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Monday, February 4, 2013

DRS use to be regulated during FP and Qualifying in 2013

Now I know that all of you already know this but it is worth making the point once more before the start of the season proper.

During Qualifying and Free Practice in 2013 the Regulations have banned "the free use of the DRS overtaking aid".  Next season its use will be restricted to the identified DRS zones at each racetrack.  Since 2011 it has been free to use at any location on the racetrack during practice and qualifying, the reasoning being that if teams could benefit from its use in qualifying they would design as effective a device as possible. If, on the other hand, it's use had been restricted, the teams might not have spent much effort on making the device viable.
However Race Director Charlie Whiting came out on foot of its ban saying 
We are going to prohibit the use of DRS in practice and qualifying except in the areas where it's going to be used in the race. We're doing that for safety reasons. We believe there have been a number of incidents (where drivers have lost control of the car testing the limits of the DRS) and drivers have told me it is becoming increasingly prevalent. We didn't want to have it in practice and qualifying before but we were worried we would not have effective DRS systems. Now all the information we have is that we will not see any reduction in the power of the DRS.
The DRS - or drag-reduction system - reduces rear downforce to boost straight-line speed.  It's use in a Grand Prix is restricted to specific zones one or two identified straights.

There will be a likely reduction in qualifying lap times from 2012 as a result, however the new Pirelli's are expected to compensate for that loss with improved lap times of up to half a second.