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Early DRS Activation Impact F1 2024

DRS Changes Spark New Dynamics in F1 Racing

04/03/2024

This year’s tweak to DRS rules has introduced fresh challenges and strategies for F1 drivers, reshaping the competitive landscape from the get-go.

F1 has altered the DRS activation this year, allowing its use from the second lap of the race. This made no difference for Max Verstappen, who had extended his lead to one second after the first lap, but Sergio Pérez acknowledges it changed the early race dynamics.

“I believe it alters how you race, especially with the cars around you when you’re in a battle and suddenly get DRS. Like I saw with Carlos, he lost DRS very early and was out of contention for a while,” Pérez stated.

“The car ahead, moving into clean air, manages on its own, has to use more tires, so it’s somewhat of a disadvantage if you’re fighting in places like Baku or even Jeddah. I think the races will be different.”

“It creates a difference for the leading car in the early laps. So, yes, it’s going to be interesting, I think. The first stint between Mercedes, Ferrari, and myself was highly competitive throughout the race. So I believe the DRS change makes a difference.”

“A very fine line” for the tires

Carlos Sainz also adjusted his approach, admitting the opportunity to attack from the second lap impacts tire wear: “I think a big part of the strategy comes into play, especially with tire sensitivity.”

“On one hand, you want to push to escape DRS or to get into DRS, and on the other, you want to save tires because we all know how sensitive tires are in the early laps.”

“On the other hand, you want to save tires, as we all know how sensitive tires are in the early laps. So it’s a very fine line. As soon as I saw I wasn’t under pressure from behind, I chose to manage my tires, and it paid off instead of diving into the DRS battle.”

“So, I was able to overtake. I didn’t have any issues. And yes, it will depend on the track. I think it will be a very delicate season with 24 races of this kind. We experienced this in the Sprints last year. So yes, it will be a challenge. But it’s another interesting thing to consider.”

Max Verstappen, for his part, also saw different choices to be made in terms of attacking: “Yes, from my side too, it’s about how much to push or not. I think in the first lap, Charles was in DRS at least once.”

“But yes, you want to push and save your tires, so it’s a decision to make. But for sure, on some circuits, it’s going to be quite tricky because DRS can be very powerful. So it might create interesting battles or situations.”

Early DRS Activation Impact F1 2024. Early DRS Activation Impact F1 2024.

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