DRS staying initially in 2022 is a good idea, says Zak Brown

McLaren boss Zak Brown has shown his support for Ross Brawn’s plan to continue with the use of the Drag Reduction System for at least next year.

McLaren boss Zak Brown has shown his support for Ross Brawn’s plan to continue with the use of Formula One’s Drag Reduction System for at least next year, before it’s planned eradication at a later date.

A drastic overhaul of Formula One’s technical regulations is to come into force next season – the most radical changes being to the aerodynamic surfaces and wake sensitivity of the car. The underside becoming a particular focus of downforce production through ground effect in the hope of reducing dirty air and allowing closer racing – initially with the desire to eliminate the use of gimmicks, most notably DRS, on the spot.

Research shows that current F1 machinery lose 47% of their downforce within one car length of another. The 2022 car is said to reduce this percentage to 18%.

The shape of the 2022 car’s rear wing will create a rotating airflow wake which subsequently collects the rear wheel wake and sends it towards the flow exiting the rear diffuser. Eventhough teams will work to reduce this effect and produce downforce from it instead, the lingering dirty air behind the cars will reduce in strength.

Brown is optimistic the new regulations will have the desired positive impact on racing, which fans have craved since the last aerodynamic overhaul for 2017. But he believes the plan to keep DRS is a “good idea” just because any new regulations in F1 are a complete unknown, in terms of their impact, until at least pre-season testing and the first few races.

On a side note, expect to see teams send their car out deliberately behind another in pre-season testing a lot more so than usual, simply to collect any data it’s possible to find regarding the ease of following and overtaking. This data could dramatically influence early season race strategies.

“I think to keep DRS initially is a good idea, and then I think, much like the sprint race, let’s get these race cars on the track and figure out: Has it worked exactly as prescribed? Do they need modification? Do they need DRS? Do we need it for a shorter period of time?” stated Brown.

“All we’re working through is data and drawings and visuals, and until we see it on the track, we don’t know [but] everyone thinks conceptually what has been designed should work. But we won’t know until we get it on the track,” he concluded.

The mule car displayed prior to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone sparked debate and questions from fans as it didn’t feature any obvious DRS actuator on the rear wing. However F1 clarified the car’s status as simply a model built for the purpose of PR – less so for absolute technical accuracy.

F1 will study the effect of DRS in conjunction with the rule changes to analyse it’s impact and whether it’s worth keeping, adapting or removing from the sport altogether after the 2022 season.

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