While the new 2022 F1 cars proved to be easier to track each other in combat, the reduced slip effect put more emphasis on the benefits of the drag reduction system.
The length of some DRS zones, such as Saudi Arabia, has also led to a situation where overtaking is practically guaranteed for the car behind.
The recent Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola started in wet conditions, but drivers were unable to use the DRS a few laps after switching to dry tires.
Vettel, who followed the Grand Prix of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia from home after he contracted the coronavirus, believes that F1 must be careful when it comes to relying on the DRS.
The four-time world champion is wary that the DRS has increasingly become the only way to overtake, since it was originally introduced as a way to give drivers a better chance of making it through.
Reflecting on the change to 2022 car racing, Vettel said: “I think you can follow closer. But there is also a smaller effect of resistance and we rely on DRS to some extent probably more than in the past.
“It would be interesting to take off the DRS and see what the race really is, and whether you are able to overtake much better than, say, in the past.
“I’m just a little wary of DRS, because it was brought in to help you overtake, but now it seems to be the only thing that sometimes allows you to overtake.”
Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, online
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Pictures of motorsport
Vettel believes that Formula 1 leaders should ultimately target cars that do not need DRS reinforcements for overtaking to occur.
“Ideally, we have a set of regulations that allows us to track and race without the DRS,” Vettel added.
“DRS has not been here for 70 years. It was brought in 10 years ago to help, as an experiment.
“I think overtaking should always be an effort, not dictated by being in the zone and getting DRS.
“The race in Jeddah, where you had leaders braking for the DRS line to try to be the second to cross that line, it’s a different type of race. I don’t think we should go that way.
“But we are still at the beginning of the project. You can definitely follow more closely. It is still difficult to overtake, but there should be effort and reward when you manage to overtake. ”
Although brand new cars for 2022 were created to help improve racing, F1 bosses were clear that they initially wanted to keep the DRS to better understand how the new cars behaved in combat.
However, F1 motorsport general manager Ross Brawn has long been clear that the long-term goal is to get rid of it.
“I’d like to think we could get to a stage where the DRS doesn’t become so critical,” he said during the initial launch of the new regulations.
Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR22, Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C42
Photo by Steven Tee / Pictures of motorsport
“But it’s very easy to have or not to have if we discover that cars can fight each other.
“Overtaking is the culmination, of course, but the big battle is critical, and where you have cars that can’t be consistently tracked because the tires degrade and due to loss of performance, then you don’t have such big battles.
“You can have a big battle where the guy who leads still leads in the end, but you had a big battle.
“We tried to distinguish the difference between overtaking and racing.”