Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn believes the difficulties drivers faced without DRS during Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix acted as further proof of the need for widespread changes for the sport in 2021.

A server failure meant DRS was inactive for the first third of the race at the Yas Marina Circuit, leaving drivers struggling to overtake cars ahead as they lost time in dirty air.

The overhaul of the technical regulations for 2021 is intended to make it easier for cars to follow each other, allowing for more overtaking and on-track action.

Writing in his final post-race ‘media pass’ newsletter of the season, Brawn said he was “particularly pleased” by the fan reaction to the new rules, believing the loss of DRS during the race only further proved the need for change.

“We are particularly pleased with the largely positive response to the new rules, especially from the fans,” Brawn said.

“In yesterday’s race, no DRS was available for almost 20 laps because of a technical problem and that only served to emphasise the need for the cars to be able to fight at close quarters.

“In addition, the performance gap between the teams needs to be reduced, because looking at yesterday’s race, once again only the top teams completed the full race distance, every other team was lapped.

“These goals are shared at every level by the stakeholders in the sport, especially the fans. An important step has been taken, but there is more to come and we are definitely moving in the right direction.”

Brawn’s view on DRS was shared by McLaren driver Carlos Sainz, who was stuck behind teammate Lando Norris and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg after pitting and had little chance of passing without the overtaking aid.

“It just shows that Formula 1 nowadays, without DRS, it is impossible to overtake, so DRS is very much needed in modern Formula 1,” Sainz said.

“Hopefully in 2021 we will not need it, because it’s an aid that all of us don’t like, but at the moment, if we want to see any kind of overtaking in Formula 1, we need DRS. We’ll see what happens.”

Additional reporting by Julianne Cerasoli.

 

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