Formula 1 and the FIA have clarified why the new straight in the revised Marina Bay Circuit layout in Singapore won’t incorporate a fourth DRS activation zone.
Due to construction work happening in the vicinity of the circuit, the previous sequence of 90-degree corners that combined to make up Turns 16-19 have been removed.
In its place comes a single straight into the Turn 16-17 chicane – the changes will cut lap times by up to 10s and a single lap has been added to the overall race distance as a result.
However, some drivers have called into question why a fourth DRS zone hasn’t been added to the new straight, with Valtteri Bottas saying: “Most drivers were expecting to have another DRS zone for the [new back] straight.”
Yuki Tusnoda and Esteban Ocon also queried the decision, with the latter citing a left kink in the straight being a possible safety concern that helped the FIA come to its decision.
“We won’t be assessing any additional DRS zones for the Singapore Grand Prix,” the FIA revealed to Autosport.
“It is something that was considered following the change in layout for this year, and the FIA contacted all of the teams several weeks ago to ask for their feedback and input.
“There was, however, no clear consensus from those teams that responded and, following our safety simulations, it was decided that we wouldn’t take the matter any further.”
Aston Martin FIA Safety Car. 14.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 16, Singapore Grand Prix, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Preparation Day.
While Ocon’s thoughts tally with the FIA’s statement, he believes there to be a solution that will make both the rule-makers and drivers happy.
“If we want to be really safe, we just put [the DRS zone after the Turn 15 kink],” he noted.
Typically, the Singapore GP has been difficult for overtaking and much has been made of the revised circuit layout mitigating this issue.
The longest race on the calendar, with high humidity and several tight, technical corners, racing has made way for endurance at this event over the years.
The new straight could mitigate a number of these issues, reducing the physicality of the circuit and improving the chance for overtaking, but the lack of a DRS zone will hurt the chances of the latter occurring readily.
Since the inaugural Singapore GP in 2008, eight of the 13 races have been won from pole position, with five victorious drivers succeeding in elevating themselves up the order en route to a win.
In 2019, over 100 overtakes were recorded in Singapore, so whilst overtaking may be tricky and no fourth DRS zone looks to be added to the race this weekend, it is still possible to make passing manoeuvres.
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