What Is DRS In Formula 1?

What Is DRS In Formula 1

If you have watched any live broadcast or highlight videos of Formula 1 racing, one thing you might have heard repeated is the term DRS. DRS stands for Drag Reduction System, and it is one of the most important tools a driver can use throughout the course of the race. Read on to learn more about DRS.

Definition of DRS

DRS stands for Drag Reduction System, and it is a fairly recent technological innovation that is used by drivers to overtake the car directly ahead of them. When a driver activates DRS, a flap in the back wing of their car will open up, which allows air to pass through. This will reduce the overall drag that the air has against the rear wing and the car itself, which has the effect of increasing the car’s straight-line speed. This system was introduced in the 2011 season to increase the amount of close distance, wheel-to-wheel racing, which is more exciting to watch from the spectator’s perspective.

When Can DRS Be Used?

DRS cannot be used whenever the driver pleases. There are two main rules that regulate the usage of DRS:

  • The car chasing another car in front can only activate DRS when it is within one second of the car in front (in terms of time interval behind the leader).
  • DRS can only be activated when both cars are within certain segments of the track called DRS zones.

Certain segments of the track are specifically designated as DRS zones, and this is done to limit the amount that a driver can utilize this tool to their advantage. These zones will typically be allocated to long, straight segments of the track where overtaking is ideal. However, special DRS zones may also be designated to shallow corner segments on specific tracks. Sharp corners are not typically designated as DRS zones because the high speeds made possible by the activation of DRS can make the car unstable in terms of handling, which in turn can lead to serious accidents and crashes.

How Is DRS Used?

Before drivers enter DRS zones, the speeds of their cars and their lap times are accurately measured by sensors within segments of the track called detection zones. It is here where drivers and teams are able to see whether or not they are allowed to use DRS because DRS can only be used when the car behind is within one second of the car ahead of it. If that is the case, the car behind is then allowed to use DRS, which is activated with the push of a button on the steering wheel of the car.

How Does DRS Help With Passing?

DRS helps with passing by temporarily changing the aerodynamic profile of the car and reducing wind resistance by the rear wing. One of the most important aspects that Formula 1 engineers and drivers are concerned about is the effect that aerodynamics has on the car. As the car moves forward at high speeds, the wind works against the body of the car and negatively affects its performance in terms of speed and handling. To reduce the negative effect of this wind resistance, Formula 1 Cars need to be designed in a streamlined manner to make sure that they cut through the air in the most effective way possible. This will allow the car to minimize the effect the wind has on the car, which in turn maximizes its overall performance on race weekends.