FIA hopes to drop "necessary evil" DRS in 2021
FIA single-seater technical chief Nikolas Tombazis hopes that DRS will be dropped from the all-new 2021 F1 rule package, labelling the overtaking device a "necessary evil".
The power of the DRS has been increased with the new aero rules recently passed for 2019-'20, but that is seen as a temporary solution from the starting point of the current cars.
Tombazis is working on the 2021 rules in conjunction with FOM's team of engineers led by F1 chief technical officer Pat Symonds, and the hope is that DRS won't be necessary with the new aerodynamic package. F1 boss Ross Brawn has made no secret of his dislike of the system.
"It is right that there's this underlying discomfort with DRS, and I share it as well," said Tombazis. "I know Ross has made similar comments, and so on.
"We feel that DRS is the right thing to have in the present state of things. And 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 severely decrease DRS in the future, or even eliminate it.
"But until we get in a position where we are comfortable enough with the wake performance and how cars can follow each other I think it's something that I would call a necessary evil perhaps at the moment."
Tombazis is confident that the more powerful DRS will have a positive impact on racing in the interim seasons of 2019 and 2020.
"The DRS effect will increase by approximately 25-30%," he noted.
"That is the delta of the drag of the car when it opens the DRS and deploys it to current will be bigger, so the delta of speed of the following car will as a result be bigger by that amount. Hence the probability that you can approach the front car will increase."
Race director Charlie Whiting stressed that a key aim of the 2019 change was not to make overtaking easier as such, but to make DRS effective in more locations.
"The main advantage to us is we'll be able to make the DRS effective on shorter straights," said race director Charlie Whiting.
"At the moment we're trying to lengthen zones where we can, in places like Melbourne for example, maybe an extra DRS zone in Canada, those are the sort of places where with this extra power from the DRS we should be able to make them work a bit better."
Whiting stressed that the FIA carefully tunes the length of the DRS activation zone.
"We look at how effective the DRS is at each circuit, and then we try to tune it in order that you have to be within four-tenths of the car in front to make it work.
"Four-tenths is quite a difficult gap to get to, so if you can get to that, and you've got the length of straight, you should be alongside by the time you get to the braking point. That's how we do it now.
"If we can do that with shorter straights, it's going to work on more tracks. It won't be more effective in that sense if we still tune it in the same way.
"Even though it does have increased power, we'll be able to use it in more places, but we don't necessarily want to make overtaking on a given circuit easier. We still want the drivers to have to work for it."
Haas beefs up bodywork to stop parts breaking off
Alonso: WEC fan access wouldn't work in F1