This weekend's race in Spain is going to be a litmus test for Formula 1 2011's regulations. The Circuit de Catalunya is F1's proving ground because it's been used so much for testing. Historically, grands prix here have been predictable, but this year the racing has been anything but.
It's all about tyre management and getting in that one-second window for the DRS deployment, just as previous eras were about fuel management and use of turbo overboost. It's interesting to follow the debate on whether DRS and KERS have their place in F1. The purists might say no, but the people who got turned-off by F1's predictability would disagree.
DRS provided lots of this in Turkey © LAT
Personally, I still defer to the fact that anything that promotes the choice of fast-flowing, exciting sport is a good thing. People want to be entertained; they have a lot of channels of sport at their disposal. Hardcore fans will love it irrespectively, but for the health of F1 in general, we need as many people watching it as possible. Overtaking has always been difficult at Barcelona, so the DRS should come into its own.
These tools to aid overtaking are no different to the award of a penalty in a football match, so you're more likely to score without anyone defending the 'keeper. The skill is still there: put yourself in the fastest car, stick it on the front row, pull out at least a 1s gap by lap three (to avoid DRS vulnerability from behind) and win the race. Apart from passing backmarkers, has Sebastian Vettel even touched his DRS yet in a race?
Get back on track. Join today for unlimited access to all Autosport news and features.
Are you an Autosport magazine subscriber? Activate your online account
Your Autosport Plus membership includes:
- Unlimited access to Autosport's news - no monthly cap.
- Read the best motorsport features, analysis and opinion.
- Explore Forix, our comprehensive motorsport stats database.
- Choose from monthly, yearly and two-yearly packages.