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Mat Coch writes:
McLaren's Paddy Lowe has moved to ease concern that rules restricting the use of DRS will diminish its influence in 2013.
Introduced for the 2011 season the DRS, or drag reduction system, allows drivers to reduce the angle of their rear wing if, at a set point on the circuit, they are within a second of the car ahead. With less wing angle cars benefit from lower drag and increased top speed, thereby improving the chances of a successful overtake. On the whole the system has proved successful, despite many traditionalists branding it 'artificial'.
"A lot of things have been tried over the years," explained McLaren Technical Director Paddy Lowe. "What we've found is DRS's overall help has been tremendous to the long standing overtaking problem."
Changes to the regulations next year will restrict the system's use to only within the set DRS zones across the weekend. Until now drivers have been free to use it whenever they so chose during practice and qualifying before its use is restricted during the race.
Early on there were fears teams would simply set up their cars without taking the reduced drag in to consideration. The intention of the original rule was to encourage teams to set their gear ratios so as to take advantage of DRS, helping to ensure it had an impact.
Now with two years' experience of the system Lowe does not believe that concern is justified. "We believe, particularly if Charlie (Whiting, FIA Race Director) arranges to have two DRS zones for every circuit, that this will give enough incentive to ratio the car appropriately."
Lowe further suggests that the system could do with being revised at some tracks to improve its balance. "India I think was a good example of that, surprisingly actually, because there's a good long straight (and) there it didn't seem to allow overtaking," he claimed. "Then you get other circuits where arguably it's too easy. It might be that we should look at that and try and trim in both directions on those outlying circuits.
"In general I think it works well," he added. "We saw that on Sunday with Lewis and Sebastian. That was a fair fight, a very, very close duel. Ultimately Lewis got past using DRS but it wasn't easy and everybody is satisfied with the manner in which he did it."
When first conceived it was anticipated DRS would have a similar impact to KERS - perhaps a couple of tenths of a second per lap - but teams quickly found much more in qualifying. It also prompted some teams, such as Mercedes, to develop systems which utilised DRS to influence other aspects of the car, a design path the FIA also has moved to stamp out for 2013.
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