Marko: "Gravel traps provide a distinction between good and moderate drivers"

21-07-2019 12:08
by Matt Gretton
General
Marko: Gravel traps provide a distinction between good and moderate drivers

From the virtually unpunishable Paul Ricard to the gravel traps right on the edge of the tarmac at the Austrian and British Grands Prix, the Formula 1 circus visits a variety of tracks throughout the season. The more traditional opinion supports the use of gravel traps. Helmut Marko is a fan of the gravel traps and says they split the men from the boys. 

The 76-year-old Red Bull team advisor flashes back to when he was racing. He remembers the gravel traps being so harsh, any error resulted in a disastrous race result at every circuit. 

"In my time, an error was immediately punished by the gravel trap! In the past, you had it almost everywhere and if you shot in, your race was over immediately. That made a distinction between a very good, good or moderate driver. Nowadays, that difference is levelled," the Austrian told ServusTV.

Looking back at Paul Ricard and the run-off areas are extra wide so that the car doesn't get damaged during testing sessions at the circuit. There's also a safety element involved with the driver avoiding any walls in the event of a crash. Marko believes this is a pointless exercise because other tracks throughout the Formula 1 season show that it's not needed. 

“They are exaggerated safety concepts. Just look at some examples on the calendar that show that it is not necessary: We are going to Monaco, we are going to Singapore! You have no room to divert there. You just go into the wall there," he added. 

Marko also says the lack of gravel traps force the stewards to open up their rule books to judge whether or not the driver has exceeded track limits and therefore brings up a debate. 

“We don't need those white lines. They only ensure that there is a discussion for hours on whether someone is not following the rules," Marko concluded. 

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