Ferrari's Felipe Massa has urged the FIA to consider allowing the moveable rear wing – or Drag Reduction System (DRS) – to be used on only one of the Sepang International Circuit's two long straights in the upcoming Malaysian Grand Prix, arguing that to permit it on both could 'make overtaking too easy'.
The new innovation has been introduced this season in a bid to spice up the spectacle in F1 by way of facilitating passing manoeuvres – the very lack of which has been a distinct cause for concern for a number of years. It has thus far drawn a mixed reaction from drivers and teams, with some admitting that it helped them to progress through the field in the curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne just under a fortnight ago, but others – McLaren-Mercedes star Jenson Button chief amongst them – finding it made little-to-no difference at all.
The back straight and following pit straight are two of the most discernible features of the Sepang International Circuit, and inarguably the track's two finest overtaking opportunities with heavy-braking zones at the end of each of them, but Massa – the object of Button's frustrations Down Under – reckons a balance needs to be struck in terms of where drivers can use the wing this weekend.
“The situation will be interesting here,” the 29-year-old explained, writing in his official blog on Ferrari's website. “For the moment, the plan is to be allowed to use DRS during the race on the straight in front of the pits, but at Sepang, the straight that runs back the other way is actually longer. It is also true that it would offer a higher chance of overtaking.
“We are waiting for the final decision from the FIA to see if we use DRS on the front straight, the back one or both. The right decision could make the race more interesting for drivers and the spectators, too. Personally, I am not sure that allowing DRS on both straights is the best option, because I think it might actually make overtaking too easy.
“You have to get the right balance between helping the chances of overtaking and having almost too much passing. At Sepang, the two straights follow one another, so if you are quicker than the car ahead, you might not even try and pass on the first straight, preferring to get well-prepared and as close as possible before then having a simple overtaking move on the second straight.”