Marcus Ericsson experienced a huge crash during Free Practice 2 on Friday and it was due to a DRS failure. I suggested via my Twitter account that we all seem to busy burping up HALO praise to focus on the real culprit and safety hazard that is the DRS. Sure, the HALO had a scuff mark on it but it would, it’s jutting out from the chassis nearly as high as the air intake roll bar above the driver’s head.
While the Autosport article suggests that the DRS has rarely been highlighted as a safety concern, I would agree because so far we’ve not had any serious injuries via a DRS failure. I recall our conversations when it was introduced in 2011 that it could be a serious concern if the wing is stuck open and the older, manual version required the driver to use their hand to activate meaning that corners would require two hands and therefore, no stuck-open DRS.
There was some talk about the concern over safety and a stuck DRS back then but the FIA forged ahead with the concept. As we saw on Friday, a stuck DRS could be catastrophic but thankfully Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson emerged unhurt.
I’ve never been a fan of the DRS and feel it is an artifice that negatively impacts the sport. I have always favored a reduction in aerodynamic downforce. Last week in Belgium the DRS was too much of an impact and yet the FIA announced yesterday that they would now be extending DRS zones for the remainder of this season’s grands prix. Double down instead of reducing and at some level, that’s understandable as passing is very difficult in f1 these days.
Regardless, Renault driver Carlos Sainz says the DRS needs to be banned.
“This artificial device, the DRS, it’s a dangerous thing,” said Sainz.
“If it doesn’t close the car changes completely. On balance, on braking performance.
“So, I’m just wondering if Formula 1 is going to develop towards no need for DRS for overtaking.
“I do feel we need DRS nowadays because otherwise overtaking would be pretty much impossible, but hopefully they develop a formula without the need of DRS.”
I agree with Carlos, it’s needed with current spec cars but I believe the series needs to change the cars and not simply add constructs to overcome aero-heavy reliance. That being said, I can’t imagine the teams being up for that unless the aero regs change. For me, the tires, DRS and aero all need to change. I also believe the engine needs to change to a more affordable solution but now the teams seem intent to retain the MGU-H because the 2021 talks didn’t seem to lure in any additional engine manufacturers.
Hat Tip: Autosport