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Better racing - but is it fake?

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Andrew Benson | 15:10 UK time, Thursday, 29 December 2011

In Monaco before Christmas, Formula 1's governing body held a meeting to discuss one of the key and most controversial aspects of 2011 - the Drag Reduction System or DRS.

Introduced amid much controversy and no small amount of trepidation in some quarters, questions about the validity of the overtaking aid, not to mention the wisdom of employing it, decreased during the season. So much so that, at the Monaco meeting, it was decided that only small refinements needed to be made to its use for the 2012 campaign.

But while the FIA and the teams all agree that DRS has played a valuable role in improving F1 as a spectacle, they are determined to ensure it performs in the way intended. In particular, no-one wants to cheapen one of the central aspects of a driver's skill by making overtaking too easy.

vetteldrs595.jpg

Sebastian Vettel enters the DRS zone at the Spanish Grand Prix. Photo: Getty

To recap briefly, DRS was introduced in an attempt to solve the perennial problem of there being too little overtaking. After years - decades even - of discussions, F1's technical brains hit on what they thought could be a solution: DRS.

DRS does what it says on the tin. When deployed, the top part of the rear wing moves upwards, reducing drag and giving a boost in straight-line speed. In races, drivers could use it only if they were within a second of the car in front at a "detection point" shortly before the "DRS zone". The DRS zone was where DRS could be deployed, which was usually the track's longest straight.

The idea was to make overtaking possible but not too easy.

There is no doubt that racing improved immeasurably as a spectacle in 2011 compared with previous seasons. But how big a role did DRS play? And did overtaking become too easy at some tracks and remain too hard at others?

It is a more complex issue than it at first appears because it is not always easy to tell from the outside whether an overtaking move was a result of DRS or not.

In Turkey and Belgium, for example, several drivers sailed past rivals in the DRS zone long before the end of it, leading many to think the device had made overtaking too easy.

But, armed with statistics, FIA race director Charlie Whiting says appearances were deceptive. What was making overtaking easy at those two races, he said, was the speed advantage of the car behind as the two cars battling for position came off the corner before the DRS zone.

Whiting showed me a spreadsheet detailing the speeds of the respective cars in all the overtaking manoeuvres that happened in the Belgian GP.

"This shows very clearly that when the speed delta [difference] between the two cars at the beginning of the zone is low, then overtaking is not easy," he said. "But if one car goes through Eau Rouge that bit quicker, sometimes you had a speed delta of 18km/h (11mph). Well, that's going to be an overtake whether you've got DRS or not."

According to Whiting, the statistics show that if the two cars come off the corner into the DRS zone at similar speeds, then the driver behind needs to be far closer than the one-second margin that activates the DRS if he is to overtake.

"One second is the activation but that won't do it for you," Whiting said. "You've got to be 0.4secs behind to get alongside into the braking zone."

Confusing the picture in 2011 - particularly early in the season - was the fast-wearing nature of the new Pirelli tyres, which led to huge grip differences between cars at various points of the races. A driver on fresher tyres would come off a corner much faster and brake that much later for the next one. That would have a far greater impact on the ease of an overtaking move than DRS ever would.

Critics of DRS might argue that while it may be useful at tracks where overtaking has traditionally been difficult, like Melbourne, Valencia and Barcelona, for example, it is debatable whether there is a need for it at circuits where historically there has been good racing, like Turkey, Belgium and Brazil.

According to Whiting, DRS does not diminish the value of an overtaking move at tracks where it is usually easy to pass. It just means that DRS opens up the possibility for more. In other words, it works just as it does at any other track.

McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe is an influential member of the Technical Working Group of leading engineers which came up with DRS. He said people had been arguing for years that engineers should alter the fundamental design of cars to facilitate overtaking.

However, tinkering with aerodynamic design was never going to be a solution, according to Lowe, because F1 cars will always need downforce to produce such high performance, and that means overtaking will always, by the cars' nature, be difficult.

"What's great [about DRS is] at least we can move on from this debate of trying to change the aerodynamic characteristics of cars to try to improve overtaking," added Lowe.

"We've found something much more authoritative, much cheaper, easier and more effective, and adjustable from race to race."

Whiting thinks DRS worked as expected everywhere except Melbourne and Valencia.

valencia595p.jpg

Valencia's DRS zone could be extended for 2012. Photo: Getty 

So for next season's opening race in Australia, he is considering adding a second DRS zone after the first chicane, so drivers who have used DRS to draw close to rivals along the pit straight can have another crack at overtaking straight afterwards. As for Valencia, traditionally the least entertaining race of the year, the FIA will simply make the zone, which is located on the run to Turn 12, longer.

There is potentially one big negative about DRS, though.

There is a risk that its introduction could mean the end of races in which a driver uses his skills to hold off a rival in a faster car. Some of the greatest defensive victories of the modern age have been achieved in this way. One thinks of Gilles Villeneuve holding off a train of four cars in his powerful but poor-handling Ferrari to win in Jarama in 1981, or Fernando Alonso fending off Michael Schumacher's faster Ferrari at Imola in 2005.

The idea behind the introduction of DRS was for a much faster car to be able to overtake relatively easily but for passing still to be difficult between two cars of comparative performance. In theory, if that philosophy is adhered to rigidly, the sorts of races mentioned above will still be possible.

However, once an aid has been introduced that gives the driver behind a straight-line speed advantage that is an incredibly difficult line to walk, as Whiting himself admits. "You've got to take the rough with the smooth to a certain extent," he said.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    I hope that DRS stays. I know that the 'purist' will say that it is artificial and it is but so is KERS and fuel weights and even tyres all make a difference.

    The skill as the article discusses is the correct implementation of it. Too much and it is too easy too little and it is pointless.

    How many days do we need to wait? I CANNOT WAIT!!

  • Comment number 2.

    Looking back over the last 10 years I'd say only 20% of races per season could be considered great for overtaking. At least half this season have been fantastic for overtakes right through the field. I for one love the DRS and the Pirelli's.

  • Comment number 3.

    excellent article Andrew but i disagree about being able to fend of the driver behind. Think back to Korea, where Lewis Hamilton superbly repelled Mark Webber time after time, even though he was all over his gearbox for most of the race and had DRS every lap. I think DRS is fantastic for F1 and with a few more tweaks can be perfected. However I do belive there is no place for it on the kemmel straight at SPA.

  • Comment number 4.

    DRS has worked in 2011 - perfectly No - but with a first full season of data it can be adjusted to work better in 2012.
    As the data has shown it only makes overtaking easy where there was a large difference in speed.
    I reserve any criticism for this time next year - if needed!

  • Comment number 5.

    Where does it all end though? How long before Bernie's loopy idea of hosing down the track at random sees the light of day...?

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    I don't think DRS makes overtaking in a faster car too easy. Look at Hamilton vs Schumacher in Italy this year. THe McLaren was far faster, but couldn't overtake, even with DRS. This was down to resoloute defending from Schumi, and a car setup to be quicker on the straights, so that even with DRS, the McLaren couldn't match the straightline speed of the Mercedes

  • Comment number 8.

    I still take issue to DRS. Moves like Hamilton's on Alonso at the Nürburgring are made pointless if you could just wait a bit, not take the risk and sail around in the DRS zone. Another case in point is after Mark Webber's fantastic overtake on Alonso into Eau Rouge, Alonso merrily sailed back past him on the next lap.

    Also, I would add that some of the most exciting bit of racing this season was the battle between Schumacher and Hamilton at Monza, which only happened because Schumacher's straight line speed negated the effect of DRS. I'd have much rather seen that than Hamilton sailing by, and us all forgetting about it 3 laps later.

  • Comment number 9.

    Of course it certainly is fake or artificial, but it allows slightly faster cars to get by where otherwise it might be difficult, on the other hand it probably makes it too easy for drivers to get past a skilled driver in a slower car who is trying to retain track position. On the plus side it is a performance enhancer whereas Pirelli tyres are a performance reducer. KERS is also a performance enhancer in providing extra power of limited duration. ERS on the 2014 cars will be essential to get the power output up to current levels with the smaller engines, although I expect it to be constant and at least five times as effective as KERS as it presumably will convert energy from different sources. I don't have any great problem with DRS though. Pirelli tyres while initially faster for a lap or two, reduce performance as they rapidly degrade if pushed hard, and reward for the wrong reasons. Drivers are then able to overtake as their rivals tyres go off and find themselves going backwards. - And they call it racing!!!!!

  • Comment number 10.

