Formula 1 - FIA to restrict DRS use next year

The FIA is to restrict the use of DRS anywhere on the circuit except in the allocated zones during practice and qualifying on grand prix weekends next year.

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2011 Korean GP Renault DRS

Since the system was introduced at the start of the 2011 season, drivers have been free to use the DRS as they want during practice and qualifying with the activation zone applying only in the race.

But FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting recently informed the teams that he is no longer happy with this for safety reasons amid concerns about drivers risking deploying the DRS early at the exit of corners.

"We are going to prohibit the use of the DRS during practice and qualifying except in the places where it's going to be used in the race," said Whiting.

"It's something that we told the teams about the other day, that we are doing it for safety reasons.

"There have been a number of incidents and drivers have told me that it's becoming increasingly prevalent [for the early deployment of DRS to cause problems].

"One could argue that the early deployment of the DRS is not much different to early deployment of the throttle, but the DRS is an on/off switch whereas the throttle can be modulated."

Whiting is confident that the change will not reduce the effectiveness of the DRS is creating overtaking.

The FIA conducts in-depth analysis of the DRS based on data from every race weekend and this suggests that teams will continue to set the cars up to capitalise on using it in the activation zone or zones during qualifying and the race.

"The whole point of the DRS was to improve overtaking opportunities in the race," said Whiting.

"We didn't really want to have it used in qualifying and practice before but we were worried that we may not have effective DRS systems.

"Now I believe [based on] all the information we have, we should not see any reduction in the power of the DRS.

"Teams will still use it because even though they're allowed to use it in perhaps two places on the circuit, the benefit will still be there.

"I'm sure that it will work just as it does now."

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