Red Bull Ring, 2019

Horner wants kerb changes after ‘£250,000 damage’ in first practice

2019 Austrian Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and his Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff have called for changes to the kerbs at the Red Bull Ring after several teams damages front wings during first practice.

The session was red-flagged with three minutes to go after Nico Hulkenberg destroyed part of his Renault’s front wing on the kerb at turn nine. Horner estimated around a quarter of a million pounds’ worth of damage was done to Red Bull’s cars alone.

“It’s been a bit of a challenge,” he told Sky. “We’ve got through about three front wings so far. Probably about £250 grand’s worth of damage. But we’re not alone in that. There is I’m sure going to be a debate about the angle of these yellow triangles, the way they are.”

The track’s kerbs have been a focus of criticism in previous season for causing damage to kerbs. Horner believes they are “too inviting” for drivers. “They know they’re there, I just think the angle that they’re at, I think that’s what they really need to look at.”

“There’s been a lot of discussion about these kerbs here over the last couple of years,” he added. “It needs something either more substantial that is a real deterrent because the invitation is there for the drivers to try to use it.”

Wolff said Mercedes also suffered front wing damage during the session. “We’ve broken two flaps,” he told Sky, “I believe Racing Point has broken a front wing so we need to do something around the sausage kerbs.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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58 comments on “Horner wants kerb changes after ‘£250,000 damage’ in first practice”

  1. I don’t understand this. They want a deterrent to stop drivers going wide so you get one. Then they moan that the drivers ignore the deterrent and damage their cars.

    Isn’t it one or the other? No-one complains about the walls at Monaco because the drivers don’t ignore them….

    1. I agree. Love these kerbs. Attack them at your own risk.

    2. welcome to F1, no matter what happens, people will complain.

      1. Are you complaining that they complain too much? HA!

        1. I tip my hat to you sir

    3. this would never have happened with natural aspirated V12s !!111!1!1

      1. I don’t know where this came from, but I love it

      2. @mrboerns wouldn’t happen with NA V12s because the thin air would reduce the power of the engine so they wouldn’t be going fast enough to drift wide.

      3. @mrboerns – beautiful :)

      4. And Bridgestone / Goodyear / Michelin tyres would give enough grip to stay on track!

    4. Indeed. If you don’t want a bill for damaged cars, stay off the kerbs.

    5. While I do agree drivers should not be greedy and respect the track limits, the comparison to Monaco is a little bit unjust, with these sausage kerbs – you don’t see them, unlike thewalls in Monaco’s.

      1. rick bradner
        28th June 2019, 23:47

        they are bright bloody yellow!
        if you don’t see them you’re blind or already on top of them…

    6. Damned if you, damned if you dont.

    7. No surprise that I say keep the kerbs, I don’t expect to see any penalties imposed this weekend for breaching track limits, do you ?

  2. How about, tell your drivers to not drive on the kerbs, or make the cars stronger to take the hits.

  3. It’s the Red Bull Ring. it’s owned by Red Bull. Surely he can just pick up the phone and order someone to make changes??

    1. Probably he is allowed even to dismantle them himself!)

    2. @joeypropane

      For £1 – Red Bull gives you wings
      For £250,000 – Red Bull takes your wings

      1. If this is not COTD, there is not sense in this section.

    3. Even if red bull owns the track they can not just make changes to the track willy nilly during race weekend. The track has been approved for f1 in the way it was at the beginning of the race weekend and any changes during the weekend must be approved by fia or stewards. Not sure of the exact procedure. Maybe even the teams need to agree as it is not safety issue although it is possible to make it into one (fractures develop in aero parts during race and then you have catastrophic failure at high speed).

  4. I take it the FIA stipulated the kerbs’ presence because if not surely it shouldn’t be too difficult for Red Bull Racing to lobby Red Bull to make cosmetic alterations to the Red Bull Ring.

  5. While you’re at it, please can they remove the walls at Monaco? They cause loads of damage to the cars.

    Alternatively, tell your drivers not to drive on the kerbs.

  6. Replace them with a wall and see if the drivers are still willing to test the limits. Horner admitted himself the drivers know they’re there, and that’s before getting into the absurdity of complaining about the Red Bull Ring as Red Bull team principal.

