Many Formula 1 drivers have slammed a new approach taken by Formula 1 chiefs in 2018 to add a third DRS zone in various circuits in order to aid overtaking, however leading drivers believe the move could result in artificial overtaking, as F1 announced the Red Bull Ring will feature a third DRS zone following attempts in Australia and Canada.
The Austrian Grand Prix, which has taken place at the Red Bull Ring for the last four years since its return, has always featured two DRS zones. However, following a lack of on-track overtaking, a third DRS zone has been added between Turns 2 and 4, however feature separate detection zones to avoid an unfair advantage to be gained.
Whilst the F1 chiefs are taking steps to improve overtaking this year, top drivers such as Sebastian Vettel have warned multiple DRS zones does not solve the problem, as it increases the possibility for more artificial overtaking, as the German compared it to playing “Mario Kart”.
“I don’t know if it is a solution to put in [extra] DRS zones,” said Vettel.
“Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people that maybe like the idea of Mario Kart, including myself, I played it when I was young, but then again I think it shouldn’t get artificial. We will see how it works out.
“Maybe it helps with overtaking and so on, but if you end up driving past another car it isn’t very exciting either.
“There is more tension and more excitement if the car is behind and maybe something will happen rather than just sailing past.”
Likewise, Vettel’s Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen believes overtaking at the Red Bull Ring will be significantly easy, given half the track are DRS zones.
“Half of the track is DRS, so it should make it pretty easy. I don’t know if it’s too easy or not.
“Obviously we want overtaking but there must be a point where it’s kind-of artificial overtaking. But let’s see.”
Whilst the two Ferrari drivers were critical of the move, Formula 1 championship leader Lewis Hamilton had the opposing viewpoint, and believes the extra DRS zone is the correct way to go until the “fundamentals” of Formula 1 improves.
“I think ultimately they’re doing that to try and make racing more exciting because it’s not exciting enough, and the fundamentals are too big to change within the season,” Hamilton said.
“We’re trying to make the best with what we have. I think the way they’ve got it set up, you can get DRS in one zone, you can overtake, and then the other guy can get DRS in the next part.
“So it could be good maybe. It’s not particularly the easiest of tracks to follow on, so it will be interesting.”