Whiting – ‘Driver Choice’ Solely Responsible for Silverstone DRS Crashes

Romain Grosjean & Marcus Ericsson - Haas F1 Team & Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team - Silverstone
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Charlie Whiting says the crashes of Romain Grosjean and Marcus Ericsson at Abbey during the British Grand Prix weekend were the consequences of ill-judged driver choices, with both being caused by their Drag Reduction System (DRS) being open heading into the turn.

Grosjean crashed his Haas F1 Team machine during first practice at Silverstone on Friday morning, with the incident forcing him to miss the second session due to the extensive repairs needed on his VF-18, while Ericsson lost control at the same turn in the race, spinning his Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team machine into the barriers.

FIA Race Director Whiting said it was up to the drivers to manage their usage of DRS through the turn so they can only have themselves to blame for their crashes.

“I think the incidents where drivers lost control through Turn 1 because they had their DRS open through Turn 1 is a driver choice, just like any other choice you make on a car,” Whiting is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com.

“It’s like any car that is challenging to drivers, and sometimes they try to do it flat when it’s not really flat, and they spin.  It’s the same thing, it’s their choice. If they thought they could do it, they can try it. It’s not a requirement to do it.

“It’s like any other choice that teams and drivers make.”

Whiting felt the new DRS zone did not actual do as he had hoped it would as it did not provide many more opportunities to overtake, and question marks will be raised to whether the zone will return in 2019.

“I don’t think it actually helped,” admitted Whiting.  “The idea was that drivers might get a little bit closer than they would have done otherwise, and therefore be in a better position to attack on the straights between Turns 5 and 6.”