  7. Thomasi (@salsaturation)
    28th June 2019, 12:44

    Seems like there is a lot of whinging from the teams (and drivers) lately… surely this is clear infringement of the armchair-expert job spec. I am not happy something needs to be done 😉.

  8. Horner estimated around a quarter of a million pounds’ worth of damage was done to Red Bull’s cars alone.

    Not that it invalidates his point, but when you look at last season’s Red Bull repair bill (most notably from Baku 2018), £250k is actually pretty decent.

    1. Well, given Max’s FP2 crash, this comment aged well…

  9. The black stuff is the race track Christian and co.
    Stay on the black stuff and therefore no problems.

    1. You are considered on track if any of your tires is on the white line, these huge kurbs should not be within 2m of the track, furthermore there are better ways to punish drivers who go all 4 off.

  10. Yes yes, so easy to say ‘stay on the black stuff,’ from one’s armchair. Obviously there is something unique going on here that we don’t normally hear about.

    Can we agree that drivers at all times at all tracks put a couple of wheels up on the inside apex red/white curbing, and that is not ‘leaving the track?’ Obviously from the picture shown there is this sausage curb in the way of the drivers doing what they normally do, which is to take some of the actual apex curbing.

    The debate on tracks designed to punish drivers more for mistakes, for going off, is one thing. This track is punishing drivers’ wings for staying on the track. Rather unique, no?

    1. Correction on my part…I thought this was inside curbing and indeed it is outside curbing. The sausage curb is outside of the red/white stuff, not inside it. It still remains though that this uniquely breaks wings, so grass would be a better deterrent. Lost lap time should be the punishment for going wide, not broken components. And it still holds as I said above that drivers can still have two wheels on the track as they do at every track at the curbing, and be legal that way, but in this case be punished for staying on the track.

      1. @robbie I drive around 67,000 kilometres per yr, used to be over 100,000. Depending on where I am and the time will determine the risk of me hitting a Kangaroo. You get to know the high risk areas, the thing is they can and do kill people and they ain’t gonna change. So I have changed my driving habits as have thousands of other ordinary drivers across Australia.
        F! racing drivers can reasonably be expected to be able to not hit a known hazard e.g. a fixed curb.

        1. Adub Smallblock
          28th June 2019, 14:45

          Agree. And as for the comment above that the drivers “don’t see these like they see the walls at Monaco…”. The drivers do a track walk. The drivers know every inch of this track. The drivers now know there is a hazard there. Avoid it.

    2. On a purely subconscious instinctual level, the driver see tarmac and will just give that little bit more than if there was gravel or grass there. Same thing happens when I kart. Im more careful when the edge of the track is just grass, but when it has tarmac on the outside I’ll be more carefree through the corner.

  11. I remember there being something about this in like 2016 or something, and maybe there was a reason why not but I forgot it, but again, why not just put a metre or two of grass on the outside of the kerbs, and then tarmac the other side of that. Grass is slower, therefore if you go out there you will lose time, therefore no need to faff about with deleting laps, and also, if you make a mistake, the tarmac the other side will help to regain grip so as to not hit the wall. No need for these sausage kerbs that are just dangerous and can destroy front wings. Yeah yeah, drivers shouldn’t go out there, but drivers make mistakes. And sure they should be punished, but not £250,000 for going slightly wide most likely due to the turbulent air of the car in front.

  12. Neil (@neilosjames)
    28th June 2019, 13:17

    They could just restore the run-off at those two corners to what it was like when when it was called the A1-Ring. Or would that be too un-Tilkey?

    1. @neilosjames you do realize the a1 ring was the original tilke track i Trust?

      1. Haha. Yeah, I’d much rather have the proper österreichring from back before safety was invented, complete with catch fencing and barbed wire in the run offs.
        Oh wait? Maybe not.

      2. Neil (@neilosjames)
        28th June 2019, 18:58

        Yeah, I pressed enter then realised ‘ah, someone will say that’… back when gravel was allowed.

        Just can’t think of a more suitable description for expansive tarmac run-offs than ‘Tilkey’.

  13. “we need to do something around the sausage kerbs”

    yes , yes you do, you need to tell your drivers not to drive over them….

