British Grand Prix – Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson’s crash at Silverstone was caused by a lack of downforce from having the DRS still open.
Silverstone had a unique feature for this year’s race, with the addition of a third DRS zone running through Turns 1 & 2. This was due to the drivers taking this corner flat out, meaning the DRS would not automatically close due to the throttle being released or the brakes being applied. While some of the high end cars were able to take the section with the DRS open, many were manually closing their rear wings for the corner, before re-opening the flap until the end of the zone approaching Turn 3.
Romain Grosjean was the first to be caught out. He accidentally left his DRS open in Friday practice, losing the rear of his Haas when he turned into the high speed sweep of Turn 1. His car was badly damaged, resulting in him missing FP2.
Marcus Ericsson’s situation was virtually identical. Running in P14 after his sole planned pitstop, the Sauber driver had the DRS open when he turned into Turn 1 on Lap 32. The rear of the car came around on him and he flew off the track and into the tyre barrier. The contact with the barrier itself was quite gentle, and Ericsson was able to climb out by himself as the race was neutralised behind the Safety Car.
“It is disappointing that I did not finish the race today.” said Ericsson afterwards. “It was going really well, we were following the strategy plan and had a good first stint. Then, the second stint also started well, and we were waiting to become stronger through the race. Unfortunately, I had to retire following my crash in turn 1. The DRS was open, and I lost the car. The positive is that we made further progress and I look forward to fighting back at the next Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.”
It’s not yet clear whether the FIA have any further plans to have DRS zones include corners, however slight.