Is The Gravel Trap Becoming History?

Rene v GContributor ISeptember 4, 2009

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 16:  Giancarlo Fisichella of Italy and Force India ends up in the gravel at the first corner at the start of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit on March 16, 2008 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

To refresh our memory. Next to the asphalt was room for a lane of beautiful grass. In the corners next to the grass, there was the gravel. The purpose of the gravel is to slow you down when you are crashing your car. This will lower the impact when you reach the wall or tyre barrier (although it depends a little bit on how you enter the gravel pit). So the gravel is part of the safety.


On the other hand. When cars enter the gravel pit with high speed, the bumpy surface can cause them to roll over and causing a huge amount of damage and debris. Drivers don’t like gravel pits, because you can get trapped in it ‘the gravel trap’. And if the marchalls don’t help you out, or the engine shuts off, your race is over.


More and more circuits have exchanged gravel pits for asphalt. And this phenomena continues. Also the new tracks, especially those from hermann tilke disappoint me. Places where should be an gravel trap have been abused with asphalt or concrete.


Okay, drivers can afford to make a mistake, by missing their braking point, and rejoin the race almost immediately after being off the track. A spin in the worst case gives you flat spots on the tyres, forcing you to pit. But mostly there is no big deal (okay only in the first laps you lose a lot of track position).


I would like the see the gravel back in crucial places, like at the hairpins. So a mistake could mean the end of the race. It is racing, and it are the so called best drivers in the world. If someone spins and got trapped then he was not the best that race. And they must not say it will reduce the overtaking, because drivers would not want to risk their points/podium. Drivers who don’t dare to overtake wont be champ anyway, they don’t even deserve it then. For me, the images of cars trapped in the gravel are part of racing.


Please, protect gravel trap!


(thank you for reading my 3rd article, how do you think about this subject?)