F1 figures complain about circuit designs

Martin Whitmarsh has weighed into the debate about circuit design in formula one by agreeing that the sport has missed some new opportunities.

In 2011, it is hoped that adjustable rear wings, KERS and the extreme degradation of the new Pirelli tyres will contribute to improving the on-track 'show'
But Sir Jackie Stewart recently pointed his finger at the design of the sport's newer tracks.

"Think of the airport tracks like Cleveland with the wide corners and more than one possible line and you can see how easy it can be," McLaren and FOTA chief Whitmarsh reportedly told Motor Sport.

But Whitmarsh said it is not right to be critical of the organisers of - for example - the Abu Dhabi grand prix, whose spectacular Yas Marina venue hosted an uninspiring finale to the otherwise thrilling 2010 championship contest.

"On the other hand," he acknowledged, "you could call it an opportunity missed if they have one of the longest straights in formula one and a chicane at the end of it with only one possible line.

"Brazil is a good example," German reports quote him as saying. "The facilities are not good but the races are fantastic.

"So when you start something new in the desert and with no apparent structural or financial limitations, it is a pity that we don't go the easy route and copy some of the greatest corners in the world," added Whitmarsh.

World champion Sebastian Vettel admits that he hopes the overtaking aids this year do not make passing in F1 commonplace.

"When you do overtake, it should be something valuable -- a major achievement, like a goal in soccer," he told Sport Bild.

Webber backs Stewart's criticism of Tilke

Mark Webber has backed triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart's views about formula one circuit design.

"Spot on", said the Australian driver on Twitter, after reading famous Scot Stewart's new column in London's Daily Telegraph.

While discussing the problem that some grands prix are not exciting enough, the 71-year-old pointed a finger of criticism at Hermann Tilke.

"I fear he has not done much for the spectators," he said.

Stewart said a major difference between F1 and golf is that golf courses are not "designed by the same person".

"Put simply, they are largely carbon copies of each other and they tend not to penalise mistakes," he said, referring to the new generation of F1 tracks.

Recalling the Abu Dhabi finale last year, Stewart said Fernando Alonso made some "fairly big mistakes" whilst trying to pass Vitaly Petrov, yet Webber was still unable to overtake.

"That is plainly wrong," said Stewart, who was a long campaigner for better safety in formula one after witnessing many of his friends and rivals die in the 60s and 70s.

"It is nearly 17 years since a life was lost in an F1 car," he said, referring to the death of Ayrton Senna in 1994.

"But we have now gone too far the other way. Circuits should not permit liberties to be abused without a penalty that can be instantly recognised by spectators or TV viewers.

"Safety is one thing; abuse of privilege is another," he insisted.
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