Image: Sahara Force India Twitter
The FIA have installed new speed bumps at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez to prevent issues with track limits and corner cutting for this weekend’s Mexican Formula One Grand Prix.
50mm high, mini orange speed bumps have been placed on the outside of Turn 1, right the way along to the inside kerb of Turn 2, with a second series of them situated between Turns 2 and 3.
The implementation comes after the recent controversy of track limits at last weekend’s United States Grand Prix, when Max Verstappen made a pass on Kimi Raikkonen for third on the last lap of the race, taking to the inside of Turn 17 and making the move with four wheels off the circuit.
Last year’s Mexican Grand Prix was also of similar deliberation, when Lewis Hamilton cut across the grass after running wide through Turn 1 on the opening lap, rejoining the circuit on the other side of Turn 3, still in the lead.
Race stewards decided he did not gain an advantage from the off track excursion, but another moment later in the race caused more controversy, with Verstappen cutting across the grass in an almost identical way while defending his position from Sebastian Vettel.
The former went on to finish third on the road, but was handed down a penalty post race – stripping the Dutch driver of his podium – because stewards felt he had unfairly benefitted from cutting across the grass.
All of this considered, F1 race director Charlie Whiting has made clear that drivers will now have to go around the second series of speed bumps before they rejoin the track, which in theory will cost them time.
Whiting outlined this in a note he sent to the teams ahead of the Mexican GP weekend.
“For safety reasons, any driver who either passes to the left of or runs over the orange kerb sections on the driver’s left between Turns 1 and 2, or who passes to the left of the bollard on the apex of Turn 2, must re-join the track by driving around the end of the orange kerb sections on the driver’s left between Turns 2 and 3,” the note read.
Turns 8 and 11 are also sections under scrutiny, with more speed bumps installed through the fast flowing ‘esses’ at the back of the circuit.
“For safety reasons,” Whiting added – “any driver whose car passes completely behind the kerb on the apex of Turn 8 must re-join the track by keeping wholly to the right of the orange kerb parallel to the track on the exit of the corner.
“For safety reasons, any driver whose car passes completely behind the kerb on the apex of Turn 11 must rejoin the track by keeping wholly to the left of the orange kerb parallel to the track on the exit of the corner.”
The Mexican Grand Prix begins with Practice 1 at 1:45am on Saturday (AEDT).