Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber has stated that he is not bothered about the new rules for DRS usage in F1 this season.
Previously, drivers could use DRS (a system which reduces drag, making a car quicker in a straight line) anywhere on the circuit during practice and qualifying, but they were limited to the designated DRS ‘zone’ for the race. For 2013, the system will be restricted to this zone across the entire race weekend.
Webber revealed that both he and teammate Sebastian Vettel had pushed for the change, and that the move makes little difference to his approach to qualifying.
“It’s not a big thing for us. I think that we have been okay in qualifying in the past, also quite strong in races so the effect of the DRS, the delta of the DRS, all those type of things which is not something that we’re having a huge eye on, we’re not disappointed that the DRS is less in qualifying.
“Sebastian and I are very happy. We pushed quite hard to have DRS dropped down in terms of volume on Saturday afternoon so we’re quite relaxed with that one.”
The ruling does mean that teams will have to set up their cars with both qualifying and the race in mind, whereas in 2012 they could use a high downforce (and therefore high drag) setup in qualifying as the drag would be reduced by DRS. Red Bull were known to be focusing on their race setups in 2012, preferring the higher downforce circuits, so the move is unlikely to cause too much trouble for the defending champions.
We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.
And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.
After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.
In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.
Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.
“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.
“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.
“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”
Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.
“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”
Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.