June 11, 2011
Passing made easier at Grand Prix
By Dean McNulty, QMI Agency
Expect to see a lot more passing Sunday at the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix.
First, because of its low downforce configuration, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve track is already known as a place where passing is easier than at most venues.
But the FIA, with the backing of F-1 drivers, has ruled that there will be two DRS (Drag Reduction System) zones on the Ile Notre Dame road course to make passing even easier on Sunday.
The DRS is a system that allows drivers to adjust the rear wing on their race cars in certain areas of the track. It gives the driver an additional tool to assist with passing.
On most tracks this season the FIA has designated only one area where the DRS can be used, but at Montreal there will be two.
The FIA decided to try out having a zone out of the final hairpin and another along the start-finish straight.
And most drivers, of course, think it is a great idea.
“You could argue that it is probably too much to have two DRS zones, but it is a good idea to at least try it once and then afterward we will know,” Renault driver Nick Heidfeld said.
Heikki Kovalainnen agreed that any chance to make passing easier would be good for everybody, teams, drivers and fans.
“I am very interested to see how a double DRS zone works on back-to-back straights; I think it will be good,” he said. “Let’s see what happens because it is a new thing and I don’t think everyone understands fully, but here we have an ideal place to try it.”
Not all drivers think that having a pair od DRS zones for the Canadian GP is a necessarily a good thing.
Jenson Button, the 2009 world champion and McLaren Mercedes driver, said that just because there might be more passing with the two DRS zones, he didn’t feel that would translate into better racing.
“I am not sure how the DRS is going to work here, because on the first DRS zone (hair pin) it should be easy to overtake,” he said. “Then, as you exit the chicane across the start-finish line, you can DRS again so you pull away from the guy you have overtaken — and they cannot fight back.”
Button disagreed that it was actually two zones. He said his view was that it really would be just one long DRS zone between the hair pin and the start-finish line.
“It is not like I thought it was going to be where we had two activation zones, it is just one activation zone at the hairpin,” he said. “So you can use it all the way down the straight and use it out of the chicane. It is going to help the overtaking but I don’t think it is going to help the racing.”
The real winners will be the fans.
The proposed DRS zones come at a point on the track where the lragest number grandstands are situated and that will certainly make those patrons happy.