Miami GP DRS Zones Map, Location & Speeds

Alex Gassman

by Alex Gassman

Miami GP DRS Zones at the Miami Grand PRix

There are three different Miami GP DRS zones for the F1 race. But do they help overtaking at the Miami Grand Prix, or do they actually make it too easy for drivers to get passed one another?

This article takes a full look a the location of each of the three DRS zones at Miami and whether or not they should be moved.


What is DRS?

In F1 DRS means Drag Reduction System. It’s a function which allows a driver to open a flap in their rear wing with the push of a button. This reduces the drag of the wing through the air and results in higher speeds on the straights.

DRS activation zones

DRS can only be used in certain zones, usually on straights. Enabling DRS on a high speed corner that relies on a lot of rear downforce would reduce the rear-end grip of the car significantly, potentially causing the car to spin or crash. The DRS is disabled as soon as the driver applies any pressure to the brake pedal.

Each circuit has DRS zones in different places. Some tracks like Suzuka and Monaco just have one DRS zone, most circuits including COTA have two zones, a handful including the Miami Grand Prix have three zones and just one track, Albert Park in Melbourne, has four DRS zones.

DRS detection points

DRS’ purpose is to increase the amount of close racing and overtaking in F1. Sections of the track which may not normally be a passing opportunity can implement DRS to improve the chances of some action.

This works if only the driver behind is given access to DRS. To do this, for every DRS zone there is a detection point a corner or two before. The detection point uses the circuit’s live timing to measure the gap between cars. If that gap is equal to or less than 1 second, the following car can enable DRS at the next activation zone.

Miami GP DRS zones

The Miami Grand Prix has 3 DRS Zones. The first zone has a detection point after Turn 8 and an activation point after Turn 9. The second zone has a detection point on the straight after Turn 16 and an activation point a little further along the same straight. The third DRS zone has a detection point at the exit of Turn 17 and an activation point on the apex of Turn 19.

The DRS zones help the drivers to achieve some seriously high speeds. See our article on the Miami Grand Prix fastest lap for an idea of lap times and top speeds reached in the F1 cars.

Below is a Miami GP DRS zones map showing the location of each detection and activation point. It also shows the speed trap located at the end of the DRZ zone 2 just before Turn 17.

DRS zones are there to making the racing as close as possible. If they’re in the wrong place they can make overtaking too easy. Each of the Miami GP DRS zones is activated at a different point along its respective straight in an effort to keep the racing close.

Miami GP DRS zone 1

The detection point for the first DRS zone at the Miami Grand Prix circuit is 90 metres after the exit of Turn 8. The activation point for zone 1 is 30 metres after Turn 9.

Looking at the circuit map above you can see the run from Turn 8 through to Turn 11 is mostly kinked one way or the other, and isn’t really straight. In reality, the F1 cars are completely flat out from when they leave Turn 8 until the braking zone for Turn 11. The kink shown at Turn 10 is minor enough for it to be safe to use DRS as the cars go round it without full rear downforce.

Turn 8 to Turn 11 is roughly 0.9 miles / 1.4km. An F1 car flat out for that length of time can reach some serious speeds. With slipstreaming and DRS active, around 205mph / 330kph is possible. This is the fastest the cars will go on the Miami Grand Prix layout.

As the DRS is most effective at high speed, putting the activation point too soon after Turn 8 would make it too easy for the cars to overtake. That’s why DRS can’t be activated until after Turn 9.

Is it in the right place? Well the 2022 Miami GP showed that the DRS activation point for zone 1 might still be a little too early. We saw Hamilton pass Alonso using DRS, and he had the move fully completely before he’d reached the braking zone. In fact he’d fully cleared Alonso before he even reached the 250 metre marker board.

Later in the race we saw Russell get past his teammate Hamilton in very similar fashion. Lewis tried to defend his position by taking an inside line as they approached the braking zone for Turn 11, but George stuck to the racing line on the outside of the circuit and simply drove past Lewis before either of them hit the brakes.

At the start of 2023 F1 management said they were going to change the DRS zones at a number of circuits, one of those being Miami. I would be incredibly surprised if the DRS zone 1 activation point wasn’t moved a little bit further along towards Turns 10 and 11. Making the racing as close as possible in to the tight Turn 11 gives the thousands of fans in the Miami F1 Beach grandstands something to cheer about.

Miami GP DRS zone 2

The detection point for the second DRS Zone at the Miami Grand Prix is 70 meters after the exit of Turn 16. The DRS activation point is 450 metres after the same corner.

Between turns 16 and 17 where DRS zone 2 is active is a 0.8 mile / 1.3 km straight. And this time it’s dead straight, no kinks or curves to worry about.

A straight this long again means the cars can hit some serious speed. At the end of this straight is the speed trap, and in 2022 Kevin Magnussen topped the speed table reaching 214mph / 345kph here. That was with DRS enabled and slipstreaming another car.

At those speeds any reduction in drag has a big effect. That’s why the DRS zone 2 activation point isn’t until about a third of the way along this straight.

In 2022 its positioning seemed to work pretty well. We saw a good amount of side-by-side action in the braking zone for Turn 17 and barely any overtakes that were done and dusted before that point.

It’s where Mick Schumacher drew alongside Alonso in the braking zone, thanks to DRS, and managed to get passed followed closed by Vettel who had ‘double DRS’ down the same straight.

Miami GP DRS zone 3

The detection point for the third DRS zone is 15 metres after Turn 17. The activation point is directly on the apex of Turn 19.

It’s fairly uncommon to see one DRS zone directly after another, like with zones 2 and 3 at Miami. But it gives the driver who has just been passed on the way in to Turn 17 a chance to immediately fight to get their position back down the start / finish straight. 

Drivers can line up an overtake in to Turn 1 surrounded by grandstands and exciteable American spectators.

The zone 3 DRS zone at Miami produced a huge amount of action, overtakes, lunges, near-misses and even some contact at Turn 1. I don’t think they should change this zone at all next year.

The zone 3 DRS zone at Miami produced a huge amount of action, overtakes, lunges, near-misses and even some contact at Turn 1. I don’t think they should change this zone at all next year.

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Alex Gassman

I‘m Alex. I write F1 and motorsport travel guides based on my experience as racing driver and full-time motorsport nerd. I’ve traveled the world watching F1 and other racing series.

I started oversteer48 with the aim of helping other motorsport fans who are planning on watching some racing themselves.

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