Video guide to KERS and DRS with Sebastian Vettel

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Sebastian Vettel explains the basics behind Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems and Drag Reduction Systems (adjustable rear wings) in this video produced by Red Bull:

Update: You can also watch the Mark Webber version of this video.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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76 comments on “Video guide to KERS and DRS with Sebastian Vettel”

  1. Wow, overtake zones, invisible distances, I’ve known about them, but seeing them depicted just made me realize how video-gamey the whole thing looks, which is awful for F1, imo.

    Cheap-shot: wow, 2 Red Bulls racing close to each other and not crashing?

    1. True.

      Where’s the God-mode cheat?

      KERS is ok as it is equal for all and you can put your car a bit closer in towards the car your following allowing you to then overtaker as per normal.

      DRS (the rear wing) is just stupid. No one cares about overtakes where you are way faster and just fly past down a striaght, people remember back and forths, eau rouge with hakkinen and schumacher etc…

      1. I’m inclined to agree with you at this stage.. I will reserve my final judgement on DRS until I see it used in anger but my early impression, like yours, is that if it’s too easy to pass and the leading driver is akin to a sitting duck then nobody will care about the overtake..

      2. There will be back and forths, it will just take exactly one lap for each.

        Picture two evenly matched cars who can manage to stay within a second of each other – say Webber and Vettel – Vettel overtakes Webber on lap N, then Webber gets back in front on lap N+1, then Vettel goes back in front on lap N+2 until the penultimate lap when one or the other overtakes for the win.

        I can see a driver refusing to overtake on the 3rd last lap to ensure they are in position to overtake on the penultimate lap.

        Or perhaps a leader will slow down to let a very close car overtake just before the one second measuring point on the penultimate lap…

        1. Or two drivers working as a team can use the two and fro of this to increase their overall combined speed over a race distance.

          You would need two drivers to work together, and how would the final result be determined (prior to the race)?

          1. Like they do in cycling, or cross country skeeing to change who does the hard work up front?

      3. Agree. The DRS looks like the “Catch Up” option on many racing games where the car behind (unfairly) runs faster to help it catch up with the car in front.
        I understand the idea of that option was to improve the show (or the gameplay, in this case) but I always turned it off when possible.

    2. Louis. My thoughts exactly. The Red Bull Drivers last year couldn’t do that for that long….. :)

  2. I’m looking forward to seeing these devices in action. I Thinking about it now, its a good thing that there are set places for the driver to deploy the rear wing. They will still have to make up time to be close enough to overtake. I apreciate that it’s only a computer generated video but I reckon there will still need to be some skill involved and that this overtaking business may not be “that” easy.

    But thats just my opinion, we’ll just have to wait and see I suppose.

  3. Fans want a way of knowing when a driver is using KERS.

    Have the cars glow blue like in the video. Simple :)

    1. Not unlike those GT cars, with the lights in the doors?? That would actually look very cool, probably not practical but very cool. :)

      1. They could make the tyres appear red in broadcast when cars are using KERS. I’m not sure how hard would be to implement something like that though.

        1. Thats a great idea too. I dont know how difficult it would be but it would certainly look very cool.

          1. It wouldn’t be hard at all, but i doubt they would want to do it. F1 is missing a lot of the cool stuff you find in Nascar.

            I’m talking about digital on screen stuff, not actual racing. F1 is so much better than Nascar.

        2. Onboard shots where we see the throttle/brake input could also have a Kers on/off indicator on-screen. Easiest solution.

          1. That’s what they did in 2009 – it was a little orange battery icon showing the KERS charge, that glowed yellow when it was pressed.

        3. Oh I hate those stupid graphics they smear all over the screen in NasCar! God no!

      2. That would be great. Like the leds on the car in the SWIFT idea for next years Indy cars.

    2. Awesome! :D Cover the cars in blue LEDs and when they use KERS, they light up! Would look epic at Singapore! Maybe not so pleasant for other drivers though? xD

      1. That would make for some fairly knarly slo mo photos too wouldn’t it. :D

        1. Bring it on!

          I want to see that flash of light they showed in the rendered video here.

