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FIA shortens Baku DRS zone for F1 Azerbaijan GP

The FIA has reduced the effect of the DRS overtaking aid for Formula 1's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, shortening the activation zone on Baku's main straight by 100 metres.

George Russell, Mercedes W13, Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03

George Russell, Mercedes W13, Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03

Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Last year the second of two DRS activation points was drawn 347 metres past Turn 20, the final flat-out kink leading onto Baku's ultra-long main straight.

For 2023, the race director's circuit map shows the point has now been pushed back by 100 metres to 447m after Turn 20, in effect reducing the distance the drag reduction system can be used on the main straight.

The detection point remains in the same spot at the Turn 20 apex, and the first DRS zone coming out of Turn 2 has also been left unchanged.

Baku is the fourth of five F1 circuits to have undergone tweaks to the DRS zones to fine-tune the balance between improving the show and making overtaking too trivial.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Australia have also seen changes, with further tweaks coming in next week's Miami Grand Prix.

In Jeddah, the final activation point was moved to avoid dangerous antics in the final corner with drivers trying to let rivals past on purpose, while in Melbourne a fourth DRS zone was added to make overtaking more plausible on the twisty parkland circuit.

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL36, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL36, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

After last year's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, it was deemed that Baku's long straights and DRS placement had made overtaking too easy with F1's new-for-2022 generation of ground-effect cars.

Shortening the Baku DRS zone is in line with comments made by former F1 director Ross Brawn during the off-season about F1's efforts to get the overtaking balance right.

"The one thing we know is fans, and we know this because we don't like it, they don't like the 'go down the straight, pop the DRS, overtake, drive fast, pull a gap' all of that," Brawn told Autosport at the end of his stint as F1's managing director of motorsports.

"In an ideal world DRS is used just to get on the back of someone, so you can really have a decent attack."

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He added: "I think we shouldn't be afraid to reduce the DRS in places like Monza, because it does seem a bit 'you get on the back of them, press the button, overtake.' It's a bit ritualistic, isn't it?

"And so we shouldn't be afraid to reduce the use of DRS where it's clearly proving to be too powerful."

The Baku City Circuit has also been resurfaced ahead of its sixth running of the race from Turn 16 to Turn 13.

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