Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Red Bull Ring, 2020

Detection loop replaces kerb to enforce track limits at two corners

2020 Austrian Grand Prix

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Kerbs have been changed at the final two corners on the Red Bull Ring to reduce the risk of cars being damaged if drivers run wide.

Teams had raised concerns they could run low on spare parts if they incur too much damage during F1’s opening run of three consecutive races which starts this weekend. The first two races are being held at the home of the Austrian Grand Prix, where kerbs have caused car damage in recent years.

For this weekend the kerbs at turns nine and 10 have been replaced with detection loops which will judge whether a driver has run too wide. Drivers will lose any lap times set while running wide at those two corners, and will face further sanctions if they repeatedly run wide at the same point.

“On the third occasion of a driver cutting behind the red and white exit kerb at turn nine [or 10] during the race, he will be shown a black and white flag, any further cutting will then be reported to the stewards,” the stewards noted.

“Each time any car passes behind the red and white exit kerb, teams will be informed via the official messaging system.

“In all cases detailed above, the driver must only re-join the track when it is safe to do so and without gaining a lasting advantage.

“The above requirements will not automatically apply to any driver who is judged to have been forced off the track, each such case will be judged individually.”

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Red Bull Ring, 2020
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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “Detection loop replaces kerb to enforce track limits at two corners”

  1. It’ll just be ignored almost immediately like every race the last 15 years. I’ll change my mind about track limits being a rule again when they’ve gone more than 2 races caring about track limits. Kerbs are the only thing that keep a driver on track when used intelligently, not like Monza last year.

    1. Wake me up when they kick a car off the pole for track limits. Till then doesn’t mean anything

      1. Do you have an example where they deleted qualifying times for going outside the track limits, but they didn’t do so for the winning pole time?

      2. @falken Track limits usually get enforced strictly enough in practise that people have found the boundaries of what is – and isn’t – permitted before qualifying.

  2. I can’t understand why they didn’t leave the kerbs there.
    If a driver runs over them, they get penalised with damage.
    If they don’t drive within the track limits, they run out of parts and can’t race.
    Lesson learned.

    1. Exactly. Or, an even better solution which F1 previously used for decades: grass. A 2 metre strip of grass.

    2. Only F1 can overcomplicate things.

      1. “Only F1 can overcomplicate things.”

        Supercars have been using this system for years (mostly to catch chicane cutting).

    3. I don’t know why they didn’t keep the kerb so the driver is aware he has triggered the detection loop.

    4. “On the third occasion of a driver cutting behind the red and white exit kerb at turn nine [or 10] during the race, he will be shown a black and white flag, any further cutting will then be reported to the stewards,”

      If the teams make their work (and I’m sure they are going to make it), they now are calculating when and how to spend this three “jokers” during race to gain an advantage.

  3. Neil (@neilosjames)
    2nd July 2020, 14:28

    Can remember one year (1998 I think), Schumacher ran wide onto the grass at the second-last corner when running second. He bounced over the nice big gravel trap that was once there, smashed his front wing to bits and lost any chance of winning.

    It wasn’t a particularly well-designed gravel trap as it launched him into the air a little… but strangely it was very, very unusual for any driver to try to take liberties at that particular corner when it was so unforgiving.

    Even if they keep the hideous expanse of tarmac, a few metres of grass at the other side of the kerb would do more to deter running wide than these sensors will.

    1. Agree some grass or astro turf something that safely looses grip and deters cutting the track. If it wasn’t an advantage drivers wouldn’t be out there. I don’t like this well you get three then a warning and then the stewards will investigate if you gained an advantage ?

      make it simple – trip the sensor 5 second penalty – automatic no human decision required – drive over the sensor a few times in practice then you’ll know where the limit is.

      1. Totally agree. And applied instantly, especially in qualifying, so the lap time that is shown as they cross the start/finish line already includes the penalty. That avoids any embarrassing articles where one person is declared the pole sitter, but then has their time disallowed.

  4. I can understand why they want to reduce the chance of damage. Surely it couldn’t be too difficult to link the detection with the ECU of the car to cut the throttle for say 2 seconds. This will have the same impact as not being able to accelerate if you were on grass, and result in an on track hinderance rather than a post race committee decided 5 second penalty.

    1. Having the throttle cut off at the wrong time with a car behind would be immensely dangerous, not to say the possibility of bugs in the ECU software causing it to be engaged when not intended.

      I always find it amusing that F1 goes for the convoluted solution that is invisible to viewers most of the time and then we have fans suggesting even more complex solutions. I guess this is the reason why F1 has been failing as a sport as well as entertainment over the years.

    2. @paulcook To have the minimum risk of someone being forced to skip a race.

      Remotely cutting throttle is dangerous.

  5. why they need to make it so easy for drivers, there will be a point that circuits will be ovall just for drivers jeeezzz, tracks should punish bad drivers.

  6. Why have the Ferrari team all got what looks like red tape over a possible sponsor on the arm of their shirts?

    1. Maybe tobacco advertising (Mission Winnow) isn’t allowed in Austria?

  7. This disappoints me – I was a fan of those kerbs. It forced drivers to approach those corners with a lot more care as it should be.

    These are supposed to be the best drivers in the world, that means they should be able to keep their cars within the confines of the track.

    Whilst I recognise the issue with parts, particularly as there’s not been time to accumulate them with the shut downs, teams already know that if a driver contracts Coronavirus, they will need to replace that driver or not run, what is the difference? Surely it’s a management problem – instruct your drivers to not overcook that set of corners – there’s enough telemetry available for them to know when they’re getting close to thresholds.

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