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Overtaking dilemma in Formula 1: Second DRS zone in Suzuka?

Suzuka and the F1 overtaking dilemma
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Usually the FIA ​​creates two areas on the Grand Prix tracks in which the drivers fold down the rear wing allowed to increase the top speed and thus be able to overtake easier. Race director Charlie Whiting even had a third DRS zone set up in Melbourne, Montreal, Spielberg and Silverstone. With the aim of promoting overtaking maneuvers.

In Suzuka, on the other hand, there is only one DRS zone. She is on the home straight. The drivers are allowed to fold up the rear wing flap 100 meters before the finish line and blow open until they brake or reset the flap using the steering wheel. Provided you are 50 meters from turn 16 with the man in front of you within a second.

Nevertheless, overtaking on the Japanese roller coaster is not an easy matter. Especially with the two-meter-wide cars that cause extensive turbulence behind them. In the turbulent air, it is difficult for the man behind to close up tightly.

Target chicane makes overtaking difficult

The route layout makes the task even more difficult: “The last corner before the DRS zone is a slow chicane . The person in front can pull away when you accelerate. The DRS area is not long enough to overtake, ”explains Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo.

The Australian is surprised that the FIA ​​has decided not to have a second DRS zone in Suzuka. “I would have expected to see them on the route map.” Like Ricciardo, some of his colleagues would have liked a second DRS zone. “It wouldn't hurt,” says Nico Hülkenberg.

One possible point could have been the back straight between the spoon curve and the finish chicane. In between, however, is the ultra-fast 130R curve. The FIA ​​waived a DRS zone with reference to safety.

DRS in 130R bend too dangerous?

The approach to the fast 130R bend. Outside there is a gravel trap lurking for mistakes.

'A second DRS area would probably make overtaking easier,' says Fernando Alonso, who is the reasoning the FIA ​​understands. “Two cars side by side in the 130R could be very dangerous. You have to weigh the risks to the drivers and the benefits. For me, it's part of the game. There are tracks like Monte Carlo and Singapore where overtaking is practically impossible. It's hard in Suzuka. That's why qualifying is important. It's the other way around on routes like Spa. The qualifying result takes a back seat because there are enough overtaking spots. ”

Sergio Perez wants to leave it to the drivers. “We are good enough to know and assess when we can activate DRS and when not. You have to be able to decide for yourself whether to lift the gas pedal, deactivate it or take the risk. ”

Charles Leclerc agrees. “It would be the same situation as in turn one at Silverstone.” A DRS zone from Spoon to the chicane would mean that the drivers in this section are also allowed to use the DRS during training and qualification. Max Verstappen would do it right away. 'From the first training round without hesitation.'

Vettel no friend of DRS

The top cars would generate enough contact pressure for the 130R's quick left bend, even with the wing open. But for the teams in midfield and the backbenchers, it could be a ride on the razor blade. “I think our car can do it,” says Perez. 'I would take out fully comprehensive insurance for passengers beforehand,' jokes Nico Hülkenberg.

Sebastian Vettel is no friend of DRS anyway. “The system is too artificial for me. We are here in Japan. Maybe you should throw bananas out of the car like in the Mario Kart computer game. ”McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne agrees:“ DRS cannot be the solution to Formula 1's overtaking problem. ”

It should If the FIA ​​decided to change their mind, additional sensor loops would have to be installed in the asphalt for the measurement and activation points. Something that was already discussed in Russia, but later not implemented because the effort was too high.


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