F1 to use sensors to police track limits in Hungary

Using or creating technology is great but when the prime mover for doing so is the simple notion that “we can”, I get a little miffed. I’m not fan of doing tech because we can, I prefer doing tech because it’s needed or called for. The big question is, are this weekend’s track limit electronic measuring system called for or simply something to do because we can?

The FIA has decided to use a new electronic track limits system in order to penalize those drivers who do place all four wheels over the white track limit lines in Hungary. New double curbs have been installed along with timing sensors at turns 4 and 11 in Hungary.

The move has been met with some criticism from drivers however with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel saying:

“It’s the FIA to blame for building circuits that make it faster to run off the track than on the track,” he said. “It’s quite disappointing.

“The result is it’s faster to go off track than to stay on track.

“It doesn’t make much sense, does it?”

But McLaren’s Jenson Button likes the idea:

“It’s good, I like it,” he said. “The way things are, all of the kerbs are pretty similar on all circuits now, so they’re easy to run over on exits.

“We need something, we need a limit to stop us going over there.”

Jenson’s teammate, Fernando Alonso, perhaps makes the best case for the electronic track limit system saying:

“It’s good. Then we don’t rely on the marshals or on the TV and if you were broadcast in that moment or not.

“It’s technology that is there already so it’s good to use it. In Formula 1 you should have the maximum of everything.”

Even Lewis Hamilton likes the idea but a couple of seasons in Formula 1 has made a bit of a salty dog out of Russian Daniil Kvyat and he’s no fan of the system…clearly:

“Just put a normal kerb there and you don’t need all these electronic systems,” he said.

“It seems like the people who are taking these directions don’t know what to do.

“Now we have some sensors, maybe they’ll work correctly, maybe they’ll fuck everyone up.

“I personally trust my eyes more than the sensors.”

So how do you really feel Daniil? Don’t mince words. Alonso refers to the chance for stewards to interpret the situation with varying levels of effectiveness and I can appreciate that but then again, this is yet another electronic system to measure by the millimeter and leaves room for unseen or marginal infractions that could be met with punitive actions that fans at home may not fully see or agree with.

My jury is out on this but I understand the desire to stop drivers from running off track. On the other hand, I tend to agree with Vettel in that making it a negative impact by running off track on certain turns could be achieved with artificial grass, larger curbs or other features to slow the cars down should they run wide. Designing tracks that enable or promote running wide is not really the drivers fault and taking a lot of curb on certain turns is the fastest way around the circuit. The FIA just needs to make running wide the slower way around the circuit.