Ricciardo, Hulkenberg call for run-off area rethink

Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg have urged Formula 1 chiefs to rethink their approach to run-off areas at tracks, following the controversy caused at Turn 1 of the Mexican Grand Prix.

Race leader Lewis Hamilton was able to short-cut the circuit and retain his lead on the opening lap after running wide, while Max Verstappen was later penalised for doing the same thing.

With the incidents having sparked controversy and brought up fresh debate about consistency of the rules, a number of drivers believe that it could be time to change the approach to run off areas so there is much more of a deterrent from running wide.

Ricciardo said: "I am bit of a fan of gravel traps because it is a proper deterrent. Even if you do get though the gravel trap with good speed, you still have stuff in your radiators or stones on your tyres, so there is more of a penalty.

"I don't like how a driver can make a mistake while defending, cut through it and continue. So the first corner with Lewis, I don't think that was right.

"It was the first lap and a crucial time and if you make a mistake like that, you should pay more of a price."

Force India's Hulkenberg thinks that if gravel traps are not possible because of safety issues, then F1 should consider greater use of cones to slow drivers down. F1 makes use of such slow-down channels at Monza and Sochi.

"I don't know necessarily about gravel traps, but maybe something like what is at Sochi if you go off, or Monza, where you have to go around a certain thing to make you pay a price.

"Where he [Lewis] braked, there was no way he was going to make the corner."

Horner backs push

Red Bull boss Christian Horner thinks the idea of Bernie Ecclestone to build small walls around the track may be a little too extreme, but he thinks something can be done.

"Bernie's view it put a wall there….which is probably one end of the spectrum," said Horner.

"But I definitely think there is an argument for a gravel trap, because then if you end up in the gravel you either lose an enormous amount of time or you are out of the race.

"I think it really is something that should be looked at for corners like Turn 1 to see if gravel is a better deterrent than large asphalt run off areas.

"It remains too open to interpretation because, why was Max's move any different to Lewis' at the chicane in Monte Carlo? Or Lewis on that corner here?

"Again, you are leaving it constantly up to the stewards' interpretation on individual events. If there is a gravel trap there, they pay the price and it is as simple as that."

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Series Formula 1
Article type Breaking news