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Montoya: DRS like giving photoshop to Picasso

Apr 27, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT

Montoya Getty Images

He may have walked away from Formula 1 back in 2006, but IndyCar driver Juan Pablo Montoya is never one to shy away from debates about the sport, and has recently waded in on the topic of DRS.

The controversial Drag Reduction System – which works via a flap in the rear wing to give the cars more top speed – has been largely met with a negative response since its introduction back in 2011.

Despite being designed to enhance overtaking, it appears to have gone too far, making passing too easy at tracks such as the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Canada and even along the back straight at the Circuit of the Americas.

Now Montoya, who last raced in F1 for McLaren back in 2006, has joined the list of critics.

“It makes a better show because people pass people, but I think overtaking is an art,” the Colombian joked when speaking to The Racer’s Edge. “It’s like giving Picasso Photoshop.

“You had to think and you had to risk a lot. You don’t have to fight for the positions now.

“You come into the straight and if you are close enough you have DRS and you’ve cleared the guy by the next corner.”

Montoya spent five and a half seasons in Formula 1 before walking away part of the way through the 2006 season. He then moved to NASCAR, but has returned to IndyCar in 2014 after spending some of his pre-F1 years in American single seaters.

  1. mcseforsale - Apr 27, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    I have no problem with DRS as a technology. I just don’t agree with its use. I think everyone should be able to enable DRS once the stewards say so. No more of this “within a second” crap. Let everyone use it during the race. The speeds that this generates are awesome and it’s truly a next-generation active aero device. But, limiting it to the passing driver is stupid. You have managed braking and electric assist (ERS), why not allow this other technology?

    • spa67 - Apr 29, 2014 at 7:48 AM

      That makes no sense.

      Unless you want to bring back moving aero, last legal around 1968.

      If you did that teams would dial in tons of wing and then just open it on the straights, increasing cornering forces beyond what the FIA wants, and eventually beyond the limits of the drivers.

      I don’t like a lot of the rules either, but they do have reasons behind them. Given the rule set from 1970 you could build a car with today’s technology that could easily cause the driver to pass out at the first corner. If he was lucky enough to wake up in time his retinas would detach while braking at 10+g for the next bend. “Well , the drivers should not pass their limits!” you say…unfortunately the potential consequences are a little too high, even by 1970 standards!

  2. indycarseries500 - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    But then there is no point in it, it’d have to be like IndyCar’s push to pass where you can only use it ‘x’ amount of times in a race

  3. techmeister1 - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    There is nothing new in tech with DRS at all. It’s just a manual change of the wing to reduce drag. As far as it’s use in racing to pass, it’s a crutch to make the racing more entertaining to those who get bored with wheel-to-wheel real racing.

    Catching someone and passing them are two different things. The whole point of racing is to have drivers compete. With the DRS the driver in front who isn’t allowed to use his DRS is helpless to defend most of the time. That’s not real racing that’s entertaining the easily bored masses.

  4. markdartj - Apr 27, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    DRS is just one of the things that has dumbed down the sport, in order to entertain those with a limited attention span. They are slowly turning Formula One into WWF. They are making Monster Trucks look technologically superior.

  5. tpcimagery - Apr 27, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    I completely agree passing is too easy but it makes it fun to watch. I would tweak the DRS formula if it were up to me, instead of being within one second I would pursuit a DRS that is activated only while in another car’s direct slipstream. Once you step out your on your own, and no making up a second on one straight.

  6. aug99 - Apr 27, 2014 at 2:25 PM

    I seldom agree with Montoya. But he is right.
    Indy car racing is in trouble because of stuff like that.

  7. adamlucas9999 - Apr 27, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    OK smart guy! you left F1 because you couldn’t cut it anymore, you tried NASCAR and couldn’t cut it there, now you’re back to INDY car, well what about the “push to pass button” on INDY cars? that’s OK because????

    • dameslc - Apr 28, 2014 at 1:32 AM

      He didn’t leave because he couldn’t cut it in F1 and he never became a star in Nascar but always held his own from start to finish there. If 7 wins, 30 podiums, 13 pole positions, 12 fastest laps, 604 laps led, 307 championship points (under the old scoring system) winning in his rookie season, winning the Monaco grand prix in a Williams car, finishing 3rd in points two years in a row, having a podium in about one of three starts and setting the still standing records for fastest speed and fastest practice speed in F1 history at Monza in 2005 all during the Schumacher/Ferrari/Brawn era when no one else was winning very often isn’t cutting it, then most of todays field is in deep trouble and won’t last or cut it in F1 for much longer. including guys like Rosberg, Hulkenberg, Grosjean and Bottas. Heck! by your reasoning, even guys like Vettel and Raikkonen aren’t cutting it in F1 this year

  8. Captain Anhyzer - Apr 27, 2014 at 8:27 PM

    There’s really no reason the drivers should be sitting in these cars anymore. It’s like a Nintendo game, with all these gadgets they’ve added in the name of “exciting racing”.

