Could reverse-DRS idea turn tide on love-hate relationship with F1 fans?

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes driver George Russell opens his DRS at the 2023 Australian Grand Prix. Melbourne, April 2023.

24 Hours of Le Mans winner Richard Bradley would like to see Formula 1 flip the DRS concept on its head as a way of spicing up the action in sprint races.

F1 2023 marks the third season where the sprint format has been in use at selected rounds of the campaign, with changes ahead of the first 2023 staging making the sprint action effectively a standalone event on a Saturday, with a qualifying session and then sprint race later that day.

Bradley though, who was part of the LMP2 class-winning team at Le Mans in 2015, feels the sprint format is still lacking in the excitement department, but has a suggestion to fix that.

Richard Bradley proposes reverse-DRS for sprints

以及要求超级软的轮胎bring strategy into sprints, Bradley feels Formula 1 should also turn the DRS [Drag Reduction System] concept on its head, so that instead of a car needing to be within a second of the one ahead to open that flap in the rear wing and gain a speed advantage, instead it is only available to those outside of that one-second window.

Not only does he believe that will keep the pack closer together, but also argues that it will then force drivers to make their overtakes the old fashioned way, with DRS at certain tracks having been criticised for making overtaking too easy. recommends

F1 Driver of the Day: Who has won the award in F1 2023?

F1 fastest lap: Which drivers have won the most fastest lap points in F1 2023?

“I like what Formula 1 is doing at the moment. I think it was very stagnant for a while and they’re trying to improve the show,” said Bradley on the On Track GP podcast.

“And disregarding Max [Verstappen] this year, they’re doing a pretty good job.

“But I think that the sprint, the idea and the concept of it is a good idea, but they need to find a way to make it a bit more exciting and try some other stuff.

“And a couple of ideas I’ve had in my mind, I’d like to see Formula 1 try reverse-DRS. Reverse-DRS would be something that’s really really cool.

“Basically, if you’re a second behind the car ahead, or more than a second behind, you get DRS, but when you’re within a second, then you don’t get DRS.

“So then you actually have to do the overtake properly. It means there is a lot of pressure on the drivers that are in front of you not to make a mistake because the field is going to be much more bunched up.

“I think that’s something worth trying. I don’t like DRS as a concept as a whole, being a racing driver, a purist, but it’s a necessary evil right now with how hard it is to follow.”

Reverse-DRS an idea worth trying in sprints

与制定a 1 clearly keen to experiment with the on-track action in pursuit of more excitement for the fans, turning the concept of DRS on its head for a sprint race sure does not sound like a bad suggestion at all.

The whole idea with these ground-effect Formula 1 cars was to make it easier for drivers to follow each other, and with that having led to a debate over the future of DRS in the series, this could just be the ideal way to keep DRS around while minimising the artificial feel which it brings to the racing.

Sure, this version would be artificially keeping the cars closer together in the sprint, but it feels like that will be easier to stomach if the drivers are then having to pull off an overtake without any aid, rather than the moves feeling too easy with the car ahead powerless to defend against the straight-line speed advantage.

The downside is a potential drop in the number of overtakes, with drivers having said that following is becoming harder again as teams continuously develop their cars, but as Formula 1 searches for that ideal race weekend structure to keep its growing and increasingly younger fanbase engaged, surely it would not hurt to give reverse-DRS a try?

Read next –Revealed: The F1 2023 World Championship standings without Red Bull