Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2012

Drivers warned over abusing track limits to get DRS

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2012F1 drivers are being reminded to avoid using the run-off areas and kerbs to gain an advantage during this weekend’s race, including in the DRS zones.

Particularly attention will be paid to the turns six, nine and twelve on the Yas Marina circuit, all of which are chicanes, where drivers may not cut the corners by using the track behind the apexes.

The turn eight and nine chicane and the DRS zone beyond it will also be a focus of attention if two drivers are jostling for position and one of them goes over the run-off.

Race control will also take a dim view of drivers who arrive at the corner marginally in front of a rival, cut the corner and rejoin the track further ahead than they were.

Similarly drivers may not use their DRS in the second zone after turn ten if they cut the corner at turns eight and nine, allowing them to reach the detection point close enough to another car to use DRS.

Drivers will be reported to the stewards if they commit any of these transgressions.

The two DRS zones for this weekend’s race at Yas Marina are the same as they were last year.

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Image ?? Ferrari/Ercole Colombo

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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65 comments on “Drivers warned over abusing track limits to get DRS”

  1. I think that the DRS thing is just ridiculous

    1. I agree. We no longer see exciting overtaking manoeuvres because it’s easier and less risky for a driver to simply press a button which allows him to drive clean past on a straight. Very boring and gimmicky.

      1. With the challenges coming in 2014 on fuel limits, I think they should keep DRS but let drivers use it anytime they want. They’re going to need every advantage they can get to wring extra performance out of the fuel they have and reducing drag on the straights is an obvious solution.
        But, I do agree they need to totally stop all the silly rules about only cars behind can use it to create the artificial passing they are doing today.

        1. @daved, I would rather they dropped DRS altogether and forced the designers to adopt low-drag designs to make the fuel last rather than adopt fuel-saving strategies, imagine the possibility of the #2 driver being used to tow the #1 driver down the DRS zone thereby allowing the #1 driver to have a fuel/power advantage in the closing laps of the race and the #2 driver losing ground like Kimi on a set of 50 lap-old tyres.

          1. But I see DRS, and any movable aero bits, as part of the strategy for improving the speed of the cars while at the same time making them more efficient. Why view DRS or turbochargers or anything else that helps as “bad” and limit them? I want the cars to go as fast as they can on the straights and have grip in the turns. And DRS lets them do both while being more efficient on fuel. So just let them use it all they want. Same goes with KERS. Why do they limit how much energy they can store and reuse? THAT hurts performance. I want F1 to be FAST.

            If they’re going to limit how much fuel they can use and force them to be efficient, then why not do everything possible to keep their performance up as “the fastest, most technologically advanced racing in the world”???

    2. DRS in theory is good thing, but unless you’re in P1 you should be able to deploy DRS in the same fashion you deploy KERS but can only be used 30 times and you can use in the first lap. Everyone but Vettel , I mean anyone whose leading the race can use it . Not just on the straights, anywhere on the track .

      There has to be some element of Death F1 racing , if you deploy going through high speed corner you’ll reduce the drag on the car …….yet you also run the risk of the back end of your car stepping out and in a blink of an eye you’re in the wall.

      DRS needs to modified how it’s implemented.

      1. I actually like the system they use in FR3.5. They also have DRS, but it’s in countdown fashion – they start out with “x” (don’t remember how much exactly) seconds for the whole race and if it reaches 0, they can’t use it anymore.
        They can use it at any time they wish. Both attack and defend.

        This could be good in F1 too. Use too much of it in the beginning of a race and you will possibly have a hard time at the end. Whereas a leader can compensate not running DRS in the beginning of the race, but can use it when e.g. he has to make up places after a puncture or whatever.

        1. In F.R3.5 we’ve seen drivers just deploy to defend as soon as they see their rival deploy it making it useless once more.

          I think this would be the best:

          1) You can activate DRS whenever you wanted in certain zones on the track.
          2) You get DRS for x seconds every race.
          3) You can choose to close DRS when you could use it to save x-seconds.
          4) DRS cannot be used in the first lap but will be active from the second lap.
          5) DRS has to be openend in certain zones at a certain line and cannot be openend in that zone for example in the middle. It can however be openend and closed in the middle as stated in 3.

