• Malaysian Grand Prix

DRS will play much bigger role in Malaysia - Massa

ESPNF1 Staff
April 6, 2011 « Russian GP on schedule for 2014 | »
Felipe Massa: "It might actually make overtaking too easy" © Sutton Images
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Felipe Massa is expecting the Drag Reduction System (DRS) to play a much bigger part in this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix than it did at the season opener.

At the Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago the debut of the DRS did not result in the significant boost in overtaking some had predicted. On Melbourne's short pit straight several drivers used their moveable rear wing to get close to the car in front, but only a handful managed execute a pass into the first corner.

Malaysia could be very different with a much longer pit straight and, significantly, a bigger braking zone into turn one. Massa believes the DRS's success at Sepang will largely depend on where the FIA places the overtaking zone, but said the main concern would be cars passing each other too easily.

"With the moveable rear wing, the situation will be interesting here, because for the moment, the plan is to be allowed to use DRS during the race on the straight in front of the pits, but at Sepang, the straight that runs back the other way is actually longer," he wrote in his Ferrari blog. "It is also true that it would offer a higher chance of overtaking. So, we are waiting for the final decision from the FIA to see if we use DRS on the front straight, the back one or both.

"The right decision could make the race more interesting for drivers and the spectators too. Personally, I am not sure that allowing DRS on both straights is the best option, because I think it might actually make overtaking too easy. You have to get the right balance between helping the chances of overtaking and having almost too much passing. At Sepang, the two straights follow one another, so if you are quicker than the car ahead, you might not even try and pass on the first straight, preferring to get well prepared and as close as possible, before then having a simple overtaking move on the second straight."

Massa believes the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend as a whole will be very different compared to Australia due to the completely different styles of track. And he is confident the changes will play into Ferrari's hands.

"There will still be a lot of unanswered questions as we start practice, because if you compare Melbourne with Sepang, the difference is as clear as black and white," he added. "The Melbourne asphalt is not very abrasive, the temperature is cool, the track is more of a city track, even if it is a real race circuit and the corner types are very different.

"Sepang is very hot, it's a proper race track, with a lot of high speed sections, fast corners and many changes of direction. Then from a physical point of view the difference is also obvious: driving Albert Park is very easy and you get out of the car at the end of the race feeling completely fresh, whereas in Malaysia you lose a lot of fluid and lose weight and generally it is much more demanding. For all these reasons, I expect to see a completely different performance from our team and from our car."