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Formula 1

FIA rejects requests to remove controversial French GP kerbs

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
2 min read

FIA race director Michael Masi has rejected requests from Formula 1 teams to remove the controversial exit kerbs at Turn 2 at the French Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly broke car parts on the yellow ‘sausage kerbs’ that line the outside of the exit kerb at the second corner.

They are designed to prevent drivers exceeding track limits on the exit of a high-speed corner where there is time to be gained and were in place at the previous French GP in 2019.

“Those yellow rumble strips at Turn 2 have done an awful lot of damage to our car,” Mercedes team manager Ron Meadows reported to Masi during FP1.

“They’re just too aggressive.”

After being told the kerbs were the same ones in place two years ago at Paul Ricard, Meadows replied: “All I’m telling you is our car’s rooted because we went over them.

“And we can’t say ‘you shouldn’t go there’ because that’s tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage by going three feet too wide.”

Red Bull French GP Paul Ricard F1

Meadows’ Red Bull counterpart Jonathan Wheatley communicated a similar concern after Verstappen broke a front wing endplate on the kerb.

Having previously requested to Masi that the part be recovered, Wheatley radioed to report: “We’ve just done a shed-load of damage to our car and pretty sure Max didn’t end up there on purpose.

“It just seems to be such a huge penalty for a minor indiscretion on the drivers’ part.

“I was wondering whether you would consider, I don’t know, removing half of them.

“It just seems the penalty for going wide is about £100,000.”

Masi said he would take a look at the issue after Friday practice but has decided not to accept the request to make a change.

The kerbs are still in place and in the same design ahead of final practice. As mentioned before, they were not new for this event, and furthermore teams and drivers have been calling for hard methods of policing track limits after various complaints earlier this season.

Elsewhere on the circuit, the Turn 6 right-hander that leads onto the back straight has a specific track limits instruction for the rest of the event.

Leaving the track there will invalidate a lap in FP3 and qualifying, and will be part of a driver’s tally counted during the race that could lead to a penalty.

Exceeding track limits at Turns 1-5, the exit of Turn 6, and the Turn 8-9 chicane on the back straight in the race will be noted and if a driver does it three times, across any combination of those corners, he will be shown a black-and-white flag – with any further track limits abuse referred to the stewards.

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