The problem arose just before the FIA was due to enable DRS, at the end of the second lap. A message on the timing screens alerted teams to the fact that it couldn’t be used, because race control could not send a signal to the cars. It was finally enabled on lap 18, and was used safely until the end of the race.
“It was basically a data server crash,” said race director Michael Masi. “Basically, immediately we disabled it and it wasn’t until we were 100% confident that it was all not only back up and running, but back up and running with the correct data available, that we re-enabled it.
“We ran various checks working between collaboratively the FIA and the F1 Group to make sure that everything was working hunky dory. We were not going to take a chance until we were confident.
“Basically, the DRS signals going to the cars, there wasn’t effectively a confident feed that we could rely upon.
“We had make sure that it was effectively back up and running, and back up and running in a stable condition that we were confident that what was being sent was being sent equally and correctly. And once we were happy with that, between us we reactivated it and enabled DRS.”
Asked what would have happened had DRS not been disabled, Masi said: “It wouldn’t have been a free-for-all, and to be honest, the exact impacts of it, I prefer not to even think about what they were! But effectively, the precautionary measure straight away was just to do a global disable.
“There is a back-up. But the first part is to actually identify what the first issue was. And as we all know, with any back-up systems, there’s a lag with things clicking over.”
In the past, there have sometimes been issues with the signal to individual cars which did not lead to DRS being suspended.
“If it was a single car had an issue, obviously far easier to monitor. When you’ve got 20 of them, it would have been near on impossible to keep on top of that. So the decision was made very simply, let’s just disable it, and leave it at that.”