Monthly Archives: October 2017

Three solutions for run-off areas in Formula One

During the last lap of the USGP at Austin, Max Verstappen overtook Kimi Raikkonen on the outside of the track and subsequently lost the place due to a penalty handed out minutes later. The penalty caused a lot of controversy but highlights one of the biggest issues in modern Formula One: run-off areas. In the last couple of years, use of run-off areas by drivers to gain an advantage has increased, making life difficult for the stewards. Here are three solutions for solving the problem:

Grass and Gravel

Traditional racing circuits had a very little run-off area, and the little they did was mostly grass or gravel. Probably the best way to ensure that drivers respect the boundary of the track and avoid using run-off is to convert circuits with tarmac run-off back to gravel or grass. When a driver goes off-line, he will pay for it, either with retirement or loss of time.

Grass Strips

One of the arguments against a gravel and grass run-off is its utility to other racing categories. The change would benefit Formula One, and possibly other four-wheel series. However, MotoGP and other bike series would protest at the change. Gravel especially increases the risk of spinal injuries during an accident. The solution: add strips of grass, creating a barrier between the curb and the asphalt run-off.

Penalty

The final solution involves no changes to the circuit. Instead, there should be clear penalties for any violation of track limites. For example, if a driver makes a mistakes and goes off-track, there should be an automatic penalty.