x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Change the F1 tracks, not the rules, says Team Lotus race director

Mike Gascoyne believes that looking at the future designs of tracks will be more effective than constantly changing the rules for improving the racing.

As the governing body of world motorsports continues to tweak and change the rules of Formula One in search of a safer yet more spectacular racing season, the focus should be not on the cars, but the tracks on which they race, according to Mike Gascoyne, the chief technical officer at Team Lotus.

The Federation Internationale d'Automobile (FIA) have made several mechanical modifications ahead of the season-opening grand prix in Australia this weekend, including adjustable aerodynamics and energy-saving systems.

The objective is to promote overtaking, but Gascoyne says an easier way of improving the sport would have been to analyse the current circuits.



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"I personally wouldn't have changed the technical rules," he said. "I would have looked at the circuits where there is not any overtaking and looked at the ones where there are and figured out why."

Gascoyne has been accused of being too critical of Middle East circuits in the past after airing his disappointment with the tracks in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, describing them as two of the calendar's most boring races.

But the former Toyota technical director clarified his position ahead of this weekend's opening race in Melbourne.

"I had feedback on Twitter from people in those countries who are obviously very proud of the facilities," he said.

"The circuits are fantastic and the facilities are brilliant, but it was really a comment for the people who design the tracks. You need quick corners in motor racing."

Both the Bahrain International Circuit and Yas Marina Circuit were designed by Hermann Tilke, but Gascoyne is quick to make clear he has respect for the German architect.

"People tend to criticise Hermann Tilke, but you look at Istanbul and turn eight is one of the greatest corners in motorsport, so you can do it if you think about it. It perhaps just needs a bit more thought," said Gascoyne, who also revealed organisers at Yas Marina have approached teams to discuss ways of making their Abu Dhabi Grand Prix more exciting.

The FIA earlier this month announced "the Circuit Design Group is examining grand prix circuits to identify the possibility of increasing the opportunities for overtaking".

But Michael Schumacher, the seven-time world champion, said designing a successful track is more difficult than it seems.

"I think everybody internally has understood that if you only have fast corners then there won't be any overtaking because you can't follow another car into a fast corner at speed," the Mercedes GP driver said.

"If you have slow corner, straight, slow corner, the potential is much better.

"But then you have the argument about Abu Dhabi, where you have slow corner-long straight-slow corner [yet still can't pass]. You have to put all these ingredients together to make it work."