P1, FP2, even F1 itself. Formula 1 is a sport dominated by acronyms and jargon that can often prevent newcomers from breaking into the sport.


Formula 1: Drive to Survive has gone a long way towards offering a base level of F1 literacy, but there are some terms that crop up so often in races it's hard to keep a track of what they actually mean.

Anyone tuned into a Grand Prix is bound to hear the commentator talk about the importance of DRS, DRS zones and drivers activating DRS – and there will be thousands of casual fans around the world afraid to ask their more F1-savvy mates – what actually is it?

RadioTimes.com brings you a full explainer as to what DRS means in Formula 1 to help you get to grips with the sport in 2023.

Check out more Formula 1 coverage: F1 calendar 2023 | How to watch F1 on TV | F1 beginner's guide | F1 highlights | F1 presenters | F1 on Channel 4

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 1, 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.

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