Starting from this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, electronic detectors will be used by the FIA to monitor track limit violations committed by drivers.
The computerised technology has been brought in following a number of tyre and suspension failures for drivers at recent races, the cause of which has stemmed from driving over the ‘sausage kerbs’ now used at a number of circuits. These higher, bulkier kerbs are the current solution favoured by the sport’s governing body as a way of deterring drivers from running off track and gaining an advantage.
The kerbs have never been favoured by F1 teams, but the FIA have remained unmovable on the subject until the recent spate of incidents involving them, which has prompted the FIA to find an alternative solution.
The Hungaroring track has recently been resurfaced and the kerbs updated as part of a circuit upgrade this year anyway, so it is perfect timing for the FIA to step in with their new tracking method.
There are two locations within the Budapest track that the FIA have earmarked as areas where drivers could run wide without losing track time, and they are Turns 4 and 11. Double kerbs have recently been installed here, however the run-off area sits at the same level as the kerbs and therefore running wide does not penalise the driver. The FIA will use computer monitoring to judge the situation across the weekend.
F1 Race Director Charlie Whiting, issued a message to the teams informing them of the new system, which will also serve as a warning to anyone thinking of abusing the track layout.
“We have installed loops 1.6m from the track edge which will alert us when a car has all four wheels off the track in these two locations.”