16 July 2015
Tilke rejects blame for boring F1 races
Hermann Tilke says his circuit designs are not responsible for the perception of dull racing in Formula 1.
Renowned circuit designer Hermann Tilke has dismissed the assertion that venues he has helped create have contributed to lessening the spectacle of Formula 1 in the modern era, insisting the technical regulations are to blame.
Of the 19 circuits on the current calendar, Tilke developed eight from scratch, including the Circuit of the Americas, the Yas Marina Circuit and the Marina Bay Circuit. He also has a hand in redeveloping the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit ahead of Mexico's return to F1, as well as creating the layout for next year's Grand Prix of Europe in the streets of the Azerbaijan capital Baku.
However, though he has garnered support from drivers for his efforts over time, Tilke has nonetheless frequently been singled out for responsibility in diminishing the excitement of F1, with many feeling his designs don't allow for enough overtaking.
It is an assertion that Tilke flatly rejects, saying his designs have attempted to get around the limiting factors of the technical regulations, safety and general quality of the drivers as best he can. Indeed, Tilke feels it is the regulations that should shoulder the vast majority of the blame for this.
“We have to do our part and the regulations have to do their part to make overtaking possible,” he told Sport Business Daily. “We try to create corners where overtaking is possible. The simplest way is a long straight followed by a sharp corner, which creates a long break zone. However, if regulations prohibit cars from racing close to each other they simply can't overtake. That's always a problem, but we try to find ways to make it possible.
“We also try to find ways to allow drivers to make mistakes. The problem is the drivers in Formula 1 are the best drivers in the world and they don't make mistakes. The first corner combination is also very important as you try to avoid spreading out the field. You want to keep them closely together.
“Some criticism is simply not true. Take Bahrain for example. People said, "Oh, it will be boring because overtaking is not possible.” Not true. Last year, Bahrain was one of the most exciting races in history. There was overtaking everywhere.”
In the same interview, Tilke has also urged F1 not to turn its back on the classic venues, the 60 year-old airing his particular disappointment that Germany lost its place for 2015.
“First of all it's a world championship, so it should go to every corner of the world. But also the traditional European races should remain part of it. For me personally, I'm not really happy that Germany has no grand prix this year and should Italy lose its race, it would be very disappointing for me as a fan.
“I like the traditional races such as Spa, Monza, Hockenheim, Nürburgring or Silverstone. As a fan, I want them to be part of Formula 1 for the next 50 years and beyond.”
Of the current F1 circuits, Tilke has designed and developed the A1 Ring, Sepang, Bahrain International Circuit, Shanghai International Circuit, Marina Bay Circuit, Yas Marina Circuit, COTA and the Sochi Autodrom. He was also responsible for former F1 venues at Istanbul Park, Valencia Street Circuit, Korea International Circuit and the Buddh International Circuit, as well as the stillborn Port Imperial Street Circuit project in New York.
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