Max, Hamilton disagree on axing of fourth DRS zone

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, touches his shirt collar. Australia, April 2022.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, puts his hand to his collar. Australia, April 2022.

Max Verstappen is at a loss as to why four DRS zones became three in Australia, but Lewis Hamilton backed the decision.

It marked a new record in Formula 1 when four DRS zones were announced for the series’ return to the revamped Albert Park, but on the Saturday morning, it was confirmed that the zone coming out of Turn 8, running down to Turn 9, had been dropped on safety grounds.

According to Sky Sports F1 pundit Karun Chandhok, it was Alpine’s Fernando Alonso who led the push for the decision in the drivers’ briefing, that claim coming from information that he had received from a team boss.

He added that several team managers were not happy with the timing of the decision, which arrived 20 minutes before FP3, while Verstappen can be added to those who are disgruntled about the removal of that DRS zone.

He does not understand the claim that this was done in the name of safety, saying it was safer than the DRS zones at the previous round in Saudi Arabia.

Max Verstappen's Red Bull during free practice for the Australian GP. Melbourne April 2022.
Max Verstappen's Red Bull with sparks flying during free practice for the Australian Grand Prix. Melbourne April 2022.

“With taking away one DRS zone, it’s going to be harder,” he told reporters in a press conference.

“I don’t really understand why they took it away, because it was much safer than what we do in Jeddah, for example.

“So, it’s a bit of a mystery to me why that happened. But yeah, we’ll give it our best.

“I mean, normally in the race, you know, the car stabilises a bit more, and it’s not so peaky, compared to finding the grip in qualifying. So, it naturally should be a little bit better.

“And I think my long run yesterday looked quite good in terms of how I felt. So hopefully, it will be the same tomorrow.”

Verstappen did not mention any names, but revealed that only team had made a complaint.

“There was only one team who complained about it and it got removed this morning so I don’t really understand because for me, it was way easier than doing it in, for example, in Jeddah because there was way more corners,” said the Red Bull driver.

“For me there was never any issue with driving there with the DRS open. So yeah, you have to ask I guess, the FIA, why they took it away. It’s a shame because it would have helped, you know, the racing.”


When Hamilton was asked about the decision to race on a DRS zone lighter, he was in favour of it, having found that when DRS was active at that section of the track, the porpoising became so bad in his W13 that he was having understeer, even though it is a straight.

“I think it was good that they took the DRS off,” said Hamilton, quoted by GPFans.

“We had so much porpoising down that back straight that I had an oversteer problem in the middle of the straight!

“I was like, ‘this is ridiculous’ but it wasn’t the case today.”

Verstappen starts the Australian Grand Prix from P2, while Hamilton will launch from P5.


Alonso 'shouted loudest' for DRS zone removal

Fernando Alonso was said to be a key voice behind the removal of a DRS zone in Melbourne, due to safety concerns.