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Track limits to be policed electronically in Hungary

21 Jul 2016

Electronic detection systems will be utilised to ensure drivers do not overstep track limits at the Hungaroring this weekend, the FIA has confirmed.

The issue of track limits has been a big talking point in recent races - first in Austria, where the 'baguette' kerbs caused several high-profile incidents, and then in Great Britain, where Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton had his provisional pole time deleted for running off-track during the final phase of qualifying.

Now a new electronic system will be in place this weekend in Hungary to ensure track limits are not violated at Turns 4 and 11, where new kerbs have also been installed and the run-off area changed.

"In turns 4 and 11 the new double kerb has been installed and the artificial grass removed," a statement from the FIA read. "However, the run-off areas behind the kerbs have been set at the same height as the kerbs themselves, the required deterrent is therefore not present.

"With this in mind we have installed loops 1.6m from the track edge which will alert us when a car has all four wheels off the track in these two locations."

Meanwhile, the old 'sausage' kerbs at Turns 6 and 7 have been replaced by 50mm high steel 'Abu Dhabi' style kerbs. The changes are among a number of improvements made to the Budapest track ahead of this year's race, including a complete resurfacing of the circuit.

McLaren's Jenson Button, celebrating the 10th anniversary of his first Grand Prix win here, thought the electronic policing was a good idea: "The way things are, all of the kerbs are pretty similar on all circuits now, so they're easy to run over on exits. We need something, we need a limit to stop us going over there."

Hamilton and Button’s team mate Fernando Alonso agreed.

"It’ll be an easier thing for them to police because at the moment some corners we're allowed to go out," Hamilton said. "In Luffield at Silverstone you're allowed to drive straight off the track no problem, which is an advantage but at Copse you're not, which isn't an advantage if you go off. It's a good step forward."

"It's good,” Alonso thought. “Then we don't rely on the marshals or on the TV and whether you were broadcast in that moment. It's technology that is there already so it's good to use it. In Formula One you should have the maximum of everything."

If this weekend’s experiment proves successful, the system is expected to be introduced at all tracks.