The success of the 2022 regulation changes could result in the end of Formula 1’s drag-reduction system (DRS).
DRS was first introduced in 2011 as a system to encourage more overtaking during races.
The system features a movable flap on the rear wing of the car which opens to reduce aerodynamic drag, making it easier for the car to accelerate and allowing them to achieve higher top speeds.
Drivers can only activate DRS on certain straights (or sometimes just one straight) of a circuit in qualifying, and on race day they must be within one second of the car in front for them to be able to use DRS on these pre-determined straights.
At the reveal of the 2022 full-scale model car at Silverstone, DRS was notably missing.
However, F1 bosses have stated that DRS will remain a feature for at least one more season.
It is expected that DRS will be dropped if cars are able to follow closely thanks to the new 2022 regulations, which will see the return of the ground-effect and other significant changes to the cars’ aerodynamics.
McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said that keeping DRS in 2022 “is a good idea.”
“I think from everything everyone has told me, both within my team and others, everyone thinks it [the new rules] will work,” Motorsport.com quoted Brown as saying.
“But I think until you get it on track, you don’t know.
“So I think to keep DRS initially is a good idea, and then I think, much like the sprint race, let’s get these race cars on the track and figure out: Has it worked exactly as prescribed? Do they need modification? Do they need DRS? Do we need it for a less or shorter period of time?
“Everyone thinks conceptually, what has been designed should work. But we won’t know until we get it on the track,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff pointed out that: “DRS was implemented because the cars were so efficient in terms of downforce, and so equal in terms of performance that you weren’t really able to follow them.”
Wolff stated that he thinks DRS is currently a “fantastic part of the show”, but added that it could be rendered “obsolete” if the new regulations make it easier to follow.