DRS in 2013…finding the right trigger

I posted some thoughts on DRS here and like clockwork, AUTOSPORT posted a story today concerning DRS in 2013…great minds. You’ll recall that the changes for 2013 is that the dual DRS system used by Mercedes and Red Bull in 2012 will be outlawed and DRS will only be deployed in DRS zones even in qualifying.

To those ends, teams such as Lotus F1 and Mercedes were experimenting with a new passive DRS system that is built in and only activates at certain speeds. AUTOSPORT wrote a nice piece that describes the challenges teams face with this kind of system here.

The passive system works when the car reaches a certain speed and that is doable if you design it for the straights but when you have high speed corners, activating DRS is the last thing you want to happen so the teams had to find the right design and as you can imagine, it’s track specific. Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn told AUTOSPORT:

“Where it engages and where it re-engages are often not necessarily the same speed – as it can have some lag,” Brawn said.

“For some tracks it will not be worth it, you won’t be able to get any substantial advantage out of it.

“You need tracks with a good series of low-speed corners, as soon as you get high-speed corners you can’t afford for it to be operating and the threshold becomes very high and the advantage is very small.”

Seems like a very fine line between stalling the wings and running the risk of losing downforce in a corner such as R130 at Suzuka. As I argued in my piece, I’m not anti-DRS so much as against anything that doesn’t have parity across the grid at all times and for all drivers. Perhaps the FIA should take a longer look at how moving aerodynamic parts should be designed and deployed instead of being pragmatic and trying to overcome their self-inflicted wound of aerodynamic dependency?

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