COTA Wants to Curb Corner-Cutting with New Curbs
F1 wants drivers to cut it out with the corner-cutting. FIA to have physical obstacles installed.
The Circuit of the Americas was the venue of one of 2017's most dramatic last-lap overtakes and one of its most controversial penalty calls. In order to prevent a repeat of such incidents and inconsistency, the FIA, F1's governing body, has decided to put in higher curbstones at various corners as physical deterrents.
Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen overtook Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen in the long triple-apex right-hander, taking third place just four corners before taking the flag. The Dutchman did so by putting all four wheels beyond the white line demarcating the track limits, cutting the track and gaining an advantage. He was subsequently penalized five seconds and lost his spot on the podium before even standing on it.
Verstappen was seething after the race, calling out one of the stewards and decrying what he considered an inconsistent policing of Formula 1's hard-to-define track limits after a weekend where various drivers ran wide at different corners without getting punished.
"Needless to say, there'll be some low curbs in the area where Max went off," Formula 1 Race Director Charlie Whiting told Racefans. Aside from the turn 17 area, the exit of the first corner will also see some new "bumpy curbs" as Whiting calls them, to prevent drivers running wide, rejoining the track at speed and gaining an advantage. Although these curbs may be relatively "low" by F1 standards, Whiting is confident they'll do the job.
The Circuit of the Americas is very likely not the only track which will see slight modifications, as the FIA believes installing physical obstacles is preferable to a wholesale change of its approach to policing track limits. "I think we are very close to being [at] a point where we are not concerned about a driver gaining time going off," said Whiting. "Everywhere we go now, we are really getting closer to eliminating everything."