Aston Martin hit out at ‘lobbying’ F1 rivals with DRS agendas

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes driver George Russell opens his DRS at the 2023 Australian Grand Prix. Melbourne, April 2023.

Mercedes' George Russell opens his DRS at the 2023 Australian Grand Prix. Melbourne, April 2023.

Aston Martin boss Mike Krack says it is time for teams to put the brakes on questioning the lengths of DRS zones with their own interests in mind.

The Drag Reduction System [DRS] has long been a generator of great debate in Formula 1, this flap in the rear wing being a crucial tool for overtaking with drivers able to open it, dump drag and therefore gain a straight-line speed advantage on the car ahead down the straights.

There are two key factors though behind why this system has become a major talking point in recent times. First of all the dominant Red Bull team are believed to have come up with a DRS system which trumps that of rival teams, possibly worth up to three-tenths per lap for the reigning Constructors’ champs.

And then secondly, the decision to shorten the DRS zone down the main straight in Baku, host of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, by 100 metres, was followed by a rather dull race.

The subsequent round in Miami did feature far more racing action, though even there the FIA had decided to chip away 75m respectively from two DRS zones, while Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko made the suggestion that the changes have been made with them in mind.

The DRS chat has spread further throughout the grid, with drivers reportedly planning talks with F1 bosses over what they perceive to be a growing level of overtaking difficult overall in Formula 1 once more, with DRS playing its part.

But as for that DRS element, Krack wants decisions like the lengths of the zones to be left to F1’s decision makers, rather than the teams giving their input from biased perspectives.

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“We need to calm down a little bit all these discussions about the DRS being too long, the DRS being too short,” said the Aston Martin team principal, as per Speedcafe.com.

“This is something that the FIA and F1 are doing at the tracks and not everybody should go lobbying for what is best for themselves because then it is up and down all the time.

“At the end of the day, the purpose of the DRS is to ease overtaking. Unfortunately, it is one of the few tools that we have, and we have to leave the decision-makers to make the best [decisions] for the sport.”

DRS the next F1 political battleground?

It would not be Formula 1 after all if someone was not pointing to something that they felt was helping a rival and wanting a stop to be put to it.

Up until now though, at least publicly, comments from the drivers regarding overtaking difficulty, and the role of DRS in that, have not appeared to be weighted against any specific team.

Red Bull though feel like changes to the DRS zones represent an effort to rein in one of their key weapons, and albeit indirectly perhaps, this would seem to support Krack’s view that teams are “lobbying” the decision makers, motivated by what works well for them.

The FIA and Formula 1 at first glance are seemingly in a tricky spot, as while they do not want DRS making overtaking too easy, which has also been a common complaint in recent times, reducing the length of a zone can so quickly send it the other way and have the teams barking at them from the other side of the fence.

This is one of those situations which will continue to rumble on for the FIA, especially if they continue to take the axe to some of these DRS zones.