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FIA still looking for all-round track limits solution despite Newey suggestion

Written by  Oct 25, 2018

FIA race director Charlie Whiting admits the governing body is struggling to find a solution to cure the problem of track limits.

For the second straight year, Austin's Circuit of the Americas provided a dilemma with drivers allowed to run wide at Turn 9 but not Turn 19 as well as sausage kerbs being installed in key areas such as Turn 15, 17 and 20.

Also like 2017, Max Verstappen was at the heart of track limits controversy with the extra kerb at T17 brought in after his incident with Kimi Raikkonen but then this year he broke his right-rear suspension on a sausage kerb exiting Turn 15 in qualifying.

“It [adding more kerbs] works better on some circuits than it does others,” Whiting commented.

“At the Red Bull Ring we had to put the additional kerbs behind, because the first time they were installed there were suspension failures. Basically, the cars couldn’t cope with the kerbs.

“You can see the problem there, some cars were OK, others weren’t but they had to redesign their cars to make sure that they can cope with the things.

“Adrian Newey came to me recently and suggested and we could have some sort of slippery kerb, and I said ‘that’s great Adrian, but if you can find a kerb that deters all kinds of car and is suitable for motorbikes, please tell me about it, because we can’t think of one at the moment'."

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In Austin, the regulated track limits at Turn 19 extended until the outside of the kerb with a sensor installed while at other venues like Hockenheim the colour on the outside of the track is changed to signify where the limits are.

“This is one of the fundamental arguments that I have with them [the teams] sometimes,” Whiting continued. “They want the kerbs to be designed to suit the cars and I say ‘no, that’s not the way it is, you have to design the cars to suit the circuits’.

“It’s a complicated subject which is not simple to find a solution to.”

Image result for Marquez COTA

Another hurdle is finding solutions which are suitable for the various types of racing, open-wheel, GT, touring car etc. but by far the biggest is also incorporating motorbikes.

“I know that’s not our problem, but MotoGP want to run on some F1 circuits, World Superbikes do, and they need kerbs which don’t cause them too much difficulty,” Whiting added.

“This is whey we came up with the double kerb, as we call it, which is on the exit of Turns 9 and 19 [in Austin], and we’ve introduced it in a number of tracks now.

“We have kerbs that are just about good enough for F1 cars, they’re not enough to deter Porsche Supercup for example, but they’re OK for bikes, and that’s about a good a compromise as we’re going to get where you have a circuit that wants to run F1 and MotoGP.”

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