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Rosberg interrogates key F1 decision-maker in live TV interview

Rosberg interrogates key F1 decision-maker in live TV interview

F1 News

Rosberg interrogates key F1 decision-maker in live TV interview

Rosberg interrogates key F1 decision-maker in live TV interview

F1 world champion Nico Rosberg challenged FIA single seater director Nikolas Tombazis about the changes made to combat the issue of track limits at the Qatar Grand Prix.

The regulation of track limits has become a growing issue in motorsports and one that has plagued Formula 1 in recent years to the frustration of team bosses and drivers alike.

With many modern circuits adopting the safer use of tarmac runoff areas over gravel or grass, the problem of discouraging drivers from abusing the confines of the track has only become more prevalent.

One such modern venue is the Losail International Circuit and, whilst the track does have gravel, its usage is very limited and the amount of runoff has allowed drivers to abuse the kerbs in pursuit of laptime.

Max Verstappen celebrated his third world title after Saturday's sprint race

There were a total of 31 violations of track limits throughout sprint qualifying alone – but after Pirelli announced concern over the durability of their tyres on these kerbs, changes were made to slow certain corners by moving the kerbs inwards.

While these changes were successfully made prior to Saturday’s running on the circuit, they quickly received criticism for their makeshift approach. One disgruntled figure was former F1 world champion Rosberg, who grilled Tombazis in an interview live on Sky Sports F1.

The former Mercedes driver questioned Tombazis on the broader issue of track limits, while pressuring him to find a greater solution for the sport.

READ MORE: McLaren lock out front row as Verstappen closes in on title in Qatar Sprint Shootout

Rosberg vs Tombazis

Nikolas Tombazis has previously been employed as chief aerodynamicist for Benetton, Ferrari and McLaren

Tombazis started off the exchange by explaining: "I mean the track limits are going to be all moved in by 80cm so drivers will have to follow a tighter line around the kerb.

"Clearly, the kerbs are a ramp and there’s a step towards the outer part of the kerb. The further in you move, the smaller the step is and the less severe the loading on the tyre is, so we believe that what we’ve done is actually going to go someway towards defusing the problem."

The 2016 champion was having none of it however, and issued an impassioned response.

READ MORE: Verstappen explains SHOCK Sprint Shootout result at Qatar Grand Prix

Turn 13 at Losail has been completely changed from Friday's action

“Nikolas, excuse me," Rosberg said. "This is looking really bad for our sport. What’s the latest on the possible solution here to stop this whole track limit stuff? Do you have a new innovative kerb in mind or what’s the latest?"

Tombazis responded: "Well, on the track limits and the kerb we’re doing continuous research. This year the track limits have been an issue, in Austria and some extent here and that is remaining a topic of concern.

"Now clearly, the issue we are talking about now is not to do with track limits as from a sporting point of view but as a safety matter of the kerb and that’s requiring another set of research in order to make sure that between tyres and kerbs we don’t have these interactions…"

Nico Rosberg wasn't frightened to hold one of the most powerful figures in motorsport to account

Rosberg continued to press the Greek for answers with some very pointed questioning.

“Specific, like, what is the solution?" asked Rosberg. "What do we need to do in F1 to stop this track limit discussion? Very specific please."

"Well in places like Austria for example and possibly here in the future, we need to make sure that there’s a more natural limit to the tracks," answered Tombazis.

"I mean in Austria where we had all the issues, we are making modifications for next year and basically if cars go in that direction they will lose a lot of lap time or maybe even go off the track and therefore, I think we think that is the basic solution.

"We’re also working on more medium term solutions which are more technological or electronic but these require still a lot of development.”

READ MORE: F1 On TV: Meet the Sky Sports and Channel 4 Commentators

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