Vettel Wins but Is DRS the Real Star of the Turkish Grand Prix?

Antony HerbertAnalyst IIIMay 8, 2011

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - MAY 08:  Fernando Alonso of Spain and Ferrari drives during the Turkish Formula One Grand Prix at the Istanbul Park circuit on May 8, 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Without a doubt, the star of the Turkish Grand Prix was DRS. The Drag Reduction System described simply as a movable rear wing has revolutionised the sport, making overtaking a lot more accessible for the drivers.

As the 24 cars lined up today the DRS system only permitted for use after two laps came into force and ensured that multiple overtake moves were coupled with lap long tussles and a constant switching of positions.

Last season, when Jenson Button took a chance for race glory and overtook Lewis Hamilton, the latter biding his time before he came back to reclaim the victory.

Today, with the DRS, the two completed multiple laps where they constantly switched position, remarkably without taking each other off the track in similar fashion to the Red Bull catastrophe from last year. 

Lewis Hamilton had suffered by running wide at the start after trying to overtake Mark Webber in the first few corners. In finding himself behind Jenson Button, he made the move into the final few corners of Lap 6 and made a successful pass into turn one of Lap 7. 

Yet as the two emerged onto the final straight on the following lap, Jenson's DRS was put into force and he edged back ahead. Side by side action with teammates matched the nervous tension for the teams mechanics and supporters with high intense action well received by spectators.

This was just one of many battles on field that saw drivers battle dramatically through various corners.

On a few occasions it resulted in collisions. Michael Schumacher damaged his front wing after turning into Vitaly Petrov's Renault after the latter had made a move on the seven times World Champion.

The only downside to the DRS was that many overtakes using the DRS were completed before the drivers even began to break into the corner.

Even more spectacular was the fact that the overtakes began with the following car being visibly further away than normally expected for an overtake. On lap five for example Mark Webber was able to edge himself ahead of a floundering Nico Rosberg before they reached turn 12. 

Maybe subsequently the point at which drivers can initialise the DRS should be pushed to later up the track; allow the drivers the opportunity to use DRS but only when it will cause the overtake into the corner and not on the straight.

Allowing it to work on the straight effectively means that a driver in a weaker car but with a brilliant performance is an unfortunate sitting duck when a faster car appears behind. 

The drivers do seem to have adapted well to the system, with controlled and compact racing for the most part. They are able to identify how to use DRS whilst remaining safe behind the wheel. Collisions have definitely been kept to a minimum. 

It is also worth noting the vastly smaller amount of first corner incidents that have emerged in the introduction of DRS. Drivers are more cautious and safe into the first couple of laps with the knowledge that DRS will aid them in required overtakes later on. 

As a consequence, two Grand Prix in a row have now ended with at least 22 finishers from 24 runners. In today's race, both retirements were as a result of technical faults rather than racing incidents with Timo Glock's Virgin Racing Car unable to start, and Paul Di Resta's Force India stopping out on track. 

Therefore the DRS is probably the most important and welcome introduction to the sport in recent years as each of the 24 drivers is now capable of actually competing throughout the entire duration of Grand Prix.

From a safety point of view, it also means that the accidents which in the past may have provided the focal point from Grand Prix races now take a back seat to the consistent and entrancing on track battles. 

No longer then can the sport be considered a procession.