The impact of DRS here was crazy in the 2023 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix for two main reasons:
The first is the most obvious one: there were 4 DRS zones, obviously: the fourth Drag Reduction System zone at Albert Park returned for the 2023 edition, after it was removed last season based on safety reasons. Located between Turns 9 and 10 along the lake-side straight, the FIA decided to take action on safety grounds after several drivers complained of blocking and impeding. The new DRS zone allowed cars to reach up to 211mph, and had the main goal of leading to better passing opportunities into the newly redesigned Turn 11.
Secondly, the more DRS zones you have, the more teams will opt for more loaded wings, making it even more effective, which was exactly the case at the 5.278-kilometre Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne. We saw how easily Carlos Sainz was able to overtake the McLaren of Lando Norris and the Alpine of Pierre Gasly with the DRS, but how the Spanish driver was then not able to build a gap against Pierre Gasly, who remained close to the SF-23 car being able to use the DRS.
Four DRS zones is overkill, and even if it technically helps more overtakes to happen, an overtake isn’t really racing when one car breezes past another. So having 4 DRS zones may not have been the ideal solution for the Australian Grand Prix. In the race, DRS was worth 18.9km/h on average in a chaotic Melbourne race where DRS was crucial for all drivers to keep the pace.
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