F1 votes to reinstate fourth DRS zone in Melbourne
By Mat Coch
Wednesday 22nd February, 2023 - 3:01pm
The F1 Commission has voted to reinstate the fourth DRS zone at Albert Park for this year’s Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.
The confirmation comes following a meeting of the key F1 body where a range of topics were discussed.
A fourth DRS zone was set to be used in Albert Park for the 2022 event, only for it to be removed after complaints from Fernando Alonso.
Last December, Andrew Westacott subsequently confirmed to Speedcafe.com that the zone would be reinstated alongside Lakeside Drive in 2023.
That has now been confirmed by the F1 Commission, one of five DRS zone changes for the coming year.
Other tweaks have been made to Bahrain, Jeddah, Baku, and Miami “in order to either facilitate overtaking, or make it harder in certain circuits where it was deemed not to be enough of a challenge.”
There have been other changes in Jeddah, which hosts the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with walls moved to improved sightlines.
In Azerbaijan, the circuit has been resurfaced, as it has in Miami following complaints from drivers during the inaugural event last year.
In Zandvoort, spacing between pit boxes has been increased by 1.5 metres while Qatar will sport a new pit and paddock complex – the reason MotoGP moved its 2023 season opener away from Lusail.
Restrictions on radio messages to drivers have also been relaxed.
To now, there have been limitations surrounding what could be said to the driver, especially on the formation lap, which contributed to the bizarre scenes at the start of the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix.
The F1 Commission also agreed to introduce a new wet weather tyre that does not require a tyre blanket to pre-heat it, which will be introduced from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in May.
Also, the proposed winter shutdown period was also voted through with unanimous approval, affecting both teams and power unit manufacturers.
The wording surrounding races that have been shortened has also been tweaked in an effort to avoid a repeat of last year’s Japanese Grand Prix, where confusion reigned over whether full of half-points were to be awarded and if Max Verstappen had scored enough to become champion-elect.
F1 teams are this week in action as pre-season testing begins in Bahrain.
Three days of running are scheduled, starting from Thursday, ahead of the opening race of the year at the same circuit from March 2-5.
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