FIA's Circuit Design Group to look at tracks

08/03/2011
NEWS STORY

Following today's meeting of the World Motor Sport Council it was announced that the Circuit Design Group is examining various circuits in order to identify the possibility of increasing the opportunities for overtaking.

Having previously tried to suggest that there was never really that much overtaking in Formula One - that it was basically a figment of the fans' imaginations and that they preferred strategy to actual balls-out racing - the FIA and the teams are now looking at all manner of ways to put things right.

What with KERS, movable rear wings and what-not, the WMSC has now announced that attention will also be focussed on the circuits themselves.

Any fool can tell you that when it comes to circuit design the two words that send shivers down the spines of most fans (and drivers) are "Hermann" and "Tilke", the German responsible for almost all the new additions to the calendar in recent years.

However, it would be wrong to lay the blame entirely with Mr Tilke, for it is Bernie Ecclestone who essentially tells the German what he wants and where, such as his frustrating obsession with street tracks.

Thankfully, in Austin, Tavo Hellmund, aware of fans' frustration with Tilke's creations, is overseeing the design of the track which will welcome F1 back to the United States, though one has to admit that his alleged support for Ecclestone's plan to have wet periods during races gives cause for concern.

For the most part, F1 tracks today are designed or created not for the racing but for the aesthetics. The grandstands, ever bigger and more ostentatious - though usually only quarter full - pit and paddock facilities, not to mention the backdrop, considered far more important than the strip of tarmac on which our heroes race. Numerous slow corners are included in order that sponsors names can be clearly read while ludicrously overgenerous runs offs allow drivers to go unpunished for pushing way beyond the envelope.

Sadly, though the Circuit Design Group might have the sport's best intentions in mind - we're giving them the benefit of the doubt - in the eyes of many the damage has already been done and will continue to be done by those within the sport who have lost track of what it really should be about.

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Published: 08/03/2011
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