          1. That might be a good idea, but I think it’s just to complicated. One of CVC’s obvious aims is to bring F1 to a wider audience and make it more enjoyable (this may or may not be a “good thing”), but rather complex rules won’t help and neither does DRS per se.

          2. “In F.R3.5 we’ve seen drivers just deploy to defend as soon as they see their rival deploy it making it useless once more.”

            What’s wrong with using it to defend? If their speed is comparable I see no problem with this. If the driver behind is on a charge, the driver in front could decide for himself whether he wants to “throw away” all DRS by defending against a competitor that’s faster anyway.

            DRS should not be a guaranteed ticket to pass. Therefore it’s usage for defending is actually a good idea imo.

            By the way, your proposal doesn’t exclude DRS for defending.

          3. Yes it does. You could just use it whenever you want. Whether that is when you are alone on track, with a car in front or behind you. Thus you could use it to defend.

          4. That’s exactly what I said – that it doesn’t exclude DRS for defending (which you seemed to be opposed to in your initial reaction).

        2. They use similar system in Brazilian stock car series, I think they call it “overtake button” and they can use it for 10/12 times per race.

      2. Why unless you’re in P1? Why should the leader be unfairly disadvantaged?

        That’s why I don’t like DRS – not so much that it makes overtaking easy because you will still get slipstream passes, but because it handicaps the lead driver.

        1. Totally agree! But why stop all DRS? Why not just let the drivers use it whenever they want? We don’t tell them how much to use the accelerator or the breaks. DRS gives the cars more performance so why do we limit that artificially and only to certain positions?

      3. I don’t think it’s good for cars on the lead lap to be able to use DRS on backmarkers, i.e. vettel is in P1 and lapping Marussia, Caterham, etc, he should not be allowed to have DRS as he’s not passing someone he’s actually racing against.

        1. @beejis60 “lead driver” was referring to anybody who is ahead of somebody with DRS available.

          However, I don’t see the problem with that anyway. They should be getting out of the way regardless, so if they get a bit of DRS to help then it doesn’t make a difference – it’ll make up for the lost time behind them (since they aren’t racing) anyway!

    3. And when they just let themselves past expecting to repass via DRS…

  2. This is starting to get really confusing. One racing weekend the drivers can use whatever part of the tarmac at their discretion as long as they don’t overtake, the next racing weekend they are forbidden to do so if they gain something – not even a place or retaining a place but also being a bit closer to the car in front.

    Some of the notable moments: we saw Hamilton getting pole at Spa by going fully outside the white lines at Eau Rouge. We have seen Alonso in Korea (was it?) going all fours outside the white lines on practically every lap. I’m sure Vettel also tends to use the run-offs at various places.

    There should be a line drawn (pun not intended…) regarding this matter that spans the whole season, not just rules imposed by individual stewards at particular races. It should be clear what’s allowed and what not.

    1. This. There should be one rule, and one rule only. All four wheels beyond the white line, and you weren’t forced offtrack by debris or another car? Automatic penalty.

      If you want to allow the cars beyond the current location of the white line, MOVE THE LINE.

      1. You still need to allow a driver to avoid a collision (not of his making) without penalty.

  3. Is there any point in saying we wouldn’t have these kind of rules if the tarmac run-off zones would be replaced by grass (or grass surrogates if the climate doesn’t like grass)? Probably not.

    1. It’s a desert, how hard can it be to build sandtraps. They are more safe than the run-off areas anyway.

      1. No. Sand traps cause car flipping. I would prefer them but they are no way safer.

      2. What they need to do is surround the track edge (outside) the white line with a one metre wide ribbon of Teflon ;-)

        They can have their safety run- off areas or and traps or whatever beyond that one metre ribbon but it would totally stop the drivers using it if they were going to be clearly disadvantaged..

        1. Spikestrips > Teflon :)

    2. No point in saying so, no @andae23. We all know that, but can’t do much about it right now. The upside is, that 1) the drivers get told before the event and 2) the FIA tells us about that as well, avoiding confusion about potential punishments.

      1. @bascb Good point, at least now we know.

