Tech chiefs back extra DRS zones for 2013
23 November 2012
Two leading F1 technical directors have suggested that the sport should look at incorporating two DRS zones at all circuits next season in a bid to encourage overtaking once the technology is restricted in practice and qualifying.
The unfettered use of DRS systems during the formative sessions of a grand prix weekend is to be more strictly controlled, as the FIA seeks to address safety concerns raised by the drivers. The revised rules will see the same limitations placed on its use as currently exist in races, where drivers are only allowed to use the drag-reducing technology in specific sections of the circuit. The move appears to have been prompted by the drivers themselves, amid claims that they were not always fully in control of their cars while running through the weekend's early development phase.
Since that announcement, both McLaren's Paddy Lowe and Lotus' James Allison have expressed the belief that the changes won't have a major impact on races, provided that the governing body considers the use of two activation zones instead of the usual one. Just four races this season have seen dual DRS zones in action, but Lowe believes that there is a move towards that format for 2013 and beyond.
“We believe that if [FIA race director] Charlie [Whiting] arranges for two DRS zones at every circuit, which is what he has committed to doing, that this will give enough incentive to ratio the car accordingly, pretty much as we do now,” Lowe explained during a McLaren media phone-in, “I think that, overall, DRS has been a tremendous solution to the long-standing overtaking problem. A lot of things have been tried over the years and DRS at least has an authority to allow it."
Lowe acknowledged that not every circuit had produced better racing as a result of DRS, but insisted that that could be rectified with a little thought.
“At some circuits it doesn't [work]," he noted, "India was a good example of that, [but] then you get other circuits where arguably it's too easy. It might be that we look at that and try and trim in both directions on those outlying circuits but, in general, I think it works well. I don't hear people talking about it being artificial, [as] I think it's something that the driver has to play tactically and with tremendous skill.”
Allison, meanwhile, believes that every circuit will have two zones next season, despite the likes of Monaco making their siting more difficult than most.
"If you can imagine a qualifying lap being pretty much a whole lap where the DRS was on, it moves away from that, but it doesn't move to just one DRS straight," he told Sky Sports, "There's still a fair chunk of the lap where DRS is useable, but it's useable on the straights, so it's not stressful for the drivers. And there's still sufficient DRS being used in qualifying to give a good incentive to gear the car for it, which means there'll still be a reasonable overtaking power when it comes to the race."