Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Imola, 2020

‘Just put gravel down’ says Albon after eight track limits violations in one day

2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Alexander Albon says the FIA should “just put gravel” down to define track limits after eight of his lap times were deleted for violations in the first day of running at Imola.

The Red Bull driver secured fifth place on the grid for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix but only after his first lap time in Q3 was deleted for exceeding track limits on the exit of turn nine, Piratella.

While he was able to put in a legitimate lap time to secure fifth place on the grid, Albon questioned the need for the track limit rules as they have been defined around the Imola circuit for this weekend.

“Honestly, I don’t know why we’re changing different corners and different track limits,” says Albon. “Just put gravel and we’ll be fine.”

Albon had a total of eight lap times deleted for track limit infringements through free practice and qualifying – four at turn nine and four at turn 15 – more than any other driver.

“I’m sure people will comment that drivers need to respect [track limits],” says Albon, “but we’re pushing out there and these cars are so well built that, for us, there is basically no risk or punishment for going too wide. It’s just pure lap time. The more you can get close to that white line you’ll just go faster and faster.

“It all comes more down to the circuits. If you think about, say, Nurburgring, that’s a great example of a good track with good exit kerbs and then gravel straight away.”

Albon says he is not the only driver who has raised concerns over the current approach to track limits taken by the stewards. The boundary at Piratella, which is defined by the white line at the exit of the corner, was one cause for concern.

“In the drivers’ briefing, for instance, a question was raised of why are we going over the white line for turn nine,” he says.

“Because, really, if you go past that jagged tooth – the green diamond kerbs – it’s really slow. You bottom out and you get pulled along the outside of the circuit. So I think that’s a good enough punishment.”

Despite his difficulties, Albon said he is satisfied with his qualifying performance.

“It was an okay session and actually through qualifying I was just getting better and better,” he says.

“Obviously I had that lap deleted in Q3. It’s that thing where you’re in your head and you’ve got to put it behind you and just focus on the next run. But at the same time, you know that you want to do a lap as well. So it was kind of that feeling. But otherwise it was okay.”

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2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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41 comments on “‘Just put gravel down’ says Albon after eight track limits violations in one day”

  1. Albon is sixth on the grid, not fifth like stated many times in the article…

  2. No doubt he is pushing but it is clear he is not using the car to its fullest. Why can’t someone drill on Albon to just run the car like Max, eventually he’ll get used to it.

    1. geoffgroom44 (@)
      31st October 2020, 20:20

      bring in the robots.I don’t think I have ever experienced sitting with any driver,anywhere, that drives like somebody else.

  3. 15 years ago curbs were about width of the wheel. Now they are flat 3 meters wide. And those fins are almost 2 meters off the road. Just move them 1,5 meters closer to the road.

  4. I’ve already pointed this out, but here it is again: The curbing has generally been the reference for track limits wherever possible, so pointless to suddenly change it for these two events only to go back on it later in the event. Just stick to the curbing consistently as before.

    1. Jonathan Parkin
      31st October 2020, 17:51

      But I think Alex’s point is if you extend the kerb with a green area behind it drivers will use it. If it was grass or as he says gravel they wouldn’t

  5. Glad to see Albon got the measure of the car this weekend and had a good quali. I can’t imagine the pressure he must be feeling.

    1. geoffgroom44 (@)
      31st October 2020, 20:23

      agreed. a stirling performance in the face of much pressure – and made worse by continuous lap time deletions,ergo continuous disappointments. Hardly comforted by the fact that every other driver (I believe except Lewis) also suffered lap time deletions over track limits.
      Having watched him come from the back last year in some races, I get the feeling that only big pressure releases the best in him, huh?

      1. @geoffgroom44 not quite – Hamilton did have a lap time deleted for running wide at Turn 9 during Q1, although that was the first time that he was penalised for track limits at Turn 9.

        During the practice session, going in order of when they first committed this offence, the following drivers had times deleted for track limits at Turn 9: Verstappen (2 times), Gasly (5 times), Kvyat (3 times), Albon (2 times), Bottas (once), Magnussen (two times), Sainz (2 times), Kimi (once), Vettel (two times) and Norris (2 times).

        1. geoffgroom44 (@)
          1st November 2020, 10:40

          thanks for that correction. Maybe the live F1 commentators were referring to practice then. But useful data from you, many thanks

  6. petebaldwin (@)
    31st October 2020, 17:59

    Ultimately, if you push it to 110% and have 5 laps deleted out of 6, the one good lap will be faster than if you go a bit slower.

    If there’s gravel, pushing at 110% will damage the car so you won’t get that fast lap in – you’re better off going slightly slower.

  7. So he’d rather run through the gravel 8 times instead then?

    1. Exactly, foolish reasoning by Albon. Everything inside the lines is for racing, everything outside the lines should be for safety, tarmac is far safer than gravel.

    2. geoffgroom44 (@)
      31st October 2020, 20:24

      well, he would be in good company, wouldn’t he ?

  8. just drive inside the track limits

    1. geoffgroom44 (@)
      31st October 2020, 20:24

      an interesting point hear from the commentators today on F1 quali….sitting so low in the car, many drivers cannot actually see the limits.

      1. They cannot see the limits, but they can see gravel?

      2. Would those “cat’s eyes” lane markers help? I had noticed that even our regular street markings can “vanish” when you combine some light conditions with pouring rain, and that the lane markers do help.