      2. @bascb There are far more viewers, both casual and serious, that do not read everyday F1 news than the visitors to sites like these. I would estimate maybe 1-2% of total viewership probably will know about these “warnings” provided if Brundle or whoever does not tell the TV audience.

        1. no kidding @beejis60 there are people who do not follow F1Fanatic??

          Seriously, given that this information was handed out to all the F1 media I seriously doubt that it will not be mentioned in just about every TV coverage of the race.

    3. @andae23 I am not a fan of gravel trap but I’d welcome more grass. I did notice drivers going “off-limits” consistently in India and some said they did that “because they had poor visibility approaching some turns and to make the turn well without crossing the bounds they had to slow down”…

      For me, if a driver gets a penalty for overtaking someone while violating track limits, drivers should get penalties for gaining time by going beyond track limits.

    4. I always see grass or sand traps being suggested as the alternatives to the tarmac run-off we have on most tracks now. But surely there could be some compromise surface that could offer the safety/stability of tarmac but far less grip, causing a similar penalty to (say) grass but without risk of damaging the car, flipping/launching car in the air etc.

      It seems to me that something like this would prevent a lot of the debates over possible advantage leaving the track both during the race and in qualifying.

      1. But surely there could be some compromise surface that could offer the safety/stability of tarmac but far less grip

        This is a contradiction. You want as much grip as possible so that cars slow down as much as possible when they are sliding towards the tyre barriers.


        1. The tarmac/asphalt run-off area should be extra grippy, so no damage to the car or the driver, but it would ruin the tires. That way it would punish the driver for making a mistake.

          1. Isn’t this the exact system that they have in place at Paul Ricard?
            If we want to deter drivers from going off the track, especially in the Pirelli era, then zones which maximise tyre grip and in the process, virtually destroy the tyres to force a pitstop is about as good as it gets.

            It could have helped to stop Webber hurtling into the tyre wall after hitting Heikki at Valencia a few years back, and perhaps even have stopped Maldonado taking out Lewis (also at Valencia) last year.

            Given all of the problems caused by going off circuit to gain an advantage, thinking about it, I’m surprised that this isn’t the norm already. If the technology exists, why doesn’t the technologically advanced and safety conscience world of modern F1 embrace it?

          2. Webber went airborne in that incident, landed upside down. It is only something like a hook that would have prevented Webber from either taking off or sliding into the barrier after landing upside down.

    5. I have a different solution. Keep tarmac run-offs, but introduce leveling that makes the F1 track 1-2cm higher than the run-off. From the safety perspective, there is no change (if the run-offs are higher than the main track car flipping is bound to occur, but vice-versa the elevation works in favour of safety). On the other hand, there will be no advantage in crossing track lines because that A) would damage the tyres, b) handling will be difficult when two wheels are on track and the other two on lowered run-off.

  4. Is it just me or is their an unusual amount of attention for this going off-track thing. It’s at every race since Grosjean brilliantly but illegally passed Massa.

    What happend to common-sense. There are plenty of shots of people letting other drivers back through after an illegal overtake pe-hungary.

    I do think the stewards have to choose. Either they say the drivers cannot go off-track and will be penalised for it whether that is during an overtake or not. Or they just say it’s no problem if it doesn’t happen to much but never during an overtake. Or like in India just mess it up royally and allow the drivers to do whatever they want.

    1. @ardenflo

      It’s at every race since Grosjean brilliantly but illegally passed Massa.

      I’d say it started a bit sooner than that. At Australia in 2011 Button got a penalty after cutting the inside of a corner while passing Massa, yet Vettel did not get one after going off the track while overtaking another car:

      F1 needs to clear up rules on off-track overtaking

      There was further discussion last year after Hamilton passed Rosberg off the track in Bahrain. The FIA then issued a clarification about gaining an advantage by going off the track (at the time more attention was paid to what they had to say about defensive driving):

      FIA issues new clarification on defensive driving

      Vettel was one of the first to fall foul of this in Germany last year:

      Vettel demoted to fifth with 20-second penalty
      F1 finally cracks down on track limits abuse

      Grosjean’s penalty is one of several recent examples of the rule being enforced, along with incidents involving Ricciardo and Hulkenberg in subsequent races:

      Drivers respond slowly to FIA track limits crackdown

      Though some of these calls were more borderline than the Vettel one – Grosjean in particular only very narrowly put all four wheels outside the line.

