The FIA have confirmed that as of next season use of the Drag Reduction System in practice and qualifying will be limited to the official zones
Teams have until now been allowed unlimited use of DRS on Fridays and Saturdays in order to ensure the device is in working order ahead of race day. However, this will no longer be the case in 2013.
“It’s something we told the teams about the other day and we’re going to do that for safety reasons,” explained FIA race director Charlie Whiting.
“We believe that there have been a number of incidents - and drivers have told me now - that it’s becoming increasingly prevalent.”
“One could argue that early deployment of DRS is not much different to early deployment of throttle, for example. But the DRS is a sort of ‘On/Off’ switch, whereas throttle can be modulated, so it’s not quite the same thing,” he added.
“We didn’t really want to have it used in qualifying and practice before but we were rather worried that we may not have effective DRS systems.
“Now I believe, from all the information we have, we should not see any reduction in the effectiveness, the power, of the DRS.
“Teams will still use it because, even though they’re only allowed to use it in perhaps two places on the circuit, I think the benefit will still be there for them.”
The driver-operated flap on the rear wing which increases speed by reducing drag and downforce was implemented in order to increase overtaking during races. With this in mind it, the cut down of its use on Fridays and Saturdays shouldn’t impact its intended purpose.
“The whole point of the DRS was to ensure that we improve overtaking in the race. That’s the sole and stated reason for it,” said Whiting.
“No-one really understood how effective it would be. In fact, most of the engineers told us it would be similar in effect to KERS - so two, three, maybe four-tenths per lap.
“That clearly hasn’t been the case. You can see now, depending on the circuit, it can be anywhere between one and one-and-a-half seconds benefit in qualifying. So it’s massive in some cases.”