Ross Brawn calls for changes to ‘clearly proving to be too powerful’ DRS

Sam Cooper
Ross Brawn speaks to reporters. Imola April 2022.

Formula 1 managing director of motorsports, Ross Brawn. Imola April 2022.

Ross Brawn believes the drag reduction system that helps cars overtake each other is “clearing proving to be too powerful.”

The system, commonly referred to as DRS, was introduced in 2011 and allows the drivers to open a flap on their rear wing in order to increase the top speed and encourage more overtaking.

The system has its limitations though as a driver can not open it unless they are within one second of the driver ahead of them when they cross the DRS detection zone. Each track also has a limit from usually one to three zones where DRS can be deployed.

While it encouraged overtakes upon its introduction, it seems to have titled too far with the common theme of a ‘DRS train’ where drivers all follow each other without overtaking becomingly increasingly common.

Drivers are also less adversed to go for risky overtakes if they know they can just breeze past their opponent half a lap later.

Brawn, who recently retired as the managing director of motorsports for F1, believes the sport should not be afraid to reduce the effectiveness of DRS.

“The one thing we know is fans, and we know this because we don’t like it, they don’t like the ‘go down the straight, pop the DRS, overtake, drive fast, pull a gap’ all of that,” he told

“I think in an ideal world DRS is used just to get on the back of someone, so you can really have a decent attack.”

The former Ferrari man commented that the purpose of DRS has been shifted from allowing drivers to get close to one another to allowing them to produce easy overtakes.

Brawn highlighted the example of the Australian Grand Prix this year which had a DRS zone designed to push drivers closer together.

“If you remember, they had four DRS zones and someone managed to persuade them to take one of them off, which was very annoying,” Brawn said.

“Those DRS zones were not about overtaking there and then it was about getting on the back of someone to be able to attack them in the next complex. And that’s the ideal world.

“I think we shouldn’t be afraid to reduce the DRS in places like Monza, because it does seem a bit ‘you get on the back of them, press the button, overtake.’ It’s a bit ritualistic, isn’t it?

“It’s not very impressive. And so we shouldn’t be afraid to reduce the use of DRS where it’s clearly proving to be too powerful.”

Brawn is not alone in his criticism and in May, four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel said he would like to see a return to the pre-DRS days.

“We do rely on the DRS probably more than in the past, to some extent,” the German said.

“The interesting bit would be to take the DRS off and see how the racing really is, if you are able to overtake a lot better than in the past.

“I’m only a bit cautious for the DRS, because it was brought in as an assistance to help overtaking but now it feels a bit like it’s the only thing that allows you to overtake at times.”

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