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Ross Brawn wants long-term solution to remove DRS from F1 cars

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Ross Brawn wants to develop Formula 1’s technical regulations so that overtaking is easier to complete, meaning that DRS can be removed from the series’ cars.

The Drag Reduction System (DRS) was introduced to F1 in 2011 in a bid to improve overtaking, with drivers allowed to open a flap in their rear wing when within one second of the car ahead so that it would be easier to pass.

Brawn has recently become F1’s new sporting managing director following the takeover of the series by Liberty Media, and is tasked with improving the on-track spectacle.

DRS has proven controversial throughout its time in F1, and while Brawn is not planning to immediately remove it, he would like to see the regulations make overtaking more natural to remove the purpose of the aid.

“I think we have to look at the whole topic of overtaking and racing and how the cars can race and overtake each other,” Brawn told the official F1 app.

“I would prefer that to be let’s say a normal process rather than enhanced by DRS. But DRS was a solution because we had a problem at the time.

“I don’t think we should rush into taking DRS off, but what I would like to see is a better long-term solution to car design that enables us to not need DRS.”

2017 sees F1’s look change dramatically following the introduction of new technical regulations that have resulted in faster, more aggressive looking cars.

Brawn paid a visit to pre-season testing in Barcelona to see the cars in action, and was impressed with the early feedback.

“I think as a racing car, it looks more exciting. I think the general proportions of the car are better, much faster, pretty impressive in the corners,” Brawn said.

“The drivers I’ve spoken have told me they’re pretty physically challenging, which is what we wanted.”

Hartley happy with ‘big progression’ on first day with Toro Rosso

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With 69 laps completed (28 in free practice one and 41 in free practice two) and respectable lap times in both sessions, Brendon Hartley quickly acclimated to a modern day Formula 1 chassis in his first run with Scuderia Toro Rosso in Friday practice for the United States Grand Prix.

The Porsche factory driver has been drafted into the team following a convoluted series of musical chairs that sees Daniil Kvyat back after a two-race absence, Carlos Sainz Jr. now at Renault and Pierre Gasly racing at the Super Formula season finale in Suzuka.

Over the time in the car today, Hartley experienced changeable conditions in FP1 before a more normal FP2, and discovered the new F1 cockpit after a day learning in the garage yesterday.

“A steep learning curve today! It all went pretty smoothly and I kept the car on track without making too many mistakes, so I’m quite happy,” the New Zealander reflected at day’s end.

“I didn’t really know what to expect from today because I just had so much to learn! I think I made quite a big progression throughout the day.

“The biggest difference from what I’m used to is the high-speed grip, it’s incredible here in Formula 1…it was quite an eye-opener! Another challenge are the tires, which are also quite different to what I’m used to. On the other hand, the long-run looks quite positive and I did a good job managing the tires there – the biggest thing I need to work on now is the new tire pace, and I’ll get another crack at it tomorrow morning before qualifying.

“All in all, I’d say it’s all coming together. We’ll now work hard and go through plenty of data tonight and hopefully I’ll make another step forward tomorrow.”

His best lap was 1.1 seconds up on Friday driver Sean Gelael, the Indonesian Formula 2 driver, in FP1 (1:39.267 to 1:40.406, good enough for 14th) and 1.1 seconds off the returning Kvyat in FP2 (1:37.987 to 1:36.761, good enough for 17th). Interestingly, the Gelael/Hartley combination in FP1 marked the second time in three races that Toro Rosso had a pair of drivers in its cars without a single Grand Prix start between them – Gasly’s debut at Malaysia was the other, when he and Gelael were in in FP1.

Coming into Friday’s running, Hartley said he was more ready for this opportunity now than he had been as a teenager. He admitted he’d called Red Bull’s Helmut Marko in the wake of Porsche’s LMP1 withdrawal news earlier this year to say he was game for any chance that might come.

“I’m a lot stronger than I was back then, basically. I wasn’t ready at 18 years old. I like to think I’m ready now,” he said.

“I haven’t driven a single-seater since 2012, but I like to think that Porsche LMP1 has hopefully prepared me well.”

As for the rest of his weekend, it’s been made more complicated by Hartley being assessed a 25-spot grid penalty, even though Hartley had done nothing to accrue the penalties.

The roundabout sequence of driver changes at Toro Rosso saw Gasly replace Kvyat, Kvyat replace Sainz, and now Hartley replace Gasly, as is outlined by NBCSN pit reporter Will Buxton below.