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Overtaking statistics reveal limited DRS impact

Figures released by Mercedes Grand Prix have confirmed that overtaking in F1 has significantly increased this year - but Pirelli tyres have arguably played a greater role in that than DRS (Drag Reduction Systems)
Statistics have revealed that whilst the introduction of the 'artificial' Drag Reduction System (DRS) in F1 2011 has increased overtaking in the top flight, it has not done so to the extent perhaps perceived, with the return of Pirelli tyres ostensibly yielding a greater effect.

Research conducted by Mercedes Grand Prix has generated some figures to quantify what has been widely praised as one of the most exciting and action-packed F1 seasons in recent memory this year – and international television viewing numbers reflect that positive acclaim. The new rules are clearly having the desired effect.

At almost the midpoint of the 19-race campaign, there have already been 623 overtaking moves – excluding opening lap gains or position changes due to damage, but including battles between team-mates and faster cars lapping the bottom three teams (Team Lotus, Virgin and Hispania) – equating to an average of 69 per grand prix. To put that into perspective, there were 547 successful manoeuvres throughout the whole of 2010, and only 244 in 2009, prior to the arrival of the aforementioned frequently-lapped trio of newcomers.

However, just 29 per cent of the passes in 2011 have been the result of DRS – the remaining 71 per cent constituted by lapping instances, team-mate battles and non-DRS passes – and only in Shanghai, Istanbul, Barcelona and Valencia have DRS-assisted moves outnumbered normal moves. The highest number of DRS passes was seen in Turkey with 50; the fewest was in Monaco with just two, whilst Melbourne (five) and Silverstone (six) similarly benefitted little from the adjustable rear wing.

The most potent advert for DRS was undoubtedly Valencia, where 50 per cent of the overtakes were DRS-enabled; only 11 per cent were achieved without it.

Pirelli, however – and the Italian tyre-supplier's deliberately fast-wearing rubber – has played a more significant role in spicing up the F1 2011 spectacle. In Barcelona, for example, 69 per cent of successful passes were due to the driver being overtaken struggling on older tyres than his pursuer.

From all of the non artificially-aided passes, just over 55 per cent occurred when the difference in tyre age between the two cars was less than five laps, with 45 per cent when it was more than five laps. Of the 180 DRS moves, 52 per cent had tyre age difference of less than five laps, and 48 per cent more than five laps.

The race with the most passing moves was Montreal (136), followed by Istanbul (123) and Shanghai (97), whilst Monaco (22), Silverstone (29) and Melbourne (30) were conversely the most processional. In Valencia, there were 44 – twice as many as in Monaco.

There have been 560 pit-stops from the opening nine grands prix, including penalties. Istanbul witnessed the most at 82; Monaco the fewest with just 43.

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22.05.2011- Race, Start, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
08.05.2011- Race, Narain Karthikeyan (IND), Hispania Racing F1 Team, HRT and Pastor Maldonado (VEN), Williams FW33
08.05.2011- Race, Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7 and Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
08.05.2011- Race, Adrian Sutil (GER), Force India F1 Team, VJM04 and Rubens Barrichello (BRA), Williams FW33
08.05.2011- Race, Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM04 and Kamui Kobayashi (JAP), Sauber F1 Team C30
08.05.2011- Race, Felipe Massa (BRA), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia and Nico Rosberg (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
08.05.2011- Race, Jaime Alguersuari (SPA), Scuderia Toro Rosso, STR6 and Kamui Kobayashi (JAP), Sauber F1 Team C30
Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix, Sauber, F1 [Credit: Honda Racing]
Sebastien Ogier, Red Bull, RB7, F1 test [Credit: Red Bull Content Pool]
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Dale - Unregistered

July 20, 2011 7:04 PM

One thing I expected with DRS was for 2 relatively equal drivers / cars taking turns passing each other lap after lap ... each taking advantage of being less than a second behind in the zone. That hasnt happened though. In just about every case once a drive has been passed, he hasnt come back with much of a fight.

podloch - Unregistered

July 20, 2011 5:31 PM

@blzbub, I would love that except I have a feeling that when that would happen then the new manufacturer would make tires like Bridgestone. Super long lasting, and thats not really something we want again.

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