HomeSportsWhat does DRS Mean in F1? Rules Explained for New Fans

What does DRS Mean in F1? Rules Explained for New Fans

Formula One is a sport that is always evolving. Be it the flawless technology in the cars, the peaks and changes to the machines, or the rules and regulations of the sport. The cars are packed with advanced gadgets to reach the maximum speed.

Here is a brief explanation of such system, recognized as Drag Reduction System (DRS):

What is a DRS in F1?

DRS stands for Drag Reduction System. This is a method used by F1 drivers to follow their rivals more closely and therefore overtake them.

The drag reduction system (DRS) is an overtaking assist designed to make racing more exciting. When in a DRS zone, a driver within one second of a rival car may activate the DRS.

It was introduced in 2011. The use of DRS is an exception to the rule banning any moving parts whose primary purpose is to affect the aerodynamics of the car which was edited in 2013.

It is an adjustable rear wing of the car, as shown in the picture above, which moves when activated on the driver commands. DRS often comes with conditions, such as the pursuing car must be within one second (when both cars cross the detection point) for DRS to be activated.

The opening of the flap gives about 18-20km/h advantage to the driver who enables it.

How Does It Work?

High-quality aerodynamic components are being used in an abundance of areas. Every time you sit on an airliner you see the wing flaps, ailerons moving around, and often as you come into land you can see the hydraulics employed to move them.


The systems on a Formula One car work in a very similar fashion. Hydraulic tubes, rods and actuators. But whilst on an Airbus A320 or even a modern UAV or fighter jet there is a huge amount of space to work in, on a grand prix car the opposite is true.

What Are the Rules?

The use of DRS comes with a set of rules which the drivers and the teams have to follow.

  1. The pursuing car is within one second of the lead car.
  2. The following car is in a DRS Zone as pre-determined by the FIA.
  3. The DRS system may not be deployed until Two racing laps have been completed after the grand Prix start, a restart, or a safety car period.
  4. The DRS system cannot be used by the driver in front to defend their position unless they are within one second of a car in front of them.
  5. The DRS system may not be enabled if the Race Director deems racing conditions are unsafe, such as in a race being held in the rain.

DRS Zones and How to Use It?

The area where DRS can be used is marked by a line on the track to signify the start of the zone, known as a detection point, followed by a second line known as the activation point.

There is also a sign marked ‘DRS’ where the DRS zone begins.

When the driver is in a DRS zone, a light on the driver’s steering wheel lets the driver know that the DRS system is automatically enabled. The system is deactivated the moment the driver starts braking.

Here is an illustration of the Silverstone Circuit where the DRS Zones are highlighted

The detection of the one-second gap between cars is fully automated via sensors in the cars as they enter the detection zone on the race track, however, the actual deployment of the DRS system is completed manually by the driver by using his steering wheel.

Hope this article helped you understand everything about DRS.



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