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Drivers divided on electronic policing of track limits

NEWS STORY
21/07/2016

In a sport where the teams regularly fail to agree on anything, it is only fair that drivers also fail to see eye to eye.

The latest issue to divide the drivers is the move which this weekend sees a new system introduced whereby drivers who exceed the track limits set off a sensor which immediately notifies the stewards.

The move was revealed yesterday, when the FIA confirmed a number of changes made to the Hungaroring ahead of this year's race.

Following on from moves in Austria and Silverstone, where (some) drivers were punished for exceeding the limits - in the case of the Red Bull Ring literally, such was the ferocious pounding given by the new kerbs - the FIA revealed that "in Turns 4 and 11, new double kerbs - as seen at Turn 9 at the Circuit de Catalunya - have been installed and the artificial grass removed".

The FIA further revealed that "the run-off areas behind the kerbs have been set at the same height as the kerbs themselves, the required deterrent is therefore not present. With this in mind we have installed loops 1.6m from the track edge which will alert us when a car has all four wheels off the track in these two locations."

While trackside sensors have been used before, this was usually to monitor corner-cutting in chicanes, this being the first time such a device has been used to monitor cars gaining an advantage by running wide.

"The FIA is to blame for building circuits that make it faster to run off the track than on," said Sebastian Vettel.

"It's quite disappointing," he continued. "The result is it's faster to go off track than to stay on track. It doesn't make much sense, does it?"

"I am not taking credit for it before, but I had mentioned it before," countered Lewis Hamilton, "and they had already thought about it, and they thought they might have it for the next races as it would be an easier thing for them to police.

"When we say we are gaining an advantage then I think action needs to be taken," he added, "and it is a good step forward.

"Hopefully it will be easier for them to manage it and not have to look on the replay and see if we are just inside or just outside, so I think it will be good."

"Just put a normal kerb there and you don't need all these electronic systems," said Daniil Kvyat. "It seems like the people who are taking these directions don't know what to do.

"Now we have some sensors, maybe they'll work correctly, maybe they'll fuck everyone up," he added. "Personally I trust my eyes more than the sensors."

"I think it's good," argued Fernando Alonso. "This way we don't rely on the marshals, we don't rely on TV, if you in that moment broadcast or not.

"It's good to have an automatic system. It's some technology that is there already, so it's good to use it in F1, where we should have the maximum of everything."

His McLaren teammate, Jenson Button, agreed: "It's a good idea," said the Briton. "Hopefully it works correctly. I think we'd all prefer not to have to have that system, but we do have to have that system.

"The way things are all the kerbs are pretty similar on all circuits now," he continued, "so they're easy to run over on exits. So we need something, a limit to stop us going over them.

"The funny thing is even at Silverstone when people knew they would get penalised they would still run over it, because it's so difficult to judge, whether your tyre is over the white line, or on the white line. Most of the time we can't see, because we're so low in the car. It's tricky with the design of the kerbs now, how much kerb we can take. Maybe the kerbs need to be smaller, and then you're not going to run off as far."

"The kerbs define the character, the soul of the track," argued Vettel, ever the purist, "and if we put the same kerbs in every single track, then all the tracks feel a little bit the same, just with different types of corners.

"There's a lot more than just the layout of the corners, it's also the bumps," he added, "the kerbs that get the certain feeling and, I think, makes it possible for us in the car to really make a difference.

"If we put the same kerbs, then we take a little bit away that element, and I think it's a bit of a shame to see that, here and there, we lost the typical kerbs for this track. The same has happened to other tracks. To sum it up, I'm not a fan."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Steve Flynn, 22/07/2016 11:12

"I think it's the Paul Ricard circuit which has two strips of modified tarmac behind the curbs.

The first one is tarmac pained with a substance which reduces the grip. If you get some tyre onto it, it kicks in a load of understeer, so it makes sense to avoid it.

The second strip is even more punishing - the paint has flakes of tungsten in it, which gives you lots of grip but causes massive tyre wear. Go onto that part and you'll be coming in for new tyres after a couple of laps.

Seems to be a good solution - stay within the white lines and on the track and all is ok. Go a little off-track and you are slowed with the understeer. Go even more off-track and you get all of the grip back at the expense of heavy tyre wear, thus punishing repeat offenders.

As a result, the kerbs don't have to be like ramps or heavily corrugated - you can lean on them a little, but if you start taking liberties, you end up punished comensurate with the amount of liberty you take."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by nonickname, 22/07/2016 7:42

"If they can run on street circuits why have the huge run offs on others. Hitting a curb should be the end of your race,be it a wall or a deep gravel run off that stops the car and keeps it there."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by DJ, 22/07/2016 2:09

"Surprised that Kvyat's comments didn't include f**k rather than the real thing!!"

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