Kimi Raikkonen on F1 v NASCAR: ‘People can actually overtake without DRS’

Sam Cooper
Kimi Raikkonen smiling as he talks to the media. United States, March 2023.

Kimi Raikkonen is now aiding his son Robin on his journey through motorsport.

Following his return to NASCAR, Kimi Raikkonen said he believed it was like racing in F1 before DRS was introduced.

The Drag Reduction System or DRS was brought to F1 in 2011 meaning Raikkonen, who made his debut in 2001 had plenty of experience in the sport before the new innovation.

DRS has had its supporters but also its critics with some claiming it makes it too easy to overtake and also creates something termed as a ‘DRS train’ where cars become bunched up due to all being one second behind the car in front.

Raikkonen left F1 in 2021 and has since made fleeting appearances in NASCAR but was present at the Circuit of the Americas track in Austin last weekend and was able to comment on the difference between the two series.

“There are places you can overtake, and especially in F1, you don’t get a lot of circuits you can have a good race,” he said, as per “People can actually overtake without the DRS, and it feels more like a normal older-style F1 racing.

“The racing is slightly different because in F1 with open wheels, if you touch somebody you usually lose a car or lose the wheel.

“You cannot really take that risk in F1 that much because you lose tiny parts of the car, and your car is suddenly a second slower than it should be.

“In NASCAR, you can have a bit more closer racing. Obviously, the rules are different, they’re more open here.

“I think it’s more of if you kind of behave, well they’ll behave a similar way against you the way I’ve understood. It makes it more exciting at the end of the races when people can be quite aggressive.” recommends

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Not only is the fragility of the cars one of the biggest differences, but also the level of downforce with F1 cars able to travel at high speed through corners due to their aerodynamic design. Having driven the COTA track eight times including a win in 2018 in his F1 career, Raikkonen said it felt like “a completely different track” in a NASCAR car.

“Probably the most tricky corners for NASCAR, they’re not really for F1 cars because of the downforce,” he said. “It makes a huge difference in the track.

“All of the bumps the track has in F1 you get away with a lot because, again, the downforce helps and you don’t really feel it. But in a NASCAR car, the effect is quite big. It makes it a much more tricky track to drive and to get the car somewhat working as you wish.

“It’s a completely different track in many ways. It sounds stupid because it’s the same track, but the car makes it a lot different.”