until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula E

Formula E's plan for headaches racing at a MotoGP track creates

by Sam Smith
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

The FIA has implemented extra kerbing on the Misano circuit in readiness for this weekend’s Formula E double-header in an effort to deter track limits violations.

The 2.10-mile track is configured predominantly for motorcycle racing use and hosts MotoGP’s San Marino Grand Prix.

The configuration of corners at the track has caused concern among drivers, teams and organisers that the flat kerbing will promote corner cutting and flagrant track limit violations.

The FIA has aimed to address this by installing so-called ‘banana kerbing’ on exits of Turns 1,4, 11 and 13.

Misano Formula E kerbs

The actual monitoring of track limits will be undertaken using CCTV cameras with competitors expected to be told at Friday evening’s drivers’ briefing that two wheels must be kept inside the kerbing on corner exits.

Some other measures have been deployed by race director Scot Elkins and his team, including the use of a street circuit style entry wall and kerbing at the Turn 8/9 chicane complex. This has been installed to ensure cars do not cut across the shallow kerbs on entry and exit here

Talking to The Race about the measures, McLaren FE team manager Gary Paffett - who raced a number of times at Misano in the DTM -  said that he had been in consultation with Elkins for a number of weeks on the matter of track limits at the venue.

“I’ve raced here before in DTM, we had issues back then,” said Paffett.

“I’ve spent a few weeks going back and forth with Scot talking about it and the drivers have done the same.

Misano Formula E track kerbs

“I think he’s done a good job of preparing it in the best way possible and there is a back-up option of putting tyre stacks on corner exits if necessary, things like this, but this is the neatest and cleanest solution.

“The way that he’s also moved the track edge to the kerb rather than the white line also gives the drivers a bit more feel of where they are on the kerb and things like that.”

But Paffett warned that while free practice and qualifying laps should be contained by the kerbing modifications, the race could present different flashpoints.

“For single laps people are pretty happy, for the racing they’re a bit more concerned about the banana kerbs on the exits,” he said.

“If you’re side by side and someone runs you onto one, what’s going to happen then?”

Nissan driver Sacha Fenestraz reckoned that this exact scenario could render the kerbs on some corner exits perilous.

“The thing is [the banana kerbs] are so dangerous,” Fenestraz told The Race.

“You can find yourself being four wide into corners and for sure you’re going to be pushed over them.

“That can really break your monocoque or really damage the chassis, or damage your body because for the back it’s really not the best thing. 

“If they put them on for qualifying but maybe take them off for the race that can be something interesting to think of, but again I don’t know what the FIA are thinking to do.”

Abt Cupra driver Lucas di Grassi, who has advised the FIA on some aspects of track safety, thinks Elkins must be “assertive and emphatic on forcing the driver to give space to the guy on the outside”.

“I think it’s the right approach; it’s much more enforcing sporting rules than actually changing how the track is, because if you take the banana kerbs out, you can always go there and then there is a camera, you cannot police 20 cars for 20 laps,” di Grassi continued.

“I think the solution is not the ideal one, but from what is available it’s actually being done in a good way.”

Formula E’s Misano debut is part of its growing trend of racing at permanent tracks instead of street circuits, and Jaguar’s Mitch Evans said the problems that had cropped up were “the nature of things if the championship wants to come to these tracks, then we’re going to face these problems”.

“Some of the sausage kerbs they’ve put down are really aggressive, super high,” he said.

“As long as it’s clear, the rules are clear, the consistency is there, then these rules are what we have to try and work within.

“We obviously need to explore all the track that’s possible, but some of the locations of the sausage kerbs are in awkward exits and stuff.

“Sometimes you’re not really intentionally trying to abuse the track limit, it's just when you start to push the limits. It’s probably going to be quite tricky for that.

“In the race it’s going to be a big talking point with all the energy management we have to do.

“It does leave options to try and overtake off track.

“We shouldn’t be in these positions anyway; we should be on street tracks."

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks