What does DRS mean for Formula 1?

If there is one thing that “haters” of Formula One point the finger at this competition for, it is the limited opportunities for overtaking.

During the races that take place on each weekend of the Grand Prix.

It is not for nothing that we are discussing extremely large and heavy single-seaters, especially when considering the fact that they have had hybrid engine units since 2014.

Nevertheless, the show dictates the rules, and if it is not maintained correctly, it is natural for these critical voices to be heard.

What does DRS mean for Formula 1

If a component in these automobiles tries to do the opposite of what other people believe, that component is called the DRS.

The following Motorbli post will be dedicated to explaining why.

What precisely is it, and how does it function? The following section will attempt to provide answers not only to these two questions but also to others.

The six most important things you need to know about DRS in Formula One

After this introduction of rigor has been completed, it is now the appropriate time to move into action and explain in detail the operation of DRS in each of the cars comprising the F1 grid.

If you follow this sport regularly, you will have a better understanding of what is going on, but if you are not, this information will be helpful for learning.

1. Meaning

The phrase “aerodynamic drag reduction system” refers to ” DRS “ when written out in full.

DRS is an acronym that stands for “Drag Reduction System.”

Since it was first installed at the beginning of the 2011 season, it consists of a device that the driver always controls. This has been the case ever since.

2. The Process of Operation

The first thing to remember about its operation is that it is limited to specific portions of each track that make up the calendar.

This is the first thing to keep in mind about its function. The racers can open the rear wing thanks to the mechanism that it contains in certain situations.

The aim is to reach a higher speed, which is expected to increase between 15 and 20 kilometers per hour when activated. This is the only reason why it is being done.

To be more specific, when activated by pressing a button on the steering wheel, it “moves the upper part of the rear wing to spoil the effect whereby the wind releases a downward force that is of no use on the straights.”

When it comes to the straights, the effect whereby the wind releases a downward force that is of no use… This is attainable because it is positioned in a more horizontal orientation.

However, some vehicles have buttons for activating the DRS placed in a different location, such as Ferrari’s, which is next to the brake pedal rather than on the steering wheel.

3. The rules that govern its application

However, when it comes to racing, it is only activated when you are within a physical distance of one second or less from the car just in front of you, either fighting for position or cornering, in the respective enabled zones, which are long straights to a greater or lesser extent.

In other words, it is only activated when you are in the zone where it is enabled.

It is also essential that you are aware that it will stay disabled for the first two laps of the race and while the safety car is out on the track.

Before going through any DRS-enabled zones, certain checkpoints must be passed so that the required distance of one second or less can be measured.

Electronic timing systems on the tarmac measure the distance between the two single-seaters.

A signal is sent to the vehicle in question. The device that allows for overtaking is activated if it is determined that the vehicle in question is less than one second behind the car immediately in front of it.

If the DRS is engaged and the rear wing lid is open, drivers must deactivate the DRS and close the top the next time they lift their foot off the accelerator or press the brake pedal.

If you press the button on the steering wheel a second time, it will bring the rear wing down and secure it.

On the other hand, it can always be used in the areas provided at each circuit specifically for this purpose during the free practice and qualifying sessions.

Therefore, if you know how to use it, it is a factor that you can take advantage of both to gain positions in a race and to do a fast lap that leads the driver to occupy the best area for the starting grid.

This is the case because it is an element you can take advantage of to gain positions in a race and do a fast lap.

The context in which the DRS fails to function correctly is unusual, but it is nonetheless one that must not be ignored.

If something like this were to occur, the stewards could show the driver in question the black flag with an orange circle in the middle of their rear wing that became stuck open. If this were to happen, the driver would be compelled to pull into the pit lane so that the mechanics on his team could manually close the wing. If it cannot be repaired, it will not be put into use again.

Marcus Ericsson of Sweden is an excellent example of this. During the 2018 Grand Prix held in Monza, he drove an Alfa Romeo and experienced a devastating crash at the first chicane.

This happened because the driver’s rear wing (DRS) did not close as it was supposed to when he was applying brakes at the end of the long finishing straight.

4. Compliments and constructive criticism

Even though it is done with the best intentions, the fact that DRS plays such a significant role in the passing that occurs during races is not something everyone appreciates.

Juan Pablo Montoya, a former driver for Williams and McLaren, expressed his reservations about including this device in the single-seaters used in the Grand Circus.

In an interview that he gave in 2014 to The Racer’s Edge, he made it clear that it benefited the show but took away some of the races’ purity because, in his opinion, passing another car is “an art.”

He made the following comparison: “It’s as if they gave Picasso the Photoshop” (if they gave Picasso Photoshop). He said, “There is no requirement to compete for available positions.

You have just entered a straight, and if you were close enough to have DRS, you would have already passed the driver in front of you in the subsequent turn.”

Drivers still active in the sport, such as Sebastian Vettel, have also shared their opinions regarding the device’s function in the evolution of the races.

According to the four-time champion and current driver for Aston Martin, DRS is “more” necessary in today’s single-seaters than it was in the past.

“The interesting thing would be to remove the DRS and see what a race is like and if you can overtake much better than in the past,” he stated his opinion on the matter.

In conclusion, he describes himself as “a bit reluctant” because, in his view, “it seems to be the only thing that allows you to overtake.”

When it comes to expressing his thoughts on the issue, another world champion, Fernando Alonso, has provided two very different perspectives: one of lime and one of sand.

He told Motorsport.com that “we’re always going to need it in Formula 1,” even though it provides “artificial overtaking.”

On the other hand, he said that “we’re always going to need it in Formula 1.”

The Spaniard reflected on the challenges of overtaking cars in the era before DRS and expressed his opinion that competitions were “much more boring.”

5. Circuits that contain the most significant number of DRS zones

The Australian track at Albert Park, refurbished in 2022 and returned to the calendar in 2024 after being absent for two years, currently has four DRS detection points, which is the most of any track in the world.

The old chicane that connected turns 9 and 10 has been replaced by a straight that runs between turns 8 and 9, which was added to the sections of the track located between the final and the first corner, turns 2 and 3, and 10 and 11.

After the circuit that is located in the Antipodes, there are several that each has a trio of detection points.

These include the recently unveiled Miami (United States), the Gilles Villeneuve de Montréal (Canada), and Sakhir (Bahrain), amongst others.

6. Who was the first driver to complete an overtake using DRS in Formula One?

The first time this resource was utilized in a race was during the 2011 Australian Grand Prix, which was also the event that saw the introduction of this component, which is still very significant to this day.

Fernando Alonso, on lap five of the race, was very close to the back of Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes, finishing straight to overtake him with his Ferrari; he was the one who wrote it.

On the other hand, since then, new circuits have improved their use by providing longer stretches of straightaways, leading to significant overtakes of this type.

If there is one that stands out among the others, it is the one that Daniel Ricciardo, an Australian driver, accomplished in the Baku race in 2017.

Ricciardo had to drive his Red Bull vehicle from a disadvantage to pull off an incredible victory at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Due to an accident in Q3, he had to begin the race from the tenth position on the grid.

The most important part of the race for him was the 24th lap when he made a pass at the end of the straightaway…

Three automobiles! You read that correctly; two Williams drivers and one Renault driver used their DRS simultaneously.

Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll drove for Williams, and Nico Hulkenberg drove for Renault.

Because of this daring maneuver, he could briefly move up into the third position, just behind Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.

That gruesome act of the German driver crashing into the Englishman while there was a safety car on the track and the time lost by the Mercedes driver in the pits while he was adjusting the headrest contributed to him being able to accomplish such a feat.

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