    I think DRS is a good thing but drivers should only get three chances a race to use it and at any point they choose to use it on the track. There needs to be a tactical element both for drivers and on the pitwall that seems to have been lost in recent years.

  • Comment number 11.

    DRS should go. There is still a fundamental flaw in the cars in that they produce too much aerodynamic grip and until that is remedied DRS is still at best a stop gap solution to pacify casual fans and not in my opinion what Formula 1 should be about.

    Case in point, Turkey had a hell of a lot of overtaking going on but was it a good race? No because it was like cars passing each other on a motorway and required no skill whatsoever. It did work sometimes, like in Canada because Button would have had no chance of winning without it, but also in that race Michael Schumacher who had been superb lost a well deserved podium because he was defenceless against Webber and Button behind him. Great defensive driving is penalised and I would rather it was scrapped.

    I also think DRS penalises the best overtakers in the sport, and makes it much much easier than it should be to overtake. As a better solution KERS should be kept, but maybe allowed use for slightly longer on a lap. Clever drivers like Hamilton in China, or Vettel when he was defending in Barcelona can use it tactically to their advantage, and use that more as an overtaking tool. The Pirellis are also better than the Bridgestones for overtaking, although whether they were more conservative as the season went on or the teams adjusted better to them I don't because their degradation did decrease through the year.

  • Comment number 12.

    I wasnt the lack of overtaking that was the problem but the lack of a threat from behind because the aero stopped cars being close through the corners. If cars are close then a battle would commence, sometimes an overtake would be achieved, sometimes not, but it was entertaining to watch.

    With DRS, we still dont have that battle, cars just breeze past with lead car having to accept their fate. Boring and pointless. Bring back the plan for the under wing and only allow DRS or KERS for passing lapped cars.

  • Comment number 13.

    All you have to do is allow the driver in front to defend his position (by using DRS if necessary) - that's what racing is supposed to be all about. Either that, or go back to skinny tyres, and no wings. Until then, yes, overtaking is too easy.

  • Comment number 14.

    It seems ironic that some comments praise the ability of the driver of a slower car to 'hold up' the driver of a faster car. Although this requires skill it is not what F1 is about. Vettel has shown undoubted ability, with Webber not far behind, but it is ultimately the design of the Red Bull which makes it a championship contender and this is true all the way down the grid. Only if all drivers were racing in identically specified cars would we have a true test of driver ability. But F1 is about the total race package of team, car and driver.

    In my opinion the slower should only win when a tortoise races a hare.

  • Comment number 15.

    If you went back 20 years and told Prost, Senna, Mansell, Piquet et al. that in 20 years time you'd be able to overtake people by opening a flap on your rear wing to give you a speed boost they would have scoffed at the idea.

    In the turbo days, drivers had to be tactical when using it so that they did not use too much fuel and consequently run out later in the race.

    DRS is a free overtake with maximum disadvantage for the defender and maximum advantage for the attacker. It must feel quite pathetic for the defending driver to just sit there and get breezed past by a car with its rear wing open.

    The system needs to change, drivers should be able to use it a certain number of time per race. The FIA should look at the data of the average amount of times it was used in each race, and then set the level slightly lower to make drivers think about when they use it. For example, if a fast car qualified badly, he would probably try and overtake the slower cars without it.

    An obvious problem with this is that the drivers at the front would need to use DRS much less and therefore have more DRS attempts left by the end. However, I think this would just make teams race harder to be at the front rather than messing about preserving tyres like everyone does nowadays.

  • Comment number 16.

    Most seem to think DRS was a good thing and as Martin Brundle remarked a number of times it did allow basically faster car/drivers to overtake too. Webber unable to pass Hamilton in Korea was I think an example to a very good driver still managing to hold off a faster car. Hamilton/Schumaker in Monza was different matter I believe though it took the commentators a while to recognise it. The McClaren's gearing meant that Hamilton top speed was limited in the DRS Zone with RPM limiting so MSC could keep ahead on that factor alone. Of course he had that skill of "moving twice" etc whilst appearing not to. But definitely keep DRS and adjust the zones on the basis of experience this last season.

  • Comment number 17.

    DRS should be scrapped and downforce drastically reduced to make overtaking easier. This is quite easy to do, remove the diffuser and the front & rear wings.

    Obviously this will never happen becasue the rear wing is the prime advertising spot and teams need the money to make the cars faster by increasing downforce which makes overtaking harder.

  • Comment number 18.

    I think that during the winter months, the DRS zones on the tracks can be looked at. I think that 2011 could be used as a starter year. Obviously DRS wasn't perfect. (look at Fernando Alonso's wing in China, opening outside of the zone) They can calculate which zones worked well, which worked too well, and which didn't work well enough, then decide on what to do about those zones. They can look at the data from the cars to help them too. This should improve the DRS system for next year.

  • Comment number 19.

    As neutral observer rather than a die-hard fan I like the idea raised above - you can use DRS only as a %age of the laps in a race - say 10% of laps (rounded down) for 10 seconds per lap. Monaco I believe is 76 laps so 10s of 7 laps. Yes everyone would probably use it at the start BUT if that's the way then that's the way - one day someone will use it on laps 8-13 and win the race and then it's all change again.

    I'd say for certain races the DRS isn't on - perhaps the pure highspeed tracks like Monza.

    Personally I'd like to see "blank box" designs where so long as they can race without refueling, are safe for driver and spectator, you can do what you want....6 wheels, tracks, turbo's, no rear-wing, 4 rear-wings.....ain't never going to happen though.

  • Comment number 20.

    DRS has been pretty good this year I reckon, it's added something. In all honesty I think Turkey was a one off for overtaking. As Whiting pointed out, the chicane and the kink allowed the driver behind to build a good speed differential which helped massively. I hope they fix it at Abu Dhabi where cars were simply repassed by the next zone.

    Mercedes compiled overtaking data at the end of the season, Schumacher was the top overtaker, which Mercedes put down to poor qualifying pace and greater race pace than the cars in front. In fact some are a bit of a surprise.

    1. Michael Schumacher 116
    2. Sebastien Buemi 114
    3. Kamui Kobayashi 99
    4. Jaime Alguersuari 94
    5. Pastor Maldonado 91
    6. Paul di Resta 90
    7. Sergio Perez 87
    8. Rubens Barrichello 86
    9. Jenson Button 85
    10. Felipe Massa 82

    They actually estimated DRS caused 45% of the passes throughout the season and showed it had the smallest impact at Monaco, Melbourne and Brazil (Silverstone too but was off for some of the race). I'd say it's had an effect but not as much as people seem to think it has. Mercedes actually said earlier in the season the Pirelli tyres were more effective than DRS.

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/96836

  • Comment number 21.

    Surely none of these driver aids would be needed if the no-refueling rule was abolished?

  • Comment number 22.

    I'd prefer to get rid of DRS and increase the amount of KERS available per lap.

    For example the top ten get say 8 seconds of KERS per lap for the entire race, the 7 drivers of Q2 get 10 and the bottom 7 drivers in Q1 get the added bonus of 12 extra seconds of KERS per lap UNTIL they make their first stop where they revert back to the 10 seconds of the Q3 drivers. Should be managable from a software point of view and graphics on screen would indicate which driver has what available

    Reason? - KERS is a tool that a driver can deploy when THEY wants in the lap not when the FIA dictate. The nonsense that was an "overtake" in Turkey where cars breezed past on the straight was rediculous and wasnt racing.

    At least with more KERS drivers can have a go like Hamilton did in India when Massa wasnt expecting it and those who have more KERS available have to make the most of it early in the race before the tyre wear out and they lose the additional boost....

  • Comment number 23.

    I think the trouble with DRS is that due to races where its effect was perhaps too much, like Turkey, its reputation has galvanised as a race-changing system.

    I distinctly remember comments on blogs after the Australian race along the lines of "well, the DRS didn't do much!".

    There is of course controversy about whether artificial devices to boost overtaking should be introduced in the first place. Trouble is, what is the point of having DRS if it doesn't actually affect the result of the race? i.e. X car wouldn't have finished 4th without DRS. It was introduced to reward overtaking (rightly) so in order to be successful it must actually allow overtaking (which may have otherwise not happened due to the role of aero).

    It seems fans want to have their cake and eat it - we want to see overtaking but we don't want it to be too "artificial"

    The comments about limitation are useful though - maybe a quantified limit per race?

  • Comment number 24.

