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Put a wall there or gravel, says Verstappen

NEWS STORY
15/04/2021

Max Verstappen echoes the views of fans as he argues that track limits controversy could be resolved by returning to gravel traps.

Understandably, one of the main talking points at today's press conference at Imola was the Dutchman's defeat in the opening race despite having, arguably, the best car.

However, Verstappen and his team snatched defeat from the face of victory courtesy of a combination of Mercedes superior strategy and a move on the world champion that saw the Dutchman forced to hand back the position after exceeding the track limits in the process.

As the row over the inconsistent policing of track limits continues, fans argue that in the absence of physical limits - such as the walls of Monaco and Azerbaijan - other than returning to gravel traps which have been phased out over the years, the sport should either scrap limits entirely or rule that any part of the car going over the white line results in a penalty.

Speaking at today's press conference, Verstappen was in no doubt in terms of which camp he is in.

"Things can be easily resolved if you just put a wall there or gravel, it would help a lot," he said. "In qualifying we had to stay on the kerb, so that is also what I was doing in the race, to be clean, but then I heard that Lewis was just going wide, so I did it for two laps, but then I was not allowed to do it anymore.

"I don't think you should be able to change it through the race," he continued. "Either you can go wide, or not.

"I can understand of course with my overtake outside of the track limits that that's not allowed, so that's fine," he added. "But if you cannot gain an advantage by going wide overtaking, why are you allowed to do it on your own? That is what I think is not correct.

"We will talk about that with the drivers and also with (race director) Michael (Masi) about it, and we'll see what comes out of it," said the Dutchman. "I think it was a little bit messy in the race. I think everything before that was very strict, and I think good, how we handled everything.

"But definitely in the race, I think for thirty laps or something, Lewis was going wide, and you gain time there. I tried it for two laps, and then they told me not to, so it's a bit odd.

"About my overtake and whatever... I think yeah, that was fully understandable," he admitted.

Check out our Thursday gallery from Imola, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by C5, 16/04/2021 17:08

"I like physical barriers. Instant payment. But i get that's not ideal for track that are used for other purposes.

So, at the our edge, where a wall would be, install a visible sensor. Long, conductive brisles or a low profile pressure sensing strip or whatever.

Any contact with any part of the car will result in and immidiate and automatic performance degradation. Say, 50% reduction from the ICE for 10 seconds and no electric boost for a minute.

Something thet is visible and has a significant impact on the race."

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2. Posted by sagosac, 16/04/2021 15:38

"it worked so fine for so long ...
In case of tyre / break / suspension damage, tarmac run-offs do not improve safety, nor in the wet or if car slithering upside down.
Even with gravel traps: kerbs / curbs broad as a car are not as challenging as tiny ones.
A FEEEP / PEEEP sound is not as dramatic as a car trundling through gravel & grass.
Making faults VISIBLE instantly, immediately, instantaneous, this is better action to watch than having another insert graphic or a simple PEEEP."

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3. Posted by Spindoctor, 16/04/2021 8:54

"Not unexpected, but still unseemly whingeing from Max & RBR. Even assuming he\they couldn't be bothered to read the race-day notes regarding Limits at that corner, there is nothing "inconsistent" about the rule that you can't gain a PERMANENT advantage by going off-track (the bit between the lines). This rule has been implemented on numerous occasions over the last few years, benefitting or disadvantaging most teams including Hamilton & Mercedes. It seems unexceptionable.

The inconsistent application of the Track-Limits rules between Quali & Racing does raise issues & the sudden notification to Mercedes that Hamilton was taking liberties while merely exploiting the Race Directors' guidelines also demands scrutiny. Neither of these issues has a direct bearing on Verstappen's illegal overtake.

As to placing gravel-traps, walls, minefields etc at corners this would be a retrograde step, impractical in the real world. Tracks are used for much more than the odd F1 GP. MotoGP, Track Days, Club Racing etc all have slightly different requirements & Tracks can't afford to remodel their circuits just to please Max & the likes of DC who keep calling for more damaging run-off areas."

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4. Posted by Steve W, 16/04/2021 7:05

"@TSGoodchild... That's what I've been thinking, just put a loop along the exits of corners. A sensor in the car will register if that fence has been crossed. They can even hire a local company that installs one of those invisible dog fences to do it."

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5. Posted by Pavlo, 16/04/2021 7:00

"If I remember correctly, the reason of removing Kerbs and gravel is that the track is used for other events, like MotoGP, where that is dangerous. Also if you have „track days“ for general public, you don’t to penalize rookies’ cars for mistakes.
Still I agree, physical limitations are way better. Punishment should not involve stewards and should not be delayed.
One good possibility - if car leaves the track, sensors automatically turn down the power to 50% for 5 seconds."

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6. Posted by kenji, 16/04/2021 0:17

"The major question for me is simply this...Why is there a white line and what is it there for?"

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7. Posted by The stogie, 16/04/2021 0:07

"Track limits = club racing. If it's paved let 'em race!!"

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8. Posted by Superbird70, 15/04/2021 18:33

"Yup, either raise the curbs, like a Hot-wheels track,so no one can exceed the limits or remove the curbs and put down gravel. If it's kept low-tech it will discourage cheating."

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9. Posted by TSGoodchild, 15/04/2021 17:29

"Well of course. Why F1 tracks don't do this is beyond me - even at Paul Ricard you could put some sort of material or bumps in the off track areas that would not necessarily take a car out but penalise you if you ventured out there. Also, I'd love to see tech take its place in this area - put a sensor on the car, and if you venture off, that section of the track lights up to show a driver went beyond the limits - easy to tell and great for the viewer. "

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