Max Verstappen weighed in on the never-ending story of overtaking in Formula 1, and the viability of having DRS, and claimed the current generation of cars are becoming harder to follow.
The topic was raised following the 2023 Italian Grand Prix last Sunday, after Verstappen took his record-breaking tenth consecutive victory this season, where the DRS seemed to be less effective with F1 cars running low downforce configurations.
Passing Carlos Sainz for the lead took the Dutchman 15 laps despite his superior car, while Sergio Perez had to fight tooth and nail with Sainz and Charles Leclerc to finish second behind his teammate.
Facing the media after the race, Verstappen was asked about the DRS effectiveness at Monza, as well as his belief whether it should be kept in the future or not, especially that the current of generation of ground effect F1 cars were introduced in 2022 to boost closer racing and overtaking.
And despite early signs of success in the new rules, Verstappen believes that the cars, as they continue to develop, are becoming harder in race closely and follow.
He said: “I think in most tracks, we still struggled to follow or pass. At the beginning of the year, a lot of people were complaining about passing.
“Of course, we had the luxury being a quick car, we could still pass like in Miami,” he pointed out. “I think everyone was complaining in Miami about the passing with DRS. I think the cars are getting more and more efficient and they have more downforce. So it’s harder to follow and then they’re more efficient on the straight.”
As for the situation at Monza last weekend, the reigning F1 Champion added: “Naturally here [Monza] there’s less DRS effect because there’s almost no wing on the car. But I think it really depends on which track.
“Also here, for example, if Carlos, he was putting the car in the middle under braking into Turn 1, it’s almost impossible to do something, because if I go for it and he just moves a little bit to the right, there is no space anymore. So, for me, there was never really an option to actually fight in the braking zone today,” Verstappen maintained.
Perez and Sainz concur with Verstappen
Perez, sharing the media session with his teammate added on the topic: “I really agree. I think, definitely less DRS is not the way forward.
“I remember we were discussing to actually increase the effect because yeah, the cars are getting harder to follow. I think here, the DRS effect like Max says is really, really small. So, I don’t think in other places we can race with less DRS. If anything, we needed the DRS more in some places to be able to have better racing,” the Mexican explained.
Sainz succeeded to give Verstappen and Perez a hard time trying to pass him at Monza, and succeeded to keep teammate Charles Leclerc at bay despite being on more degraded tyres.
He commented: “I think what you saw today [Sunday] is a bit of a coincidence where we had a lot of top speed with no DRS. And Red Bull had just enough top speed with DRS and slipstream and battery to get to us under braking and that generated a good fun battle.
“But in 99% of the tracks, I think we’re going to need DRS and we’re going to need a powerful DRS because these cars from the beginning of the year, like Max said, it’s starting to become a bit like 2021 or 2020 where it is difficult to follow.
“Obviously Monza is a special case because you don’t only have the DRS, you also have very long straights of slipstreaming, which helps a bit more the car behind but I think in the rest of the tracks, we’re going to need the DRS,” the Spaniard maintained.