    I hope DRS stays for the sports sake. I also hope that whoever gave half the 2012 season to SKY sports gets fired. Its plainly obvious that they haven't got a clue about motor racing. They have left us in a situation akin to football where you watch the first half and then are kicked out of the ground if you can't afford to pay again!

  • Comment number 25.

    Employ gimmicks like DRS or race on real race circuits?
    Have you ever noticed that there has never been a shortage of exciting racing at places like Spa or Silverstone? Could that be due to DRS, boost buttons and KERS or might it be that the big stop at the end of the straight is preceed by a technical section which sorts the men out from the boys?
    It is no coincidence that Eau Rouge and Maggots/Becketts are seat-of-the-pants sections where really good drivers can eek a bit more exit speed than their rivals putting them alongside the car in front at the end of the straight.
    Think of your favourite races and circuits and I doubt many of us would include Valencia, Yas Marina or Barcelona but I bet we do think of Spa, Brands Hatch, Imola.....
    Great and spectacular racing isn't the result of gimmicks or of bland circuits that are built to publicise your marina - it comes from well engineered cars with talented drivers running round on really challenging tracks.

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    I like the idea of time-limiting the use of DRS. It would work like the old turbo boost used to: the driver could use his judgement to use DRS when he wants, not when Bernie wants!

  • Comment number 28.

    An engineer I know recommends telescopic hydraulic poles to raise the main body of the formula One vehicle so that it could be driven directly over the car in front in what would be a spectacular overtaking manoeuvre. He said that although this could lead to wacky races it wouldn't be fake.

  • Comment number 29.

    clearly this comes to a review on whether DRS was a clear solution to lack of overtaking in F1? The ansawer is really mixed looking back over the season.clearly this maybe one of the building blocks for acheiving this goal but not a full solution as tracks vairy so much.Clearly we must now get tough and impliment the suggestions discussed at the end of 2010.Madatory four stops or more per race per car to assist those poor street circuits like monacco and valencia

  • Comment number 30.

    Many would argue it is not relevent if the BBC cannot give coverage of the race to the fans...maybe DRS is just not relevent in a sport that could quickly die without mass TV coverage supporting the sport? Bring back refueling,four stops per race and widen tracks to allow over taking?

  • Comment number 31.

    DRS must stay. If the defending driver is fast enough/worthy of their place, they should either stay out of the 1 sec zone, or use the DRS to their advantage on the next lap. Someone pointed out the Abu Dhabi situation, obvious solution...do not pass until second DRS zone, otherwise you can expect a battle.

    In previous years how often have we seen drivers who could actually be challenging for the lead stuck behind a bus. Is that what people paying £300+ really want to see?

    Let the fastest drivers race at the front please...

  • Comment number 32.

    I would much rather that tracks were designed to encourage overtaking. Valencia is the prime example to me of where overtaking opportunities were just not considered at all.

    Re-introduce refueling so cars are on different strategies and restrict the designs of the rear of a car as to create greater slip-stream, this will aid overtaking at more than just 2 points on a track.

  • Comment number 33.

    @Andrew Benson
    But how big a role did DRS play?
    ---

    I'd say as big a role as anything in deciding who won the championship. Initially we all thought pole wasn't that important anymore with the new tyres but Red Bull and Vettel quickly caught on to realise if you get pole and blitz the first two laps, when DRS isn't allowed, to get more than a second ahead of 2nd you can pace your race whilst everyone behind you fights with each other using DRS.

    Did Vettel even use DRS this year?

  • Comment number 34.

    The turbulent air from the back of a car was stopping anyone from racing properly. The DRS If done properly should not create an overtake but merely compensate for the turbulent air allowing cars to remain close to each other.

    As for next season, I won't be watching as I'm not interested in highlights and will not fund the Murdoch empire to allow them to continue to rob the BBC and other terrestrial channels of their best programs and thus devalue the TV licence whilst making huge profits and lobbying the government to cut BBC funding in return for favourable coverage during elections.

    For those of you who are prepared to pay for Sky and criticise those of us who complain. All I have to say is shame on you for creating this situation. If you had not paid for Sky then it's likely that we would not be needing to complain.

  • Comment number 35.

    Those saying bring back refuelling, it would only make the situation worse. People would simply wait for the stops and pass in the pitlane like they used to do. At least now they more often than not have to pass on track.

  • Comment number 36.

    what i've found is that not just in f1, but in all sports viewers want to see the most skillful and talented individuals go head to head. We want to see stuff that blows our mind away that we can debate in pubs and homes for hours on end.

    It's like do we want to see a 1-0 victory but with a wonder goal from lionel messi or a division three game which has lots of errors but ends 5-4? i would certainly go for the first option.

    So in f1 terms do we want to see lots and lots of overtakes where a driver activates his DRS to breeze past another or an skillful, clean overtake that has us on the edge of our seats? (e.g Webber on Alonso at eau rouge, Belgium)

    DRS has no tactical use or skill involved whatsoever. It has made overtaking much less of a skill compared to ones in 2010 certainly. So with the most talented drivers in a generation with the likes of alonso, hamilton, vettel, button, kobayashi and others do we need artificial aids like drs? No

  • Comment number 37.

    The DRS should be kept, but each driver should only be allowed to use it a certain amound of times per race. It could then be used for attacking and defending.

  • Comment number 38.

    Lets be honest here. Overtaking is not something that has been in great supply in F1 and a new way of dealing with the problem should be put forward. I don't think that DRS or KERS is the answer though.

    Why don't we make it more simple. The championship leader starts at the back of the grid and the person who is last in the championship starts at the front. Get rid of KERS and all the other rubbish and get back to some good old fashined racing wheel to wheel stuff. At least this way you are guaranteed overtaking. Do away with Qualifying all together and just have 2 races over a weekend. One on the Saturday and one on the Sunday. Job done!

  • Comment number 39.

    I hate DRS. Artificial nonsense. It like saying let's make the goals in football twice as large to increase scoring. Overtaking should not be made artificially easy, just like scoring goals. It sacrificing the authenticity of the sport for meaningless spectacle. I find it an absolute disgrace. It cheapens the sport IMO, but that's just me.

  • Comment number 40.

    DRS is too artificial.

    I get no pleasure seeing one car blast past another in a straight line - all it does is devalue the genuine racing overtakes.

    I honestly think that making F1 too mickey mouse will be it's downfall...

  • Comment number 41.

    The fundamental problem with overtaking in F1 is down to track design. Apart from Istanbul, Tilke has not made an exciting or daring design, he has failed to evolve with F1 and that must be the issue to be addressed. In fact, the only controversial thing he has done is create dangerous pit entries/exits.

    We need overtaking in F1 - it's the bread and butter of our sport - and to some degree DRS has added a bit of spice to an otherwise bland chicken korma. FOM and the FIA need to have a serious think about how to create the magical equilibrium of talented drivers overtaking without flapping wings and regurgitated electrical energy with enough excitement to keep us all happy.

    If anyone has a genie in a bottle going spare...............

  • Comment number 42.

    "Better racing - but is it fake?"

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A good question. What with limiting the number of tyres that can be used in a race, tyres that wear out in five laps anyway if you press too hard, fuel loads that require a soft pedal lest they run dry, safety cars deployed from the start of wet races, Kers and DRS which enable slower drivers to pass faster drivers, and team orders denying one driver the right to overtake another ... I am fast losing interest in F1.

    It's supposed to be a race, isn't it? So why does everything seem to be working against drivers actually putting the boot in and going for it?

  • Comment number 43.

    So before DRS the argument was F1 was boring because there was no overtaking

    Then certain teams moan they lost the championship because they could not overtake a slower car trapped in dirty air so use the DRS

    and now the complaint is

    its too easy to overtake


    I think probably Turkey and Abu Dhabi was too easy to blast past but other races allowed just enough to do so

    Although the two tracks where it is traditionally boring

    Spain - Barcelona....the car behind has not enough time to get tow to pass due to the rubbish last section of chicane and fast corner to pass

    Monaco - just about impossible when the logical place was the tunnel which was overruled on the grounds it was too dangerous due to the speed differential

  • Comment number 44.

    Please, no refueling ever again in F1, overtaking on strategy in the pitlane is BORING
    The best way to have more overtaking is to reduce aero so there isn't so much dirty air behind a car - that might slow the cars down a bit but I am sure a clever designer can get round that

  • Comment number 45.

