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Michael Masi

F1 race director: The drivers want physical track limits

Michael Masi has explained why he was reluctant to remove the exit kerb's at the French GP. The yellow kerbs are set to play a role in this weekend's Styrian GP.

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Formula 1 race director Michael Masi has reiterated that the drivers have asked for physical deterrents for track limits which is why he did not remove the yellow kerbs on the exit of the the first chicane at Paul Ricard.

Track limits has been a controversial topic this season and they yellow kerbs are set to make a return at this weekend's Styrian GP at the Red Bull Ring. Masi has explained why the kerbs were in place last weekend.

"There are probably a number of elements there," Masi told RacingNews365.com and other select members of the press.

"One was those kerbs were in place last time we were here in 2019. And secondly, they were over two metres from the edge of the track, so you had to be completely off the track to actually come in contact with them.

"But they were reviewed on the Friday night following the discussion at the drivers' meeting. I went and physically went to look at them at Turn 2, as much to satisfy myself that everything was correct.

"But more importantly, as we've heard on a number of occasions, particularly this year, they want physical limits and that is very clearly a physical limit.

"Having come off two street circuits at Baku and Monaco, it is quite clear there are physical limits there and it was the same in this circumstance. And, to be fair, during the race there were no issues at all."

In France both Mercedes and Red Bull made complaints because of the potential financial penalty that faced the teams which is particularly important this year due to the introduction of the budget cap.

"Those yellow rumble strips on the exit of two have done an awful lot of damage to our car," Mercedes sporting director Ron Meadows messaged Masi. "They're just too aggressive."

"They are the 50mm ones that we normally have in a lot of places, Ron," replied Masi.

"All I'm telling you is our car is rooted because we went over them and we can't say 'Well, you shouldn't go there' because that's tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage by going three-foot too wide," was Meadows response.

"It's a bit more than three foot but I'll have a look. Thank you," Masi concluded.

Later in the event, it was Red Bull's Jonathan Wheatley who took to the radio to ask for a rethink about the kerbs after Max Verstappen had run wide, losing some of his front wing that the team wanted back.

"It's been interesting watching the cars going through turn two and thinking about those yellow kerbs on the exit there," said Wheatley.

"We've just done a shed-load of damage to our car and I'm pretty sure Max didn't end up there on purpose. It just seems to be such a huge penalty for a minor indiscretion on the drivers' part. I was wondering whether you would consider, I don't know, removing half of them."

Masi quickly replied, just as he did with Meadows, that the kerbs were not a new addition and had been there in 2019 without any complaints. Nevertheless, Wheatley was still not pleased.

"We know that these cars use different areas and, if you look now on these long runs, they're not going anywhere near them," said Wheatley. "As I say, it just seems the penalty for going wide, which could be a timing loop, is about £100,000."

Austria's Red Bull Ring has traditionally been a car breaker in recent years so the kerb and issue of track limit deterrents is set to continue this weekend.

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