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Radical Revisions for DRS?

NEWS STORY
31/03/2011

The FIA appears to have taken a conservative approach regarding any changes to the Drag Reduction System (DRS) and has indicated that any change will be the result of careful analysis. Race Director Charlie Whiting has said the effectiveness of DRS will be examined after the Chinese Grand Prix but with fans and teams already critical of the system, could it be that both analysis and proposed alterations are already well under way? On condition of strict anonymity, a Pitpass source was happy to discuss what some may view as the surprising extremes possible to make DRS more effective.

"It was pretty clear in Melbourne that it (DRS) just didn't function the way, to the extent at least, that we'd hoped. There has been silly talk about a more acute angle change which has already been ruled out for safety reasons. The change in car balance it (DRS) creates is already very dramatic. With that in mind we reasoned that since in any given race situation there are 2 cars involved in an overtake why not look at the other half of the equation, the car that is to be passed.

"A minor change to the existing system would allow DRS to effectively run in reverse as well which will make it an Increased Drag System (IDS). When a driver activates his DRS, a signal can go via race control to make the IDS deploy on the car that is to be overtaken. It's a pretty easy way of doubling the effectiveness of DRS for very little cost."

As dramatic as this seems the changes seemingly aren't limited to DRS alone.

"There was always a concern was that KERS could be used to negate the DRS and I think it was clear from Melbourne that this concern was justified. For this reason we're going to use the same signal that increases the drag on the car to be overtaken, to invoke a KERS Disabled (KERSD) status for the duration of the overtaking manoeuvre."

All of which seems to be pretty significant but will it be enough to achieve the result of making passing easier when DRS is deployed?

"For now, we think this is sufficient but if not other options are being examined and are not limited to DRS. Take the track side of things. I think everyone saw how easy it was for Jenson to pass Massa at Melbourne when he used the slip road at the chicane. This kind of thing already exists at many Grand Prix venues as a part of alternate track layouts and so forth. We are looking at the idea that if the combination of KERS and DRS still cannot create a pass, then, under circumstances when a driver is really clearly quicker than the car he's following, Race Control may authorise the driver to use these slip roads in order to get the job done. It actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it. It's very safe and again, inexpensive"

But what do the teams make of these seemingly controversial and radical ideas? Has there been consultation?

"Look, they're the ones doing all the complaining so really, we are merely reacting to their complaints. Besides, I don't see the changes as radical. I think the idea of a complete change of engine size and format for 2013 is far more radical and yet they agreed to that. Honestly, I feel the teams can be very obstructionist at times, finding all sorts of reasons not to do this or that. But take the F-duct McLaren implemented last year. Before very long they were all over the grid which proves that the teams can find the money and resources to adapt quite quickly… when they want to.

Finally, the observation almost goes without saying but doesn't everything mentioned so far boil down to Race Control having almost complete control over when and where overtaking is going to happen?

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