F1 drivers welcome return of Spa gravel traps

Formula 1 drivers have welcomed Spa’s plan to introduce gravel traps in place of asphalt run-off areas at several key corners.

Listen to this article

The Belgian GP venue confirmed last week that it will be putting gravel at La Source, Raidillon, Blanchimont, Les Combes and Stavelot.

The changes are being made to ensure that the circuit gets an FIM licence for bike racing, and are part of an €80m revamp that also includes a new grandstand at the top of Eau Rouge/Raidillon.

Asphalt run-off areas have been a regular topic of conversation at recent F1 drivers’ briefings, and at the Belgian GP meeting McLaren’s Carlos Sainz indicated that the circuit had gone too far in that direction.

“I feel like the only thing Spa is missing now is the gravel and the grass next to the exit kerbs,” said the Spaniard. “Now we have a bit too much as far as the feel of risk, and the paying of risk/reward is not good enough in these modern circuits.”

Visits to circuits like Mugello and Nurburgring have put a further focus on the drivers’ preference gravel traps.

Sainz made it clear last weekend that he backs the planned changes at Spa.

“Welcome back gravel and pray for more gravel in the future, and grass and everything,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com.

“Because it's exactly what I think we all need to make the circuits nice and spectacular again.

“I hope there's something else going on at Spa and they're not wasting €80m on gravel! But welcome back gravel, and let's keep praying for more gravel and more grass.”

Read Also:

Williams' George Russell stressed that drivers should be punished for making mistakes on track.

“This is what racing is about,” said the Williams man when asked by Motorsport.com. “It’s having that thrill, being on the limit, knowing if you make a mistake, you will be punished. And unfortunately there’s too many circuits, obviously for safety reasons, that don’t give you that element while driving.

“So gravel was taken away for certain reasons and brought back for others. And I think from a driver’s perspective - I don’t know necessarily the whole safety implications - it would be nice to see more pure race tracks again with these gravel run-offs.”

FIA race director Michael Masi is happy to see gravel traps introduced if they are deemed suitable for the corner in question.

“I’ve said before, corner by corner, circuit by circuit, and if it works in a particular circumstance, absolutely,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com.

“If it doesn’t work, then we need to look at the whole picture of how it works, and the FIA, working together with FIM, from that perspective. There’s a number of inputs.

“We’ll continue to look at it on a circuit by circuit perspective, corner by corner basis to try and make the best judgement.”

shares
comments

Related video

Has the Eifel GP made two-day F1 weekends inevitable?
Previous article

Has the Eifel GP made two-day F1 weekends inevitable?

Next article

Wolff: Drivers critiquing Hamilton should question themselves

Wolff: Drivers critiquing Hamilton should question themselves
Why Mercedes believes it can make the step F1 needs to fight Red Bull Prime

Why Mercedes believes it can make the step F1 needs to fight Red Bull

The 2022 Formula 1 season was Mercedes' leanest for a decade, achieving just a solitary pole and grand prix win. Yet the team is confident it has got the tools it needs to cast that disappointment aside and return to the front of the field again next year.

How BRM's one-off F1 double defied its rollercoaster history Prime

How BRM's one-off F1 double defied its rollercoaster history

It’s 60 years since BRM achieved its goal and Graham Hill led the team to a world title double. But that was just part of the remarkable story of a unique team that at times overstretched its resources and had its fair share of disappointments.

Formula 1
Dec 8, 2022
The bold F1 DRS experiment that could end the debate forever Prime

The bold F1 DRS experiment that could end the debate forever

OPINION: The effectiveness of DRS in Formula 1 remains a topic of debate as the winter break gives a chance for reflection on the racing we saw in 2022. For all of its detractors, perhaps an experiment where DRS is cast aside and the impact this has on racing is in order to truly understand its merits in modern F1.

Formula 1
Dec 8, 2022
The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche Prime

The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche

OPINION: Everything looked set for Red Bull and Porsche to join forces for the 2026 season, before the marriage between both parties was called off. While at the time it looked like a major coup for Formula 1 in gaining both VW Group powerhouses Audi and Porsche for 2026, Red Bull and Porsche have really been spared a potentially fractious relationship.

Formula 1
Dec 7, 2022
How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Prime

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2022
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022