With controversial comments that are likely to earn him a disapproving glare from the FIA, Force India F1 star Adrian Sutil has branded the modern genre of grand prix circuits 'too safe' and 'boring' – as he cited the speed, danger and thrill as the chief attractions of racing at the very highest level.
Earlier this year, respected leading designers Adrian Newey (Red Bull Racing) and Sam Michael (Williams) suggested the governing body might want to look more at the layout of the circuits when it comes to assessing how the show can be spiced up in F1, rather than almost routinely pointing the finger of blame at car aerodynamics [see separate story – click here
There has also been a significant degree of criticism of the so-called 'Tilkedromes' – tracks penned by German architect Hermann Tilke, including the current grand prix venues in Malaysia, Bahrain, China, Turkey, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Valencia, with the latter having been widely panned for producing some of the most monotonous races in recent memory during its two seasons in use to-date.
Sutil's contention is that drivers should be more readily consulted on proposed circuit layouts, and his somewhat maverick attitude in an age in which safety is perceived as king – with, thankfully, no fatalities in the top flight since Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger in 1994 – is likely to generate considerable cause for debate.
“Abu Dhabi was one of the most perfect circuits I have driven on, and the most boring as well,” the young German – noted for his fearless approach on-track – is quoted as having said by Sports Illustrated
. “It was just straight and really, really boring – but I probably cannot say anything bad about it for it's safe, like all modern circuits should be.
“I think it's time to involve more drivers in this work, because we want fast corners as that's where F1 cars are so good. The majority of the drivers feel this way. Of course there are a few who like it the way it is, safe. There will always be different opinions about it, but most of them would say there can be some changes in the circuits.
“Everyone loves driving because there is thrill in it. If it was not dangerous, maybe not so many drivers would be doing it. Maybe there are certain risks in it, but if you don't take those risks, it would get boring. Circuits are getting too safe and driving is not so nice anymore. Personally speaking, I'm just not getting that thrill.
“There is a wall in the corner and you have got to take it easy or you would ram into it. Formula 1 is dangerously fast and is all about speed; that's why it's interesting, and we should keep it like that. Of course it is good to be safe and you need to look for improvement in drivers' safety, but F1 did so much for safety that these cars are highly-developed and I feel really safe.”
Sutil added that he hopes designers of the track that is due to host the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in 2011 will take into account his concerns and make it a stern challenge for all competitors – and therefore, by extension, an edge-of-the-seat spectacle for fans.
“We should concentrate on putting up a really good circuit in Delhi,” affirmed the 28-year-old. “Hopefully they will get the information from drivers that they want, and I hope they put in some really exciting corners.”