Drivers unsure whether Zandvoort’s extended DRS zone will offer benefit in race

2022 Dutch Grand Prix

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Formula 1 drivers gave differing views on whether Zandvoort’s extended second DRS zone will make overtaking easier in this weekend’s race.

The second DRS activation zone has been extended since last year’s grand prix, which was the first on the revamped Zandvoort circuit. During the 2021 event, the final DRS activation point was placed after the exit of the high-banked final corner of turn 14 due to fears about cars losing control through the corner with DRS active due to the loss of rear downforce.

In a bid to improve overtaking opportunities, the FIA trialled an extended DRS zone through Friday’s practice sessions, moving the activation point between turns 13 and 14 and allowing drivers to run with their rear wing flap open through the entire final corner. While many drivers chose not to risk it early in the opening session, several of them were seen using DRS through the corner with no incidents or dangerous moments observed over the two hours of running.

Having run with the DRS open through the final corner, Lewis Hamilton voiced his approval of the extended activation zone through the banking.

“It was nerve-wracking at the beginning to try it,” Hamilton admitted. “But it’s great.”

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo agreed with Hamilton’s assessment. “The first time you do it you hold on pretty tight because you don’t really know,” he explained. “And like DRS it’s such a shift in grip that it can get you pretty quickly.

“It was alright though. I guess everyone’s doing it. But first time it’s like stepping into the unknown. So you click it and you’re like ‘just stay straight’. But it was alright.”

While drivers seemed to agree that the new extended activation zone did not present too much of a risk, they were less sure about the impact it would have on overtaking opportunities for Sunday.

“I don’t know how it’s going to be in following,” said Hamilton. “I’ve not tried that in terms of how it’s going to be in the race, but it’s awesome. And I don’t know how much if it’s going to make to overtake overtaking but I hope it’s a big, big change.”

Lando Norris seemed more optimistic than the Mercedes driver about how the DRS zone would improve racing. “Of course it’s going to be more useful,” he said. “The earlier you can have it the better, I would have said.

“It’s more now about how easily we can follow through the chicane and through the final corner or the two final corners. But I think as the grip came up and so on you get more and more confidence to be able to do so. So it definitely has but I’ve not been able to race too much today. I had a couple of little battles, so maybe a little bit better, but not a lot.”

The extended DRS zone remained in place for the final practice session ahead of qualifying for Sunday’s grand prix.

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2022 Dutch Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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11 comments on “Drivers unsure whether Zandvoort’s extended DRS zone will offer benefit in race”

  1. Expect the usual commenters to say that DRS won’t benefit anything.

  2. F1 should demand the first corner to be at least 300 meters further. The track is just horrible for overtaking. I understand F1 comes here from a commercial perspective. But to be honest, it has no place in modern F1. Horrible racing around here.

    1. @spafrancorchamps Limited space beyond Tarzan runoff tyre barriers for alterations.

      1. Not true, I see plenty of space left to extend it. If they can’t, F1 shouldn’t host a race here.

        1. Not all space is usable for the race track.

        2. @spafrancorchamps There is space there but they don’t own it.

          The surrounding land is owned by private firms and local government who brought it when most of the old track was sold off and demolished in the 80s/90s.

          The only land owned by the circuit owners is what they are already using. It’s why the changes they made for F1 2-3 years ago couldn’t involve adding more runoff or extending the length of the circuit.

          They also didnt want to alter the character of the circuit Too much.

    2. I think Zandvoort has been a fantastic addition to the F1 calendar.

      A wonderful circuit that is a joy to watch cars going around unlike so many of the newer flat, featureless, soul-less, too wide, drs fest car parks we have to suffer through in the modern show over sport era.

      I’d much rather watch a race at Zandvoort than miami, jeddah, las vegas, abu dhabi, bahrain, china etc.. because those circuits are simply not fun to watch even if they produce a lot of drs highway passing. There’s just no thrill or spectacle to the more modern tracks. Meanwhile circuits like Zandvoort are a joy to watch and every lap is a spectacular thrill to watch as a result.

      Long live Zandvoort!!!!!

      1. 100% agree!!!

  3. Most likely zero or next-to-zero impact on overtaking.

  4. ZZzz DULL track and expect near zero overtaking on Sunday. Its too small and narrow for modern F1 making overtaking almost impossible. The only drama you will see is the inevitable zhou/latifi dnf that brings out a sc and who can capitalise and pit at the right time..

    1. Zandvoort is wide enough to fit six F1 cars side by side at all times; it has to be to qualify for an F1 license as a permanent track. Only street tracks are afforded an exception, such as Baku near the castle and (probably) Miami at that overpass.

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