A data server crash in race control caused DRS to be disabled at the start of Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Formula 1’s ‘Drag Reduction System’ is typically activated at the end of a race’s second lap, but at Yas Marina, race control displayed a message on teams’ timing screens that DRS was disabled, a status which remained in force until lap 18 out of 55.

“It was basically a data server crash,” said FIA race director Michael Masi.

“Basically, we disabled it immediately and it wasn’t until we were 100% confident that it was all not only back up and running but back up and running with the correct data available, that we re-enabled it.

“We ran various checks working collaboratively between the FIA and the F1 Group to make sure that everything was working hunky-dory.

“We were not going to take a chance until we were confident.

“Basically, the DRS signals going to the cars, effectively there wasn’t a confident feed that we could rely upon.

“We had to make sure that it was effectively back up and running, and back up and running in a stable condition that we were confident that what was being sent was equal and correct.

“And once we were happy with that, between us we reactivated it and enabled DRS.”

Robert Kubica (POL), Williams F1 Team
29.11.2019. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, Practice Day.
– www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images

While a few drivers complained of obvious overtaking difficulties in the first part of the race, commentators noted a few good scraps taking place on the track as a result of the DRS’ unavailability.

Masi admitted that a breakdown for the entire duration of the race was a thought he preferred not to entertain.

“It wouldn’t have been a free for all, and to be honest, the exact impacts of it – I prefer not to even think about what they were!” said the Aussie, quoted by Autosport.

“But effectively, the precautionary measure straight away was just to do a global disable.

“There is a back-up. But the first part is to actually identify what the first issue was. And as we all know, with any back-up systems, there’s a lag with things clicking over.”

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