Sainz: Tarmac runoff areas ruining Spa

Jamie Woodhouse

Carlos Sainz wants gravel and grass back at Spa.

Carlos Sainz wants to see the tarmac runoff areas at Spa-Francorchamps traded in for gravel traps and grass on exit kerbs.

Artificial grass has long since lined most of the Spa circuit, but not anymore as the track moves increasingly towards being motorcycle racing-friendly.

That therefore means more tarmac runoff areas, and Sainz said they are ruining the need to balance risk with reward on a traditional circuit like Spa.

“I feel like the only thing Spa is missing now is the gravel and the grass next to the exit kerbs,” he is quoted by Autosport.

“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.

“Even though safety is primary, I think there’s still a compromise to be found with Tarmac runoff areas.

“Although the combination of sector two and Eau Rouge and everything is incredible, I think there’s still work to do to try and make more of a penalty for the drivers when you run wide.

“Just having the Tarmac there gets that fear out of you of pushing a bit too much. And then the exit of Turn 13, the exit of Turn 8… I miss gravel, I miss grass.

“And it’s something that we’ve talked with the FIA to see how we can at least create that feeling for the drivers to make sure we do feel a bit more risk/reward when going into a fast corner like Turn 13.”

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FIA race director Michael Masi agrees that Spa is now more “forgiving”, but said that track limit rules ensured that drivers didn’t push the boundaries too much.

“It’s not a secret here that the Spa circuit is working on an FIM licence, and getting motorcycles back,” he said.

“And artificial grasses are not part of that.

“So that’s why it’s been removed. And I think, yes, it may have been more forgiving in certain areas.

“But we also saw from a track limit perspective that we’ve got other measures that we’ve used throughout the year that have been put in place.

“Track limits here were monitored in the same way, with the utilising of timing loops, as they have been of late.

“So we have a number of loops together with all the available vision that we get access to, be it CCTV, on-boards, broadcast, and we combine all of those tools together.”

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