FIA hopes 'necessary evil' DRS can be removed post-2021

FIA Head of Technical Matters Nikolas Tombazis says it would be a "really nice outcome" for Formula 1 if DRS could be reduced, or even eliminated, after 2021, even though its impact will be greater under next year's tweaked regulations.

Formula 1’s Drag Reduction System was implemented in 2011 in order, with drivers able to open the rear wing flap in several areas of the circuit, providing a straight-line speed boost.

Under current regulations, drivers may use it in the specified zones in practice and qualifying, and when the pursuing driver is within one second of a rival in the race.

The DRS zones have been regularly tweaked, with the FIA trialling three zones for the first time at this year’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Formula 1 chiefs have been striving to amend regulations in order to allow drivers to follow each other more closely, with 2019 technical guidelines recently changed.

F1 had agreed to implement a simplified front-wing, with a larger span, and low outwash potential, as well as a wider and deeper rear-wing for 2019.

DRS will still be available next year, but Tombazis is hopeful that upcoming tweaks – and the intended outcome of any changes implemented in 2021 – will mean the “necessary evil” can be removed.

“We feel that DRS is the right thing to have in the present state of things,” he said.

“For 2021 we hope that the cars will be much more able to follow each other closely and it will be a really nice outcome if we can decrease DRS in the future or even eliminate it.

“But until we get in a position where we are comfortable with the wake performance and how cars can follow each other, I think it’s something that is what I would call a necessary evil perhaps at the moment.”

Tombazis added that the impact of DRS will be heightened next year due to the regulation tweaks.

“The DRS effect will increase by approximately by 25 to 30 per cent,” he said.

“That is the delta of the drag of the car when it opens the DRS; the current will be bigger so the delta speed of the following car as a result will be bigger by that amount.” 

FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting added that the increased impact of DRS next year will make it “[more] effective on shorter straights.

“At the moment, we are trying to lengthen zones where we can in places like Melbourne for example.

“[There will] maybe be an extra DRS zone in Canada, those are the sorts of places where I think with this extra power from the DRS we should be able to make it a bit better.”