Start, Sochi Autodrom, 2016

Button wants changes at turn two after crash

2016 Russian Grand Prix

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Jenson Button says improvements should be made to turn two at Sochi Autodrom after another first-lap incident at the track.

Sebastian Vettel, Nico Hulkenberg and Rio Haryanto all retired after a multi-car collision at the start of the race.

“As the pack dived into turn two I had to back off because it was mayhem,” said Button. “The bollard at turn two is the problem at the start because people are trying to fight through turns two and three. I think that needs some looking at.

The race organisers altered the rules regarding the run-off for the corner on Saturday morning, requiring drivers to navigate a polystyrene block if they went off the track at the corner.

Button dropped back to 15th after avoiding the chaos, and recovered to take a point for tenth place.

“From there, I was disadvantaged, but the pace was in the car<" he said. "After that, it was just a case of fighting my way back – which I really enjoyed. It’s difficult to overtake around here, but I was able to make a few moves and enjoy myself." Both McLaren drivers finished in the top ten: Fernando Alonso came home in sixth place. “To get both cars home in the points – and at a track which we didn’t feel would really suit our package – is a fantastic result for the whole team,” he added.

2016 Russian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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27 comments on “Button wants changes at turn two after crash”

  1. The Sochi track has a really poor layout.

  2. That kink needs to go. It’s problematic and doesn’t add up anything to the racing.

    The bollard there is meaningless. They just floor it, go past the bollard, and once they rejoin the track, they are on the racing, grippier line. Everyone behind doing the proper way round turn 2 has to go on the outside, on the marbles, and that’s not good.

    At Monza if you miss the chicane, you have to go between 3 bollards and then rejoin, which forces the drivers to really slow down and rejoin safely. And it sort of works the same at Montreal, in last chicane. But here, not only they cut the track a lot, but they also rejoin too fast and too aggresively onto the track.

    1. David Wilson
      1st May 2016, 18:00

      Did no-one else notice Lewis going from 9th ( he had passed Max V) to 5th by cutting across the run-off area of turn two and re-joining in front of Vettel before he was shunted for the 2nd time ?
      The places were not given back and he was marked as in 5th place as the safety car was called out. I thought you were not allowed to get an advantage by leaving the designated track at corners ?

      1. Other drivers have done that over the years as well, without penalty.

    2. @fer-no65 they tried something more intricate with penalising Turn 2 cutters but a lower formula driver cocked it up, crashed into a barrier and caused a safety car/red flag, thus they reverted to the system they had for Saturday.

      1. which is why gravel and grass is the only solution

        1. Gravel means more safety cars. Easier to just fix what is a poorly designed corner than to tore up the tarmac and fill it with gravel. There is tons of space to create any kind of corner you want.

  3. Sviatoslav (@)
    1st May 2016, 17:52

    I hate this turn. It is so stupid. Even in Monza two cars can go side-by-side in the first corner. In this place, you have to cut the chicane if there is another racer moving through the corner.

  4. I think Hamilton got away with a penalty. He clearly did not react to the collision to leave the track at turn 2, but looked like having planned this all the way. Those behind him reacted to the Vettel/Kvyat incident when going off. The stewards surely just checked the Kvyat offense, instead of looking at the entire mayhem. Hamilton should have had a penalty on that one! I say they should bring back higher kerbs so that drivers think twice before overcomitting and just giving it a go and see what happens at corners like this.

  5. Button is absolutely right. Hamilton, Alonso, Grosjean etc. all ran across the runoff area instead of backing off and gained massively by that move. It actuall looked to me like this was Hamilton and Alonsos plan A. They could easily have backed off a bit and made it through turn 2. Button did and lost out.

    1. Easy to say afterwards. When entering turn two and you see probable mayhem 15 meters in front, you take evasive manoeuvre. This is perfectly legal, instead they should have put more bollards to slow them down and that would discourage going this way.

    2. Absolutely….It was entirely wayyyy too convenient for those who just choose to go over the run off area at full spead… Didn’t look like they slowed down much at all…
      Fernando didn’t even attempt to stay on track but rocketed straight after Lewis. He gained like 6 PLACES with that one move – moving up from behind Button, who lost 2 places bc he backed off…

  6. Michael Brown (@)
    1st May 2016, 18:23

    Just get rid of the kink and make it wider, so we can see more action in turns 3 and 4

  7. – As the pack dived into turn two I had to BACK OFF because it was mayhem.

    Kvyat as wrong as he was for ramming into Seb not once but twice said Vettel lifted off at the corner. I guess the terrible bottleneck design made Vettel lift off upon seeing how dangerous it was thereby leading to Kvyat hitting him from behind.
    Either they maintain that corner which is quite honestly a flaw until someone guest hurt or they redesign the place such that everyone has a chance to fight for places, finish the race and go home to their families in one piece.

