Verstappen wants gravel traps instead of track limits
By Mat Coch
Friday 7th May, 2021 - 8:00pm
Max Verstappen has suggested gravel traps be reinstated to circuits to help reduce the need to police track limits.
Track limits have been a hot topic throughout the 2021 Formula 1 season, with Verstappen arguably the highest profile victim.
In Bahrain, the Dutchman was battling with Lewis Hamilton for the race lead in the closing stages.
The Red Bull driver ran wide at Turn 4 while passing his rival, exceeding track limits in the process.
He was duly told to hand the place back, and was not able to mount a subsequent attack.
In Imola at Round 2, Lando Norris lost his fastest lap in qualifying, a time which would have seen him on the second row, after he ran wide at Piratella midway around the lap.
Last weekend, Verstappen was judged to have run wide at the exit of the penultimate corner on what would have been the fastest lap of the race.
With his time scrapped, it cost him a world championship point.
“We do need to find a solution,” Verstappen said ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
“Of course, I understand, some tracks we race together with MotoGP and of course they want a bit different kerbs to what we like.
“But I think we still need to find a bit of a, let’s say, a middle way, which works for both.
“With our cornering speeds, basically we can really abuse the whole track because of the grip we have with the cars, which just makes it really difficult sometimes to really judge proper track limits.”
Modern safety standards have seen an increased use of tarmac run off in place of gravel traps.
It provides a more consistent surface during accidents, and also means those making a mistake have greater potential to carry on unscathed.
The flipside is it opens the door for abuse.
“I think we should try and put a bit more gravel back in places,” Verstappen ventured.
“Of course, it’s sometimes not what tracks want because when you have track days and people go off, the gravel comes onto the track, they need to clean it, it all costs money to put it back in place.
“But I think it’s just sometimes a bit confusing also from the outside where some places you run onto a kerb, some places are policed with the white line.
“I think we can make it a lot better by making sure that there is a hard limit when you go off a kerb or whatever.”
Race control this weekend is monitoring track limits at the opening sequence of corners, and the chicane complex which ends the lap.