Whiting: No free DRS in qualifying

Formula 1 race director Charlie Whiting believes that the free use of DRS in practice and qualifying has led to too many crashes.

Fernando Alonso of Spain and Ferrari at the Belgian Grand Prix

By ESPNSTAR.com staff

Consquently, a selective ban on the technology will be put in place from 2013 onwards.

DRS is an adjustable rear flap that can be opened to reduce the drag coefficient on cars during long straights. It has helped drivers increase their speed in order to ensure smooth overtaking although they do need to follow strict regulations and can only employ the mechanism in certain zones within a circuit during actual races. 

Since its adoption in 2011, DRS has helped increase the level of overtaking although there has been a marked increase in the number of racing incidents. Teams are working towards creating similar adjustable front wings as well and this could further exacerbate the risk level currently inherent in the sport. 

It is freely available for use in practice and qualifying sessions as the focus on maximising single-lap speed has led to fierce competition in the development race that has increased the allure of the sport. Moreover, the rationale has also been that the greater time allowed for testing in race-like conditions would make it easier for the race engineers to properly understand and develop the DRS mechanism. 

Whiting, however, wants to curb the usage in order to ensure cleaner practice and qualifying sessions ahead of racedays. He did specify, however, that the mechanism would still be available for use within the DRS zones. 

"We are going to prohibit the use of DRS in practice and qualifying except in the areas where it's going to be used in the race," Whiting was quoted as saying by BBC Sport.

"We're doing that for safety reasons. We believe there have been a number of incidents and drivers have told me it is becoming increasingly prevalent.

"We didn't want to have it in practice and qualifying before but we were worried we would not have effective DRS systems. Now all the information we have is that we will not see any reduction in the power of the DRS."

Many drivers have come out in support of the decision as they believe that the tendency to open up the rear wing during high-speed corners has often led to avoidable accidents. 

"The request to Charlie (Whiting) was practically unanimous," Red Bull driver Mark Webber told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport. 

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