Nick Heidfeld has given the Drag Reduction System the thumbs down following the opening three races.
DRS is new for F1 2011 and has been brought in by the powers that be to try and aid overtaking and improve the spectacle. It was one of a number of changes for 2011, along with the return of KERS and the arrival of Pirelli as the new tyre supplier. Heidfeld is not convinced however that the adjustable rear wing is necessarily a good thing, and while he concedes there has probably been more overtaking, he reckons that is more to do with the tyres than anything else.
“Well, like with everything, the more you use it the easier it gets,” replied the Lotus Renault GP pilot when asked about DRS and the return of KERS, “and we're still working on getting the perfect switch positions which we should have ready for Turkey.
“I think it's all working fine and going to plan. But I'm not a fan of the rear wing because I don't particularly like things which artificially aim to improve racing. The biggest difference is the tyres. With the rear wing active and the car in front having similar tyres, overtaking might still be difficult which is exactly as was planned with DRS, however if you have fresher tyres it might be much easier to overtake. I think we've seen far more overtaking than in the past.”
As for his own performances to date, he concedes his form has been mixed, although his podium in Malaysia was a boost and he is optimistic Lotus Renault GP can do a lot better in the coming races. Indeed he thinks that so far they have only scratched at the potential of the R31.
“It's been a bit up and down. On the positive side, the car is very innovative and it is quick. It is also responding well to set-up changes, it has got a good straightline speed and has already proved to be competitive on different track layouts. We've already achieved two podiums from three races, which is a real plus," he continued.
“But on the other side, we haven't yet fulfilled our potential and I hope both we, as a team, and I can improve on that. The first three races gave us a good picture of our strengths and weaknesses, and with the break we've just had we've been able to analyse where we can improve further.
“Overall I think we've shown over the first three races that we have a good car and Istanbul [the next event] could be very interesting because it is the first European race and a lot of teams will bring updates, including us. Hopefully we'll be able to give a good performance again.”