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What Is DRS In Formula1?

Updated: Jul 7, 2023


F1 racing, also known as Formula One, is the topmost car racing series approved by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. The word formula itself explains every participant's guidelines while racing. These are supercars with the capacity of rapid motion that can go up to 350km/h, so to comply with the highest speed, a new system known as DRS was introduced. This blog will help you to understand what is DRS in formula1. DRS stands for Drag Reduction System, which was introduced in 2011 F1 to advocate the system of overtaking among F1 drivers. Except for the DRS, FIA regulations dictate that the driver can adjust no part of the bodywork during the race.

Formula1 DRS, known as Drag Reduction System, is a method promoted among drivers to see the action of their competitors in a close manner and overtake them. While staying in the DRS zone, the racer can activate the button with a single press when the rival is nearby. It is a system developed to make racing more exciting for everyone.


The rear wing of an F1 car is created to give rise to downforce (to push the car down). The DRS system works efficiently without affecting the car's speed. However, its negative effect is that it causes turbulence in the system, known as drag, which lowers the car's speed. Thus, DRS was introduced to cope with this consequence, allowing the rear wing's flap to lift a maximum of 50mm horizontally without lowering the speed. For this purpose, there are timing loops implanted on the tarmac. When the system detects that the opponent car is within one second of the car in front and both cars enter the detection zone, it signals to the dashboard to activate DRS to allow overtaking.

The efficiency of this system is typically determined by variables such as each circuit's maximum downforce, the track surface, the distance between each DRS zone, the location of each detection point, and the distinguishing characteristic of the track at the DRS zone's finish.


The Formula 1 DRS Rules are set up to use the drag reduction system DRS in Formula1. These are as follows:

  • The chasing car is present in one second of the lead car.

  • The tracking car should be present in the DRS zone as predestined by the FIA.

  • This system will not be able to work unless two racing laps are finished after the Grand Prix start, a renewal, or a safety car period.

  • Drivers are forbidden to use this system to defend their position; the main rule is to be present within one second of the car in front of them.

  • The DRS system may not be used if the racing director feels that racing conditions are not suitable and safe.

Except for the DRS, the FIA regulations dictate that the driver can adjust no part of the bodywork during the race. The official regulation on this subject is outlined in the next paragraph.

Adjustable bodywork for the driver:

The incidence of the rearmost and uppermost closed part indicated in Article 3.10.2 can be changed in a moving car if:

  • It consists of only one component with a minimum width of 708mm that must be symmetrically positioned around the car centerline.

  • No section components in touch with the external airstream may be positioned further than 355mm from the car centerline, except for minor parts purely involved with section adjustment.

  • Two closed sections are employed in the region defined in Article 3.10.2, except for any minimal parts that only involve adjusting the rearmost and highest section.

  • Any variation in incidence ensures that all bodywork standards are followed.

  • The physical point of rotation of the rearmost and uppermost closed sections must be fixed when viewed from the side of the car at any longitudinal vertical cross-section. It should be located no more than 20mm below the upper extremity and no more than 20mm forward of the rear extremity of the area described in Article 3.10.2 at all times.

  • The system is designed so that if it fails, the uppermost closed piece will revert to its regular high incidence position.

  • Any change in the incidence of the uppermost closed portion must be directed directly by the driver and managed with the control electronics described in Article 8.2.


In the past, DRS has faced problems too. Nico Hulkenberg's Renault's DRS got stuck in the open position during the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix, forcing him into the pits, where his engineers used some challenging methods to try to rectify the situation before deciding to retire him from the race rather than risk being penalized by the race stewards.

In the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, DRS was temporarily disabled for 17 laps. This was due to a server failure that prevented vehicles from receiving the essential data to ensure that DRS could only be used in the DRS zones and not elsewhere on the track.

DRS was first implemented in 2011 to help increase the limited number of overtakes occurring in races at the time. The number of overtakes in races increased in the seasons following the introduction of DRS before falling again due to changes to the technical regulations for Formula One in the 2017 season, which saw F1 cars become wider and faster overall, making overtaking more difficult once again.

Formula One attempted to address the issue by introducing a third DRS zone to circuits with low overtaking numbers, such as Marina Bay in Singapore and Bahrain International. While there was an uptick in overtaking after that, the numbers never returned to pre-2017 regulation modification levels.

DRS Formula 1, as explained above, has had its fair share of criticism and praise since its introduction in 2011. While initially praised for bringing excitement back to races by increasing the number of overtakes in races, many also complained about the lack of skill required from drivers to execute overtaking maneuvers with the use of DRS.

The 2021 regulation changes (now pushed to 2022) made in the DRS system helped everyone understand What is DRS in Formula 1 . It reduces the amount of downforce loss due to dirty air produced by cars ahead of a chase car by 40% to as low as 5%. It aims to encourage closer racing and more battles between drivers. The adjustments appear to result in a more level playing field, with no teams having significant technological advantages due to the cost limitations. Yet may be able to watch even closer racing and position battles between drivers without DRS.

For more regular updates on motorsport, rules follow Gititstore - International Motorsports News providers.


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