The FIA has confirmed that there will be one DRS zone at Interlagos this weekend for the 2012 world championship finale.
As in 2011, the activation zone is on the back straight leading from Curva do Sol (Turn 3) to Descida do Lago (Turn 4), with the detection zone at the apex of Turn 2.
Changes to the circuit ahead of thisd year’s race include the installation of new debris fences on both sides of the track between turns 3 and 4, while a kerb has been installed on the apex of turn 15. Tube inserts have also been placed in the tyre barrier at the end of the wall at the pit entry.
The stewards this weekend include eight times Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen, who also enjoyed success in the German F3 championship (1991), the Japanese F3 championship (1993) and was ALMS champion in 2001.
A popular and respected figure, this year he has competed in the inaugural FIA World Endurance Championship, driving for Audi Sport Team Joest. Along with long-time team mates Dindo Capello and Allan McNish he won the first round of the championship at the 12 Hours of Sebring, making him the first man to win the race six times.
He is joined by Garry Connelly, Deputy President, FIA Institute, Australian Institute of Motor Sport Safety, F1 and WTCC Steward and World Motor Sport Council member and Silvia Bellot a graduate of the FIA Trainee Steward Programme.
The use of DRS ( Drag Reduction System) will be limited to the same area as in the race throughout the entire weekend. Charlie Whiting confirmed today that the FIA has sent out a letter to announce this. This move is basically to increase safety.
Following indications from drivers that it more and more becoming difficult and dangerous to open DRS as early as possible out of every corner during the free practice sessions and qualifying, the FIA will limit the use of DRS in 2013, allowing it only in the designated DRS zone throughout the entire weekend.
This season, the drivers are free to use the DRS rear wing wherever they choose during free practice sessions and qualifying, while during the race it is only allowed on one or two straight lines, as permitted by the FIA ahead of a race weekend.
Charlie Whiting commented to Autosport: “We are going to prohibit the use of the DRS during practice and qualifying except in the places where it’s going to be used in the race,” said Whiting. “It’s something that we told the teams about the other day, that we are doing it for safety reasons.
“There have been a number of incidents and drivers have told me that [early deployment problems are] becoming increasingly prevalent. One could argue that the early deployment of the DRS is not much different to early deployment of the throttle, but the DRS is an on/off switch whereas the throttle can be modulated.”
The FIA will also make it less interesting for teams to develop complex aerodynamic solutions that attempt to increase the effect of opening the DRS, as its advantage will be far less during qualifying.
The United States Grand Prix will feature a single DRS zone, FIA have confirmed.
Formula One will return to the USA for the first time in five years at a purpose built facility in Austin, Texas and first time at Texas since 18 years (1984). The new track has 20 corners making up a total distance of 5.516 km (3.4 miles).
The single DRS zone will be located along the back straight – the longest on the circuit. The exact distances will be confirmed on Wednesday, the expected detection will be just before turn 11, with activation 650 metres before the hairpin turn 12.
This years Indian Grand Prix will feature an extended DRS zone following feedback from the inaugural race last season that the area was ineffective.
The 2011 race featured just a handful of overtakes as Sebastian Vettel roared to victory and the FIA are keen to resolve this. The first zone along the main start/finish will remain the same, but the second zone has been extended by 80 metres between turns three and four.
The zones will also be fully independent of one another with two detection areas.
The FIA has published the 2013 technical regulations, with the Mercedes double-DRS innovation outlawed from next season.
The Mercedes concept provides an increased performance boost when the DRS is activated. It works by channelling air from inlets in the rear wing endplates to the car’s front wing, stalling both and reducing drag. However, Article 3.18 of the new technical regulations states that the DRS “cannot be used to change the geometry of any duct, either directly or indirectly, other than the change to the distance between adjacent sections permitted by Article 3.10.2.”
However, that regulation does not apply to the double-DRS concept that Lotus is expected to run at the Japanese Grand Prix, which is completely passive and not actually linked to the DRS but instead attempts to stall the rear wing above a certain speed.
The technical regulations also confirm that the stepped noses can be covered by a modesty panel, as revealed by Jonathan Neale earlier this month. Article 3.7.9 states that the front bodywork must remain at the same height as this season, with the exception of “an optional, single piece, non-structural fairing of prescribed laminate (whose precise lay-up may be found in the Appendix to the regulations) which may not be more than 625mm above the reference plane at any point”.
Lotus looks set to postpone the race debut of its double DRS after announcing that it will not run the device in Saturday morning practice at Spa.
Friday’s rain hampered the team’s efforts to evaluate the system ahead of what was expected to be its first use in a grand prix. Lotus technical chief James Allison said the team had decided that with just one dry practice session likely, it was more sensible to remove the double DRS.
“Today’s rain also prevented us from seeing how the ‘device’ would perform in the expected race conditions,” he said. “With discretion being the better part of valour we will conduct P3 tomorrow with a conventional aero package rather than attempting to squeeze Friday’s intended evaluation into the precious final practice session.”
Kimi Raikkonen has carried out the double DRS testing in previous practice sessions, and Romain Grosjean was set to get his first taste of it at Spa. “I was really looking forward to trying the famous ‘device’ for the first time, but I guess I’ll have to wait,” said Grosjean.