A crashed data server meant the Drag Reduction System (DRS) was not activated until the 19th lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Drivers are only allowed to use the overtaking aid – a small flap on the rear wing – at certain points on the track when within one second of a car in front. It is usually activated at the start of the third lap.
On this occasion, the opening segment of the grand prix went by without it, significantly limiting overtakes at what is already a circuit where those come at a premium.
When asked after the race about being without DRS for so long, Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo said: “That made it even more boring. You need DRS on some tracks for sure. This is one of them!”
FIA race director Michael Masi said DRS was disabled as soon as the server crash was detected, meaning drivers were unable to activate it manually.
“The timing still operated fine as we all saw but [a server] crashed and we immediately disabled it,” Masi said post-race. “Until we were 100% confident that it was all, not only back up and running but back up and running with the correct data available, that was when we re-enabled it.
“We are various checks collaboratively between the FIA and F1 group to make sure everything was working hunky dory. Until that point in time we were not going to take a chance until we were confident.”
No it wouldn’t have been a free-for-all and to be honest the exact impact of it I would rather not think about it but effectively the precautionary measure straightaway was to do a global disabling.”
Masi is unsure what would have happened had they just left the drivers and teams to their own devices.
“It wouldn’t have been a free for all. To be honest, the exact impacts of it, I’d prefer not to even think about what they were. But the precautionary measure straight away was just to do a global disable [of DRS].”
“[We made] sure it was back up and running, and back up and running in a stable condition that we were confident with what was being sent was being sent equally and correctly. And once we were happy with that between us, we reactivated it and enabled DRS.”