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McLaren: 2013 DRS changes will need two zones 22 Nov 2012

McLaren MP4/26 rear wing DRS device looked at by mechanics.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 22 July 2011 Paddy Lowe (GBR) McLaren Technical Director in the Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 31 August 2012 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27 with DRS closed.
Formula One World Championship, Australian Grand Prix, Rd1, Qualifying Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 17 March 2012

FIA plans to limit DRS use in practice and qualifying next season to the designated DRS zones should not have a fundamental impact on how teams approach its usage - as long as there are two zones at each track. That is according to McLaren technical directory Paddy Lowe.

Teams can currently use DRS throughout the lap in practice and qualifying, encouraging them to gear their cars so as to maximise overtaking potential during the race. Next year, however, the FIA intends to restrict it to the designated zones on safety grounds.

“We believe particularly that if [FIA race director] Charlie [Whiting] arranges for two DRS zones at every circuit, which is what he has committed to doing, that this will give enough incentive to ratio the car accordingly, pretty much as we do now, the same as if we had free use of DRS,” said Lowe in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in.

Despite criticism from some quarters, Lowe believes DRS has made a positive contribution to Formula One racing, even if he did concede that it has proved more successful at some venues than at others.

“I think that what we found overall is that DRS has been a tremendous solution to the longstanding overtaking problem. A lot of things have been tried over the years and DRS at least has an authority to allow it.

“At some circuits it doesn’t - India was a good example of that, surprisingly actually because it’s a good long straight there and it didn’t seem to allow overtaking - and then you get other circuits where arguably it’s too easy. It might be that we look at that and try and trim in both directions on those outlying circuits.

“But in general I think it works well. I don’t hear people talking about it being artificial. I think it’s something that the driver has to play tactically and with tremendous skill - we saw that on Sunday with Lewis and Sebastian. That was a fair fight, a very, very close duel - ultimately Lewis got past using DRS but it wasn’t easy and it was a mark of skill the way he did it. So generally I think it’s working very, very well.”

Four of the 20 races on the 2012 calendar have featured two DRS zones: Australia, Italy, India and Abu Dhabi.

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