FIA right to shorten F1’s DRS zones in Miami and Baku

Fernando Alonso has backed the FIA’s decision to cut the length of the DRS zones at the Miami International Circuit this year.

Some drivers criticised the shortening of a DRS zone last weekend at the Baku City Circuit, saying it made overtaking too difficult. But Alonso said the Baku and Miami tracks saw some of the easiest passes last year, and how successfully cars could pass varied between teams.

“It was the easiest [overtaking] here, last year, apparently,” Alonso told media including RaceFans in Miami. “So that’s why I think FIA shortened the DRS.

“In Baku it also was one of the easiest last year, so they shortened the DRS. I heard Lewis [Hamilton] was saying that this year it was too short. Which I think for them, with the high downforce it was too short.

“For Red Bull it was too long because at the start/finish line they overtook Leclerc and he was opening to braking on the outside for turn one. So if you take one car it was too long, if you take another car it was too short.

“I guess it was about the calculation that the FIA do after have seeing last year’s races. Baku and Miami they were on the high side in terms of overtaking and how easy it was so that’s why they shortened it. Let’s see this year.

“But it is difficult to predict. Even if it’s true that this year it seems a bit more difficult to follow cars, that’s 100% correct, Red Bull seems that the DRS zones are too long. So it depends which car you take.”

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Some drivers have said the new technical regulations introduced last year to aid overtaking have proved less successful in the second season since their introduction. Alonso is not sure.

“I think there were high expectations on following cars and maybe having the grid a little bit closer together,” he said. “But I don’t know. I think we need to give a little bit more time.

“If we didn’t have Red Bull that much ahead I think it was a very interesting fight with three or four teams within one or two tenths and maybe we were saying that the rules were a success. So maybe this is the history in a few years’ time or whatever, when we have some stability in the rules, then maybe 2026 [when new rules will be introduced] everything changes again.”

The fact several teams are close in terms of performance makes overtaking tricky, said Alonso, as well as other characteristics of today’s F1 cars.

“If you remove the Red Bull, sometimes within six-tenths you are from P3 to P16 in Q1 to go out of the next session. Then eventually you finish qualifying in the order that you deserve. Then in the race, how will you overtake a car that in front of you is just half a tenth quicker than you? So it’s more or less your natural order.

“So I think that’s the main reason. And then it could be the tyres as well. They still get overheated quite heavily if you follow cars. So you need to decide wisely when you want to be too close to a car in front of you.”

The weight of the current cars is another factor, said Alonso. “They are too heavy, for sure, but I think the cars are nice to drive.”

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