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Hardly overtaking: FIA against larger DRS zones

Russia’s Grand Prix in Sochi last weekend will not go down as the most spectacular Formula One race of all time in history.

Mercedes-Neuling Valtteri Bottas won a start-goal victory before Ferrari-Star Sebastian Vettel could open in the last rounds, But no more attacks. Even in the chase field little or nothing happened: statisticians wrote down just one thing after the start round until the end of the race (!) Override on the track. Pascal Wehrlein passed his clean teammate Marcus Ericsson in circle five.

Formula 1 has already caught up with the debate on the balance: while supporters of the new technical regulation admit that it will be less overtaken this year, In the first race in Australia, according to Mercedes data, 2016 was overtaken fifty times, 2017 only fourteen times (three times with DRS). And in China, the number of overtaking manoeuvres from 182 to 54 (ten with DRS).

The Sochi Autodrom was not known for spectacular overtaking action in recent years, but 2016 still had 27 manoeuvres. One reason for the procession journeys between the Olympia systems is the smooth asphalt, which in any case offers little grip.

If you then drive a little distance behind the front man, the aerodynamics will be disturbed and the cars will slip. It’s almost impossible to overtake. As soon as you were less than two seconds away, the grip was lost,”Vettel brought it to the point after the race.

FIA wants to continue to observe the situation

Even at the FIA you have long recognized, that the broader formula-1-bolts 2017 are more sensitive to air turbulence due to the many abrasions and their aerodynamics. Already at the season air raid in Melbourne, race leader Charlie Whiting had announced that he wanted to analyse and evaluate the overtaking situation in Formula 1 in the first seasonal races in detail.

A way to allow more overtaking again, If larger DRS zones were on the tracks, Whiting has now declined these considerations.

Williams Chief of Technology Paddy Lowe confirmed t hat this was discussed at the last meeting of the Technical Working Group with the World Association. There, however, he said that there was no need for action.

“Yes, there was this discussion. You (the FIA; Amen. d. Red.) thought they would be satisfied with the current state,”said Lowe. However, FIA officials wish to continue to monitor the situation and reserve the right to intervene at a later date, Should the overtaking continue to prove too difficult.

Experts criticize the overtaking by clicking

In Melbourne, for example, a second DRS zone was introduced a few years ago, because there was no possibility to enlarge the first, Whiting said. The DRS (Drag Reduction System, i.e. a system to reduce air resistance) was introduced in 2011 and has been frequently criticised since then. because it leads to artificial and mostly unspectacular overtaking manoeuvres at the end of a straight line.

The critics of the overtaking at the push of a button do not only include many fans. Experts such as former world champion Alain Prost and managers such as Ross Brawn, the new sports director of Formula 1, would also like to see the foldable rear wing abolished sooner or later.