- Belgian Grand Prix
FIA bans use of DRS through Eau Rouge
- In Focus:
The FIA has banned the use of the Drag Reduction System (DRS) through the 180-mph Eau Rouge section of the Spa Francorchamps circuit at this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix.
The high-speed section of track is flat-out in a Formula One car, but, according to reports, the FIA is concerned that drivers will be tempted to use the DRS to take it even faster and with less grip. The other concern is that there have been instances of drivers going into a corner unaware that the system is activated and experiencing unbalanced handling as result. The FIA wrote to teams on Monday to confirm the ban.
In free practice and qualifying drivers are allowed to activate their DRS at any point on the circuit to increase top speed at a loss of rear downforce. The device was originally devised to improve overtaking in races - when it is limited to a pre-determined section of circuit - but the use in qualifying has become increasingly critical for a fast lap.
Last year some drivers used the F-duct - now banned in F1 but an aerodynamic device that had a similar affect to the DRS - through Eau Rouge and had one hand off the wheel to activate it. However, as in the tunnel at Monaco earlier this year, the FIA has taken the decision to ban the use of the DRS through Eau Rouge in order to avoid potential accidents.
Lotus driver Heikki Kovalainen believes Eau Rouge is still a thrilling corner, even with maximum downforce.
"Eau Rouge is, of course, the corner everyone talks about and while it is still flat-out it's actually not that hard for us now, but it's still a big thrill," he said. "Any corner you take at 300km is pretty quick so you hang on the wheel pretty hard so that you don't get any snap out of the corner, build up a good speed down then you feel all that compression as the car bottoms out through the corner and then you're up the hill. It's still very exciting!"
In Sunday's race the DRS activation zone will run from the exit of Radillon (the corner after Eau Rouge) along the high-speed Kemmel straight to the Les Combes chicane.