Charlie Whiting has defended the controversial asphalting of Monza’s iconic Parabolica corner.
During the recent summer break, a cry of outrage spread around the world when it emerged some of the famous gravel trap at the Italian grand prix venue’s high-speed final bend had been covered with tarmac. Former F1 driver Karun Chandhok said at the time that it was “another great corner that will lose its challenge”.
But the FIA’s Charlie Whiting has now defended the move, saying only 35 per cent of the gravel has been replaced, and that it had been done with the consultation of the drivers on safety grounds. Indeed, two active F1 drivers have this week applauded the move. “I think this is good from a safety point of view because it is a quick corner with not that much room on the outside,” said Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado. “The approach will be the same which is to take it as quickly and efficiently as possible. Of course there is the obvious safety element which means that you have less risk if you go off.”
His teammate Romain Grosjean agrees. “Parabolica is a very challenging and quick corner so from a safety point of view it is a good thing to have some more margin for the drivers,” he said. “I remember sometimes in the past coming into the corner and knowing that if you brake even a little bit too late then you could be straight in the gravel and then straight to the wall at high speed.”