      1. Part of the problem is Vettel was on the outside of the corner, Button was on the inside of the corner. This despite the fact that Massa should have been penalized earlier for blocking into the preceding corner. I like the idea of Chris below having time added at the end of the race. Or just put razor wire a car width outside of the white line at all corner exits to keep drivers from going out (YES THIS WAS A JOKE, I understand people would die if this was implemented.)

      2. It was always a rule, and in Britain 2010 Alonso got penalised for it, but it is getting a lot more attention now than at the start of the year.

        They need to be consistent, and maybe a revision of the penalties awarded is needed, e.g. points (as I believe is happening), or +1 second at the end of the race. Something like that is needed.

        But like @ardenflo said, they either need to do one or the other.

        1. @strontium Alonso went across the inside of a corner (Club), not the outside.

          1. Ah yeah I suppose so

  5. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    31st October 2013, 10:45

    What about a system that accurately measures the amount of time the car spends with 4 wheels over the white line during the course of a race, and then the time is added to their total race time?

    1. So someone could be third on the road, but demoted to fifth after the race? Not going to make easy for the ocassional viewer to follow is it?
      Even worse would be someone arguing that he was forced off the track because the driver in front deliberately baulked him on the apex and appealing against the decision to have any time added . . .
      The Stewards could be deliberating for weeks!

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        31st October 2013, 11:12

        It was just a basic hypothetical. lol.

        1. I think you are secretly a Steward who is looking for extra work! ;-)

  6. DRS has destroyed racing in every sense of the word. No one is fooled into thinking that a DRS pass is a real pass. I’m sure the drivers would agree as well but wouldn’t it be great if the drivers themselves made the decision not to use DRS again? All they would have to do is not press that button! However, getting all the drivers to agree could be tricky :D

    1. Good idea, but impossible to get.
      DRS= Destroy Racing Spirit

      We should get rid of these tarmac run-offs. Or at least replace them by grass for about 2 meters, then put tarmac again.

      1. I was thinking the other about 5 meter wide sand/gravel trap that follows the track. And a tarmac run off of course. It should slow down the car a bit, punish for the drivers going off, but not make them flip or anything.

  7. Zantkiller (@)
    31st October 2013, 11:37

    What about turn 10?

    I remember Vettel making a pass on Grosjean where he went on an area between the white line and the wall.

    Is that counted as part of the track?

    1. @zantkiller

      I remember Vettel making a pass on Grosjean where he went on an area between the white line and the wall.

      Is that counted as part of the track?

      No, which is why Vettel gave the position back after making that move under advice from his team, as mentioned in the race report.

      1. Zantkiller (@)
        31st October 2013, 11:57

        ahh I forgot about that

        Thanks for clearing that up.

    2. Btw, why isn’t the white line next to the wall instead of painting it 2 meters from it? …

  8. you know, there are 3 things they screwed up in this sport, DRS, limiting tires and new tracks with ample run-off.
    This sport is becoming really silly, you can’t say anymore being at the top in F1 there is no room for error, because in fact there is, there is plenty of room for error and forgiveness, allowing the mediocre drivers to make mistakes and get back on the track.

    These new run offs obviously add another factor where you can cheat and get an advantage, and any incidents can be argued by both parties until they are blue in the face. what happened to the sand traps? No one will ever talk about this nonsense if sand traps existed, go ahead go through the sand trap to gain an advantage!
    We never talk about this at the classic tracks in Europe and street tracks.

    What has this sport become? forgiving and “very safe”. Where is the thrill of danger anymore and high level of skill it takes to keep it on the track 60-70 laps? These course make Maldonado type drivers look good.

    I am almost done with this sport, once I turn my head I am never coming back.

