F1 Explained: What is DRS in F1?

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Since its introduction to F1 in 2011, DRS has been central to the art of overtaking and a term that is constantly used by commentators pundits and drivers.

In this series of explainer articles, RealSport101's Harry Smith will take you through the basics of F1, whether you're new to the sport, or just looking for a refresher.

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Here is everything you need to know about DRS.

Table of Contents

What does DRS stand for in F1?

DRS stands for 'Drag Reduction System'.

What does DRS do in F1?

As the name suggests, the purpose of DRS is to reduce the levels of drag acting on an F1 car.

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With machines as complex and technical as F1 cars, even the slightest aerodynamic changes can yield huge gains or losses in time over the course of a lap, so DRS can have a profound effect.

DRS was introduced into F1 back in 2011 with the aim of making overtakes on the main straights easier to perform, thus making racing more entertaining for fans.

How does DRS work in F1?

An F1 driver can activate DRS by opening and closing a slot in the rear wing, giving the car a greater top speed.

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Crucially, drivers can only use DRS when within one second of the car in front, and only through dedicated DRS zones.

Most circuits have between two and three DRS zones which tend to be placed on the longest straights on the track. Monaco and Imola both feature just one DRS zone.

What is a 'DRS train' in F1?

The term 'DRS train' is often heard from drivers in post-race interviews, who bemoan a lack of overtaking opportunities due to a train of cars all running within one second of one another.

DRS is very effective for the chasing car if the driver in front is running isolated from the rest of the field, but if that car also has DRS on the car ahead, then the speed advantage is nullified.