I know I am alone in this feeling about DRS but while we wait for the Winer Season to begin in Formula One (testing the new cars), I was watching some old footage of past years in F1. I stumbled across this gem which show the late and great Ayrton Senna struggling to keep the up and coming Michael Schumacher behind him.
Ayrton wasn’t struggling because he couldn’t handle Schumacher, he was having car problems that was seriously slowing him down. In fact, McLaren was using the new MP4/7A and both cars retired with issues. the point is, this is what racing used to be like when a car leading was slower than the trailing cars. It’s referred to in the video as the “Senna train” and I do understand when F1 fans say they don’t like processional racing. We’ve had many “Trulli trains” in F1 as well but I tend to think passes need to play out and be earned, not handed to a driver in a faster car than the one he’s trailing. It’s a dog-eared argument, I know, but it really does impede my ability to enjoy the purity of F1 racing and as a self-admitted F1 snob, it’s a chore for me.
But perhaps I am just old school. I like the fact that Senna, in all his brilliance, got passed by Schumacher and quickly re-passed the German to stay in third. It reminds me of Lewis Hamilton when he’s passed…he can’t stand it! He’ll do amazing things to get back around the person who passed him. A true racer mentality to be sure.
What DRS would have deprived us of is the terrific Senna re-pass and perhaps equally interesting was the dicing from Alesi and Brundle. Even Capelli was in the mix here. If we’d have had DRS, all of these guys would have blow by Senna. Alesi may have blown past Schumacher or Brundle past Alesi depending on the characteristics of the cars in the twisty bits. Imagine who would have passed whom if DRS was a reality in 1992. SUre, tech was different and the regulations and cars were different and I get that but regardless, the train would have lasted a couple laps and the racing would have been manipulated in my opinion.
You certainly could argue that Senna was holding everyone up and that the Williams cars were running away with it. It would have been better if they had DRS so Schumacher could take the fight to Nigel but keep in mind no one had an answer for the Williams that year, they were in a race of their own.
If you have links to videos to show other battles that DRS would have ruined, post them below. If you love DRS and have video clips to show where it has saved F1, post them below. Let’s start looking at some videos to see if we can’t gain a better understanding of why DRS needs to stay or go.
Having said that, I am certainly willing to accept that I am not being very forward thinking and that in fact, some of the biggest innovation in F1 could be with moving aero and dynamic ways of increasing performance using methods very similar to DRS. Perhaps it’s the simple fact that I am willing to look at any new technology that would impact the racing so long as it is the same for everyone at all times. If you had a push to pass or DRS feature that allowed for a certain number of uses anywhere on track for the race, perhaps that would be more fair. An example might be 10 uses of DRS anywhere on track during the race. I tell myself that would more equitable for the race and less of a construct that negatively impacts the race in an inequitable manner.