While this year’s new tech regs have thus far spiced up the show, there’s currently talk among teams about banning one of the overtaking aids being used this year, namely the new Drag Reduction Systems (DRS), at one venue where the gizmo might spark safety concerns.
Monaco is unique among current racing venues: while it’s no longer the only non-purpose-built street course on offer, it stands out for having the least congenial layout for hard core racing. The narrow streets twist and turn like a country joggers’ path, and the runoff areas are less than non-existent. A failure of a car’s DRS to be deployed properly could have hazardous consequences.
Another factor to consider: Monaco has no long straights, and thus far the only allowed DRS zones during races have been designated on straights.
Of course, if any venue could use an assist when it comes to providing overtaking opportunities, it’s Monaco. Most of the passing in the principality occurs in the pit lane. But would the banning of DRS create a serious handicap (or lost opportunity)? I think not. The solution is obvious.
If Pirelli brings their softest compounds to the Monaco weekend, ensuring high rates of tire degradation, we should see some interesting strategies play out, and some significant speed differentials, which should create at least a few opportunities for the bolder drivers. Look for the likes of Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel to outdo one another with a few swashbuckling lunges and parries.