    DRS was fake, is fake, and will remain 'fake'.
    The idea that pressing a button to give you extra speed because the aerodymanics of current F1 cars makes it impossible to follow close enough behind to get a tow is just ludicrous. Remove the winglets and other such ugly crap, and you solve the issue. Sorry but DRS+KERS+TYRES has given us nothing more than a farce of F1. This is nothing more than Ecclestone trying to appeal to the masses to increase his share of the viewing figures, ergo money. It was comical to watch cars overtake with DRS, only to be passed the next 'DRS zone', I would liken it to the keystone cops.

    Sorry to have such a downer on DRS, but it's just a cover for the lack of racing, not an R&D step forward like KERS, but just a patch, a plaster, to cover over the drastic lack of competition within F1, on the track. I watch more MotoGP now than F1 because they race, period. I will not be watching F1 on the BBC as it was the BBC that sold out, they are not victims here, but willing partners in a staggering act of arrogance, so they get no support from me.

    /peace

  • Comment number 46.

    Just to say, that with my dislike of ecclestone aside, maybe he and his cronies feel that they simply cannot keep up to speed with the pace of F1, from a technical standpoint, therefore how much easier it is to simply use the big red button to make things even again.

    Call me cynical.

  • Comment number 47.

    I wish I wish theyd given it a season with just pirelli tyres. Because DRS was introduced at the same time theres no way of telling how much of the overtaking is down to tyres vs DRS. We might have had nearly as many overtakes this year and a much purer form of racing without the flappy wing.

    It probably did improve the 'show' but looking back, not sure how much it improved the sport. DRS did what it was supposed to, but there are other, better ways to do the same thing.

    Reducing the aerodynamic terbulance behind the cars is the obvious one - could the FIA not limit a cars aerodynamics on how much it disturbs the air behind it? Don't know if its possible but if so this would seem an obvious way to make overtaking easier while also giving designers more chance to innovate.

    The braking distances are also too short to allow overtaking on the brakes - why not ban certain brake materials and increase the chance for a driver to gain ground by braking later? F1 hasn't been the cutting edge of what is humanly possible for a long time, so why do the brakes have to be...

    Overtaking is great but even better is cars battling for position - but they still can't follow closely enough. DRS is much "cheaper and easier" to implement but maybe it also does this to the racing. The whole point is that overtaking should be difficult but trying to overtake someone should be possible. Therefore the best attacking or defensive drivers will win out - DRS allows the overtake but cheapens the battle. Its an adequate solution to the problem, but there are surely much better ways to solve it...

  • Comment number 48.

    I am not a huge F1 fan nor do I boast a massive knowledge of the DRS system and its effects. But I really enjoyed last seasons F1. Much more than I have for the previous 5-6 years.

    I would suggest keeping the DRS but making it available at any point of the race. however, it should be used only a limited number of times. If you said you could only use it 20times a race at least it would become more tactical.

    You may think that people would then just use it only at the end of a race. Well then I would say that you get a maximum use of 20. But if you haven't used it enough after, say, 20 laps then number is reduced. And after every 15-20 laps the number of times you can use it is reduced again.

    For example:-

    Laps Number of times DRS can be used
    75 20
    55 15
    40 10
    20 5
    10 3

    This may not work and it may seem like a stupisd idea, but it looked good in my head.

  • Comment number 49.

    I didn't mind DRS, but would prefer to see it swapped for Turbo's...then see who underfills their car! Pirelli didn't help much either...after starting the season with tyres that made the racing exciting, they bowed to pressure from critics and made their rubber more durable (I can imagine the marketing department pulling their hair out "who will buy our road tyres if ppl think they last 200miles?!) ha...

    I'm not a fan of KERS, but as its "green", it will undoubtibly stay.

  • Comment number 50.

    The reason for drs was simple. Improve the spectacle. I was lucky enough to be. At the British grandprix this year. And I was lucky enough to be sat facing the drs zone. It didn't cross my mind that the action was fake because it was exciting. Cars were overtaking each other, the fastest drivers in the world were fighting it out, I was left disappointed by the result but there was no doubt I'd seen a tremendous race. And loved every minute. I went home knowing that I'd want to go again. If I'd have been sat in the stands at a race with no overtaking part from in pit stops then I'd not be thinking that. It cost me and my sister well over £500 to go. And it was worth every penny. I'll pay for sky if needs must. But if I'm doing so I expect f1 to put on the best show it can at every event, anyone who st through the Indianapolis 6 car farce, or any Spanish grand prix for the last ten years will appreciate that the latter is better than the former

  • Comment number 51.

    Just use it at 10 races per year decided by drawing lots.

  • Comment number 52.

    I think DRS does not under value any over taking , as these guys are having to judge breaking points while going at speeds most of us can only dream of going. It is a tool that works and works well and gives a pretty much equal boost to all the cars.

  • Comment number 53.

    The article is entitled "Better racing - but is it fake?".

    Racing is a competition between drivers to achieve an objective first. As a competition it has to have rules. The rules in F1 have become unbearibly detailed due to the ability of the engineers to walk the line between illegal and imaginative.

    However (as they say) rules is rules. Which means the rules we have should be adhered to and, if they are not, then penalties should accrue. There is no point having a rule book which is not applied - indeed a case could be made along the lines of ... if you do not enforce the regulations completely, effectively and with favour you are guilt of bringing the sport into dis-repute .... hmmm there's a thought. And we (including McClaren) know what level of sanction can be applied ... but would the FIA exclude itself for an entire season :-)

    So, these rules - the ones that state the track is defined by the white lines on each side and that a car must stay within the confines of the track - they're fairly unambiguous. They do not say MOST of a car ... or SOME of a car ... or two wheels of a car ... they say the car - i.e. the whole car.

    In most races, most drivers cut at least one corner - every lap! Some drives cut every corner. Some just miss the corner entirely.

    This cheating to maximise speed and turning radius serves to reduce type wear, G-force and required skill level. It means a following driver with better tyres / handling / driver cannot take advantage of the cheat in front and close up / overtake.

    So before you start adding unreliable complexity to overcome a situation, make sure everything that is supposed to be in place in the first place is actually working and enforced! Overtake under a yellow and you'll get a penalty (correctly) but just cut the course and nothing will be said.

  • Comment number 54.

    As Mark Webber has already suggested, DRS should be removed/limited during practice and qualification. That would make it so the grid more accurately reflects what the cars are capable of again, barring qualifying mistakes, and also gives the teams a clearer decision between setting the car up with DRS in mind or going for single-lap pace without it.
    Even if DRS in qualification was limited to the zone(s) for the race, I suspect it would be a better situation than having it available anywhere and allowing cars with greater DRS-effect to get a grid boost.

  • Comment number 55.

    DRS is completely fake - it should be removed simply because it is too inconsistent. At Monaco, even with DRS it is still almost impossible to overtake, on other tracks, the DRS meant if you could catch the car in front, overtaking was a formality. Overtaking manouveres are not a spectacle if they are as easy as going past an idiot doing 60 along the middle lane of the motorway in their honda civic.

    I fail to understand why some posters are still moaning about the Sky deal. Sky's coverage of football is way better than anything the BBC have to offer, and their rugby coverage was a million times better than ITVs dreadfull attempt at covering the Rugby world cup. As I understand it, they will offer blanket coverage of all teh races, including pre-qualifying. A mainstrem channel such as the BBC cant match that, and should not be able to compete financially with a dedicated sports channel.
    I for one am looking forward to the Sky coverage.

  • Comment number 56.

    I think the terms "purist" & "artificial" are used far too much. The fact of the matter is that all Motorsport evoles and changes overtime. Everyone has an idea of what "racing" & "f1" is. Well racing is getting from A to B before your opponent and f1 is about (and has always been) designing and building a faster car than your opponent, qualifying it on pole and then buggering off into the distance. If overtaking and spectacular things happend in between then it was a happy side effect for the audience.

    I don't see how DRS is any more artificial than Turbo boost for example, or one engine being significantly more powerful than another. It's simply another factor in the current regulations to the sport, if a car uses it to overtake, aid or not then it is still "Racing".

    A return to re-fuelling would not see more overtaking as all teams would naturally gravitate towards the same optimal strategy as they always did and hence overtaking was mainly down to the pitstop mechanics and not the drivers. The combination of Pirelli degregation and DRS worked quite well in my view.

  • Comment number 57.

    F1?! zzzzzzzz

  • Comment number 58.

    DRS puts Formula one into a class of its own, F1 has dropped out of motor racing and formed its own class of motor passing. Motor racing is about attack and defence, like schumacher defending against Hamilton or Senna defending against Mansell. DRS takes the ability to defend away from the driver who is racing to defend his position.

