Formula 1 fans have been promised track designs that will be more "on the edge" in the future in a bid to help promote better racing and more excitement. With a host of new countries getting added to the grand prix calendar in the next few years, F1 track designer Hermann Tilke has revealed that Bernie Ecclestone has given him the green light to be more adventurous.
"I have discussed a lot of things, and a lot of good ideas come from Bernie Ecclestone," said Tilke, whose designs for the new Austin track in the United States were revealed last week. "He has a good view on it. Now, we are going much more to the edge than we have some years before – in terms of elevation and the types of corner we have."
The Austin track layout has offered a glimpse of a more aggressive look at track design, featuring dramatic elevation changes plus a variation of high- and low-speed corners. Although Tilke has been on the receiving end of criticism from fans in the past that his layouts have not been ideal for racing, he has called for some understanding on the limitations he faces in creating tracks. Tilke says factors such as land availability, local geography and the budget that track owners are willing to put forward all have to be taken into account before he can even begin sketching out a layout.
"It is hard to tell the people what we had in mind, what restrictions we had and what tools we had," he told AUTOSPORT. "For example, nowadays you need the run-off areas. The FIA will not accept tracks without the run-off. Having wide run-offs is not ideal for the view – and is very different from the old tracks where the guardrail was right by the edge of the track. It used to be completely different, but in our times it is not possible to do that anymore.
"Then, remember, most track owners and investors want to have motorcycles too. And motorcycles have to have even more run-off, and different types. And some corners where for F1 or cars you do not need any run off, for motorcycles you need it. Then people criticize it and say, 'It is stupid to have this run-off!'
"You cannot please everybody. The new A1-Ring was always spectacular for racing – not just for F1 but also DTM and everything. But at the beginning, when we built it, everyone was saying, 'What have you done? It is a terrible track!' and so on. But then after a while, everyone changed their opinion and even the drivers liked it."