Mark Webber expects the new restrictions introduced on DRS this year will not make it less useful for overtaking.
As of this year drivers no longer have free use of DRS during qualifying. This was originally permitted to encourage teams to run long enough gear ratios for DRS to give a straight-line speed boost that was sufficient to aid overtaking.
Webber believes DRS will still give enough benefit despite the rules change: “I still think the delta between un-stalled and stalled is still attractive to teams to make it work,” he told media at the Circuit de Catalunya last week.
“[Gear] ratios obviously have to be allocated against a stalled wing as well in qualifying so it’s still in your interest to make DRS attractive. And that was one of the things which the teams, the technical guys were quite keen on.”
Several drivers wanted the use of DRS in qualifying to be restricted on safety grounds but engineers were concerned it could reduce the power of DRS.
“Obviously the drivers were not interested in what the technical guys had to say because they’re not driving the car,” said Webber. But he believes the solution is a good compromise: “They feel proud they’ll have a good DRS effect and also the ratios are in the right window. So I think everyone is happy.”
Extra DRS zones may be needed at most tracks to ensure DRS remains effective but Webber admitted there are some venues where this may not be possible: “I think that there will be some tracks we know the effect is a little bit less powerful: like Budapest, obviously, Monaco, it’s not really existing.
“So there is some venues, not many – it’s only probably ten percent of the calendar which is off the curve a little bit in terms of the effect at the rest of the tracks [where] it’s completely in your interest to have a good effect.”
Webber believes that taking DRS out of the equation in qualifying is the right way to go: “DRS was invented for overtaking and we want to keep that there for racing,” he said.
“In general DRS is a very positive intervention for Sunday’s racing. Why we need it for Friday and Saturday qualifying? Finally I think we’ve come to the right solution.
“The drivers were virtually unanimous in agreement that we don’t need to drive with it fully open for the whole lap. Let’s leave the DRS what it’s there for, which is racing on the straights and overtaking. That was the idea and we’re now in a good position.”
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