    There is a huge difference between DRS and Turbo Boost. The boost button was available to both drivers.

    FAKE overtaking, FAKE Lotus's and the talk of FAKE rain. Where will it all end!

  • Comment number 59.

    At the start of F1 we didn't have cars with down force ie wings which inturn help the cars in to corners and of course out of corners, i wonder if we had post like this one how many people would of complain about extra parts and wingy things on a perfectly good 1950 / 60s racing car, we wanted speed, fast time, records broken all this came with the down force, down force became a slight problem for the over taking car which found it hard to over take because of disturb air cause by the car in front.
    so for me its a balance of wings (disturd flow of air) DRS to aid faster driver to over take which by the way is only a fiction of the track to use DRS.
    The KERS is more like Play station Xbox booster button

  • Comment number 60.

    DRS seems to divide opinion right down the middle. I am personally in the 'against' camp, but those of us who hate the idea have to respect the fact that for every person who detest DRS there is another person who thinks it is a fantastic idea.

    I would just reiterate the analogy made by lewis in post 36 who makes a very good point. A 1-0 win in a football match with a memorably scored wondergoal, or a 5-4 match with 9 rubbish goals everyone forgets the day after? Everyone remebers the overtakes in years gone by which have changed the course of a race (Alonso passing Schumi round the 130R at Suzuka for example), but, apart from a few exceptions, who can recall the majority of passes achieved using DRS last season?

    In my opinion DRS devalues overtaking. We need proper solutions to aerodynamic problems caused through rear wing turbulence, innovative diffuser designs etc.

    More freedom in car and engine design perhaps? A proper study into the viability of ground effects on cars, a solution that could potentially limit the negative impact of following in the wash of another car?

    Come on people, surely there must be a better solution to DRS, which has to be a stopgap measure at best?

  • Comment number 61.

    I think that the DRS 'experiment' has been a failure. Martin Brundle's assertion that it gets the 'faster cars/drivers' back where they should be is just nonsensical.
    The main reason F1, in recent years, has become less exciting as a spectacle is mainly down to rule changes designed to lower the costs of the sport.
    With engines/gearboxes having to be used more than once, with rev limits set at a level far less than in the past... The mechanical side of F1 cars are now so over-engineered (for the amount of 'abuse' they are subjected to) that mechanical failures are now incredibly rare.. This is compounded by the whole 'sensor' setup in F1 cars which enables even the slightest discrepancy/problem to be spotted and 'nursed' as needed.
    If F1 is meant to be the pinnacle of motorsport, then (like football) money issues/team spending shouldn't be used as a means to crack down on innovation and pushing the technical envelope.
    DRS isn't a solution. It's just a quick and easy way of skirting round the fact that F1 cars utilise aerodynamic grip (too much) making them useless as 'racing' vehicles.
    It's not as if the rules can't be changed to tell teams to lower the drag coefficiency (Cx) of their cars, to increase the effect of mechanical grip. They can still have big wings to place all the lucrative adverts on. They just need to be designed to create less downforce.

  • Comment number 62.

    I think the whole argument about "ease" and "lack of driver skill" is specious. The skill of the driver is in making better use of the technology he's got strapped to his backside than his opponents.

    I think DRS has been a real positive in 2011. I think the very fact that there is no single DRS formula that works for each and every circuit shows that it's anything but a panacea that allows easy overtaking. I hope it's use continues in much the same format.

  • Comment number 63.

    DRS will be artificial nonsense all the time it has a fixed zone where you are allowed to use it. Maybe keep the 1 second gap, but let them deploy it anywhere, with the only exceptions being where the FIA deem it's use to be dangerous, maybe the tunnel at Monaco and Eau Rouge at Spa for example. The idea of two cars of very similar speed spending a whole lap nose to tail, then one just presses a button and is gone, only for exactly the same to happen the next lap is daft.

  • Comment number 64.

    @19.
    At 20:01 29th Dec 2011, GrandFalconRailroad wrote:

    Personally I'd like to see "blank box" designs where so long as they can race without refueling, are safe for driver and spectator, you can do what you want....6 wheels, tracks, turbo's, no rear-wing, 4 rear-wings.....


    I fully agree


    @38.
    At 23:08 29th Dec 2011, iommanxman wrote:

    Why don't we make it more simple. The championship leader starts at the back of the grid and the person who is last in the championship starts at the front. Get rid of KERS and all the other rubbish and get back to some good old fashined racing wheel to wheel stuff. At least this way you are guaranteed overtaking. Do away with Qualifying all together and just have 2 races over a weekend. One on the Saturday and one on the Sunday. Job done!


    I also agree


    @55.
    At 10:15 30th Dec 2011, Dr_John_B wrote:

    I fail to understand why some posters are still moaning about the Sky deal.


    It's not that hard to understand is it? I thought it was pretty clear that the upset is a result of the massive price hike that faces most people.

  • Comment number 65.

    I have raised this point before but no-one seems to want to discuss it. It is the use of DRS during qualifying. If DRS is an overtaking aid, specifically designed to "benefit" racing, then why, I ask, is it available in qualifying? Not only that, it is made usable throughout the lap. Quali is not a scenario where overtaking is required or even desirable. What this has done is allow the car with the best downforce on high-speed corners to open the wing where other cars cannot and consistently to achieve the best qualifying lap times. That car, of course, is the RBR. That effect, coupled with a driver lighter than his teammate and, arguably, blessed with a greater talent, has gifted pole after pole to one Herr Vettel. We cannot re-run the 2011 season with DRS deactivated throughout quali but some enterprising computer modeller could perhaps give us an indication of where Red Bull would have been on the starting grid without the charity of a full lap of DRS.
    For 2012, DRS should not be available during qualifying and then we may see something other than an RBR on pole.

  • Comment number 66.

    I actually think that the idea with the limited use of DRS per race is awesome. I have been following F1 for about 10 years now, and i seem to miss the old days where team strategy mattered a lot. The way where the team would have to worry about both the fuel and the tires fitting into their plan. If your tires show signs of lasting, the fuel might not; or vice versa. Right now, seems that the race winners are decided before even it begins. Not taking credit away from Vettal, but its been bland at the top and the great action in the middle of the park doesn't make up for it. With unlimited DRS, the offensive cars and drivers are always gonna be with the advantage..Can anyone tell me why refuelling has been banned? Eco-concerns?

    What might also be good would be the reintroduction of the good ol' tyre fight.....remember the bridgestone-michelin issues? And how the team might compensate for the tires? That was fun to watch.....

    @64
    Even if you meant the back grid overtaking idea sarcastically , it actually sounds like the perfect test of a car's capability, a driver's ability and a team's strategy. Winning like that would showcase the finest talent. Thats why Schumacher has been my favorite for years. If you can win a race after your car was on fire in the pit lane, you deserve the title of the best driver ever........ Oh and the black box idea is perfect too.....My cousin saw his first races this season and asks me why an energy drink company is breezing through when actual car manufacturers are languishing........

    Also, guy from India here, so whats the fuzz about sky,bbc?

  • Comment number 67.

    Sorry Andrew Benson your article 'Better Racing - but is it fake' is ridiculous and inappropriate to Formula One. Since the introduction of DRS and KERS, Formula One has improved dramatically. Before their introduction, Formula One was becoming laborious because you hardly saw any over taking, unless it was in the pit stops for fuel and tyres. Now that refueling has been abolished because of the safety fears to not only the drivers but to the pit crews as well, Formula One had to introduce something that would improve overtaking and DRS and KERS has done this. How can you label a system that works fake? DRS against KERS was highlighted in one of the races where Button's Maclaren KERS held off Webber's Red Bull's DRS and lap after lap was enthralling to watch. Even at one stage Webber did pass by under a reversal of the systems used, Button repassed on the same lap. By banning these, Formula One will once again become too predictable and too boring to watch.

  • Comment number 68.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 69.

    I think DRS has it's merits but I cannot understand why have 2 zones so close to each other. 1 yes but 2 no it creates too much repassing and so the story goes for lap after lap. The biggest reason Lewis couldnt get past Schumi was Lewis had a short 7th gear, this means he was bouncing off the rev limiter whilst the Mercedes was still accelerating. This year the teams will have a better understanding of it, and so will the race organisers.

  • Comment number 70.

    I loved the idea of DRS, the only problem was double DRS zones in which there was only one activation meaning that if a driver made an overtake in the first zone, he'd get it again in the second zone. I think this should be changed so that the end of the first zone is the detection for the second zone. I seriously cannot wait for Australia!

