We may earn commission from links on this page. Our editorial is always independent (learn more)

What does DRS mean in Formula 1?

Formula 1 drivers are always using DRS to get ahead of the game – but what does it actually mean?

Formula 1

F1 is one of the most popular sports in the world, but perhaps one that makes use of the most complicated jargon for a beginner starting out watch the sport.


The F1 2020 calendar is in full swing with plenty more races to come, so sit back, relax and begin to enjoy the pinnacle of motorsport.

One feature fans will hear referenced when watching coverage of the sport is DRS, an acronym commonly mentioned by commentators.

But what does it stand for? And what does it actually mean? Read on for everything you need to know.

What does DRS stand for?

DRS stands for Drag Reduction System – a system that was introduced to the sport back in 2011 in order to promote overtaking.

It acts like a boost or an aid for drivers to safely overtake a competitor when they are close by.

The system can only be used in specially designated DRS activation zones (usually one or two zones per race) and is only used when a driver is within one second of the car in front.

To activate the system, the driver simply pushes a button which opens up a section of the rear wing, which reduces aerodynamic drag and increases the straight-line speed of the car.

This makes it possible for the driver to quickly make up ground on the car just in front of them at a faster pace than normal thus allowing them to overtake, while the car in front is not allowed to use DRS, unless they themselves have an interval of less than a second to the car in front of them.

DRS is the only part of the car’s body that can be adjusted in the middle of a race, as per regulations brought in in 2013.

There are a few other restrictions on the use of DRS in Formula One, including that it cannot be activated on the first two laps after the race start, while there are some situations where the race director may decide to disallow its use for a specific race if conditions are judged to be unsafe.

How to watch F1 on TV

All practices, qualifying and race sessions are available to watch live on Sky Sports F1.

Sky customers can add individual channels for £18 a month or add the complete sports package for just £23 per month.

How to live stream F1 online

The Sky Sports day pass (£9.99) or a month pass (£33.99) allow you to watch F1 races live without signing up to a contract.

You can stream NOW TV via a computer or apps found on most smart TVs, phones and consoles. NOW TV is also available via BT Sport.


Existing Sky Sports customers can live stream the Grands Prix via the Sky Go app on a variety of devices.

For the full list of races, visit our F1 2020 calendar. If you’re looking for what else is on, check out our TV guide.