Why F1’s yellow flag DRS restrictions have been eased | 2018 F1 season

As of the last race weekend in Canada, Formula 1 drivers are now allowed to use DRS even if yellow flags are waving.

Previously if a yellow flag was being waved in one activation zone, DRS was disabled ‘globally’ across all zones. The FIA felt this was preventing drivers from using DRS when they should be able to, at points on the circuit where yellow flags were not being waved.

“There have been a few occasions when DRS [was] globally disabled because of an incident in one activation zone, and it could legitimately be used in the other, or the others,” an FIA spokesperson told RaceFans.

Some tracks now have as many as three zones and more zones could be added next year. This has increased the complexity of enabling and disabling DRS zones on a case-by-case basis.

“With two or three activation zones, trying to develop software to cope with what would be a multitude of variables… we felt that we should simply put the onus on drivers to slow down in yellow sectors, which the rules require them to do so anyway,” said the spokesperson.

While drivers may now use DRS under yellow flag conditions, they will still be required to slow down as much as before in response to the warning.

“The fact that DRS is still active is not really relevant and if a driver had DRS on whilst he was in a yellow zone he could simply lift and it would go off, if it didn’t then he hasn’t lifted already,” the spokesperson pointed out.

“There are a number of sectors on every track where a yellow could be displayed outside of a DRS activation zone, here the drivers are of course required to slow down. So we feel [it] should be very easy for them to do the same if a yellow is shown in a DRS zone, irrespective of whether DRS is activated on the car.”

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2018 F1 season

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