Imola kerbs a potential 'limiting factor' during race weekend

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Formula 1 drivers could be forced to steer clear of Imola's kerbs this weekend because of the low ground clearance of their 2022 new generation cars.

As a traditional circuit compared to the F1 venues visited so far this season, Imola's layout features higher kerbs that drivers have nevertheless ridden in the past to deliver a fast lap.

But an aggressive approach this year could cause significant damage to a car's floor and disrupt the crucial airflow that is part of the new designs' aerodynamic ground effect.

Last year's opening lap tussle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton saw the Red Bull driver run his rival wide at Imola's Turn 1. Such a move would have likely resulted in dire consequences for the Briton with a 2022 car.

Running more clearance would mitigate the issue, but it would also erode performance. The onus this weekend will therefore be on the drivers to safeguard their car from Imola's kerbs.

But that could be a "limiting factor" according to Alfa Romeo's head of trackside engineering Xevi Pujolar.

"For sure it is something that we are taking into consideration, and it can be a limiting factor" he said, quoted by Motorsport.com.

"In some occasions, and the way you need to set up the car, and how much track you use, you really need to be careful in some parts. It could have an impact on the weekend."

"The cars are lower and they're also stiffer, so kerb riding is a little harder than it used to be with the old cars," explained the Dane.

"We'll see, I hope whatever challenges these new cars have we can still be in the competitive range in terms of kerb riding. Again, I think our car is all-round very strong so it should be alright."

Haas' Kevin Magnussen says he's been cautious riding kerbs this season because of the overall stiffer set-up and lower ride height of F1's new cars.

But the Dane is confident it won't significantly impact his machine's performance at Imola.

"The cars are lower and they're also stiffer, so kerb riding is a little harder than it used to be with the old cars," he said.

"We'll see, I hope whatever challenges these new cars have we can still be in the competitive range in terms of kerb riding. Again, I think our car is all-round very strong so it should be alright."

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