Formula 1’s managing director Ross Brawn says the FIA faces a tough situation regarding the ongoing track limits debate in the sport, amid calls from drivers to change Sochi’s Turn 2.

Numerous penalties were handed out during the Russian Grand Prix in relation to corner-cutting at the first major braking zone at the Sochi Autodrom, while McLaren’s Carlos Sainz said the design was poor and “shouldn’t exist” after he crashed while attempting to take the correct route through the escape road on the opening lap of Sunday’s race.

Drivers who failed to take the escape route between the polystyrene blocks and the wall after running wide over the sausage kerbs on the apex of the corner had their lap times deleted or were slapped with a five-second time penalty.

Many drivers suggested that F1 tracks should feature more gravel tracks like the ones seen at Mugello, where track limits were not required to be enforced to the same extent as they have been at other races this season.

But writing in his latest post-race column, Brawn explained that he believes asphalt remains the best all-round solution.

“There were some contentious parts of the circuit this weekend, and I know the FIA are very objective and constructive in how they view these things.

“I’m sure they will be taking a look at the incidents in Turn 2 to see if there is a better solution.

“There is a constant battle to stop drivers abusing track limits,” he added. “You don’t abuse track limits if you end up in the gravel. They do if it’s asphalt. But if you have gravel everywhere, it gets thrown on the track and you lose cars if they go off, which we don’t want to do.

“So, you are damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Predominantly, asphalt is the better solution, but we have to have track limits to make sure drivers don’t abuse asphalt run-off.

“If you go into a corner knowing the worst thing that will happen is you’re run over asphalt and re-join, you will commit more to the corner. I’m sure the FIA and FIA F1 Race Michael Masi will look at Turn 2 to see if there is a better solution.”

After narrowly avoiding Sainz’s out-of-control McLaren when he also ran wide at Turn 2 on the opening lap, Williams driver George Russell suggested that the whole corner should be redesigned.

"Firstly, it's one of the worst corners of the calendar and secondly, for racing it's a terrible design," Russell said.

"I actually suggested this in a drivers' briefing earlier in the season, that we've got the room and the space to create almost a Bahrain-style Turn 1 and 2, almost a hairpin into a kink, which firstly will allow drivers to lunge one another into Turn 1 to get better racing and also avoid people having to cut the track.

"Because when you go into a 90 degrees corner that actually tightens up on itself, when you're three or four abreast, obviously cars are going to get pushed off."

 

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