          1. Maybe they should just have pop-up infos like in the F1 2010 game, with “distance to next car”.. in fact, why not just make the drivers just play a 24-player network round of F1-2010?

  4. I wonder what the DRS and KERS at same time would do to you at end of the straight…kers effects the braking so, faster speed, less downforce and crappy brakes…clearly recipe for disaster

    1. Not really, although I’m not sure how KERS effects braking (from what they were saying in ’09 it sounded more than a simple reduction) but the difference in speed isn’t likely to be too high due to gearing, probably 15kph max. I wouldn’t expect the FIA to make the rear wing zone go right up to the braking zone either, and even if they did it reverts to the standard position as soon as you touch the brakes.

      I think an F1 driver would probably realise they have to break 10m earlier or whatever in any case, and most heavy braking zones lead into a fairly wide corner in case you outbrake yourself.

      1. The cars would have to brake earlier? Well that’s going to kill overtaking.

        God, if only they’d just let the impact of the new tyres be measured independently first instead of slapping on 3 different changes in one go.

    2. the wing would be put back to normal position for the corners though and the kers would not be used right before a corner

  5. Always nice to see these video’s from red bull.

    Love Kers, good tech that can be used freely. Really hate the DRS, dumb tech constrainted to rediculous restrictions.

  6. Love these little vids Red Bull make! They should make an “F1 for Dummies” series to introduce people to the sport!

  7. What an inaccurate video. The cars didn’t even crash into each other once…

    1. LMAO for a good 5 mins

  8. Come on guys, since Istanbul we all know that these two can’t race that close to each other without crashing :-P

  9. These simulations are more realistic than F1 videogames.

  10. If a driver uses the ARW outside an overtaking zone, would he get penalised?

    1. Chris Pattison
      14th March 2011, 19:29

      As far as I’m aware the ARW only becomes active when in the overtaking zone. So pressing the button outside of this area (during a race) will have no effect.

    2. I think he can’t use it outside the overtaking zone as it is controlled by ECU.

      1. Which is controlled by the race director (or whoever he delegates it to).

  11. Great production by RedBull as always,
    Favourite part was at the end where it showed the drafting.

    I think I remember RedBulls 2009 video production had Webber and Vettel spinning into each other all the time? No Joke. I must find it to see if my memory is still what it use to be!

    @Spud – You should send an email to Bernie, because Blue lights on the sides when they engage KERS is the best idea I have heard for a long time! Imagine the photo’s at the night races in Singapore and Abu Dhabi!

    1. 1:50 was what I was thinking of, but I remembered it to be more violent.

    2. The drafting part was my favorite as well. It did a great job of illustrating how the disturbed airflow causes drag on the trailing car.

    3. Cheers mate. I kinda robbed the idea from some GT racing I saw in Dubai last week but it would look so cool.

      And some better on screen graphics like from NASCAR would be really cool too. :)

  12. i see a problem: if a driver is very close behind another driver, and uses his DRS on a long straight like in china, he could pass the other car with half the straight still to go! and the other driver can’t possibly counter attack.

    1. But if he goes into the slipstream of the car that just passed him, he may be able to use the tow and his own DRS button to counter attack.

      1. Im afraid that wont happen. He wont be able to redeploy and attack until next lap as they will have passed the timing loop that decides you are close enough and activates the wing.

        1. Ah, I see now. DRS is kinda crappy then.

      2. yeah he won’t be able to use his DRS to counter. shame…

        1. If he could, could he not create a better slipstream for the guy behind him anyway?

          1. wait, what? even in the slipstream of the car that has just overtaken you, you won’t be able to keep up as the DRS is more effective than a slipstream…

    2. I seem to remember some side-by-side action half way down the straight at china last year?

      1. yeah that’s great! but… this year we’ll see that but with no counter attacking… :(

    3. This is unlikely to happen due to the FIA and where they position the overtaking zone. They are likely to be towards the end of straights so there is still some skill required and some late braking.