  8. Gravel trap would stop the issue. Or more artificial grass. Canada has several of these kinks and nobody shortcuts them. The corner itself is the best part of the track, it generates passes and encourages a variety of lines through turn 3.

    1. Modern tracks won’t put gravel in because it limits the tracks suitability for multiple disciplines, especially bike racing.

  9. Just get rid of the Russian Grand Prix.

  10. I think the spacing between the rows on the start grid is too close. While there wasn’t a problem going into Turn 1, there was insufficient room between the cars considering the speed they were going at when the got to Turn 2. Looking at the video on Youtube (because I haven’t had a chance to watch the race as yet), Vettel got hit on the apex of Turn 2, suggesting the car behind him was too close. His car now has a puncture, making the car hard to handle, and he is boxed in as he is approaching Turn 3. Then he gets hit again, and it looks like the driver didn’t brake until after contact was made, again a sure sign of insufficient space to react to the situation.
    I think there was also some rule change last year which made it harder to “launch” the car, so some drivers get off the mark quicker than others, meaning there is a huge mix up: cars are accelerating at hugely different rates, cars are running four abreast, cars spread all over the race track, etc. I think that rule should be changed, so that all the drivers can get off the mark at the same time. You can see that while the cars at the front of the grid got to Turn 1 and a pretty much all on the racing line (though it looks like Vettel wasn’t), the cars at the back of the grid are approaching it two abreast, which suggests they are too close together for that speed. In fact, at one point the cars were three abreast at the apex of Turn 1.

    1. Oh, yes, change the rules so they would all start identically. We wouldn’t want any sort of racing to happen, would we?

      1. Correct, have them all start identically, that way they get off the grid at the same time, and space them out so they can get around the first few corners without having collisions. Is that wrong? A large amount of money was spent getting these cars ready for this race, and that is all wasted because someone was slow off the line, or they were too close to someone else, or they took the wrong line at the first corner, etc. You seem to prefer having cars crash out of a race at the start in preference to seeing the drivers and teams showing their skills.

        1. Why are standing starts and their challenges mutually exclusive with drivers and teams showing their skills? Part of racing is to handle the starts and make the best of them.

          Why are they even racing on track? Just pop the drivers in front of a computer and have them race in an rFactor LAN party. That way we also ensure none of the drivers ever gets hurt.

  11. They should at least get rid of the kink at the exit of turn 2. I think it’s stupid and unnecessary.

    1. Turn three, in my opinion, would be far too dangerous if they got rid of the kink. I know China’s turn 1 is similar but that doesn’t have a wall around it. If they have space to move the wall at turn 2 back a bit then they can make the corner slower and make the second apex hug the left wall more, that way drivers can’t really cut it (and if they can then the corner is now slow enough that they can put up barriers in the way like in Monza), it makes traction for the long turn three harder, and if the track is wide enough it will make different lines more useful.

      1. I wasn’t talking about altering turn 2 itself, but the kerb after it.

  12. yeah that bollard is a joke…

  13. I would love to know what Tilke or a similar track designer would think is the best solve. I’m sure there is some logic to why Sochi’s Turn 2 is how it is or other ways they considered shaping Turns 2 and 3, considering how much pavement there is on the inside and outside of Turn 2 to work with. There have been some good logical suggestions of how to change it, but I wonder if I may offer one more.

    I’m wondering if the track needs to be so narrow at Turn 2.

    If you look at COTA’s Turn 1, you’ll see the track widens considerably before the apex and then looks to be as narrow after the apex as Sochi’s Turn 2 is after it’s apex. Bahrain’s Turn 4 interestingly widens after the apex. Both of these scenarios allow cars to safely enter the turn at least two wide and in Bahrain’s case it gives the drivers considerable room to bail out or try an over-under kind of move (Where the car being passed intentionally brakes early, sacrificing entry for the sake of a good exit.).

    I’m guessing Bahrain’s Turn 4 example works best when the next corner isn’t immediately after the first, but I think COTA’s Turn 1 example might be relevant. Looking at Sochi on Google Maps, there is considerable room on the outside and the inside of Turn 2 to shape the turn in whatever way works best. If, to follow my logic all the way through, they extended the track limits to make it wider on the outside of the turn, they would effectively be accentuating the kink that immediately follows as the cars enter Turn 3. Some people have suggested this is actually the problem, but if the outside of Turn 2 was extended it would give reason to put up boards near the kink like we see at Monza’s opening chicane and that would solve the problem with driver’s exiting the track and not rejoining properly.

    1. Till designed this track, didn’t he?

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