There are three Singapore GP DRS Zones around the Marina Bay street circuit. One of these zones is much longer than the other two and often sees the majority of the overtaking take place during the F1 Grand Prix.
Read on for a map, details, and the location of each of the Singapore DRS Zones, plus some information on the kinds of speeds that can be reached by the F1 cars in these zones.
What is DRS?
DRS means Drag Reduction System when we’re talking about Formula 1. It’s a system which allows a small flap in the rear wing to be opened on the straights, to reduce aerodynamic drag and increase top speed. This results in more overtaking, in a bid to make the racing more exciting for fans.
Each circuit on the Formula 1 calendar has a number of predetermined DRS Zones. Drivers can activate their DRS in these zones at any time during qualifying. When racing, they can only activate DRS if they’re less than a second behind the car in front. DRS cannot be used in the first two laps of the race, nor during the first lap after a safety car restart.
Each DRS Zones has a Detection Point and an Activation Point.
DRS Detection Point
The DRS Detection Point is used during the race only. If a car is following another car and is less than one second behind when both cars cross the DRS Detection Point then the following car will be able to activate their DRS when then reach the next Activation Point.
The aim of DRS is to make it easier to overtaken and make the racing more exciting to watch. If both the car ahead and behind were able to use DRS at the same time it wouldn’t make overtaking any easier. It would simply increase both car’s top speeds. Hence the Detection Point is used to determine whether the following car is close enough.
DRS Activation Point
If the following car is less than 1 second behind the car ahead when they cross the Detection Point then they will be able to activate their DRS when they reach the Activation Point.
To do this drivers press a button on the steering wheel and the flap in their rear wing will open. It will stay open until they press the brakes, where it will close automatically.
DRS Activation Points are usually only at the start of long straights. By reducing aerodynamic drag they also reduce downforce, which could result in a loss of grip and a spin if used on a corner.
Singapore GP DRS Zones
There are three Singapore GP DRS Zones on the Marina Bay street circuit. The first is after Turn 5, the second is after Turn 13 and the third is after Turn 19, on the start / finish straight.
The circuit map below shows the location of each of these zones.
Singapore GP DRS Zone 1
The first DRS Zone on the Singapore GP layout has a Detection Point at the exit of Turn 4. The Activation Point is 48 metres after Turn 5.
The Activation Point gives drivers who have been overtaken in to Turn 1 a chance to come back at their competitors. If they were passed in to the first corner they can usually stick very close behind through the slow turns 2, 3 and 4 and be within the 1 second window as they cross the Detection Point.
The Zone 1 Activation Point is at the start of the longest straight on the Marina Bay circuit, along Raffles Boulevard. As the drag reduction has a bigger effect at higher speeds, this is where most of the overtaking has happened in the last few Singapore Grand Prix.
Check out our guide to Singapore F1 tickets if for the tips on the best places to sit to get a view of this key overtaking spot.
In 2022 Max Verstappen tried to overtake one of the McLarens in this DRS Zone but braked too late, locked up all his tyres and had to go down the escape road.
Singapore GP DRS Zone 2
The second DRS Zone at the Singapore Grand Prix has a Detection Point 102 metres before Turn 13 and an Activation Point 78 metres after Turn 13.
The Detection Point is after the technical section through turns 10, 11 and 12. As they are quite slow-speed corners it’s fairly easy for one car to follow another within the one second window.
The Activation Point just after Turn 13 is at the start of Esplanade Drive, otherwise known as Jubilee Bridge, that goes over Marina Bay itself. This isn’t a particularly long straight so even with DRS active the following driver needs a great exit from Turn 13 to stand a chance of overtaking at the end of the zone in to Turn 14.
Singapore GP DRS Zone 3
The third DRS Zone at the Singapore Grand Prix has a Detection Point 180 metres before Turn 18 and an Activation Point 43 metres after Turn 19.
The Detection Point is shortly after the tight and technical turns 16 and 17 which bunches the cars up and makes it fairly easy for them to be within one second of each other.
The Activation Point is at the start of the pit straight, close to some of the Singapore Premier Walkabout grandstands on the outside of the circuit.
The pit straight isn’t very long but turns 18 and 19 are fast which means DRS has more of an effect down the straight. This normally gives the following driver enough of a run to challenge on the brakes in to Turn 1.
Singapore F1 DRS Speeds
The fastest speeds reached at the Singapore street circuit are towards the end of the first DRS Zone, just before the drivers hit the brakes for Turn 7.
One of the split timing lines, Intermediate 1, is located here. At the end of the race the FIA publishes data on the top speeds achieved by the cars as they cross this line.
These were the fastest speeds achieved at the Intermediate 1 line in the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix:
Max Verstappen started back in the pack of the cars and spent most of the race trying to overtake cars in front. His slipstreaming combined with use of DRS puts him top of the speed chart.
In the previous Singapore GP in 2019 we saw some much higher speeds at the same point on the circuit, with Nico Hulkenberg achieving 328kph; that’s 13kph faster than Max managed in 2022. Different engine regulations and aerodynamics packages made for faster cars in a straight line that year.
Check out the Singapore GP lap records for some of the fastest laps around the circuit.
Are the Singapore GP DRS Zones in the right place?
At some Formula 1 races the DRS Zones make overtaking too easy and allow the following driver to complete their pass before they’ve even reach the braking zone for the next corner.
At Singapore this isn’t the case. As the 2022 race showed us, even in the first (longest) DRS Zone the following driver had to be brave on the brakes to make an overtake stick in to Turn 7. And the other two zones are shorter, so they still require some balls to get ahead of the car in front.