Jenson Button is predicting some spectacular racing action at next week's Italian Grand Prix, thanks to the use of a double DRS zone at the famous Monza track.
For the first time this year, the FIA has approved two independent DRS zones at a race, with one running along Monza's start-finish straight and the other between the second Lesmo and the Ascari chicane. Although it is not clear yet just how effective DRS will be at Monza, because of its unique low-downforce nature, Button still thinks it will play enough of a role to deliver an exciting race.
"I think things will be a little more mixed-up this year," said Button. "For the second time this season, we'll have two distinct DRS zones, with two potential passing opportunities.
"The first zone's going to be interesting because it's always been very tough to challenge for position under braking for Ascari – the track's pretty narrow and it's a fast entry – so I'll be really interested to see how well DRS will work into that corner. We might see some pretty spectacular moves!
"I think the more conventional passing opportunity will come from the second DRS zone, getting as close as possible into Parabolica, holding on through the corner – which won't be straightforward – and then deploying DRS down the start/finish straight before, hopefully, passing into Turn 1. The DRS is going to be a pretty major asset for a following car, and it might shape the race in some really interesting ways."
Team principal Martin Whitmarsh talked about the possibility of Monza delivering the kind of action witnessed in "slip-streamer" races of the past.
"Perhaps it's a bit premature to be discussing the return of the epic 'Monza slip-streamer', but I think the whole team is going to Italy keen to see if DRS will create the sort of exciting and unpredictable grand prix that we either watched or read about when we were younger," he said.
For Lewis Hamilton, the most important thing this weekend is getting back on the top step of the podium after some recently frustrating races.
"Last year, I won at Spa and failed to finish at Monza. For this year, I guess I'm looking to reverse that sequence! I've already moved on from my non-finish in Belgium and I'm really looking forward to returning to Italy, a place where I spent a lot of time racing karts: it's a country I really love.
"I think we go into the weekend feeling pretty optimistic. I've never won at Monza and I'd love to get a good result this year. I'm particularly looking forward to qualifying, because I think DRS will make a huge difference to our lap times, and I really want to get the maximum out of the car in qualifying – and then look forward to a strong race, of course.
"I think things are set for another very closely matched race. I'm really looking forward to it."