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The Drag Reduction System (DRS) was introduced to promote overtaking in Formula 1 by allowing a car which is within 1 second of the car in front to temporarily raise its rear wing upper tier flap -reducing the drag from the rear wing and giving the following car a reported 15kph top speed advantage compared to the car in front at the end of a typical Formula 1 circuit main straight.  This system appears to have worked very well and has resulted in an increase to overtaking, and should therefore, in my opinion, be applauded.



The aim of the proposal is as follows:-

  • 1. Reduce fuel consumption
  • 2. Maintain current performance levels (lap times)
  • 3. Maintain current "excitement" levels by enabling overtaking to continue to take place
  • 4. Not require any mechanical changes to the current cars

These aims are met in the following way:

  • 1. The rev limit of the current cars is reduced from 18,000rpm to 16,000rpm during a "normal" race situation.  Assuming a fairly flat torque curve in this rpm range this is estimated to reduce fuel consumption over a typical lap by 5 to 8% by virtue of the reduced power available.  As a side effect this reduces load on the engines and gearboxes and may lead to increased component life.
  • 2. To maintain the current performance levels the DRS system is to be available to the drivers at all times during the race situation, meaning they have less drag on the straights.  This reduction in drag counteracts the loss in power and maintains the current lap times.
  • 3. To aid in the overtaking process, if a driver is within 1 second of the car in front at a pre-determined point or points around the circuit he/she shall be electronically granted a higher RPM limit of 18,000 rpm until they next activate the car's brakes.  This will give the following car more power with which to draw alongside the leading car and attempt a passing manoeuvre.
  • 4. The DRS system and the ability to change RPM limits is already part of the current F1 cars and therefore needs no physical changes to be made, only simple software coding needs to be changed.  Since both DRS and the 18,000rpm limit would both be available in qualifying the cars would need to be set up to take advantage of both of these.  In fact this would mean that the current (2011) car set-ups, (gear ratios etc) would still be appropriate.

The following graph shows the simulated lap times of two cars.  Yellow representing the current (2011) formula 1 car performance during a "normal" (non-overtaking) lap (i.e. 18,000rpm available, but no DRS), the red represents the performance of a car with DRS available at all points, but limited to 16,000rpm, and otherwise identical.  Notice how both cars complete the lap of this typical F1 circuit in the same time; 91 seconds.  It is possible to see that even though the lap times are identical the two simulations achieve the lap time in different way;  the DRS enabled car accelerates slower at lower speeds, but faster at higher speeds.

The performance of the DRS was determined simply by altering the drag of a simulated 2011 F1 car until a 15kph differential was observed on a typical length main straight whilst maintaining the original 18,000rpm rev limit.




COPYRIGHT 2011 Richard Machin. All Rights Reserved