Brawn pounces on Abu Dhabi DRS glitch to highlight need for 2021 changes

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The DRS glitch during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix highlighted the need for the upcoming 2021 changes, Ross Brawn claims.

Drivers had to overtake the old-fashioned way for the first 18 laps at Yas Marina as, for the first time since its introduction in 2011, a server crash took the rear wing device offline.

Unsurprisingly, passing did prove more tricky with Valtteri Bottas, despite making his way into the top 10 from 20th without DRS, becoming stuck behind Nico Hulkenberg until it was finally activated.

And Brawn pounced on that to make his case for the new cars being introduced for 2021, which are designed to make racing easier.

“In Sunday’s race, no DRS was available for almost 20 laps because of a technical problem and that only served to emphasise the need for the cars to be able to fight at close quarters," the F1 motorsport director stated.

"In addition, the performance gap between the teams needs to be reduced because, looking at Sunday’s race, once again only the top teams completed the full race distance, every other team was lapped.”

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Remaining on the topic of overtaking though, ex-Renault driver Jolyon Palmer admitted DRS was still necessary in F1, despite some of the different moves we saw during Sunday's race.

“I would say on a whole no, don’t ban DRS,” he told the BBC.

“I actually preferred the first half of the race with no DRS, we saw some good moves, Turn 5 – Valtteri Bottas, [Carlos] Sainz tried to pass [Daniel] Ricciardo.

“It was unconventional stuff around the outside, it was good stuff, we saw some late-braking moves.

“But, while that’s all well and good, what we want to see is racing at the front, and for that, I think we need DRS.

“[Lewis] Hamilton couldn’t pass [Charles] Leclerc at Monza with DRS, with no DRS he’s got zero chance, so for the top teams on an even strategy, we just need DRS."

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff also pointed to the prolonged period without the overtaking aid as crucial to Bottas eventually finishing fourth, less than a second behind third-placed Charles Leclerc.

"I think probably somebody in race control stumbled over a cable and it wasn’t properly plugged in the wall," the Austrian joked on the cause of the DRS issue.

"But it was not great for Valtteri because he couldn’t progress through the field like we would have imagined and maybe he could have had a shot for P3 at the end.

"He was very close to Charles, but it is what it is, P4 on the road which is really strong considering that he came from last.”