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DRS not unsafe, despite Eau Rouge ban

McLaren's Paddy Lowe, as well as other team bosses, argue that DRS deserves its place in F1, despite its use at Spa being limited by the FIA.
McLaren's Paddy Lowe has reacted strongly to suggestions that the FIA's decision to ban the use of F1's drag reduction technology through the fearsome Eau Rouge corner at Spa-Francorchamps means that the system should not have been introduced in the first place.

Although the DRS would only have been available at Eau Rouge during practice and qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix - in the race, it is restricted to the end of the Kemmel Straight that follows - the governing body decided that it increased the chance of an accident on an already notorious section of track and informed teams of the ban on Monday [see story here].

That decision has led to critics of the technology claiming that it is inherently unsafe and should not have been introduced to the sport, but Lowe insisted that it was no more risky than anything else on an F1 car.

"I think that would be a pretty extreme position to take," he said, "I think what's been imposed is very sensible. That is a very extreme corner.

"Everything on a racing car has some risk. One of the jobs of the FIA - and the teams through the Technical Working Group - is to maintain the right balance between the sporting interest and general safety. The restriction that's been put on there, it's just balancing the risk properly because, if the wing were to misbehave through that sector, we know you can have very big accidents.

"We haven't calculated it precisely, but it's one of those things that, if the car is fairly near the limit, and if you apply DRS or find the degree to which you can apply DRS through that sector by experimentation, which is what the drivers would end up doing, by definition they will find a place that is just at the edge and that means there's no margin. So, if the wing, for instance, were to be a bit slow, or act when it shouldn't have done, the driver will lose control. I don't think it detracts at all from the spectacle, which was the intent of the DRS, so I'm supportive of the restriction."

Asked why only Eau Rouge had been singled out for the ban, rather than extending it to the likes of Pouhon and Blanchimont, the Briton suggested that it was merely a result of its reputation.

"We weren't involved directly in that particular restriction, [but] I think it's because this is a corner where you stay flat through it, so there would be a great temptation to find the limit with the DRS whereas, with a normal corner, I think the drivers are finding that edge as they pick up the throttle," he reasoned, "It's a question of balance. There's no right or wrong answer. I don't know what others feel about that, [but] it is one of the most if not the most extreme corner on the F1 calendar, so to take the experimentation out of it in that form is probably a sensible idea."

Fellow team leaders Ross Brawn and Christian Horner shared Lowe's support for the ban at Eau Rouge, with the Mercedes man explaining that it wasn't only the climb through Eau Rouge that was of concern.

Related Pictures

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