Romain Grosjean, Haas, Paul Ricard, 2019

Excessive asphalt run-offs are a “nightmare” – Grosjean

2019 Austrian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Romain Grosjean wants circuits with asphalt run-off areas to install grass around their borders to prevent drivers from abusing track limits.

The Haas driver made his comments after Daniel Ricciardo was given two penalties for his driving on the final lap of the French Grand Prix, where he put all four wheels off the track twice at Paul Ricard, which is bordered by asphalt run=off.

Grosjean said the stewards decision was “right” because “there are track limits”. But he says circuits need to put physical deterrents in place to prevent drivers going wide.

“We’re putting ourselves in a position which has become a nightmare with those circuits with run-off everywhere,” he said. “I mean you don’t have a problem at Suzuka, you don’t have a problem in Monaco, you don’t have a problem in Canada.

“So I think the answer: Is always say Paul Ricard, I love it – it’s my home race, if you put two metres of grass on each side of the white line, the track limits, it can become the best track of the world. But just because there’s so much run-off. who gives a damn about going straight?

“Put that and you don’t have any more problems, we don’t have any more of this discussion. Ricciardo would have gone to the left, not to the right and then maybe it doesn’t make the move and then maybe Kimi [Raikkonen] stays ahead.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Valtteri Bottas backed Grosjean’s criticism of the widespread use of asphalt run-offs at many circuits.

Red Bull Ring, 2019
New kerbs have been added at the Red Bull Ring
“I think the best thing outside the track is a wall, gravel or grass,” said the Mercedes drivers. “That’s what I prefer. It’s very simple. There is a hard limit and no talks of track limits then.”

The Red Bull Ring, scene of this weekend’s race, is one of few circuits which still has extensive grass and gravel run-offs. While asphalt has been used in some places, high kerbs also deter drivers from running too far wide.

“Some of those very aggressive kerbs, they definitely do the job because you can easily break the car so you really don’t want to go there,” said Bottas.

“But [having] Tarmac everywhere, I don’t like it, but it’s what it is. I’m sure many drivers feel the same but that’s the direction. I’m sure there’s reasons for it but I definitely preferred all the old-school tracks that are kept in similar way but at least the layout is still nice and similar. It has nice character, the track, and even if there’s a bit of Tarmac around I’m sure it’s still gonna be nice.”

The kerbs at turns three, four, seven, eight and nine have been extended at the circuit ahead of this year’s race, and further run-off added at turn four. “It hasn’t really changed, just some of the kerbs have been extended,” said Grosjean.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season articles

11 comments on “Excessive asphalt run-offs are a “nightmare” – Grosjean”

  1. I remember this track before renovation. Grass everywhere, going off was not an option, unless you wanted a serious crash.

    Asphalt runoffs are now the golden standard for various reasons. Grass is hard to upkeep around a busy track. Every time car goes off, rides the inside of the appex holes are made and soon become dangerous. Also going off track on Asphalt is way safer, so it is a win win from engineering standpoint.

    Track owners would have to make an inferior track to make it more fun for 1 weekend per year?

    And by more fun I mean more fun for the viewer and F1 drivers.

    It is not much fun when you are an amateur racer going off on a grassy runoff and you damage your car, setting you back by a hefty sum.

    So everything is a trade off. Especially on a track designed for testing, why would you have anything but asphalt runoff everywhere?

    Why are we taking races to test tracks, that is entirely different question.

    1. Agreed. There’s also the problem or multi-use tracks. Bike racers dislike grass and gravel because of the injuries and damage that both can cause. I’m not sure if Ricard is used for bike racing, but Spa (which has been extensively criticised for additional tarmac) certainly does.

      1. . . . problem for, not or

  2. you don’t have a problem in Canada.

    Erm, Romain, have you been reading the news?

    1. Indeed @geemac,my thought exactly

    2. What was he doing during Canadian GP? thats far more important.

    3. @geemac @bosyber My thoughts as well, LOL.

    4. Your comment was fun, but reading the other answer, I feel compelled to highlight that what Grosjean is talking about has nothing to do with what happen in Canada.

      I really believe that these runoff kill the sport. There is no much difference between eracing since track limit are virtual.

      FI, FIA, Liberty Media… Wake up !

  3. Paul Ricard was bought back into life as a test track, it’s still used for that purpose for much of the time. Having huge run offs is ideal for testing, but not for racing. The solution is simple, either stop using Paul Ricard for F1 or put up with it, because I don’t expect the circuit owners to make wholesale changes just for one weekend a year, which costs them money.

  4. I agree with Grosjean on this, I’ve always though a 2m boarder of grass before tarmac would be a good compromise between needing safe run off and actually, you know, having a well defined race tracked.

    But why would the tracks do this? Paul Ricard is a test track first and the tarmac run off is a big part of that. And why is it a test track first, because there is no money in hosting an F1 race. This is true of a lot of tracks they’re going to tarmac because its better for track days or lower formula and they do this because that’s how they make a profit. And this is just ridiculous and is all down to the ridiculous hosting fees and limits on advertising.

    Surely hosting the pinnacle of motorsport should be the most profitable weekend for these circuits and if it was they would be tripping over themselves to make a circuit suited to providing good racing in F1

  5. Adub Smallblock
    28th June 2019, 14:53

    Here is an idea – for the F1 race, spread some gravel over the asphalt. After the race weekend, get the street sweepers and pick it up.

    Note: NOT a serious comment😜😄😜

Comments are closed.