FIA: No issue with German GP surface Leclerc called "unacceptable"

Formula 1 race director Michael Masi believes there is nothing wrong with the drag strip runoff area at Hockenheim, despite it's surface being blasted as "unacceptable" by Charles Leclerc

FIA: No issue with German GP surface Leclerc called "unacceptable"

Leclerc was one of several drivers who ran wide at the final sequence of corners in the German Grand Prix and skidded across a wet area of runoff, and ended up in the barrier.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Hulkenberg both also crashed there, while Carlos Sainz Jr, Kimi Raikkonen and Lando Norris all had incidents as the asphalt, which is used as part of Hockenheim's drag strip, retained more surface water.

Masi was aware of driver concerns and conducted a post-race inspection of the runoff, but said it was no different to those at other tracks.

"The drag strip looks fine," said Masi. "We inspected it the other day and had a look again post-race with the water on it. It is fine.

"Even Sebastian [Vettel] is quoted as saying that it is normally one of the grippiest parts of the track and it is no different to any of the other painted runoff [areas] to be quite honest.

"I think it was one of those ones where if [you] put water on painted runoff then, as much as you can do anything to make sure it is anti-slip paint, it is still more slippery than unpainted Tarmac."

Asked if his main message for drivers was to not run off the circuit, Masi said: "Correct. It's called track limit controls."

While the surface came in for some criticism, Masi said drivers are normally more open to have runoff areas that punish them for mistakes - such as those at the Red Bull Ring.

Norris said he nearly crashed on his way to the grid after experimenting to see how much grip there was on the runoff area.

"We have an onboard we have to watch, of one magic lap from Fernando [Alonso] when he was at Ferrari, and he goes two wheels onto the kerb onto the drag strip," explained Norris.

"On my lap to the grid I tried it, and I genuinely thought I was going to be out of the race before I'd even started. I pulled the clutch in, full opposite lock - and I'm not exaggerating, I shat myself.

"I was like, 'Oh shit, this is not gonna be good'."

He added: "It's probably quite dangerous to be honest, because you just don't slow down, there's runoff there that you're approaching at a decent speed.

"And once you hit it, you can't do anything. It's something I think needs to be changed for next time."

McLaren boss Andreas Seidl said the track could not be blamed for the number of incidents, and backed up Masi's claim by pointing out drivers regularly complain about tracks having too much runoff.

"I wouldn't blame the track for the people going off," said Seidl.

"At the same time you here a lot of complaints that we should have different tracks where you can't go off.

"Next time they [will] cry again for having gravel beds, or a wall. I think the most important thing is we need to be more consistent with our messaging."

Hamilton said he would have been spared a collision with the barrier had gravel been in place and that the drag strip's location next to the final corners is a "pretty poor design".

"I mean it was [like] ice, but normally it would be gravel," said Hamilton.

"So I don't feel any particular way about it. If it had been gravel I probably wouldn't have gone as far and would have been able to come back on.

"But it's a pretty poor design that aspect of the track I would say."

shares
comments
Mercedes F1 team "bruised" by German Grand Prix "armageddon"

Previous article

Mercedes F1 team "bruised" by German Grand Prix "armageddon"

Next article

How German GP climax could've been even bigger shock

How German GP climax could've been even bigger shock
Load comments
Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces Plus

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Plus

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2021
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021
The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021