  • Comment number 71.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 72.

    The introduction of DRS (and KERS for that matter too) should only be continued if ALL cars are fitted with it.
    All it did was make the faster cars faster and leave the rest who didn't have DRS way off the pace. No different to every other year !

    Why not go totally radical - award similar points for qualifying but the car that "wins" the qualifying session starts at the back of the grid, 2nd fastest starts next to last etc. How much driving skill did Vettell really need to drive around a track with everybody else in his wake from the off ? Put him at the back (if he qualifies fastest) and see how truly skillful he is at racing.

    Or even more radical - each driver rotates which team he races for each race ie Week 1 Hamilton drives for Red Bull, Week 2 he drives a McLaren, Week 3 he's in the Force India team. A truer test of skill and ability ???

    Maybe i'm on to something............

  • Comment number 73.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 74.

    Until 2011 and with the exception of the first half of 2009, there has generally been a reasonably high level of excitement in all F1 seasons since 2005, in terms of the overall championship and individual races/battles.

    For me, despite some great moments, the 2011 season wasn't massively exciting as a whole and I don't think that DRS added to the spectacle – seeing one car breeze past another on the straight doesn't do it for me… even drivers complained sometimes about being 'sitting ducks' – case in point being the pointless second DRS zone in Abu Dhabi where care were regularly re-passed, resulting in stalemate.

    And it did smack of artificiality. A solution to reducing that perception could have been achieved by retaining individuality. Instead of banning McLaren's innovative yet cheap F-Duct, 'DRS zones' could still have been introduced at circuits whilst leaving teams to figure out their own F-Duct/DRS solutions.

    Another of the DRS 'problems' is that it sometimes gave a false picture. Schumacher's low drag Mercedes at Monza may have had audiences on the edge of their seats keeping Hamilton at bay for lap after lap but it actually destroyed the race as a whole because it prevented us from even knowing if Hamilton could possibly have challenged Vettel for the win… a battle for the lead is always far more exciting.

    But there's the nub… audiences now don't want to watch a motor race 'develop', they need to be entertained and the money involved nowadays means that F1 must be a 'show' even if that means the we get the same emphatic winner – as long as there are fantastic battles along the way, somewhere near the front.

    More worrying has been the introduction of Pirelli's extreme tyres which has forced F1 into a new type of racing where drivers have to adapt their style – in some cases completely – to suit the tyres.

    I'm of the school of thought that an F1 driver's skill and speed should be promoted and that his individual style of achieving his speed should not be adversely compromised. Pirelli has achieved the opposite and genuinely exciting drivers such as Webber and Hamilton have struggled compared with their team-mates, ironically, thus potentially robbing us of more entertainment. And the Pirelli tyre has certainly decreased the spectacle of qualifying in some races.

    The 2005 season, when the tyres had to last the race distance, did not rob the drivers of their 'style' anywhere nearly as much, yet still provided excitement, particularly towards the end of races, as the tyres deteriorated and in some cases, even destroyed themselves.

    With the exception of the turbo era, technology, especially concerning aerodynamics, has continually diminished the spectacle in F1 – now cars fly round tracks rather than dance and slide gracefully – drivers don't 'miss gears' and blow engines – and the combination of DRS and extreme tyres are two more aspects that are forced 'unnaturally' upon the 'sport'.

    That's the way it has become – but, by its very nature, F1 will always continue to give some form of excitement to those in love with things noisy very fast and I hope that in 2012 McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes, Hamilton and Webber get their act together and the DRS and Pirelli 'features' are less intrusive. Hopefully we'll return to having a close and interesting season.

  • Comment number 75.

    @ 72 MannysRedSox wrote:

    * The introduction of DRS (and KERS for that matter too) should only be continued if ALL cars are fitted with it.

    Er - they're all allowed to have 4 wheels but are you suggesting that if one team opts to use on 3 then all of the other teams would have to as well? If they're allowed to and don't then more fool them ...

    * Why not go totally radical - award similar points for qualifying but the car that "wins" the qualifying session starts at the back of the grid, 2nd fastest starts next to last etc.

    Already been suggested before (in this discussion)

    * Or even more radical - each driver rotates which team he races for each race ie Week 1 Hamilton drives for Red Bull, Week 2 he drives a McLaren, Week 3 he's in the Force India team. A truer test of skill and ability ???

    And the Designers, Engineers? And Team principals? What the hell - lets do it the easy way - just change the names of theam every week or 2. How do you then work out points for the constructors championship - if the "Ferrari" car is designed by Adrian, Managed by Martin etc etc should Ferrari get the points?

    * Maybe i'm on to something............

    No - I think maybe you ON something :-)

  • Comment number 76.

    I think they definitely need to review each DRS zone at each track and make some adjustments. (I'm sure they will be doing that).

    There was a race last season which had 2 DRS zones one after each other, maybe someone will be able to remember which one it was?
    Because there were 2 zones we saw a lot of incidents where the trailing car would overtake the car in front, in the first DRS zone, only to be re-overtaken immediately in the 2nd DRS zone.
    I particularly remember Button being involved in one such incident.

    This meant that the 2 DRS zones generally cancelled each other out which seemed to defeat the point of them.

    I guess the idea behind it was that the first zone would enable cars to get closer to the car in front and make the overtaking manoeuvre possible in the 2nd zone, but in this particular race it didn't seem to happen that way. Most cars were able to make the overtaking manoeuvre in the first zone and were then sitting ducks in the 2nd zone and so lost the place they just gained.

    What I couldn't work out was why the drivers were not a bit more clever about it by resisting the urge to overtake in the first DRS zone (even if they could) and then waiting until the 2nd DRS zone to do the overtake. That way they would've stood more of a chance of making the move stick.

    Anyone know why they did not do this?

    Apart from that though I think in general the DRS was a good thing for the viewer and with a few adjustments at some tracks will be even better in 2012.

  • Comment number 77.

    @75 - the teams, designers, engineers, etc don't change. Ferrari will still be Ferrari - it will just have a different driver each week.
    May be look up radical in the dictionary - might seem a far fetched answer to the dullness that is F1, but maybe somebody can tell me why it would be less interesting / exciting than it is now ?

    And as for DRS being available to everybody - it may well be but the lesser teams don't have it for, presumably, cost / technology reasons. Hardly a level playing field. It's the equivilent of saying Wigan can go and buy Messi - nothing to stop them is there ?????

  • Comment number 78.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 79.

    There's a far easier way to make the racing exciting again, without the need for fancy tricks and cheats... get rid of the rear wing completely!!!

    Easy. Kill the downforce and drivers once again need to rely on skill. No one really knows who the best drivers actually are. We only know which drivers can make the best use of the currently technology.

    Or at worst, have all the cars use the exact same, extremely small rear wing that gives a little stability, but doesn't cause dirty air or allow the cars to run around on rails. Wouldn't it actually be nice to see technology take a back seat see what the drivers can do? After all it's the drivers we watch the racing for. It's them who entertain.

    Then again, what difference does it make, when the sport is ultimately heading for decline now with a reduction in TV viewers, leading to lower sponsorship for the teams, then, who knows?

    Finally, still extremely angry and disappointed about the BBC inviting one of the best TV sports presenters to join the competition, not to mention show only half the races. Worst still, you ignore the first, yet are happy to show one of the 'races' in history in Monaco!!!

    I urge everyone to put their search engines to good use and find out where F1 will be watchable, FREE ONLINE, come next season. And we used to think adverts were the worst thing about F1 of old!?!??!!?!?!?

  • Comment number 80.

    MannysRedSox @77

    But there are 2 chanpionships - 1 for the driver and 1 for the team. Making the drivers levels up the field in terms of each driver MAY get the same mix of good cars and bad cars but with 24 drivers and 19 or 20 races how does each driver driver every car?

    With 12 teams and 19 / 20 races .... ??

    How is the team championship decided? By the poistion of the car in each race? That'll be the car being driven by someone not in the employment of the team and therefore, ultimately, not under their control. Hypothectically speaking what would happen if Alonso were in a race he wasn't winning (say 3rd) and his team-mate (i.e. the person also paid by the team that pays him - say Renault) who was in 2nd racing a (say) McClaren took out the leader who was (possibly) driving a RBR. Sensible? No.

    We were talking about the technology used by the team to prepare a car for their drivers NOT about the advantages some drivers have over others. If we were then maybe the drivers abilities would have been discussed - but we're not and they haven't!

