McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh has rejected suggestions that the DRS made overtaking at Spa too easy, and believes it created just the right level of entertainment in the Belgian Grand Prix.
The Kemmel Straight after Eau Rouge was chosen as the DRS zone for the race, and saw plenty of passing throughout the field, with drivers ahead finding it hard to successfully defend against their pursuers. Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali suggested that because drivers were already close behind rivals through Eau Rouge, the DRS effect was multiplied and made passing a foregone conclusion.
"What we have seen with DRS was not expected to be honest because I saw a lot of people behind that were able to catch the tow of the front car already at Eau Rouge, so they were able to close up at Eau Rouge and arrive at [the] DRS [zone] very, very close to that, so I think they were not expecting a recovery like that in Eau Rouge, so today it seems to be quite easy to use DRS while some other times it was too difficult," said Domenicali.
But Whitmarsh remains convinced that the level of overtaking prompted by the DRS at Spa was in line with what Formula 1 fans wanted.
"I think overall people want it and go back – FOTA did the most extensive fan survey and whether I believe it or want to believe it, the fans wanted more overtaking and if you have done the survey and the fans tell you that is what they want, then I think you are fairly arrogant if you ignore it. So we responded," he said.
Whitmarsh also pointed out that there were still plenty of spectacular passes even though the DRS made slip-streaming moves very straightforward, highlighting his driver Jenson Button's charge from 13th on the grid to third.
"Jenson did some mighty overtaking around the outside and from a long way back and for the fans it was fairly spectacular," said Whitmarsh.
He added: "People talk wondrously of 35 years ago, slip steaming at Monza, before my time, and people seemed to like that so DRS worked well."
The McLaren chief also feels that it is 2011 additions like DRS that are keeping the season interesting in spite of Sebastian Vettel's championship domination.
"Anyone who wonders about DRS and KERS and criticizes it, I think [the devices] undoubtedly contributed to the show," said Whitmarsh. "So, first and foremost, the championship is interesting to a lot but actually we have to put on a spectacular show. Sample the last five races, they were all gripping races and this one must have been fantastic, the cars looked great, there was plenty of overtaking.
"We are immersed as full time professionals in F1 and obsessed by championships, but I think the fan that watches on television wants a great show and we are doing that. I would rather it was a great show with some silver and red cars at the front but we are working on that."