    I am all for these curbs, you drift off track you get damaged, perfect

    1. Totally agree! The drivers are deliberately going off-track, and these kerbs counter that behaviour perfectly.

  14. tony mansell
    28th June 2019, 13:19

    Used to be the Piranha club didn’t it, they’d eat sausages for breakfast. More the quinoa club these days.

  15. Didn’t they have the same kerbs there last year. It’s not like they’re close to the sages of the track,

    Whilst I sympathise about the broken wings, the damage would be far worse if they stuck safer barriers there instead. Simply put, the drivers are aware (Or should be aware) of them and are risking their car damage by overdoing it.

    I seriously hope they’re don’t remove them – maybe move them out a couple of feet, but surely we don’t need another Paul Ricard where there’s an airport runways worth of runoff that doesn’t penalise bad driving.

    1. @dbradock They were there last year but it seems the new wider front wings this year are clipping them easier & suffering more damage.

      The red/white part of the kerb is a rumble strip & the vibration that creates makes the front wings flex up & down & with the wider wings this seems to be making the end-plate more likely to catch the raised orange strips at the back of them.

  16. The only thing I look at as a potential problem is when we see something like what happened with Hulkenberg where he just slightly clipped one & ripped the entire side of the front off which then threw big chunks of debris into the path of cars behind as well as leaving that debris all over the racing line (Which caused a red flag).

    A driver simply using too much track & damaging there own car is one thing but I don’t like that it could end up causing issues for drivers behind getting shards of wing thrown into there faces as well as potentially cutting tyres.

  17. How about more kerbs, more damage, more cost for long enough for the teams to realise they may as well stop wasting stupid money on wings that need replacing all the time.

    Force a cost reduction by underhand methods!

  18. More moaning than a celebrity s3xtape.

  19. It’s a wall Christian. A tiny wall that no driver should be using as it is outside of the track limits. Don’t drive into it is the obvious solution.

  20. I want compensation from the council because I have to do 14 left hand turns and 3 right hand turns to get to work. It’s caused me £250 in damage and wear to my front tyres.

    This is the track, you make a car to suit the conditions and drive it accordingly. Design your car to ride the kerbs and you’ll gain 0.4 seconds a lap.

  21. I suppose he wants softer barriers too after even more damage in FP2.

  22. In the short term these kerbs are problematic as it can create a safety issue where a fault develops in the wings and then something breaks at high speeds. That being said f1 does not even necessarily change the track as it can just ask the teams to fix the safety issues with their cars. Front wing falls off when going over the kerb? Make it stronger.

    In the long term f1 could introduce new wing deflection tests that put a minimum requirement for vibrations that the wings needs to survive without crack growth. That test could simulate driving over harsh kerbs found on some tracks.

    To be honest I don’t think making the kerbs so harsh that the car breaks is a solution. There should be loss of grip that makes going off not worth it regardless if you put two wheels off the track or go full perez and take a massive detour around the place.

  23. Mattias Hammer
    28th June 2019, 17:52

    Must be make them so expensive? Seems like much money for a part with such short lifespan.

  24. I like these kerbs. It is an effective solution to hold the drivers in the track and if a driver makes a mistake it punishes the drivers. I think F1 should use kerbs every track. The only question is the size and the angle of these kerbs.

  25. The kerbs are are there to make it take longer to get around the track by going over them than it is by staying within limits, and in that respect they are failing. As long as the car doesn’t break, it’s still faster to exceed limits than stay in, so they don’t actually serve their intended purpose.

    What the kerbs actually do is a lot of damage. As Stef said above, just touching one with the outside of the wing shouldn’t rip half the wing off. Maybe Renault are going a little too thin on the CF judging by how much the DRS flap and rear end plates were flexing, but they were far from the only ones to get damage from light brushes. Yes, the kerbs are meant to punish the driver for exceeding limits by slowing their race, not by breaking the car and causing expensive damage with bits of carbon fiber flying into the faces of drivers behind them.

    Comparing to Monaco is irrelevant. Nothing is really like Monaco. But one thing to consider is that from the cockpit you can always see the walls, but you cannot see the kerbs the way we can from the overhead camera.

  26. Roberto Giacometti
    29th June 2019, 9:53

    Surely the 20 hotshot drivers on the planet should know where the part of the track that does NOT damage the car is !

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