Driver opinions split over kerb deterrents

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F1 drivers will raise concerns over new kerbs installed at the Red Bull Ring, although have differing opinions over their safety.

A number of new kerbs have been added on the inside and outside of corners, with the exit kerbs the main point of contention. There are severe yellow kerbs on the exit of Turn 1, Turn 5, Turn 6 and Turn 8, which are designed to deter drivers from going off track with all four wheels to gain an advantage.

Max Verstappen hit the kerb on the outside of Turn 8 and broke his front wing in FP1, before later hitting another kerb on the exit of Turn 5 and breaking his front right suspension. A number of drivers have voiced their dissent, saying the kerbs are unnecessary and dangerous.

However, Felipe Massa says the kerbs are outside the track limits and it is up to the driver to work out if he is willing to risk making an error which could see the car damaged on the kerb.

Asked if he has any problem with the kerbs, Massa replied: "No.

"I mean sometimes you can sometimes go a bit too quick into the corners but it’s up to you. It’s up to you to decide what you are doing. So for sure you can be in a tricky moment sometimes because you tried too much but that’s the way it is. You know that if you try too much and you pass the limit, in Monaco you have the wall."

Kevin Magnussen had a similar stance while Kimi Raikkonen also dismissed any concerns. Defending champion Lewis Hamilton acknowledged their severity but does not feel there is a problem which needs addressing.

"I hit some of them," Hamilton said. "I went off in Turn 8 and nearly damaged some of the car. But it’s not really an issue I don’t think."

Fernando Alonso agreed, adding: "I think the new kerbs are OK.

"For sure they’re a bit high and if you go over them you risk damaging your car, but they are there to prevent you from going that wide. If there was a wall there for sure we wouldn’t run that close to them, so we need to give them a bit of a margin."

However, some drivers feel the kerbs are unsafe, with Romain Grosjean calling for the Turn 8 kerb to be removed.

“They will come up [in the driver briefing]," Grosjean said. "I’m not too against Turns 5 and 6, but Turn 8 is a bit more tricky. If you have a snap on entry then you have to go wide, and then you hit those with the floor first then for our back it’s quite bad.

“Even into Turn 1, when you run wide, it’s a big shock to the back. It’s a way to avoid having track limits problems, but on safety for us it’s not ideal.”

And Grosjean disagreed with Massa's comparison to a street circuit, saying the speeds are higher at the Red Bull Ring.

"If there is a wall, fine, there’s a wall and it’s a street track. We are going much faster than most of the street circuits – Baku apart. If there is a run-off area it’s not like you have a wall where you have a clear limitation from a visual point of view, and it’s open then you are always going to go for it.

"When you are trying to get 10 centimetres from the kerbs sometimes you can get it wrong."

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