Ross Brawn: Does F1 need DRS?

Ross Brawn has rejoined the Formula One paddock and will take the technical lead for the 2017 season. Brawn has already spoken about simplifying the sport and has already questioned the drag-reduction system currently used as an overtaking aid.

Ross Brawn recently said,

“DRS, or drag reduction system, is not universally popular, either. The fans all know that you press a button in the cockpit and you overtake the car in front. Is that really what they want to see?”

– Ross Brawn

Bratches, Carey, Brawn. It looks like they're about to drop a sick folk-dubstep album, but they're actually now three of the most important people in F1.
Bratches, Carey, Brawn. It looks like they’re about to drop a sick folk-dubstep album, but they’re actually now three of the most important people in F1.

DRS has increased overtakes, but inorganically. Fans feel a bit fobbed off by it. There hasn’t been anything too enlightening about watching a driver cruise past another on a straight by pressing a button. Where’s the skill in that? If there is any skill involved, it’s small in comparison to overtaking without the assist. Having DRS in F1 is a bit like giving Tennis players a net-lowering button on the end of their rackets. You’re going to see more aces, but it’s not going to look as impressive.

There have been pretty negative views over the years from the F1 paddock, as the below quotes show:

“I think Formula One needs to shift. I don’t know what the solution is but there’s a lot of good brains here which should be able to come up with a solution to enable us to race through real racing, not through making it fake like DRS or having to do something to weaken another, you know what I mean?”

– Lewis Hamilton

“It’s more fun to pass someone without DRS.”

– Jenson Button

Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing. Circuit de Catalunya.
Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing. Circuit de Catalunya.

“Some of the current rules need tweaking – DRS is a false overtaking aid because it doesn’t give the driver to slipstream and to play a chess game to plan where to pass someone.”

– Nigel Mansell

“A much better idea would be to put it in the bin and then we might just get down to drivers again learning how to overtake another car without outside assistance.”

– Gary Anderson

DRS isn’t going to go immediately, if at all. But Brawn’s passing mention of the fairly unpopular overtaking device shouldn’t be taken with a pinch of salt. There is the anticipation that 2017 will be a year in which overtakes could be more difficult, but the impression is that the days of DRS are numbered.