        1. They’re driving on a racing circuit in bright daylight…
          They can see fine – they just choose not to respect track limits because it’s faster that way. And they usually get away with it.

          1. geoffgroom44 (@)
            1st November 2020, 10:44

            well F1 live commentators, some of who are ex racing drivers, made the point about not always being able to see the markings. So I simply bow to their knowledge on the issue. I do however agree that almost all drivers push the limits – and alsmost all drivers went over the limits :-)

  9. “just drive inside the track limits”

    Comments like these demonstrate a total lack of understanding of driving at the limit. It’s not a choice sometimes.

    1. @kcrossle in this case, Albon is the one who has the most control over the speed with which he enters the corner and thus the risk of running wider than allowed though.

    2. It is a skill! He is in control of the car!

    3. Of course it’s a choice. It only takes one failed attempt to know you have to go a little slower or take a different line next time.
      Remember, professional drivers do this almost every single day, if not in the car then in the virtual world.

    4. Most don’t seem to have a problem running off the track (or in the wall) at Monaco

      1. geoffgroom44 (@)
        1st November 2020, 10:44


  10. We all saw the debris and dust clouds from the gravel creating disturbance and unfair situations in qualifying.

    Grosjean was even hurt by a gravel hitting his finger a couple of races ago.

    Then last race a safety car had to come out to remove a car that had got stranded on the gravel, ruining the fair sporting advantage of drivers and teams.

    There’s hardly anything positive about gravel, if at all.

  11. This is a special one off race, they’re not going to put gravel down. Just drive inside the lines like the other drivers. I like Alex, but the cracks are starting to show with this kind of comment and the “they race me so hard” from a few weeks back.

    1. geoffgroom44 (@)
      31st October 2020, 20:30

      exactly which other drivers are you referring to? As I heard it from commentary today on F1 website (live), LH was the only one not to fall foul of track limits.Oh how you would love to see those cracks, huh? I also think the ‘race me to hard’ comment was perhaps more connected with the ‘junior team’ unnecessarily causing engine stress in a season with not many replacement engines.
      However, if you are going to want to see cracks, then how about the crack being filled with gold in Q2…just 0.160 behind the leader (all on softs).

      1. You’re very much mistaken @geoffgroom44

        Hamilton, Bottas, Kimi, Albon all had times deleted. I think Giovinazzi did too but that’s about it. No where near every driver at all and Albon was by far the worse offender. in-fact I believe he was the only driver with multiple times deleted.

        You’re again wrong on the Q2 comment. Albon was on softs, the others were on mediums. Albon couldn’t go again on mediums because he’d already spun it in the session and trashed those tyres… yes, that’s some “gold” driving right there…

        1. There’s no point with Geoff, he’s convinced Albon is an amazing driver contrary to all evidence. Maybe we’ll all be proved wrong.

          1. geoffgroom44 (@)
            1st November 2020, 10:47

            not so sir. However, I do believe in fairness and balance, and there seems a lack of it when applied by a few ‘commentators’.

          2. geoffgroom44 (@)
            1st November 2020, 10:56


            I am simply going by the stats in the discussion as to why RedBull don’t take back Pierre Gasly…and also the stats that suggest Alex is not as grim as a few try to convince themselves he is.

          3. geoffgroom44 (@)
            1st November 2020, 10:57

        2. geoffgroom44 (@)
          1st November 2020, 10:52

          On the screen capture that I have of Q2, when Albon was only 0.160 behind the leader Bottas at the end of Q2, the first five were on SOFTS. In fact, all 20 were on softs except the the sixth palce man, Verstappen, who was on medium. would you like me to post a link where you may see this…evidence? Maybe Slowmo would also like to see it.
          As for the track limits issue, I have been ‘corrected’ earlier in that the info I revieved from F1 live commentatos is what I quoted, however, it appears that the F1 commentators were probably referring to practice and not quali.

          1. Do you understand how F1 works @geoffgroom44 ? The tyres they set their fastest lap on in Q2 is what they start the race on. Mercedes will start on the mediums today meaning they set their fastest time in q2 on the mediums when Albon was 0.160 off Bottas. Mercedes might have gone back out on the softs for more experience but they 100% didn’t put in a lap time on them. Meaning tha Albon was that much slower than other drivers on the mediums.

    2. George Johnson
      1st November 2020, 17:59

      John I agree. It is a one off track so leave it as it is however if they expect drivers to figure out a once in a lifetime track in one day then maybe they should have practice on Fridays for these special and dangerous venues. The normal circuits should be the ones limited to Sat. I get it, F1 is trying to save money and be safe at the same time. I honestly thick Alex lost it emotionally on the 2nd incident with Lewis when Alex said “Lewis is a sore looser”. Alex needs to reconfigure his inner thoughts and work on a better turn exit along with the outside pass. Just my thoughts. The inner game is everything for him now.

  12. Friday practice would have helped.

  13. RocketTankski
    1st November 2020, 1:55

    put inflatable elephants along the edge of the track. They will soon remember the track limits.

  14. I tend to agree wit Albon on this. What’s wrong with letting them all use the tarmac available. Run over the white line use as much track thats available. If it’s dangerous put a kerb or rubble strip, or like albon said gravel that will disadvantage running wide. I find it frustrating seeing lap times deleted…

  15. Gazly beat him, says it all in my books

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