    Suggesting that looking up a word in the dictionary would counter the dullness you perceive in F1 seems a little weird ... how would this help?

    Actually I looked up the meaning of Radical - although as you never mentioned it previously I'm not sure how this got into the thread - and found:

    * thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms

    So do I take it that your solution to the dullness of F1 is to allow one team each race (chosen by lot) to install a 50mm cannon in the nose cone? No? Not radical enough?

    * Hardly a level playing field.

    No - it's a very expensive, competitive business - very much like Football (but more so).

    * It's the equivilent of saying Wigan can go and buy Messi - nothing to stop them is there ?????

    No it isn't - it's the equivalent of saying the teams with the money can afford things the teams without can't. Just like saying Man City can afford players that Wigan can't. Or Germany can afford to pay the 0.0000001% interest rate on government bonds but Greece / Italy can't afford the 7%+

    It's called the REAL WORLD!

  • Comment number 81.

    There are some very good comments and ideas on this page and maybe the powers that be in F1 should read them and take note.

    In the recent past there have been some silly ideas banded about and if they were in place now we would end up with someone winning a gold medal, on an artificially wet track who overtook someone using a power boost button and a drag reduction system. Lets just get back to the basics of racing shall we and Bernie, please retire now and save us the pain of another silly idea.

    In any sport where the rules are so tight you can't even smile at the other racers without going up in front of the stewards, is going to need extra help with things like overtaking. Someone needs to think about relaxing some of the rules.

    As others have mentioned, Schumi and Lewis at Monza is a classic case in point. DRS didn't help there because of differences in car setup, surely this is a good thing and should be taken into consideration for future races. The simple fact that Schumi got away without a penalty after being warned twice is beyond me but, there you go.

    The bottom line is that any driver aid that is not properly limited in it's use, is always going to be fake. On the other hand, if the rules are so tight that nothing can be changed to help, then what is the choice? You either relax the rules a bit or keep the overtaking aids.

    I for one, while not being a fan of DRS and to a less extent KERS, do not want to go back to the old days of a 60 lap procession of F1 cars that cannot overtake.

    Lastly, Sky and F1 is a bad thing. There are so few truly global sports spectacles now which are free to air live. Sky has ruined sport with money and power, they should be ashamed of themselves. Sky always says they are giving more choice but, in my book if you have to pay more than I did previousy then the choice has been taken away from me. I will not watch Sky and hope that many others do not too.

  • Comment number 82.

    tarangoes you are an idiot
    An engineer I know recommends telescopic hydraulic poles to raise the main body of the formula One vehicle so that it could be driven directly over the car in front in what would be a spectacular overtaking manoeuvre. He said that although this could lead to wacky races it wouldn't be fake.

    Supposedly the telescopic bit would be vertical as well as horizintal and result in a crash, why dont you knock somenthing up and test it?

  • Comment number 83.

    As much as I love the BBC coverage and dont have a SS subscription...you all know it's going to be amazing! seen Football, Rugby on Sky?....compared to BBC? dedicated channel! I'm not happy either but whoever has sky/get's sky for it will not be disappointed and you know it!

    Maybe DRS KERS is a little fake but it would be dull without it...It's the only realistic way forward given that it's "all about" aerodynamics now!

  • Comment number 84.

    @80
    Keep up with the radical theme.
    Drivers will no longer be affilliated to teams - pay them all a flat rate and have a sliding scale of prize money for each race / season. Dog eat dog !
    You don't seem to grasp the concept that sport (any sport) that relies ultimately on money becomes very dull for your average Joe. Your average footy fan is bored silly by the same teams (the richest) winning the title every year. Create a salary cap and level the playing field and how much more exciting would the Premiership be ?
    The same with F1 - level the playing field again and the racing would be infintesimally more exciting.
    But the problem in here is the F1 geeks who have some affinity to Ferrari or Red Bull or whoever. The type of geek who would cheer Alonso one year but hate him the next if he changed teams.
    F1 fans are way to precious of the sport to even think radical changes would increase the excitement of the sport..........

  • Comment number 85.

    @80 MannysRedSox:
    I despair for you!
    *Keep up with the radical theme.
    I am - notice you didn't support my "radical" suggestion!
    For the rest of your diatribe - remember REAL WORLD!
    * Drivers will no longer be affilliated (affiliated?) to teams
    And who’s the contract with? Where's the control? Team orders when the drivers don't work for the teams? Number 1 driver?
    * pay them all a flat rate and have a sliding scale of prize money for each race / season.
    There is such a sliding scale already!
    * Dog eat dog !
    What like Sky & BBC?
    * You don't seem to grasp the concept that sport (any sport) that relies ultimately on money becomes very dull for your average Joe.
    Oh I do - F1 relies on money to fund the R&D - no money = no F1 (unless you count production cars as suitable for F1 - but where's the return for the manufacturers?
    * Your average footy fan is bored silly by the same teams (the richest) winning the title every year.
    No - hence the "glory" of the FA Cup and every giant-killing act is eulogised over.
    * Create a salary cap and level the playing field and how much more exciting would the Premiership be?
    I don't know as every sport that's tried it has given up on the idea - or the teams quietly ignore it!
    * The same with F1 - level the playing field again and the racing would be infintesimally (Infinitesimally?) more exciting.
    Do you mean infinitely? Infinitesimally means small in the extreme. Go and check that dictionary you found Radical in!
    * But the problem in here is the F1 geeks who have some affinity to Ferrari or Red Bull or whoever. The type of geek who would cheer Alonso one year but hate him the next if he changed teams.
    No the problem here is whether the technology masks the true abilities of the drivers - and does that matter? Is a Driver, Team or Driver & Team sport?
    * F1 fans are way to (sic) precious of the sport to even think radical changes would increase the excitement of the sport..........

    Assuming from your comments you have a passing interest in football, how does this compare to the debacle of goal-line technology?
    BTW – I’ve officiated at GP and other track & street races – believe me there are FAR more boring forms of motor racing …. Be happy for what you have!

    @83 swindonbluearmy
    I agree with you sentiments inasmuch as it looks promising from what Sky has announced. I agree with the sentiments frequently expressed namely that F1 should remain FTA but I do not feel you can attached too much blame to Sky – a commercial company seeking any advantage the can get – more that the target of the fans ire should be solely directed at the BBC. This is a publicly-funded broadcaster who was the incumbent UK broadcaster with a contract in place. Even if they decided that the costs of F1 were too high and obstructed the corporation’s plans for funding the Olympics (which probably mean I will not be able to avoid the 5-ring circus on BBC channels), they should have just left the field clear to a free competition between Sky and other FTA channels.

    BTW As I understand it, you can get F1 on Sky just by having the HD pack @ ~£10/month. I now it’s more than Free but trust me the viewing pleasure of seeing things like Frozen Plant in HD make the £10 worth it – so F1 is effectively Free – AND, as I’m already paying Murdoch that £10 I’m not paying any more to him for F1.
    So my conscience is clear (mostly!)

  • Comment number 86.

    @86 Think Tank

    The drivers contracts will be with Bernie Ecclestone - not with the teams.
    Goal line technology should be brought into footy - the FA is just as narrow minded as F1 fans.
    And you even say the problem is "whether technology masks the true ability of the drivers" - of course it does and anybody who says otherwise is an idiot !!!
    So level the playing field and see who is the best.

    And anybody who found the overall season exciting is also an idiot !!!
    But that's half the problem - the precious die-hard fans don't want to open their eyes to what might improve the sport as a spectacle.......

  • Comment number 87.

    @86 MannysRedSox

    Wow, you seem to be a very angry person who appears as narrow minded as the people you criticise. There are two sides to every debate and anyone who cannot understand both sides should not take part.

    Just because I enjoyed the previous F1 season makes me an idiot does it ?

    The fact that I can separate the 'enjoyment' of something and a 'technological debate' allows me to be neutral in my assesment of what has happened. Yes DRS masks ability in some areas but, it also shows ability in some drivers that can defend against it.

    As for affinity to a team, I am sure there are some yes... in exactly the same way that you probably have an affinity to a football team but, does that mean you are considered a die hard fan and subsequently cannot comment on the sport as a whole?

    Anyone who is opinionated as you are cannot really add anything to debates such as this.

  • Comment number 88.

    MannysRedSox - as you seem such an expert on narrow mided people and idiots:

    * At 14:35 30th Dec 2011, MannysRedSox wrote:

    * @86 Think Tank


    Er .. no My post was 85, YOURS is 86!


    * The drivers contracts will be with Bernie Ecclestone - not with the teams.

