Panis: DRS too dangerous for F1
20 April 2011 – Former Grand Prix winner Olivier Panis believes that Formula 1 does not require overtaking aids such as the Drag Reduction System (DRS). Labelling the new-for-2011 device as ‘dangerous’, the Frenchman insists that the sport’s circuits should be built or modified with overtaking in mind.
After winning the chaotic Monaco Grand Prix of 1996 for Ligier, Panis raced in F1 until the penultimate race of 2004 with Toyota. This year, he will once again be competing in the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours with Oreca-Peugeot.
“No, I don’t like it,” Panis told GPUpdate.net of DRS. “Seriously, if you want to have some overtaking like in China, you need to do it with the circuit; if you put a hairpin before a long straight, for sure you will have overtaking. But all these kinds of things, I don’t like them at all.
“Really, there are too many things for the driver to be doing on the steering wheel now. Compared with what they did before, I think it’s more dangerous and I don’t feel good about this philosophy. First he has to change gear…and also if one time the system doesn’t work it’s going to be pretty dangerous, particularly in a high-speed corner.
“I don’t really understand who decides these things and if the guy was smoking something before he did. Really, I don’t think F1 needs these types of new things.
“If you’re doing a proper circuit and put a hairpin before a long straight, for sure you will have some overtaking. If you saw, in Melbourne we didn’t have a lot of overtaking and then in China – because you have that hairpin and very long straight, and it’s quite easy to follow another car in the corner before the straight – you have overtaking.
“I think we need to be thinking about that a bit - changing the circuits to have more overtaking. Not necessarily more hairpins but more hairpins before long straights, and that’s all. But all these new systems…I don’t think F1 needs that.”
When asked if drivers should be more involved in discussions for new technical innovations, the 44-year-old replied:
“I do agree with that but they’re so involved already, so to keep putting more of these things in I think is quite dangerous. I hear a lot of drivers complaining about it and I agree with them. I really don’t like it and I think it’s too dangerous in relation to the show it gives us.”