Melbourne track and DRS tweaks could make cars 'quite loose' - The Race
Formula 1

Melbourne track and DRS tweaks could make cars ‘quite loose’

Apr 7 2022
By Edd Straw

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen expects Formula 1 cars to be “quite loose” when running with the DRS open in the new zone through the flat-out left-hand kink on the run to Turn 9 in Melbourne.

The removal of the old Turn 9/10 right-left at the Australian Grand Prix venue has created a long, flat out blast to the fast Turn 9/10 left/right sweeper (formerly Turn 11/12).

The new fourth DRS zone added to the circuit, making this the first event ever to use this many zones, runs through the left-hand kink approaching the corner.

Albert Park 2022 Site 2048x1152

Magnussen described this section of the track as “pretty full-on with DRS on”, indicating that although this has always been de facto straight as the cars are never grip-limited it might be now be trickier for drivers.

“Into Turn 9 I don’t think you are going to overtake, you may do but I’m not sure,” said Magnussen when asked whether the track changes will improve the racing.

“The bend before Turn 9 is going to be pretty full-on with DRS on. I think the cars are going to be quite loose there. But we’ll see.

“I think it will be a little better. Also, with the cars in Jeddah we saw more overtakes than we did last year in the race.

“So the cars are definitely better at following and overtaking. Even if they didn’t change the track, I think you’d see more overtaking.”

There has been controversy in the past about allowing the DRS to be used in such kinks, notably at Silverstone in 2018 where it was available through the Abbey right-hander.

Haas driver Romain Grosjean crashed there during the first free practice session, with Marcus Ericsson shunting there in the race after failing to close the DRS with the press of a button in time.

F1 has generally been cautious about DRS zones where cars are potentially grip limited without the downforce from the rear wing. However, the kink on the run to Turn 9 at Albert Park was reckoned not to be a concern.

Drivers will have the chance to try out the DRS in this part of the circuit for the first time in free practice tomorrow.

Magnussen also questioned the need for some of the changes made to Albert Park, which he described as “over the top”.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Australian Grand Prix Preparation Day Melbourne, Australia

He didn’t feel that the old Turn 9/10 needed to be removed, but did support the organisers for their willingness to make changes in the hope of improving the racing.

“I had the same thought when I saw the layout of this track, that maybe some of it was over the top,” said Magnussen when it was put to him that the rationale for the changes made wasn’t immediately clear.

“Removing what was Turn 9 and 10, I don’t think they needed to do that.

“But they’ve made a big effort to make the show better and that’s a great thing. Let’s see how it goes in the race.

“There’s different opinions of what’s good racing; too easy overtaking can be bad as well. It just puts everyone in the right position in terms of pace.

“It’s a balance. Some tracks have just like the right balance to have some racing, have some action, but also some opportunity to defend.

“If you can’t defend, if you just get overtaken if you are even a little bit slower, then that’s also not a good thing.”

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