circuit #AustralianGP
— ahmed baokbah 🇸🇦🏎✈️ (@ahmed_baokbah) April 4, 2022
Christian Horner believes DRS lines should be “looked into” to avoid future cat and mouse games like we saw between #CharlesLeclerc and #MaxVerstappen in Saudi Arabia, both slowed down deliberately at the final corner to get DRS for the straight, not normal #f1 #SaudiArabiaGP pic.twitter.com/ACCKkDmb9P
— Ollie Pattas (@olliepattas) March 30, 2022
Regulations for better racing still have work to do. It's not just straight-line passing or assisting to be alongside into a braking zone, they need to be smaller still and lighter if we are going to get racing. I feel without DRS this current spec of car will be quite shit.
— BirbieVR (@BirbieVR) March 29, 2022
-remove 1s trigger for DRS
-make DRS a use limited tool
(lapsXzones) X .75 = no. of DRS uses.
Ex.Saudi: 50 laps X 3 zones=150 poss uses. 75% of 150=113.
— Serdafied (@SERDAFIED) March 29, 2022
What do you think?