- Formula One

The Abu Dhabi GP proves we need to ditch DRS

The technical glitch acted as an experiment, and the results were spectacular.

1y ago

Most great revelations in history are born out of a mistake. The chocolate chip cookie was the fault a woman's incorrect prediction, and penicillin was a child of neglect from a scientist. More recently, however, a technical glitch in the DRS at Abu Dhabi, meant we saw the potential for a modern Formula One without DRS.

And, what we saw was an improvement, proving we need to ditch the FIA's drag reduction system.

Hear me out.

Drivers had to get creative

No longer could drivers push a button and pass on a straight. Without the extra straight-line advantage, the people in the cockpit are forced to think differently, and overtake in riskier, bolder, more exciting places, meaning the racing spectacle is far greater, as wheel-to-wheel battling is promoted, with drivers on equal terms, and no advantage for one over the other.

Teams had to consider other variables in strategy

Strategists always have to consider where their driver will re-enter the field, but due to the lack of an easy and quick pass at the push of a button, traffic posed an even bigger threat to teams, adding yet another layer to strategy, and meaning some drivers had to stay out past their optimal window, in order to avoid getting stuck behind other cars.

Without DRS, overtaking doesn't mean you're in the clear

In F1, we often see a driver blast past another with DRS, and then continue to build a gap, right up until the braking zone, making it so that the following driver rarely gets a chance to fight back immediately. Without DRS, however, there is no 'blasting past', and the cars never get too far apart when going down the straight, meaning that the following driver has a good chance at fighting back, and diving down the inside at a later point. This makes it so that the overtake is often not the end of the fight, as drivers are more easily able to trade blows.

The problem with DRS is that it was founded on the premise that overtaking and racing are one and the same, which they are not. And so, while DRS improves the overtaking quantity, the true battles, and the racing suffer, as we saw evidence of today in Abu Dhabi.

Join In

Comments (14)

  • Save the DRS for Singapore, Spa, and Monza, but for other circuits, it would be a good idea to limit it elsewhere.

      1 year ago
    • Why have DRS at Spa? The slipstream is SO powerful there and at Monza. Those are the places that need it the least...

        1 year ago
    • Yeah, that's why I'm suggesting to actually leave it at high-speed circuits like Monza and Spa. The long straights and slipstream might make the DRS seem unneeded, but imho, it is actually the circuit with the long straights that DRS can...

      Read more
        1 year ago
  • With next years aero mods allowing cars to follow closer, can we ditch DRS? It was a band-aid for the issues with the aero packages promoting at least some passing. I agree, been quite a few creative passes in places not thought possible. Much more exciting than straight line passing

      1 year ago
  • why not have DRS available all the time not just in certain places on a track. wet or dry it shouldn't matter if the driver feels that he can control his car using it, let him.

      1 year ago
  • Mounting my well worn hobby horse... Rip the wings off, you can wedge any motor you want into your car, but you're going to have to get it onto the track by mechanical means. While we're at it restore the tracks to their former glory, then we will see real racing again... Dismounting from old Dobbin...

      1 year ago
  • I watched the race and was curious about the effect of no DRS. Actually watching Valtteri Bottas I thought to myself that it is an aid that doesn’t need to be there. Aids that can alter the outcome of the race might mix things up, and this is what many fans like to see, but for me, I just want to watch and marvel at supreme skill at its best, without having to watch an advantage to the overtaking driver. Valtteri’s overtakes were reliant completely on his own ability for the first laps, and of course, the skill of Mercedes in the production of the car, and that I feel is as it should be.

    Can’t leave this post without saying big Congrats to Lewis, it was heartwarming to see him on the top step today, which was the perfect way for him to end his very successful year. Hope to be congratulating you on 7 WCs this time next year Lewis!!

      1 year ago