  9. cuencanolenny - Apr 27, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    I disagree, the DRS enables drivers to quickly overtake back marker cars which don’t use as much downforce in order to keep their speeds up. Without the DRS they become road blocks. Look at the trap times, almost always the Caterham’s and Marussia cars have the highest speeds. The Red Bulls (up until this year) were usually towards the lower of the top ten. If you watch the China race from last year you will see that even with DRS it was difficult to pass any Ferrari powered car. This year the MB powered cars definitely have a power advantage. I like the DRS rules. I have been a fan of F1 since 1964.

  10. redrock81 - Apr 27, 2014 at 9:42 PM

    No, Montoya didn’t walk away from F1.. he was forced out.

    • dameslc - Apr 28, 2014 at 1:20 AM

      Why the three thumbs down? You are correct! he was in a way forced out of F1 but it was really bad team politics at McLaren though and then Montoya had enough and went elsewhere. In 2006 McLaren came out with their redesigned version of the MP4-20 which had drastic changes to the chassis and the team that won ten times in 2005 were struggling just to get podiums in 2006 with the MP4-21 which had bad one lap and bad race pace. McLaren knew that they had a bad car and decided to try and shift the blame to the drivers and started speculation within the team of possibly not renewing Montoya’s contract for 2007 in favor of replacing him with their impressive GP2 prospect Lewis Hamilton to generate interest from their potential sponsors; It’s a business and very big business with millions of dollars on the line. They did the exact same thing to their driver Perez last year when Perez was actually doing a pretty good job at the team with what he had to work with. Montoya was doing nothing wrong at McLaren other than being outpaced by his teammate more often than not but keep in mind that Kimi Raikkonen was with that team since 2002, very settled in and focused and his input taken into consideration when designing their cars which suited Raikkonen’s driving style as for the setup. When Montoya heard of the speculation, he took it literally and began looking at other opportunities. He thought he had found a good opportunity with his old boss Chip Ganassi in Nascar. I have to think that Montoya had far too much faith in Ganassi as for being someone who has the best teams in all racing series he involves himself in as having the midus touch. so maybe Montoya thought that it would be a lot easier for him and that he would be competitive there but just not understanding how difficult it would actually be for him. Montoya is not a Nascar stock car driver and his talent does not shine there. He should have stayed in F1 or if anything else, he should have looked for an opportunity in IndyCar back in 2006. His racing career since leaving CART where he was dominating ,after the 2000 season has been about moving from series to series and team to team and nothing has been easy for him since he left CART but if he had stayed where he was with Ganassi in the champ car series for the rest of his career, he would probably be one of the most decorated and accomplished drivers in racing history with multiple championships and record wins, podiums, poles etc. His Nascar endeavor was simply a tragic waste of time and now he is thirty eight years old. But I do agree that he was forced out by McLaren though.

  11. spa67 - Apr 29, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    I’m torn on the issue. On one hand Button’s charge through the field in Montreal-2011 was amazing, possibly the best race in the last 5 years, and would have been impossible without DRS. On the other I recall plenty of potential battles ended early by the same technology at the same track in 2012.

    Before DRS some VERY smart people tried tons of ideas to improve overtaking. If you recall races were very processional, and we all prayed for rain. They tried raising the front wing, allowing front wing movement for to keep a following car from washing-out while following in a corner, reducing the diffusers to clean up the wake. None of which worked.

    The real solution to improve the “show” has been obvious for years, but the top teams would never allow it. Eliminate qualifying and have two races every weekend (Sat and Sunday) with the grids set inversely based on championship position. If the top constructors HAD to make a car that could perform in turbulent air they certainly could. Even the older cars were up to the task when forced and on the right circuit, remember Kimi’s charge at Suzuka in ’04 and the outside pass of Fisi in T1?

    The technology should be changed. The best solution now is to modify it to more closely resemble the genuine drafting (or slip-streaming) that it is supposed to emulate. Reduce the following gap and only allow the slat to be open until the overtaking car is adjacent to or still behind the car it is attempting to overtake. With all the GPS gizmos available I’m certain this is well with in the realm of current technology.

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