    But Bernie doesn't build cars / engines / gearboxes / electronics / do aero - why would he need drivers? There is a view, widely held, that the above B.E. has too much influence already. You want to increase this?


    * Goal line technology should be brought into footy - the FA is just as narrow minded as F1 fans.

    There you go again - everyone else is narrow minded (but you?)!


    * And you even say the problem is "whether technology masks the true ability of the drivers" - of course it does and anybody who says otherwise is an idiot !!!

    There you go again - everyone else is an idiot (but you?)!


    * So level the playing field and see who is the best.

    * And anybody who found the overall season exciting is also an idiot !!!

    There you go again - everyone else is an idiot (but you?)! I'm sure there's a word for this condition .... oh yes it's Megalomania.


    * But that's half the problem - the precious die-hard fans don't want to open their eyes to what might improve the sport as a spectacle.......

    But it's the fans (precious die-hard, casual and mildly-interested) that mean the sport is so attractive to the sponsors and circuits - those would be the people that pay the aforementioned B.E. HUGE amounts of money to be able to get their message in front of this group of people / stage a race for the prestige. Some (by no means all) of that money is then paid to the teams (by that sliding scale I mentioned) and, together with the teams own sponsors [more people handing money over to get seen by those "fans" you so despise], this pays for the sport you denigrate so easily. If the fans were not so interested (or as you say die-hard) then there would be no money and hence no sport.

    Never mind, if the Concord agreement is not replaced and the FTA element is deemed to have been fulfilled by having only half of the races FTA then F1 could become PPV. Then watch the fan base shrink, the sponsors leave, the teams breakaway, the money dry up, the racing become irrelevant etc. Then where would we be?

    There would be 2 people in the world upset: B.E. because the golden goose has been squeezed dry and no more income or influence .... and you - because you have nobody to slag off!

    Get a life, get a reality check, get a hospital appointment!

  • Comment number 89.

    @ 88 Think Tank

    If the sport was so attractive to the fans then why would the fan base shrink by it being aired on Sky ? Footy has flourished since Sky revolutionised it !!!!!
    If F1 was as exciting as you delude yourself into thinking then it too would boom on Sky.
    Therefore make it more exciting and watch the viewing figures grow accordingly.....

  • Comment number 90.

    Great blog, interesting stuff. I reckon DRS has proven a comparatively elegant solution to an age-old problem - it needs tweeking, but I think the concept is pretty sound. People have been saying for years that downforce needs to be cut to making the racing more lively, but here's a way of making the racing better without sacrificing that hard-fought (and seemingly irremovable) downforce. Can't believe people are saying they want a return to refuelling stops - racing for me is about cars, well... RACING. Seeing who can stop and go the quickest or the cleverest just makes it like an auto test for me.

  • Comment number 91.

    "If the sport was so attractive to the fans then why would the fan base shrink by it being aired on Sky ? Footy has flourished since Sky revolutionised it !!!!!"

    Before Sky came along only occasional domestic games were televised and they massively increased the amount of football that could be seen on the box.
    When every F1 Grand Prix is already televised on a TV station that's available to all, how can the number of viewers increase with half the races moving to Sky?

  • Comment number 92.

    Of course it's fake - it's all part of 'The Show'. F1 has become big business, popular with non-petrolheads - it can't go back. The die is cast.
    If you want pure Motorsport, with technology and varying technical answers - then F1 is not for you. The new WEC/ Sportscars Championship, however, is!! With Audi, Peugeot, Nissan, Toyota & Porsche in 2014....it's a series growing in stature.

    Remember, there is more to Motorsport than F1......

  • Comment number 93.

    if they want to keep driver skill and judgement as a key element along with all the huge run off areas to avoid crashes then they should allow drs to be run on the majority of all circuits and the activation and de activation should be left down to the drivers. that and making cars run on a single engine tune mode so the drivers have to manage there fuel. there are too many variables and "cheats" available for teams, its more like the gamers of the 90s that would program in some special move on mortal kombat that only a few people would be told about for the first 6 months

  • Comment number 94.

    @89 MannysRedSox wrote:

    @ 88 Think Tank
    If the sport was so attractive to the fans then why would the fan base shrink by it being aired on Sky


    If you check you'll find I said "F1 could become PPV. Then watch the fan base shrink".

    This is not the same as "being aired on Sky".

    I feel I need to update my previous advice:

    Get a life, get a reality check, get a hospital appointment and attend an English course!


    Doesn't the reaction on this blog give you a clue?
    me
    mostly_harmless @ 14:56
    Alliterative hornet @ 16:00

    I think the list will just grow the more you post ....

    I agree with the sentiments expressed by mostly_harmless:

    * Wow, you seem to be a very angry person who appears as narrow minded as the people you criticise. There are two sides to every debate and anyone who cannot understand both sides should not take part.

    * Anyone who is opinionated as you are cannot really add anything to debates such as this.

    Take the hint and just run along and play queirtly in a corner somewhere ... please

  • Comment number 95.

    since we will only get the opportunity to see half the races in full and live on bbc, i'm only 50% bothered/care about this.

  • Comment number 96.

    Since aerodynamics became so effective over the past 15 years, the possibilty to overtake had all but dissapeared. DRS has gone a huge way to readdressing the balance. Pure racing has been partially restored as a result of it. If anything, aerodynamic downforce, and the effect of turbulence on a following car, took away from pure racing, and gave a false image. The 'tow', which has always played are part in all forms of racing, became virtually useless. DRS should stay, as should the racing spectacle its giving us.

  • Comment number 97.

    DRS was shown up at Spa because it is such a great track you don't need it, especially out of Eau Rouge to Les Combes! Look at Alonso passing Lewis at the start of the race, no DRS allowed then or needed, just faster through Eau Rouge and Radillion.

    The fact DRS was introduced to me highlights both the issue of cars being over relient on aero and therefore unstable following another car, and also just how poor some of the new wide Tilke tracks are. Fake tracks needing fake overtaking are rubbish, and most people don't care how great the paddock facilities are.

    It's more important to keep the tyre differences and degradation to mix up the racing and strategies. Without this, say for example on the old Bridgestones that didn't wear our, 2011 would have been a Schumi 2004 borefest. Congrats to Pirelli for that.

    Back to DRS and fakeness, the only think in F1 that was more fake than DRS overtakes was the BBCs pathetic spin on the disgraceful deal they created for Formula Half for the "sub-set" minority according to their DG.

    Also many posters are seeing this as a Sky VS BBC argument which it is not, they are against the anti-competition deal and the way it came about. I can understand the hatred for both but the anti-Sky people are mainly anti-the-BBCSky-deal.

    RTL TV over new sat lnb and 5Live commentary is the way to go.
    Live F1 unlike the BBC
    Saves £350+ per year! over Sky

  • Comment number 98.

    DRS is there to manufacture a result, therefore it is fake. The same as KERS is. You'll note how the DRS is controlled by race control and can be disabled and enabled at will and the detection/activation lines are strategically positioned - again to manufacture the result.

    However I gave up watching this season around the mid point where it was clear that Vettel could not be touched, even before then, about the time he had won 5 out of 6 races it was clear the season was his - I'm not interested in who's racing for 2nd, 3rd or 4th.

    So perhaps I missed something this season, but I doubt it.

    And next year I won't bother with F1, I find the FIA GT series to be more entertaining and it's available live via their website for free or on DailyMotion not long after the race has finished, and coupled with full coverage of the BTCC races on ITV4 I certainly won't miss F1 now that half of it's been given to Sky. 50% on the BBC next year is a joke, and it won't be long before it goes the way of the football on the BBC - with a bunch of blokes sat on a sofa telling us what they're seeing on the monitors, like they do on Final Score - might as well listen to the radio.

    Disgusted with the BBC, not only do they keep pushing Strictly Come Dancing, but they've spent the money they sold F1 to Sky for on yet more reality TV - i.e. The Voice.

    I pay my TV tax as well and I am expected to put up with 50% less of what I enjoy - time for the BBC to rethink the TV tax or start issuing refunds to those of us who are not getting value for money.

  • Comment number 99.

    Last season was one of the best for a long time. A lot of this was to do with the DRS, which while it is 'fake', at least we now have some overtaking now. I think this may be the best system until F1 finds a better track designer or goes back to some of the old tracks or the FIA and the teams start working together and stop messing about with the cars.

  • Comment number 100.

    Stop the blocking moves and the turning in moves,Thats not raceing,any fool can turn in or block ,

 

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