    1. Try to remember please, that Formula 1 is not a sport. It’s a show…

      1. In your opinion, not in everybody else’s

  9. For me DRS has no place in F1 but I can understand the temptation for drivers to cut a corner in order to get within a second of the car in front in order to qualify to use his DRS. That said, it seems a no brainier to me that they could put something there that would absolutely prevent drivers from breaking the rules, but then that would eliminate room for debate and controversy which BE feels is necessary to keep the story of F1 alive and full of debate which creates headlines, publicity, and money in his pockets.

    BE can’t fathom formulating F1 such that the cars are far less aero dependent, can race closely based on a greater emphasis on mechanical grip, and thus have the story of F1 created by the drivers on the track rather than by gadgets and tires and the inevitable issues surrounding them that have more to do with decisions made in the boardroom than actual real racing.

  10. Here’s a novel solution, why don’t you put grass or another slippery material beyond the apexes – then you wouldn’t have to apply these legislations as the drivers wouldn’t gain an advantage?

    1. @vettel1 That, or a super sticky surface.

      1. @nick-uk chewing gum run-offs to go with the chewing gum tyres? :P

  11. “Drivers warned over something that shouldn’t be happening to get something that shouldn’t be happening”

  12. Why does everyone want to stop DRS? Why don’t we just say they can’t push the accelerator all the way to the floor while we’re at it? You’re complaining about the wrong thing! DRS is just another way to get more performance out of the car. What you should be complaining about are the silly rules saying when you can use it and that only trailing drivers within 1 second can use it!
    There is nothing wrong with DRS or any other tech that makes the cars faster and/or more efficient. So stop blaming the tech and blame the stupid rules they have limiting it’s use.
    They say all this is about making F1 more relevant to technology on the road today? Well, you certainly don’t see them telling drivers of a hybrid that they can only use the electric motor when they’re the second car leaving a stop light! That would be incredibly silly….just like what they do in F1 today.

    1. I think you are missing the point of the main reason why people don’t like DRS, such as myself. DRS is not a way to get more performance out of the car. It is a gadget that allows for easy passing in an era where F1 is addicted to aero dependancy which causes faster cars to get stuck behind slower cars due to being in their dirty air and having therefore their wing’s effectiveness reduced. DRS makes the passing way way too easy and the one being passed look defenceless and silly. That is not the F1 that most people want to see. Do you really enjoy seeing a car behind another and saying to yourself that what is about to happen is a foregone conclusion? It’s only a matter of them getting around to the DRS zone and the leading driver is toast?

      So it is about the quality of the passing. Frankly I would prefer processions if the alternative is that passing no longer means anything. Of course there are still quality passes elsewhere on the tracks, but DRS passes diminish F1 and it’s ‘pinnacle-of-racing’ designation. Less dependency on aero, more mechanical grip, and they could do away with gadgets that have no relevance to the commercial auto industry or the racing industry.

      KERS is something I can understand a little better because it is road relevant and at least two drivers can use it at the same time, so one doesn’t have to look defenceless and silly compared to another. I think KERS is actually more road relevant than having cars that only go as fast as they do because of their huge aero effect. How is massive aero downforce even relevant to the commercial auto industry?

  13. What about going back to what we had years and years ago? just a few tall and narrow curbs and then a lot of nice and lovely grass. What is so nice about that system is that it is self enforceable. The drivers will stop going off the track and everyone would see why. And it makes a racetrack look bloody good as a viewer.
    Of cause that means the drivers will struggle to slow the cars down. But replacing walls and fences with Tecpro barriers would go a long way to reduce the impact for the driver. And there is no reason why you couldn’t have just a lane of grass, two meters wide, at each side of the track, beyond that, high friction tarmac which slows the cars down rapidly.
    Because I think the vast run off areas and effectively cost free mistakes has a very negative impact on the racing.
    I know safety comes first, but the drivers also respect grass a lot more then they respect tarmac, so if they know there is grass, they will simply take less chances, and thereby reducing the risk of a car going off track in the first place.
    Look at Suzuka. There aren’t a lot of tarmac run off, and it’s the track with some of the highest speed corners on the calender. Yet it doesn’t seem like a huge problem safety wise.
    The problem in Abu Dhabi is of cause that grass, isn’t exactly that practical in a dessert… But then there is that fake grass, which is an ugly, but pretty useful replacement.

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