The facelift of the Spa circuit led to the reduction of several clearance areas, partly replaced by gravel, in order to accommodate motorcycles in particular. New gravel pits have been installed.
Several drivers have welcomed this approach, for F1, for example Kevin Magnussen at Haas (see our article).
Sergio Pérez, at Red Bull, does he believe here that the FIA has taken a good step forward? In particular to try to settle the nagging question of track limits returning from Grand Prix to Grand Prix?
“Yes, it would be nice to see if it works, if it solves the problems we are currently having with the track limits. And if we’re able to adopt that solution in pretty much every circuit, you know, and get rid of it [des zones de dégagement]. It will be very interesting, because certainly here, a big change has been made. »
On Williams’ side, Nicholas Latifi agrees: he prefers gravel to clearing areas.
“Yes, it’s a step in the right direction. I mean, when you look at, specifically, a corner like Turn 1… even before there was the gravel put in this year, it wasn’t really a corner with track limits, because there was the big sausage shaker. »
« But what we riders would like, especially in the corners – is for you to have the motivation to play with the limits of the white line a bit. That’s probably what we want to see more and more because it just sets the track boundaries in a clear or a bit harsh way, so there’s no question about the track boundaries anymore. »
“To be honest, except for this corner, I don’t think it’s going to make a big difference. Everywhere else the track layout and everything else, the curbs, it’s really minor changes, obviously new tar in places, but yeah, it’s a good stage. »
The low popularity of paddock release zones is confirmed by Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren.
“I’ve never been a big fan of big clearing areas and all that, tarmac. Having gravel is a good thing in some places. I saw that it’s much closer to the exit of the turn, in quite a few corners. »
“And obviously, if you go off the track, then you go off. So it just changes the approach a bit, I don’t think it necessarily changes the style or the character of the track, but probably the approach. »
More safety cars in the race according to Gasly?
4-0 for the gravel in his match against the clearance zones! Pierre Gasly also wants the drivers to pay for the slightest mistake made…
“I like the gravel a lot more, like the straight after the corners, because I think if you make a mistake and you go off the track, at least you pay the real price, instead of having a large piece of asphalt through which you can reach the track. »
“It’s just a new approach to racing, so for the start of the race, you get to the first corner, 20 cars coming there, it changes your approach slightly and what you can try. No, it’s definitely better, at turn 1. Turns 1, 9 and 12 too. »
“So yes, we could see more safety cars. I don’t know, maybe we’ll see a little more action or a little more yellow flags. »
“I don’t know but at least it forces you to be more disciplined and have a slightly different approach than in the past. So yeah, I’m in favor of that. »
“I think I agree with everything that has been said” concludes Sebastian Vettel.