F1 drivers say third DRS zone will improve Australian Grand Prix

The addition of a third DRS zone to Melbourne's Australian Grand Prix circuit will improve the 2018 Formula 1 season opener "a lot" say drivers who have widely welcomed it

F1 drivers say third DRS zone will improve Australian Grand Prix

Sunday's race will be the first time a grand prix has featured three opportunities to use the drag reduction system since it was introduced in 2011.

The third zone will begin on the exit of the fast Turn 11-12 left-right complex, making the Turn 13 right-hander more of an overtaking opportunity but primarily acting as a means of keeping the cars close through the final sector before the next two DRS zones.

Haas's Kevin Magnussen said: "It's still not going to be easy to pass, but it's going to help a lot - it's going to improve the race a lot.

"Some tracks they don't need to put another zone, maybe they could just extend the zone.

"I think it's good what they've done here."

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas said it would be useful on a "particularly difficult" circuit to overtake on.

"It will definitely get you closer to the car in front before [the end of] sector three," said Bottas.

"I think all the issues still stand in sector three, to keep close enough to attack on the main straight or into Turn 3.

"For sure it's going to be a help, how big we are going to find out."

FIA race director Charlie Whiting explained it was part of "trying to optimise or maximise what can be done with the DRS".

"The two DRS zones that we have now are not particularly effective, and we just thought there is an opportunity to do something on that stretch between Turns 12 and 13," he said.

"If a driver can get a little closer than he otherwise may have done, he may then get detection at Turn 14, which will allow him to use on the two stretches [that follow].

"It was just to offer something else. We will try and do something more effective at other tracks where there's more opportunity to do that."

Renault's Carlos Sainz Jr said the organisers had picked the right spot.

"Turn 12 and 13, behind another car, you lose a lot of lap time just from not being able to get clear air into your front wing," he said.

"You just have to follow the line of the car in front and you lose a lot of lap time.

"So, DRS to recover that lap time after Turn 12 is going to help."

Max Verstappen expressed some doubt over its effectiveness but said he also hoped it would recover time lost during the Turn 11-12 complex.

"Because of the two fast corners before, it is very difficult to follow with the cars we have now.

"Maybe with the DRS zone there, at least you can come closer there again and maybe that sets you up in a better position on the main straight."

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