F1: Top drivers say DRS a great thing

(GMM) Top Formula 1 drivers say the sport is not ready to drop the overtaking aid DRS.

The opening two races of the 2022 ‘ground effect’ rules era kicked off with rave reviews, with chasing and passing a rival car made notably easier.

Some have argued that the new rules are so effective that, in combination with DRS, the racing was almost farcically good in Saudi Arabia as Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc played “smart tricks” with the DRS detection zone.

Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 and Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving (16) the Ferrari F1-75 battle for track position during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 27, 2022 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images) /

“I basically knew that if I was leaving Max with a DRS for the main straight, I will be overtaken very easily,” said Ferrari’s Leclerc.

“The second time, obviously Max knew that I was going to do that, so we both braked quite early.”

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said: “DRS is such a force now that it’s a game of cat and mouse between the drivers.

“Maybe we should look at the locations for the DRS zones in the future.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (DRS closed) holds off Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc (DRS Open) at the line to win the Saudi Arabian GP in Jeddah. 

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon agrees, remarking: “The philosophy of fighting on the track has changed dramatically. It’s more like a go-kart now.”

Championship leader Leclerc, however, argues that it would be too soon to drop DRS – a rear wing flap system that dramatically cuts drag to enable overtaking.

Verstappen agrees.

“If I didn’t have DRS, I would never have passed him,” the Dutchman said after the Saudi Arabian GP.

Carlos Sainz added: “I think without DRS, passing would be reduced significantly. So I think we are still better off with it.

“What we might need to consider maybe is the speed delta with the DRS. Maybe the car behind has too much of a speed delta so that the overtake is done before braking.

“You’d much rather have the two cars battling under braking rather than passing like in the highway. Maybe we need to have a look at this, but we definitely need DRS for now,” the Spaniard said.