      That is the hope and its all in the FIA hands. They can tweak it either way. My opinion is give each car 20/30 movements during the race and let them do what they want during the race. Have the remaining numbers next to the drivers name on screen.

      This gets rid of all the complicated rules, timings and most importantly wont limit passing to the ARW zone. having one zone will be the easiest and least risky place to pass meaning if your not sitting there your not likely to see and overtaking attempts at all.

    4. Technically.. shouldn’t the driver who has just been overtaken halfway through the straight, be able to activate his DRS as well? (He is now within 1 second of the car in front)

      1. No. Look at the video again. There will be a designated timing zone. Lines painted on the track, this will be where the gap is measured and ARW activated or not for the following car.

        Way to complicated, fake and rubbish for people sitting at the track on an old overtaking spot where now no drivers will bother risking it…maybe.

    5. The drivers will ONLY be able to use the DRS at the very end of the main straight. Currently the final 600m of the straight. The FIA may choose to adjust that if there’s too much/not enough overtaking, but currently the length of the straight at the circuits will have no bearing on the length of the overtaking zone where the DRS can be used, as it will be a standard 600m at all circuits.

  13. How bout instead of all this gimmickry, we just stop letting tilke design tracks….

    1. The Webber version still has Vettel’s finger in the air at the beginning.

    2. I like the Webber version a bit more. Probably about Mark, but also he is more accurate for example saying the DRS can give 7-13 Kmh more instead of 10 kmh.

      1. I like the Webber version better because Vettel thinks the energy is sent to the “back of the wheels”…!

  14. Anyone who takes this video as gospel needs to take it with a pinch of salt. Everyone (except a couple of teams) is running both KERS and DRS. Levels the playing field.

    1. Alistair Nieuwoudt
      15th March 2011, 0:29

      They both clearly state in their videos that most teams have KERS and all have DRS. But your untamed hatred of Red Bull is to be commended. :)

    2. They do say so with the KERS being best for the start to go forward of defense position (Webber even says this is because most cars have it)

      1. Maybe this will increase the value of getting a good start. Either you’re on pole so you can save some KERS to pull away, or you’re rocketing through the grid and then get an even better boost (e.g. Hamilton Nurburgring ’09)

  15. I think they should let them use it all the time like in qualy. In race, if you forget to use it, you get passed. Simply as that.

  16. Say what you might, but these videos are really cool in a complete unrealistic way. A great way to lure non fanatics into F1.

  17. As someone who adores the F Zero Nintendo series (among many more racing games, this is at least the most technical arcade game, though my favorite is Mario Kart), especially F Zero X, I quite like the massive reintroduction of KERS and the adjustable rear wing.

  18. funny how Vettel is on pole and webber qualifies p4 in the vid… :D

  19. Beautifully explained here.

  20. Okay, so if you need 1.5 seconds to make a pass stick, how much time does the DRS offer?

  21. Sorry, cant view the video. When does the ARW deactivate after a pass. The moment the driver overtakes or at the end of the straight?

    I seriously dont get why they have reintroduced KERS though, just another distraction for the drivers to deal with. Should of been one or another although KERS limited like DRS. Having it non limited renders it pointless imo.

    1. The rear wing drops as soon as they hit the brake pedal. Or it can be dropped by the driver if he pushes the button a second time.

  22. Cheers Bas,

    Whats the chances of getting a pass around Circuit de Catalunya?? lol.

    1. I think it might be just a tad higher whit these rear wings and some faster drivers finding themselves behind slower ones due to pitstop strategy.

      Still not too much hope of seeing heaps of them, rather seeing the cars in heaps if it goes wrong ;-)

    2. So long as they don’t use the main straight as the zone, the cars would never get to within a second of each other coming out of the chicane. Hard to see any part of the circuit where they would, actually!

  23. red bull should add this blue effects to it’s livery.

  24. Funny they use Youtube to promo. this,but if you post any thing from a real GP….B.E. is all up in arms about it.

  25. Since K.E.R.S. got Kers as it’s name, do we call D.R.S. something like Drs?

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