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."

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