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Damned if you do, damned if you don't

NEWS STORY
29/09/2020

Back in the day, the very nature of race circuits determined track limits, be it trees, brick walls, the Mediterranean, fields of wheat or precipices, drivers knew that to exceed the limit could prove costly... even fatal.

With the emasculation of the old tracks and the TV friendly look of the new, first we had wide expanses of gravel which then gave way to tarmac.

The drivers, always seeking the minutest fraction of an advantage, have regularly taken it for granted that the 'wasteland' beyond the black stuff is there for their benefit, as they either seek to hunt down a rival or lose him.

In its attempts to crackdown on the practice the FIA has been getting tougher, but still drivers try it on.

The attempt to curb the practice in Sochi, particularly at Turn 2, has led to drivers questioning the move, some even calling for the notorious corner to be completely re-profiled.

Poacher turned gamekeeper, Ross Brawn, admits that there is no quick fix to the thorny issue.

"There were some contentious parts of the circuit this weekend, and I know the FIA are very objective and constructive in how they view these things," he writes in his Russian Grand Prix debrief for the official F1 website. "I'm sure they will be taking a look at the incidents in Turn 2 to see if there is a better solution.

"There is a constant battle to stop drivers abusing track limits," he admits. "You don't abuse track limits if you end up in the gravel. They do if it's asphalt. But if you have gravel everywhere, it gets thrown on the track and you lose cars if they go off, which we don't want to do.

"So you are damned if you do, damned if you don't. Predominantly, asphalt is the better solution, but we have to have track limits to make sure drivers don't abuse asphalt run-off.

"If you go into a corner knowing the worst thing that will happen is you're (going to) run over asphalt and re-join, you will commit more to the corner.

"I'm sure the FIA and FIA F1 Race Michael Masi will look at Turn 2 to see if there is a better solution," he concludes, no doubt with his fingers tightly crossed.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by C5, 30/09/2020 4:33

""you lose cars if they go off, which we don't want to do"

What a stupid argument. Why not? Got off the track and you're out.

It may be undesirable to put walls back up - to many safety car deployments during cleanup.

But then just make sure the track edge is protected otherwise. 10 inch block that is guaranteed to break the suspension. Tire slashers. Electronic sensors with mandatory stop-and-go penalty. The drivers that manage to stay on the road, wins."

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2. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 29/09/2020 21:38

"@Oldgit - why sarcasm? Sounds like a better idea than anything FOM has managed to come up with."

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3. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 29/09/2020 13:49

"Time penalties is easily enforceable with technology available now, cross a line and 5+ seconds added . "

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4. Posted by husoi, 29/09/2020 12:16

"People create complicated solutions for simple problems.
Years ago, while driving on a Spanish motorway I come across a simple and extremely effective way to make drivers to slowdown on approach to a toll.
They installed uneven paving blocks from 200 yards to the toll boxes. Not being aware of this I almost dismantled the car, or I thought I would.
The amount of vibration the car is subject to at 40mph on such surface is tremendous and you really want to slowdown.
Instead of shinny smooth asphalt on the runoff and idiotic routes meant to equalize the time advantage, just make something similar that will make drivers slowdown or have to collect the different parts of the car when they get off track."

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5. Posted by Oldgit, 29/09/2020 12:03

"Get rid of the asphalt and install ponds with alligators and sharks with fricking lasers that will stop them going over limits.

If they still do then it will certainly improve the "show" for Liberty.

</Sarcasm>"

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6. Posted by Burton, 29/09/2020 11:34

"I personally couldn't care less if we lose cars, be it reliability issues (RIP) or going off-track.
Ross mentions drivers committing more if they know they won't go off, but that means everyone is (relative to car and tyre management) running as close to perfection as possible, which together with ghastly aero disturbance doesn't necessarily mean close racing either."

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