Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel has called on Formula 1 and the FIA to introduce gravel run-offs at all circuits to ensure drivers are properly punished for their mistakes. F1’s first visit to Mugello highlighted the use of gravel traps, with no asphalt run-off areas located on the Tuscan circuit.
Sebastian indicated drivers would prefer more challenging conditions but warned against widespread use in order to aid driver safety during high-speed accidents, such as the one involving Lance Stroll during the race.
“I think as a driver, you prefer the fact that if you go off it gets penalised,” said Vettel. “I think it makes things a lot more straightforward. But I think you have to balance also the gravel against the asphalt in terms of when things go wrong. There were a couple of incidents at the weekend and if you get it wrong the gravel doesn’t really slow down the car. Maybe we can have an intermediate solution where you have a gravel strip initially and therefore there’s no point to go wide. But after that you have asphalt for the benefit of having less run-off, bringing the spectators closer to the track and also making it safer for us so the cars slow down if you lose control or whatever. It’s not an easy one, but with all the asphalt around at some tracks, it just sort of takes away the character and makes it a little bit too easy to do mistakes.” – he explained.
Scuderia Ferrari Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc echoed his team-mate’s thoughts, in particular, suggesting that no driver should have the luxury of an asphalt run-off to catch an error.
“I want gravel,” Charles proclaimed. “In the end, we are drivers and this is the bigger challenge for us drivers. I enjoy it more when you need to keep it flat and you know that if you do a mistake, then you pay for it, more than just going wide and then coming back on track 50 meters later. So I prefer gravel. Maybe sometimes it’s actually quite good to have maybe 50 centimetres of grass, which at least every time you run a tiny bit wide you don’t put gravel all over the track. So maybe this is to learn from. But generally, I prefer this than a huge run-off.” – Charles concluded.