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F1 needs new gravel trap/asphalt approach, says GPDA chairman Wurz

Oleg Karpov, Jonathan Noble
F1 needs new gravel trap/asphalt approach - Wurz

Formula 1 tracks should seek better ways of blending asphalt runoffs and gravel traps at different parts of corners, reckons Grand Prix Drivers' Association chairman Alex Wurz.

Former F1 driver Wurz believes a different approach is needed to steer motorsport away from using 'sausage' kerbs as a deterrent to running off-track.

Speaking in the wake of Alex Peroni's terrifying Formula 3 crash at Monza, Wurz suggested different types of run-off treatment should be used at corner entry and corner exits.

"You can see interviews of mine for many years which say that I am not a fan of asphalt runoff areas," Wurz told Autosport.

"I think asphalt runoff areas at certain parts of the corners are extremely efficient, safe and good. But we have gone far beyond that.

"We have placed asphalt runoff areas on corner exits, where I would have still preferred gravel.

"On corner entry, where usually you have issues with things breaking and you are coming from high speed, then an asphalt runoff area is quite good.

"Sometimes gravel in these situations is actually dangerous, like you saw in Melbourne with [Fernando] Alonso, who slid sideways into gravel [in 2016]. Then you fly into the air, so we lose control of the car even more.

"But on corner exits, after you are down to your minimum speed, with any trajectory towards the runoff, I would think on 80% of solutions that asphalt is just too much."

F1 needs new gravel trap/asphalt approach - Wurz

Wurz admits that finding the perfect solution is not easy, but he thinks the time has come for a more detailed look at individual corners to work out what works best for all categories of racing.

"For the track operator, for everyday business, asphalt runoff areas are great," he admitted.

"If you have the Porsche club, and if the amateur spins off, [he] doesn't damage his car in the gravel, and you don't have a half an hour red flag until you get someone out. But this is where you - as F1, as a track operator - have to decide.

"There is no easy solution here, but slowly and surely everyone is getting onboard with the message that we have to think of solutions.

"As a businessman in track design I am not disclosing them publicly, but I am getting very close to saying 'OK, screw the business, we have to help the industry'.

"That means step by step, corner by corner, and every corner is different because of styles and trajectory unique to each corner."

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