DRS – For or Against

Back in June I ran a debate and poll on the popularity of DRS. To my surprise, 63% voted in favour of the controversial system. Now the season draws to a close this weekend, I’ve decided to do the same again to see if the popularity of it has wavered at all. Like before, I’ll be putting the case against forward with Paul Havell telling us why he thinks it’s improved F1.

Firstly Paul and his case for: The FIA introduced a few changes for 2011, one of these being DRS or Drag Reduction System, the idea being that the cars would have a portion of the rear wing able to move at the drivers command and thereby reduce downforce for a limited amount of time in order to pass other cars on track.

I am a fan of DRS its made this years racing so much more spectacular, there have been some really good battles between not only the top 4 teams but lower down the grid too. DRS has allowed this. With rule being that a driver can only use his DRS when he’s within 1 second of the car in front its made for great racing with driver giving their all to get within that 1 second and then to be able to deploy the DRS

Those against DRS will tell you that it a phony pass if the DRS is used but I don’t see it that way, if a driver drives to get within that 1 second then passes with ease then its up to the driver that has been passed to keep within the 1 second and then re-pass, this equals more overtaking and hence more spectacle.

The constant use of DRS also has a great effect on the fragile tyres that the FIA put in place this year, so when Lewis has had to come from way down the grid like he has a couple of times this season he’s had to use his head a bit more to save the tyres, without constant downforce the make-up of the Pirelli tyre changes drastically and by making 7/8 places up on the grid by using DRS on the track will lose you something like 3 to 4 laps of tyre wear which the drivers and the teams have to factor into their strategies.

Simply put DRS is not a simple “push to pass” switch on the drivers steering wheel.It may look that way but when you break it down there’s a whole lot more going on and many more things to be taken in to consideration.

If it brings us racing like we’ve had this year then I for one say it should stay..

And my case against: It is fair to say that I’ve not been a fan of DRS from the outset. I see it as a handicap system that favours the chasing driver to the expense of the driver with track position.

While 2011 will undoubtedly go down as one of the most exciting on record and rightly so, it is more down to fantastic job that Pirelli have done as opposed to the rear wing letter box.

Statistics released by Mercedes GP reveal the truth, in 2009 there were 244 competitive overtakes and 547 in 2010. By the midpoint of this year, there had already been 653 passes on track but only 29% by the way of DRS! Which means without it, we would have approximately 900 overtakes at the end of the season without any driver being given an unfair advantage.

The Drag reduction system had little or no effect around Barcelona and Sliverstone, which I was happy to see but at places like Turkey saw as many as 50 (easy) passes completed half way down the straight.

I think the worst thing about DRS for me is the fact that it replaced the F-Duct, a truly innovative way to gain extra straight line speed. The F-Duct was banned on safety grounds, as drivers had to drive one-handed to activate it but surely it could have been modified to be activated via a button like DRS is! F1 is about innovation and that is one thing that DRS isn’t and has no place in F1.



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