Formula 1 to allow drivers to use DRS on opening lap

A number of changes are reportedly being considered by the Formula 1 hierarchy as they try to engage more fans.

Formula 1 is planning to allow the drivers to use DRS on the opening lap of the race, according to Tobi Gruner of Auto Motor und Sport.

DRS was first introduced in 2011, after a season in 2010 that did not feature KERS or help from the rear wing.

It followed a frustrating end to the 2010 campaign for Fernando Alonso, who headed into the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi leading the world championship from Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.

The German would win the race for the second year running, so the double world champion needed to finish fourth if he were to earn his third world title.

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However, he was stuck in sixth behind Renault’s Vitaly Petrov for much of the evening, so he was unable to make up the necessary ground.

The final race of the year was, in truth, a slightly anti-climactic one after such a terrific season of action, so F1 thought up a way of facilitating more on-track passing.

DRS gives drivers an additional 12mph on the straight, and when it was initially brought in, it was allowed to be used anywhere on the racetrack during practice and qualifying sessions.

In the race, it has only ever been permitted in allocated areas of the track, and it can be enabled on the third racing lap of the race, and the third lap after a Safety Car or red flag.

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Since 2013, practice and qualifying sessions have seen DRS enabled only in the designated zones.

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In 2011, 1,250 on-track overtakes were completed over the course of the season, compared with just 616 the year before, while 2012 saw 1,230 passes take place.

Gruner has indicated that, to improve the show, F1 is considering introducing DRS on the opening lap of the race, while a double qualifying method is also being touted during sprint weekends.

Also slated is a more frequent deployment of the full Safety Car in place of Virtual ones, which were introduced in 2015.